5 minutes with Lisa Gorman

Published on 27 April 2018

As Gorman unveils its autumn clothing collaboration with artist Claire Johnson, we talk with the label’s founder about the place of art in her daily life and its influence on her famously vibrant designs.

Canberra Centre: How did your interest in art begin?
Lisa Gorman: At home as a child, with pencils and paper. I spent a lot of time drawing right through my childhood.

Can you tell us a little bit about your own art collection?
I love folk art and works with other-worldly, naïve elements such as Mirka Mora's work. I've also collected some ceramics and glass over time. One of my favourite glass artists is Amanda Dziedzic. I have a glass beetroot of hers.

What qualities are you drawn to when it comes to art?
I like colour and raw linen canvas. In particular, I like the two together. The rawness of unbleached canvas creates this extra vibrancy in strong colours when it’s painted on. Rhys Lee is good at this and I have collected a number of his works over the years.

Why is it important to you that Gorman collaborates with young and emerging artists?
I've collaborated with over 50 different artists over the past 10 years, so it has become part of the Gorman brand identity. Working with artists and other creatives means that my collections remain interesting and can evolve in ways that can only be explored when different ideas come together. It's about celebrating the artist and bringing attention to their work via a medium that they may not ordinarily explore.

What do you look for in an artist before joining forces?
Originality is very important. It's great to see consistency across an artist’s work; it shows a level of passion for their style and their work. I also ask each artist a lot of questions about why they want to collaborate – there needs to be a mutual respect for each other’s work and for the collaborative process itself.

Which artists are you a bit obsessed with at the moment?
I like UK-based Swedish artist Sara Andreasson, she's amazing with colour. Closer to home, Sydney-based John Nicholson's Perspex pieces are always a favourite, while Jukuja Dolly Snell, who works out of the Mangkaja artist community in the Kimberley, has some amazing stories to tell through her visually stunning work.

Shop the new collection today at Gorman on Level 1.

This article first appeared in the AW18 edition of Canberra Centre’s broadsheet.