How Perth Painter Rina Freiberg Styles Her Home Around Her Artworks
Welcome to The Makers. Each week, we’re celebrating innovators, artisans and crafters of all types, taking you on a private tour of their creative spaces. For this instalment, we head to Perth, Western Australia, where artist Rina Freiberg lives in an inspiring space full of her own paintings.
On the top floor of Rina Freiberg’s Perth home is her studio, sunlit and airy, where she works on her soaring, colourful paintings. There’s plenty of space up there for Freiberg to get stuck into her creative process, which she often does kneeling on the floor, paper spread out before her to draw upon.
Sometimes, though, inspiration strikes in a different room in her house. “There is nothing like creating at the dinner table, right where life happens,” Freiberg says, describing her living area as “the heart of the home”. Sure, whipping out the brushes and the paints there might be a little risky – Freiberg’s space is decorated with plush white carpet – but she hasn’t had an accident yet.
It’s no wonder that Freiberg – whose large-scale, indelible works are about to be the subject of a solo exhibition in Perth – feels the pulse of creativity in every room in her home. For the past three “wonderful” years of living there, the artist has filled the space with her own art, adding multiple hooks to the walls and treating each room like a “revolving gallery of work”. “I like to live with the new work and enjoy them before I decide that they are complete,” she explains. “I style the house to complement the art, because the art will always dictate the vibe.”
It’s because of this that the space has such a feeling of vibrancy and life. Artworks with splashes of peach and pink are propped up above her bed – which she makes with contrasting Bed Threads linen in a pairing of Mineral and Lilac or Rosewater and White. And you can see it in her sweet, pastel purple bathtub, which Freiberg describes as her “favourite corner of the house”. The artist advises seeking out new ways to incorporate colour in your own home. “Sunshine and airflow is the ultimate luxury,” explains Freiberg. “Find a visual rhythm of colours and textures that complement but also contrast each other to give the house energy.”
Hi Rina! This series is called The Makers. What is it that you make?
I paint! I draw!
How does the act of “making” relate to your personality and who you are?
My work is my algorithm. It’s my way of making sense of the world and the people I interact with. As in life, I want the art to feel alive. It needs to begin a conversation and continue to reveal itself long after your eyes have studied it. I get the most satisfaction from dancing the fine line between ‘so wrong but so right’. And when an abstract clicks into place – it is electric. A wobbly brushstroke has the power to make or destroy an artwork – and that is the thrill I’m after.
Tell us about your career journey to date. Did you always know you wanted to pursue this line of work?
I’ve always been connected to the arts. I’ve worked across theatre, film and I write. A few years ago I helped set up a wine bar and ran the kitchen for a year. However, art was the constant, and for the last four years it has been my focus. At school I struggled to find any joy in painting (I opted to do textiles in my final year so I could avoid it). It was that very common thing of being overtaken by the frustration of trying to make the paint behave. The moment I let go of trying to paint how I thought I should, and just let my hands and head work it out, that was the beginning. And here we are!
Talk us through your creative process. Where do you start?
It always starts with a mark. There is no planning. Sometimes I’ll have a general idea or parameters but all the marks, colours, textures and gestures are in direct response to what has come before. I work at pace, trying to find a flow. I stop when it feels resolved or interesting.
Shop Rina's look with the Caitlin Robson O Vase
Shop Rina's look with our Sage Hand & Face Towel
What’s been the single most crucial tool or strategy you’ve used to further your career?
Being open to opportunity and being open to connect with people. Then trust that you will end up right where you need to be.
What’s been the most challenging lesson learnt so far in your career?
How to manage the business side of things when the muse just wants to play with paint.
What’s been the best thing that’s happened to you since you started your career?
Without hesitation, it’s definitely the people I have met along the way. The art has introduced me to so many inspiring and talented people. Last year I created an artwork for the launch of Camilla and Marc’s “Ovaries. Talk about them” campaign. It was incredible to be a part of a campaign that will change lives through its support of Dr Caroline Ford and the UNSW Ovarian cancer research team.
Do you have a single piece of advice you’d give to your younger self or someone looking to pursue a similar line of work?
Your best work is created when you have an open heart and a great playlist.
Almost three wonderful years.
How did you initially know this was the space for you?
The location. The only thing that made me hesitate was the white carpet… no disasters yet.
Did you do any renovations or make any big changes after moving in?
So many wall hooks for art!
What are your favourite pieces in the home?
My pink, ballet-slipper-esque Murano glass wall sconces – they are ridiculously unnecessary and I treasure them for being just that. And I have a nude portrait by Australian artist Clif Peir which I adore.
Shop Rina's look with Rosewater and White in our Build Your Own Bundle.
Do you have any special décor pieces you’re looking to add?
I’m on the hunt for a big, beautiful mirror.
What are your top tips for a well-styled bedroom, and home generally?
I love a simple bedroom – bed, art and clutter sorted away. The bed must be dreamy. At the end of a day, all I wish is to climb into a cloud and be instantly transported to sleep.
Do you have any projects coming up you want to talk about?
I have just started creating for a solo show in Perth happening later this year. Excited to be working large and bold. I will also be sending some new work to Sydney. I am the current artist in residence in the Cult Design apartment in the gorgeous boutique hotel, Three Rooms Sydney, in Potts Point. Nothing feels as good as seeing your art in conversation with stunning furniture.
Shop Rina's look with Mineral and Lilac in our Build Your Own Bundle.
For more from Rina, follow her on Instagram @rinafreiberg