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‘YOUR LOCAL GIRL GANG’ just keeps growing.

This week we are in for a treat. 

The lovely Katy has her own business as a Mural Artist and as soon as I read her interview, I felt liked I'd been transported back to the magic of my childhood.

I was strongly reminded of my first bedroom, which had fluffy cloud wallpaper with a hot air ballon clock on the wall. That bedroom had been long since forgotten until I saw the photos of Katy as a little girl with her very own bedroom mural. A bedroom that inspired her business as a "grown up" - Wall Things Bright and Beautiful.

That very first mural (featured in this adorable picture above) would go on to inspire Katy who now spends her days painting murals for children and adults alike.

Stumbling across one of Katy's vibrant outdoor murals is a lovely little reminder to inner-city dwellers like myself of the natural world and the joy it can bring to any space - both outside or in.

Read my interview with Katy below. 

Hi Katy, I first came across your work on Chanterlands Avenue, Hull. I love your mural down there! Can you tell me a bit about yourself and your background, I’d love to know what inspired you to start painting murals?

Thank you! I started painting murals as a business just over 2 years ago, when my youngest child started school. Although I painted a great many in my home before that! I've always loved art and have drawn and painted since I can remember, and went on to do a Fine Art degree. My parents are artistic too and when I was little they painted my bedroom with a tree, rabbits, toadstools, mice etc. I loved my bedroom and I remember the mural became the basis for a lot of my play. When friends came over we'd pretend to be rabbits in the woods or Hansel and Gretel or something. Sometimes my best teddy (Mr Brown - no imagination spared on that name!) would become Baloo from 'Jungle Book' and we'd scratch his back up and down the tree.  

I had such fond memories of my childhood bedroom, that when I was expecting my first child (who is now 9) I decided I wanted to paint a mural in her bedroom. This was my first ever mural! Before this I usually painted canvas', so having such a big area to paint was so much fun! I chose to paint her room as a garden, with a tree, flowers, spade in the ground, with a robin perched on it and a watering can with a wren. There was a pond too, with bulrushes, a dragonfly and kingfisher on a branch above.
She loved her room, and although we moved from that house when she was just a toddler, she would pretend to pick up the watering can, smell the flowers, tweet at the birds. It definitely helped with her language skills and knowledge of wildlife, as she impressed the lady at toddler group by telling her about kingfishers and dragonflies at just 2!  

I think a mural for a child can be so much more than a picture on a wall, it can transport them to magical places, encourage their imagination, creativity, language and - as I discovered - provide years of happy memories.

I don't paint licensed images, such as Disney or Marvel, (mainly as the cost of purchasing the rights to reproduce the images would drive the price of my murals too high) but in addition to this, as a Mum I know children grow out of certain films or TV characters very quickly, and you don't want to be redecorating every year. I think woodland, galaxy, garden, underwater or other scenes are much less age specific and provide a much more open invitation to play.

When I started my business I was mostly painting interior murals, but this summer I've done a lot of exterior work (such as the Chants Ave mural you've seen). This started after I painted a piece on Bankside Gallery and has snowballed from there. I already have bookings for exterior paintings for next spring, but now the weather has cooled you can expect to see more bedrooms, dining rooms and lounge murals again on my Facebook and Instagram feed.  

I know you have a fine art background and a lot of your work is commissioned-based. Do you have an tips for graduates/artists who are trying to establish themselves as freelance?

Social media is a great platform for getting your artwork in the public domain. It's where I get most of commissions from. So get yourself an Instagram or Facebook page for your artwork which is public - separate it from your personal one ideally - and show the world what you can do. The Bankside Gallery in Hull is also a great place to try out your art on a big scale, if that's what appeals. Anyone can go along and paint on the legal walls, its fun, great practice and can get your work seen. It's also worth looking at artist associations or societies you can join e.g The Association of Illustrators, The Artists Information Company etc (there are loads more if you Google them). These usually have a small annual fee, but can offer great advice and support including practical things like public liability insurance.   

Here at The Rebel Girls Club, we are all about self-love and celebrating our achievements (no matter how big or small!) What are you most proud off?

As a Mum it has to be my two beautiful children - my finest creations!
But I am very proud of myself for having the guts to start up my own business from scratch and make a success out of it in a relatively short space of time. To be painting every day (which I have been in recent months!) and earning money doing it is like a dream come true.

We know you're a mum of two, as well as being a business woman. Do you have any advice for women who are juggling motherhood and being self-employed?

This is always the hard part - getting your work life balance right is so difficult. As I can now choose when I work, I try not to work much in school holidays so I can focus on my children. We also don't have any family nearby to help with childcare, as we moved here 7 years ago from Buckinghamshire without knowing anyone, so anything I earn would be eaten up in childcare costs if I did work. So we do a lot of creative activities at home instead. I struggle to step away from my phone/laptop in the evenings, something I definitely need to work on. Sorry not much advice there, if anyone has any advice for me on this one I think I need it!    

Finally, do you have any fave places in our area where you like to go and unwind or just take time out from being a badass mum and mural painter!?

I love an independent coffee shop. My kids love visiting the Vintage Cafe on Chants Ave - just down the road from my mural - as we've been in a few times and they've enjoyed some epic milk shakes. The ladies who run it are lovely too. I also attend a Bizmums networking meeting once a month at a brilliant little coffee shop in Anlaby called Ignition, which does some gorgeous cakes. I've made some amazing friends in the 7 years we've lived in this area, and we love meeting up to set the world to rights over a cuppa (this was named going for 'coffeetea' by my friends little boy) so anywhere that does decent tea and cake gets the thumbs up from me.

Be sure to check out Wall Things Bright and Beautiful here.


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