On the Couch with Kristan Oud

Kristan-Oud-AAR-On-the-CouchWho is Kristan Oud?
Before becoming a full-time artist I was confined to bed with an auto-immune illness for nearly 7 years. I was in a darkened room with limited mobility. During that time I swore if ever I got well I would not take beauty, colour and light for granted. Ever since, I have sought to capture the sky with sunsets and bright colours. My work seeks to encourage and uplift the soul.

Since 2015, I have exhibited in more than 60 group exhibitions and held 7 solo exhibitions. My work is on every continent and has been collected by some of Australia’s biggest names.

Since May 2022, I have sought to document Melbourne’s journey from world’s most liveable city to world’s most lockdown and back again. I have drawn over 400 nights of the Culturural Capital of Australia. My work focus on three industries most affected by lockdowns – sports, hospitality, and art.

What would you do differently from what you do now?
As an artist I would learn to catalogue my work as I make it. The process of drawing every day is fun, but when it comes time to put the art online or in an archival catalogue it is very time consuming. I was originally studying Medicine and then Law, so I guess I would have done that differently if I was not an artist.

Who inspires you and why?
Van Gogh, Monet and Turner all inspire my art. Turner is the original master of light and sky and his works helped refine my fascination with clouds and sky. Van Gogh because he had no idea how good he was nor how much he would later be appreciated by the public. Also he didn’t have many sales, so when was starting my art career this really help motivate me. Monet because he found his style stuck with it – he wasn’t concerned with every passing fad in art and he used a minimalist approach to his art.

What would you do to make a difference in the world?
I hope to infuse the world with more colour and light. I would like people to appreciate the things they have, especially their health which can be taken from them. From a practical perspective I like to listen to people’s stories. And I love to exchange a smile with people. The world has enough gloomy people in it.

Favourite holiday destination and why?
Growing up my favourite destination was either Perth where my extended family come from or Falls Creek where I learnt to ski. They are very different destinations but the sense of being in the snow in the middle of Australia is very surreal.

When friends come to town, what attraction would you take them to, and why?
I love showing my friends the hidden secrets of Melbourne. My nightly sketches have taken me to some of the most beautiful bars and restaurants that most will never find unless they are told by someone about it. They are away from the usual foot-traffic.

What are you currently reading?
Crime and Punishment – Dostoevsky | Why We Sleep – Matthew Walker | Richer, Wiser, Happier – William Green

What are you currently listening to?
Podcasts – Ed Mylett, Tim Ferris, Tom Bilyeu, Founders | Classical music – O Magnum Mysterium.

Happiness is?
Joy is permanent. Joy comes from making a conscious decision to be enlivened by the circumstances no matter what they bring. It is not always easy to be joyful but it lasts longer than happiness which can leave when circumstances change.

What does the future hold for you?
The immediate future is finishing an second year of documenting Melbourne as it comes full circle. I am also kept busy running my art gallery on Collins Street. In the distant future, I would like to travel to other cities throughout Europe to do a similar 365 days of their hidden gems. Amsterdam, London and Nee York all hold historical or cultural significance to my family.

Kristan is a Visual Artist and Gallerist – whose work can be seen at Oud Art, 4 / 495 Collins Street, Melbourne. For more information, visit: www.kjoud.com for details.

Image: Kristan Oud (supplied)