Throughout 2016, we have showcased a Creative Face each month from somewhere in our region. We met a lot of faces and explored some creative spaces, all driving some real innovation in our communities. It has been an exciting trend to observe and support and we thought it was time for a debrief about some of the faces we met, the year gone by and the booming creative empires built by people in our community.
In case you missed any of our informing, charming and witty newsletters, well start with a brief recap of the creative faces and spaces we spoke to/explored. A Mel Bradley of Frock On in Walgett was first up, followed by Skye Bragg, the queen and master teacher of all things silver. April brought us the scruffy haired lawyer/musician/artist Su Hely who took us into her world of sake and the mystic. Sculptor and garden extraordinaire Alison Dent was Mays topic, with the two visiting faces of Julie Paterson and Waltraud Reiner next. Both were in the region delivering fab workshops. Walgett based photographer Mardi Remond took us into her world of snapping moo cows, followed by local potter Gemma Pettiford. Myrtle Murray then had a chat to us about style and pony club and the new one hundred co rounded out the year with their creative space.
After reflecting on this year long journey of chatting to our featured creative folk, we surmised the following learnings and outcomes.
The tradition of regional artists and other creatives heading to the big smoke to pursue their artistic path has now seen a shift. Increased access to technology and the digital revolution has helped regional areas develop a strong culture of innovation and creativity. The unique influences and experiences of the bush allow artists to achieve a distinct and attractive quality that avoids group-like trends that can sometimes be found in the cities. We are seeing more and more artists curating their artistic profile on social media, building audiences and developing a solid customer base.
Anna Kaineder of terraluca ceramics has been a driving force behind the Coonamble Ceramics Collective and her own online profile, regional stockists and followers keep on growing (see www.terraluca.com). Recently Annas handmade works were featured in an issue of Home Beautiful, and this month her homewares are a popular item in the Outback Arts Gallery Christmas Art Fair.
Mardi Remond of Walgett and Kylie Harvey of Cobar are another two examples of regional artists whose confidence and profile online are really growing. Mardi has recently launched a new website featuring stunning photographic images of her regional lifestyle (www.mardiremond.com). Kylie Harvey continues to grow her Instagram account @indigoandquince with followers intrigued by her artistic outback life.
Smart regional artists like Mardi and Kylie are combining the quality of their handmade products with savvy promotion and eye-catching images on social media platforms. This means they can enjoy the benefits and inspiring qualities of living in a regional area, but capture an audience an line, creating a following for their creative persona and a demand for their product. Lucy Watson behind Mink & Me in Coonamble has perfected this online presence and her reach is interactive and vast. Lucy is a great example of young regional entrepreneurs building a business around supporting local creatives and artists, offering their customers a unique experience and handcrafted goods.
Success can be measured in many different ways, and in times past success only seemed to be available for those regional artists who pursued their practice in the city where population=audience. Now with digital mediums more accessible and popular than ever, regional artists can live in a place that they love and live creatively fulfilling lives. This will only increase the more support their community provides. People can support regional artists by following them on social media and purchasing their products through local stockists.
Regional is where its at.
Follow our creative faces online:
Mel Bradley: frockonboutique.com
Skye Bragg: skyebraggdesigns.com.au
Alison Dent: Alison Dent Designs
Julie Paterson: @clothjulie
Waltraud Reiner: @hatmobile
Mardi Remond: @mardiremond
Gemma Pettiford: @gemmaruthceramics
Myrtle Murray: under development (!)