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Q & A with Kiasmin Burrell – Swell Alumni

If you’ve ever taken a wander around Newcastle CBD, sipped a cocktail at one of your favourite local bars, or happened to drop by our (incredibly colourful) office on Crown Street, you’ll be familiar with Kiasmin Burrell. A local artist and painter, a passionate Novocastrian and a true lover of colour.

Have you had a chance to feast your eyes on the magnificent pop of colour that is the Swell office door on Crown Street? When we made the decision to add some colour to our every day, we knew exactly who to call. We featured local artist Kiasmin in issue two and have been obsessed with her work ever since. Since it’s been more than a hot minute since we sat down and had a chat, we caught up with Kiasmin to find out what’s new, what’s inspiring her at the moment, and what the Newcastle art community means to her.

It’s been over a year since we last spoke, what have you been up to!?

I have been busy facilitating art into our healthcare system! I’ve been working at the John Hunter Hospital in the ‘Arts for Health’ program. It is so great to see how art transforms spaces and impacts lives in such a powerful and meaningful way. I am loving it and excited to see more local creatives involved. And of course, I have been painting lots and creating pieces for much-loved favourite venues like The Edwards and supplying House of Lita with a few original artworks. It’s been a full year! Throw a few murals in there and it’s been a year of splashing paint around and then trying to clean up to look presentable and professional. 

What’s inspiring you creatively at the moment?

Honestly, just painting. Being in the process of creating new work and discovering new ground. It’s exciting when you hit the sweet spot in the painting – it’s where the art reveals itself and you sense something pretty special in that moment of ‘creation’. Nothing quite beats that – I LOVE it. 

What’s something you’re really proud of that you’ve achieved in the last year?

Apart from surviving homeschooling and lockdown relatively in one piece – I’m pretty proud of being able to pump out six sizable hand-painted murals for a local space in that extra stressful season of Covid. Still recovering! 

What does the Newcastle art community mean to you?

Hands down, I love our creative community. We are so fortunate to have so many greats that call Newcastle home and who are also just really good people. I am always proud of my locals and what everyone is achieving in their creative pursuits. It’s this mentality that makes Newcastle great – we aren’t snobs and we support each other. Simple as that. 

And finally, what’s something that you would love to pass on to any aspiring creatives, painters or art makers?

Something I do say to anyone who asks about ‘making it’ is just do the work – create and develop your art practice because you love doing it. It’s not about waiting for the jobs to come to you, it’s just about getting in there and doing the work regardless. It’s an obvious one, but having that momentum going will help you produce good work. Also, be someone who supports others. Get out there to exhibitions and events (when we can!) – it’s the best. It means so much to everyone. I’m itching to get to the gallery!

Since Swell began, we have absolutely loved getting behind local creatives doing incredible local things. You really can’t walk around town without noticing the incredible pops of colour from the likes of Kiasmin, we are still over the moon that we were able to gain a little bit of an insight into her creative process, and what she’s got planned for future work. 

Words: Laura Kebby | Photography: Zoe Lonergan

As seen in Swell Issue 2. Grab your copy here

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