Kirsty Budge, Thanks for having me but I'm probably going to run away without saying goodbye, no offence [detail]. Oil on canvas.
New Zealand-born, Melbourne-based artist Kirsty Budge is a graduate of the Victorian College of the Arts, recipient of the 2014 Stirling Collective Award for Painting and recent nominee for the 2017 Arthur Guy Memorial Painting Prize. This month, she will exhibit alongside more than 300 contemporary artists in the landmark 9 X 5 NOW exhibition.
Congratulations on your nomination for the prestigious Arthur Guy Memorial Painting Prize. What does that mean for you as an artist?
Thanks! I was very surprised when I heard I was selected as a finalist but I am excited to be included. It's my first time being a contender for a prize and I'm humbled to be in such good company. As an artist it means a lot to me for my work to be accessible, so exhibiting at the Bendigo Art Gallery is an amazing opportunity to introduce my work to a new audience.
Why did you choose to study at the Victorian College of the Arts?
I wanted to be part of the lineage of artists that had attended the VCA before me as well as being taught by a community of artists that I greatly admire and respect. I had wanted to go to art school my entire life and the VCA was just always top of my list after I arrived in Melbourne from New Zealand in 2005.
What stood out for you during your time at the VCA?
I assisted three separate artists with installing their huge works at Melbourne Now in 2013 at the National Gallery of Victoria. It was an invaluable experience and it introduced me to various techniques and processes involved with producing work at that kind of scale. I also assisted Stephen Bush with painting his mural for his 2014 exhibition Steenhuffel at the Ian Potter Museum of Art and learned a lot from that opportunity.
How do you think studying at the VCA has influenced your art?
Studying at the VCA influenced my art-making in many ways. Tough critiques forced me to be more confident and considered in my work and the overall concept behind it. That level of questioning and analysing benefits me and my work daily. I also figured out how I like to work and how my studio needs to be in order for me to make work. By the time I graduated I had a fully self-directed studio practice ready to merge with the real world.
You’ve recently contributed an artwork for the upcoming 9 X 5 NOW exhibition at the Margaret Lawrence Gallery. What was your thinking behind the piece?
I don't think I have ever made a painting this small so it was a real challenge. This work evolved out of frustration and fear; I was anxious about having to exhibit this piece alongside artists I really admire – a classic case of imposter syndrome – and I was stressed about making a potentially awful painting. It’s a bit like being invited to a party that you are both excited about and dreading because of your own self-loathing issues: if you can momentarily get over the dread and go to the party, you’re always grateful and know that you will soon be rewarded with going home, and a cup of tea.
Can you tell me a bit about your project Good At Art?
Good At Art is a series of children's after school art classes that I began at the beginning of this year. Each week we focus on a different technique, artist and medium and also incorporate learning about art history, introducing kids to important artists the historical canon is yet to include and also to contemporary artists and their different approaches and practises. It's going really well; the students are responding enthusiastically to the projects and making interesting work. Good At Art is currently located in Elwood and I'm looking at expanding to a Northside location for 2018.
Kirsty Budge graduated in 2014 with a Bachelor of Fine Arts (Visual Art) specialising in Painting. She is represented by Daine Singer.
The 9 X 5 NOW Exhibition will be open to the public from 16–25 June at the Margaret Lawrence Gallery, Southbank, Melbourne.
- Read more about 9 X 5 NOW
- 9 X 5 NOW on Facebook
- Find out more about studying Visual Art at the Victorian College of the Arts.