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'I Don't Like To Be Too Serious': The 104 Year Old Who Sees Her Art Through The Eyes Of A Child

Eileen Kramer is living proof that age is but a number. 

At the tender age of 104, this bohemian artist has ticked the following off her bucket list:

  • Learnt the twist from a "naughty" Louis Armstrong in Paris
  • Met iconic jazz singer Ella Fitzgerald -- who was admirable but "not awfully nice"
  • Danced in a viral music video
  • Designed costumes
  • Written books
  • Traipsed her way across the world.

And she said she does all of this through the eyes of a child.

"I don't like to be too serious. I still think of my creative work as a child," Kramer told Studio 10 on Thursday.

"Some people forget that, but it's always with me."

Image: Art Gallery of NSW via Jenni Carter

Just this week, Kramer entered a self-portrait into the country's coveted Archibald Prize.

"Somebody talked me into it," she said.

"I don't expect to win it, but I do hope to be a finalist."

Kramer has an innate creative spirit and magnetic sense of playfulness about her.

Sitting with the Studio 10 hosts, she pulls out an over-sized fan and gracefully waves it through the air as if she is onstage -- where she has spent most of her life.

Kramer was born in 1914 and raised in Sydney's Mosman Bay. Taking up dancing around the age of 26, she went on to become one of the original members of Australia's first modern dance company, the Bodenwieser Ballet.

"I thought nobody would remember that, but quite a few people  do," she said.

READ MORE: Dancing With The Stars 2019: Samuel Johnson Reveals Tearful Meaning Behind Dance

The dance troupe took Kramer all around the world -- from Europe and the U.S. to India -- before she decided to part ways and go about her passion on her own.

It was only a few years ago, when she was 99, that she returned to Australia.

In more recent years, as she dealt with dizziness due to her age, the now 104-year-old has refined her technique and uses expressive arm gestures, whilst enjoying the support of her fellow dancers.

"I am still dancing. At the moment, I've lost my balance, but I'm working on that," she said.

At 104 years old, Eileen Kramer is still dancing. Image: The Mix

When she isn't onstage, Kramer is behind the scenes, designing costumes and choreographing works --with an energy that she calls "self-creating".

"You can be absolutely tired, you rest for five minutes, and then you've got some energy," she said.

"It does happen, and you can have faith that it is going to happen."

Kramer views creativity as part of being human.

"I think because of the nature of the whole universe, creativity is built into us," she said.

"It's not a question of being born with it."

Through this lens, she's always thinking ahead to her next creative endeavour.

With two books published, Kramer is working on a third -- an encapsulation of drawings, photographs and philosophy, or the "leftover ideas" from her creative work.

Featured image: The Mix

Contact the author ebrancatisano@networkten.com.au