21 Apr Kimmy Hogan: Beauty In Still Life
Jenna Templeton chats to Australian graphic artist Kimmy Hogan about her creative process and mothering two children under three.
I fell in love with Kimmy Hogan’s beautiful mosaic-style artwork after seeing her work in an interiors magazine. After recently buying my first home, I was on the hunt for some artwork to decorate the walls. Then, for my birthday, my loving husband gifted me with one of my favourite prints of hers – Still Life I. This will be hung in the entry way of our home, the perfect piece to greet guests with. I’m beyond thrilled to be given the opportunity to chat with Kimmy for CHILD Magazines.
I grew up in a very small country town in north Queensland, so growing up my siblings and I had to be creative to keep ourselves entertained. My mother is also very creative with sewing and drawing. I remember being in awe of her when she sketched my siblings and me.
After completing a Bachelor of Communication Design in 2004, I dived straight into the corporate world of graphic design. I’ve done just about everything from magazine publications, newspaper, advertising, websites, logos and business collateral, but I’ve always had an underlying passion for art and home interiors. I realised that my skills in digital illustration could be my pathway to the arts industry and started developing my technique from there. I’ve been designing in the corporate world for over 10 years but have been focusing more on my personal art for the last four years.
Once I began working in the creative arts industry, I did a lot of research on printing methods and working with paper. I tested lots of print samples and did all the leg work to source packaging and shipping information. I then invested in a beautiful large format fine art printer and set up my online store. The last few years have been a huge learning curve and I have to just keep fine-tuning my systems as I go.
Since deciding to focus on my own art four years ago, I’ve dabbled with many different illustrative techniques across different styles. In the last year, I feel I’ve made the most ground in developing my style and have created something really unique and true to myself. My latest collections are inspired by my love of oil paintings and I worked hard to recreate that fluid, painterly look in a digital way. This style has worked for more traditional subject matter, as seen in my ‘Still Life’ collection, as well as my more modern and abstract art seen in the ‘Flat Lay’ collection. These collections have been the most pleasant and rewarding work I’ve done to date.
I felt like I’d ‘cracked the code’ when the designs started coming together – a vision that I had for so long that was finally coming to fruition. And the fact that it’s been so well received just warms my heart.
There’s not a whole lot of ‘work’ going on at the moment while I have a baby to care for. My eldest son Walter goes to daycare two days a week and that used to be my ‘intensive’ work days, tending to emails, printing artwork on my fine art printer and shipping orders. They were a VERY busy two days! Now that baby Arthur has arrived, I use those two days to have a bit more mummy and baby time and I reserve computer time for when Arthur is sleeping.
I’d like to spend the next few months working on a new collection, but it’s a hard thing to do without any real solid blocks of time. My online store is still closed at the moment, but soon I’ll start to fill wholesale orders on a monthly basis. That’ll be something I’ll have to do on a weekend when my husband can look after both boys!
Becoming a mother has been the most amazing experience. I feel like I’ve slowed down a lot (in a good way) and am really taking in what’s around me and appreciating life so much more. You realise how precious time is. When I’m not with my children and am spending time working, I really need to make every minute count.
My biggest tip for other mothers who may be trying to combine their lives as creatives and caretakers would be to put your child in daycare for a couple of days a week (or whatever suits you). It’s far better to have designated time for ‘work’, so on the other days you can really enjoy your children. I found it hard to take that leap initially, as I felt like being a creative wasn’t a ‘job’ (it doesn’t feel like work) but since treating it like a job, my business has done so much better.
My workspace at the moment is generally chaos, as I haven’t been able to properly set up a permanent office in our new home (knowing baby was on the way, it just wasn’t a priority). I have my sights set on a workshop space in our giant garage – a place for being creative and for filling and shipping orders and not having to pack it away constantly. I really can’t wait to get started on it.
The rest of our home feels fun, bright, eclectic, with touches of both modern and vintage, a little bit Scandi and a little bit boho (or ‘sco-ho’ as my husband and I jokingly refer to it). I’m crazy about indoor plants and natural light. A lot of pieces in our home are sentimental and I always make sure things ‘make sense’ and have a place and purpose. I don’t clutter the house with unnecessary items.
The most exciting place to see my work featured is in homes, gallery spaces and interior magazines. There’ve been so many amazing experiences it’s hard to pick one. I’d say the most surprising was probably Inside Out magazine – they mentioned they were going to run one of my photos but I had no idea how, where or when. When I finally picked up the magazine one month, I was thrilled to see that they had ran a full page that included my work near the front of the mag – my jaw seriously hit the floor! Also being part of the Rebecca Judd Style School was super exciting. One of my artworks was featured in the study nook – styled to perfection by Julia Green. It was definitely a ‘pinch myself’ moment and the photography was absolutely beautiful.
I’m inspired by a myriad of artists from traditional to digital. What’s truly inspiring are artists who are making a career out of their work, which is an extremely difficult thing to do. Some of those artists would be Beci Orpin, Rachel Castle, Leah Bartholomew, Emily Green, Sandra Eterovic, Sarah Kelk, Miranda Skoczek, Laura Jones, Mia Oatley and Rachel Levit. Nature is especially inspiring to me and I find I always have my iPhone handy to take snaps of flowers or trees while I’m out walking.
A dream project would be doing a collaboration with a stylist or fashion and homewares label to create an art line or home décor items or even fabric design.
We’re all about celebrating Australian motherhood and creativity on child mags blog. What does it mean to you to be an Australian creative who’s also a mother? I feel extremely lucky to have a fulfilling creative career which I can run from the comfort of home. It gives me so much flexibility around my babies’ schedules. To be an Australian creative is like being part of a big creative community. I’ve found that Australians like to support each other and I’ve had no end of encouragement and kindness from so many people around me.
Kimmy Hogan, 32, is an Graphic Artist and mother. She lives in Victoria with her husband Nick and two boys, Walter, 23 months, and Arthur, four months, along with their well-loved mini dachshunds Honey and Rio. You can see Kimmy’s latest pieces via her website and keep up to date with her current work in progress on Instagram.
Interview by Jenna Templeton // Photography by Kimmy Hogan