Occupation: Tegan, artist, News Travels employee

Occupation: Tegan, artist, News Travels employee

It's 6.40am at Brisbane International Airport and Tegan, 23, is arranging gum in the little newsagency (news travels, as you can see!). From this vantage point, the visual artist has the arrivals gate in her direct sight, where people queue to see their loved ones come into view. Gosh, that must be pleasant, to see couples and families and friends re-united after the longest of times? 

"When New Zealand had their earthquakes, a lot of people with injuries came through here because their hospitals were full – seeing people arrive who had damaged eyes and bandages was pretty emotional," she says. "It was pretty intense."

Tegan used to work not here, but on level three, near the departures gate, which was much harder to take: saying good-bye makes you want to cry; hello is always (well, usually) accompanied by a smile. 

And there are perks! She's in a prime celebrity spotting position. Mariah Carey, Justin Bieber, Jamie Durie, to name just a few. "It looked really bright and happy, so I went along with it," she says of taking her brother's girlfriend – the former manager of the store – up on the proposition.

She doesn't yet have any regrets. Before the airport, Tegan worked at McDonald's. Her current gig is more relaxed and enables her to spend more time with the customers when she's not arranging all the chocolate bars or gum with precision.

Outside of the shop, Tegan's trying to make it as a digital artist, mainly painting. She studied for two years at the Southbank Institute of Tafe where she did a diploma of visual arts, which she says were the best two years of her life, as she got to hang around artistic people.

"I draw more fantasy; I create creatures, which I know sounds weird," she says. "If people like my technique, they will ask me to paint or draw characters for them and they pay me for it."

Deviantart, she says, is like a Facebook for artists; it's how she keeps in contact with her art friends, what they're doing and how they're improving. Within this network, she has her own sub-site (teggy.deviantart.com) where people can look over her work.

She'd love to do the work full-time but is frustrated that many job openings require more experience. "All the places want two to seven years experience," she says. "I'd do it for free, but they're not willing to give it a go. I think my art will only be a hobby. There's not enough money in the art industry."

When I mention that she's not the first artist I've met who has to supplement her income, but that creativity can be expressed in the most stale of places, she jests: "If you can get a job where creativity is included, that's great. See all the candy, how it's all facing the right way? That's about as creative as this job gets."

For the record, the most common items bought here are magazines: gossip magazines like Woman's Day for the ladies, and sports and car titles for the gents.

Girl With a Satchel


Elle said...

Did I spy the News Travels bag with you this morning, Erica? Fresh from the airport and straight to FROCK? What dedication!