13 Aug 2015
I am not an architect.
I have qualifications in visual art and graphic design. I have completed units in building and interior design, but not enough to call them qualifications. I'm mostly self-taught when it comes to residential design.
Some people struggle to grasp how an artist can design a house and question why they would want to. I am the type of artist who has always had a keen interest in form, proportion, materials and colour so it doesn't seem out of the ordinary to me.
Design projects come with their own set of helpful constraints such as client brief, budget, the site and its orientation. With residential design I feel I am responding to a need by helping to make someone’s life easier and more pleasing to the senses. I am increasingly aiming to encourage small scale, simplistic and sustainable homes.
Designing residential buildings is a process of collaboration with many people, starting with the client. For small interior projects such as kitchens or alterations (not requiring council approval), my concept plans are drawn and ready for the builder or cabinet maker to work from. Larger additions or new homes requiring council approval will need a site survey and a set of working drawings. In this case I organise a surveyor and I liaise with an architect or draftsperson to document my concept plans. I do site visits to check progress along the way and I’m often called back to consult on the interior and/or landscaping. I do not take on multiple jobs at one time.
Painting on the other hand is without constraints or collaborators, which for me makes it infinitely more difficult. Unlike the computer where designs can be saved, duplicated and altered, there is no safety net with painting. Creating a personal, visual language takes commitment, determination and a lot of courage. Everyone is a critic after all - as an artist you need to develop a thick skin.