We are very excited to introduce talented Barkindji artist Caitlyn Davies-Plummer otherwise known as Dustin-Koa Art. Caitlyn lives on Kaurna Country in Adelaide, with her husband Dale and beautiful little boy Dusty. She is an up and coming contemporary artist who uses her art to connect with her Country and culture.
We are very excited to be launching a brand new collection of polo shirts featuring a collection of Caitlyn's gorgeous artworks. In today’s interview get to know Caitlyn, what inspires her to create and learn the stories behind her new polo collection ‘Back to Country’.
Caitlyn Davies-Plummer. Photo by Marley Morgan Photography, courtesy of Caitlyn Davies-Plummer, 2022.
When did you begin painting?
“I actually only started painting about a year and a half ago. I’ve always been creative but never took it seriously as I always doubted myself. My first painting was for my dad and I knew it would be received well because he’s dad and basically had to like it haha. From there I posted on facebook and people messaged me about commissions after that. I never set out for this to be a business, but it naturally just evolved into that.”
Where do you find inspiration for your artworks?
“A lot of my artwork is commission based, so I’m painting the stories of other people. I’m always astounded by how honest people are with their journeys and I try my best to do them justice. My original inspiration normally starts with colours. I get inspired by colour all the time and will take photos of random things when I’m out and about if I like the colour of it.”
Caitlyn and her father. Courtesy of Caitlyn Davies-Plummer, 2022.
When did you realise you wanted to develop a career in visual art?
“I think when I had too much work/commissions to keep up with my everyday job, I knew I had to make a decision between the two. I wanted to explore where my artwork could take me. I had faith I could make it a career but was also a bit pessimistic and scared. Haha Thankfully it all worked out in the end."
You are also finishing off your psychology studies currently, tell us a bit about how you hope to combine those skills with your art practice in the future.
“I’ve found already throughout my work in schools, that Aboriginal children/young people slip through the cracks in terms of mental health at such an alarming rate. I know how hard it can be for them to seek help from a non-Aboriginal clinician who doesn’t understand any cultural elements to what might be contributing to their problems. Art is a really non-confrontational way to help build rapport with young people and I know it’s going to help so many families moving forward.”
How does creating art help you connect with your Country and culture?
“Because I’m so far away from Country, the only way I can feel connected is through painting. I paint physical places I visit so I’m taken back to them. It’s just such a nice reminder for me when I’m so far away.”
Caitlyn, her husband Dale and her son Dusty. Courtesy of Caitlyn Davies-Plummer, 2022.
What’s your process creating a new artwork, talk us through it.
“The process differs depending on whether I’m painting a commission or an original painting. If it’s original then I let it flow out of me, but if it’s a commission I plan things out a bit more.I don’t like to plan things too much because I feel like it gets in the way of my process.”
What has been the highlight of your artist journey so far?
“I think a huge highlight has been all the brand collaborations I’ve done. Being able to see my artwork on things like bathers, dresses and puzzles has been so crazy! But also seeing people’s reactions to their artwork, it’s always so fulfilling. Being able to bring someone else’s story to life through my artwork is always a gift I won't take for granted.”
What advice do you have for your First Nations artists that are just starting?
“I think my best advice would be to connect back to your Country/landscape as much as you can. Aboriginal artwork is a reflection of your Country and the stories connected to that area. Learning your Country will help your artwork be unique to you and will help with your storytelling. Also being patient is really important, things take time to build momentum, so be kind to yourself if commissions are moving a little slow to begin with.”
Tell us about about your new collection ‘Back to Country’
“All of the paintings for this collection explore my connection to Country and how I’ve built up my connection over the last 10 plus years. It explores the colours I see on Country and how I feel when I’m back there. I just really hope that anyone who wears this collection, feels pride in wearing it and is able to start conversations with others. I love the energy and colours I’ve used in all these paintings and I just hope it makes people happy to be able to wear them.”
Are you excited to work with Yarn?
So excited! I can’t wait to see people wearing them [Polos] in real life! Will be such a surreal moment!
You can check out Caitlyn's gorgeous ‘Back to Country’ collection here.