Christopher Vine grew up in Adelaide and moved to Melbourne when he was 18. His first art exhibition was held just one year later. Explains Christopher, “I used to paint flowers. I would buy flowers from a beautiful florist in the Jam Factory (in Chapel Street, South Yarra) and I would create a garden in my paintings. The owner of the florist suggested I show him my paintings - and that led to my first exhibition held at the Jam Factory. It attracted a fair bit of media attention.”
This gave Christopher the kick start he needed to gain a profile in the art world and led to a series of exhibitions around Australia.
Melbourne was home for Christopher for some time and then he headed off to San Francisco to study at the Academy of Art College. “I had been travelling for a while, continuing my painting and sending them back to Galleries in Australia, but I wanted to learn print making. It was lots of fun studying and it gave me the opportunity to start working with poster and greeting card companies which led to the launch of Christopher Vine Designs."
Christopher also used to write for Home Beautiful magazine and the Herald Sun and a number of interior publications, so his profile in the world of art and design was well cemented by the 1990s.
Christopher had bought a beach house in Blairgowrie, and when his children were old enough to live their own lives he started to spend more time on the Mornington Peninsula. “Now that I have opened Vine Gallery in Sorrento I feel the Peninsula is home. I didn’t plan to live here, it just evolved and I love it. Going to sleep with the sound of the crashing waves and the beautiful scent of salty air creates such a sense of peace. And there is a great community spirit with a village atmosphere. I’ve certainly encountered a lot of support.”
Looking for a retail space for a while, Christopher initially investigated Portsea. However when he discovered the spot behind the ice-cream shop in Sorrento he saw that it had great bones and would make a perfect gallery. “I’ve had galleries before in other areas so it’s a similar format to the one I had in South Melbourne. I knew the ropes so it all came together very quickly. Getting people to know I’m here isn’t necessarily that easy but it’s only been a year so it’s just a matter of time. However we’ve had tremendous support from locals and tourists, and my art classes have been really fantastic with lots of interest from both adults and children. It’s a great way to build a community.”
Christopher offers his canvas and paper prints for sale along with his original work, and he also takes on commissions. “Having a mix of materials and sizes of artwork means there is something to suit every style of home, from apartments to large warehouse spaces. I only do five to ten prints per image so there is a sense of exclusivity."
The Christopher Vine name is well known in the world of ceramics as well, and he sells these in Australia, Italy and the UK. "I work with the Salt & Pepper brand who sell my ceramic range, and I still design cards and textiles so my art works across a wide range of mediums.”
Says Christopher. "I would like to open a new Gallery in Melbourne at some point, but I am very settled in Sorrento so this will be my headquarters. Having two spaces will enable me to move my paintings around, as some of the designs really suit the Peninsula and some are more suited to inner city living."
"My ceramics are a great passion of my mine and the ranges are expanding in 2020 - they will be available via some large retailers and internationally as well. I enjoy having a blend of the more commercial side to my business which includes the gift cards and ceramics and I love working on my original paintings which allow me to explore my creativity on a more personal level. I feel that my Gallery in Sorrento is a real little jewel and offers the area a sophisticated art space.”
Vine Gallery is open seven days at Shop 4, 69-75 Ocean Beach Road, Sorrento.