Welcome to the new season, season 3! It's so great to have you here, from wherever you are in the world My guest to start the year is Beck Feiner, Beck is an Aussie illustrator and designer based in Sydney, and a mum of 2.
When Beck was growing up she was an avid drawer, keenly supported by her mum. Like many artists and creative people, when it came time to decide what career to pursue, Beck didn't think that being a working artist was possible, and turned to study design and became a graphic designer.
After being inspired to create her own alphabet poster when her first child was young 8 years ago, she created her Aussie Legends Alphabet poster, this was subsequently turned into a book and from this she signed a publishing deal. Beck co-creates books with her husband Robin. With Beck illustrating and Robin writing. they have created 6 books together,
Beck describes her style as vector-based conceptual illustrative art, embodying bold colours and punchy graphics. Beck uses her art to provide commentary on current social and political issues.. She is passionate about breaking down stereotypes and including children in the breaking down of cultural norms and encouraging kids to become more involved in political and leadership issues at a young age.
If today’s episode is triggering for you in any way I encourage you to seek help from those around you, medical professionals or from resources on line. I have compiled a list of international resources here
Music used with permission from Alemjo my new age and ambient music trio.
When chatting to my guests I greatly appreciate their openness and honestly in sharing their stories. If at any stage their information is found to be incorrect, the podcast bears no responsibility for guests' inaccuracies.
Podcast transcript at the bottom of the page
Thank you so much for tuning in to this episode of The Art of Being A Mum Podcast. I'm beyond honoured that you're here and would be grateful if you could take 2 minutes to leave me a 5-star review in iTunes or wherever you are listening. It really helps! This way together we can inspire, connect and bring in to the light even more stories from creative mums. Want to connect? Take a screenshot of this episode and share it on Instagram tagging me in with @art_of_being_a_mum_podcast
I can't wait to connect. And remember if you or somebody you know would like to be a guest on the podcast, get in touch! I love meeting and chatting to mammas from all creative backgrounds, from all around the world!
Alison acknowledges this Land of the Berrin (Mount Gambier) Region as the Traditional Lands of the Bungandidj People and acknowledge these First Nations people as the custodians of the Region.
Welcome to the Art of Being a mum podcast, where I Alison Newman, a singer songwriter, and Ozzy mum of two enjoys honest and inspiring conversations with artists and creators about the joys and issues they've encountered. While trying to be a mum and continue to create. You'll hear themes like the mental juggle, changes in identity, how their work has been influenced by motherhood, mum guilt, cultural norms, then we also strain to territory such as the patriarchy, feminism, and capitalism. You can find links to my guests and topics we discussed in the shownotes along with a link to the music played, how to get in touch, and a link to join our supportive and lively community on Instagram. I'll always put a trigger warning if we discuss sensitive topics on the podcast. But if at any time you're concerned about your mental health, I urge you to talk to those around you reach out to health professionals, or seek out resources online. I've compiled a list of international resources which can be accessed on the podcast landing page, Alison Newman dotnet slash podcast, the art of being a mum we'd like to acknowledge the traditional owners of the land and water which this podcast is recorded on has been the bone take people in the barren region of South Australia. I'm working on land that was never seen it. Welcome to season three. It's great to have you here from wherever you are in the world. I hope you are able to have a restful and loving holiday season. Whatever you celebrate, what do I celebrate? My guest to start the year is BEC finer. Beck is in Australian illustrator and designer based in Sydney, and she's a mother of two that speck was growing up. She was an avid drawer. Like many artists and creatives, when it came time to decide what career to pursue. Beck didn't think that being a working artist was possible and turned to study design and instead became a graphic designer after being inspired to create her own alphabet poster when her first child was young. Eight years ago, she created her Ozzie Legend's alphabet poster. This was subsequently turned into a book and from there she signed a publishing deal that CO creates books with her husband Robin, with Beck illustrating and Robin writing, and they have done six books together. Beck describes her style as vector based conceptual illustrative art, embodying bold colors, sharp lines, and back uses her art to provide commentary on current social and political issues. She's passionate about breaking down stereotypes, and including children in the breaking down of cultural norms, and encouraging kids to become more involved in political and leadership issues at a young age. Thank you for being here. And I hope you enjoy today's chat. Welcome to the podcast Beck it's absolute pleasure to welcome you and to have you today.
Thanks for having me on.
Yeah, it's a pleasure. So you're and Ozzy is lovely to hear a fellow Australian accent I've been talking to a lot of people from overseas. Really? Nice. We're about to you based
in Sydney, right in the middle of Sydney. Oh, I always have to live in the hustle and bustle of everything everywhere. I mean, I've lived in London and few other places but I like to be in the grip of things. holding me gritty. I know it's very pretty but you know where the action is where exactly Yeah,
that's exactly the opposite to me into CDs that Oh,
really? It's so funny. I love to have a break but I can't have a Yeah, I'm either gonna be right in the action or like somewhere quite removed from it, you know,
one or the other?
