Past scenestrs of the day

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Helen McCullagh – scenestr of the day

Published in SOD  
What do you do?
I'm an artist and avid Australian art collector living in northern NSW under Mt Warning (near Byron); I'm also a secondary school art teacher.

Why do you do it?
I love art. My whole life I've been painting and creating. I see the production of art as powerful in the modern world where usually we constantly consume – it's nice to produce something from scratch, whether it be art, a recipe, or anything really. I also love to collect art and support fellow artists.

What do you love about the city you live in?
Nature, peace, acceptance, diversity. I live in one of the most richly diverse regions. There are artists, organic farmers, lots of social and local enterprise, tourism, and national parks. It's so conducive to creativity.

Where did you go for your last holiday?
My partner and I went to Greece and Turkey – it was AMAZING. I love the chaos of big cities like Istanbul, not to mention the endless array of beautiful textiles and mosaics as well as centuries of history. The food is fantastic too.

What's your favourite item of clothing?
I'm not big into clothes – it's transient so I don't get attached. Anything comfortable is what I live in.

What was your favourite TV show when you were a kid?
It'd have to be ‘Captain Planet’ – loved that!

If you could travel back in time for a day, where would you go?
I'd love to go back to the times of Van Gogh, Cezanne and Gauguin where artists were bohemian and lived so passionately for their work.

If we were coming over to your place, what would you cook us?
Hmmm… I would buy some antipasto and nibbles and serve it with a bottle(s) of champagne.

What's the best lesson you've ever learned?
To be kind. I think being kind is one of the most underrated attributes in society. It gets you a long way.

Tell us one thing about yourself that nobody else knows...
Only a few people know but I have a phobia of creamy things like toothpaste. I can never share my toothpaste with anyone and my brush has to be washed with hot water each time. I gag when I watch people brush their teeth. Most know that I'm contented and lighthearted. I like to be happy and make people laugh, often at myself. People know they can joke around with me.

Are you happy with your work/ life balance?
Yes. I work a few days a week teaching art and the rest of my time is spent painting in my studio. I love getting in the zone and making work.

How do you define success?
I think this is just being happy with life and not stressing the small stuff. At the end of the day it's just a journey and most things are never permanent – you can always change your path if things aren't going as planned. I find it easy to make decisions like this and it's really helped with my career and outlook.

What's your spirit animal? I'm making a green tree frog – just cos I like them :)


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