Interview – Tina van den Broek, illustrator and artist

The Food Artist Interview By Andrea McArthur

'Doing what you love' is paramount to artist and CWC Member Tina van den Broek, who also goes by the pseudonym The Food Artist. Tina creates tasty illustrations for businesses, products and services that are looking to spice things up. It's a new and unique industry niche she calls 'Food Communication'!

The Food Artist Logo

Tell us about your background. What has led you to starting The Food Artist?

I have a background in visual arts. I did a fine arts degree in Auckland, New Zealand, majoring in sculpture, with minors in printmaking and fibre arts. I also have a keen passion for making food. While studying I worked part time in a restaurant and worked in southern France for six months where I would cook, clean and entertain guests. I gained advertising and marketing skills while working for a boutique agency in New Zealand, and also larger companies like gumtree.com in London. In the last few years I have been working in online marketing.

I decided I wanted to pursue my creative interests by creating a business and life that I loved. Something I did because I enjoyed it, which was extremely specific and told a story. In order to articulate what it is that I do and can offer people, I had to think long and hard about my core values, beliefs and passions.

All my life I have loved food. I enjoy freestyle cooking where I whip something up based on the ingredients at hand. I can cook for hours and be in that same ‘happy place’ I go to when I am making art. Previous to this I was working under the name The Visual Citizen doing illustration, visual arts and face painting, which I still do. It made sense to bring my two passions together: food & illustration. Which is how The Food Artist was born.

The Food Artist Workspace

What skills have you brought into starting The Food Artist and what business skills are you developing?

I bring with me a lifetime of customer service skills. From the age of nine I worked weekends or after school hours in my parents' milk bar and bulk food store serving customers. I have a love of travel, meeting new people and learning about their life and experiences. I like to use my artistic and creative skills to help people and continue to refine and grow these skills. The Food Artist is quite new actually - I started the business in February 2014 and I am currently trying to develop my business and financial skills.

What mediums do you work in?

I like working in black ink pens, fine-liners, watercolour paints and pencils, metallic pens and coloured pencils.

Who are your main clients at the moment?

My main clients are independent food producers, life coaching mentors, health & wellness bloggers/practitioners, chefs and caterers. I look forward to adding many more in the future.

Tell us about a favourite project that you have worked on.

A favourite project of mine would have been creating illustrations for a forthcoming eats, treats and edible beauty recipe book. I was lucky enough to taste a lot of the recipes and I believe that helped me draw them! I also got to try the edible beauty treatments, which blew me away with their tasty ingredients that I just wanted to eat. I learnt a lot about ingredients from this job as the author has food intolerances.

tina-van-den-broek_Cherry_&_basil_soda

Do you have a favourite restaurant that you frequent or a favourite recipe that you cook?

I’m more of a 'whip something up at home' kind of girl and I enjoy cooking ratatouille, home made banana ice cream, or kitty cat pikelets (which are pikelets made in the shape of a cat).

What advice do you have for others who might be considering a jump into a creative business?

My advice would be that you can’t do everything yourself so get help – a business mentor/coach, have people you can rely on for support and outsource what you can. There is always something you can work on so accept it and set yourself tasks rather than working yourself into the ground in a never-ending attempt to finish just one more thing. Last but not least, believe in yourself and never give up, sometimes things just don’t work so you learn from your mistakes and try another approach.

What future goals do you have for your creative pursuits?

My future goals are to illustrate a colouring in book and children’s book. To take my illustrations from 2D to 3D and do visual merchandising, styling, installations, collaborate with set designers or prop makers on TV, film or music videos. I would also like to license my artworks for use on products.

tina-van-den-broek_AnzacBiscuits

Thank you Tina for your time and sharing your story with us! Follow The Food Artist adventures on Instagram @thefoodartist and Facebook /TheFoodArtist or for more foodie goodness and to see Tina's work, visit www.thefoodartist.com.au.

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Andrea McArthur (www.andyjane.com) has a passion for all things visual and works as a Senior Graphic Designer in Dubai. Type is her true love and goes weak at the knees over beautiful design. You’ll find her sharing design related musings on Instagram @andyjanemc.

Eco-Friendly Creative Practice: Jules Clancy

By Phoebe Miller Food, glorious food. For what is really a simple, basic human need, it's a complex topic these days, not least of all when it comes to addressing sustainability. What we eat and how source, prepare and eat it can have a huge environmental impacts.

I don't know about you, but the plethora of information and choices surrounding these issues can be overwhelming, especially at 6pm when all really want to do is work out what's for dinner! However, sometimes taking small, simple measures are all you need to get started on the right track. Sydney-based food lover and blogger, Jules Clancy, has set out to show us just how easy it can be to cook quick meals that are healthy, sustainable and affordable!

A big pot of beans, via Stonesoup

What do you do? I blog about delicious healthy meals in minutes over at www.thestonesoup.com. I also teach people from all over the world the art of simple, healthy cooking on my online cooking school.

How do you approach sustainability and environmental awareness in your creative practice? For me it’s all about sourcing sustainable ingredients from producers who care about food. I’m also experimenting with my own small veggie garden.

Sprout & Pumpkin Salad, via Stonesoup

Can you tell me about one or two of your favourite projects that showcase this approach best? I ran a class last year called ‘Mastering the Art of Cooking on a Budget’. Basically I documented myself feeding myself for a week on $5 a day using minimal processed food. The class was ‘pay what you can afford’ and I got an awesome response from my students who had discovered that healthy food doesn’t need to take a lot of time or skill, nor does it necessarily have to be expensive.

What challenges have you come up against in trying to make your work more sustainable and how did you overcome them? The biggest challenge for me is figuring out which options truly are the best from a sustainability perspective. If something is organic but has been shipped from further away is it better or worse than locally produced conventional produce?

Lentil Tabbouleh, via Stonesoup

Is there anything you’d like to do or learn to further increase the environmental sustainability of your work? I’d love to learn more about sustainable seafood... which species are best for the environment and for our bodies.

Who are the other creative women doing new or interesting things with a focus on environmental sustainability that you admire or are inspired by? Tough one. I love what Alice Waters in the US and Stephanie Alexander in Australia have done with introducing ‘edible playground’ and ‘kitchen garden’ programs into schools to educate children about where food comes from and how to prepare delicious healthy food.

Phoebe Miller is a Brisbane-bred, Sydney-fled, Melbourne-embedded gal who enjoys making, spruiking, collecting, and exploring. After several years working in corporate marketing and communications, Phoebe followed the urge to explore her creative side. These days she divides her time between her sustainable fashion accessories label, Simply Phoebe, and freelance PR consulting.