LIKE many kids, Margo Humphries loved painting and did as much as she could within her means.
“I didn’t get a lot of pocket money but I won a lot of kids’ drawing competitions,” she says.
“I remember keeping an exercise book of all the prizes that I had won, and it was in the hundreds.”
Now Humphries, an experienced visual artist with multiple group and solo exhibitions under her belt and a member of the Hunter Arts Network, is trading her acrylic paints and ink for graphic design.
She’s launched Turn Clothing Co, a made-to-order online clothing label that has released a range of T-shirts and apparel.
“I am revealing another side that has been itching to come out for a few years. Both disciplines inspire each other - design learns from art and art learns from the design,” she says.
“I’m drawn to designs that aren’t heavy, I can relate to fun and bright Newy life. This new project amplifies summer threads and beach apparel.”
Humphries, who moved to the Hunter from Taree in 2003 and has been painting professionally since 2008, says the move to start the label came upon demand.
“A lot of people commented that they liked the patterns in my work and that they would look good on material so although I haven't yet gone down that path, I've started,” she says.
Local scenes inspire Humphries, from Lansdown escarpment in her home town of Taree to coastal water scenes in the Hunter. A fan of artists including Salvador Dali and Geoffrey Smart, Humphries is happiest when she leaves her day job and gets back to the paints.
Her decision to use German-headquartered T-shirt manufacturing company Spreadshirt for her production is based on her desire to lower overheads while ramping up her designs.
She designs prints on a computer then uploads it to the Spreadshirt site for printing and manufacturing before they can be ordered, either via Spreadshirt or her own site.
“Eventually I would love to be able to have my stock,” she adds, “and send it out directly and do it all myself.”
She enjoys the process of designing a print and the fact she can step away and return to it after a few days and change it completely or revise it in her own time.
Turn Clothing Co sponsors 12-year-old Sydneysiders Archie Perkin and Luka Latinovic who recently had their first taste of surfing competitions with Maroubra Surfers Association.
“They contacted me and though they are not from the Hunter I thought it would be good to support them and get my designs out there,” she said.