We are extremely proud and honoured to have commissioned a beautiful Indigenous storytelling art masterpiece, which was created by a very talented 17-year-old woman of the Kalkadoon people, Brooke Sutton. In this second part of our two-part blog series, Brooke opens up about her experience in painting commissioned artwork for organisations like Glad Group.
Read Part 1 of this interview, here.
Our interview with artist, Brooke Sutton (continued)
What is the biggest challenge in painting a commission piece for an organisation like Glad Group and how do you overcome that obstacle?
Brooke: The hardest thing I think is trying to get the painting to represent the company as perfectly as it can be. It’s easy enough for me to just say “Oh I really I like this tree, I want to paint about this tree”. It’s something that I know that I like, but it’s that step harder when I’ve got a company asking me to represent them in a way that resonates with them.
It’s the expectation of getting it right. It’s just hard to jump from being in my own little world to jumping into someone else’s world and trying to incorporate that into a painting. The research helps. I make notes and the more research I do really helps with the creative process. The more information I’m given, the more the painting truly represents that organisation.
After doing your research about Glad Group, in a couple of words, how would you describe us as an organisation?
Brooke: So, after reading all of that information from the brief and going through everything – I feel that you’re a very, very family-oriented company which is really unique for you guys. And the fact that you’re so family-oriented is fantastic because I have that much to work with. Especially how you prioritise the communities and business you’re in as your family – I absolutely love that.
For an organisation like Glad Group, where many of our employees were born overseas and speak English as their second language, what are you hoping that they feel from your painting?
Brooke: As a very multicultural organisation, when they see it, I just want them to feel proud that they can work in an environment like your environment. And that English is their second language, means that they’ve come this far, and they’ve found something that they can do and enjoy and the fact that they can be part of such a big family. So, I just want them to feel proud of themselves and what they’ve accomplished so far.
How do you manage to find some time to create commissioned artwork, while studying at high school? Do you have a painting routine?
Brooke: It was a challenge to start with, but because I’ve been painting for so long it’s sort of just become second nature to know how to monitor my time. I’m pretty good at time management and it’s trying to figure out what can fit in what places.
So, I’ll do most of my schoolwork at school, especially assignments. I’ve even dropped a few classes just so I have a spare free period every single school day of the week to work on those school assignments, so I don’t have to bring them back home. Because once I’ve finished school for the day, I forget everything and just focus on painting.
But yeah, it’s taken a few years just to figure out how to prioritise both my schoolwork and my painting and have them work together so I can be successful at both.
How do you quiet your mind so that you just focus on being creative?
Brooke: Sometimes it’s a bit hard when I start a painting, but once I get into it, that painting is my world until it’s finished. So, all I focus on is what I can put into that painting and what colours, different patterns, dots, animals, and plants. I prioritise it before anything else.
Do you have a particular process that you work to when you’re working with organisations?
Brooke: It’s a lot of communication, so we’ll start with a lot of emails back and forth to discuss what exactly the company wants and what I can do for them. It will go from that to me doing a lot of research about that company, finding every bit of information about them.
Then I’ll do a few quick sketches just to put ideas down on paper, and we might have a meeting or some emails or Zoom call and I’ll show them the sketches so they can pick what parts they really liked and what parts they weren’t too keen about, which I can easily change. Once all that is sorted out and I have everything I need, I’ll start painting.
Usually, as I progress with the painting, we might have a meeting or two just to see how things are going, and I’ll show maybe a picture of how far I’ve come along to make sure they still like it and the colours I’ve used. But mostly it’s a lot of communication when it comes to commissions. There’s a lot of communication and just back and forth checking if everything is up to standard with them.