Nestled away behind an art deco tiled doorway in Paddington, we find the studio of Sydney ceramicist and long-time friend of Above The Clouds, Nina Waring (@begooddoyourbest).
Most well known for her ceramic sculptures of tattooed dogs and men who reflect the faults in the human condition as compared to man’s best friend, Nina takes cues from her love of tattoo culture and memorabilia. Regarded by many across Sydney’s gallery scene, her work is likened to the decorative ceramics of great imperial nations spanning Asia and Europe whilst staying determinedly current and reflective of the times.
Never one to shy away from a pair of Asics, Air Max or adidas, we have come to know and love Nina over the years for her eclectic style, warm energy and good vibes she brings to ATC every time she steps foot in the door.
To welcome the Beach Brains Spring 23 season, we decided to celebrate Australia and New Zealand's flourishing arts and fashion scene with Nina. During our visit to her Paddington Studio, we chatted about her favourite local brands, artists, artworks and her treasure trove of a studio space…
ATC: You were the first person to come to mind when we started playing around with the idea of shooting someone from our ATC Community in Beach Brains. Your aesthetic, the theme of your art, and your overall attitude sit seamlessly within the Beach Brains universe.
You have also been an Above The Clouds local since our days on Oxford Street and beyond, you have seen us at stages of the business, What brands have you been shopping at Above The Clouds over the years, and what are some of your favourites?
I used to buy a lot of ASICS from ATC back in the day. Nowadays, brands like StoryMFG, Beach Brains and Sky High Farms are getting me excited. I like small brands doing creative fun stuff.
ATC: As an upcoming artist in the Australian / New Zealand art, music and fashion scene, who are the artists, musicians and brands that excite you?
Hamish Wallace (@yummihamm) is one of my favourite artists. His style is hell crazy and real inspiring and he does some wild ass tattoos. Music wise I listen to a lot of Sydney’s Primitive Blast and go to a lot of their shows. They’re so unreal live. Makes you feel good to watch them play. I also run a lot, so I get excited by running gear, District Vision is a big brand for me. I’ve spent a lot of money with them, unfortunately, or fortunately. Depending on who you ask.
ATC: We shot you at your studio in Paddington, Sydney and it’s an understatement to say we were amazed at the space. Your studio was filled with antiques, collector's items, books, art, and plants to name a few…
What are you currently working on?
I’ve recently received a hell exciting commission so I’m pretty focused on that. Otherwise, I’m just building new work for the future. It’s nice to have time to push new ideas and try some things that might fail without looming deadlines. Means you can get real creative.
ATC: What is your work uniform?
Honestly, I don’t really have one. I’m usually just in whatever I’m wearing for the day and some vans. I’m trynna get some work overalls though. That’s the next thing I want.
ATC: What are you listening to?
Most days I’ll start with a TOOL album in the morning. My Spotify is all over the place though, recently I’ve been rinsing Lamb Of God, The Flaming Lips and Pouya. Larry June’s new album is getting a lot of playtime too.
ATC: Would you consider yourself a collector? If so, what draws you to the pieces you collect and could you name a favourite piece in your studio?
I have a lot of tattoo memorabilia, lots of prints and originals and books. Tattooing and the culture around it gets me excited so I try keep that around me. The best thing I own is a giant Ed Hardy print. I could look at that thing for days. He’s the man.
ATC: What makes your home/ studio space feel like home?
I’m a giant fan of a connected sound system and cutouts all over the walls. I have a lot of little notes. I’m a big little note guy.
ATC: Do the pieces you collect inspire or inform your art? Or vice versa?
Yeah for sure. Tattooing and all that comes with it is a giant part of my work. I try not to bite anyone or copy anything directly, but it's real important to be surrounded by lots of things to look at. I’m grateful to have so many friends in the industry who have put me on to new artists or source material, cause some of it is only discoverable through word of mouth. All I’m trying to do is learn.
ATC: What’s next for Nina?!
Man, life is really crazy when it gets moving. I feel real grateful to be here. Heading to LA in July and then I’m back to finish some commissions and sort out the next steps. It’s all very exciting.
Thank you to Nina Waring for meeting with us and showing us around her beautiful studio.
Thank you to Beach Brains for assisting in this project.
Beach Brains S3 ’23 ‘Concrete Beach’ is now available in-store and online at Above the Clouds Store.
Photography by Dylan Bow
Produced and written by Ana-Elisa Wingrave