Gemma Rasdall - Artist
What do you do?
I’m an artist!
What are 3-5 things you love to do on your days off?
Yoga, art galleries and boating (Gemma and I actually first met boating).
Is this your whole income or do you have other side hustles?
I'm aware it might not be sustainable forever, but painting is currently my whole income.
What were 3-4 significant events that led you into your current creative practice?
1 - My HSC Major work – This is when I first started painting on recycled sailcloth.
2 - My parents support – After getting 99+ in the HSC my parents still told me to follow my passion and to go to art school.
3 - My childhood growing up by the water and sailing every weekend.
What are three creative tools you couldn't live without?
Podcasts - for connecting me to other creatives / artists. They’re the inspiration that keeps me going when I’m feeling down, uncreative or just struggling with my finances.
My Mum - she the best critic I could ask for, tells me how it is with no filter and it’s amazing because it always pushes me to achieve more.
My studio – This is my creative nest, not only filled with paints and canvases, but plants, knick-knacks, ceramics, candles, cushions and homely / quirky vibes. It's my favourite place to hang which makes it easy to work!
Which artists in your field are you loving right now?
Can you describe a working day for you?
Yoga / gym or a walk in the morning then at the studio by 8am.
Breakfast for me is a smoothie and coffee with some social media. Then I do a painting warm up with some small abstract exercises. Now I’ll be ready to work on my sailcloth paintings, usually switching between 3-4 different works throughout the day as I get sick of them or they need to dry.
I have lunch with fellow studio goers and then it’s back to painting until around 6. I usually listen to podcasts or audiobooks while I work, and take small breaks throughout the day whether it's checking my Instagram, making a tea or cuddling my studio puppy.
Like everyone I struggle with procrastination and distractions of social media regularly. I LOVE deadlines and work best when I've got something on. I usually create hard deadlines for myself by telling clients a painting is ready when it’s not so that I’ll feel the urgency to work and it always pays off.
What are the perks of your job?
Flexible schedule (although I do mostly work 8am-6pm).
I love working in my own space by myself - getting lost in books or stories or thoughts while I’m working – it’s very enjoyable.
The ability to bring my dog with me everyday.
I love being my own boss, the harder I work, the more I benefit from it and it reflects on my success as an artist.
What are some of the challenges you encounter?
Distractions of social media and self promotion (I get awkward about it).
For all the creative artists in our community, what are 5 tips you can give them that you've learned?
Back up jobs are handy. The fact that I know I can always do other things gives me peace of mind and lowers the pressure on my creativity. I will move on to other things before I sell out on my art just to pay my bills.
Give yourself structure to your working day and deadlines. It’s easy to feel lost and unmotivated when no one is on your back to check on your progress. So be on your own back! Or find a fellow creative who you can both set goals with then check up on each other.
Give it a go! Even if you’re worried about money or what your parents will think do it anyway, especially while you’re young. If you don’t then, you'll always wonder what if.
What advice would you give to someone who says they're feeling overwhelmed and anxious trying to self-manage their creative career and are in need of some practical advice?
Take it slow, you don’t have to do everything at once. Write a list and tick things off as you go.
Don’t be scared to ask for help or advice. I once messaged a famous artist and asked her if I could come and meet her to ask for advice on quitting my job and managing painting full time - she happily invited me into her studio for a chat!
Why do you work in the arts and why do you create?
Because it’s a skill I’m gifted at that would otherwise go to waste if I didn’t create with it!
How does your art form make you see the world differently? What do you notice that others often walk past?
Colour / shape / lines / forms / sounds / feels – I’m constantly aware and evaluating the visuals of my surroundings.
How do you balance business and creativity in your life?
Do business stuff when you are having a creative block and create when you’re feeling inspired. Don't force it!
What do you think it means to live a creative life?
To live a simple, happy life in which you’re constantly dreaming bigger and pushing yourself into new avenues. Creative people are unlikely to get stuck in mundane routines as the rush of the new constantly brews in your belly and wafts through your mind. Life is weird, different, unconventional, but always exciting!
Where can we find your online?