Season Three – Hayley Millar Baker

Image credit: Clyde Meredith

Hayley Millar Baker

Season 3 – Episode 3


Issue 41:3 | December 2021 | INDIGENOUS Visualising Sovereignty – Artlink Australia

Fancy Films

Instagram handle @hayleymillarbaker


00:00:00 Kiera Brew Kurec
Hi, I’m Kiera Brew Kurec.

00:00:01 Nick Breedon
And I’m Nick Breedon

00:00:03 Kiera Brew Kurec
Welcome to Pro Prac,

00:00:04 Nick Breedon
Where we explore the professional practice of artists

00:00:07 Kiera Brew Kurec
and hear their stories.

00:00:11 Nick Breedon
Hayley Millar Baker is a Gunditjmara Djabwurrung artist, born in southwest Melbourne, Australia. Through examining the role our multifaceted identities play in translating and conveying our experiences, Hayley works across photography, collage, and film to interrogate and abstract autobiographical narratives and themes relating to her own identity. Drawing on spirituality, Indigeneity, womanhood, motherhood, and the psyche, her oblique storytelling methods and methodologies encourage us to embrace that the passage of identity, culture, and memory are not linear nor fixed.

00:00:47 Kiera Brew Kurec
Hayley, thank you so much for joining us on Pro Prac again, we’re so happy to have you for a full length episode, calling in today. And we were wanting to begin with hearing how you got to where you are today.

00:01:02 Hayley Millar Baker
Thank you for having me. I guess that, that is a big question. I feel like I, from a very, very young age, I just wanted to be an artist, and so I worked really hard, to get here. But also there were like, I come, I come from a family that’s full of creatives. My Mum, draws and my Nan paints and so they, they taught me, a lot of skills growing up. But I feel like where I am today, It’s a very loaded question because had you asked me that prior to Covid and prior to this bit of a change in my practice, I would have a totally different answer.

00:01:52 Kiera Brew Kurec

00:01:53 Hayley Millar Baker
Yeah, I just, I have, I don’t even really know. I feel like I’ve grown a lot. I’ve picked my, my guardians in the art world that have helped guide me and, take me through different growth periods throughout my art practice. I’ve also, you know, been knocked down a lot in, I guess, art school. That was a very negative experience for me that pushed back against me and tried to put me into the real world of, of jobs, I guess in offices and education and things like that. But, I feel like I’m going on a little bit of a tangent here, but I really don’t know. I feel like everything, everything that I’ve done has just been a stepping stone to get to where I’m, and even at this point at 33, like I just feel so young in it. Like I might be in my prime at like 60.

00:02:56 Nick Breedon

00:02:56 Hayley Millar Baker
But yeah, I just, yeah, that’s a difficult question. I mean, I could give like a very straightforward answer of how I got here today, but yeah, it’s quite boring and I feel like a lot of people in the art world would have that answer too. Well, in a practical sense. In, when I was in prep in 1995, I, not sure why, but I decided then and there that I was going to be an artist.Maybe that’s because I, I grew up painting and drawing. When I say grew up, I was five years old at that time. You know, I’d spent, I’d spent five years watching my Mum and my Nan paint and draw, and they had been teaching me out in the bush, to do the same ’cause we used to go camping all the time, and, and proper camping where we wouldn’t see anybody for weeks and have to cook food on fire and or catch your food and bath in lakes and things like that. And so during the day when there was not that much to do, sit in the tent with them, and they would draw and paint the landscapes. So yeah, so I was five years old and I decided that I wanted to be an artist. I had the most wonderful prep teacher who was a Yorta Yorta woman who listened to me when I said that I wanted to be an artist and assigned me as the class illustrator for our class books that we would make.

00:04:22 Nick Breedon

00:04:23 Hayley Millar Baker
Yeah. I know. What an absolute amazing, incredible person and, and like, I took that job so seriously and I thought, you know, this is the first step in becoming a serious artist at five. And then I just followed it all the way through and I did it through high school. I did all the art subjects. I made all of my canvases, I stretched them all. I, I was a painter by the way. I went to still life, and life drawing classes, where I would have to get my parents to consent because I was under 18 and they were all grown nude people. And so it was me who was, I think I was about 16 at the time, or 15, with, or much older people drawing with. Much better skills, but I mean, I was pretty good. And then from there, of course applied for university, got into the bachelor degree of fine art at RMIT in painting. ’cause back then, I believe now all of the mediums are all together. Like, it’s just one big thing. But back when I did it, it was a degree in painting.

00:05:28 Nick Breedon
Yeah. Disciplines.

