Women Who Do What They Love - Fiona Lang

Friday, 7 August 2009

Who is this woman? Fiona Lang

What is her passion called? Kindergallery

Where can you take a squiz at her stuff? www.kindergallery.com

Sammy and Her Robot Friends by Superoboturbo

What does she actually produce? Kindergallery provides a collection of fine wall art and design works for children made by leading artists around the globe. The collection has a combination of original acrylic on canvas works, limited edition prints, mixed media collages, box art, mobiles and decals. We also offer consultation services, where children and their parents can come to our physical gallery and get advice on the works.

Why does she do all this? A few years ago my husband and I were living in Prenzlauer Berg, Berlin. We noticed that there was a whole way of life for children and parents which we had not seen in Australia. There were ice cream cafes for children, dedicated children’s museums and playgrounds in each square – even in the middle of city – where children would trundle about on their wooden bikes while their parents enjoyed summer’s carnival atmosphere or winter snowscapes.

One thing we didn’t see was an art gallery or store specifically for children. In a city where art is at the cutting edge, I thought the absence of this was conspicuous. This was when the idea for Kindergallery first occurred to me.

'Seasons' (i: Autumn) by Isak

Not long afterwards, we were back in Sydney and had our first son, Owen. I decided that this would be a great time to create Kindergallery. I looked far and wide and discovered that, to my mind at least, there were only a relatively small amount of artists out there creating fine quality wall art for children. The artists were dispersed over different parts of the world and there seemed to be no one collecting the works together in a gallery format.

The opportunity to combine my passions for art, children and business was too great to pass up.

How long has she been doing it? Since August 2007, approximately 18 months.

What is this talented woman’s story? I live in Balmain, Sydney’s inner west with my husband (Angus) and my two sons (Aidan – 4 months and Owen - 2.5 years). In Balmain, the morning coffee is always great no matter what coffee shop you go to.

Right now it feels like ‘home’. In a way, though, we have a second home in Prenzlau Berg, Berlin’s inner east, where we used to live and often return to. It provides us with endless fun, inspiration and adventure.

Owl with Flora by Lorena Siminovich

Angus and I first meet at Law School many years ago and are both lawyers. During my first maternity leave, I created Kindergallery and have continued to juggle my passion for both law and art.

In our spare time, we love to dance, read and watch good films... all of which are starting to happen less often!

Has her journey been easy or tough? On the whole, easy. Not just getting to meet lovely artists, but being able to represent them and find homes for their special creations is a privilege. On the whole, it does not feel like work.

Little Farm by Meredith Gaston

What pesky obstacles have tried to block her progress? The usual things that face all retailers – like the fluctuation in the exchange rate and the AUD trading poorly against the USD and the Euro is probably the hardest. I, like most of the artists on the site, want the artworks to be affordable.

In terms of overcoming the obstacles, we have remained focus on the goal of remaining affordable, and have looked at different economic models to enable us to do so.

What are her greatest joys in doing what she loves? Getting to see the wonderful works first and babysit them in the gallery until they get a permanent home. Some of Tamar’s beautiful creatures have become family pets and my son has named them and goes into the gallery each evening at bedtime to say goodnight to them!

Animal Alphabet (Original) by Lorena Siminovich (left)
1 to 10 Counting Poster - Trees by Isak (right)

What is she loving most at the moment? I like that there is a range of artworks - from original acrylic on canvas to prints and installation pieces. It means the art is always dynamic and does not follow a formulae. I like also that there is a low entry point – works can be purchased for AUD48 – and that we also focus on providing that really special, once in a life time purchase, too.

What is her inspiration? Those lovely little minds of my customers. My oldest son, Owen, provides endless inspiration and gives me a lot of feedback!

If she could do anything in the whole wide, entire world – what would she do? Interestingly, I would be doing exactly what I am doing. I love law, motherhood and exploring the world of art for children. If there were more hours in the day, I would really love to write... perhaps some day.

Lamb by Mimi’lou (left)
Hide and Seek by Shinzi Katoh (right)

Where would she escape to if she could? Berlin. It truly is a wonderful, charming place. The summer there is magic and holds so many wonderful memories. This year, we will regrettably miss the Berlin summer.

What would she do there? I would get a picnic rug and head to the park with some friends for one of those wonderful dinner picnics that Berliners have almost every evening in summer in their large green parks. Perhaps because there is a long wait each year for the summer and for that brief period, there are long warm, night-blue twilights, I feel the Berliners really know how to make the most of it. There is a carnivale feel in the evenings and I love seeing families out eating gelato and musos playing in the park.

Container Truck by Gav Barbey

What are her secret aspirations? I aspire to provide a collection of artwork that inspires young minds. Visual art is a medium that has some unique advantages in this respect. A child’s relationship with visual art really begins from the first inquiring gaze at what surrounds him or her in the cot.

I am motivated by providing an environment which stimulates the child and inspires the imagination, just as, later, fine children’s literature does for children learning to read. At the same time, children can interact with visual art at their own pace and in their own way. There is the opportunity to explore the physical and emotional aspects of basic things like shapes, colour and texture without being bombarded by stimuli from multiple media.

blommofant blue by Isa Form

So, what’s next? We have opened a gallery now and are starting to participate more and more in exhibitions in Sydney. On the whole, the last 18 months have shown me that my customers tell me best about what is next... so what is next is something I am still finding out!

What is her greatest achievement? Having my two boys. Bringing another life into this world is terrifying, humbling and exhilarating.

What would be her absolutely perfect day? See What Would She Do There (above).

Apple Surprise - Red by Kelly Boulton

What five words sum her up? Energetic, passionate, committed, honest and caring.

What really fabulous advice does she have for others wanting to Do What They Love? Do it – and do it your own way, and follow that through beginning to end.

Fiona’s artwork can be seen at Magnolia Square markets; see www.magnoliasquare.com.au for details. You can make an appointment to visit Kindergallery Gallery in Balmain by phoning (02) 9818 4680. See the website for more details.

Ollie the Owl Plushie (Coloured) by Kristin Loffer Theiss

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