Based in the gorgeous central coast of NSW, The Thought Gallery designs and illustrates the most beautiful art to inspire and empower. Belinda, the amazingly talented Biz Babe behind The Thought Gallery chats with us about her family and her inspirations.
I’m Belinda, mother to 2 sons (Nathaniel & Elliott) and 2 daughters (Abigail & Isabelle). I grew up in Southern Sydney but sea-changed to the gorgeous Central Coast of NSW, with my husband, when we were pregnant with our first child.
We now reside in a place called Pretty Beach, and ‘yes’ like it’s name it is very pretty. We are so fortunate to be surrounded by bay and bush and a very ‘artsie’ community – it’s a very inspiring place, perfect for an artist.
Creativity and philosophy have always been an integral part of who I am. As a young child I would make, bake and create whenever I could. As a teenager I illustrated and wrote poetry. So it was only natural that as a young adult I embarked on a University Degree in Design from the College of Fine Arts, UNSW. I graduated with an Honours Degree in 2002.
For the next 8 years I took on a number of creative roles including freelance graphic design and owner and designer of a boutique stationery business. Some of my clients over those years included Boeing, Insurance Australia Group and many local artists and businesses.
In 2009 our first ‘little man’ arrived and I made a life-altering decision to stay at home with my children during their formative years. Whilst some days have been challenging, it has been the most rewarding experience of my life.
How did you get started with your biz?
After a decade at home with my children, I was ready to delve back into the creative world, and spending time exclusively raising ‘little humans’ had altered and crystallized my focus. In 2018 the Thought Gallery was born – a business dedicated to producing illustrated art prints and stationery products that empower, enchant and inspire.
What (or who) are your biggest influences?
Creatively I have so many influences across so many disciplines. I enjoy design and art that are driven by a strong concept or idea.
In terms of what influences the Thought Gallery, it’s most definitely children themselves and the capacity we have as adults to steer them down a path of wellbeing with nurturing, patience, and mindfulness. Many of my pieces advocate for kindness, self awareness and self love, whilst also capturing the enchantment and whimsy of childhood.
Do you experience mum guilt and how do you tackle that?
Sadly I do think ‘mum guilt’ goes hand in hand with being a mother in contemporary society. I think it originates from wanting to provide the very best care we can for our children but the balance can easily be tipped toward guilt as we attempt to hold it all together.
I personally make it a focus and do the best I can with it. I feel I’m realistic though, and try not to let it control me – we’re all human, all fallible and when I have a rough day that doesn’t go to plan I actually create that dialogue with my children so that I can show them what real life looks like.
I’m not perfect, nor is life. As long as they know I’m trying my best what else is there to do?
If you could sum up your day in three words what would those words be?
Variable, busy, rewarding
What does your workstation look like?
My workstation is very humble. In a house of 6, my kids and their spaces come first and I’ve worked mine in around them. I create my art in a nook within their playroom so that I can steal a little time for creating whilst my youngest plays alongside me.
It’s fairly organised though, I need to be VERY organised with 4 kids and a business.
Give me your best kid distraction strategy:
I have four children so there’s always a child who can distract another child. It’s normally me who is getting distracted being pulled in so many directions.
When they were younger, food was always one of the best distractions and being a lover of cooking, mixing that into the process with them, was always a winner!
Most embarrassing moment as a mum, or in your biz?
Being a mother is full of embarrassing moments… from my kids dressing themselves and turning up to preschool without underwear to the comments they say aloud that were not intended to go beyond the walls of the home – there’s just so many!
What are you most proud of achieving biz wise?
I’ve had some beautiful letters and emails sent to me about why some of my products have been purchased and gifted to children. These are the moments that make me proudest and gives my work it’s true worth.
What are your big goals for the next 12 months?
I have a number of big goals for the next 12 months. I’m looking to work collaboratively with a few local artisans to exhibit our work to our local community and visitors. I’ve also written a children’s book with my illustrated ‘Annie’ character, so a big goal is to finish illustrating this book and pitch it to some publishers.
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