It has been eighteen months since Focus caught up with artist Kylie Mitchell. Since then, Kylie has expanded her creative skills, with the design of new homes and renovations …
> Tell us about your family …
My dad originally grew up in Armidale and my mum is from Dorrigo. My parents travelled a bit before coming back to Armidale with me and my two sisters. We all went to school here – Newling Primary School and Armidale High School – before all three of us moved away from Armidale for quite a number of years.
We have all moved back now with families. I have two children of my own. The eldest finished College a few years back and now works in town as a beauty therapist, and my youngest has just moved to Brisbane to spend some time with his father and to complete his High School education up there. I have a wonderful partner, whom I met when I moved back to Armidale.
> What is it about Armidale that you like?
I like the feeling of community. You don’t get that in the cities. I like that people help each other out a lot more in smaller towns and that sense of belonging. I also like the convenience of everything being only 5 minutes away! When you live in the city, so much of your time is taken up in travelling. I would spend up to 3 hours a day in the car just getting to work and dropping the kids at school. Now I can decide whether or not I even need to take the car; sometimes I just walk to wherever I need to go!
I also felt that Armidale would be a great place to start my own business. While in Brisbane, I kept an eye on things here, watching how property was developing. I thought there was a good opportunity here for me to earn a living doing what I love!
> Tell us about your interests?
I have a broad range of interests, though much of my time is taken up with my business. I started my business in building design two years ago now, designing new homes and renovations and extensions. Over the past two years I have also studied interior design and am about to finish a qualification in Permaculture Design. I’m now starting to include them in the business.
Not to mention my interest in Eco-Design. I have just spent some time in Brisbane attending Eco-Design Smart Seminars, qualifying me as a sustainable designer. So as you can imagine, I’ve been pretty busy! Working with people to create their ideal homes is a passion of mine and something I intend to keep learning about!
As an artist as well, I’m constantly planning the next exhibit or art work to be created. As I also work by commission as an artist, I find there is always something to do, either for myself or someone else.
I also try to get involved in the community. I’m a member of The Armidale Art Gallery and have exhibited there as an artist a number of times, with another exhibition coming in February 2010. I also try to volunteer when time permits. I’m a member Zonta, an international organisation of business and professional women that promotes and supports women and women’s issues throughout the world. I find volunteering a great way to meet people and to give something back to the community.
I love growing my own vegetables in the warmer months and am constantly trawling through recipe books for new things to cook!
> Your plans for the future?
So much to do … so little time! I have a lot of things planned!
First of all, I plan to continue building my business as both a designer and an artist. I will continue to study various aspects of home design and decoration and already have plans for further formal study. I’m also going to be entering some national design awards this year, with a home I’ve designed here in Armidale.
The awards are run by the Building Designers Association, of which I’m a member and promote best practice within the building design industry. I’ll be entering a property in The Avenue this year, and hopefully there will be a couple of houses that will be eligible for entry into next year’s competition too.
I also want to offer a range of pre-designed, one-off houses that can then be tailored to suit individual clients’ needs. These would include custom designed artworks, colour schemes and fittings unique to each house – all (naturally) with very high Eco-design standards!
As I mentioned before, I also have another exhibit coming up in February next year. This one at The Armidale Art Gallery will fill two rooms. One room will hold a range of new abstract acrylic paintings while the second room will contain a mixture of drawings, still lifes and photography. All are works that have never been seen in Armidale before, so I’m really excited about getting the opportunity to show some other aspects of my art.
Further down the track I would love to travel and study architecture from other cultures and then bring what I learn back to incorporate it into my practice. This would also give me the opportunity so study other art styles and methods.
Ultimately, I would love to combine my love of building design and decoration and my love of art into some form of public studio. This is very much a ‘watch this spot’ item for the future!
> How can people contact you?
I can be contacted either by phone during business hours on 0407126 659, or via my website at: www.kyliemitchell.com.au
> Thank you Kylie.