Dedication, Dreams and Self-Belief
This week we are featuring Wendy Rix. A professionally practising artist who specialises in Indigenous paintings and clothing design, as well as working with school students, creating public art, jewellery, wall hangings and who also takes commission work.
I met Wendy a couple of years ago at an exhibition event where our main task was to schmooze and talk about art to the gallery's VIPs and what I call tell you about Wendy is that she is passionate, funny, full of cool stories, down to earth and truly an authentic individual.
Get to know Wendy a little bit more:
How long have you been a practising artist and when did you make the leap to concentrate on art full time? ~ I have dabbled in art for as long as I can remember, but seriously got into painting about 15 years ago. It fluctuated with life, until around 2011-ish. Wensart was formed in 2013, and I quit my full time day job in 2015.
How would you describe your art style and what have been your main influences to date? ~ I am a visual artist specialising in contemporary indigenous painting and design. My main influence would actually be life - mine and others.
Were there any key creative moments that changed your world last year? ~ I have been painting small timber crosses for a few years, but last year I was approached to do a large free standing timber cross for a school. I was asked to paint on site for three days (then I completed it at home). I was asked to present it to the school at an assembly and speak about it, myself and my work to the whole school community. That was daunting. From that, I have received a lot of good feedback, and in particular from the school students who watched, asked questions and listened to my story.
I also created a jersey design for the Australian Defence Force AFL teams and was flown to Melbourne to present the jersey as part of an Indigenous Women's Carnival weekend, which included young girls and women from the TIWI Islands in the ADF team. I had never watched AFL before and I was so impressed. I said to the young TIWI girls, how amazed I was at their
skill level. One of them said, your jersey made us fly (there was a sea hawk - the mascot, on the jersey). I had to walk away and cry actually. I was so proud of myself and had to have a moment!!! They also have plans for me this year to attend other functions.
What are your goals for 2018? ~ I have one secret I can't tell anyone yet... but others include to build on the more recent direction of spiritual and faith based paintings - I was recently baptised and these paintings reflect my new journey. Other goals are to sort out a better website (in progress!) and streamline the business AND TRY AND BE MORE ORGANISED!!!
What does success mean to you? ~ Success to me is a few things - financially obviously so I can support myself and my family. Mentally as it helps calm my brain and spiritually because it helps bring me closer to God.
What advice would you give others who are thinking of taking that next step and focusing on their art full time? ~ Believe in yourself and surround yourself with people who believe in you. And just do it. No surrender :-)
What advice would you have given yourself from what you know now just before you took the leap? ~ LOL! Probably just believe in myself!
Where are you based and how do you get involved with the community? ~ I moved to Redcliffe last year. In 2017 I was involved in a project at Zillmere Community Centre as an arts facilitator for 10 sessions. I have worked with Urban Smart Projects and done a traffic signal box and an Energex box in Brisbane. I would love to do more public art.
What is your favourite thing to do other than make art? ~ I don't really do much else, but I do love going to the bush with my family, drinking red wine and visiting Straddie. I love antique shops, renovating, long drives and travel.