Art as meditation with Kerry Hussain
When Kerry shared her Spring Lookbook with me and asked if I wanted to share it with the members of Inside Stylists it was an immediate YES! Kerry is a repeat podcast guest but this time via an IGTV Live on Instagram. Listen in as she shares how she creates her art which is the perfect way to meditate.
You may want to watch the IGTV live here or visit Kerry’s Instagram or website linked below so you can see her stunning and calming art.
Today’s guest is Kerry Hussain
You can find her here –
Website : KerryHussain.com
A few things we covered in this episode :
- Kerrys lookbook
- The Artists Directory for photoshoots
- Kerry’s podcast on Inside Stylists
- The home staging association
- Kerry’s meditation YouTube channel
- How to use Art for meditation
Hello and welcome to the Inside Stylist Podcast where we talk all about interiors, with interviews with interior stylists, writers, and fabulous homeware brands that make a house a home. I also catch up with industry experts in the know and get them to share all their knowledge and advice. There’s so much to talk about.
I’m your host, Emma Morton Turner, an interior stylist and writer with a ton of experience. I set up inside stylists.com so I can share all that interior’s love with you. So don’t forget to head on over to the website for not only the show notes from today’s episode, but regular interior blog posts and a whole host of inspiration on the interior stylists and writers profiles.
But for now, enjoy the show. Hello. So we are gonna be doing a Insta Live with Carrie Hussein from Art for the Soul. In a second, we’re just gonna wait for her to pop on. Carrie is a member of Inside Stylists. She is an interior stylist. She does home staging and she’s, I’m not quite sure when she started doing art, but her art is beautiful, absolutely beautiful, and she sent me her look book and was really interested in doing this.
I G T V live. So that we could share it with everybody. She, she rents out pieces for commercial shoots and she is happy to loan for editorial and of course you can buy, and she does these really great things, which I’m not gonna talk about because I’m gonna let her. Share that. So the lookbook that she sent me, I have put on inside stylists.
So anybody who wants to have a look at that, they can come in and just check out inside stylists.com. It’s the last blog post that went live. And you can have a look at her pieces, you can she’s got some information behind them and all her contact details are there as well. Also, we have an.
Directory on inside stylists specifically so people can get hold of copyright art for this shoots because you have to get copyright before you share pieces of art on commercial shoots, on, on all shoots on tv or everything you do. So we created an artist directory, and Carrie is in there as well.
I can see she’s there. Let’s get her in. Morning. Good. Righty. How are you? I’m very well, thank you. How are you? I’m good. Are you in your studio? I am. Yes. And I was sitting here and I was refreshing Instagram and I suddenly realized I have no idea how to do this cuz I’ve never done this. So, but we got there.
Seamless. Absolutely seamless. So I was just sharing that you’re a member of Inside Stylist, you’re, you do styling, you do home staging and you are an artist as well. So I think maybe we should start by saying, so you. Interior styling, which is how I know you as as a member. And also I should say that I interviewed you on the podcast so people can see that as well and hear your whole story.
Oh gosh, yes. Yeah, I know. It feels like six years ago. Yeah. Yeah, it was last year. But do you wanna share how you’ve come to be an artist as well since like from, where did that start? Yeah. Okay. So I have always been creative. I’ve always, you know, drawn and painted ever since I was a kid. But it’s kind of one of those things that you, you sort of assume that you can’t make a living doing it.
And it’s not, you know, it’s not a proper job. So I took a detour off through TV and then into interiors and home staging and all that sort of thing, but I’ve always kind of maintained. Little bit of creativity. And I started dabbling with abstracts in 2018 just as I’d always kind of done more figurative work previously really sort of detailed and intricate sort of figurative pencil portraits, that kind of thing.
But in 2018 I’d gone through a really rough time and I dunno, I just sort of started experimenting just as a way of. Releasing some emotion and getting, you know, getting some emotion out onto the canvas. And I found that I actually really enjoyed it. So so I sort of just did a few bits for myself, just for my own flat here.
And then when lockdown hit in 2020, all my freelance work sort of just dried up and I thought, I’m just gonna paint. So I basically spent a year just. Experimenting and playing around and having fun painting and and then I sort of thought actually I could try and do something with this in conjunction with the interiors world.