I think because I grew up in the burbs the burbs kind of kills me a little bit No offense to anyone living in the burbs, but just for me, it was slightly boring. Oh,
that's funny. Oh, good on Yes. So you're an illustrator. And how did you first get into drawing? Have you always been a draw as you grew up? Yeah,
it was one of those things where, you know, right from when I was super young, I was just constantly drawing drawing drawing, illustrating, my parents had to ban me from I used to draw on the walls. I remember drawing on all the photographs and being utterly dismayed when I got into trouble. I remember thinking I just made it all better. And yeah, and it was interesting though, and I often reflect upon this as though as I got older, I still did loads of art, but I kind of got a bit. And I think this happens with a lot of people, you get a bit shy about your work, I remember signing to hide my drawings and just being a bit self conscious about it. And I always knew I wanted to be creative and in the arts and my parents really let me do that. But I stepped away from illustration, because I thought, being a traditional artist or an illustrator wasn't a job. Yeah. Yeah. So I did, I went to university and I did graphic design, because, you know, I thought, well, that's a can pay the bills kind of things. And I loved University, I did a Bachelor of design, I absolutely loved it. And I went into graphic design, which is, you know, a lot of my work is quite graphic and has a typographic influence on it. So I went into that. And, but when I got into being an actual graphic designer, I found it. I mean, I was working at a great agency, you know, one of the top agencies, but I just found it a bit. Like, I liked it, but I knew it wasn't me. I was always very conceptual. So I actually stepped into and then I went into art direction and advertising for a long time. Yeah. You know, ads, and, and again, I loved it. And I love the creative side, but I just knew something was missing. So it was actually it took to having my first child. And going freelance, because advertising doesn't sometimes know where to put. This was, it was about 10 years ago, but it's so funny. It's come a long way since then, but I had no idea what to do with. And I think I was one of the only women in the creative department. I had a baby. And I kind of stopped being on the the top projects because I couldn't do the pictures overnight. Yeah. You know, all that kind of stuff. And so when I started freelancing, I just started thinking, There's got to be more to life. And I've always been illustrating, so it was kind of in the back of my mind. Yeah. So yeah.
So was it like your needs weren't being met in terms of you expressing yourself? Is that sort of you were doing it for someone else in their ideas?
Yeah, I started getting really disillusioned with advertising. I loved it at first, like I was, and then I suddenly it was like, I'd taken off the rose colored glasses, maybe childbirth does that to you? I don't know. And yeah, and I just, I started thinking I needed to work for myself, because I, when you have a kid, you almost like apologize for leaving to go to daycare to get them or them being sick. And I hated apologizing for that. And being almost embarrassed about having a kid and I was like, Why do I need to do that? And, and what happened was, I was actually teaching my son that the alphabet and I, this idea popped into my head. What a like, it was all such boring stuff. And I was like, I could make my own illustrative alphabet, you know, and why don't I merge? Legends of Australia, like, you know, all these incredible characters, diverse characters and put them on the heads of all these alphabets. And I opened an Instagram account that was actually I know, we all put people on social media, but it was actually the start of me kind of coming out as an illustrator. You know, like my, my little sneaky side that no one knew about. So I learned a launch this, this alphabet series. I did one a night, because it was you know, there's 26 letters in the alphabet. So I needed to give myself a goal, you know, with two by then I had another baby and I thought, I'm going to do one legend at night. So he was that a good day, it was for Bob Hawke, you know of morphing them, and I started releasing them on my Instagram account and getting this really amazing feed that.
Yeah, that's awesome. Because we don't get a lot of like that Australian, sort of that route cloak you stuff. It's not Yeah, yeah. Yeah, yeah. There's like the animals or the birds or I don't know, but that and that's something that I've really enjoyed looking on your account is the way that you do bring to the fore these these Australian icons, and you say diverse, which is awesome. Like, you've got, like, at the moment, I saw you had a post about Costa, the garden, Australia, man, and you've done the caffeine came in and dealing all caught like, yes, it's great. And I guess that's why it would have resonated with people because it was different and traditionally Australian, you know,
I know and again, it was, I think about what happened. Okay, so it was about eight years ago when I released this poster series, and Australia has come and you know, I go to the bookstore now and I see so many multicultural books out there, especially for First Nation people, which it was so lacking before, it was only in the last. It's crazy to think that because now I think people are far more aware of it. But but even like 10 years ago, there wasn't a lot of stuff out there. So especially with Yeah, it was kind of when celebrating people's. It was just happening more for kids and that was my whole life. aim was to show kids that no matter where you come from your background, your ethnicity, religion, you know, abilities you can do, you can be anything you want to be. Yeah. And that kind of led to the book deal the publishing deal. So I made this poster. And that's kind of it was really funny I was. It all went a bit viral. And I remember kind of putting down my advertising pin. It's an advertising ban, but I just was like, I quit. And I didn't do any more freelance. I was like, I'm out.
Yeah, yeah. And it's to and to have, like, your passion. And you're the thing you're excited about to be recognized and rewarded and saying, We, you know, someone else validating that. Yeah, be tremendous. You go right. This is it. This is what I've been sort of wanting, you know, that. express your creativity outlet. Yeah. And
to all the parents out there, like, I thought that by the time I was quite when I got when I first got pregnant. And I was I mean, I was young, I was 30, which is young male by today's parenting. I just thought my life I hadn't reached my potential. And it was too late now that I was becoming a parent. I remember feeling like so sad about that. And I only really came into I found my purpose at about 35. And I think that's quite young doing now that I think of it. But at the time, I thought, if I didn't hit my stride when I was like, 25, then I hadn't made it successfully. And it was just such a nice feeling to know that you don't have to, like with maturity comes so many more insights into the world. They've allowed me to be to create this poster, my kids, you know, that was great.
