AWNY Startup Stories: Artist Fiona Maclean

Fiona Maclean has an impressive list of accomplishments as an artist, illustrator, and makeup artist for film/TV.  She shares the experiences that led to her becoming a visual artist—and, in the process, venturing from New Zealand to Australia and now New York City.

What brought you from Australia to New York?

I’m originally from New Zealand, but lived in Australia for many years and became an Aussie citizen 7 years ago. Bondi Beach was my home for many years. I met my partner in Sydney and we moved to NYC in 2005 when I won a place at Parsons School of Art doing a Bachelor of Fine Arts in painting. My studies were cut short when my partner was diagnosed with advanced cancer and we moved back to Australia. He passed away, and I took over running his online marketing and advertising business for a number of years, putting my artistic career on hold. I closed the business a couple of years ago so as to reinvent and pursue my artistic career again.

It wasn’t until last year that I decided I wanted to return to the US. I secured the O1 visa for my artistic abilities and talents and am in the process of relocating to NYC in early 2018.

Tell us about these businesses and what inspired you to begin.

I had always wanted to get into the creative fields and had a real passion for fashion illustration, costume illustration, and makeup, as well as my first love of painting, portraits, and the human form.

I studied art and graphic art/design briefly in New Zealand and then moved to Sydney to complete a makeup artist course for Film/TV/Special Effects. At the same time as starting out as a freelance makeup artist, I was also pursuing my illustration career, working mainly regular freelance jobs in editorial, mostly fashion and beauty illustrations for Sydney magazines such as Elle, Cosmopolitan, Cleo, and Dolly, as well as work for corporate clients like Air New Zealand. 

I love fashion and wanted to use my illustrations as a way to get into the industry. While doing that, I was working as a makeup artist on feature films and in TV, such as Moulin Rouge, Mission Impossible and the Matrix trilogy.

 

What have been the hardest lessons in starting a business?

The sometimes inconsistency and the fact that the only one I can rely on is me to do the work, the networking, the ‘go sees’, etc.

Where have you been most successful in marketing your business?

Through social media mostly, particularly Instagram and Facebook. They are great platforms for visuals and expose a range of people to artists who may have limited marketing budgets.  I have been commissioned to paint portraits and paintings through people following me on Instagram and Facebook.

For the past two years, I have donated my art to the Breast Cancer Awareness Lunch fundraiser held by Riley Street Garage in Sydney. It’s a great way to get my art seen and contribute to a wonderful cause.

What advice would you give someone thinking about starting a business?

You need to be disciplined and persevere. You also need some sort of ‘job’ or freelance-type job to fall back on if need be so you don’t end up putting so much pressure on starting out in a new career or business and in getting things up and running.

Other than yourself, what piece of Australia have you put into your business?

I bring to my artwork, my paintings and illustrations the kind of youth culture and freshness that is sometimes associated with Australia. I’ve painted quite a few paintings with Bondi Beach as the backdrop or the cafe culture that Australia is known for.

Tell us about your workspace.

I’m currently floating between countries so I don’t have a permanent studio, which has been a bit frustrating. Whilst living in Australia, I’ve had a home studio, and when visiting NYC, an artist friend gave me use of her studio in Brooklyn, which was such a luxury.

Fiona Profile pic 2

Credit: Keri Megelus

What are some of your biggest accolades in your art, illustration and makeup career to date?

I was chosen as an artist to watch among a strong emerging talent of artists in the ‘One to Watch’ series released by Saatchi. Winning a place at the prestigious Parsons School of Art (The New School). Being featured in fashion illustration books, such as Imagemakers: Cutting Edge Fashion Illustration. And working as a makeup artist on big feature films.

What is next for your business?

I’m hoping for an opportunity to work on upcoming feature films doing the costume illustrations, as well as getting makeup work on feature films/TV/commercials.

I’m also hoping to exhibit in both Australia and New York. I have a couple of commercial-type pieces that I want to start working on, which will be combining my painting with photography and mixed media.

My main focus this coming year is developing and cultivating my talents and skill set, so when one is a bit ‘slow’ I can gain work from one of the other skills I have as a freelancer.

Where can people view your artwork?

I have online portfolios of my artwork, illustrations and makeup work which can be found at the links below. I also sell through online gallery Saatchi https://www.saatchiart.com/MissFifiMaclean. I am available for commissions of paintings, illustration and freelance work doing Makeup, Illustration and Art.

Websitewww.fionamaclean.com (Fine art, illustration & film/TV makeup)

Websitewww.newyorkerbabe.com  (Illustration)

Instagramhttps://www.instagram.com/fifimaclean/

Facebook Artist Pagehttps://www.facebook.com/artistfionamaclean/

Twitterhttps://twitter.com/FifiMaclean

 

 

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Are you an Australian female who owns a business in New York?

