‘Kathryn Lovejoy and Charlie’ Photo by Aidan the Awesome! Photograph courtesy of Kathryn Lovejoy and reproduced with kind permission of Charlie the NOISY Sun Conure bird.

Artist Watch

The Artist

Kathryn Lovejoy

Challenging myself has always been everything and it still is. I never stop thinking or seeing. 


Kathryn Elisabeth Lovejoy is increasingly becoming recognised for her stunning artwork, notable for its vibrant colours, intricate detail and unique vision.


Some people claim to have seen influences of Escher, Dali, Art Nouveau and Art Deco in Kathryn's work, with more than one person maintaining that there is also a distinct touch of gothic.

‘I don’t really categorise my work,’ Kathryn says. ‘I think that my art has resulted more from a natural flow in my own life rather than the influence of others. In early 2010, I started drawing in a very new style; a storm of concept drawings – ideas, emotions and thoughts. It’s rather like writing I suppose, but I draw those things instead of using words. I don't throw anything away. 

‘Sometimes the artwork, a lot of it really, has been commissioned. This has driven me to change my work slightly each time and I have also learned quickly how to design to meet people’s expectations. But when I draw and paint I don’t have anyone else in mind, that is, no other artist I hope to be or wish to be like.

‘I think my love of art has probably absorbed the influences of some artists in more depth than others, although I have not really been aware of what I have taken in. The tribal influences that have come through in my work only became obvious to me a few years ago.

‘Of course I have learned from other artists. I might have been inspired by them, or perhaps by a photograph, to choose a project I wanted to do. I see art as a science and in some ways like maths – experimenting all the time. I suppose that in some ways I am driven. Challenging myself has always been everything and it still is. I never stop thinking or seeing.

‘I have never been a great reader of novels. When I look at artwork it needs to be really, really great for me to stop and stare at it. Then I read the art in the same way as somebody else would read a book, I guess.’

Kathryn was born in Port Moresby Hospital, Papua New Guinea, to Australian parents, on 14 November 1967. Her parents met and fell in love while both of them were working in Port Moresby. In 1975, Papua New Guinea’s year of Independence, the family moved to Brisbane Australia.

‘I was eight when we moved to Australia. After living in Papua New Guinea for many years, my father realised that there was a need for the supply of urgent breakdown trucks and earthmoving machinery parts and started his own business in Brisbane. This business is now in its 38th year and supplies the whole pacific islands region.

‘When I was a child we lived a simple life anchored in a tight local community, with weekly boat trips to nearby islands and no television. We had a record player though, which was accompanied by beautiful story books.

‘The illustrations were amazing and the dramatic sounds of music and the story teller’s voice always sent me to another world. Rumpelstiltskin, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Sleeping Beauty, Little Red Riding Hood and Hansel and Gretel were favourites. They were scary too, but I loved them.

‘I remember I was definitely a dreamer as a child, especially when we were out at the beach, in the water amongst the corals and under the water. I was the slow one, walking behind everyone else, dreaming and soaking up the atmosphere. I remained a dreamer into my teens, and I still am really.

‘I was also a slow eater. A table of seven people was overwhelming for me, so I’d sit quietly listening to everyone else. I always sat next to my sister, Jackie. She’d speak up and sometimes no one would hear her so I’d say, ‘Jackie I can hear you’ and she’d smile.

‘Jackie used to be in pantomimes when she was little and she had long blonde hair in ringlets. I loved her costumes and really looked up to her. She has a free spirit and a gentle soul.

‘I started school at Korobosea Primary School in Boroko, Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea. We flew back to Brisbane during holidays to see the family and spent most of the time at Noosa. Sometimes we would overlap a week into school time so mum would have me sit down and do extra maths, writing English and reading, and I enjoyed that. I was at the end of grade two when we moved and settled in Brisbane.

‘Moving to Australia was a big shock. Everything was different and the people were different. I was used to a relaxed, more simple life. The Papua New Guinean people were always smiling but in Brisbane people were very reserved. Life was busy all the time, particularly after my parents had started their business.

‘There were so many kids at my new school I felt unnerved. There were not many trees but there was a lot of bitumen. Even the landscape looked dry. Papua New Guinea was a lush tropical green, with banana plants, mango trees, hibiscus flowers, butterflies and birds, so there was no comparison.

‘We had also left behind Albert and Eiamo, who were employed and lived with their children on the property with us. They helped with the gardens and housework. I remember Eiamo nursing me as a baby and I loved her. She was like a grandmother to me.

‘I think I went through real sadness at that time. I loved my family and I knew that I belonged with them but I also loved it there and I still miss it. My memories are of Papua and they are vivid. Perhaps this is because I longed to go back and never did. My father wouldn’t send me because it wasn’t safe. One day I may go back.

‘After we arrived in Australia I went to Ferny Hills State Primary School and after grade 7, transferred to Ferny Grove State High School. After finishing year 10 there, I studied for about ten months at Kangaroo Point College of TAFE. Business College was encouraged because I excelled in shorthand. I really enjoyed doing shorthand – it’s a form of art to me.

‘My memories of art in school are mainly of being given drawings to colour in and stay within the lines. This meant you were good at it, especially if you didn’t leave any white in the background. I didn’t mind doing that and we could choose the illustrations most of the time.

‘Mum was always buying colouring-in books, which I loved. I have kept some that I thought were beautiful. I tore about eight pages out of one of my colouring-in books and I still have them. My younger brother had scribbled in that book; so annoying. It took me hours to do them. There was no such thing as art expression at school – none that I was taught anyway.

‘The books that influenced me and my art were all children’s books. When I was twelve, Mum tried to encourage me to read novels, over and over and over! I found them difficult to follow. I would try to read them but would get bored very quickly. For a while I turned back to children’s books to try and figure out what was wrong with me. There were lots of books I loved. There was one in particular, The Toy Soldier. I think it must have been the illustrations in those books that attracted me to them.

‘I really tried to find pleasure in reading novels but I never developed a liking for them. Of course I had to read all sorts of things and found that I enjoyed reading about the real things in life. From the age of nine I also loved television documentaries – you can’t beat them for entertainment.

‘I often thought that I must be daft if I couldn’t like a novel. Everyone else seemed to. Perhaps being told to enjoy novels was enough to put me off early on. I’m not sure. I now look for and buy good art books, for traditional art, contemporary art, children’s illustrations, and anything else that I like. These books tell real stories, and with beautiful art too – just the way I like it.

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‘Dancing Fial’ by Kathryn Lovejoy. Due to its popularity, this image is sold in three sizes. Each Limited Edition is under 25 Archival Canvas Prints. ‘This painting is based upon the Ethiopian Legend surrounding the discovery of the coffee bean!’ (Hand Drawn Ink and Acrylic Painting) Artwork courtesy of Kathryn Lovejoy.