Today’s Artist Interview is with a lovely Brisbane artist called Tracey Fletcher King. I’ve been following Tracey on social media for a long time and love her particular style. I was thrilled when she agreed to answer a few questions for us! She has even added a couple of links to painting demos for us. We are also excited to announce that Tracey will be one of our feature artists for our Colour Me Positive
weekly art journal challenge (have you signed up yet?) so keep an eye on the blog. ~ Lisa
Tell us a little bit about yourself and what you do.
I am an artist, illustrator and teacher living in Brisbane. I was a high school art teacher for a few years, I taught primary art, and at a university, plus privately and hold a Masters degree in Art Curriculum majoring in creativity theory and I have an amazing creative life. I spend my mornings working on illustration work, working for companies to create images for their packaging, artwork for their websites and social media feeds, and other fun stuff like that. It feeds my love of realism and keeps my skills fresh, and keeps me on my toes creatively. In the afternoons I work on large canvases which are sold mainly through interior designers, and I work on art work for my blog, and just for me. Any spare time goes into planning upcoming classes and workshops and refining my existing online classes and workshops. To say my days are overflowing with creativity would be an understatement.
How/when did you get interested in art?
I grew up in a creative household, and many members of my family were involved, and are still involved in creative jobs and lives. It was always part of my life and I honestly can’t remember a time when I wasn’t painting, writing stories or making crafts. It has always been part of my earliest memories.
Can you remember one of the first things you drew/painted?
I was always drawing, and writing, so I can’t remember my first drawings or paintings, but I do have a vivid memory of getting a set of 104 crayons from my uncle which was my most treasured possession for one summer when I was little. There were metallic crayons, and so many colours… it was just perfection in a little box.
What’s your favourite piece of work that you have created?
My favourite piece of work is still my blog and website header. I created it to try to capture all the things I love about tea and my favourite studio mug. It hangs above my desk in the studio and makes me smile every day.
Do you have a favourite artist?
I love Matisse for his sense of colour, Brett Whitely for his sexy lines, and Cressida Campbell for her amazing line, and composition. I am always on the hunt for inspiration though and hit the galleries whenever I can.
What’s the best thing about being an artist?
I get paid to play with colour all day long. Sometimes the hours are crushing, and not all illustration jobs are fun, but it is amazing. My paintings and prints are in people’s homes and lives, my classes have helped people to push their own art and I get to spend all day surrounded by paint, ink and brushes. Life doesn’t get much better than that and I have no clue what I would do without it.
A bit over two years ago I was diagnosed with advanced breast cancer and was given a dire prognosis for quite some time, but art really did get me through. Making myself get out of bed to keep my blog going and to create things for that kept me sane through a long year of treatment, and since coming through and flourishing physically I have found I have flourished creatively as well. I honestly don’t think I would have had as great an outcome without art to get me through it.
Do you like to have music playing while you create and if so, what kind of music do you listen to that inspires you?
I always listen to music. Sometimes I get in a bit of a groove and don’t notice it too much, but I have set playlists that I have created. Some are classical music for days when my brain is on hyper mode, which is quite often, but otherwise it is a mix of acoustic playlists with people like Newton Fawlkner, Ron Pope and the like, or it is straight out pop like Halsey and Taylor Swift, but I have been known to get a bit of country on with The Civil Wars and The White Buffalo. It is a huge part of my process and the only thing I have to watch is singing along when my earphones are in. I have a seriously bad singing voice. We are talking making peoples’ ears bleed territory, but I try to make up for that with enthusiasm.
What is your favourite thing that you often include in your work?
I don’t have a symbol or object that I use in my work all of the time. I tend to like things like maps, and geological survey type ideas in my large abstracts, and tea is a theme that runs through a lot as well as I am obsessed with the stuff. But I tend to be a bit of a mish mash of ideas.
What are you doing when you’re not creating?
I work insane hours… but when I am not working. I read, cook dodgy meals, avoid cleaning like a pro, and walk along the waterfront at Wynnum where I live. It is a constant source of inspiration and I never go without my iphone camera at the ready.
What are your favourite products to use?
I love using watercolour and ink more than anything else and I use acrylics for large canvases. I am not too particular about watercolours and tend to go for a colour rather than a brand, though I don’t believe you always need the most expensive brands. I have a huge collection though and happily justify that because I need them for work. For canvases I love golden acrylics, and some of their mediums as well but hands down the thing I love most and couldn’t live without is my fineliner making fluid which I use every day in my illustration work. That stuff saves my butt a lot!
Do you have any tips or inspiring words to share?
I believe that art is universal. We all need some in our lives, though we don’t have to share everything. The internet seduces us into sharing all of our work all of the time, and thinking other people have better skills than us, and have perfect creative lives and we can all fall prey to feeling inadequate. I purposely don’t share everything and I have sketchbooks that are just for me. No one sees them and they are a safe place for me to explore and express myself and know that it won’t be judged. No one said you have to share everything and it is okay to keep things for yourself. I also follow that by having my website and the website blog for business and a personal art blog that is separate. I like to share mistakes and rubbish as well as fun things on the personal art blog, but that wouldn’t be suitable on the website. I didn’t want to give up the fun of blogging and it is a great place to have fun and share things I wouldn’t dream of sharing business wise, so I keep them separate. In short make technology work around you and make sure it suits you creatively.
Where can we view your work?
Do you have any upcoming online or offline classes where we can enjoy learning from you?
I have a re run of my online course Delicious Paint being run again in Feb/March 2016 . To be kept updated on details on this and other classes sign up for the my newsletter on the website at http://www.traceyfletcherking.com
I am in the middle of planning and filming a series of free basics tutorials which I am hoping will be launched very early next year, and two classes are well into the planning stages, both of which should come online next year.
Thanks so much Tracey! We look forward to seeing more from you throughout the year!