00:05:30 Hayley Millar Baker
Yes. That’s, that is the one. And so I did that, that was three years and that made me hate art. Like I am a die hard art fan. Like, I even get teased for saying like how much I love art all the time. I’m just like, I love art and people think it’s a joke now, but I’m actually being serious. And it made me hate art. It was just, I, there was just so much negativity and competition from the lecturers and the advisors, and the tutes and all of that sort of thing. And, and there was no nurturing, I don’t know, I just like, I even stopped going at the end. It got to a point in like the final year where, ’cause we had to go to our studios every day, and work in our studios on our projects. And I’d go all the way into the city and get off at Melbourne Central across the road from, from RMIT. I’d just not go to RMIT. I just walk around Melbourne Central all day, drain time, get some lunch, get back on a train, and go home. And I’d count that as going in, even though I never made it. I just like, I just didn’t. And I was working at, like, I’ve always worked at home as well, but it was just like not, not a great environment. So that was my bachelor’s. And then classic story on the last day of the bachelor’s, they, we had this like, you know, well done, everybody off you go into the world. And they were like, and you know, you can’t get a job from this program.

00:07:15 Nick Breedon
it’s a bit late for that, isn’t it?

00:07:17 Hayley Millar Baker
Yeah. But I was like, ah, yeah, okay, cool. Now what? And because I already had the degree, it just seemed to me a very easy and logical step to go into education. My Mum was in education as well. My, both her sisters were in education. My auntie’s a teacher.And it was only an extra year because it was a postgrad, course. So it was a master’s as well. So I went and did Masters of teaching visual arts at, Melbourne University, which was insanely hard. It was a three year course put into one year. But I did that and I went and taught art in, in VCE classrooms for about three years. And I don’t, I just, I don’t know why I thought any different, but VCE students are not choosing art in low SES schools to become artists. Yeah. And so, and like I just pictured when I was doing it, I just pictured everyone being. Me in VCE And then I was like, it’s just, it was just not that.

00:08:29 Kiera Brew Kurec
And there, that’s probably only one of us in each class anyway.

00:08:33 Hayley Millar Baker
Yeah, yeah, yeah. And I mean, at the schools that I taught in, like they weren’t in my class. It must have been in somebody else’s class. But yeah. And then so I ended up, like, I went back to stretching my own canvases and painting in the class. So I would paint, like I’d teach people how to paint and draw and everything, but I’d be doing it with them. We’d all be working on our projects. And so I was finishing like these massive canvases and taking them home, you know, every few weeks. And I was like, what am I doing? Like I need to, I need to be doing this.This is what I should not be trying to force other people to do it. This is what I wanted to do. So I had an art show, at Brunswick Street Gallery of paintings. And that was kind of like a step in. I just, I’d never shown artwork before. I had an interview to be like this, this gallery intern, years and years ago when I was doing my undergrad. And she was like, oh, you’ve never shown before and you are 21. I was like, no, I just don’t feel ready, like with a body of work. And she was like, well honey, if you haven’t shown like you’re done, you’re not gonna make it.

00:09:51 Nick Breedon
What? That’s so, who’s had the time yet? You’re 21.

00:09:55 Hayley Millar Baker
Well, she was like, if you were serious, you would’ve shown so many times. You would’ve been here. You would’ve been there. And like you’re done now. And I was like, oh my God, I’m done. Like I’ve been too slow. But anyway, so I had, I had this show and then I had a, I went home and had a talk with my husband who was, I don’t know if he was my husband at the time. I don’t know. Anyway, and anyway, I had a chat to Ryan and I was like, look, can you hold the fort down at home? Give me two years. Let me go do a master’s of fine art where I can just focus on my art for two years straight. You hold the fort financially. If I can make it, then I make it, if I can’t, then I’ll go back, to like, you know, a nine to five job. And he said, okay. And so I, I went and did the Masters of Fine Art back at RMIT.

00:10:57 Kiera Brew Kurec
Oh, was that hard to go back to the university? That had been not a great experience. Did you think about another university?

00:11:05 Hayley Millar Baker
Yeah, I thought, I mean, I did. I did, but I just feel like RMIT has, has the, well probably for me, it had the right facilities. It had the right studios. And I feel like it was a good location. Like I did think about, Monash and I thought about VCA, I actually applied for VCA at the same time, and I got the acceptance letter to VCA on my first day at RMIT. So I was already in the course and I was like, oh, do I leave? Do I do that? And I, I like, I just kind of felt that like I was meant to be at RMIT, maybe. But in saying that, again, my experience at RMIT in the masters was horrendous. So like, I mean, I don’t wanna get into nitty gritties, but, you know, I just, being the only Aboriginal person in the course was subjected to explaining myself every time we had a crit. And, you know, you have to hang your artwork on the wall. I’d have to constantly explain like my family history, constantly explain the history of Australia rather than actually talking about the work so they, they could understand like the narratives within the work. . In my second year in 2017, I won one of the Churchie emerging art prizes, which was up at QUT Art Museum. I got a call saying that I was one of the winners, for that, and then it was only like a few days later that one of the lecturers of the masters sent me an email that just said nothing except, who’s your publicist?

