I am super excited to introduce your to our next Spindrifter, Shyanne Clarke an Artist, Illustrator and Muralist . Shyanne is a fellow ocean lover, beach wanderer, and palm tree collector. Shyanne is one incredible woman & I am super excited to interview her for the Spindrifter Series. Lets jump in and ask her some questions…
↠ How did you come to be a full-time artist?
I think we are all born creative but I just chose to follow the creative life as a career. Although I didn’t start out this brave to pursue it, as a teen I wanted to do lots of creative things but what I thought I could actually achieve in my life was own my own surf shop and when I realised working 7 days a week in retail wasn't going to get me closer to the ocean I needed to rethink my life plan. haha. I floated into corporate banking in my early 20’s, I was made redundant from the bank when I was on maternity leave with my second baby and I used that money to buy an online baby boutique. I rebranded that baby boutique and sold it for three times what I bought it for and that brought back my love and fire for creating again. From there, there has been some universal magic moments to get me to here. I met Alana Gunn from Kukukachu
at a Firemans Ball in Port Macquarie and she became my mentor for textile print design, I also went to design school (after being rejected at 19) and studied graphic design, all of this got me back on the tools of drawing and painting again and growing my skills from where I sort of stopped when I moved out of home.
From here I’ve designed prints for Australian and International labels that are stocked in Myer, David Jones and Nordstromm. I’ve had my artwork on surfboards, skateboards, yoga mats, oracle decks and bio cups.
In the last year or so, I have started to transition to doing more work as an artist, selling my original works in homewares store Whitepepper
, painting and illustration commissions and at the end of 2019, had the absolute pleasure of doing my first two wall murals. This transition has been a scary step towards being seen and upgrading my worthiness stories, but I am loving the discovery of who I am and exploring what I can create and just the adventure of life that we get to live.
↠ What’s your big vision // dream for the next few years?
Ooh, I always find this question hard to answer, I really love the magic unfolding of not knowing what’s coming. I’m also a believer in following the breadcrumbs of where your heart spark is taking you, even when it doesn't make any sense. At the moment my heart is yearning for having my own studio or my own large space to get messy creating big mixed media colourful paintings and collages. I am also working towards having my pieces hung in galleries and being represented by them. In the long term I’d love to author some creative books, speak at creative design events and just always exploring, being inspired by and growing creatively.
↠ Tell us what typical day for you looks like?
Creatively, on a typical day I’ll be moving between working in Photoshop with my Wacom tablet or working analog either drawing in pencil or painting in acrylics and oils. Client work varies in my little home studio, at the moment I am working on ebook design and marketing assets for The Cool Career
lots of collages and handwritten graphics. I am also doing the design planning for a private residence mural of florals and creating some personal work large scale colourful contemporary paintings for submission to a few magazines and shows.
I’ve got two kids in primary school so on school days, I just get whatever I can get done in the school hours and then if I’m not done - squeeze it in and around school sport and dinner and then if I’m still not done, I’m working nights baby.
↠ When you’re not busy in your business where can we find you?
Outside in some way, usually at the beach or on the couch reading a book. I love learning and I am currently doing a diploma in art therapy, not to become an art therapist but just to further understand art and how art affects us on a psychological, emotional and spiritual level. Aesthetic Neuroscience
fascinates me Humans, in general, fascinate me and I love to explore us and how that can be applied and of service creatively and unexpectedly.
↠ What has been your most important & defining moment so far?
I feel that there isn't really one thing, that all moments are important and defining. I asked my friend Kate Webster of To Serve
what she thought it was for me (she is my biz bestie and confidant) she said and I agree “its an interesting one as sometimes they are obvious and sometimes they are subtle. Often the ones that most impacted your work aren't directly related - ie. alignment that comes from moving to the beach, the embodiment and service that comes with speaking about your journey as part of a panel, the upgrades that come with trying something new in your business - murals, workshops etc.”
If I am to share something that is more recent and prominent for me, to date all my work as an artist has been self-taught until late 2019 I started doing fine art classes under Jessica Le Clerc
. Although I think my art has improved so much over the years and I have done well to get this far, I also recognise since working under Jess that I have had so many limiting beliefs around what I can do and who I am as an artist that I just didn't see or know. The first few weeks, in every class I wanted to cry because I was so out of my comfort zone and I was learning and unlearning bad habits and techniques and pushing myself in areas I had just resolved that I would never be good at or do - like portraits. What it has developed in me as a person, the resilience, the self-discovery the confidence has really surprised me. I’m grateful that my curious heart takes me on these adventures and I continue to learn and grow.
↠ Tell us about your personal connection to our wild and beautiful natural landscapes + what do you do to minimise your impact on them?
I love nature, camping is one of my favourite things to do because you do everything outside. If I had to choose between ocean or country, its ocean every time (I should have been a mermaid)
Nature is also such a big part of my business, its where I get pretty much all of my inspiration, especially from plants + flowers.
As for how I minimise impact, I actually have a memory as a three year old, when I threw some plastic wrapping in the water, my Mum told me that was littering + I thought that this is just one little bit. My mum then explained to me that it harms the animals + what if everyone in the world did that, the water would be yuck. Its always stuck with me + ever since that day, whenever I see rubbish I pick it up, sometimes I will go for a walk along the beach + come off the sand with my hands full. Its amazing and scary really that so much rubbish is actually around when you are looking for it.
