Close Up Interview with Artists & Designers Will and Carolyn

                                                                                          Carolyn Wong & Will Du

Tell us a little about yourself and what you do.

Carolyn: I am an artist/designer, I work with delicate paper (washi in particular) and I create beautiful displays and framed work with them.

Will: My name is Will I am a very positive person with a shameless attitude. I believe strongly in just doing it and don’t let anything hold you back. I am also very laid back which is good and bad.

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Where do you get your inspiration from when you design/paint?

Carolyn:I am inspired by the simplicity and beauty of nature. Everything is matched so well in nature, all the colours and designs are perfect and blend in so effortlessly.

Will: Most of the inspiration is from nature itself, Nature is so beautiful and is truly the best artist.

What are the five words that people who know you would use to describe you?

Carolyn: Creative, Logical, Attentive, deep, Intelligent

Will: Witty, Entrepreneurial, Funny, Shameless, Kind.

Tell us about your very first job and what path have you taken since then?

Carolyn: My first job, other than working at my parents restaurant was at a Sushi Bar (sushi sushi) when I was 15?, it was fun and we got to take home all the left over handrolls and sushi boxes whixh was a big bonus. Since then it was just studies and getting into a good uni, part time and full time jobs in various sites until launching my own business in 2009.

Will: My very first job was a waiter at a Thai restaurant, and man did I suck so badly.I have then moved onto more sales orientated roles but nothing really in the creative field till now.

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Describe a typical day in your studio space?

Carolyn: Waking up around 9. If it’s sunny then walk the dog first and work through a to do list usually go look at mew materials and update all the stocks whilst its opening hours. Also try to do the designing during daytime for the natural sunlight. Paper crafting and folding is usually done at night.

Will: Wake up turn on the Laptop to see any new emails/ orders, administration work, and then the creative part comes, might be a little bit of brain storming, but usually just folding butterflies over and over and over again.

Tell us about how you prioritise your studio work.

Carolyn: Commissioned pieces and customized pieces come first as they take a lot of time between the feedback and tweeking stages. We spend a lot of time choosing materials and keeping updated with the latest designs and colours. Implementing the design takes the least amount of time if you’ve done your homework and research right. Otherwise it can be the longest if you change the whole design which also often happens.

Will: Carolyn and I prioritise our work by upcoming events, if we have custom orders we usually get those out of the way first, then we would focus on products for our upcoming events.

Folding butterflies in the studio

When did you discover that you can make a living out of your artwork?

Carolyn: Due to the great response at Art Melbourne and being picked up by Rebecca Hossack and being congratulated by important dealers and galleries.

Will: It took many months of trials and errors, luckily Carolyn and I were pretty thick skinned due to previous sales roles. We were rejected so often with our first range that it was quite funny.

But we NEVER gave up!. We endured markets with zero sales and getting soaked in the rain on our very first market we had no gazebo and zero sales, people were commenting on how lovely the work was but no one was buying, At the end of the day we laughed it off and tried again.

Since you are working at home, can you please tell us about how do you connect with other artists, and your customers (i.e. how do you network)?

Carolyn: As I work as a collaborative artist I have the advantage of being able to bounce ideas with my partner. Also, we meet great people artists and others in the industry by visiting Art exhibitions such as Art Melbourne and great friendships form this way as well. Between customers and ourselves we keep it both professional yet relaxed, nobody likes a tense and pressured situation.

Will: Well at the moment I wouldn’t really say we connect much with other artists, we do how ever connect with our customers through Email and soon to be via Facebook, Twitter and Blogs.

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You both are partner in the business, describe some of your challenges being together as a couple and as business partners? & how do you deal with your differences in working together?

Carolyn: With everything there are its disadvantages and advantages. Being in a partnership means there can be times that we both need to adjust our work ethics, I like to get up early whereas my partner likes to work late in the afternoon. We have decided to take lead in different areas. Will allows me to take creative control over certain projects and I the same. We respect each other greatly so whenever situations get tense we just take time out for 5 minutes or so. Our relationship hardly gets into the equation as we keep it completely separate from the business. Some may think that our individual creativity gets lost in collaborative work, if either one of us feels strongly about a design, we are sure to communicate this, there are situations where ideas clash and in those instances we create two separate pieces. There are definitely compromises made but not in the work

Will: hmmm tough question!, we usually ask each other’s opinions and then try to convey them in a sensible manner, but most the time it doesn’t work! Sometimes we even feel like killing each other, usually most the time but in the end it works out ok when we just laugh at the end of it. So short answer is I guess we realise how stupid we both are being and come to a consensus.

