Founder of Barenaked Studio, Kate Hart is a dedicated individual, channelling her creative flow and passion for nude drawing into the practice of teaching. In anticipation of her next life drawing session at MUSE, we asked Kate to tell us about the journey that brought her to starting her own business.
I have always loved drawing, painting and making things with my hands. I studied design at the college of fine arts of UNSW and completed a design degree. I then started a jewellery label with my sister, making the most amazing one-off pieces in collaboration with other artists, and had a boutique in Rozelle. Like many other creative minds, we grew restless and wanted to travel, so we gave it up to do some gallivanting around the world.
A few years ago I started illustrating some small projects for private commissions, reinvigorating my love for painting and drawing, and I started working for a company teaching life drawing, mainly for hen’s parties. I had so much fun! Teaching and drawing for me was the perfect combination, but I felt restricted within the confines of someone else’s business model. I wanted to expand the concept, so that clients could experience the classes on a deeper and more personal level and therefore feel genuinely moved by the experience. So, with a lot of help from a dear friend, Barenaked Studio began.
What draws you to life drawing more than other forms of art?
It is my favourite form of creative expression. I am, by nature, a people person. I have always been drawn to faces and bodies… they fascinate me. There’s nothing quite like the immediacy of drawing quickly from a person who is living and breathing right in front of you. Without even being conscious of it, you can capture so much more of the spirit of the subject, compared to drawing from the reference of a flattened, two-dimensional image like a photograph or a phone screen.
What do your students enjoy most about life drawing?
I believe they enjoy the process of getting lost in the moment, giving themselves entirely to the study of their drawing. Whether or not they have ever put charcoal to paper, I have found that the students become engrossed in the subject, and with a bit of guidance, they surprise even themselves with the work they are able to produce. Anyone can do it!
What is your proudest creative achievement so far?
My proudest creative achievement has actually been in starting up this business. I love being able to draw all the time, “for work.” I enjoy exploring new media and materials, so that I can pass on what I’ve learnt to my students. It’s my passion.
Can you tell us about one of your own drawings that you are particularly fond of and why?
I’ve been attending some unguided life drawing sessions lately. For the last drawing pose of the session I felt brave, so without hesitation I drew the model from a difficult perspective, using the techniques that I teach in my own classes. I was so happy with the result, it just goes to show that you must persevere, and throw caution to the wind!
What advice would you give to young creatives trying to earn a living out of their art?
Be fearless and have confidence in your own style. I read somewhere recently: ‘never sacrifice honesty for relatability’. I have always hated inauthenticity in art – you can spot it a mile off. So just be yourself, no one else is doing that!
Can you name one of your favourite artists and tell us how their work inspires you.
I discovered one of my favourite artists on Instagram: Mariana Mezic. Her work is so original and devastatingly beautiful. She paints these haunting pictures of women and girls, with exaggerated eyes framed in bold vibrant colour. They each have an accompanying story and and history, often a little poem about the muse. I find that inspiring because I feel that women have incredible power within them, that years of social conditioning has kept hidden.
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