Artist and Designer Bethany Linz spent five years in the Mokum Studio as Senior Textile Designer. She is responsible for many of Mokum’s more exquisite and embellished designs. Recently Bethany has decided to go it alone and spend more time on her craft and in particular, printmaking and embossing. I spoke with Bethany to gain a little insight into her world.
Can you tell me a little bit about your background and what led you to creating exquisite designs?
Since I was four I knew I wanted to be an artist and, with the help of my creative mother and Steiner school education, I was lucky to fuel that dream. After my school education I studied art in Newcastle, where I was very fortunate to have acclaimed artists such as Michael Bell and John Morris as teachers. I have also been very lucky to have travelled a lot and experienced different cultures. I think having such a creative up-bringing and then designing in the Mokum studio helped push me that little bit more and helped to make me the artist/ designer that I am today.
Where do you find your inspiration and how do you transfer that to a design?
Like most artists/designers, inspiration can hit me at any moment – to me it doesn’t even have to be visual, I can be inspired by smell, music and novels. When I’m feeling a little lost for inspiration though, I know I’ll always find it in the Gallery of New South Wales in the Australian section. It’s not just the artworks that inspire me, it’s the artists that never gave up on their dream and defied the odds and became part of our history.
When you create your designs, do you have an end use or product in mind?
Having worked in the Mokum studio for five years, I learnt how to forecast trends and design textiles for specific applications, for example upholstery or feature cushions, so naturally with my art I also keep interiors in mind. I make lots of my embossings very neutral but, because I love colour, I like to create some that are a little more ‘out there’, just to please myself and if they never sell, I’ll be happy to hang them on my own walls.
What is your favourite part of designing?
I really enjoy the researching at the beginning of the process, I love history and I find that art has always been at the heart of it and documented better than any other form of history. I also find at the end of the whole process the most rewarding part of being an artist/designer is looking at the finished product – after all the hard work that’s both physically and emotionally exhausting – and being satisfied.
Is colour an important part of your design or is texture more important?
Years ago, when I was walking through a gallery with one of my mother’s friends, she asked me what artworks I was drawn to. After observing my choices, we both discovered it was colour that drew me to each one, not necessarily the subject matter. With my own work I love to apply different colours to the same design and see how dramatically the colour can change the mood. It’s amazing how colour can make a design look completely different.
Who is your design idol?
What does a typical day at the office involve for you?
Every day I need to divide my time up so I can spread myself across my work evenly. I’m currently finalising my embossings for my forthcoming solo exhibition in Sydney (at the “breathing colours” art gallery, Balmain from 25 September to 6 October 2012). I’m also illustrating my second children’s book , which I must admit is extremely challenging, but can be very rewarding.
What’s next for Bethany Linz?
I would love to establish myself more as an artist and keep creating more embossings. In the near future I would also love to create a wallpaper collection that ties back to my art, but at the moment it’s just a dream.