When Kirstie Page joined us she was afraid to call herself an artist and felt like an imposter, she wasn’t sure what direction her art was going in. Despite this, she worked on herself and her art and has since gone on to sell her artwork on cards and has sold over 100 boxes, received commissions and grown her following to over 1300 followers. The road has been a bumpy one and we thank Kirstie for being so honest in her interview with us….
I’ve been a creative my entire life, and I’ve had an interesting journey to becoming a visual artist. Rather than visual arts, I actually started as a classically trained musician, a pianist, attaining a B Mus (Hons) after I left school.
Over the years, I went on to become a teacher, and then a dementia trainer and worked on the front line in aged care. When my children were little (I had three in four years!), I found that there was always someone having a sleep, or little fingers would “help me” every time I sat down to play music. For this reason, my music endeavours really decreased.
Over time I came to realise that I really missed being creative. It’s not a want for me; it’s a physical need. I became restless. I’m really uncoordinated, so dance was out.
Having a go and exploring visual art seemed the logical choice. Little did I know where this simple decision to just “have a go and play with art” would lead… For the first few years, I loved using pastel as a medium, however over the past two year’s or so I decided I really wanted to explore mixed media. When I combined this new medium together with my knowledge of science (due to dementia education) and symbolism (my music degree), my style was born.
Art materials – to be absolutely honest, as long as it is good quality, almost anything I can get my hands on! I particularly love using watercolours, artist inks, acrylic and pastels (yes, all together in the one artwork).
My absolute favourite book is ‘The Artist’s Way’ by Julia Cameron.
“Have thick skin.”
That was a bit of tough love I received from a friend, and I realise that it’s true. It’s hard because I’m a really sensitive person, and my art is designed to bring comfort and spark joy! But the simple fact is, not everyone is going to love my art. If they did, I wouldn’t have a strong voice. Rejection is going to be part of the game. You never know when a ‘no’ will become a ‘yes’.
BEFORE: I felt very isolated (I’m the ‘creative’ in a family of policy type people and mathematicians!). Interestingly, I didn’t really know many artists at all, and I found the thought of going into the scene to be confronting. It may have been a touch of imposter syndrome? In fact, yes it was. I couldn’t even bring myself to say I was an artist to start with. I doubted my talent and wouldn’t believe people when they said they liked my work.
I can look back on my artworks before and see I was on the cusp of developing my voice but hadn’t got there yet. My social media following comprised of family and friends, less than 100 so. I couldn’t even get data on Instagram insights!
AFTER: WOW! I now know exactly who I am and what my voice is. This is absolutely huge.
I have developed a sense of worth for my art and proudly call myself an artist. I am better able to handle rejection because I understand that not everyone is going to be my “who”.
Sales of my art have increased exponentially. I have been able to increase my prices. My social media following has grown to over 1200 on Instagram in a year and over 350 on Facebook.
If I have questions, I can go to the hub and know that I will be supported. They are a very special group of people.
Recently I launched a set of hand-finished ‘Remember When Art’ cards. I’d never offered this product for sale before and had honestly no idea what was going to happen. I promise you I would have been happy to have sold three boxes. What happened is, in less than a week is enough to make me cry. I sold triple figures, and they are going not only around Australia but all over the world!
But wait, there’s more! I also sold two original artworks and secured an additional two commissions. I was interviewed for a local radio station and have been invited to write about my experiences. This experience reinforced that I made the right decision to stay on course and not give up when my inner, critical voice would come out to play.
Anxiety has, at times, been nearly crippling. It is my proudest achievement that I have not let it stop me.
An example: when I first launched my Instagram account (with only the family and friends), it invoked such heightened anxiety and distress in my body that I was bed-ridden for three days. Since then, I have learnt that the moment I become comfortable with something, and I no longer feel a butterfly in my stomach. It’s time to do move forward and do something else. I’ve learnt that repeated exposure and “showing” my critical voice is okay and that I can do well has helped to turn its volume down.
Be proud of yourself now. Enjoy the journey.
The trick to being an artist is to keep going when your critical voice tells you to stop. Consistency is key.
“You are not a drop in the ocean, you are the ocean in a drop.” – Rumi
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