What did you want to be when you grew up?
Always something to do with art.
When did you know you would work in the arts?
It just evolved around me.
How would you describe your work to a complete stranger?
Humorous, insightful, narrative – I only show the tip of the iceberg the rest is up to the viewer.
How hard is it to be authentic in the arts nowadays?
You can only live up to your own ideals to maintain integrity otherwise you are only deceiving yourself.
Is there a mission to your work?
To communicate my observations of life with humour – to provoke a reaction in my viewer.
What’s your background – are there studies that prepare you for this?
I have a visual arts degree with a major in painting , minor area was structure (mainly ceramics) electives in printmaking but I did as many units in drawing as my so called minor area – I really loved portraiture.
What’s the first thing career related you usually do each day?
Go for a walk – it is my thinking time.
Can you describe an “average” working day for you?
Go for a walk. Choose my task – When I am working for an exhibition I work in one area at a time for example last time I did all my paintings in oil first. Then I have to convert my studio over to print making which means messing around with the bitumen and the mordants . Then I print which is very messy. Then all this has to get tidied away so I can do my ceramic sculpture. I can do my water colours and hand colouring of my etchings at any time as I have a separate clean space too.
What else do you do to pay the bills?
Teach of course. Also I do project work – community arts. That means working with a group of people to create a collective work.
What’s the one thing – piece of equipment, toy, security blanket, – you can’t work without?
What gets you fired up?
Exceptional exhibitions. An informative radio program. A good book.
Who in the industry most inspires you?
Barbara Hanrahan. Arthur Boyd. John Percival (ceramics).
What in the industry do you despair about?
I do not condone the selling of reproductions of artist works as prints, this is not to be confused with hand printed editioned works. Some artists do reproduce copies of their work for a mass market and a quick buck. Unfortunately some buyers are taken in due to lack of clarity about the situation.
What is the best thing about your job?
It is very self indulgent.
What’s the worst?
Unpredictable income. The exposure to chemical nasties.
What are the top three skills you need in this industry?
Technical knowledge, draftsmanship and observation skills.
What advice would you give anyone looking to break into the field?
Be flexible , think around corners.
How do you know when you missed the mark?
It feels wrong.
Which of the below phrases best suits your career development to date and why?
a. “The road to success is always under construction.”
b. “Opportunity dances with those who are already on the dance floor.”
c. “Success is best measured by how far you’ve come with the talents you’ve been given.”
d. “No one can cheat you out of ultimate success but yourself.”
a. I like that one its kind of Zen.
When do you know you’ve made it?
People are receptive to your ideas. You sell work because people like it and want it to be part of their lives.
KIM TARPEY DRAWS HER INSPIRATION FROM MANY SOURCES; LIFE EXPERIENCES AND CONCERNS ARE WOVEN INTO HER CREATIVITY. WORKING IN PAINT, PRINT AND CERAMIC SCULPTURE, HER WORK IS MULTIFACETED IN INTERPRETATION BUT ALWAYS HINTS A WICKED TWIST OF HUMOUR.