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Q&A with Emma Kidd

Australian artist and illustrator

My name is Emma Kidd. I go by the alias of benconservato generally. I paint and draw. I like to make articulated creatures and paint strange animals that only exist in your dreams (or imagination of sorts).

What inspired you to become an artist?

I have always been a creative it seems. My parents always encouraged me to do so. It just grew from there. I have never really stopped, I think I have just honed my “style”.

What tools do you use to organize your work?

Organisation is not what you would think when you look at my workspace. But I do actually know where everything is. I have wooden artists box, which is possibly made for painting outdoors, where I keep all my gouache and paintbrushes and ink pens. I have drawers which are organised to house paper and I go from there. My space is actually just a 1.5m stand-up desk in a small flat.

What is your ideal work environment?

I like to have a place I can leave things where I can walk past them and see where I am at. I know people who set up on their kitchen or dining room table and clear it up every night… that doesn’t work for me. I tend to overwork pieces if I don’t get a chance to just see them in passing for a few hours or a day or  a week or so.

Where does your design inspiration come from? 

Inspiration possibly comes from lots of places, but the fact that we all (generally), trawl the internet, see others work perhaps in passing perhaps not. Everything probably influences us these days in some way, even negatively. Recent influences or things I have enjoyed to look at and read are: “coming and Going” by Isabel Minh?s Martins, “In Pieces” by Marion Fayolle (I like nearly everything produced by Nobrow Press), I love Mandy Ord’s work (“Sensitive Creatures” is her most recently published book), I like monstery things, it is pretty rare if i don’t like it. I loved visiting Brett Whiteley’s studio here in Sydney, but I have always loved his fluid and beautiful work.

Who are the creative people you admire most?

I know so many creative people, either virtually or in the flesh. I know we all struggle with getting things done while perhaps juggling a “second” job to pay the bills or children. Being in the later category, I meet lots of interesting creative people doing amazing things while their kids hang off their legs. I’ve already mentioned Mandy Ord, I went to school with her, so I like to see her flourish doing all the amazing things she loves to do. I used to do lots of Moleskine exchanges, where you send, normally, a Japanese Fold Moleskine to an artist, perhaps there is a theme (this tended to work best), and eventually it comes back to you filling with love and amazing work. Too many amazing people to mention.