Yeah, no, that's good advice. I think, yeah, we can get a bit hung up when we're younger, looking at the future thinking, Oh, we've got to get this done. We've got to get this done. And I think that, that notion of when you have a child, then everything you've ever done, or everything you are just has to go out the window, because now you're a mother, it's like, oh, I can't do this anymore. And that's actual bullshit.
I know you've actually it. I think the maternity leave actually gave me the time. And when with the first one, I was so exhausted, you know, first baby, but the second baby, I wasn't so over, whelmed by motherhood. And I did actually use that time to do my creative pursuits, which I know doesn't happen for lots of people. But for me, it was kind of what it allowed me to take some time off and figure out what I wanted to do.
Now it's really important. I think that's yeah, it's really good to share that with others. That season, it's never too late.
No, you can make it look like people. You know, you can see actors coming into the full bloom in their 60s and 70s. And it took me Yeah, I just feel like this whole pressure to achieve so young is total bullshit.
Yeah. And unfortunately, it's not until you get older that you realize,
yeah. I mean, it was hard. It has always been quite hard. I mean, I work for myself now. And I did that to allow myself to have that flexibility to not have to apologize for getting my kid early. From work, but I mean, I probably work a lot harder. And and there's a lot of juggling going on. So
yeah, that's it isn't it? So tell me about your children. You have two children.
Yeah. Is my labor i 10. And seven, and, and my third child, my sport is charged with it. loves getting a dog is probably harder than having a newborn as I worked out. Yeah. So they Yeah, they're in school. But you know, school finishes. It's a short period. It's a short day. They're great. They're really great. And they always inspire me to do you know, a lot of our kids books have come again, from our inspiration of from our kids, which has been great work and my husband and I co create a lot of the content out there. So we come up with book ideas together. And then I illustrate and he writes it, so it's quite a good team.
Oh, that's pretty cool. Do you? Is it a bit if I was doing with husband or wife is it like me?
I always say to everyone, you know, you've got to maintain a very healthy relationship. So we work together collaborate on the ideas for the ball, and then we go out several ways. You can't be on top of each other too much.
Yeah, yeah. And I guess that's thing you need. You've got your own, you know, creative and aspects that you're capable of doing. You don't need someone looking over your shoulder Oh, no that that differently or yeah, whatever. Well, we
do critique each other's work at times, but like, it's in a very kind of small window. And then we have space. Yeah. If you're working, and he also works in, you know, he's in an out, he's doing other stuff too. So I just, I always tell people, it's really wonderful because you have, you can relate to each other. And you have these common projects that you're building together, which is amazing, but it's always good to also have your own space.
I think that's very important.
Oh, my God, don't get me started about that.
How many books have you done together?
Um, we've done. So I did all the legends myself. And then and then we've done about seven mod six, six, we've done together yet. So the next one we did off. So as the legend alphabet, which was my post that got turned into a book, which was amazing. And then we got an app. So we got a bit of a publishing deal, which was, you know, a lifelong dream of mine. And the second book we actually came up with, was called if I was Prime Minister. And it was all about what kids would do if they were Prime Minister of the country. They lead the country, sorry. And it was amazing. Because, yeah, my son, we were on a trip to Canberra and he started coming up with all the things he would do if he was Prime Minister. And we were like, Oh, we're going to unique that idea of you. So we've added support to loads of kids and their ideas were incredible. And it just kind of took shape. And it's, it's, it's I think it's my favorite book, it's, it just shows that the world is going to be okay. Because kids have the most incredible, thoughtful, caring ideas that unfortunately, get a bit watered down as they get older. But it's, it's really inspirational. And I think people and we wanted to encourage kids to become more involved with politics and leadership at a young age. I don't know about you, but I didn't really understand what was going on when I was young.
Oh, no, it took me a while because my parents were very, and my, my Nana, who was very close to us in the family. They were very secretive about like, who they'd vote for, like, Oh, yeah. Never tell anyone who you voted for. And it wasn't till I got older. And I realized, you know, they were working class, you know, blue collar workers that they will ever voted. And luckily, I sort of, I resonated with that. But yeah, but now like, I talk to my kids about all about politics, like they know who everyone is, and I tell them about, like, I want to understand stuff. So they don't just all of a sudden get thrust into the world of voting and have to go, oh, my gosh, what is this? Who do I vote? Yes, you know,
I know, I think they need to be more educated. But But and again, they are planning to teach it more at school, which I think is fantastic. I don't think we ever got taught it at school.
We got taught about the history of other countries and French Revolution. We don't learn Australian history. Yeah, so that thing, goodness, that's all changing. But yeah, I'm really hot on that. And actually, I had a guest on last week's episode that, well, this, I was talking the wrong tense because your episode will come out at one point, and the other person's. So a few weeks ago, I had Elise Adlam on the podcast, and she's an Australian philosopher, and feminist. And she was talking about how you can include your children in these big ideas in a childlike way. But right from the start, you know, including them in discussions about social justice, and, you know, this sort of stuff, which I thought was amazing. I think a lot of us do it in some way anyway. But it's really nice to know that it's actually a thing and you feel like you're validated a little bit to go, oh, yeah, we're actually doing the right thing, which is a bad thing to say because, you know, that whole sort of, you know, not mum guilt, but the sort of doubting yourself. But yeah, politics love politics.
