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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AWNY Interview with Author & Adopted Aussie – Anna Akbari

2015-12-07-14-35-19-1Anna Akbari is a sociologist, writer, and entrepreneur and she is presenting at our next AWNY event on January 24 (more information on the event is listed below). Anna has lived in both Australia and NYC and we caught up with her recently to talk about her recently published book and what she misses about Australia.

Where are you from? How long have you been here?

I grew up in Iowa, but I’ve lived a lot different places since leaving there in high school to go to a performing arts boarding school in Michigan (I studied theater there). I spent most of my adult life in NYC (the Village and Hell’s Kitchen), with chunks of time spent on Nantucket, and most recently California. I’ve also lived in the Dominican Republic, Ireland, Spain and Australia! I was in Australia for most of 2016: Byron Bay, Margaret River, Bondi, Avalon and the Sydney northern beaches — I now consider it my second home and can’t wait to go back next year 🙂

Where do you currently live? 

I’m currently in Los Angeles, in Venice. I love Venice; it’s quirky, diverse, creative, and beachy — everything I look for in a place! But I’m fortunate enough to travel regularly, so Venice is a great launching off point (particularly to Australia!).

What do you do?

This has never been a simple question for me to answer! I’ve taken a rather nontraditional career path. I usually try to sum it up by saying I’m a sociologist (that’s what my PhD is in), and I formerly taught at NYU and Parsons, but now focus on entrepreneurial ventures (Sociology of Style and HVCK), writing, and speaking.  My new book, Startup Your Life: Hustle and Hack Your Way to Happiness is out this month.

How did you get in to your work?

A lot of school, an experimental path, and non-stop hustle! A lot of the work I’ve done has centered around a search for identity, which has always been a personal quest of mine. I think we do our best work when we are personally invested — there’s more at stake.

What are the differences to working in Australia?

One interesting difference I’ve noticed is that Australians are more like to pick up the phone and call. Americans shy away from phone calls, but I love the directness of just picking up the phone and engaging directly — without having a set time, scheduling, etc. It’s refreshingly old school. I want to integrate back in the American culture.

Anything you miss about Australia?

So much! Love the food, the international/cosmopolitan population, the embrace of travel, the great surf spots (and the surfers!), WA in general! I want to take a road trip around the entire perimeter of WA, and possibly the southern coast, around the Great Australian Bight. So much left to explore there!

What’s your ‘only in New York’ moment/s?

Oh goodness – so many!! I used to host some pretty wild karaoke parties. Some were pants-optional (for Valentine’s Day), we had an annual Santaoke holiday karaoke party, and we had various taxidermy mascots (a deer, a wild boar) that accompanied the singers. They were classic, colorful New York events.

When you need retail therapy, you run to…

I do most of my shopping online, but I love small boutiques – there are some great ones in Australia and nice local designers: Magali Pascal (Parisian designer but with a flagship boutique in Sydney), Viktoria & Woods, Jac + Jack.

Join AWNY for this presentation where Anna Akbari, PhD demonstrates how to reach personal fulfillment in all areas of life by using the same strategies that power Silicon Valley’s greatest startups. Let her help you game the system as you hustle and hack your way to happiness.

Event details:

Date: Tuesday, January 24, 2017
Time: 6pm arrival for a 6:30pm start
Location: WeWork Times Square, 1460 Broadway, New York, NY, 10034
Tickets: $25 for members | $35 for non-members
(Price includes a copy of Anna’s book)
RSVP for the event here

What is an AWNY/AAA Member? Find out more about membership and benefits.

 

ANNA AKBARI, PHD is a sociologist, writer, and entrepreneur. She is the founder of Sociology of Style and a partner in HVCK innovation consultancy. She holds a PhD in sociology and has taught at NYU and Parsons. She is a frequent public speaker, contributor, and media personality on CNN, The Atlantic, The Financial Times, New York Observer, New York Daily News, DailyWorth, Above the Law, and The Huffington Post.

“You can be the startup CEO of your own life, and Anna Akbari teaches you how in this indispensable guide. Her personal tales and time-tested advice inspire and motivate – it’s the extra push you need for living your best life.”

—Alexa von Tobel, founder and CEO of LearnVest and New York Times bestselling author of Financially Fearless

“If you’re looking for a reset – professional or personal – Anna Akbari is the guru for you. Embracing the revise-as-you-go ethos of the tech world, she’ll help you find the right fit, even if it means a misfire or two first. Even better, you’ll enjoy the ride.”
—Amanda Steinberg, founder of DailyWorth

Startup Your Life: Hustle and Hack Your Way to Happiness

Living your life like a startup is about maximizing flexibility and measuring ongoing results, not avoiding failure or reaching one particular end goal. It’s about embracing defeat, analyzing it, and failing up. Using the Startup Your Life principles, you actively create the life you want, regardless of the stage you’re in or the hurdles you face. It’s not about “happiness someday,” but now. This approach is not just a bunch of philosophical fluff— rather, it offers realistic, actionable strategies that allow you to implement and live each of the lessons from day one. Personal fulfillment is created, not inherited or earned. And outside forces feel a lot less overwhelming when tackled systematically, with a little guidance.

Join AWNY for this presentation where Anna Akbari, PhD demonstrates how to reach personal fulfillment in all areas of life by using the same strategies that power Silicon Valley’s greatest startups. Let her help you game the system as you hustle and hack your way to happiness.

Event details:

Date: Tuesday, January 24, 2017
Time: 6pm arrival for a 6:30pm start
Location: WeWork Times Square, 1460 Broadway, New York, NY, 10034
Tickets: $25 for members | $35 for non-members
(Price includes a copy of Anna’s book)
RSVP for the event here

What is an AWNY/AAA Member? Find out more about membership and benefits.

ANNA AKBARI, PHD is a sociologist, writer, and entrepreneur. She is the founder of Sociology of Style and a partner in HVCK innovation consultancy. She holds a PhD in sociology and has taught at NYU and Parsons. She is a frequent public speaker, contributor, and media personality on CNN, The Atlantic, The Financial Times, New York Observer, New York Daily News, DailyWorth, Above the Law, and The Huffington Post.

“You can be the startup CEO of your own life, and Anna Akbari teaches you how in this indispensable guide. Her personal tales and time-tested advice inspire and motivate – it’s the extra push you need for living your best life.”
—Alexa von Tobel, founder and CEO of LearnVest and New York Times bestselling author of Financially Fearless

“If you’re looking for a reset – professional or personal – Anna Akbari is the guru for you. Embracing the revise-as-you-go ethos of the tech world, she’ll help you find the right fit, even if it means a misfire or two first. Even better, you’ll enjoy the ride.”
—Amanda Steinberg, founder of DailyWorth