Who is Bethany Linz?
Bethany Linz is an artist and textile designer who launched two collections with Milton & King as well as two brand new cactus wallpapers. Her Aged With Grace collection is inspired by old hand-painted murals that seem to grow even more beautiful under the stress of time. The aesthetic is tropical yet rustic. Young At Heart is Bethany’s first kids collection with a focus on educational wallpaper as well as simply playful and cheerful wallpaper. Young At Heart has matching fabrics as well. But who is Bethany Linz? We caught up with her to find out a little bit more about the artist behind the art.
Q: Where were you born and where did you grow up?
BL: I grew up in Dudley, a beachside suburb in Newcastle. I was lucky to have a huge backyard with the most beautiful garden where we had chickens, rabbits, ducks, dogs, cats, birds and fish. We were very lucky kids!
Q: You received a Steiner education. How did that influence you as an artist?
BL: The Steiner school that I went to was a very classically influenced school. For example, when it came to the arts it was very driven by the Renaissance and the Pre Raphaelites. This gave me a real love of history and a solid foundation for art.
Q: Where did you receive your training in fine arts and painting?
BL: I did an advanced diploma in Fine Art at Newcastle Hunter St Art College (TAFE NSW). This campus was originally a museum. It was old, beautiful and perfect for the art department. Here I came to life creatively. My Steiner education gave me the classical foundations that every artist should have. Then my art school opened up the rest of the creative world for me. This school has Newcastle’s most renowned artists teaching there and had the best equipment a student could want. I wanted to major in everything that the school offered but in the end I chose painting. Some of the best years of my life were at that art school.
Q: How did you make the transition from fine arts to textile design?
BL: After studying fine art, I really struggled to work out what direction to go in. I was always inspired by textile designers like William Morris growing up and at school, we printed and experimented with fabric a lot. The problem was there were no textile courses in Newcastle. The thought of being an artist scared me a little. It’s like trying to become a successful actor. It’s very competitive and, in the end, I still wanted to try textile design.
After art school, I moved to Brisbane where I worked in the sample room at Mokum Textiles while continuing my studies in Interior Design. It was here that I was lucky to meet Stephanie Moffit, the Design Director. After a brief interview, I had a job in the Sydney Studio designing fabric. There I learned my trade under Stephanie and learned everything I know about the textile world that I know today.
Q: In what ways have you evolved artistically over the past 10 years?
BL: Since starting my own collections over 6 years ago, digital printing has evolved. This has enabled me to really make use of all my fine art skills. The digital process shows every layer of paint, brushstroke and even pencil marks that I sometimes like to leave in my designs.
Q: There is a very earthy, botanical and organic feel to a lot of your designs. Where do you think this inspiration is derived from?
BL: Looking back, nature has always inspired artists and designers. It is perfection! It’s that simple. Being surrounded by beautiful gardens growing up both at home and school has really inspired my work. To me, botanicals make people feel good, they are an indication that the environment is healthy and flourishing. I want to be surrounded by them whether it’s in my own garden or inside with beautiful wallpaper.
Q: How does designing for exhibition in galleries differ from designing for commercial products?
BL: That’s a hard question. In the end no matter what an artist says, it’s nice to sell your work. So when creating work for an art exhibition or a commercial product, you do think about whether it’s going to be received well and hopefully sell, even if it sells just enough to keep your work going for the next exhibition or collection.
For me with my work, planning for a wallpaper collection is more work. The designs must repeat. This is an art in itself that people take for granted. The designs must be received well by many not just the one buyer. Also with a commercial product, I need to get it ready to take to market which involves creating the photo shoots, making all the products to shoot, photographing them, editing the images and then showing them to all the press to get editorial reviews. It’s many jobs in one but I like that. It gives me a break from just painting and I really love to challenge myself creatively in many fields.
Q: What’s next for Bethany Linz?
BL: I dream of one day, hopefully sooner rather than later, having a small team of designers that create more Bethany Linz collections and also create one-off commercial wallpapers for special clients globally.
Thanks to Bethany Linz for allowing us to get to know her a little better. To see all of her beautiful new designs in two collections, visit miltonandking.com