And I don't know, I think that's really important because I think I mean, I've been involved in this project that's not come out yet. So I'm not going to say what it is, but it is about breaking down stereotypes. And I think that that on a really basic level, you can start with kids I've been just exploring what a child looks like. Like on a very basic level like not what does it look like like a girl that a boy that likes to dress up as a girl, you know, like a nun address of his girl but you know, put on girls clothes and all those things. I've just breaking down what we're just taught and you can teach kids at such a young age, you know,
Oh, yeah. And like he was saying before about the the ideas that these kids have Like, unfortunately, us as adults put so much of our own beliefs and mis judgments and all this sort of stuff on the kids, and if they just had the chance to just keep believing what they believe, Yeah, amazing to see,
I know, someone actually put when we, these books, we talked to a lot of kids, and we and there was some hilarious ideas about what they would do if they were Prime Minister, like, come up with an extra day of the week called yum day, you know, like, so it wasn't all like, Oh, we're gonna, you know, change the world it was. But there was amazing stuff about, you know, giving to the homeless and all those kinds of things. And, um, and so that's it to us. It's a very lifting book, isn't it? I said, most kids aren't quite that way until? I think
so too, because they do have that natural sort of here for others, you know? Yeah, I don't I think all of us are that way to start with. And then for some reason, capitalism, and yes, the world gets involved. And people start to
pick whatever they want, if they want to go down, I think my son's a bit of a capitalist doesn't naturally some kids gravitate towards something one way or the other, and just, you know, teaching them to have all these these ideas. You know, look at the kids protesting about climate change. These are getting involved.
Yes, absolutely. Yeah, absolutely. And yeah, that's the thing that their parents aren't telling him to do this. That's, that's something that they've, I mean, the parents have done an amazing job to allow them to keep thinking that way,
yeah. I think um, yeah, and all I want my work to do, and I think I just naturally gravitate towards, you know, trying to shine a spotlight on these messages. I do it on my Instagram and my illustrations in my book, and I just want to look at those, you know, I like to keep current, what's going on? I'm always illustrating kind of as things happen around me, because it just interests me. And hopefully, you know, and people are hopefully able to relate to it, which is, is great. Yeah. political cartoonists. Yeah, it's
common, the commentary on on, you know, relevant issues. I was actually, I was gonna ask you, what, what is your sort of inspiration?
Yeah, I just get so inspired by what's going on in the news in the world? How are people reacting to things, and it's always excites me to draw something really quickly about it. You know, I just kind of, and I guess, you know, again, I don't regret any of my advertising background, because it actually teaches me to conceptually come up with something interesting on the spot quite quickly, you know, we're used to having to write down these ideas or get these ads out there. So none of the stuff that I've done before it's been a waste it all. So I always Yeah, and I kind of use all those skills. And when I see something come up, I go, Oh, I'd love to do an illustration about this, about that. You know, something that's just happened on the news. So I kind of jump on that.
Yeah, no, that's, that's really cool. And you said, like your children, obviously influenced your books. Do you look at things differently now that you have children in terms of what is happening in the world?
Yes. Yeah. I think just just constantly Oh, can you just hold on one second? The dog walkers? Yeah, no worries. One second. I'll be one word. Let's hear me. Oh, my God is so funny. They're like, they're going in the round. They all love each other. They just had a bit of a fight. Is that
uh, is that like, they pick up lots of dogs and take them all at once? Oh, favorite thing
like, I can't he can't even he gets so excited when he hears like a voice isn't the dog or the dog Olga says that I know and Clyde actually, you know, speak. We were talking about my children and firing our book and then our latest book. It's about a rescue Greyhound and my dog inspired me for that book. We always think he's got a bit of Greyhound in him and yeah, and it's it we just launched it. It's called got Clyde the greyhound. Clyde doesn't realize I've named the book after him. But um, yeah. Really beautiful story about a risky gram that doesn't know how to fit into inner city lifestyle. It's so funny. I had so much fun I mean, if you want to think about my day, it was really funny. I spoke to my sister in law who's a doctor, you know? And she was talking about these life saving operations. And she said, What did you do today? And I said, I drew a dog party. It took me that whole day. It's just so much joy to meet kids. You know, this whole world?
Oh, yes. Yes, I work in, in early childhood education. So I'm, I love going into work and just immersing myself in a different world of fun and just Yeah. And you can truly be yourself like you can't, you know, there's no hiding yourself straight through you like, it's wonderful to be able to just truly be yourself. And yeah,
yeah, a lot of my illustrations too. I actually also add lazing because I want when the parent reads the book, or you have the childcare to also get, you know, like, I like kind of feeding in different messages, some to the kid some to the adult for the adults will have a laugh about it, too. So I think that's really important.
Yeah, I love books like that. It's like it goes straight over the kid's head for the parents to say.
