A plat­form con­nect­ing ru­ral artists now re­al­ity

The Northern Star - Northern New South Wales Rural Weekly - - News - AN­DREA DAVY An­drea.davy@ru­ral­weekly.com.au

IT’S gone from a day­dream to a re­al­ity.

This Jan­uary, Out­back Cre­ative will go live with its on­line bro­ker­age plat­form, mak­ing it a one-stop shop for the sale of ru­ral Aus­tralian art to a large na­tional and in­ter­na­tional mar­ket.

When the founder of the ini­tia­tive, Ranald McMaster, last caught up with the Ru­ral Weekly he was jug­gling full-time work as a farm­hand while co-or­di­nat­ing the fo­rum’s newly re­leased web­site and Face­book page.

Since then, he has thrown in the day job, found a com­pany part­ner and se­cured an in­vestor. Out­back Cre­ative will pub­lish its first book be­fore Christ­mas and the launch of its on­line-sell­ing plat­form by Jan­uary 1 is well un­der way.

He is watch­ing his dreams for Out­back Cre­ative come to fruition, but Ranald ad­mit­ted much of the hard work was still ahead of him.

“I knew this wasn’t go­ing to be easy. There have been a lot of chal­lenges, but I just bit the bul­let and de­cided to go after it,” he said.

“By next year we should be fir­ing with all cylin­ders and grow­ing rapidly and, hope­fully, be trad­ing a lot of art.”

This year, Ranald, along with com­pany part­ner Charles Devine, who is also a Goondi­windi lad, se­cured an in­vestor that helped the busi­ness de­velop quickly.

“The main change hap­pen­ing is we are tran­si­tion­ing from a busi­ness that was just do­ing purely ex­po­sure to a com­pany now do­ing bro­ker­age and pub­li­ca­tion,” he said.

“So we are do­ing on­line bro­ker­age... it’s on­line sales of pre­mium ru­ral and indige­nous arts; as a loose term we call it out­back art, so it cov­ers ru­ral, na­ture, land­scape, wildlife and indige­nous art.”

The art­work en­com­passes ev­ery­thing from po­etry about years gone by and paint­ings of na­tive birds to strik­ing pho­tos shot out of a heli­copters above the Kimberley in West­ern Aus­tralia.

Most of the pieces carry a soft un­der­tone of coun­try Aus­tralia, and there are many im­ages cham­pi­oning agri­cul­ture and ru­ral fam­i­lies.

“We want to get as much scope as pos­si­ble, es­pe­cially with our pho­tog­ra­phy. We want to cover the whole of Aus­tralia,” he said.

While all artists are en­cour­aged to get in touch with Out­back Cre­ative to sug­gest their work, Ranald ex­plained they were highly se­lec­tive about choos­ing which artists to back.

“It’s very much an in­vite-only ex­clu­sive op­por­tu­nity,” he said.

“We run a com­mu­nity group on Face­book, which is for ev­ery­one.

“We are all about

It’s on­line sales of pre­mium ru­ral and indige­nous arts – as a loose term we call it out­back art...

— Ranald McMaster

en­cour­ag­ing ev­ery­one, but we want to have a gold stan­dard of art for peo­ple to as­pire to and to pur­chase.”

He said sup­port­ing indige­nous artists was deeply im­por­tant to Out­back Cre­ative.

“We have a lease ar­range­ment with Abo­rig­i­nal Art­landish as a strate­gic al­liance to try and bol­ster up the num­bers,” he said. “Indige­nous art cov­ers a lot of dif­fer­ent sub-gen­res, in­clud­ing Abo­rig­i­nal arte­facts like didgeri­doos.

“We want a strong rep­re­sen­ta­tion of indige­nous artists on board, that’s a mar­ket we want to take by storm.”

Out­back Cre­ative’s book, which will be pub­lished at the end of the year, will be on a print run of about 2,500 copies.

Ranald said the ven­ture was to test the wa­ter to see what de­mand was like for a prod­uct of that kind.

The book will be full of the best ru­ral im­ages, ac­com­pa­nied by po­etry from Mick Martin.

Mick is heav­ily in­volved with

Out­back Cre­ative and is in charge of co-or­di­nat­ing con­tent for its so­cial-me­dia plat­forms.

Now, all day ev­ery day, Ranald is work­ing with art.

This has been his dream from the be­gin­ning, but he ad­mit­ted pur­su­ing it was a leap of faith.

For­feit­ing a wage was only made eas­ier by the sup­port of his fam­ily.

“I felt like this was my chance and I couldn’t let it slip,” he said.

“It was time for me to do some­thing that made my heart sing.

“Se­cur­ing our in­vestor gave us some breath­ing room... but fur­ther gov­ern­ment sup­port may be needed.”

PHOTO: MAR­LENE MIL­LARD

ART DREAM: Out On A Limb, an orig­i­nal pas­tel by Mar­lene Mil­lard.

PHOTO: DENISE FLAY PHO­TOG­RA­PHY

Denise Flay’s im­age called Ringers Camp.

PHOTO: KUNUNURRA PHO­TOG­RA­PHY

Ta­nia Malkin’s aerial pho­tog­ra­phy in the Kimberley.

PHOTO: CHELSEA LEIGH HAWORTH

Chelsea Leigh Haworth is a spe­cial­ist in sketch­ing na­tive Aus­tralian birds. This im­age is called Cas­sowary 2016.

PHOTO: DENISE FLAY PHO­TOG­RA­PHY

Denise Flay’s im­age of a night storm rolling across the plains.

PHOTO: SARAH WARNER PHO­TOG­RA­PHY

B Carige in Sarah Warner’s Sun­burnt Coun­try im­age.

PHOTO: KUNUNURRA PHO­TOG­RA­PHY

Ta­nia Malkin’s im­age shot from above Lake Eyre.

PHOTO: TRISH JACK­SON

Il­lus­tra­tion by Trish Jack­son called Fairy Wren. Trish is an artist who draws, paints and pho­to­graphs with her feet.

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