We caught up with Kate Beynon, multidisciplinary artist and Bank of Melbourne Collingwood Yards Resident, to learn more about her recent work and how the residency helped take her creative career to the next level.
From collaborating with the Centre for Projection Art, creating the TudoKB Art X Fashion project and connecting with The Social Studio, Kate has done some incredible things since being awarded the 2021 Bank of Melbourne Collingwood Yards Resident.
How has the Bank of Melbourne Residency impacted your career?
As an established contemporary artist, the BoM residency and studio has been a timely boost to my creative energy and zest for collaboration. I’ve absolutely loved the Residency space! And I feel it has great energy from being part of the wonderful community at Collingwood Yards and inspiring legacy from alumni Danielle Brustman. Both the studio and extra funding arrived at the perfect stage of my career, needing extra space and support to realise a diverse range of art projects, alongside taking the plunge to develop ideas for my new Art X Fashion project TudoKB. The Residency has inspired me to further think and create collaboratively on new works; challenging myself for exciting future projects; intergenerational collabs with husband Mike and our son Rali have been energising for the creative spirit; and our multi-coloured family of artists has been warmly welcomed at the Yards. Being able to experiment and expand my creative processes across painting, textile and collab animation works, has led to more opportunities developing large scale works and immersive projects. I’ve been able to really step back to see works in progress, colour and form in the space, at different times of the day. Immersed within the diverse, creative Yards community, with support from the fab Collingwood Yards team and Bank of Melbourne, has reinforced a strong appreciation of collective spirit, including being around many inspiring arts organisations, attending monthly Yards Collaboration Meetings, bi-monthly studio artist mingles; guest presenters, First Nations-led and community events.
I am grateful for the Yards connection to Indigenous community, respect for First Nations culture and voices; First Nations artists, arts organisations and First Peoples’ Reference Group; solidarity and ally-building; such as Centre for Projection Art’s 2022 Gertrude Street Projection Festival launch with City of Yarra Yalinguth storytelling app; the late legendary Yards studio artist Uncle Jack Charles; Agency’s events and partnering with The Social Studio; This Mob collective, ILBIJERRI (including Collective Movements at MUMA, Monash University); Typecast; and Collingwood Yards First Nations Resident Artist Hayley Millar Baker. I’m grateful to learn from these connections, situated on Woiwurrung Country. Special thanks to ILBIJERRI for sharing and organising recent tribute screenings in honour of Uncle Jack; excellent films Jack Charles vs the Crown and Bastardy.
I’ve loved connecting with studio neighbour Centre for Projection Art, wonderful CEO Priya Namana and team. This relationship has helped push my practice into exciting new forms and large scale collab animated projections: Guardian Creatures for Melbourne Food and Wine Festival with Bank of Melbourne at the Yards; Visions for Garden State Festival, City of Yarra, Otter Street; several studio events and future projects.
Having often worked in a cramped and cluttered home studio, at this stage of my career the Residency has provided a space to be proud of creating in, and for showing works.
Taking part of Yards wider programming for major festivals, especially as we emerged out of relentless lockdowns, has been fabulous—including 2022 Melbourne Art Fair Precinct Night; 2022 Paypal Melbourne Fashion Festival Independent Program; 2022 Melbourne Food and Wine Festival; and City of Yarra’s inaugural 2022 Garden State Festival with projection art curated by Centre for Projection Art. Building ongoing connections with The Social Studio and store, for both my fashion project TudoKB and a range of The Social Studio community projects; keeps fostering a mutual appreciation society. Curating and presenting events plus giving studio talks and tours for students from Monash MADA Fine Art and VCA/Melbourne Uni Graphic Design, has been a mutually rewarding experience and way to promote and share the Yards.
What are some of the highlights of your Bank of Melbourne residency?
TudoFAM, the inaugural celebration I organised and held in the studio was hectic and fun! An intergenerational multi-arts pop-up group show featuring family artists: Rali Beynon, Soul McKenzie, Isabel Buck, Michael Pablo and myself, with outdoor projections by Lina Buck (Centre for Projection Art alumni). The event was supported by Collingwood Yards; Sutton Gallery; Young Henrys, and a Yarra City Arts small project grant to pay artist fees and pop-up bar run by Hesper Andrew (also an archaeologist!); art sales boosted artists incomes and helped raise funds for First Nation Yards programs. As mentioned above Connecting with Centre for Projection Art, awesome CEO Priya Namana and team; their expertise, advice and opportunities during the Residency, has been a major highlight and led to fabulous developments. It was beyond exciting to see the characters and vibrant imagery of Guardian Creatures, a collaborative animation created with my husband Mike Pablo and our son emerging animator Rali Beynon, brought to life as a huge outdoor projection at the Yards.