I'm in the Prime Minister. But we've got this, we talk about what a prime minister does. So we show a picture of the PMs office. And then so on all the spines. I've just written really funny names of books that adults would laugh at. But there's one that's called that's not my PM. And there's another one. There's another book called How to be a pm for dummies. Being just like, really funny. All the all the leaders of the world in one phone book, like a little phone book section, and he had so much fun, right? Yeah, but
I've got to say, too, with the book, that's the my favorite teacher. I I like the neutral nod to the, to the Beatles in the music teacher. Oh, I love that. Yeah.
Because one of my favorite pages. Thank you so much. Yeah, it was. And, um, and the line was, you know, my favorite teacher is I can't remember the teacher's name, but it's we love seeing getting better all the time, because he thinks we're getting better. You know, parent would like that. So
yeah, absolutely. Yeah. So I definitely appreciate the effort that you put into that.
Oh, my God, I think I put in too much effort. Sometimes I just sweat over these little these pages on thing. Does anyone notice but I love hearing that type.
Yeah. And that's really cool. Like to ask all my mums about this concept of mum guilt, and it's something that you've touched on a little bit when you were talking about having to feel sorry, like saying, Sorry, you'll feel bad because you had to leave when you're working in advertising, you know, for pickups, or whatever. Have you found that that's changed the way you think about that sort of stuff? Since you're, you're doing what you love? And you know what I mean? Yeah,
that's a great question. I think that might now my mum guilt comes to you know, I do have that mum guilt towards my kids because I don't have that straightforward job. So I am often working in the evening. And I find that I have to be a bit more put my tools down when they're home because I could just work work quite a lot. Even what you know, when they're at home, which is not you know, sometimes, you know, you're gonna have to work it at nighttime or around but I do think they're aware of me constantly not being focused on them because my job doesn't have a nine to five. Always, uh, you know, get random emails and all that so I'm getting better at it. I think I was shocking at the beginning. And it depends, like if I hadn't been a really intense period where actually during COVID It was actually quite busy for me because a lot of people couldn't do photo shoots. So they would need illustrators and then you had kids homeschool. Are we saying to someone, what did you call the people that had to go to work? They were called essential work. Essential illustrator, I said to a friend. So that was really hard. Because yeah, I and I also saw I had that mum guilt, but I also know that I'm a happier person when I'm enjoying my work. So with that, you know, being balanced. We're never gonna get it right.
Are we? Ah, I don't know if there is a right you know what I mean? Like, you feel bad no matter what you do too much time with the kids, and then you go on, I've been neglecting a lot of things. And then
I think that I'm a good role model in terms of doing something that I think they can look at and go okay, so she's really loves what she does. So that's a really great thing. And, you know, I have toned back, you know, mealtimes and everything answering my phones and stuff, but I don't think I'm ever gonna get that perfect to be fair. So I yeah, I know. It's different that guilt because yeah, I think I do work harder now than I don't. I run it, you know, work in advertising. Because it for my business, and I want to be really successful. I think it's funny, when you go out and work for yourself, you kind of need to prove it so much that you are doing the right thing that I think sometimes you tend to actually go a bit too far. Like you're actually too, you know, you have to tick so many things off the list, yet. You feel accomplished. So I struggle with that a bit.
Yeah, yeah, I can understand that. When you said before about doing something that you love, I think that is so important. And I feel like, because this society we're in is so driven by making money. It's like, a lot of people have lost that sort of, you know, in I don't know who said this quote, but you know, if you do, do something, if you work in something you love, you'll never work a day in your life. Like, I don't know that there'd be, you know, so many people out of 10 that could truly say, I know,
and I can't be grateful that I you know, there's lots of people all around the world that have to go work in terrible work conditions. And how lucky am I that I get to? Yeah, I try and be grateful about that. It's funny being it's actually funny working from home, because I have this beautiful studio that I've kind of set up for myself, but then at the same time, I think I kind of do myself, I'm constantly putting the washing on or, yeah, you know, my day, sometimes I have really productive moments, and then I'm just around the house kind of trying to do both. It's we're in such a funny time period, as a woman, as women, you know, we are expected that whole, you can do it all. By us in the face a lot of the time, I think, yeah, because I am picking the kids up from school and not putting them in after school care, or anything like that. So I haven't really quite crazy a lot of the time. Both be there for them and also work and run a household.
Yeah, and let alone you know, that's the physical stuff, but the mental, like, as an artist, like your brain doesn't stop in no creative mode, too. So you know, if you see something like especially you say you're inspired by current events, and what's happening, you know, you're taking that in, and then you might go, Oh, I've got this idea. It's like that little what's name needs something and you're like, oh, you know, it's this constant pool, constant push and pull from all sides. That's what I struggle with. Like, if I've got an idea, I need to write something down. But I'm in the middle of, I don't know, making lunches or something, you know, it's just like, how do you physically and mentally can do all this stuff.
