Port Fairy contemporary artist Colleen Guiney has used her Regional Arts Victoria grant to thrive throughout the coronavirus pandemic.
As part of the grant, Guiney was able to produce limited edition archival giclee prints from five original paintings to promote and sell directly through her website and support other south-west entrepreneurs.
Spectrum Printing photographed and printed the editions, Jo O'Keefe photographed the marketing images, public relations student Molly Smith was enlisted to help promote them and Ms Guiney was also able to undertake business coaching through Sheridan Buscombe.
"This is a great opportunity to explore something I haven't tried before which could make my art practice more sustainable," she said.
"Before the pandemic I had an exhibition booked for April and 95 per cent of my art income comes from gallery sales. In COVID, that source of income cut out altogether.
"For me, my aim shifted to being able to sustain myself by developing new products and with that comes new target markets.
"Being able to sell direct to customers instead of just through a gallery becomes more profitable on an ongoing basis alongside shows.
"Moving forward I'll keep doing these sales on the side to keep another income stream aside from exhibitions. One thing I've learnt from COVID is not to put all my eggs in one basket."
The artist said she was encouraged by her contacts and helped along the process to look into making prints herself.
"I started really doing a lot of research online," she said. "Initially, making the prints took up a lot of my time but it's been the best thing for me to do.
"Now I've got that behind me, I have a system and can continue. It's just an extra step at the end."
Guiney moved to Port Fairy seven years ago and said colourful and emotive contemporary works changed when she settled in the seaside town.
The artist runs award-winning boutique hotel Drift House with her partner and said the initial uptake of printing her artworks took time to master.
In 2020, Guiney was one of a handful of artists chosen to display their work through the virtual Port Fairy Spring Music Festival.
"I would describe my artwork as emotional landscapes," she said. "I work from the subconscious and my pieces take in all that's going on around me.
"Markmaking is my process; I build up the layers, adding and deleting until a piece feels full.
"What you put yourself out there with art is what you'll get in return. Now I've got the printmaking process behind me, I have a system which I can continue.
"I still produce my work in the same way, but I've made my scope broader with another step at the end."
To view Collen Guiney's catalogue of work head to colleenguiney.com/
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