If you do and you want to tell us all about it, email us at awny@aaanyc.org

What to Do When You Feel Homesick

It’s bound to happen. One minute, you’re loving New York to death and couldn’t imagine living anywhere else. The next, a Facebook post of a faraway friend’s birthday dinner or a Crowded House song on a party playlist sends you into a spiral—suddenly all you want is sun, sand and a Bunnings’ sausage sizzle.

As an expat, a bout of homesickness now and then is to be expected. We’re a long way from home, and missing Australian friends, family and culture is totally normal.

Here are some things you can do in New York to get through it:

* Grab a coffee at an Aussie coffee shop. The coffee you get from the bagel shop down the street is just… fine. But it’s worth it to treat yourself to a properly made latte from an Aussie who knows their way around an espresso machine. Some recommendations for a Melbourne-style caffeine hit: Little Collins (Midtown East), Sweatshop (Williamsburg), Two Hands (Little Italy/TriBeCa), and Bluestone Lane cafes (all over the place).

Sunday morning swans 💙☕️✨

A post shared by Bluestone Lane (@bluestonelanecoffee) on

* Listen to an Aussie podcast. Podcast fever has hit Down Under, and there are some stellar offerings that will keep you in the loop on what’s going on back home. Chats 10, Looks 3 from ABC journos Annabel Crabb and Leigh Sales is fantastic. And, of course, you can’t go past Hamish & Andy.

* Find a beach. For those who grew up or lived on the coast, there’s something about being near the waves. While American beaches will always fall short of our sparkling white sand and aquamarine vistas, sometimes just a hit of fresh salty air and the sound of the ocean can help a lot.

Some inspo for your weekend adventures 🌊 from @_carlybrownphotography_

A post shared by The Surf Lodge (@thesurflodge) on

* Have a roast dinner. When was the last time you had a good old Sunday roast? You could make it yourself… or you could gather some friends and go out. There are some great British pubs and restaurants that cater to Commonwealth tastes (and you might just score a Yorkshire pudding). Try The Churchill, Tea & Sympathy, or The Shakespeare in The William Hotel.

* Go to an AWNY or American Australian Association event. Know what’s better than being alone while you miss Australia? Being around other Australians! Having a good community around you goes a long way in helping to make a new city a home. It’s also great to be able to chat to people who understand your accent and your humour (with a u) and won’t snigger when you say the word “thongs”.

And finally – be thankful that we live in the age of FaceTime/Viber/WhatsApp and can call our loved ones back in Australia for free whenever we want!

When Will It Be Time To Go Home? Taryn Silver’s top 3 considerations

Living in New York is exciting. It’s full of ups and downs. And there’s nothing quite like it. I always tell friends that living in New York is like opening a Pandora’s box of excitement and adventure. Once you open it, you can’t close it. Living in America made me appreciate that despite the wonders of technology, Australia is still quite isolated.

Over the Summer I had a coffee with a friend, and she said that she felt she was ready to come home. Then Melbourne was named the most livable city in the world yet again. Americans are always asking me, “Why would you come here? I’d love to live in Australia, it’s so beautiful.” So I asked myself, would I ever be ready to come home? Should I go home? Here are three things to consider on this topic.

#1 Missing out on major life events

Living overseas means missing out on the big life events of your friends. A couple of years ago I Skyped into my cousin’s wedding, we’re the same age and had grown up together.  While it felt like I was there, it wasn’t quite the same. I wasn’t in any of the pictures and the weeks leading up to the wedding. I kept on dreaming that I would arrive last minute and surprise everyone. One of my best friend’s is engaged, and I know there’s a good chance I’ll miss her wedding too.

#2 ‘Nothing changes’ is a myth

One of my favorite haunts on the Upper West Side is Earth Cafe, they serve Toby’s Estate coffee, and more often than not I bump into Aussies looking for decent coffee. One expat, I bumped into had just returned from a visit home. I asked about her experience and she said,  “nothing changes.” But things do change back home, and sometimes in a sad way. The question is, do you want to be 22 hours away? My grandparents have aged rapidly this year, and it’s been hard not being able to lend a hand when I can. I worry that one day my parents could need me to be there.

#3 When it’s no longer fun anymore

Moving to America with very little family means giving up my well-established support systems and networks. That was abundantly clear when, as an exchange student, I found myself alone in the hospital. But right now New York is still fun. I’m meeting new people all the time and seeing more theatre than I ever did in Melbourne. Plus, I’ve just been home for Christmas! But it’s also hard, and I’ve always told myself that if it isn’t fun any more than maybe its time to come home.

I’m always flexible to reassessing my situation as it changes. Right now I just try to live every day, one day at a time. It’s very easy to get caught up in the what if‘s. And when that happens I remember that none of us really know where we’ll be in a year – I certainly never dreamed of coming to and living in New York City, and yet here I am…

About the author

Taryn Silver is another Aussie transplant who has been living in New York for over two years. Taryn recently graduated from Columbia University with an M.S in Strategic Communication and now works as a Senior Account Executive at Orangefiery, a communications consultancy. Taryn is also a classically trained Soprano with a Bachelor of Music from the Melbourne Conservatorium of Music and is still loves sharing her passion for music with anyone and everyone. Connect with Taryn on Twitter @vegemitecheese or on her website www.vegemitecheeseburger.com a place where Aussie and American culture come together.

