GWAS Girl Crush: Beci Culley

 Artist Beci Culley, 29, stepped into my life one Saturday afternoon late last year for tea and fruit bun with a mutual friend. She is one of those rare gems who leave you feeling energised, as if anything is possible, but not in the way of a motivational speaker. It's in the way she lives. I stopped by her Brisbane home and studio last week to play with her makeup and talk about how her art imitates her life and vice versa.

"I did art at school, but I was never really good at it, to be honest; I got really bad marks," she tells me as we sit down with cups of tea on the breezy verandah of the Queenslander she shares with two housemates. "But after school I did a diploma in graphic design at TAFE and there were illustration classes that I really enjoyed, but I still didn't venture into the art side; I didn't think I was able."

 Though not as traditionally bohemian as other creative types (she's worked in finance!), Beci has lived in Sydney, where she studied music, and travelled abroad, but Brisbane is her home and her base. "I think life's about balance," she says. "Sydney is very career focused; in Brisbane you can let your belly out a bit. I love visiting Sydney, but I'm glad I came back."

But it was the encouragement of a friend in Sydney who recognised her talent for art who gave her the confidence to chase her dream.

"She encouraged me to do some work for an exhibition she was putting on in Sydney. I did three paintings and got good feedback, but I didn't sell anything, so I thought, 'Well, I'll see if any shops will take them. And the week I came back I went to a little shop in Manly (Brisbane) and asked the lady if she'd take my work, and they ended up selling one within the month. That was amazing. It opened up a totally new world for me. I've been painting ever since." 

Though she's worked the Dior and Becca Cosmetics makeup counters, it was serendipity that connected Beci with Benefit Cosmetics, the quirky, cheeky makeup brand, where she now works part-time, after a less-than-stimulating stint designing corporate and real estate brochures.

"I was grateful for the experience, but I missed makeup and the social aspect of it," she says. "I thought I needed a change. I was putting my feelers out and I ran into an old friend who worked in the Myer city cosmetics department out of the blue. She put in a good word and I got the job."

Beci has fashioned a career to accommodate her passions – illustration and makeup artistry – while her lifestyle works seamlessly with her schedule (you can track her via her blog). On Monday and Thurdsay nights she studies Italian, she works the Benefit counter 3-4 days a week and the rest of her time is spent painting, blogging, doing paper work and catching up with friends over coffee or at church (her faith, she says, is an intrinsic a part of her: "I live my life the way I feel is right and if people want to talk about faith, I'm happy to share").

Her painting style is "abstract in some ways but always romantic", though she's not yet met someone special. Life is full of creativity, music (she plays piano and guitar), hunting around town on her scooter, surfing, food, shopping and adventure.

"I love variety," she says. "In the last three years I've been all around Europe, to America and China and the Torres Strait Islands. Paris, I loved; I didn't do the typical tourist stuff. I bought a baguette and some cheese and went and sat by a lake just near the Louvre. I was lying down, enjoying myself just being there, sort of nodded off and woke up and there was a man sketching me!"

Beci takes art commissions and makeup bookings for weddings and the like, too. And now here she is saying hello to you...

Girl With a Satchel


Donovan said...

Beci's a great artist. Love her work.