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Photo Katrina Okoronkwo Illustrator Australian Artist Charcoal Graphite Drawings

Katrina Okoronkwo


An Australian portrait & figurative artist that melds a cacophany of inspirations across many artistic movements. Her work is traditional in structure, adorned in elaborate and ornate hand embellishments. Working primarily in oils and finely sharpened charcoal, Katrina loves the bold irreverence of adding something unexpected and tactile – feathers, beadwork, gold leaf dropped onto the work, pieces of fabric, and lately Chiyogami paper handmade in Japan. Her studio pieces are painted using bold palette knife strokes to create forms and faces, showing gesture and expression in an effortless style.

Her work has been on The Block 2021 and 2022, as well as national art prizes and multiple curations.

Artworks: 8

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About Katrina Okoronkwo

I am translating chaos into something beautiful.

Each piece is crafted to be a beautiful object, more than a painting. I select ornate materials that excite me and meticulously work with them to create a harmony between paint and ornament.

My portraits hold a depth of emotional experience, they aim to be psychological and piercing – my impression of the contemporary woman.

I was born in Australia in 1985, I’m half Polish and my husband is Nigerian. My life has been rich with interesting, inspiring, terrifying, wholesome, bold, and culturally diverse people. My work aims to harmonise these deeply divergent personal experiences to help make sense of my world.

I grew up in the regional NSW town of Lithgow, have been living in Sydney’s Northern Beaches, and recently moved back to the country – craving space and calm. We now live in the stunning New England region of NSW, and I draw from my home studio.

I’ve worked in some unique industries and feel compelled to express my rare perspective through my art.

Growing up in a mining town with a strong pub culture, while travelling to Sydney on the train for uni gave me a daily taste of different social mindsets. I’ve worked in hardware stores, powertool and hand tool sales, a fireworks factory, construction industry roles, and from 2017 have been working as an illustrator and fine artist.

My degree is in Theatre Set design, which fed my love of dramatic lighting and strong, bold shapes. I focus my work on faces and figures, because they’re infinitely interesting, ridiculously difficult, and are so important in terms of our visual history.

Bluethumb Art Prize finalist in Portraiture
Artwork on The Block 2022 TV Show in Scotty Cam’s house.

Finalist Fisher’s Ghost National Art Prize
Artwork (portrait of Shelley & Scotty) featured in Ronnie & Georgia’s redo room reveal on The Block 2021 TV show
Bluethumb Art Gallery multiple curations
Lyn McCrea Memorial Drawing Prize, Noosa Regional Gallery
Ashrei Awards, Woollahra
Catherine Hamlin Fistula Foundation charity art auction, Far Side Gallery Marrickville
Depictions exhibition, Glen Street Theatre Belrose
Group exhibitions Art & Soul Gallery , Seaforth 2017-18

Bachelor of Design: Interior Design UTS – Theatre Set Design major (UTS 2003-07)

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