It has been a dream opportunity to develop the TudoKB Art X Fashion project; creating samples (as seen worn by me around the Yards!) for my capsule collection of scarves, ethically made and sustainably printed on peace silk; with lively pop-up preview TudoKB as part of the 2022 Paypal Melbourne Fashion Festival Independent Program at the Yards.
Bank of Melbourne offered welcome support for setting up accounts and small business advice, catch-ups, networking opportunities and more! Setting up my first portable payment terminal, I was able to manage art sales at studio events, supplementing art income for myself and invited artists, plus help raise funds for Collingwood Yards First Nations programs, and Bus Projects Fundraiser.
What does a day in Residence at Collingwood Yards look like for you?
A day might start with a delicious oat cappuccino from the friendly faces at Padre Coffee; taking the stairs; saying hello on the way to the studio to the Collingwood Yards office, studio neighbours and greeting any Yards dogs around! Occasionally our beloved 15 year old rescue Staffy-cross Tudo comes in; and sometimes my creative collab fam, Mike and Rali. Opening up the studio always makes me smile—I love the view of the courtyard and massive trees out the windows, and the changing light—any time of day or weather! I put music on (fave PBS Radio shows or Spotify), check admin and get to work… such as sewing some of my scarf samples; collaborating with Rali on experimental animation ideas (supported by recent Creative Vic Creator’s Fund) and developing exciting new projects.
I might have a meeting or two in the space with visiting curators, gallery people, collaborators or project partners; or check in with the team at Sutton Gallery, my Naarm/Melbourne gallerist. Recently I created a large costume artwork, Cape for the Lotus Guardian Goddess for a major show at Linden New Art. I work in stages of sketching, designing, pattern-making, priming and painting fabric. When dry, I’ll cut and sew the pieces on my sewing machine, stuff, arrange and pin the soft forms, in this case over 200! And then it’s a marathon of hand stitching to finish. Often working to deadlines, things may literally come down to the wire! … as with the new Cape. Having 24 hour access (hopefully no more lockdowns!) means when deadlines loom, I can work all hours, bringing in my fam collaborators, fur-fam and support team as needed.
I love working collaboratively with the Fam’, such as the KB X RB—Mask Spirits project with Rali, exhibited at Sutton Gallery, which led to the animated work Spirits Summoning, made with Rali and Mike, recently shown at Linden. We work with a mix of original watercolours, 2D imagery, digital techniques and sound. I’ll make storyboard sketches and then we’ll get together in stages for the process of production. Enjoying experimenting, testing materials and forms on the studio walls when developing new projects; I’ll move things around to create changing installations of paintings and textile works; the scarves might be in the mix as both wearable pieces and wall-based artworks.
For a break, I might catch up with Yards friends; step out across the courtyard to visit Tantri Mustika’s cool ceramics, The Social Studio Store for a gift from their excellent range of culturally diverse and First Nations designers; pick up a couple of design books at Uro Bookstore, or join Mike digging for vinyl gems at Licorice Pie.
If I don’t have too many deadlines, I’ll pop in to check out and support events around the Yards at: Composite, Bus Projects, West Space, Arts Projects Australia, Agency and more. Food-wise, Ellie’s famous focaccia at Hope Street Radio (and seasonal fare) is a special treat; and unwinding over a drink with friends and fam back at Runner Up Bar might cap things off nicely.
Kate’s Acknowledgment of Country
My family and I acknowledge the traditional owners, the Woiwurrung Wurundjeri People of the Country on where the Residency is situated at Collingwood Yards, and pay respect to their Ancestors and Elders, past, present and future. As a multi-migrant family of Colour, we are grateful for the opportunity to connect, collaborate and create at Collingwood Yards on Woiwurrung Country. In solidarity we extend respect to all First Nations People worldwide.