Interview with Nicole Monk Photography by Prue Aja Steedman
An updated 1850’s two storey Victorian terrace with rear lane access and located in Alexandria; a bustling inner city suburb of Sydney, New South Wales.
WHO LIVES HERE
Nicole Monks, a woman of Aboriginal, Dutch and English heritage, and CEO of ‘blackandwhite creative.’ Nicole lives with her husband, Chico Monks, an artist and cultural arts teacher, and an elusive cat called Basie.
WHAT WE DID
We bought the worst house on the biggest block; an outdoor area was really important for us. When we moved in, there were holes in the floor, tiles falling from the walls and the fence was falling down. Fixing the fence was the first task we tackled when moving in – plus it was a great way to meet all our new neighbours. Since then we have added a loft, open wood fireplace and we’ve filled the home with our art and creative influences.
I produce all my artworks and ‘blackandwhite creative’ initiatives with a focus on collaboration, creativity and culture. Pandanah, a line of clothing launched at Australian Indigenous Fashion Week encapsulates this ethos. Additionally, I am currently working with Murobond to produce a culturally sensitive range of paint colours and finishes. I enjoy collaborating and finding new and exciting ways to weave Aboriginal culture into the fabric of today’s society.
We border onto the inner city Sydney suburbs of Redfern, Waterloo and Eveleigh – so there is plenty of fun-filled action around here. From great coffee houses to retro shops on Regent Street, Eveleigh farmers markets, Carriageworks and 107 projects – a creative arts organisation that hosted one of my initiatives with the Art Gallery of NSW ‘state of the arts–culture.’ And just a walk away is Dank Street and the city. We are very lucky because my husband and I both get to walk to work.
I plan on using my house as a showcase for my business; using Aboriginal design and ethos to create a space devoted to the well-being of self, society and surroundings.
Keep your culture alive within your spaces. Objects with stories always have a depth to them that an Ikea couch doesn’t. Be sure to contrast between the modern and cultural and/or invest in pieces with organic finishes to create a homely feel.
Nicole Monks is a Sydney based trans-disciplinary creative of Aboriginal (Wajarri Yamatji), Dutch and English heritage. In 2012 Monks founded the company ‘blackandwhite creative’ to weave Aboriginal philosophies of sustainability, innovation and collaboration into contemporary art & design projects. Pandanah was born from this initiative.