So true. And I also think that I've had a few when things are really truly gone a little sour is when I've, it's wet when everything is running perfectly, and there's no kids sick, there's nothing goes wrong with work, but if something say something happens during my work, we had something go wrong with one of our books. And so all those all those plates and I'm speeding, if one light, then everything can actually fall down. And so it's you have to be easier on yourself. And I think yeah, and be prepared for those moments. And I've had to learn how to rebound and not take all those moments to personally you know, my ego takes a bashing or any of those things and it sounds and I was yay if it's nice and calm, everything is fine but if things get hectic like a job I have to get out instantly things I mean it can go quite chaotic and I'm trying to learn you know through meditation a few other things I actually yeah, I've I've stopped drinking alcohol I was finding that too hard to balance with kids and locked down and all those kinds of things and it just I wasn't creatively feeling as well. You know, agile. So I've done a couple of things to actually be more present. And because it's you that was, yes, something I think was pulling me back a little bit and not and yeah, keeping all those plates spinning was hard work
do you have like external support? And you have family around or Yeah, I can help. Yeah, yeah,
I've got parents and I've got beautiful community around me and everything like that. So yeah, I do. And I'm learning to lean on everyone a bit more. Yeah. See,
that's what I find that hard. Like, I've got people, but sometimes you feel bad for asking, because you think I should be able to do this myself. And, you know, and my ego, like, I can do this, I don't need to ask for help. But then it's like, Oh, my God, if I don't ask for help, like you said, the plates are gonna fall off, and then all the plates fall off and crash on the floor. And yeah,
I know. And I also feel like having that time to myself to like, you know, I'll do exercise or something like I try and be quite rigid with when you work from home, you have to be quite rigid with your day, will fit in that exercise I have to in the morning or do meditate, because otherwise, I know, I've got to put the work in to kind of, you know, feel productive on those other sides of the equation
here. Yeah, it's a common thing. A lot of moms I've spoken to that work from home, it's just there'll be, you know, doing something in their studio, and then they'll hear the, the, the dishwasher before the washing machine beeps or like, oh, just go do that, you know, and then you just, I don't know, if you
think of, and I don't need to make the place perfect during the morning. Like, I can leave it a bit chaotic. And that's okay. Like, I don't have to clean up, you know, everything. So I'm trying to get better at doing things like that, I guess. Yeah. And just, and also leaving when you're in the creative world, it's, there's this time also, I just want to create for not for any commercial purposes, and just for myself, so I try and those times and then I try and be quite rigid with that other type of, you know, in the one that I still need to make money.
Yeah. Yeah, that's it, isn't it? Because it's almost like going back to the advertising days where you had that conflict between, you know, creating for someone else. And then your own, your own needs to come out. Sort of wasn't getting met.
Yeah. I don't mind creating, I do a lot of freelance projects and actually, like, doing things with a purpose that are not just art for for, so I don't I don't mind working on briefs. And I love that side. I just need to know that I can balance that out with some other stuff for that. But you know, what? When do you ever get it perfectly?
I think that weight exists.
overthinking everything too much. Like just going just going with the flow of it like a kid is gonna get sick and lie next to you while you work is not the end of the world.
That's That's it? Isn't it, like these expectations, letting go of what you think it's supposed to be like, or what society is supposed to be
and looking on Instagram? Well, I mean, as I said, like when I started social media, for me has been such an amazing outlet, but it also makes me think everyone's doing a lot better than I am.
Yes, yeah. And that's something we talk about a lot on this podcast, actually. And the best advice someone gave me was, if someone if someone's feed makes you feel triggered or uncomfortable, just just unfollow them, like,
yeah. Oh, it's so amazing doing that, isn't it?
It is a great feeling. But that's the thing like most people will only show the best bits, right? You only seeing the best bits and you can't compare your entire life to their best bit. It's like it's just not I think it's not healthy
hunterson And you know, what's actually really good is that instead of being like, so we're stuck in these little was we're often quite isolated, especially as moms if you're working from home, you're quite isolated. If you're working in the studio, but actually to get and talk to other people in your creative industry, and talk and not be scared or jealous about them and actually try to learn from each other, and you'll see also that they're also going through their own struggles. I mean, not that you want to or complain, but it's nice to talk to people, rather than just seeing them as a competition.
Yeah. And I think that comes from from age as well. Like, I feel like myself as a younger singer, was very competitive and would get jealous of people. And now, I just think, oh, good on. Yeah. Like, everyone, you for doing that. Yeah, I might think, oh, jeez, I wish I could do that. But then I think, well, I'm doing this. So that's like, you know what I mean, like, you don't lose sight of what journey you're on? Yes, you're able to have that maturity to celebrate someone else's success. And that's actually brought me a lot of joy. I know.
And people are so generous when it comes to like giving me beautiful feedback. I was like, just kind of work myself to give other people like not think about yourself so much like get out of your own.
Yeah, what's interesting, too, is like you constantly creating for that kind of to get that positive feedback. And if you get too addicted to that it's actually really negative. And it's something I have to fight all the time. Yeah, I don't need everyone giving me compliments to feel better as a person.
