Surfer and painter Otis Hope Carey on finding meaning and connection through art

Artist Otis Hope Carey talks to the healing power of his work, painting with his kids and finding inspiration in new places.

otis hope carey painter artist surfing
Otis surrounded by some of his works in his Sapphire Beach home studio

In the Autumn issue of JONES Home, we celebrate how the artistic principles of colour, shape and texture can transform any space. Because, like a great piece of art on your wall, the homewares you use every day have the power to inspire and make home your always happy place.

“Painting … helped me figure out who I was as a person and what my role in life is.”

Otis Hope Carey

As such, we asked three experts – artists Louise Olsen, Miranda Skoczek and Otis Hope Carey – to bring their artful eye to every corner of your home. A surfer and artist, Otis Hope Carey utilises his artistic sensibilities to funnel spiritual significance into large-scale masterpieces. He discusses his process, the joy of painting with his kids and how texture can be realised in different ways through art and in the home.

The texture edit

MULBERI

Indira Linen Throw

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TOM DIXON

Swirled Stepped Bookends

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TOM DIXON

Air Elements Candle

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BRIAN TUNKS

Mini Cut Glass Bowl

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Is painting something you’ve always done?

I’ve always looked at things through a creative light, my Steiner school growing up taught me to think differently and do things in a creative form. That was triggered about five years ago … I picked up a paintbrush and just started painting and it helped me figure out who I was as a person and what my role in life is. That grew really quickly.

What drives you to keep creating?

Growing up in a big Indigenous family, family was always first and foremost. So, for me, it’s always about making my family proud and leaving a legacy that my children can be proud of and share with others. What I do is collective: it’s a transformation and growth of my family and my culture. When I look at my art I don’t see myself.

How does texture play into your work?

When I’m painting, what I try to achieve is visual texture. I lay down a backdrop colour then start to work on the layers and linework. The dots come last, and then I work on the layered lines again. My work looks as though if you touch it, it might have a lot of texture but really it’s quite flat … because when I paint, I try to visualise and bring to life a spiritual connection or mimic certain songs or stories – so there’s a lot of depth to the ideas and the work.

COUNTRY ROAD

Brae Waffle Cushion

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DINOSAUR DESIGNS

Small Earth Bowl

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ROBERT GORDON

Organic Mug

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ECOLOGY

Speckle Dinner Plate

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What inspires you?

I love being able to paint at home. A lot of the time I’ll let the kids come in and watch me paint. They’re so in tune with their culture already. My ten year old is always asking me to teach him. We’ve got a couple of paintings that we’ve done together now.

“When I paint, I try to visualise and bring to life a spiritual connection or mimic certain songs or stories – so there’s a lot of depth to the ideas and the work.”

Otis Hope Carey

What art do you have in your own home?

I have some artworks from some old Indigenous people from the Central Desert, which are really beautiful, then I have more sculpture-based works. I’ve started doing wood sculptures, using a lot of stringy bark, which is really pretty wood. The shapes and textures of the wood come naturally; if you cut the tree in a certain way there are different patterns and lumps. I’d like to keep following that for a little while and see where it takes me.

Photography by Oly Begg; Styling by Claudia Jukic; Interview by Elle McClure

MARRIMEKKO

Oiva/Räsymatto Plate

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MULBERI

Indira Linen Cushion

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BRIAN TUNKS

Small Cut Glass Vase

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ECOLOGY

Speckle Cuddle Mug

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Want to hear from our other expert Tastemakers? Artist and Dinosaur Designs co-founder Louise Olsen shares her tips on using shape as a decorating tool, while painter Miranda Skoczek talks to using colour to bring a special joy to your home.