On the Couch with John Kerr

Stage 1 John Kerr AAR On the CouchWho is John Kerr?
A frustrated Window Dresser! I don’t know why, but I just love creating the perfect display set behind glass. I still haven’t created the perfect window display as I’m my own worst critic, I guess the day I create the perfect display will be the day I need to retire.

What would you do differently to what you do now?
I wouldn’t change a thing! I am blessed with a long-term partner, good health and an endless reservoir of energy and an unquenchable appetite to create.

Who inspires you and why?
1950’s Display Artists! I think I was born in the wrong era. The 50’s was the pinnacle of the “display industry”, glitter, satin ribbon, crepe paper, papier-mâché, enamel paint – could life have been any better! So I am passionate about Retail VM! I love my industry, but there is also someone from left field that totally inspires me, believe it or not, Professor Alan Duffy, the astronomer at Swinburne and Lead Scientist of the Royal Institution of Australia.  This guy is soooo passionate about his field of expertise that he gets really excited when he’s interviewed.  To hear someone speak with such passion is contagious.  I hope that when I speak people can also feel my passion.

What would you do to make a difference in the world?
I believe I am making a difference. OK windows may not change the world, but they put a smile on the faces of Melbournians, even if it is for a brief moment. I’ve been creating these windows now for 25 years, and I often meet adults who have childhood memories of my earlier Christmas Window creations. To have had the opportunity to instill such Christmas memories into this generation, and to hear them describe their memories, is amazing.

Favourite holiday destination and why?
OK, so here’s my confession, for the past 30 years I have been trapped on the retail VM carousel, every year it spins a little faster and every year I struggle to jump off and take a holiday. With the endless annual cycle of VM, no sooner does one project finish the next is already in the pipeline. I do get to a point where I need time out, so if I see a quiet afternoon coming up, I will take it. I did manage to escape 2 years ago for a week and head over to France for a friends wedding. But being a true Cancerian, home is where really feel relaxed. Just some time off to manicure my Japanese garden (and yes, I am anal retentive about it) is my way of winding down.

When friends come to town, what attraction would you take them to, and why?
If friends visit, then for me there is no place like home. There is nothing more enjoyable than time spent with friends over a dinner in the comfort of your own home.

What are you currently reading?
As a kid, I used to sit on a family friend’s lap “Brian Murphy” and listen to stories. Brian “The Skull” Murphy is a famous Victorian Police Detective. Brian has released his second book Once a Copper – which I am reading at the moment.

What are you currently listening to?
Call me old fashioned, but I love to listen to Radio National, I really enjoy the informative nature of the content.  I think I drive everyone crazy as I come into work each morning with more bizarre trivia.

Happiness is?
A sunny Sunday afternoon at home, sun streaming into the front bedroom, my partner and my 2 Burmese cats Oscar (de la renta) and Stella (McCartney) beside me, and no phones ringing, beeping, dinging, chiming, buzzing!

John is the creative inspiration behind Myer’s iconic Christmas Windows – which will also be celebrated in Make Believe: The Story of the Myer Christmas Windows at Melbourne Museum from 17 November 2018. For more information, visit: www.museumsvictoria.com.au for details.

Image: John Kerr (supplied)