Explore and Create Series #5: Kylie Budge

When I find something on social media that I think is inpsiring or thought provoking, one of the first people I think of sharing my find with is the lovely Kylie Budge. Each of our DM folders on Instagram and Twitter are full of links and images we have shared with each other full of visual stimulation to drool over and to ponder about. As Kylie shares in this Explore and Create Series, the visual wonderland of Instagram and Blogs is addictive!  Kylie is passionate about art and design. And having known Kylie know for a few years, I'd have to agree. She is one stylislish lady who is gracious and generous in her abilty to integrate her true beliefs into life and work while helping others grow in their confidence to add a bit of style to their bling, reflect on art work from a different perspective, or explore a publication that celebrates design. With a background in education and research and now shining in the museum world, Kylie has so many life experiences that contribute to her way of seeing the world. As you will read, a truly pure and raw moment that has recently happened is shared in this interview that can only be interpreted as inspiring. I think you will resonate, I certainly did. Grab a cup of tea, some tissues, and a quiet moment to read and reflect on this lovely interview about how creativity and mindfulness can contribute to life adventures and a sense of purpose.


Tell us about what you do.

I do many things. I am a writer, researcher, and arts advocate. I recently launched a blog, Art Matters Now, where I’m focussing my writing efforts that aren’t so academically focused. I also write academic publications with a particular bent for how art and design intersects with people and technology. And I work on freelance writing projects. I’m a semi-lapsed printmaker and I work in the Arts as a Research Manager.

And I’d like to think I’m a good friend and family member, and a fairly reasonable person trying to inhabit this planet in a responsible and ethical way.
What are you passionate about?

I am super passionate about art and design and have been my whole life. I am also intensely interested in creativity in all its dimensions.

The world at large encourages me to be passionate about our environment, passive and alternative energy sources, sustainability, healthy food production, and the global scope and magnitude of all these areas.

Recently I’ve become very curious about and fascinated by what some might call ‘bioart’ but I think of this area as being so much more than that. The work of Janet Laurence, and Ken and Julia Yonetani, for example.

I am passionate about living a deliberate life and want to make a positive contribution to the world, even if it’s a small one.
What are you working on at the moment?
My new blog, Art Matters Now, focuses on art, design, craft, makers and making. I started the blog to create a place to discuss and showcase art/design/craft in all its dimensions. I did this because I want to help build greater understandings about the value of art in the world, and to be part of the process of making art accessible and part of everyone’s lives. I feel very inspired in bringing the new posts to life each week.

What led you to your latest project or focus?

Oh, such a good question!

My father passed away a couple of months ago. It’s been really, really tough. Amongst other things that experience has taught me this: life is short and is absolutely finite. No matter how much we might like to fool ourselves into thinking otherwise we are here on this planet for an unknown but very fixed period of time and then, that’s it. So how will we use the time we have left? I’ve been asking myself this question for the last while, but with losing dad this year, it’s all come to a head for me.

So….through a deep soul-searching, long look at things I realized that I wanted to do something that would contribute to building an understanding of the value of art and design. I already do this through research and publications I create in the academic realm, but I wanted to produce something that is available through open access so that anyone could read this kind of information and be connected with the thinking happening in this space. Which led me to develop and launch the new blog.


How do you approach creativity in your life (personal/professional/or both)?

I don’t know if I have a specific ‘approach’ to creativity. I am aware when I feel creative though. It can be when my writing is coming together easily, or I feel especially challenged or inspired. When I was doing more printmaking, I felt creativity at work when I was experimenting with materials, colour, paper, styles of printmaking, and subject matter.

We talk a lot about "being in the moment" or “being" when creating. What does this mean for you?

For me this idea is about letting things go that are extraneous to the work at hand. So if that’s printmaking, and I’m in the studio for a day printing on the press, being in the moment is about giving all my attention to the task at hand. That doesn’t mean working like a robot but it does require focused energy and attention. It also means being open to what happens during the process and not letting the internal critical voices get the better of you. A print I feel I may have messed up on a printing day might reveal itself to me weeks later as having positive qualities that I value or can learn from in making future work.  

What defines you in terms of balancing creativity and mindfulness for flow? How do you do this?