What advice can you offer other creative people who are just starting out and following their passions?

Carolyn: Just do it. There is too much textbook knowledge to learn and if you want to be completely prepared before you start it will never happen. Believe that you have your own unique mark to offer and just learn along the road. If you try o perfect everything before you start, chances are it will never happen.

Will: Just go out and do it, don’t let other people who have not done it themselves hold you back.Take risks, with small risks there are small gains, with Big risks there are huge rewards to reap.

What dreams do you still want to achieve or fulfil in your life?

Carolyn: I want to create a brand that people know and trust, I want to be involved in charity work and travel the world.

Will: I dream of being able to help others who are in need, and to do so I need Cold hard Cash!Money is not the be all and end all it is merely a vessel or gate way that lets you do things you normally couldn’t. I also dream of being financially free to give back to my parents what they put in for me ten fold.

What is your proudest moment so far?

Carolyn: My proudest moment is the opening night at Art Melbourne, the acknowledgement I received from everyone and seeing how much people appreciated our work was beyond what I would have expected. When my family and friends came to offer their support, I was deeply humbled and proud to have been blessed with such great people.

Will: I think the proudest moment so far was being told by Matt Stafford from Art resources, that in twenty four years of experience we had the best stand in Art Melbourne 2010, It was on opening night and our very first exhibition ever. Lastly being scouted by Rebecca Hossack and her wanting to take some pieces to London was something that did not exist even in our wildest dreams!.The whole event till today has been very surreal.

Who do you most want to meet and why?

Carolyn: There really isn’t anyone in particular I would really love to meet. I’m lucky enough that I have great people surrounding me every day and I am extremely thankful for my friends and family.Will: There are so many people that I can’t really think of all of them right now, One person off the top of my head would most likely be Richard Branson. I would love to meet Slavadore Dali somehow and see how the man’s mind works.

What is the most important lesson in life that you have learned?

Carolyn: There are many ways to get to a common goal, to be true to yourself and to love what you do. Whilst its difficult, accept your individuality, embrace your skills and do not conform to fit in.

Will: To be honest I must say there are many lessons I have learnt.Most importantly I think is to have a positive mindset, the decision is yours to let something affect you, You can live your life full of doubt and the fear of rejection or you can simply think ” Why not give it a go?” I also believe that everything happens for a reason, and every problem is really just another opportunity.

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Ying Yang- without bad cannot exit the good

What book are you reading right now, and do you have a book you would like to recommend?

Carolyn: I am currently reading the bible right now and highly recommend the E Myth by Michael Gerber and Terry Pratcher books (Disc World)

Will: At the moment I just Finished Richard Bransons, Business Stripped bare.I also highly recommend Rich dad poor dad, by Robert Kiyosaki ( it doesn’t matter if it was a true story or not the lessons learnt are invaluable )
This book was the one that opened my mind to a world I knew nothing about.

Where do we find you and your artworks?

My Websites: (Gallery & Exhibition)

And a few retail stores around Melbourne.

Exhibitions Dates:

LA Art Show, with Rebecca Hossack Art Gallery, London

19 – 23 January 2011

London Art Fair, with Rebecca Hossack Art Gallery, London

19 – 23 January 2011

Group Exhibitions


Miami, with Rebecca Hossack Art Gallery, London

1 – 5 December 2010

Sydney Art Fair, AUS,

11 – 14 November 2010

Toronto International Art Fair, Canada, with Rebecca Hossack Art Gallery, London

PV Wednesday 27 October, 28 October – 1 November 2010

AAF Autumn, London, with Rebecca Hossack Art Gallery, London

PV Wednesday 20 October, 21 – 24 October 2010

Art London, UK, with Rebecca Hossack Art Gallery, London

PV Wednesday 6 October, 7 – 11 October 2010

20/21 British Art Fair, London, with Rebecca Hossack Art Gallery, London

PV Thursday 15 September (day), 15 – 19 September 2010

Open Art Fair, Utrecht, with Rebecca Hossack Art Gallery, London

PV Wednesday 8 September, 9 – 12 September 2010

Art Hamptons USA. with Rebecca Hossack Art Gallery, London

PV Thursday 8 July, 9-11th July 2010

Art Melbourne, Australia

Thursday 22 April,- 25th April 2010

Vinh Van Lam
the authorVinh Van Lam
Vinh Van Lam, co-founder of ArtSHINE, is a visionary art coach and entrepreneur with a passion for fostering creativity. With a diverse background in art and business, he brings a unique perspective to empower emerging artists, enabling them to thrive in the dynamic art industry through the innovative platform of ArtSHINE.

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