I’ve obviously got quite a few connections with you and the stylists and also through the home staging association as well. Yeah. So, yeah, so I’ve sort of just been building a portfolio and, you know, and selling work and, and that kind of thing. Ever since then, really, so, That’s really cool. I kind of imagine like, so the very first time you sat down, was it to do a piece for yourself?
Were you like, I need to fill something in, I need something on this wall. And you were like, I love this. It was really, I kind of, I, I just renovated this flat. And yeah, I sort of thought, oh, you know, I need some something to go on the walls. I’ll, I was like, well, I’m autistic. I’ll do it myself. So, yeah.
My initial kind of my initial kind of idea was to use, sort of use tester pots and leftover paint to create work that sort of fitted in with decor. Mm-hmm. And in, you know, an interior scheme. So, Sort of tailor it to your own style. And it’s kind of just, it’s, it’s developed organically really into Art for the Soul.
Which was kind of a, it kind of came about through learning about meditation and mindfulness and the kind of connection between the two really. I’ve learned that looking at art, It can have a sort of very similar effect on, on the brand as meditation and mindfulness. So I sort of thought, well, I’ll combine the two and get, try and get people actually looking at art rather than just seeing it, you know, and yeah, looking at it in more detail and from a mindful point of view, really with a view to sort of just slowing down and, and just present.
So yeah, it’s kind of evolved into that over the last year or so. It’s really, it’s really clever. So I’m gonna share something now. I I’ve got a friend who’s a PR and every time there was a art exhibition launching at one of the galleries, I get press invites to the pre the press previous, and I would take her with me and I would stand in front of a piece of art and I would literally start getting really emotional about info, like welling up a little bit.
And she would laugh. Playfully, but she would laugh at me every time. You’d go, are you feeling the art? And I’m like, I can feel the art. So I can completely resonate with how having a piece in your home and it’s, it’s kind of. It’s not just appreciating art, it’s how it makes you feel when you look at it.
And I’ve got art, I’ve got friends who are artists and I’ve got some of their pieces and I can just stare at them and stare at them non-stop because I kind of really understand what you’re saying about how it’s medi, I can’t say meditative. But it’s, you lose yourself in it. And, and do, when you are painting, do you have a specific sort of feeling you’re trying to help someone feel when you’re doing a piece?
Not really. It’s more, it’s more I paint completely, intuitively, so I don’t, I don’t really plan anything. I don’t have any kind of premeditated idea of what I want it to look like. I basically just start with a color palette. I, I choose a color palette and if anyone that knows me that follows me knows that I love neutrals, I.
I’m not a huge color fan. I have got color pieces in my gallery, but neutrals are my favorites, so I’m always naturally drawn to those. And it’s, it’s sort of just, yeah, it’s just a calming sort of palette really that I start with and I just paint and, and just sort of see where it goes. And I mean, quite a lot of the time I will start something.
And think, oh yeah, I’m, you know, I’m really liking how this is going. And then I’ll come back to it a couple of days later and be like, oh no, I need that one again. So yeah, it just really depends on how I’m feeling at the time, I think, and I, and sort of what comes through. But yeah, I know what you mean about the sort of connecting emotionally with our, I mean, I used to be somebody.
That would be like, oh, that’s just weird. You know, why I don’t get crying in front of a piece of artwork. But the more, as I say, the more I’ve learned about the sort of emotional connections that you can have through art, it’s yeah, it’s really, it’s really sort of made me think deeper about it. And also I.
No, it’s, it’s a bit like it. Well, as I’ve learned, it’s, it’s a similar reaction in your brain to what happens when you fall in love and or, or you know, or you find a person romantically attractive. It’s the same chemicals that in your brain. Wow. But I think you can, you know, you can sort of look at one piece and not have any reaction to it, and then you can look at something else and be like, oh my God, that.
Does something to me and you can’t quite explain what it is. So yeah. That’s so interesting. Yeah. I’ve got, I’m properly nerded out on all the sound. Yeah, I, I think I could follow you with that. I think that’s, It’s kind of, I know how it feels, so I would be interested to, to understand it further. So, so my friend can stop laughing at me.
I looked at your website quite a lot while I was doing this to make sure I spelled names right and got everything correct and I’ve got your look book and everything. And I was reading your, your about me page and you talk quite a lot about, I’m gonna quote it here. You said that painting saved your life.