00:12:53 Kiera Brew Kurec

00:12:55 Hayley Millar Baker
yeah like how, how are you getting, how are you getting these awards? Who’s your publicist?

00:13:02 Kiera Brew Kurec
What a weirdo

00:13:02 Hayley Millar Baker
and I don’t know if, I don’t know if it was a joke or not. , I mean, I’m sure that it was a joke, but I was just kind of like, why? Like we’re not friendly enough to be like sending emails that to anyone. Say, Hey Hayley, or Congratulations, like, haha, who’s your publicist type thing. Anyway, so that, so that happened and then, then I was getting shows, I was getting put in group shows while I was still in the Masters the second year. Like really nice group shows, and like with some great people like Tracey Moffatt, and, Abdul-Rahman Abdullah and Talia Smith. And then they basically, they took the RMIT took my studio off me. Because I was, yeah, because I was just, I was, away every now and then, you know, doing install or like, had to go for artist talks in Sydney or Adelaide for Tanandee. I was in the Ballarat photo Biennale. And so while I was on a trip, I don’t even remember which one it was, to do all of that sort of stuff, I got back, and had an email that just said, Hey Hayley, we’ve moved all of your stuff to a different space. It seems that you don’t need the space as much as other people do.

00:14:23 Kiera Brew Kurec

00:14:25 Nick Breedon
And they, and they did that without your consent. They moved your

00:14:28 Hayley Millar Baker

00:14:28 Nick Breedon
You’re work and you’re things?

00:14:31 Hayley Millar Baker
Everything. And then so they moved it into a totally different building. And it was like this tiny little space that was like, It was just like my stuff was just packed on top of each other. There was no way I could work in there. So I got back, I found it, I had to go look for it myself. They didn’t even tell me where it was, found it. And then I just, I packed it all up and took it all home and didn’t go back again. But I completed the course. I just didn’t, I just didn’t go back. And then on the graduating day, our graduation exhibition, they did all of these speeches about, you know, how this person got this artist residency and this person got this show. And, and, you know, fair enough, spruke the hell out of people. But like the shows that they were getting were, in artist run initiatives that they were paying for, or like residencies that they were paying for. Whereas at the time, I had already won a prize, won a national prize, had been included in all of these great shows. Not that like any of this was for my ego, but they did not say congratulations to any of my wins. They didn’t mention my name once. And there was a comment to my face that, that, because I’m Aboriginal, I will succeed because there is that pocket for me. So even if I wasn’t good, I would succeed anyway.

00:15:56 Nick Breedon
Oh, I’m so sorry that happened. What a disgrace.

00:15:59 Hayley Millar Baker
Yeah. And so there was, so that was, that was up to, I had graduated 2017. And I’d kind of, I’d set myself up then, and so I was on this successful run, but unfortunately I’d been like taught to that I’d had to, I got told that if someone walks up to my work and they don’t understand it, that they’re not gonna look at it and they’re gonna walk away. Which, I mean, if you’re going to an art gallery, I feel like that that’s not the case. You know? And so I had to become very didactic with my work. And I fell down this rabbit hole of I wanted to tell all of the stories that I wanted to tell within my work, but the way that I was telling them ended up to be for the white person, not for I, I went in trying to do it with the respect and acknowledgement of my family and our stories and get them into collections and, you know, give them that respect and appreciation that none of those people in my family had while they were alive. And it’s like their lives almost meant nothing. So I spent five years doing that, but coming out of that, with that break with Covid, and having all of, like I was saying before, my art guardian angels that came along and, Katy Plummer was one of them. Kate Just was another. And they really helped me to flip the script and see what had happened in those instances. And by the time of coming out of that, I kind of feel like I, I, I mean I know that I didn’t intentionally do it, but I feel like in the way that I had to present things and the way that people constantly wanted me to talk over my family traumas and what happened to each family member in lectures at universities, like, you know, I got asked to go in to say, can you come in and talk about your family and everything that happened to them generation by generation so our students can understand Australian history. I did it once and then I walked out and was like, I didn’t have to say yes to that. Like, I actually didn’t have to do that. And then they asked again the following year and I said, no, this is why. And they said, we totally get it. But I just didn’t realise that no was an answer. And I felt like because I was so privileged to get this success so early on that I just had to keep running with it. And I also got told that I had to produce what the people wanted because that’s why they were my fans. And that’s why they were interested in my work. And so I rolled with that. But yeah, I just felt like I kind of in the end had used my ancestors and my Nans and my grandpas and my aunties and that’s not what I went in for. And I know that’s not why I made all of that work, but that’s just like leaving that all with everything that had happened and how I got pushed into specific narratives and things just made me leave with that aftertaste. Yeah.

