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Arts-Matter: in conversation with Dinosaur Designs

Art Matters

Creativity comes in pairs.

Arts-Matter, a new cultural programming platform that presents salon style conversations and experiences in Sydney homes recently hosted its inaugural event with the celebrated design duo Steve Ormandy and Louise Olsen.

The evening began with an intimate and spirited conversation with Olsen and Ormandy, who founded Dinosaur Designs over 35 years ago, and was moderated by the Editor and Chief and Publisher of RUSSH.

Guests imbibed a selection of wine from St. Hugo's and feasted on a delicious meal catered by Apollo, surrounded by a selection of Dinosaur Design's signature bright and bold resin creations.


Arts Matter



The night centred on conversations with Louise Olsen and Stephen Ormandy, the creative minds behind Dinosaur Designs. Independently successful artists in their own right, but together they are the force behind one of the greatest success stories in Australian design.

Steve and Louise discussed how they met when they were fresh into art school, fell in love, and formed Dinosaur Designs in 1985, selling their jewellery and t-shirts at Paddington markets. They began experimenting with casting resin moulds, blagged their way into Barney's NY, and built their iconic Australian design company from the ground up.



Arts Matter



An intimate evening, the pair shared moments from both their personal and professional relationship and how they solve problems and circumvent challenges. Louise spoke about growing up in a creative family, where even mundane activities like buying sardines at the market was a creative pursuit. She also shares personal details of the pressures involved in being the daughter of Australia's most famous artist. Steve joked that he had no idea about art when he applied to art school, and was enamoured with Louise from the first day.

When asked about their greatest strengths Louise said "drive, we just keep walking".

Ormandy opined that Louise's greatest strengths are that "she has great insight and she really knows people and human beings, and she's a good judge of character."

"She chose me after all," he laughed. "But more importantly, she's really great at letting go," he said.



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35 years later they are both internationally recognised artists and have Dinosaur Design stores all over the world, showcasing their perfectly formed organic shaped resin creations.

"Every creative pursuit requires creativity," he says. "Everything is a palate...yes there are industry restrictions, but if you're looking for creative opportunity within an existing structure... I think creativity has no professional bounds."

"We've never apologised for being thoroughly commercial," said Ormandy.



Arts Matter



Arts-Matter is a new programming and social impact platform founded by Michelle Grey and Susan Armstrong. This platform is here to celebrate the arts through a series of conversations with the creative minds shaping our shifting culture, set in contemporary homes in Sydney.

It is Michelle and Susan's hope that through a series of thoughtfully curated experiences spanning the cultural gamut - from art, music, film, fashion, theatre, dance and literature - they can build community, spark debate, and help to bridge cultural, social and gender divides.


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