Ever since she was young, Kristy Bryans knew she wanted to be an artist. Now 20-years-old, she’s beginning to fulfill that dream.
However, she hasn’t got to where she is today without self doubt.
“Since I was little, I always said that I wanted to be an artist when I grew up. I kind of lost sight of that a little bit when I went to high school, I thought ‘oh maybe I should do psychology, I’d be good at that’,” she said.
Kristy said her school was not overly encouraging of folio subjects.
“They said ‘you’re going to stress yourself out, you have to get good marks, do Maths and other subjects like that’,” she said.
“It got to the point where it started sounding reasonable to do something reasonable.”
But with an artistic family behind her, and a constant drive to create pieces of art, Kristy eventually realised she had to follow her dreams.
“When I got to year 11, I was like ‘nah stuff Maths, stuff Science, I’m going to do folio subjects’. In year 12, I did a piece that got a lot of social media attention, and from that I thought ‘yeah I think I still want to be an artist’,” she said.
This piece of art may be recognisable to some Banyule residents; it was used to advertise the 2015 YouthFest.
“I posted a picture of it to Facebook and it started to get a lot of likes from people I didn’t even know, and then Banyule contacted me asking if they could use it, and Nillumbik asked to put it in an exhibition, it was in the paper to advertise my school, it was in newsletters, and suddenly it was just all over the place,” Kristy said.
“It was the first real piece of art that I was proud of. It made me think that this was something I could actually do and get recognised for.”
Kristy describes her art as abstract, experimental and modern; she likes to use lots of different colours and shapes.
“Art is so progressive, and ever-changing, so I’m still trying to work out my style. I’m still trying to discover myself and my art,” she said.
“When I was first exploring my style I had insomnia, so it was my sleeping problems and my dreams that would inspire my art. Now I really like looking up resin art, which is art made out of liquid glass. I also like looking into other artists’ stories, and what inspires them. Everyday I’m on my Instagram checking out lots of different artists.”
Kristy says she’s a perfectionist with her art. Some pieces take over 30 hours to put together.
“My biggest one took me 50-70 hours, I spent a whole week not moving, just sleeping, eating and drawing,” she said.
“I don’t think I’m ever 100 per cent happy with my art. There are always things that I could change, but it reaches a point where I just have to accept that it’s done.”
While admitting it might sound clichéd, Kristy says that practice really does make perfect.
“It is natural ability too, but every time I make something new, I think that my art is getting better and better from doing more and more different pieces,” she said.
Kristy is currently studying communication and design at RMIT University. She says that the course is quite broad; there are illustrators, typographers, photographers, graphic designers, web designers, and more.
“Through my work at Banyule, I realised that there’s so much opportunity for work, even just in the community. I’m just an illustrator, and I’m getting work as an artist, and there are so many more talented people that could be getting work too,” she said.
This inspired Kristy to create an artists collaborative group called Ink Design Solutions.
“I put out a call in my course for people interested in being a part of a group to source work,” she said.
Kristy now works as the middleman for the six people involved in Ink Design Solutions. Not only does she source work for them, she also teaches them how to quote, how to invoice, and how to look for work themselves.
“We called up people we knew [to find work], so the Council and local businesses, and I put the word out on social media.”
Since its inception, Ink Design Solutions has created countless logos for local businesses, helped companies design their websites, and helped at local events doing face painting and henna.
“We’re getting work in every field.”
Kristy says that getting experience in the industry is incredibly important, particularly given there’s a massive surplus of artists in the world right now.
“It is a really hard industry to break into. Helping these people out is so important to me because I know there are so many passionate people out there that may have to turn to other careers because they can’t find work in their field,” she said.
“If our youth is being productive, then imagine what our world will look like in the years to come.”
As well as running Ink Design Solutions and going to university, Kristy works two jobs and runs various workshops at local libraries. She says she sometimes struggles to find the time to work on her art recreationally.
“I did start something yesterday, I only had half an hour before work, but I sat down and thought ‘I’ve got to draw something otherwise it’s never going to happen’,” she said.
“I’d love to be creating more, so this year I’m going to focus on setting aside a free day where I do nothing but art.”
With so much artistic potential, and a passionate drive to help others, what does the future hold for Kristy Bryans?
“I would love to be a freelance artist/designer/illustrator. Working freelance and earning good money to do it would be awesome,” she said.
“My great –grandmother was a successful artist, and when she became successful, she opened up her own arts community to help other artists. I’m now living in the house she used to live in, and in the house has the art studio she used to work in, and I think that’s really inspired my long-term goals.”
Words: Joely Mitchell
Picture: Sean Porter