How Are You Today – Kevin Chin

Kevin Chin

How Are You Today – Episode 14

Instagram handle @kevin_chin_art


Kiera Brew Kurec 0:04
Hi and welcome to Pro Prac. I’m Kiera Brew Kurec.

Nick Breedon 0:07
And I’m Nick Breedon. You’re listening to How Are You Today? A spin off series where we call an artist and check in with how Coronavirus is affecting them, and ask them to share their worries and their hopes for the future.

Kiera Brew Kurec 0:23

Kevin Chin 0:24

Nick Breedon 0:25

Kevin Chin 0:25

Kiera Brew Kurec 0:28
Hey, Kevin, how are you today?

Kevin Chin 0:31
Ah, I’m doing pretty good, thanks. I am actually really glad to get your call. I haven’t had much interaction with our arts community. Well, not as much as I would have liked since lockdown so for months. So it’s nice just to touch base really. It’s funny I almost I don’t know if I go so far as to say this, but I always miss openings. (Laughter)

Nick Breedon 0:58
Almost! (Laughter)

Kevin Chin 0:59

Nick Breedon 1:01
Kevin how has the pandemic affected you?

Kevin Chin 1:04
Well, um, I definitely I know, I’m more fortunate than a lot of people. I will say, though, that my income has really taken a hit. I’m a full time artist. So I rely completely on sales and artists fees for income. And of course, with everything being shut, or postponed. That has been really hard for the last few months. Also with of course, so many people losing their jobs and the economic downturn, sales are not expected to be looking so good for the next little while. So I’m definitely nervous about that. I’m meant to be having a solo exhibition right now, actually, This Is No Fantasy. So that got postponed. But thankfully, they’ve now since the relaxing of the restrictions they’ve now reopen. So my show is now going to go ahead. So seventh of July to the first of August, it’s going to be now so I’m relieved that that’s happening now. But the exhibitions across the board, like I was meant to also be in the John Leslie prize at the Gippsland Art Gallery. And that that was meant to be months ago and of course, that didn’t happen. But that again, thankfully, they’ve just announced that they’re now reopened and so they’re running that on the 18th of July to the 25th of October. So I’m really happy that that’s now happening. But again, I’m not sure how it’s going to go though, like, like I know, the Gippsland Art Gallery, they won’t be running an opening for the show this year. I’m not sure if This Is No Fantasy will be able to have an opening either. So audience numbers I expect might be kind of low. And like I mentioned. Yeah, with sales it’s a big worry for me, because I depend on that. So even though things are starting to reopen, it’s still really anxious times.

Kiera Brew Kurec 3:36
Well, it sounds like you probably have had going into isolation a lot of work on getting the work ready for those shows. Have you been working on any specific projects at the moment, even ones that aren’t art related?

Kevin Chin 3:53
Yeah, um, well, I think we’re actually really lucky I think in some ways, I mean, it’s a hard time but and I think we’ve been lucky that the funding bodies have been really quick to respond with some quick response grants. So I mean, I know you guys are getting some help from city of Yarra to run this project

Nick Breedon 4:15
Oh City of Melbourne.

Kevin Chin 4:16
I’m sorry city of Melbourne. Well, I’m getting some help from the city of Yarra, right now.

Kiera Brew Kurec 4:23

Kevin Chin 4:25
So they’ve helped me make a series of artist talk videos for my This Is No Fantasy show, which is totally new to me. I’m a complete dummy when it comes to computers and stuff. So but yeah, they’ve given me a small grant to sort of learn how to you know, DIY a bit of promo through video. So I’m going to be posting those on Instagram again, something I’m not really great with. I guess we’re all having to adapt and that this is part of that. So yeah, I’m going to be posting those videos on Instagram during the duration of the exhibition. And I’m going to be talking about a different painting in each video and posting one of those a week. So I’m working on those videos at the moment,

Nick Breedon 5:19

Kiera Brew Kurec 5:21
I like that idea.

Nick Breedon 5:22
So, you know, I know you’re very much a studio based artists, has your routine changed at all? Or are you keeping up with the same kind of routine that you had before?

Kevin Chin 5:32
I guess I’m still your right I’m a very studio based artist, and I’m still doing my just painting painting painting all the time, I think I have, definitely, I feel like my workload has actually increased, even with all the exhibitions being sort of postponed, I think, because I spent a lot of time applying for basically every grant I could possibly could, when that came up. And there just seems to be like, like I was saying that having to adapt like now needing to learn how to use these social media platforms a bit better to promote in ways that I just haven’t really done much of before. So learning some new skills has taken up some more time as well. And also, one good thing though, I have to say is my partner has been home, he’s had to work from home, through this whole period. And normally, I’m sort of on my own all the time. So it’s actually been really nice just to have another body around. And actually, it’s quite good, because I’ve been have, my paintings are really big so it’s been nice to have some help with moving things around the place. (laughter)

Kiera Brew Kurec 6:48
And this is a pretty loaded question. But we’re just wondering if we were able to share with us what you are currently worried about?

