Like most people, I had dabbled in the usual mediums they make you use at school. I absolutely despised watercolour and much prefered chalk pastel, charcoal, or just plain graphite pencils, and while art was one of my passions in my teenage years, for a number of reasons, I never pursued it once I had finished Year 12. I never thought I could make something of it, and when my school stopped offering art as a class for my final year, I had all but given up on the faint notion that I could someday be an artist. Of course, that wasn't the only reason. Self doubt played a huge part, and in my mind, art didn't provide a sustainable income; turns out a sustainable income is hard to find in any profession, a fact I wish I had known when I was at school.
In the 6 years between finishing school and starting my business, art was present throughout my life in different ways. I taught myself how to sew and started trying my hand at making cosplay costumes for myself to wear at Oz Comic Con. I made and wore a Margaery Tyrell costume from Game of Thrones, an Elsa costume from Frozen, a Female Kylo Ren costume from Star Wars, and a set of Hogwarts robes for my boyfriend and me, among a few other smaller pieces. I even used these skills to re-cover an old couch I bought from a neighbor. I was also making Polymer Clay sculptures, trying nail art tutorials on myself, and even found seasonal work doing photography . This was also the time where I started making acrylic pieces. I had done a few as gifts, painted my dining table in a galaxy design, but I really discovered my style in 2017 when I completed a Baby Groot painting as a birthday present for my boyfriend, followed by a Rocket Raccoon painting for Christmas a few months later. These pieces were still few and far between though, and took me many hours in work and drying time.
That year, I had watched a tutorial on how to make Harry Potter inspired wands to match the Hogwarts robes I mentioned earlier. What was originally going to be two cosplay wands, turned out to be five more as gifts for my family, and then people started asking to BUY them! I started an Instagram page along with a Facebook page which I had called 'Pix Wizarding Supplies', on which I advertised my wand creations and some little Polymer Clay Patronus charms. It wasn't long, though, before this endeavour reached it's end. Again, self doubt came into play here when I started questioning how I would market this to my target audience. Being an Australian from one of the smaller capital cities made this a huge issue, as well as how I would distribute my products, knowing that a large portion of potential customers were in other countries; I decided that packaging and shipping costs wouldn't be sustainable for my business on an international scale.
Fast forward to 2018, when my brother started a university degree in Animation and Illustration, where he was going through the foundations of art and as a result of listening to him talk about his courses, I became inspired by traditional art again. In March of that year, I decided to challenge myself to 30 days of art, during which I would try different mediums, some for the first time in 6 years. I kept a log of these on my old 'Pix Wizarding Supplies' Instagram page, which I had renamed to 'Vulpix17 Art' (Fun Fact: Vulpix17 is my online alias I've been using since I was about 15. It is my personal Instagram handle as well as my cosplay handle and online gaming persona) On 4th of March I completed my first watercolour Pawtrait of my cat, Marty. My first dog Pawtrait, Ledger, belonging to a friend of mine, wasn't long after. Again, people started asking me to buy these Pawtraits of their own pets. By Mother's Day in May, I'd already had several commissions. I knew at that point that I couldn't keep selling my work under 'Vulpix', a copyrighted name, and so 'Galacticat Art' and my Instagram handle, 'Galacticat.93' was born.
At the time of this post, it has almost been a year since my first Pawtrait commission, and the branding of my business. I've learned more about myself and my art style in the past 12 months than I ever have before. I learned how to do calligraphy, I took my work to local markets, and most recently, I've learned how to use digital programs and draw human faces, which did not come as naturally as animals at all! It's something I resisted for a long time, telling myself I was no good at human features and sticking to what I knew. I'm not perfect, but it's really exciting to see how far I've come in 12 months and how far I might progress in the next 12 months.
Thank you to each and every person who has supported me through this. I hope I can continue to impress you with my future work.