AWNY AGM is just around the corner!

AGM pic

Dear AWNY members and friends,

Want to get involved with a dynamic group of women,
give back, make fabulous friends and have fun?

JOIN US FOR THE AWNY 2017 ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING

WHERE
The Liberty NYC
29 West 35th Street, New York, NY

WHEN:

Monday, April 17, 2017
6.30pm for 7:00pm start

Meeting and election procedures
Networking before and after

RSVP
awny@aaanyc.org

Each year we hold our AGM, where you, our members, are provided the opportunity
to join the AWNY Committee.

Established by the American Australian Association in 1999, AWNY is a dynamic group of women of all ages & backgrounds. We host a diverse range of social events, educational & professional networking opportunities.

Our Vision is to be known as the MUST join group for all Australian women when moving to New York, by providing a forum for women to come together: network, share ideas & experiences, whilst helping to make the transition into New York life as rewarding as possible!

NOMINATION PROCEDURE

All positions are open for re-election including: President, Vice President, Secretary, Co-chair positions available for Mums & Dads, Communications, Events, and New Member. Plus there are positions available for committee members as Event Coordinators, Communications Team members and Charity Coordinators.

Submit your nomination by Thursday, April 13 online here.


Join AWNY online


Website – Facebook  –  Twitter  –  LinkedIn  –  Instagram

What’s on in New York in February

January didn’t bring much winter feel with it but as I type this the mercury is dipping toward zero degrees C and I have it on good authority that February and March could pack a cold punch. So why not grab a cuppa, sit back, and read through AWNY’s picks of the best Feb events to help get you through the chillaroo…

Curated by the AWNY Communications Team

TOP PICK! Make sure you zip on over to our Facebook page and check out the AWNY Art Auction. Two very special artists, Jacinta Stewart and Trish Callaghan have donated an art work each for the online auction, and all funds raised will go towards AWNY’s 2017 charity, The Dwelling Place. Bidding ends Feb 8 at midnight! It’s really easy to place a bid – just add your bid in the comments section under each of the art work pics on the events page. Bid here for Jacinta’s work and here for Trish’s work. Thank you for your support for this great cause!

Aussie Cabaret performer Michael Griffiths performs his ‘In Vogue’ show (Madonna tribute) at 54 Below on February 7.  The cabaret experience of 54 Below is reason enough to go but I have a hunch Michael will make this an unforgettably fun night. Tickets and info available here.

The Gondwana Choir, comprising the most accomplished choral groups in Australia, perform on February 2nd at 1pm at the Trinity Church. Additional info about the event can be found here. Entry is free (can you think of a better way to spend your lunch break tomorrow?).

TOP PICK! Join ANWY’s Love, Sex and Romance panel discussion on February 15 at Impact Hub. New York based Australian authors Rachel Hills and Skye Cleary will lead the discussion that will explore myths, fantasies, and unspoken assumptions about romance and relationships. AWNY member tix are a bargain at $15 and are available here.

Why do us grown-ups get all the fun? Kids night on Broadway, held on Feb 28th, is a great initiative that allows kids the see Broadway shows for zilcho (must be accompanied by a fee paying adult). Search the list of participating shows here (includes the Lion King and Wicked – both excellent) and BOOK NOW. Tix won’t last.

If you’re not a super bowl fan but need to at least know the who and when, then this info is for you: The New England Patriots and the Atlanta Falcons will battle it out on Feb 5. If you’re more of a die-hard fan, here’s some additional specs: kick off for the main game is at 6.30PM Eastern. It’s being played in Houston, Texas, and Lady Gaga is scheduled to perform the half time show. Seriously, if you’ve never experienced a New York City pub on super bowl night, do it. Get in early though to grab a seat near the telly.

There a many great things about New York in Winter and Fashion Week is definitely one of them (I’m always reminded of one of my favourite Sex and the City scenes when Samantha gets fake blood squirted over her beautiful white mink coat while coming out of Bryant Park. “God I miss love New York!’ was her completely awesome response). It runs from Feb 9-16. This link will tell you who’s show is on and where. Most events are industry-only (but hey, great celeb spotting). This link will give you events open to the public.

Time Out have put together a great list of events around Mardi Gras (Feb 28) this year. In NYC, Mardi Gras is not celebrated in quite the same way it is in Australia. The event is actually a religious celebration (eating richer foods on Shrove Tuesday before the fasting of Lent). But in New York (and New Orleans, if you happen to be down there) it’s celebrated with a lot of Jazz. Check out Time Out’s list of some of the amazing events taking place in the city to celebrate it.

Photo credit: Joanna Hishon