Growing up, Gabby Malpas has always been into art. An adoptee of a British/New Zealand couple from a Chinese mother, Gabby has channeled her energies to creating her own happiness through art since she was young. She then went on to finish ceramics at the Dunedin School of Art when an opportunity offered itself.
Today, she’s a full-fledged artist creating works of art inspired by flora and fauna with a hint of chinoiserie. Art has become her way of contributing to the world and honoring her adoptive parents and her biological mother who gave her life. Helping her connect to licensing companies worldwide is the premier Australia-based art gallery ArtSHINE, through its Accelerator Program.
Before ArtSHINE, Gabby used to work as a digital project manager for corporate clients. “Since my 20s my goal had been to work three days per week and paint for four. I worked my way into digital marketing agencies in London and Sydney because of the salaries. The hours were brutal, and I was aging out after 45. But I was laying the financial foundations to enable me to work as an artist,” Gabby shared.
Working part-time as a digital project manager allowed her to continue doing her artwork. While Gabby admits she struggled with creativity as she worked part-time, she couldn’t let the security of a well-paid job go to waste to chase a dream. This is why it took a long time before she became a full-time artist.
Then, in 2010, Gabby met ArtSHINE’s Accelerator Program Business Coach Vinh Van Lam during her exhibit at the Affordable Art Fair in Sydney. “He came and viewed my work and seemed impressed. He later got in touch with an invitation to work with him under his mentorship program, but at the time, although I was very flattered, something wasn’t right – I wasn’t ready,” Gabby said. She had to wait until she was ready because for her, working with an art coach is an investment of time, money, and creative energy.
What Gabby liked about Vinh is that he didn’t push getting her under his coaching program instantly. She would see Vinh at art events and shows around Sydney to chat and exchange information and ideas with her. She observed how he interacted with his artists and how he would curate his shows. “His manner was friendly, respectful and during the next few years although he may have mentioned art coaching once or twice, he didn’t push it, but I kept it in the back of my mind. Finally, one day in 2014 I said: ‘I’m ready’ and so it began,” Gabby said.
Gabby added that from Vinh’s cultural background and awareness comes a lot of empathy. This is what she truly appreciates from an adoptee’s perspective. Now, Gabby is one of ArtSHINE’s celebrated artists whose works and life story have been featured in different places in 2019, from Hong Kong’s Cordis hotel to Singapore’s The Peranakan Association of Singapore’s magazine.
“Working with Vinh and ArtSHINE has developed and grown my art and licensing practice in ways I could not imagine. As a mentor, he can see the bigger picture and will direct me towards projects that produce maximum results and benefits.
“His approach is gentle, kind, and personal. Artists can be tricky to work with, but he navigates this with sensitivity, humor, and kindness. Vinh is extremely well connected and is generous with the sharing of contacts and knowledge.
“He is truly a creative leader and I look forward to many more years collaborating with him and his team,” Gabby said.
Founded by Vinh Van Lam and Stuart Horrex, ArtSHINE supports and empowers creatives with a full suite of services including agency representation, mentoring, commercialization of artwork, and developing a community of artists in Australia and around the world. ArtSHINE also offers business coaching and education for commercially minded artists, designers, and creative professionals through its specialist launch pad and accelerator coaching programs helping commercially minded Creatives take their Art & Design practices to the next level.
The ArtSHINE Accelerator Program is the brand’s business coaching project that takes any creative’s practice to the next level. Graduates of the program are represented by ArtSHINE at various international art licensing trade shows worldwide to kickstart their debut on a global scale.