00:19:08 Kiera Brew Kurec
Yeah. I think it’s also that thing of like, you know, we get told, like you got told at the end of the undergrad, like there’s no jobs. And so we’re kind of conditioned into thinking that we just have to say yes to everything

00:19:22 Nick Breedon
yeah, give the people what they want.

00:19:24 Hayley Millar Baker
Yeah. Because you need exposure. So you need to do things for free. And you know, if people, I had a meeting with a gallery that I didn’t sign with because they were like, well, you know, we are a business so whatever sells, you’re gonna need to continue to make more work like that to bring in money. And so I think just because I love art so much, I just had this image in my mind of what the art world was before I was actually really properly in it. And I didn’t realise all of the horrendous obligations really, that they’re not obligations, but people sort of trick you into thinking that they are and that you owe something to people and you really just don’t. And so I, all of that work that I made from my masters and the three years after, two years after my master’s, I decided to tour that in an early career survey. That toured for two years and then I wrapped it up and retired the works. And I’m no longer showing them. I’m no longer talking about them. There’s plenty of like interviews and writings on all of those works, or people can do their own work and Google, you know, whatever they wanna know. But I just decided like I’m actually interesting enough to be able to, and the people who like my work are going to like my work. And if they don’t like my work, then that’s okay because maybe somebody else will. And it makes me feel fulfilled and I’m not compromised in making it. And I’m in total control and I’m not, exposing, even though they’re my family stories and inherited stories and I have permission from my family and, you know, all of that sort of stuff. I just, I’m not compromising anybody for anyone else’s benefit. Yeah, so there’s that big shift and I, I wrote about it. I wrote an essay for Art Link Indigenous, the one that Ali Baker and Paola Balla edited. It was a sold out issue, so I wrote all about it in there and I felt like that was just like, even though I wasn’t. I wasn’t talking to anyone, I was talking to everyone and just being like, here’s the deal. Get off my back. I’m not doing it. I’m doing me

00:21:52 Nick Breedon
great. Oh, we hope our listeners will, read that essay. That’s an amazing resource. So you’ve certainly already touched on quite a few of the challenges that have come up you know, in establishing your career. Would you like to share any of the other challenges or things that you’ve had to overcome to kind of continue practicing, maybe some practical things that, you’ve had to work through to just keep practicing, you know, and have a successful ongoing career?

00:22:24 Hayley Millar Baker
Yeah, I think, I mean, building a safe space is the most important thing because I didn’t have the greatest community in art school. I went and built my own little community of more senior artists, than myself at the time, just to check in and, you know, talk to me about my work or their work and make sure I’m on the track. And I guess my biggest priority is making sure that my artwork is adding something to the, to the art canon in like all of art history. You know, I’m, if, if I’m not adding something, then what am I doing? And so that’s my biggest concern. But I feel like challenges for me. I was talking this morning actually to Laresa Kosloff who just won, the Nillumbik Prize. Yeah. She was actually one of my advisors in my master’s of fine art. She was the only person who gave me one bit of criticism that was about aesthetics and was not about asking me about my family history. She gave me one piece and that was what I got out of the whole thing.

00:23:41 Nick Breedon

00:23:41 Hayley Millar Baker
And we’ve, we’ve spoken about the experience and, but, I was talking to her this morning because she asked me whether I had entered the, incinerator art, art award for social change. And I’ve had a bit of a challenge with prizes prize. Well, I guess ever since being in them, I feel like they’re a really great thing to be in. They’re also a very bad thing to be in.

00:24:07 Kiera Brew Kurec

00:24:10 Hayley Millar Baker
Like they starting, starting off. I feel like art prizes really gave me the exposure for my artwork. Like I wasn’t up to having solo shows. I maybe wasn’t known enough to be selected for group shows at the time. You know, I didn’t, I didn’t have my networking, groups, you know, so spread out just at that point. And so entering prizes was a way of getting exposure for my work without having to pay for a space or, you know, and if they got in, then, you know, it made, it also made me feel really good, like I was on the right track. So I feel like it was really good at the start, and I was really, really happy to be there and just be in a really good group show. But as it progressed over the years, I feel like it kind of started with the Ramsey Prize. Like amazing show, amazing venue, amazing experience. But I think it was just the hype of the possibility of getting a hundred thousand dollars.

