Today we are introducing you to Gypsy from Smithton TAS who turned her passion into an Indigenous art business.
Art was a hobby for Gypsy while she worked in the disability sector. She had given away some of her artwork and had approached a few galleries in the past but hadn’t thought of her art as a serious form of income. With the support of her Many Rivers business coach Penelope, Gypsy has since started her own small business.
“More people should go through Many Rivers, it is helpful support. Without Many Rivers I would not have gotten as far as I have. I would be just plodding along trying to find my feet.”
Read more about Gypsy’s journey to starting her Indigenous Art business.
My business is called Gypsy Draven and I make Indigenous art. I have been working with Penelope, my Many Rivers business coach for a couple of years now. Before that I was making art but just giving it away. I wanted to make this into a full-time gig for myself and start an Indigenous art business.
In the past, I worked in the disability sector. When I started creating my art I used to give it away, then I went onto eBay and sold it really cheap. Then I approached a gallery, and they took a few pieces but I wasn’t very consistent at that point. I struggle with some personal health challenges. I was referred to Many Rivers by CHAC (the Circular Head Aboriginal Corp). Penelope makes sure that I stay on track and that I keep moving forward.
I work better on my own. If I have a bad day, I don’t have to rely on anyone else. I feel like I have a lot to prove and I wanted to show myself that I was capable of succeeding in something on my own.
Working with Many Rivers to Start Her Indigenous Art Business
Penelope has helped me get a business plan together and to be more structured. She has put me in contact with lawyers to get contracts drawn up. She gives me confidence by telling me that I am in fact good enough to do this.
Her perseverance with me has been the best part of her support. She is really great at making sure that I am heading in the right direction. Having a direction in business and making sure you stay on track are important. I have so much going on around me, I foster kids and I rescue animals. She helps me step back and concentrate on working where my passions are.
More people should go through Many Rivers, it is helpful support. Without Many Rivers I would not have gotten as far as I have. I would be just plodding along trying to find my feet.
Having the confidence to get out there and advertise myself is a challenge for me because I am an introvert. Penelope has been good at supporting me build confidence and get out there more. She is also very well connected. It was through her connections that I met someone who is now displaying my art at the Wilderness Gallery in Cradle Mountain. She doesn’t do it for me, she will just message me something and say, ‘this might be a good opportunity’ or ‘have you seen this yet?’ Then I jump in and do all of that. It is so great that she takes the time and goes out of her way and to look out for places that would be helpful for me and my business. She put me onto the Front and Centre program, I then had a meeting with them and they accepted me. That was all because of Many Rivers. Otherwise, I would not have known the opportunity is there and then have the opportunity to be accepted.
I have two foster babies too so it has been really hard to balance everything.
My biggest success has been getting the exhibition at Cradle Mountain.
Budgeting has been very difficult because you have so many variables in any business, but especially in art. There are so many different prices between my pieces because it depends on the quality of paint and the size of the canvas. Trying to support my kids, while trying to get this business up and running and relying on government welfare has been a challenge.
I hope that I become a well known Indigenous artist. That I finally get there. I have struggled all this time and eventually I will be there. I would like to buy a house down the track so that I can foster a few more kids. My pieces are quite emotive and so I just want to keep creating pieces that make people feel something.
Thanks Gypsy for sharing with us how you started your Indigenous art business. If you would like to stay updated with her small business journey, be sure to follow her on Instagram.
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