Jason Grant left his prestigious role as style director for Real Living magazine last year and hasn’t stopped working since. It’s a good job he loves his work so much it feels like play.
One of the most positive and passionate people I’ve interviewed, while he may insist he’s been given a lot of ‘lucky breaks’ there’s no doubt people warm to his infectious enthusiasm and his natural talent for what he does speaks for itself.
He just spent eight weeks styling the new Freedom catalogue and the results are divine. No doubt Jason’s work has something to do with the fact I want to buy almost everything in it! “Working on Freedom’s summer catalogue was a great experience,” he said. “It was one of the biggest jobs I have worked on and the end result is very pleasing.”
There’s plenty of other commercial work too. He styled a home organisation catalogue for Officeworks and will launch his own range for the stationary store next month. He released his first range of paint colours (“a very exciting collaboration”) with Murobond earlier this year. “I love working with them as they believe in me and understand me creatively. The ability to transform a room or a furniture piece with paint cannot be underestimated. I love to paint (everything)!” A second range of colours will be released later this year.
While Jason still does plenty of work on Real Living, going freelance has opened the doors to more variety. “It’s a magazine I’m very proud to work on but being a freelance stylist means I can work across multiple titles and have even more variety of work.”
He has a passion for his work which you just couldn’t fake. “I do work very hard and don’t really switch off. Work is play. I guess it comes down to the fact that I don’t really suffer from a case of the daily grind.
“Yes, I do love my life. I work every day with amazing people creating beautiful images for publications. I guess I’m living my dream.”
The generosity and faith of other creative people who spotted his talent gave Jason his start in the interior styling industry. “I guess I’m very lucky making contacts with people in the industry early on that believed in me. Glen Proebstel and Karen McCartney (of Inside Out) are two people that gave me a chance. Starting out working in a small capacity for Inside Out magazine, my career grew, eventually taking a big leap moving to Sydney to be the style director at Real Living.
“I guess it’s a combination of enthusiasm, hard work and lucky breaks. I believe you can’t buy style. You either have it or you don’t. In life I believe you should live what you love and love what you live. I like to make a list and make it happen, to dream big.”
Jason is quick to heap praise on other interior stylists and the list of people who inspire him is long! “I believe people fall into leaders or followers, innovators or imitators,” he says. “I’m very lucky that I get to work with so many amazing, talented people. The people who inspire me are confident and have their own point of view. They are kind, creative and happy to share. Most of all they are passionate about what they do.”
He adds: “I’m inspired by likeminded, creative, hard working people such as stylists Sibella Court, Lara Hutton, Megan Morton, Kirsten Bookallil and Glen Proebstel, photographers Paul Barbera, James Geer, Prue Ruscoe and Felix Forest and fashion designers Lisa Gorman, Fleur Wood and jac + jack.
“Internationally I love Else Crawford and Abigail Ahern, Jonathan Adler, Tom Ford, Marc Jacobs, Todd Selby and Martha Stewart.”
Jason also respects people who are experts in their chosen field like green crusader Liane Rossler (formerly of Dinosaur Designs), “super cool florist” Simone Gooch, modern day man Greg Hatton and “walking 20th Century furniture encyclopedia” Dean Angelucci.
So how does Australian interior design compare to the rest of the world? “Australian style is unique and exciting and defined by the beautiful light we have here. We have world class designers in all categories, be it fashion, art, architecture or interior design. I think Australian style is relaxed and unpretentious and in tune with nature.”
Last but not least, most successful interior stylists seem to be women or gay men. Can straight men style? “Hmmm… I’m struggling!” he jokes. “But I can say that (Australian artist) David Bromley has one of the most beautiful homes in this country and his personal style is very impressive.”
In part 2 tomorrow, more stunning photos of his work and Jason’s must-read guide to the best shops and websites. Read his blog here. See my top picks from Freedom’s new range here.
Portrait by Murray Harris