00:25:15 Nick Breedon
It’s a lot of pressure.

00:25:16 Hayley Millar Baker
And it was like, so much pressure. And it’s the luck of the draw as well, because, you know, the judges change every single year and it really depends on what type of art they like you know,

00:25:28 Kiera Brew Kurec
I think it, it messes with people. Like, I think it’s kind of,

00:25:32 Hayley Millar Baker

00:25:32 Kiera Brew Kurec
I don’t know. I was in a prize a while ago now, and I came out of it being like, this is sick.Like we’re being pitched against each other and then being asked to deliver these kind of crazy outcomes because we all wanna win, but it’s like, at the end of the day for the benefit of the institution,

00:25:55 Nick Breedon
oh, and we pay

00:25:56 Kiera Brew Kurec
and we’re pay, we’re the ones that end up paying for the creation of the work and all of the anxiety and mental anguish that goes into it all. And then they get to kind of wheel it out and have a nice press photo and be like, look who we awarded this prize to.

00:26:10 Nick Breedon
And, and literally the entry fee often, like if you, you know, they say, oh, 300 people applied. We all paid $50, you know, as an entry fee, often that equals or exceeds the actual prize money. So in a way, You know, not discounting. Of course there are administration costs and, you know, expenses in putting on an exhibition like that. But we might all be better off having a gigantic $50 raffle, you know, amongst ourselves and just drawing a, yeah, a drawing, a raffle. Ticket it out.

00:26:41 Kiera Brew Kurec
Maybe we should do that.

00:26:41 Nick Breedon
Yeah. Okay a raffle. Pro Prac Raffle.

00:26:43 Hayley Millar Baker
Yeah. But like, so the art gallery of South Australia with this a hundred thousand dollars prize, which just got announced yesterday or the day before for the next iteration of it. This art prize does not call the winner beforehand. And so they get everyone who’s in the prize, wherever they are in Australia to come to the opening where, ABC, SBS, you know, all of the film crews are there, all the journalists, and they line up all the artists with all the cameras on you. While you just stand there in front of your families and they call the winner. And you know, the, the year that I, I was, I’ve been in it twice. First year I feel like I was pretty green, and was just really happy to be there. But the second year, the cameras, all the cameras were on me and Hoda Afshar and we were standing together and we were like, one of us has got it. And then neither of us had it. And you can see on the cameras on the, like, they literally filmed it and she made it into one of those gifs.

00:27:57 Nick Breedon
Oh, I gotta see that.

00:27:58 Hayley Millar Baker
Like the camera’s flashing it on us and we’re kind of like, you know, got this small smile on waiting for our name to be called. And then the name is called and both of our faces just drop instantly and we just like, slow clap. Horrendous. But it’s like that pressure that you think like, okay, I’ve built my name up, you know, I’ve done all of the right things. I’ve really put my heart and soul into this incredible body of work. But you know, that’s what we all do. We all do it. And then we’re all expected to stand there amongst each other while some person says like, well, you are getting a hundred thousand dollars. And imagine like if you broke that up into five prizes of $20,000, what that can do for an artist. Like that is $20,000 is not much money, but it is also a massive amount of money.

00:28:47 Kiera Brew Kurec
Yeah, yeah. And for different people at different stages of their career is, would change them either continuing to practice or not.

00:28:56 Hayley Millar Baker
Yeah, that’s right. And so I decided, like, as soon as that happened, I, my husband and my kids were there and I was like, I’m done. I’m not entering any more prizes. I cannot do this to myself anymore. Like, I can’t think that, you know, I’ve, I, I’m not saying my work’s not great, but like, it’s just, it’s weird for people to judge it. It’s like, it’s, yeah. It’s what you said before, it’s a bit sick. And in saying that, since I have stopped entering prizes, I have been the judge for several prizes.

00:29:31 Nick Breedon
Mm-hmm. Tables have turned.

00:29:34 Hayley Millar Baker
The tables have turned. But I feel like it’s safer for me to be on that side. And I just feel like, because again, I love art so much that I’m really looking at the artworks and the prizes in very specific ways. Yeah. That maybe aren’t sick. I don’t know what all the other judges are thinking, but I’m like, Trying to make it a healthy environment.

00:29:59 Nick Breedon
Yeah. So I I, I would actually love to ask you then, so, you know, I was just thinking before, like it’s, it’s, it is a very strange concept to think of that we could judge art and, you know, judge, I mean, we do this all the time, but how we could know that some art is better than other art. We all seem to inherently have an idea of what makes something better or worse. But, do you think you have, as, as someone who has been judged in that way and now is a judge, do you have any kind of thoughts that you would want to add about how, like, how do you, how can you judge, you know, who should win a prize like that? I mean, I know, I’m sure it’s very, dependent on the context of which prize it is, but how would you, kind of approach that if you’re allowed to disclose some of your process with us?

