Daisy Chain Interview, Artgym’s Beginnings

December 9th, 2016

What is Artgym?

We are a fitness studio upstairs in a red brick building in Liverpool Street, Hobart. We have artwork on the walls and teach people about what we love, whether that’s weight training or hip-hop. It’s a space to inspire people.

When did your interest in fitness begin?

I lived in an art school share-house in Melbourne in the mid 90s with these beautiful girls and had coffee for breakfast and gelato for dinner and listened to music and smoked and drank beer and whisky. Going against the stereotype of the art school girl – this was the era of heroin chic – I wanted to be fit and I bought myself a gym membership, which felt like an illicit purchase, and met Kathy who is this sculpted and generous personal trainer. She trained me and then we became good friends and I ended up doing fitness qualifications.

Tell me a little bit about the timeline of how you came to be where you are now.

I’ve had this concept floating around in my head for years, since art school. Artgym looks similar to that vision. We started off in an office space with our own little kettlebell collection, a few odd sizes that we bought when we moved to Tasmania from Indonesia. Our friend Vicki, who has a great knack for making things happen, gave us a bit of a nudge. She believed in us. But we also began with wonderful clients and that’s made the difference. Now it all looks all shiny and fun, but it’s the people that make Artgym, not the equipment.

​​Explain the concept behind the name ‘Artgym’.

It’s an attempt to bring those two worlds together. A gym that’s aesthetically cool, not gray, clunky and corporate. Where we can be creative about fitness. I’d say we try to make the experience as pleasant as possible.. but no, that’s not always the case… sometimes we make it really hard!

Who else is in the Artgym team?

Honestly it’s hard to tell sometimes because I feel like everyone is in the team and all our members contribute to the Artgym vibe. There’s me (I’m the founder/owner) and Miskad, my husband. No particular order. And Kimberly is our class instructor. People notice her six-pack first but it’s her kindness that shines. Rochelle teaches our hip-hop class (she has her own dance school). Joe Gadon, he’s our boxing mentor and coaches Miskad and I. Very recently Priscus has also joined the team. He’s got this massive following of his own. ​​

What is your favourite thing about being a creative person in Tasmania?

Tasmania is a beautiful place but its size also makes it a place where you can get things done. Where you can see your vision unfold.

Do you have any future plans for Artgym that you can share?

We’re entering a consolidation phase. We’ll be doing the same things better. Commissioning some new artworks.

Is there any advice you can share for people who are about to take the leap into starting their own creative venture?

Sure, there’s a difference between being a businessperson and an artist. I’d recommend clarity on where you want to be in five years before setting off on your adventure. Choosing the right team, drawing on peoples strengths…

How would you describe your/Artgym’s style?

The Artgym style is Memphis/80s. My own personal style is driven by comfort and colour. I have some designers that I prefer. I wear makeup to work out in and laser-cut earrings, necklaces when I’m in the mood because they are so light. I have an excellent hairdresser, Chloe, who knows how to cut for a woman who won’t style her hair. ​​

What does a typical day for you involve?

A lot of time in the gym carrying out different roles. Catching up with our clients. Training. Taxiing my three children around after school. Rushed dinners and very little housework.

What is your favourite part about doing what you do?

Talking to clients. Watching them grow. They are strong, funny and genuine.

What is the first thing you do when you wake up?

There was this one morning when I slept in. I stumbled around in a horrified haze looking at the time, which was ten minutes later than the gym opens. I put in some earrings, that was the first thing I did to get things in order.

What is your dream travel destination?

Iceland, Scotland, Indonesia for sentimental reasons.

Are there any resources you can recommend (either in Tasmania or online) for other creatives? Instagram!

Is there any other Hobart creative who inspires you and if so why?

My sister, Briony Kidd, she does all of these things at once – writing, filmmaking, running her own film festival. And genuinely she has a story that she wants to tell. And I think that desire to tell the story runs stronger than anything else in her life.