Do you wanna maybe, You don’t have to go too deep, you don’t have to go too personal, but can you kinda share a little bit about the story behind that without Yeah. It’s about sort of wanting it to be too clickbait or dramatic. It’s I guess it kind of did indirectly. It, it sort of did. I, as I said, I’d sort of gone through a period of, of real struggle.
I, I’d got divorced and I was dealing with a lot of emotional trauma from my past as well. And I’d kind of, sort of got onto a bit of a slippery slope and I was suffering really badly with depression. And I started having panic attacks and things like that. And it was, it kind of got to a really bad, I was just, I was just so, I wasn’t happy at all.
Mm-hmm. And when I started meditating I sort of, it was a kind of a last ditch attempt really. It’s sort of, what can I do to, to get out of this pit of despair? And yeah. So I started sort of meditating and I kind of, it, it almost guided me back to painting. As I said, cause I hadn’t really done any for a long time.
I sort of thought, well, actually that’s what helped me when I was young. To cope with, you know, all the sort of stuff that was going on around me. And, and that’s what I used to, to, to sort of calm me down and make, you know, go into my own little space and mm-hmm. And help me get through stuff. So I sort of, that’s, that’s kind of when I started experimenting myself in, in 2018.
And yeah, I mean, it sort of, it, it, it kind of just pulled me out. Everything. Really having that focus and having something that I actually just enjoyed doing. Mm-hmm. And keep me present rather than thinking about all the stuff that was going on and, and all that kind of thing. And it just, yeah, it just sort of really gave me a focus in a way.
Yeah. But then I sort of thought, well that, you know, if it makes me feel that way, it probably makes other people feel that way. And I wanted to sort of just pass it on really. And. Help other people that I knew or you know, that I know would, would benefit from. The same kind of thing. So yeah, it’s, so how would someone use your art to, like, is there a specific way you would hope someone would use your art in their own homes or, and we’re gonna be talking about having them on shoots as well, but just because your art is in invoking this meditative and calming and healing kind of sense of being, how would you hope people would use it?
What the intention really is to. Get people to actually stop and, and look at it and explore the artwork in detail rather than just sort of focusing on one big painting as a whole to actually, you know, look at individual areas and go, go in really close up and just explore different things because you can, it’s, it’s surprised me so much how people see something different.
Every, everyone will see something different in a, in an ab especially in an abstract piece. And so I find that really fascinating as to what it sort of brings up for people. Mm-hmm. And I, you actually do spend time mindfully and intentionally looking at a piece of artwork. You can sort of get all these different things going around in your, in your brain, which takes you, sort of, takes you away from.
Daily kind of thoughts and stresses that you are, that generally were around in your brain and you can, you know, it helps you to sort of get present and, and just focus really. Mm-hmm. So, yeah, just, just getting, looking at it close up, which is why I do the, the visual meditations on YouTube. Yeah, I was gonna say, they’re brilliant.
Thank you. Yeah. I, I think they’re sort of, they’re very relaxing. Yeah. Yeah, just the way you’ve got it set up, it’s brilliant. I, I have it on while I’m working and I need, oh, so I use I think it’s called gray noise. Like white noise is things like fans and washing machines and is it gray or green? I can’t remember.
But the noise of something going on in the background and that really helps me focus. And, and so your YouTube is brilliant for focusing and, and it’s cuz it’s cuz of the kind of sounds, it’s very calming. It’s exactly what you want, isn’t it? Yeah, yeah, exactly. And that kind of visual meditation is, is really good for people that, you know, a lot of people will say, I can’t sit, you know, I can’t sit with my eyes closed and I can’t stop thinking when I do that.
Distracted. And they think about different things like, have I left the iron on or did I do this? I do that. What am I gonna have dinner? And, you know, and so having that visual anchor mm-hmm. We help to sort of keep you, keep you present as well. So yeah, just about, just about exploring pieces in detail really.
Yeah. That’s very clever. I’ve, I’ve, obviously, I’ve been following you for quite a long time. I’ve seen how you come to your pieces. Do you want to share, I mean, I just, I I love watching you doing it. Do you wanna share how you literally create the, the pieces. Yeah, I mean, as I said, it’s, it’s kind of all intuitive, so I don’t have any idea what it’s gonna turn out like.