Kevin Chin 6:57
Oh my gosh, I think there’s just so much to worry about at the moment. I I know a lot of artists are having trouble just making work because it’s so hard to feel like what you’re doing is sort of worthwhile with so much going on. I think I’m worried about worldwide political instability, honestly, I guess this is whole things been happening. I’ve just been worried I mean, this you know, with, obviously, with, with a crazy person in you know, the leader of the free world, but in and also it, I mean, there’s so much to worry about over there. But even with just coming down to things like are no one’s driving anymore. So the oil, oil prices have gone down. And so there is greater instability in the Middle East, and there’s just so many different factors, why how I think how this pandemic is affecting, in so many different ways that I don’t think people really want any of us really could have predicted. I’m worried about the environmental impact of the virus. I mean, I I mean, we’ve just come out from that dreadful bushfire season. And, you know, where Australia became the centre of global climate change, debate. And I kind of was hopeful that that might change how we do things here. And then now with the pandemic, I’m seeing, like all the neighbour’s trash bins full of takeaway containers or plastic container, even when we do our groceries, I see that, you know, we have to put on the disposable gloves in the green grocers. And I see when I go out, it’s just this pile of plastic gloves, like, just, you know, just stuff like that. It’s really, I’m really worried about really worried about that. And, of course, just, you know, in the last couple of weeks, the breakouts with Black Lives Matter, both here and in America. You know, there’s just a lot of there’s just a lot of unrest, I guess, across the board. So yeah, I think there’s, I mean, I know people are struggling a lot with sort of trying to stay positive and stuff and I can see why because I think there is just a lot to be worried about.

Kiera Brew Kurec 9:34
Yeah, yeah. What are you hopeful for?

Kevin Chin 9:37
I mean, I just mentioned the Black Lives Matter movement, and I think I just read in the New York Times, actually, that it’s been really successful movement for changing opinions actually, like historically I read that you know, in comparison to other protest movement it’s like there’s now a 57% of the general public are sympathetic with the movement. And that’s shifted tremendously just in really rapidly in a couple of weeks since this is all been going down. I think, as well like with us here in Australia, with our own national protests, like here on Saturday, last week, you know, coming off the tail end of national reconciliation week here. I mean, I think I’m really glad that it’s, like, incarceration of indigenous people is getting a much more attention here in Australia. I think that’s been great. Like, I watched for reconciliation week, I watched a great film called In My Blood It Runs by Maya Newell which follows an Indigenous boy named Dujuan. And we kind of see, I think, for me, it was really educational in seeing what it’s well, for some Indigenous people, what it’s like growing up in Australia today. And I don’t think we often get kind of insights like that. So it’s, I guess, putting some attention on some of these issues here locally, I think, is what I’m hoping will be a positive outcome from this whole mess. I think it is a chance that we’ve had to really take a good hard look at ourselves really like and how on earth we have stuff turned out this way. Like, I mean, it’s funny, 2020 is supposed to be you know, it’s like I was actually going to title my show some pun on 2020 vision. Why? Because, you know, it’s supposed to be this futuristic year where everything’s supposed to be so great, you know, progressive and everything and look at the year we are actually having. So I don’t know, I think I’ll hang on, wasn’t this question about what we’re hopeful about? (Laughter). But, you know, I do think that, yeah, I’m hopeful that it’s a chance to push through some of these really difficult issues and that we’re being faced with in this time. And hopefully, it moves us forward.

Kiera Brew Kurec 12:37
We might wrap it up there. But before we go, 7th of July, This Is No Fantasy 18th of July at Gippsland Art Gallery.

Kevin Chin 12:48
Yes the show at This Is No Fantasy is called Social Distance and it’s actually a lot about the time we’ve all been spending in isolation. And those videos are going on Instagram. So my Instagram handle is @kevin_chin_art

Kiera Brew Kurec 13:10
Great. Thank you and your website, as well?

Kevin Chin 13:14
Yeah, it’s a

Kiera Brew Kurec 13:17
Perfect. Thank you so much. For once again being part of Pro Prac. We just love to have you

Kevin Chin 13:25
Thanks Kiera, Thanks Nick. I’m really loving this series so good on you guys.

Kiera Brew Kurec 13:29
Thank you Take care. We’ll hopefully see soon.

Kevin Chin 13:33
You too. Bye.

Nick Breedon 13:34

We respectfully acknowledge the traditional owners of the land the Wurundjeri people of the Kulin nation and pay respect to their elders past, present and emerging and the elders of the lands that this podcast reaches you on today. We extend that respect to all First Nations people listening today and acknowledge that sovereignty has never been ceded.

Kiera Brew Kurec 13:55
How Are You Today? has been generously supported by the city of Melbourne’s quick response grants. Follow us at @propracpodcast on Instagram or email us at If you haven’t already, please subscribe on whatever you listen to podcasts on.

Nick Breedon 14:11
Please stay in touch. We’d love to hear what you’re up to as well.

City of Melbourne Logo

Pro Prac acknowledges City of Melbourne’s generous contribution to How Are You Today? through their Quick Response grants program