People say I give off a very calm vibe. I find this hilarious and also somewhat mystifying as that’s not how I feel sometimes. If that’s true then I’m happy - I don’t want to contribute more stress to peoples’ lives so if I can bring an element of calmness to a situation then we’re all a bit better off.

I’m not sure I have a good balance between creativity and mindfulness at the moment. I know I need a lot of alone time to get this right. My days are very full so at times that drains me of creative energy. But I also find it paradoxical in that I can have a very full, people-centred day and come away feeling invigorated and creatively inspired. So make of that what you will!

How that all comes together in terms of flow is an interesting question. I guess the heart of it for me is that if I’m immersed in something truly stimulating and important I can find the zone and creativity flows from there.

What’s the biggest challenge you find in approaching your creative endeavours?
Belief and self-doubt. And wondering if my energy levels can match my enthusiasm for what’s required of the project at hand.

How do you find your zen?
I usually need a fairly quiet space to find a feeling of ‘zen’. That said, I can write with music pumping through my headphones. And I can work in a print studio with music playing or people chatting away in the background.

Generally, I feel very calm if I have a lot of time to read. Reading settles me and I feel very at peace with the world.

When you experience flow, what is the impact on your productivity? Tell us about this.
I can just keep going! It’s like there’s no end to what is possible (except the need for food and toilet breaks. And water – I often forget to drink water when I’m really deep in the flow of something!). It feels like the only limitations on productivity are physical ones.

Who have been the biggest 3 – 5 influences in your life, in terms of your career and doing creative/mindful work?

I have a wonderful, wise friend, Elizabeth, who has taught me so much over the 20 years I’ve known her. Recently she’s experienced a huge amount of loss but somehow manages to bring an enlightened view to what is happening around us all the time through this funny, strange thing call ‘life’.

I have met some amazing people through my working life so far. Through their collegiality I’ve learned a great deal about what it means to work with other people. Too many people to single out but the qualities I admire are: bringing a world view to a situation (ie. perspective); a sense of humour; being good listeners, enthusiasm and commitment.  
How would you rate your level of happiness about your creative endeavours at the moment? (1 being sad, 10 being love it/awesome/BEST EVER.)

I’d a say a low-ish 7 but definitely on the rise!


Tell me, who are you clicking on at the moment? 

Blogs – Instagram (always) – I’m shamelessly addicted. It’s the best way to lose yourself in a visual wonderland. Zen Habits – Leo Babauta because of the insights he shares about everyday challenges; fvf – it’s one of the best design blogs I know and also stunningly beautiful; Seth Godin – I’ve started reading Seth’s blog recently because of what he knows about organizational psychology and work culture. The Conversation because there’s always something fascinating being shared there.

Tell me, who are you listening to at the moment? 

Podcasts! This American Life; Death, Sex & Money; Dumbo Feather; The Minimalists.
Music! Holly Throsby; Sarah Blasko; PJ Harvey; Patti Smith; Kate Miller-Heidke; The Jezabels; Angus & Julia Stone (I know, what an eclectic range!).
Tell me, who are you talking to at the moment? 

Colleagues (amazing) – because they inspire.
Fellow bloggers, creatives, makers – inspiration, skills, wisdom, kindness, support.
Twitter and Instagram network – ditto above.
Friends and family – the capacity for endless love and compassion.
Tell me, who are you are reading at the moment? 

I love reading fiction – I’ve just finished Between a wolf and a dog by Georgia Blain (extraordinary); am now reading All the light we cannot see by Anthony Doerr, and about to start Pond by Claire-Louise Bennett. I read fiction because it gives me hope. And I love the way it takes me out of this world and into someone else’s. There is something very magical about that.

Journals – Habitus; the UK based Crafts Magazine.  

What’s some advice you would offer to someone who is struggling to find their creative spark?
My suggestion would be to immerse yourself in art galleries and museums. And go see some performance art. Soak it all up and talk about it with friends. Instagram is great but don’t spend too much time there – it can lead to feeling overwhelmed and can feed a sense of inadequacy. Then, if you want to take it to the next level join a creative group on MeetUp or enroll in a short course and get social with your creativity.

You can continue to connect with Kylie where she tweets, grams and blogs at Art Matters Now.