Do you want to know what it takes to be an artist? Then you have to the right place.
Rachel Burke is a practicing multidisciplinary artist, designer, and author based in Brisbane, Australia.
Known for her vibrant, tactile wearable artworks and iconic tinsel creations, her work is inspired by a love for naive craft materials and transforming the mundane into the magical.
Rachel has exhibited her work in gallery spaces across Australia, including The Museum of Brisbane, Saint Cloche Gallery, Hamer Hall, The Australian Centre of the Moving Image, Enough Space, GAFFA, and the Redlands Art Gallery.
She has also published three books with Hardie Grant. Craft Roach, Be Dazzling and Daphne & Daisy.
And in this Podcast episode, we asked her everything about what it takes to be an artist?
So before you start listening to this podcast episode, let me share with you some of the insights of the episode. So keep reading to know what you will learn from this podcast episode.
In conversation with Rachel Burke
I grew up like the starving artist. I will say that no one in my family is in any way connected to the arts. But my grandmother has a long history as well, and given her European background as a housewife, there was a crafty influence there, because my mother always talks about how she gave up her crafts when she had children because she realized she didn’t have to do them anymore. But my grandmother would always make lace and pompoms, and she would let me go through all her materials, and aside from that, it was very similar to, you know, home economics.
So it was like doing something to keep your hands busy. So I think that my love for the arts kind of triggered something in my mom that meant I wasn’t going to get a good education, and she always had a fear, from a young age, that I was just, you know, all the classic stereotypes, because my two main passions growing up were performing arts. So, um, I actually loved art since childhood.
Tell me about the moment you found your artistic voice and how you got to where you are now. Let’s hear that.
I felt like an outsider in this world that was trying to make me something I wasn’t because, as you know, there were lots of pressures, even to be and dress a certain way. Be cool. Um, and I just suddenly started to really realize that. Either I was going to go down this path and that was it, or I was going to need to keep what I was doing alive at home. And I did that every day when I got home because I was like, “I just can’t.” I remember telling my partner that. It’s not creative, just as it isn’t creative.
We like it. But it’s formulaic, like you’re saying, “I’m serving a purpose.” Like you say with design, “you know I am trying to make something that is going to sell 500 units.” I’m trying to work out the formula for a fast-selling product, and I am going to do it no matter what.
Can you talk a little bit about those projects where you collaborated with Disney? How did that make you feel, and how have these collaborations worked for you?
Don’t get me wrong, whenever I’ve gotten a club, it’s with an amazing brand that also feels very aligned with my values.] When I think about things I like, I get very excited and do a happy dance, but it always comes back to how these things happened. And, as you know, what I think is good news is that it just came from the work that I love to do, which is always exciting.
Whenever I’m in a slump or if I’m ever struggling, It’s like the key lies not in all the noise of, like, you know, where am I going or anything, but actually in all that goodness.
All that opportunity comes from producing the work that you love. It’s not contrived.
It’s not, you know, there’s no reason why my cereal box bags and all this stuff like, theoretically, uncommercial doesn’t make any sense, and yet I find it’s good news that like. There’s something about these brands that connects with me.
“I want to then take those opportunities and like run with them because, you know?”
I remember when I first spoke to Disney a few years ago. Um, I kind of remember what we pitched, but I remember being like, “We could do this, that, and this,” and it was like a massive workload, and I had just had a baby and I made a big installation in Melbourne. And then I did a 10-piece collection, and I’m just finishing up another mini collection inspired by looks part here with Disney.
I just say that because you know it’s crazy and you’re trying to fit it all around you, like, It is all amazing, and
I love working with these brands. But, yeah, it’s difficult at times because you want everything to be perfect, like in a movie.
The brand expectations and all that sort of stuff, yeah, there’s a lot of work that goes into it, is what I’d say, but I know I only ever love working with brands that feel aligned like that, and of course I’m so lucky that they’re nostalgic like that.
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