By a little flukey serendipidous chance I met Kylie Baudino at the Paint this Garden weekend at the St Kilda Botanical Gardens a couple of weeks ago. I quickly learnt that she is a painter herself and that her work is represented at the Jackman Gallery in St Kilda. After some email contact I met her at her studio today. She has studio space and a garden plot at ‘Veg Out’ which is the community garden centre of St Kilda. An undisputed gem of a place. She was busily harvesting her broccoli and weeding her patch when I arrived. The gardens were noisy with people and chickens and the trademark St Kilda hum. Yes, I did have a pang of ‘I miss this place.’
Her studio is home to a few of her paintings, a sewing machine and an ethereal corner that she has set up as a painting space. Surrounded by this, we began chatting about her background.
Turns out that she has two degrees. One in business studies and one in fine arts and visual arts, for which she received the prestigious Medal for Academic Excellence at Griffith University College of Art. More chat and it became very clear very quickly that Kylie is a woman with a brain the size of a small planet. Intelligence and creativity are a formidable combination.
The creative process is at the core of Kylies work. Everything emanates from that. She first clears a physical space in readiness to paint (see the photo below). She deliberately paints with her non dominant left hand in order to remove the constraints of her training and the influences of her education. It allows her to switch off her logical brain and means that the painting flows directly from her without external interference. She describes her painting process as a form of meditation. A piece of work is entered into with no preconceived idea of what the finished product will look like. She says that her best and most satisfying work happens when she is surprised by the outcome..
“I just step in and let stuff happen…I like the charm of being able to have that movement between the known and the unknown, because then I get taken on a ride…it’s all about the process.”
“Dynamic Drawing” classes with Ron Curran have contributed to this process by way of undoing what was learnt at university.
We continued chatting over lunch at Nineteen Squares (31 Blessington Street). The cafe is so named as the interior space is literally 19 square meters. Their website says that what they lack in area they make up for in great coffee and good food. My poached chicken sandwich was definitely a winner.
More interesting snippets about Kylie were revealed while I hoed into my sandwich on the footpath in Blessington Street. In life as in art Kylie likes to push out her own boundaries. She seeks out life experiences that make this happen- such as the 700 km walk that makes up the Pilgrimage of St James Camino de Compestella in Spain. Not for the faint hearted! Another important travel destination has been Japan.
She has learnt to trust her instincts. Thereby creating a life full of joy and creation.
Keeping the wolf from the door has been a challenge for anyone living the life of the artist and Kylie mixes up her painting with work at the Jackman Gallery and work at the Dogs Bar in Acland street within their Visual Program. She has the weekly pleasure of showcasing unrepresented artists at that venue. Any one interested in combining a coffee with a visual art experience could rock up there between 2 and 4 pm on a Sunday.
In addition to all of this busy- ness Kylie finds time to teach art for tiny tots. These young people are having the benefit of her creative spirit and respectful approach. Lucky kids.
We parted with a heartfelt promise to keep in touch so I hope that before too long I will be blogging about a Kylie Baudino exhibition opening.
Check out Jackman Gallery website to see more of Kylie’s work.