I’m, I’m still, I feel like I’m still experimenting with my style. I haven’t really found one particular style that I will stick to. I kind of as, as it is sort of driven by emotion. It, it really depends on how I’m feeling when I’m. But I use acrylic paint mostly on canvas purely because I’m so impatient and acrylic dries really quickly.
But do you. Oils, but they take so long to drive. My daughter’s just been, she’s doing art. I love one. She’s just started, she said, I’m gonna play with art play with oils tonight. And I’m like, Ooh, I want to come play. Do you set aside specific time to do it and do you try and do it because I think it looks like you, it takes a lot of layers.
So does it take a long time to produce each piece? Yeah, it can do, it really varies. I usually have sort of two or three. Cancers on the go at once so that I can work on them at different times. Mm-hmm. And they have drying times and that kind of thing because I use, I sort of layer up quite a lot in my work.
So you have to sort of let each layer dry properly before you can sort of start working on the next one? Yeah. So yeah, it’s just, it’s just a case of layering and putting stuff down and then seeing what works. And it’s kind of. Compositionally. It’s sort of just a feeling I get when I sort of feel, okay, that’s, that feels right now, so I’ll and so yeah, generally, I mean, it really, that’s one of the hardest questions to answer is how long does it take?
Because, and how do you know when to stop? Because you could, you could just keep going on and on and on. Yeah. Yeah. I always kind of think if I, if I think You know, if it doesn’t feel quite right, if I sort of feel like I want to do more, then I’d, I’ll do more. If I feel like I should stop, then I’ll stop and some pieces like I’ve left I’ll, I’ll, I’ll sort of think, yeah, I really like that, and I’ll leave them for a few months and then all of a sudden one day I’ll, oh, no, just do just a little bit more on this one, you know?
And so, yeah, it’s, it’s very hard. Kind of leave them. I think there’s a, a quote, I can’t remember who it was. I think it was, it might have been Leonardo Da Vinci or somebody that said it’s, it’s never finished. It’s just abandoned. Which I quite like because I don’t think it is ever finished. It’s a bit like decorating, isn’t it?
You kind of It is, yes. Really? Yeah. And you, it always takes longer than you think. Yeah. Yeah. And then by the time you finished it, you wanna do something completely different. Yeah. And I think I’ve seen you when you’ve had a piece that you just, it’s, I dunno if it’s just not working for you or you just don’t like it, you’ve just kind of whitewashed over or started all over a over again.
Yes. Well, I’ve done that in the, in the video that I’ve put on YouTube today. Actually. That is what I’ve done because started a piece before Christmas and. I was playing around with color and I dunno, I just, I can’t do it. It just didn’t feel right at all. Oh, that’s interesting. I was yeah, it, I, I just thought, no, I really don’t like it.
So I did, I work completely whitewashed it out and, and started again. So you can see that in, in the video that’s online now. And I mean, even, I’ve even got it to a stage. It’s over here at the moment on the, on the board. Nice. But I’ve got it to a stage where I liked it the other night when I finished it, and now I’m a bit like, mm.
There’s still something that’s not quite right about it. So I’m gonna keep working on that one. Yeah, just keep coming back to it. Yeah. Yeah. I, I said at the beginning just before you came on, that you are part of the inside stylists artist directory. Now I, I’m, I was saying that I set it up because people need to have copy.
Free images or images that they have the copyright to use. And you are part of that. So do you want to just talk a little about how you work and how you’re happy, like what you are happy to share and Loan, hire, buy. I say everyone should just hire and then buy. Yeah, of course. That’s the ideal scenario.
No, I mean, everything on my, everything that’s not sold in my, in my gallery is available for hire, for shoots and everything. And I also take commissions for pieces. I did one for, I think one of our members, Charlotte a couple of, I think it was, yeah, it would’ve been 2020. I think I did it for a shoot she was doing.
I think it was, might have been real hard, I can’t remember now. And it, it actually didn’t end up getting used in the piece, but then I subsequently sold it privately afterwards, which was great. So so yeah, so I, I’m happy to sort of take commissions for if you want something. So if someone’s doing a shoot for say they’re doing a commercial shoot for a a wallpaper brand and they need a piece of art to go specifically with that color.
