River & Colour
Meet The Owner:
Meet Vanessa Kong of River & Colour, located in Kingsford NSW
Tell Us A Little Something About Yourself
I was born and raised in New Zealand and arrived in Sydney at the end of 2018. Still adjusting to living in a different country but I've acclimatised to the Sydney weather and am loving all the sun! I haven't seen my family in NZ since 2019 so I'm looking forward to the day when covid-19 is no longer restricting our lives.
What Inspired You To Start Your Own Business and What does your journey look like?
I've always enjoyed painting and it's always been such a big part of my life. I just didn't have the opportunity to do it full time until this year. I had just quit my previous job right before the pandemic. Up until then, I hadn't really taken a chance with my art. So in a small way, the pandemic was a bit of a blessing as it gave me the space and the push to start my own business and do something I really love. With everything slowing down, it just felt like the right time to return to art and give my business a shot.
What Does Your Business Offer, And What Makes It Unique?
My paintings are all about "evoking sentimental moments". Anniversaries and other celebratory milestones only last for a day or sometimes just an hour but I want people to be able to treasure their special moments for a lifetime. These bespoke watercolour paintings are precious and truly one of a kind, just as our memories are. Each painting is full colour and highly detailed and made with the finest materials such as cotton paper and high quality watercolour paints.
Additionally, giclee prints and original watercolour paintings are also for sale on my website.
What does your Journey Look Like?
Growing up, I spent a lot of time drawing so naturally I went on to study visual arts at university, painting a lot of still life. I was at a bit of a loss as to what to do after I graduated so I spent the rest of my twenties on a journey of self-discovery. I always had an itch to do art but at the same time I was running away from it. Now that I've moved countries and made a few massive changes to my life, I've come to embrace my passion for art.
Did You Always Think You'd Be Doing This?
No, I thought I'd be the last person to start my own business! I didn't think I was the 'entrepreneur' type. But I've previously worked in graphic design, marketing departments and e-commerce stores so funnily enough I had a bit of a head start in running my own online business. My dream job as a kid was working with animals — and I still love them. I've never taken the time to paint animals but I have a few ideas of what I could do. There wasn't really a pivotal moment. I'd been running away from art throughout my twenties, maybe because I didn't believe I was good enough to pursue art full time — maybe because I wasn't brave enough. But my twenties didn't really go as planned. I had a very unpleasant experience in my employment back in NZ and after a year of working in Sydney, it just seemed like art was the next best step!
What Are The Most Rewarding And Challenging Parts Of Your Job And Owning Your Own Business?
The most rewarding part is seeing the joy on people's faces when they see their special moments captured in a custom made painting. Seeing them relive their moments, sharing the story with their loved ones and knowing that it'll take a special place in their home.
One of the most challenging parts is trying to work out what my painting style is. It's been nine years since I left university and almost as long since I've painted, so it feels like I'm starting from scratch again when it comes to figuring out what makes my art unique. So my art is still a work in progress! When improvements are slow that can be hard to take but I just need to keep painting. Another major challenge is making a living out of it! Because I've only just gotten back into painting this year, I don't have a very big collection and I'm not really 'out there'. Hopefully over time my collection will grow and my art will start to spread a little.
Whats Your End Goal? The Moment You'll Know You've Achieved What You Want To?
When I can support myself with my art, i.e. pay rent! Then when my business becomes sustainable long term I can focus on developing my own personal style.