Yeah, see, I'm the same. I'm the same, this is going off on a tangent now. But when I was younger, in my relationship, like my husband, I'm married. Now before we were married, my husband doesn't do public displays of affection. He's not big on the art, you look beautiful sort of thing. And he's really good in a crisis, like he's, you know, really steady level raising. And so when I was younger, and all my girlfriends were with these blokes that had always have their arm around them when they're fatigued, telling them how beautiful they are, think we should do that. I wish she did. And then at some point in my life, I realized that I could actually say that to myself, I could actually say, Allison, you're amazing, you look really great, or you've done a really good job. I didn't have to wait for someone else to give me that validation. And that was tremendously, like freeing, because now I don't give a shit. You know, me, like, I don't need someone else to make me feel good about myself. And that felt really nice, because I think my dad was the same. He'd never give you like, I worked with my dad for a long time. You'd never get any sort of real positive feedback. You'd never get those comments. And my mum used to say, Oh, he never tells you done a good job. And it's like, I just have to tell myself, I've done a good job. Yeah. Because
the same comes from their upbringing about what their parents are actually said it to me. And I know. And it's really funny though. Now my dad if he ever does say like, Wow, he's really proud. Both moments means so much.
Yes, absolutely. Because they say no.
Yes. But then at the same time, though, I've got to say, my mom was so positive, this is actually goes back to my creativity. And I have to she was so encouraging about it. And it was really important. Yeah, I needed that. Like, I always used to laugh before I even showed my mom and our network. She would gasp being like, oh my god, it's amazing. I was like, I haven't even showed it to you. I need someone in your life though. As long as you've got some sort of that kind of person just in those early stages to give you that confidence in Oh, yeah.
Yeah, that's it because he's like, you might not have ever gone down that path if he didn't have that. That
encouragement, ality and now I'm with my kids, although I always laugh that I don't want them to go into the creative world. I was like, I just wanted to be a chartered accountant. Something really boring and regular. But I know it's so funny. But i my i was always allowed to kind of do my thing and go into my creative choices. I was never stopped. Yeah, and art classes in the afternoon, all those things that are really important to work to making sure that your kid is well rounded in life. And it really gave me the tools to I think just be able to kind of go for it. Even though it took me a few years to get back to like my initial that kid drawing on the walls and she had to go, she had to go a few years, making $1 or two out and actually not just being a pure artist. I think it was important. I kind of know how the world works a little bit more now.
Yeah, yeah. And like you said, you picked up those skills of being able to like get an idea and really quickly and you know, turn things around like from the advertising.
Gonna Yeah, I think that that it all it Yeah, it all helped
Are you kids creative as well they drawing and
it's so funny. I didn't see early on the same obsession as I did, but now it's kind of coming a bit later. I don't know. And it's funny. I don't know if I I push it as much as I should or, but this just naturally coming out in in interesting ways like drama and and all those things it's so funny you see them, um constantly growing. You just you can't ever peek what they're gonna become. And for my son is 10 now it's really exciting thing I'm kind of on the verge of going into teenagehood and who is going to be? Yeah. Oh no. Yeah, I feel like it's I'm on the cusp before they go into like really negative space. How old are you? Well, I've
got a seven year old and a 14 year old. Oh, so you're a
bit older. So I've got a seven or 10 year old. Yeah, well
over the shop. But yeah, gosh, it's just odd. And I that before Alex, like Alex is my eldest before he became a teenager, I just didn't know what to expect. I thought because I hadn't I've had no brothers with a sister. So I didn't know what the boys were going to be like. But he's just, I don't know, just the most straightforward, logical, well adjusted, settled child. It's just a miracle. It's just lovely. And I like you talking about like pushing the drawing or the creativity. I both my husband and I play instruments in a musical. But Alex, I always said to him, do you wanna? You want me to teach you something? Do you want to know I don't wanna do not he's not a really sporty kid. But all of a sudden, about 12 months ago, he decided he wanted to play the recorder. Just out of nowhere. I'm like, great. The recorder I had to pick something out. And then it was a bit much for me. So I bought him a tin whistle and Irish tin whistle because I had a nicer sound. And then he decides he wants to play the bagpipes. Oh, my now but he's so he's actually he's picked it up so quickly. Like for kid that's done nothing musical. I think it was just any, you know, they just get get it through. The Jains picked it up so quick. And he's he's actually good at it. So it actually sounds nice. Coming through the house with four doors shut between him and us. It sounds lovely. I love that you
didn't push anything on him too much. Like I think we pushed the piano on my oldest to he hated it in the classic thing of pushing it and then being able to step back and just letting him naturally.
It scared me though, because people around me like I was singing in a vocal group when he was born and other mums were getting their kids to join this junior group that we had. And I was like, Oh, maybe I should be doing this. And I actually got him to come to a Christmas carol gig, just real casual just to sing Christmas carols with us. And he just said, I didn't really I don't want to do that again. I'll say okay, that's fine. Like you've had a go, you know, and I just I've just really had to step back, which was hard for me. Because I'm, you know, do you want to do this? Do you want to do that?
Yeah, that can. It's also like you, you want to make sure. Just because, you know, you've got all that experience in the music world, but and you don't and then you're like, Oh, have I deprived them? Should I have pushed harder? Yeah, yeah. And all these mums are doing it.
Should I be on that? Was that felt like I was? Yeah. Am I doing the right thing. And in the end, it's just happened the way it's happened. So it's lovely. But my other ones completely different. He just wants to do everything he wants to. Like he's really sporty. He's trying out all different things. So they're very different children. And I don't think we'll ever play a musical instrument. He's just too sporty. But that's fine. I've got my bag.
Oh my god, amazing. I'll talk to you and like, you know, 10 years from now and you'll be like he's a professional bagpipe.
