Artist Sarah Kelk is making waves from her Melbourne studio.

Some people find their calling early in their life. They just know what it is they were put onto the earth to do from a very young age.

Artist Sarah Kelk says she has always loved the feeling of creating, taking to painting from a very young age.

“My parents have a pretty big collection of my work from kinder days through until now (some of it more cringe worthy than others). I’ve never asked myself the question before ‘why I paint’, as cliché as it sounds, it’s always just been part of my life, and who I am,” she explains.

And while she is open to other mediums, it is paint that really sings to her heart.  She is engrossed by creating textures, shapes and balance in her work through using paint. And she doesn’t get that feeling from any other medium.

She is also one hell of a busy woman.

In between her painting, she runs online store and homewares brand, Hello Polly, with her sister, Helen.

And she's also a mum to two small children.

Growing up in New Zealand, Sarah studied Art History and Design, before working in various galleries in New Zealand, and moonlighting as an Interior Designer. 

Now based in Melbourne, Sarah lives her husband and kids  (Charlie, 6 and Annie, 4), where she loves spending days exploring the city...

Sarah explains that most of her work is quite intuitive, even if she begins with a firm plan of what she wants the piece to look like before she starts to paint, it often goes out the window once she begins.

"I have a rough plan, mostly by picking colours, but I start with a really rough few expressive under coats. These I do really quickly, which also gives me a feel about which direction the rest of the painting will head in. I then add colour blocks on top and simply build on it from there, leaving bits that I like and working over others.

"I really enjoy getting in the zone with how a piece is developing and more often than not, pieces don't usually come together as a whole until right at the end. I often find that some of my first layers I like so much that I can't bring myself to paint over them. The small windows of my first layers in a painting often become my favourite parts." she says.

Hello Polly was ignited from Sarah and Helen's love for independent design, their desire to support local makers and creatives, as well an opportunity to offer their work to customers.

Sarah loves working side by side with her sister, running their store which is filled with a beautiful mix of artwork, homewares, ceramics, and accessories.

"We always make a point of taking some time out to cook a big healthy lunch, as its always good to take a bit of a step back before we head into the afternoon." she says.


So how does she do it all? How does she balance designing work for, and running her business, as well as her art, and family life?

"We are super lucky that the kids school and kinder are all within a block of our house so our commute is pretty painless (although someone usually has a piece of toast in hand as they walk down the street). If I’m lucky, there is time for a quick coffee stop before heading to the studio for the day."

"I often feel like I have so many balls in the air, that it could all come crashing down at any moment! The saying 'the busier you are the more you get done', definitely applies to me, and I often work really well if I have a deadline.

At the moment, I’ve been trying to be more present and focused with tasks as I’m working on them.  It doesn’t always work, but it has definitely helped me feel a bit more on top of each individual task. It also means that when I am with hanging out with my kids, I’m not constantly juggling the work tasks that I didn’t get done. I’m also a firm believer of the 'do it now policy', I use it everyday and thank my sister for sharing this great bit of wisdom with me." she explains.

(Post continues after gallery.)


You can find out more about Sarah by visiting her online store, Hello Polly, as well as following her on Instagram. Sarah is launching her HPH collection soon, as well as working on a few secret collaborations. Watch this space.