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Insta Star / Vanessa Stockard

Artist Vanessa Stockard grew up on NSW’s north coast playing in remnant rainforests, chasing ‘butterflies as big as my hands’ and dreaming of becoming a concert pianist. At 19, when she realised she wasn’t going to make it on the international music stage, Vanessa reverted to her other great love, painting and has never looked back. A three times Archibald finalist, Vanessa’s luminous, often humorous works, expertly executed, continues to gain collectors, and followers around the globe. A self-confessed homebody, Vanessa paints in a lilac coloured studio in her front garden in Bowral where she lives with her photographer husband and their small daughter. Recently she opened Birdcage Collective, a small curated art and lifestyle gallery in Mittagong in collaboration with friend and fellow artist Garth Nichol. @vanessastockard


My name is … Vanessa Stockard.

My life in five words is …. fun, hectic, imaginative, mad, shiny.

We moved to the Southern Highlands in … 2010 because my husband and I wanted to live together in a place that was less busy and we wanted more space.

We love the Highlands because its… hard not to love the seasons, but I really like the cooler climate too.

My favourite thing to do in the Southern Highlands is … paint. That and visit the antique shops; we have some great ones here.

Followers of my Instagram see piccies of …my paintings. Not me in a bikini understandably. It’s too cold.

When it comes to painting, there is one truth I know …. start.

I started painting ..seriously probably 10 years ago but I have thought of it as a career for 20 years in my mind.

The first thing I always say to people who tell me they want a life in art is … do it.

In a sentence, my philosophy to finding contentment and fulfilment is  … finding your thing, whatever that is and making a life out of it.

When it comes to being an artist, the thing that has always driven me is… some sense of urgency.

Being a finalist in the Archibald three times now is … validating and fun to be part of it.

Creating and developing my painted characters like Derek, Kevin and Satan allows me to …..continue creating stories. We all have our language, and mine is made of pictures.

The most precious piece of advice I ever received was ….. be yourself.

My most precious loves are … .my daughter, my husband and family. Good champagne and a cheese plate.

The one art gallery in the world I love the most is ….Musee d’Orsay, Paris.

Away from the studio, I love to  …. sit by the fire.

When we have friends staying with us in the Highlands, we always take them to…. Dirty Janes and Harrys on Green Lane in Bowral.

My special place in the Highlands is …. Harris Farm car park.

The lessons I hope my daughter learns from me are……  stop cutting your fringe, do what you love, be decent at the right times and indecent at the right times too.

The things I hope my paintings give people is… some comfort, some beauty and a reminder of history.

And finally, please finish this sentence. Acclaimed artists never die, they just..……make a lot of cash when they do.


Birdcage Collective is located behind Just a Smidge, 16A Bowral Road, Mittagong.

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