Yes. Then they can commission you and you will hire it to them, and then you get the piece back or they have to buy a piece basically, and you will do it into the color scheme that they want. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. That’s great. That’s a really amazing service, and it’s a kind of a win-win because you, you’ll get featured and you’ll still have the piece.
Yeah. But they get the copyright. Okay. You know, the art, art that is copyrighted all good to you. So, yeah. Yeah. That’s really good. So for that, for that one I did for Charlotte, I actually used some faroh and ball colors that were specific to the shoot as well. Yeah. So I use, you know The, the trade sort of paints.
It’s not just acrylic. So if you need color matching or anything like that, then I continue. Yeah, it’s brilliant. It’s really clever. So I’m just gonna say that the way most people work, just for anyone watching cuz I wanted to make sure it’s very clear that if you’re doing a shoot that is for an editorial for a magazine, a newspaper, and you can, you can.
Borrow a piece of art and credit it, usually artists will let you borrow it completely free. But if it’s for a commercial shoot and there’s no credit and they’re not getting a little, here’s a piece of art by Carrie then there’s a higher fee or Yeah, just buy it. Yeah. Yeah, no, I, I did I do have a, a loan agreement form that I sent out to, to stylists if, you know, if you want to hire anything and it’s 10% of the, yeah.
10% of the value per week. Yeah. Which is pretty much what you’d pay any in any arts. Sorry. In any prop hire, that’s what they charge, so, yeah. Yeah. So very fair, very reasonable. Yeah. Mm-hmm. So you’ve kind of just answered half of my questions. I’m sorry. My last question is always, what are you working on now?
But I think we know what you’re working on now from what you just showed us over there. I’m yeah, I’m kind of gearing up to start my spring summer collection. So I’m kind of thinking about that and what I want to do for that at the moment. I launched the, the autumn winter one launched in November.
So that’s on the website at the moment. Normally springtime I do go a little bit more colorful. Pinks and greens. Mm, pinks and greens. You just, your whole body just went, Ooh, no, no. Green is, is actually one of my favorite combinations, so we shall see. I’m not, not sure yet what I’m gonna, how, how would you feel if someone commissioned you and it was really bright colors?
Would you, would you be able to do it? I have done some, yeah. Yeah. I have done a few bright, colorful, I, I kind of swing from one to the other really? It. You know, it’s not that I don’t like color. I do, I love, I do love working with color, but I don’t know, I just, it’s not as easy for some reason. Right. I find it easier to work with neutrals.
Yeah. But yeah, I mean, I, I can do color obviously as there, there are colored pieces on the website, so I’ve, I’ve sort of, that’s why I’ve separated them into the meditation, mindfulness cause of categories. So the. Are the more colorful ones with the more layers and everything. And the meditation ones are sort of neutral with more calming sort of influence.
Mm-hmm. So, Yeah, so I’m just playing around with different, different things, getting inspiration from different places and, and just sort of working out what, what I’m gonna do for the next collection. Yeah. That’s so much fun. Well, thank you so much. So people can see your art for the, so, art for the Soul underscore.
11 on Instagram. I’m sorry I haven’t written down your YouTube handle. It’s the same. It’s the same. Okay. So nice and easy. And Carrie’s website is carrie hussein.com. I have also put Carrie’s lookbook for her Autumn Winter collection on there. And everything links through to her website so you can click through really easily.
And I’ve linked through in all the comments here. Once I’ve finished recording this, it will be live. So thank you everyone for joining. So I saw you were running, I just wanna. Yes, very inspiring. Watching your running, especially, was it yesterday? You did the Where I’m? Where I’ve been and where I’m going and I was like, oh, it’s so gorgeous where you run so lovely.
Especially when I, especially when it’s muddy and raining. I’ll love it. Yeah. Yeah. Okay. You come back being really energized and all endorphin high. Right. Well, Carrie, thank you so much for joining me this morning. It has been much such a pleasure. You all inspired and relaxed. Oh, great. I’m gonna go shopping and then I’ll crack all some painting, I think.
Fabulous. Okay, take care. Bye bye. Thanks for listening to the Inside Stylus podcast. You’ll find all the details from today’s show over on the show notes at Inside stylus dot. If you enjoy the show, I’d love it if you would head on over to iTunes and rate and review it. It’s the best way to help other people find the show and I’d really appreciate it.
Until next time, bye for now.