What ignited that spark for pursuing a career in the arts?
I've always been creating in some way, for as long I can remember. When I finished school, my interest was actually in Theatre Design, costume design in particular. I started a double degree at the School of Creative Arts at Wollongong University, but my passion for textiles and visual arts prevailed and so I moved away from theatre. After art school I did a Diploma of Education, planning to set up my studio and teach casually whilst pursing my artistic career. No sooner had I finished my Dip Ed than I got the job as Curator at Arts Space Wodonga. I maintained my own artistic practise, exhibited regularly and completed a Master of Visual Art during this time. I then moved to Birmingham in the UK for 3 years where I worked as Curatorial Assistant to the Director at contemporary art gallery, Ikon. This very demanding position has been the highlight of my career (so far) - I worked closely with some amazing contemporary artists such as Martin Creed, Julian Opie, Giuseppe Penone and Ryoji Ikeda. I got to travel to London regularly and throughout the UK and was even sent to the Venice Biennale for professional development.
Upon returning from the UK in 2010 my focus turned to starting a family and being a full time mother to two gorgeous children since then. My artistic practise has been temporarily put on hold as a result, but keeping my finger on the pulse by working freelance on projects once or twice a year has been a great way to feel connected creatively, and remain inspired.
I am slowly getting back to my own artwork, after many years of looking after other artists and their art! I have a number of little projects constantly on the go. I hold a voluntary position on the Yackandandah Folk Festival Committee as Artistic & Visual Communications Coordinator; I'm researching little known early twentieth century painter Charles F. Mudie; and in the early stages of an installation project with a fellow artist and friend. They'll just take a bit longer to realise than they used to!
What are your 3 top tips for someone thinking of a career in the arts?
1. Go to as many conferences, seminars, and workshops as you can afford. It's a great way to meet like-minded people, network, get inspired and build on up your artistic skills. And don't be afraid to give anything a go- being multi-skilled in the Arts industry is a must.
2. If you really want to work at a particular organisation and get the feel for it before hand, volunteer or try to undertake an Internship. I did this at Ikon in the UK. Just as I finished my internship, my dream position became available. I applied and got the job. It made starting the job a lot easier too, as I already knew all the staff, was familiar with lots of internal processes and upcoming projects.
3. If you are a visual artist, book an exhibition space. Even if it is for an exhibition 2-3 years away, there is nothing to get you motivated like a deadline!