I’m a big believer in purchasing consciously and what you love, this will make you value it and you will look after it and keep it longer. You will feel happy to see it with all its memories and stories 10 years, 20 years, 30 years later and you will cherish and look after it even more. This applies to everything, the container you store your food in with the colourful lid that your mum bought you when you moved out of home that had leftovers in it to the socks with rainbow stripes that keep you warm on cold nights that you had to wear in hospital when you got your wisdom teeth out. The ring you wear that reminds you of the ocean and helps you feel strong, free and creative or the art you hang on your wall that welcomes you when you get home after a big day of work, that brings a playful smile to your lips because it reminds you of that fun time you had with your best friend in high school.
↠ What two key things have you learned in your journey which continue to push you forward?
You are always growing + learning. What feels hard today, will seem so easy before you know it AND just keep going, your whole life can literally change in an instant, so when times are hard, just remember it could literally be a minute away before its even more amazing than you ever expected.
When you don't know what to do next, just do what feels good in your heart right now, even if it doesn't make sense. Here’s an example…
I’ve always loved collage and early last year I went through a phase of creating digital collages, I created multiple a day for no real reason except I loved it and it felt good in my body to do it. Then my friend Kate from To Serve
was getting some digital collages done for her business and I mentioned to her that it was easy to do and I could show her how in Photoshop. When I showed her, she said that it wasn't easy and I should do a workshop for it, so I did. I didn’t plan on doing any more but then other people asked if I would do a workshop near them so I did, I did 5 digital collage workshops last year and also have available through my website Vol.1 and Vol.2 of Digital Collage/ Beginners photoshop online workshops.
In the process of the year I got better at public speaking and was asked to speak as a guest panelist talking about creativity and intuition for Insight Society. I got to meet some really amazing humans and built a beautiful little community around me, I got more confident in my ability as an artist and got to travel and create. I didn’t plan any of that, it all just unfolded from that heart spark of enjoying and creating digital collages when I wasn't sure what to do next.
↠ If you could travel anywhere, where would you love to visit and why?
I would love to go to Barcelona. So many people have told me its one of their favourite places + the town just looks amazing and colourful. Croatia is also dancing in my mind, that clear blue water, I just want to dive in. I would also like to visit Portugal and Norway, I found in my Ancestry that I have lineage from here, so would like to go and see if it resonates on a foundational level of my being.
↠ Who/what do you look to for inspiration? // Who/what makes your heart light up?
I am inspired by surf culture, florals and 90’s nostalgia. Florals, palm trees and dots are recurring elements in my artworks. I love the detail and magic that shines from layers and colours. I design with a feeling in my body and I tend to free create and curiously discover where the paintbrush takes me rather than plan what a piece will be, although I can feel that this is starting to change and planning a piece will start to become part of my art practice. I get excited when there is an unfolding discovery in art, thats where the layers and colours are wonderful in abstract works, there is always something else to find each time you gaze at a piece.
↠ What is your favourite quote and why does it particularly resonate with you?
‘If you can dream it, you can do it’ – Walt Disney
This quote resonates for me on so many levels. I really admired Walt as a creative, he really focused on quality and detail and that is the magic of his creations. He had big dreams and he just kept working towards it even when the world was against him and he was broke. He celebrated the hero’s journey, the playful, the magic of life and the potential of who we can be if we dream and do.
I also love this little poem by Tess Guinery,
There’s art in my hair,
poetry beneath my shoes,
ornaments in the sky and,
pink lavender in the moon.
- Tess Guinery
↠ What’s next on your horizon? // What can we expect to see?
This year I’m focusing on getting better at my craft, defining and evolving as an artist. I’ll be doing more murals, commissions, workshops + commercial art projects. My goal is working towards being represented by the likes of Fenton and Fenton
and/or Jumbled Online
and to work towards having my art in galleries. Lots of practice and curious, playful creating is on my horizon and I will be sharing all the unfolding on my IG @shyanneclarke.
↠ What advice would you have for someone who wants to follow in your footsteps?
You have so many good things ahead of you. Keep practicing your craft, you don't have to be perfect today. This life is a magic and unfolding journey, enjoy the ride. Just because you love it, doesn't mean you aren't going to burn out or hate it sometimes. Learn to rest not to quit. Theres always time, it doesn't apply to all things but luckily for us, in art, the older you get the better you get, Ive gotten way better since turning 30 and more opportunity has come to me and continues to come to me since then. You’re exactly where you are supposed to be. Follow your curious heart even if it doesn't make sense. Be brave. The biggest thing for me has been to just continue to practice, practice, practice and to say yes even when I am scared sh*tless.
Resources you might find helpful:
Book: Art Inc. by Lisa Congdon - she is an illustrator, abstract artist, muralist and didn't start her artistic career until she was in her early 30’s. There are lots of resources linked in the back for getting your name out there, opportunities to explore and develop your style/voice creatively.
Podcast: Creative Pep Talk by Andy J. Pizza - he is an illustrator, children book designer and public speaker. Lots of great episodes that cover so many things for a creative career, from creative side projects to creating a thriving creative career.
Magazine: Create Magazine - features contemporary art from around the world. There is lots of opportunity to be a featured artist both in their magazine and blog.
Blog: The Design Files, I love this for hearing the stories of many types of creatives and visually its stunning. The podcast is really great too.
Thanks so much Shyanne for taking the time to answer our questions.
You can find Shyanne at her website ↠