Art is 100% in the eye of the beholder. While one person will see a masterpiece, the other will mumble “I can do that”. Sound familiar? For artists like Rebecca Kate, painting and selling her work is just a bi-product, or an extension of herself.
A proud Geelong local and mum of two, Rebecca paints the art that makes me smile. Happy joyous works that even sell in the infamous Block Shop. This woman is like sunshine.
Today I had the privilege of interviewing Rebecca, to find out how she began her career, what crossroads were in her way, and what her advice is for any young, budding artist.
Hi there, can you tell us a bit about where you grew up and how your experience shaped the person you are, and the career that you are in today?
I grew up in Geelong, we moved around a fair bit growing up but my favourite place was on a farm in Freshwater Creek. Ever since I can remember I would love to draw in grey lead and black ink pens.
Where did you go to High School and how was that experience for you?
I went to Belmont High School and completed year 12 in 2000, majority of the time I enjoyed school although throughout year 9 I was bullied and really struggled with it, I was always pretending I was sick so I could stay home and not have to deal with it. Year 12 was by far my favourite year, all the year 12 students were friends which created so many fond memories to look back on.
Wow, Rebecca, I am so glad to hear that your experience changed in Year 12. Did your high school play an important role in helping you choose your further education and future career?
Yes it really did, art was my favourite subject throughout school, I loved my teachers and when it came to graduating there was nothing else I wanted to do except create.
Did you complete any internships or work experience placements in high school? Tell us about that experience.
Not in relation to art but I did do work experience with a horse vet! I think it made me realise I didn’t want to work with animals as much as I thought I did.
Did you go to College, University, Tafe or another equivalent? Take us through the courses that you studied and why you chose them?
Straight after completing VCE I studied my Diploma of Visual Arts and then went on to complete my Bachelor of Fine Arts, I was able to go straight into 2nd Year because of completing my Diploma.
Tell us about your career journey so far. Who you have worked for, and explain any highlights.
After finishing Uni I actually didn’t use my Bachelor to further my career straight away, however I moved to London and gained a job as a Project Manager for a creative design agency. I was given client briefs and worked with the graphic designers so I was still working within a creative industry. I now realise that my experience from that job has been so beneficial with being an artist today. The skills gained from taking client briefs, quoting, invoicing and PR are skills I continue to use working for myself as an artist.
The last year has been incredible for me, I now have my work for sale in quite a few popular homeware stores around Geelong and Melbourne and my biggest highlight from the year would have to be that my work is currently in The Block Shop. I also entered a piece into he Archibald Prize and while I wasn’t successful, I am so proud I followed through and completed it.
How did you get into the job that you are in now?
As mentioned I didn’t utilise my bachelor of Fine Arts straight after uni, however when we had our first child Esme (now 5) I picked up the paintbrush again and haven’t looked back since. I set up my artist instagram page and my business as an artist grew from there, the majority of my work is sold via my website and Instagram.
What is the hardest part of your current job as an artist?
Working for yourself has it’s difficutlies and as my girls are still young (Esme 5 and Willow 3) and not at school , I only have one day in the studio. I try to paint as much as I can around looking after them as well as on the weekends when my husband is home but finding the time to paint (and run my own business) is the hardest part at the moment.
What does a day a typical business day look like for you as an artist?
I try to get up at 5.30am every morning so I can enjoy some peace and quiet by myself before the girls wake up, I journal and meditate, then have a coffee and heck my instagram and reply to any comments or DM’s that may have come in. I also check what Instagram image I plan to post that night and write up what I plan to say so it is prepared and ready to go.
Then I get the girls ready and take them to kinder and daycare, once they are dropped off and I’m back home, it’s time to make a coffee and head straight into the studio. Depending on what work I have in progress I usually paint all day, taking a quick break for lunch. Throughout the day I will take photos of paintings and studio scenes, I may upload some stories on Instagram, reply to comments and any emails that may come in. I usually finish up around 3pm in order to pick up the girls.
Once the girls are asleep that night I sometimes jump on my computer to do any admin or I will pack any paintings or prints that need sending out.
Who has been your hero, or greatest inspiration growing up and why?
Frida Kahlo has always been a massive inspiration for me, she was so passionate, had the biggest zest for life and never stop trying… or painting!
What advice would you give girls who are interested in your career?
To just go for it! If it is something you love and have the passion for keep at it. You may need to do it on the side or at night but start selling your work as soon as you start creating and you just never know where it may lead. I honestly believe that if you have the passion for doing what you love and keep plugging away at it, you will thrive… it may just take some time.
What is your biggest career f*ck up?
There have been lots of little mistakes and lessons I’ve learnt along the way but no major f*ck ups, although I will say one big lesson I’ve learnt is that you cannot rush or force creating… if you are just doing because you have to, it never turns out well.