What do you do?
I am an interior designer by qualification, but our business encompasses graphic design, furniture design and manufacture, and I like to say bespoke and tricky things that look awesome which we have a knack for.
Why do you do it?
When I was studying in high school we were only offered graphic design and visual art in VCE, and even though I loved both of these subjects, I knew I didn’t want to pursue a career in either one of them, feeling they didn’t offer enough freedom or scope as I was interested in all facets of design, art and architecture.
I was accepted into a one year folio course after high school in Elwood, Victoria and it was there that I was introduced to different aspects and courses in all creative fields. I met a first year student from RMIT Interior Design, and after she had given her presentation I basically signed up. It was the exact course for me and it included travel which I was desperate to do. That course made you exercise every creative, technical, structural, philosophical and theoretical muscle and you were designing projects that were situated within the built environment, so you could relate to them on a personal and spatial level. It wasn’t the piece on the wall shut away from the world – it was the entire building and the experience you could design for the person – what a privilege to be responsible for creating an experience and provoking someone to think and feel differently about their lives for a moment in time.
What makes a good artist/ designer?
You must be flexible and have good communication skills. Each brief is different, so you must approach them differently, and this will enable you to provide a personalised service to your client. But basically, you must have the desire and the passion to go the extra mile for yourself, invest in your craft, materials, tools, technology, travel, research etc. If you are enthusiastic, people will get on board with you. Be patient and share your ideas, because each interaction can bring very unexpected outcomes and lead you into different areas. Learn all different skills don’t limit yourself. Renaissance generations were skilled architects as well and artists as well as carpenters and engineers – it must be all encompassing.
What do you think it was in your earlier life that led to you becoming an artist and designer?
Support and encouragement from my family, but also on the flip side, negativity and naysayers - to me that’s like a red rag to a bull. When I first opened our studio six years ago a woman came in and told me ‘I’d never last in the town’. But creative output is very personal, and when you have your heart and mind on show you have to have a thick skin. Building confidence, as well as your skills and ideas takes time and can be learned.