Local Artist: Iris Toren from Bondi Junction
Introducing the local artist behind this month’s cover illustration of ibises at Bronte Beach, Bondi Junction’s Iris Toren…
How long have you lived here? I have lived in the Bondi area since the age of one. I love the ocean and would find it difficult to live away from the water.
What’s your favourite beach? I particularly love Bronte Beach (the ibises on the cover are beautiful residents of Bronte).
What’s your favourite eatery? I love eating! I am vegan and love Eden and Chachas at Bondi Beach, Laurie’s and Peppe’s in Bondi, Hippocrates in Randwick, Bodhi and Mother Chu’s in the CBD and Golden Lotus, Gigi and Blossoming Lotus in Newtown.
Best thing about the Eastern Suburbs? All the beautiful beaches. I also love Centennial Park. Its birdlife provides a lot of artistic inspiration for me.
How would you describe your art? My artwork is inspired by nature and beauty. My first love is drawing. I love to draw and paint portraits, particularly of children and animals. I also do a lot of flower, bird, and landscape painting these days in watercolours, oils and acrylics.
Where can people see your work? By visiting my website, iristorenart.com (please email me if you’d like to commission a portrait).
Who are your artistic inspirations? I love Arthur Streeton and the Australian impressionists, Norman Lindsay, Vermeer, Klimt, Whistler and Degas.
What are your artistic ambitions? To keep on growing, evolving and living up to my potential. I want to bring some joy to others through my artwork. It gives me a buzz to think that it will be passed down through generations. I also donate half my profits to animal welfare charities, predominantly Animals Australia, Animals Asia, WIRES, Edgar’s Mission, Animal Welfare League, Greyhound Rescue and the Cat Protection Society.
What are you working on at the moment? I am painting some seascapes of Bondi Beach under a full moon.
Do you have any exhibitions coming up? My upcoming show, In Awe, will run from August 5-11 at The Shop Gallery, 112 Glebe Point Road, Glebe. It will be open from 10am-6pm daily, with the opening event on Friday 6 from 6-8pm. Please come!
When did you discover you had a gift for your craft? As a child. It was nurtured by my parents. A love of art runs in my family. In fact, my grandmother was a gifted artist and well-known fashion designer in Germany in the 1950s and 1960s.
Did you study art? I studied art at the historic Julian Ashton Art school down at The Rocks, taught by Richard Ashton, Phillip Ashton and Nigel Thomson.
Any words of wisdom for young aspiring artists? If it’s your passion, your dharma, you must pursue it.
Who is your favourite person? My beautiful, kind, wise and funny daughter, Laura.
What do you do for work? I worked in IT until 7 years ago, when I decided to follow my heart and focus on art. I also did my yoga teacher training. It’s a blessing to be able to share yoga with others.
What’s your favourite thing about work? I spend my time deeply admiring nature and doing my best to honour it by lovingly creating a representation of it.
Do you have a favourite quote? “May all beings be happy and free, and may our thoughts, words and actions contribute to this happiness and freedom for all.” – Lokah Samastah Sukhino Bhavantu.
Any other words of wisdom for our readers? Be kind to all, including animals and yourself.