00:30:45 Hayley Millar Baker
Yeah, I think for me, a successful artwork is. Is a work that can make you feel, and that you can, the work it’s concept and all of the thought process and whether there’s research, whether there’s art history on its side, whether it adds to the conversation again, whether all of that is successful in the outcome. You could have, there are so many great artists with the most spectacular minds, but the actual artwork fails or is not, not successful in its outcome. But if you hear that artist talk, it just blows your mind. But the actual outcome is not successful. Whereas you could have the most beautiful artwork or you know, something that is just so captivating and makes you feel, but then you hear the backstory of it and you are like, oh. You know, like, that doesn’t sit right. Or like, you know, there’s just not anything to it. And so I think that you, you have to have both of those, both of those elements to have a successful artwork. But then, yeah, it is. And also, I don’t think that you should be a judge of a prize if you are not across art history and not across contemporary Australia or even worldwide art if you’re not up to date. If you can’t look at an artwork and point it in a place in history and point it to like, you know, five other artists working at the moment who are doing similar things or touching on similar topics or have similar aesthetic and situate that artwork in all of that, whether it’s being, whether it’s appropriating something, it’s ripping something off, or, you know, it’s just, it’s not one in a million. You know, it’s a million in a million. If you can’t, if you don’t have the skill to do that, then you shouldn’t be judging an art prize. \

00:32:52 Nick Breedon
I guess that speaks to the importance of having judging panels that are, you know, diverse in their kind of like knowledge and understanding of, you know, art history and history and, you know, identity and, you know, that, that there is a kind of scope of knowledge across an entire kind of like judging panel.

00:33:10 Hayley Millar Baker
Because it just takes that one person on a panel to speak up and say, well, actually this artwork is very similar to this artwork that I know from an artist in this part of the world. Brings up the artwork and says, yeah, look, see, and you say, oh, okay, well that artwork there is successful in what it’s doing, and this one falls short. You know, and it, it’s not about bringing artists down, but being an artist is being a human being and constantly growing and learning and evolving. You know, the state is never in a static place. The state, the world is never in a static place. And you know, we’re just keeping up with the times. I feel like artists, people are the smartest people in the world because we’re constantly, we are, we’re constantly, yeah,

00:33:56 Kiera Brew Kurec
no, I agree.

00:33:57 Hayley Millar Baker
Watching and updating ourselves with new information and new research

00:34:02 Kiera Brew Kurec
And broad as well, like across so many things. Sometimes I’m, you know, We just spent some time with some people who were not artists, and I was just like, oh, wow. Like, they were kind of always amazed at just how much knowledge we had in so many different fields. And they’re like, why do you know this? Yes. And it’s like, because we have to, it’s our job. We need to be abreast of all of this stuff all the time

00:34:25 Nick Breedon
and, and you know, discussing it, pulling it apart, you know, analyzing it. And I was just like, don’t you wish you could turn your brain off? Sometimes though,

00:34:33 Hayley Millar Baker
I mean, I think that, but I feel like it’s a really special thing to have. Like it’s, yeah, it hurts sometimes. But I don’t think that I’d give it up. But yeah, like Maeve’s just started, my eldest daughter’s just started school. She’s five. And talking to, to other Mums, you know, who don’t, they’re not in my world. They, they wouldn’t have no idea how to step into this world. And, and it’s like, oh, okay. ’cause I don’t really, I, I don’t really, other than I guess like family, I don’t really deal with people outside of the art world. ’cause the art world, people are my people. So it’s like a shock to the system to be like, oh, you are, you are here. So I can’t explain anything to you because that is just like massive job and I can’t be bothered, so I’ll just like smile and nod.

00:35:27 Kiera Brew Kurec
Yeah. Cool. So here’s a segue. From a successful artwork, what, does a successful practice mean to you? Or what does being a practicing artist mean to you?

