Amber Gittins

How I became an Artist. Where it all began...

How I became an Artist. Where it all began...

Creativity was always in my blood. I grew up drawing, painting, making anything that was fun and I loved seeing what I could do artistically. I was a studious, quiet and shy child and always enjoyed my time alone engrossed in my latest creations.

At the end of my high school years I had to think of my career choices. Back in the early 1990’s being a full time artist wasn’t really thought of as a career choice. So I chose to study Visual Communications at the University of SA. It covered drawing, painting, photography, graphic design, product design. I just presumed I would have to be a Graphic Designer and I could use my endless creativity here.

Finishing University I really didn’t feel confident as a Graphic Designer. The transition to creating on computers had come in whilst I was at University and I didn’t like it at all. I felt being on a computer really limited what I could do. I had in my head what I wanted to achieve, yet I couldn’t figure out how to recreate it on a computer which was frustrating.

I finished University and got a job at a Children’s Play Centre, saved up some money and then headed overseas to London for the next 7 years. Here I worked as a Graphic Designer and also delved into Investment Banking for a few years.

Traveller standing on the Uganda Equator border.
Australian traveller in Africa with the Mountain Gorillas,

 I used London as a base where I travelled the world as much as I possibly could. Seeing and exploring so many countries around the world was an experience that really opened up my eyes. I loved backpacking and took in as much of the sites and sceneries as I possibly could.

Australian traveller in the Canadian Rockies
Australian traveller at the Grand Canyon, USA.
I finally came home to Australia in 2007 and continued to work in Investment Banking in Melbourne, Victoria. After a few years I decided to head home to my family in country Mount Gambier in South Australia.

I also wanted another adventure in my life and I wanted to try my hand at renovating (it looked like fun) so I bought a two bedroom unit in Mount Gambier and spent the next 4 months full time renovating. Mostly by myself but I had my family if I needed some extra hands and heavy lifting.

I had a vision for the interior design of the unit and that required a full revamp so I gutted the entire unit and became a carpenter, interior designer, plumber, plasterer, tiler, painter, gardener. I taught myself each step of the way and when I put her up for sale, she sold to the first person who saw her. Quite a proud moment.

By the end of this renovation I was starting to feel my creative urge once again. So I got out an easel and acrylic paint and started exploring the canvas as another means of letting out my creativity.

Australian artist Amber Gittins in her studio with her Cocker Spaniel dog on her lap.

Now that my renovation project was over I got a job working full time as a Graphic Designer with a local shop and then I continued to paint and created at night and on the weekends.

I also started creating and selling greeting cards, calendars and art prints of my work at my local summer markets. That was fun and helped give me some confidence in the art I was producing. I was quite shy at first but it was so lovely to chat to everyone that popped by and either bought or admired my artwork.

I continued for a quite a few years working full time as a Graphic Designer and doing the markets, plus dabbling in painting at night. Over this time the urge to become a full time artist kept popping up in my head. The idea was starting to form.

Australian floral artist Amber Gittins standing by one of her botanical abstract paintings.

My next crazy life moment was in 2017 when I thought it would be fun to design and build a house for myself. Only this time I just did the designing and left the structural build to a professional builder. (It’s seriously hard sweaty work!).

I designed the house specifically knowing that I wanted to one day become a full time artist and that I would need an office, backyard art studio, spare store room for my canvases etc. The house was designed purely for my next adventures in my life, to become a full time artist and work from home. I had seen it was possible on this new 'thing' called social media. There were other artists out there doing it and succeeding, I was determined to finally be who I needed to be.

Inside a kitchen renovation

My dream house got built and I moved in Christmas Eve 2017. After settling into my new home it was now time to built the art studio out the backyard.

Building an art studio in an Australian artist's back yard.

For the next 2 years I worked full time as a Graphic Designer and painted every other spare moment I had. My paintings started selling via my online galleries I had joined, which was so exciting to realise people actually loved my art and wanted it for their own homes. It was so wonderful to hear how my art made them happy and I was so grateful they could feel that joy from my paintings.

Finally I felt ready to take my next big leap in life and in April 2019 I left my Graphic Design job to become a full time artist. The best and most exciting move I have ever made but I did make sure financially and mentally I was 200% ready for this leap.

Australian artist Amber Gittins in her Art Studio surrounded by paint

Since then I have been happily working my butt off, painting in my studio, doing admin on my computer, being a marketing expert for my own business and loving every single part of it. I feel so lucky that my business has been constantly growing and my art has been loved in many homes all around the world.

I hope you enjoyed reading about my journey and if you are an aspiring artist I hope this helps and makes you see that your dreams can take years to happen, but they can and will if you want them to. Slow and steady and don’t give up on your dreams. x