• Ella Wood

Ambassador // Cathy Gray: Artist

We caught up with Cathy to find out more about her story.

Explain a little about yourself and the role you play in the creative communication industry, e.g. how did you start out in the industry and what has your journey been?

I am a full time artist, I create very intricate inkwork with most of my work paying tribute to the mandala, I teach within the education system years 2 to 12 as an incursion, as well as private, corporate and adult workshops. My work is sold as original, limited edition and I have surface design range which can be used for yoga mats, rugs, carpets and on glass.

Being creative has always been a part of who I am and what I ultimately identify with, unfortunately it always seemed like something I could only nurture on the sideline as a hobby, being creative within my “work” only touched on what I really knew I could achieve. Having time off to have my children gave me the opportunity to try out a few things and be a little more creative, but it was only 5 years ago whilst sitting at a desk job I realised that my creative self was dying and I needed to take the risk. I decided to embark on my own business. I have always had social media profiles but I knew that growing a visual art business would require good social media and business sales skills. I very quickly realised the power that social media can have, good and bad. I also knew early on that just “selling”my art was not going to be financially sustainable. I desperately wanted this to work so I decided it needed to be multi platformed. I had been asked to teach for years but had always held back but I decided that to make it work I needed to become a “business” and so decided to teach. This has been so rewarding for me.

What do you enjoy most about what you do?

Being creative is rewarding in itself, it stimulates my brain and also allows me to sit in silence. Teaching within the education system has been the most rewarding part of my business, hearing children say “wow I am so good at this” or teachers amazed that a child or group of children can work in silence fully focused for an hour and a half fills my soul.

What challenges have you faced in the industry and how have you overcome them?

Life, work balance, owning and growing your own business requires long hours and dedication. Social media is relentless, knock backs are going to happen and not every idea works. Keeps pushing, ask for advice and believe in what you do.

What advice would give to someone just starting out in the industry, particularly young women entering the creative community?

There is amazing support especially between women creatives, Adelaide is full of strong talented woman who offer and give advice and help unconditionally. Reach out to as many people as you can for advice and support. I have reached out, formed mini social media friendship groups and also had regular meets with other creative women. Accept that you don’t have all the answers and don’t be afraid to ask the questions.

How do you believe the industry could be more accommodating to women?

I believe that is changing, women are respected in the industry and in particularly the arts, just look at how many women are kicking goals. I think the biggest issue we face is financial, making a viable income out of art is hard work and requires being business minded and persistent.

Website: cathygrayinkwork.com.au

Instagram: @cathygrayinkwork

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