00:35:39 Hayley Millar Baker
I feel like a successful artist to me would be, Allowing myself to make the work that I want to make, I trust myself in my research and my thoughts. Like I’m not making vain work, but just, but just having the freedom and the support around me to make work that I want to make and the trust around me to see what vision I have to go forward. ’cause like I said, before I retired my entire back catalog, all I had in 2021 was I Will Survive, which was commissioned by Photo 2020. Which was the last time we spoke. And so that’s all I had in my practice, which is a little bit scary, but I just had to, I guess. Make sure that everybody that was around me, that was supporting me from my gallery to friends and collectors and curators, that they would just trust my vision of where I’m taking my practice. And so I think that a successful practice could really only be that, that you are, that you are happy and satisfied with the work that you are putting out into the world because it will live on forever, in some way or another, whether it’s, you know, through a catalog or through online. Because online will be forever, whether we like it or not, which is a bit scary. But, yeah, I mean, I don’t, I don’t know. It’s the, the constant evolution. Who knows? I’m saying that I, I feel successful in my filmmaking at the moment. It satisfies me, and I feel successful doing it. I don’t know whether it’ll be received that way, but, but for me, that’s how I feel. But you could ask me again in a couple of years and maybe I’ll be stuck or, you know, waiting for the next thing to come into my brain to push me into that next stage. And I might be like, well, I don’t feel super successful right now. I don’t know. It’s just, it’s fluctuating.

00:37:55 Nick Breedon
Would you say, you, you’ve kind of spoken a few times about, I suppose, you know, listening, listening to yourself and, you know, being true to kind of like your, your, you know, kind of gut feelings about things even to that, you know, going, going, you know, make, having the dedication to going into your studio, but still having that gut reaction to, to not actually go and walk in there. Would you say, like, would you, would you say that like, you know, I mean, authenticity is a kind of a very loaded word and concept, but, You know, is there something that you, you know, feel about, you know, that being authentic, in your practice and being true to kind of your authentic, you know, feelings about making work that you would wanna expand on?

00:38:39 Hayley Millar Baker
I mean, authenticity is everything, right? Like, it’s, it’s if the, I mean, to touch on a case that I’m sure a lot of people are aware of, a couple of years back when I called out a certain somebody for suggesting that they were an identity that they were not . And won a $50,000 art prize for it and then disappeared after they were called out. And little old me received a nice little letter from their lawyer. So I can’t really talk too much on it. Yeah. Like who are we in the art world, if we’re not being authentic, like what’s the point of our, what’s the point of our art? Like, we can’t tell other people’s stories. Or maybe we can, I don’t know. That’s, that’s, I feel like that’s, that’s a bit tough because there are, you know, documentary photographers, documentary filmmakers. I don’t know. That’s tough. But for me, art, art, fine art, we should only be authentic to our own experiences, our inherited experiences, our lived experiences. And going forward, I mean, I’ve, I’ve based all of my artwork that I’ve made to this point from I Will Survive, which includes Nyctinasty my next film, the Umbra. And I’ve got another video work coming up for ACCA, which is film, not Video, which is, sorry, video, not film. They are all based on my own experiences. I don’t know, just think like if you were to buy an artwork, if you had money to buy an artwork, you wouldn’t buy an artwork from somebody where they were not being authentic to themselves. Right?

00:40:28 Kiera Brew Kurec
Yeah. Well, I mean,

00:40:29 Nick Breedon
I suppose a lot of people do, but, yeah, I think, I think there is, I think there is a current moment where authenticity is, is, being really valued in, in, people’s practices. I think, like, you know, You, you know, you touched on that idea of identity and that people, people would have more, you know, opportunities or exposure or like, sympathy for their work because of their identity. But I think that, we are moving away from that and more of a, that, that I think people’s, less about people’s identity being, you know, different or special, being important, but just that people speak to their, their own experiences, you know? Yeah. With authenticity, truthfully. And, you know, with a, with a kind of introspection, where people have taken some care to really think about, you know, not just that they’re talking about a, you know, phenomenon that exists in the world, but they’re speaking to whatever they’re talking about from their own authentic, perspective.

00:41:33 Hayley Millar Baker
Yeah. Yeah, that’s right. I, I feel that same way. And I, I get what you mean. Identity was just such a hot topic the last few years. But yeah, I, I, I have trouble with that because, I’m Aboriginal and so I always get put in the Aboriginal box all the time. Still, even now but nobody, nobody tries to talk to me at all, ever about the, my Dad’s, ethnicity. Yeah. My Dad is, you know, he’s first generation Australian. His Dad’s from India and his Mum’s from Brazil. Yeah. Nobody cares about that. But yeah, I feel like the art world got very, very picky about making identity a hot topic, which is very yuck. But yeah, agreed. Agreed that it’s it, we’re pushing past that. But I think that was just a learning curve. And you know, artists, artists learn all the time as well. And as well as curators do.

