Artist Ian Walsh was sick of city living, and it was a toss up between his childhood home of country Yorkshire, and his fiance’s in country NSW.
They decided on Australia, and in July moved to a 1930s cottage on five acres outside of Exeter.
“I grew up in the country, and for the last ten, fifteen years I’ve lived in cities, and I’ve always missed the countryside,” Walsh said. “I’ve always missed the fields, and living on a property with land.”
He has found the quieter country lifestyle has given him scope to relax into his work.
“It’s a lot slower pace, but for me it’s like going back home,” Walsh said. “It makes it such a tranquil peaceful place to create things.”
In August, he opened a gallery, run by his fiance Emily Shepherd, and his style is a bit of a departure the traditional artworks which dominate the Bowral art scene.
Artworks mix the classic glamour of Art Deco, with the sunny colour of pop art, and styles of Andy Warhol.
“The style is very French, very Art Deco, with a modern pop art twist of my own personality,” Wash said. “I’d love everybody to smile when they look at a piece.”
His glamorous style developed while travelling throughout Europe as a child, for his father’s work as a racecar designer.
His mother would give him pencils and paper to amuse him, and Walsh drew either from his mother’s Vogue, or his father’s cars.
Having moved to the moneyed haven that is the Southern Highlands, he’s now finding himself inspired by the glamorous older women who wander the streets of Bowral.
Now, he is looking to expand his oeuvre into the country themes of the Southern Highlands.
As he wakes up to the scenery of a rural property, overlooking grazing cows, he’s been inspired to begin a series on country animals.
“I want to do a collection as well, country animals, not your traditional Bowral painting of a cow, but a pop art like, giving it a modern twist on country life,” Walsh said.