Close up interview with artist Gabby Malpas

Tell us a little about yourself and what you do. 

I’m a NZ painter who came to Australia in 2003 after 14 years in the UK. I work with watercolour on paper and have been an exhibiting artist since 1987. To support myself I am a digital project manager for corporate clients

 Where do you get your inspiration from when you paint?

I paint an assortment of plants, fruit, insects, birds and european/asian ceramics. Lately, my images carry narratives and hidden messages. As a transracial, Asian adoptee, I have chosen to articulate my life experiences through my art in an engaging way.

 How do you usually plan your daily activities?

Lists and priorities! Before I start my day I try and do some form of exercise. It’s not my favourite activity but it’s necessary. I check my project management emails first and complete urgent tasks before moving onto the main task of painting.

As I work remotely and from home I can check my emails and attend to urgent things/have meetings during the day in between painting. I try not to leave home much during the week because I am working all day and yes, it’s work!

 How do you keep yourself motivated and focused in business?

 A lot of people tell me they struggle with working from home and being solitary. I find this works best for me. I have enough interaction with clients via phone, email or skype and my painting requires a lot of concentration and a lot of time. My husband (him indoors), also runs a small business and we make sure we talk about our businesses and give each other support. It’s important to be able to share this.

How do you connect / network with other artists, and clients?

I work with a small number of galleries so I make the effort to attend opening nights and events in order to support them. I participate in trade shows, markets and events to build a following and client base as well as exhibit. I am also finding that people ask me to spend time with younger artists/them and I think it’s important to do so.

I am very active on social media so have gained interest that way too.

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

Be kind but don’t be a pushover

 How does ArtSHINE Business LifeStyle coaching help you and your business?

I worked my way up the corporate ladder with the sole intention of being able to work part time and paint part time.  I now want to paint full time and run my studio as a business.  Working with Vinh at ArtSHINE has helped me do this.  With his extensive corporate and just people mentoring skills he has gotten me take a step back, look at the bigger picture but also to identify my goals and guide me as to the best way to get there.  He didn’t push me – he waited for me to be ready to listen and change which is a completely different approach to other mentors/programs I have been with.  I found ArtSHINE’s gentle but goal-orientated approach sat well with my own values and how I work.  Since I changed my mindset from ‘Project manager’, to ‘Artist’ I have really noticed a difference and have gotten results that I would not have managed on my own within a few short months

 Your advice to artist starting out?

Be prepared for a lot of hard work and sometimes very little reward. It’s a good thing to get your financial ducks in a row too – if you’re constantly stressed about money and how to pay the rent then you won’t produce great work. You don’t have to have the big studio etc – wait until you can afford it. And don’t procrastinate – just do it. You know that feeling when you go into a shop or gallery and you see something there and think: “I could have made that!” Well, you didn’t. That’s why that work was there – not yours.

 Credit to photographer

Gabby Malpas 2014

Photo taken by Dylan Demarchi

Copyright Dylan Demarchi

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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