I've always had one of my good friend of mine from down here. She's Scottish and she wants him to play at a wedding. Oh, there you go, mate. That'd be your first professional gig.
Oh my god. You gotta get into the wedding circuit.
Wedding weddings and funerals Oh
my god. I JC a poor boy that I think has been exiled to the park up the road from us playing the bag
Oh God I had just so loud and he hasn't even got all the stops out of all of these things yet like they can get louder sunlight. Oh god help is when he loves that he really loves it. You're listening to the art of being a mom with my mom, Alison.
Wanted to ask to your children obviously must be aware that mom and dad are creators and make does that make you like excited and play? They know that you do stuff apart from being their parents.
Yeah, it's so funny though I talk about this quite a bit. So I, you know, at their local school, we just got to a really lovely public school, I do a lot of reading and, you know, kids are aware, and it's just so I think they before they discover influences, they're really love our books, and they're always coming up to us to the playground and talking to us and just being amazing. And my kids are really proud of that. Like, it's almost like this. They get a bit of fame out of us, but they're like, I mean, yeah, as I said, you know, like a five year old then, before they've discovered YouTube. But they, ah, I laugh. If I go, I've done a new book, you know, it's pretty amazing to get a book published, and they don't even my kid. My son's read a latest book. And I go to a, I'm going to stop did I dedicate the books to them? I go, I'm gonna stop dedicating these books to you. This is the last one. I don't know. Look. He's, he kind of get some bit embarrassed now and all that kind of stuff. But I know he loves it. But then they're really not that excited whenever we got a new board
is that she's done another one.
Oh, I know. I know. And it's so funny. Because when sometimes when their friends come over, they want to watch me draw thing and they don't really know underneath. Yeah. Would you like me to come in and do a reading of my new book? No, no. Okay. That's fine. I'm not coming in. But yeah, it's funny. But yeah, as I said, and then then they'll do beautiful things like make their own books. Both things. It's just not a constant, because I think it's it's everywhere around them. I think that must be that must happen for a lot of parents who are doing these interesting vacations, like kids just kind of it kind of becomes quite normal, doesn't it?
Hmm, yeah. And the excitement of it, like has gone out? Because I see it every day. And I see it.
I know. I know. So but yeah, I'm sure later in life, they'll be really proud. Hopefully. I tell you funny. And then I dedicated another book, I think to my siblings. I don't think they got that excited. Maybe that's my big hint that I think it's so wonderful to dedicate a wall. But it's not actually to animate.
Oh, yeah, that's quite funny. I when I did my first album, I did it. I have so many dedications on it. And I think the most excited with the ladies because I have the I used to teach Aqua classes at my local church. And it was beautiful bunch of of elderly ladies. And they were just like, like I had 20 Nana's like they were just beautiful. And so and they'd always be like, Oh, when's your next gig because none of them were online. So they had to work out how they were going to get their tickets and all this sort of stuff. But they'd come I had, you know, a table of them come to I put them in my dedications. And they were, I think, the most excited.
partners, the charity sort of thing. Yeah.
And that support and you know, what's amazing? Is those those type of people, you know, when I've had book launches, and the most interesting people that I never would have thought come more than your close friends come to these things. And it's just good to have those type of people in your life.
Oh, yeah. It's very, it's very, I don't know what the word is. It's validating but it's lovely as well, like going past the ego. It's yeah.
It's just to see you meet in your journey. You know, in the creative world, you meet so many interesting characters. And some people are just more attracted to what you do than others. I think that's just, yeah, I'm sure one of my kids is going to follow me more than my other kid. And then I might get an accountant if dreams do come true. Just a regular paycheck. attracted to that stability, because there's no stability in the work we do. At the same time, I'm so addicted to like, you know, the highs and the, you know, that an email can avail like, you know, the other day we were on the news, and Anthony Albanese was reading our prime minister, but yeah, I mean, that just does not happen. That's on the news. And you're like, Wow, this is just so crazy. So the other day we had on and someone read our book on Play Store, which was just,
yeah, that's almost like the peak, isn't it? That's like the summer.
Right. You know, what's interesting, though, is sorry, I always go you know, what's interesting to me, um, you have these new summers and you think, Well, that's it. I'm retiring that I mean, how can you get better and then this little thing called ambition? Get in or are you going comes in your head and guess what are you going to do next? It was like when I got my first book published, I was like, Oh, well, I've done it. I've achieved what I wanted to because that was always my greatest ambition was to do that. And then like, what about that next book, Becky? Oh, that's funny. I love that now. Good
idea. But thank you so much for chatting with me today. It's so lovely. I've just enjoyed meeting you know me too and
it's so nice talking to someone in the creative field but on a different spin on you know, I love talking to people like that I've got to I yeah reminds me not just talking to people in the book world or the the art world music or anything.
The music you heard featured on today's episode was from LM Joe, which is my new age ambient music trio comprised of myself, my sister, Emma Anderson, and her husband, John. If you'd like to hear more, you can find a link to us in the show notes. Thanks for your company today. If you've enjoyed this episode, I'd love for you to consider leaving us a review, following or subscribing to the podcast, or even sharing it with a friend who you think might be interested. If you or someone you know would like to be a guest on the podcast. Please get in touch with us via the link in the show notes. I'll catch you again next week for another chat with an artistic mom