On the Couch with Julie McLaren

Julie McLaren AAR On the CouchWho is Julie McLaren?
An overenthusiastic lover of sequins, French Earl Grey tea and all things mid-century. Curator at the Art Gallery of Ballarat by day, one half of Sweat Dreams DJs by night. Living in the regional city of Ballarat with my wonderful partner, a grumpy cat and a lazy kelpie.

What would you do differently to what you do now?
Slow down and stress less! If I wasn’t working in the arts I would be pursuing a career in fashion. I particularly love men’s fashion and sometimes daydream about starting a men’s personal styling business.

Who inspires you and why?
Ballarat is full of women of all ages across a range of industries who support each other in such an inspiring way. I feel a huge sense of empowerment, support and community in Ballarat and draw inspiration from the gutsy, ambitious and determined women around me.

What would you do to make a difference in the world?
I would make all workplaces pet friendly (a slightly impractical idea).

Favourite holiday destination and why?
Any ocean. I am always refreshed and rebalanced after breathing in the sea air.

When friends come to town, what attraction would you take them to, and why?
I like to joke that Visit Ballarat should pay me as an ambassador because I’m always spruiking this beautiful town to anyone who will listen. I regularly bring visitors to the Art Gallery of Ballarat to show them the latest projects I’ve been working on. Visitors from out of town are often surprised that a regional gallery has such an expansive and impressive collection.

What are you currently reading?
I can never get enough of David Sedaris. I’m also revisiting everything ever written by Helen Garner as she is such a compassionate and engaging writer.

What are you currently listening to?
I have been very slow to jump on the podcast bandwagon and am enjoying listening to The Jealous Curator, whose Instagram account I am also obsessed with. I listen to a lot of electronic music and my hero is Melbourne DJ CC:Disco. She is all about playing unpretentious and joyous disco, boogie and house music. My partner Darren and I DJ together as Sweat Dreams DJs and try to live by CC:Disco’s mantra: “less chin stroking, more dancing”.

Happiness is?
Happiness is a packed dance floor full of happy smiling strangers.

What does the future hold for you?
In the short term I’m excited about projects I’m working on at the Art Gallery of Ballarat which celebrate artists with a strong connection to the Ballarat region including Louiseann King and David Noonan. In the longer term, who knows? I’m sure the universe will continue to throw challenges my way.

Julie recently curated Into Light: French masterworks from the Musée de la Chartreuse – currently on show at the Art Gallery of Ballarat until 9 September 2018. For more information, visit: www.artgalleryofballarat.com.au for details.

Image: Julie McLaren (supplied)

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