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The Australian painter's Sydney apartment shares the same warmth as her architectural artworks.

| By Rachael Thompson | Home tours

Artist Eliza Gosse’s Nostalgia-Filled Home Celebrates Mid-Century Design

The Australian painter's Sydney apartment shares the same warmth as her architectural artworks.

Welcome to The Makers. Each week, we celebrate innovators, artisans, and crafters of all types by taking you on a private tour of their creative spaces. For this instalment, we tour artist Eliza Gosse's retro apartment and studio in Sydney's inner-east.

The power of nostalgia can provide a temporary escape, evoke positive feelings, and bring back warm memories. For artist Eliza Gosse, painting modernist architectural works conjure up that experience; "There is something very warm about that period of architecture in Australia – for me, it’s sitting at my grandparents’ house with barley water and an Iced VoVo in hand or a long car journey to Melbourne stopping at Gundagai to stay in '70s motels," she shares with Bed Threads Journal.

And it's exactly this that draws so many to her geometric works that embrace clean, simple lines, and muted tones. Each scene begs viewers to imagine what memories might be held within the walls, bringing about a mix of positive and bittersweet emotions.

Her apartment in Sydney's inner east, which she describes as "super dynamic and playful", feels like an extension of these artworks. This nostalgia-filled haven draws on mid-century design elements, sleek Danish aesthetics, and thrifted finds.

Gosse has established herself as one of Australia's leading young artists. She briefly studied architecture before spending five years studying at the National Art School in Sydney, and has presented nine solo shows across Australia within the past five years. Her first attempt at portraiture resulted in her being a finalist in the prestigious Archibald Prize in 2022, and she is once again a finalist in 2023 with her work Breakfast at Ours.

She shares her apartment with her husband, architect Benjamin Jay Shand. As two creatives, it's unsurprising that a lot of love has been poured into decorating this home. "We look at markets, online, and in galleries everywhere we go." From the boxed Furbies and a Gumby radio, to the retro armchairs and space-age pendant lights, there are special, sentimental moments to be discovered in each room.

There isn't a bare wall in sight, with Eliza's works and colourful creations from other artists showcased throughout the home. One of the most stunning displays is a large abstract painting by iconic Australian artist Eric Smith which sits above the sofa in the living area.

We took a tour of Eliza's retro-infused home and Woolloomooloo studio, and spoke with her about starting an art collection, her most important artists tool, and the unique pieces within her apartment.

Shop Eliza's edit.

What is it about post-war and mid-century design that interests you?

I’m interested in memory and nostalgia. There is something very warm about that period of architecture in Australia – for me, it’s sitting at my grandparents’ house with barley water and an Iced VoVo in hand or a long car journey to Melbourne stopping at Gundagai to stay in '70s motels. I find the architecture itself beautiful, but I think the initial attraction was memory.

Talk us through your creative process. Where do you start?

It depends on the series I’m working on but my latest series “All My Friends Have White Walls and Beige Carpet” began with looking through vintage magazines and home decorating books, from there I developed small drawings on paper inspired by 1970s interiors. Once I had produced multiple works on paper I used a projector to enlarge and trace my favourites and turn them into sizeable paintings on canvas.

What’s been the single most crucial tool or strategy you’ve used to further your career?

Having a designated studio space to go and work. My studio is such a beautiful creative space for me. I share it with five other artists who constantly inspire me.

What’s been the best thing that’s happened to you since you started your career?

It’s been an amazing run. I think the best thing is just being able to do this every day and support myself through my art.

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?

Saying yes to every opportunity.

What is your most important artist tool? Is there something you can't live without in your studio?

Gouache paint – I love making many little gouache paintings on paper, getting the composition and colours just right before I turn it into a large work on canvas. Its opacity and consistency are beautiful to use. Fellow artist Whimbrel Wilson nicknamed me Eliza Gouache.

Now, the home stuff. How long have you lived in your home?

Just one year.

How did you initially know this was the space for you?

My husband (Benjamin Jay Shand) is an architect who directs Studio Shand. We share a love of interesting geometries and 1970s architecture. Our apartment block has a wonderful warmth, and its brick façade narrows to a point as you move through which makes the space super dynamic and playful.

Did you do any renovations or make any big changes after moving in?

We recently installed a saloon-style acrylic bar designed by Studio Shand and reclaimed some of the remaining kitchen space for a walk-in wardrobe – shows our prioritisation of clothing over eating! Otherwise, the apartment is perfect, we love it.

What was the thought process behind the way you’ve styled the interior?

This can be largely credited to Benj who has a talent for auction houses and Facebook Marketplace – almost everything is sourced from late-night long-drive pickups, even our bed which is a solid fibreglass shell (a pain to get through the door!). The styling is a mixture of a little of everything we love, from sleek Danish furniture to silly Furbies, through to space-age pendants, paintings and sculptures – both made by us, collected or art swapped with our artist friends.

What are your favourite pieces in the home?

  • A George Nelson desk – my home studio during covid lockdowns.
  • All the silly little knickknacks that fill our shelves (Gumby radio, Omnibot robot, lava lamps, treasures from our travels, and the rest!)
  • I love all our art, in particular a Christopher Zanko (art swapped for one of my works), a Mason Kimber, a Giorgia McRae sculpture, and our most recent addition a beautiful John Coburn tapestry.

Do you have any special décor pieces you’re looking to add?

We are constantly adding. Just last night we found two cane stools on the side of the road and carried them home five blocks. We’ll restore them and find them a home somewhere.

Which is your favourite room in the house?

I love the little study. It’s small and cosy with my drawing desk, a big Salon-style hang of paintings, and a bookshelf filled with curiosities.

What are your top tips for a well-styled bedroom, and home generally?

It takes time to collect everything. We look at markets, online, and in galleries everywhere we go. It doesn’t need to be expensive, but I love that everything has a story to it in our place. To begin, get some art on your walls, start at the graduate shows at the art schools to find yourself some affordable art and begin your collection – there is so much joy in buying an artist young and watching their career grow.

Do you have any projects coming up you want to talk about?

  • I currently have a work “Breakfast At Ours” hanging in the Archibald prize at AGNSW - I painted Benj and myself in our robes.
  • My next show will be at Sydney Contemporary in September at Carriageworks.

For more from Eliza follow her @elizagosse

Photography by Sam Riles. Styling by Audrey Won.

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