00:42:35 Kiera Brew Kurec
Yeah. And I think that that was probably a pushback from a period of, artwork being about absolutely nothing and like being a sock on a stick in a gallery as well, that was like,

00:42:45 Hayley Millar Baker
oh yeah, yeah. A hundred percent. Like the sixties and seventies where sort of painting got pushed back and it became very experimental. You know, with land art, with performance art and all of these different things, it’s, you know, there was just such a massive change there. And then it got mixed back together with paintings and two dimensional works. And, yeah, I feel like we’re in a place in the world where we’re sort of, In the art world, we don’t really know what we’re doing just yet. Like you’ve got all of those eras in art and they’re very specific, but we’ve just continued contemporary art for quite a while, which is like pretty muddy.

00:43:32 Nick Breedon
Yeah. I think, I think, so much of that, you know, land art or you know, what we’re talking about just before that, that without that context of, you know, Without a personal context of making that work. It’s, it does appear like people, often ask, speaking for everybody collectively. And I think that that’s, that’s where we are sort of pushing through that identity thing is that, you know, people who were, you know, minoritized, they, they, it seems that they are being, put on a pedestal when really they’re just making, they’re just speaking from their own context and making that context really clear. So if it looks like people who are, minoritized because of their identity, Out there being very loud and talking about how important their identity is to the context. It’s just because all of the other people aren’t talking about their context. And I think now we are getting to this place where people are talking about their, you know, their context as a, you know, settler colonial kind of history. And it, and it does, yeah, it provides the context for their work rather than it just being like, there being this absence, which seems like they’re talking, you know, like so broadly that they’re kind

00:44:40 Kiera Brew Kurec

00:44:40 Nick Breedon
Yeah. And that that’s, that’s setting a kind of a, a standard or like a norm, to be speaking from that place, which is sort of anonymised, where, and it, and it makes all the other, you know, people who are speaking from like a kind of, identity position. It makes them seem like they’re kind of quite radical in comparison. But I think that, hopefully we’re getting to this place now where if everybody’s speaking about, you know, from their context and making that context really, visible and transparent to everybody, that it’s just, it’s providing a lot of different kind of, you know, information and perspectives rather than it being like, you know, two camps of like people, people just like, you know, cis white, straight guy kind of talking about like humanity and experience and you know, oh, the existential experience of being a human, you know, and everyone else is talking about being like, you know, trans or, you know, whatever.

00:45:37 Hayley Millar Baker
Yeah. Well, you know, there’s that artist that does, forgive me ’cause I’m so bad with names. Everyone will know who it is. They do the, the Australian posters with the archived images of like Indian people. You know who it is?

00:45:53 Kiera Brew Kurec

00:45:53 Nick Breedon
Yeah. Is it the ones that say like Aussie on them?

00:45:56 Hayley Millar Baker

00:45:57 Nick Breedon
Is that those ones?

00:45:57 Hayley Millar Baker
Yeah. Yeah, yeah, yeah. That person for example.

00:46:00 Nick Breedon
Yeah. I am also very bad with names.

00:46:03 Hayley Millar Baker
Yeah, like there’s, there’s a lot of, I mean, yeah, there’s a lot of people that contest that artwork and that, you know, pulling photos from archives to put Australian on it. Like there’s no permission. Why does anyone even want to be Australian? It’s just this one guy’s thought, and then he plasters them up everywhere in public places. And it kind of makes the people outside of the art world who know this information and who know about this person’s practice or what they’re saying. It makes the general pop population think, oh yeah, that’s right. But then that lends to assimilation.

00:46:41 Nick Breedon
That’s one person’s perspective.

00:46:44 Hayley Millar Baker
Yeah. And I think that that’s, yeah, that’s dangerous. But now that we, there are more people speaking up on the same topics, but from their experiences it’s getting better. And it leads back to when I was saying that I did a few lectures where people wanted me to talk because my artwork was talking about the Aboriginal experience in history, that they wanted me to be the spokesperson for it. And I was like, I’m, I’m just like, I’m not it, you know,

00:47:15 Nick Breedon
I’m one person,

00:47:16 Hayley Millar Baker
I’m not it. Yeah, but we, I mean, I hope that we continue to get better, but everyone just needs to be open and susceptible to learning and to admitting to mistakes and growing from that. And I feel like the art world can and can’t do that. There’s a lot of ego. But we have, we have parts of us that, yeah, if we just let go of that ego, we can continue to get better and better. We’re, I mean, you know, we are leaps and bounds beyond totally outside the art world. Sorry, outside art world people. Yeah.

00:47:57 Kiera Brew Kurec
Hayley, could you give us a rundown about, what your practice looks like? Like a day or, a week or a month in the life of Hayley?

00:48:08 Hayley Millar Baker
Okay. So I wake up really early in the morning at about 5:30 AM because my kids wake up when my husband goes to work ’cause he’s a tradie.

00:48:18 Nick Breedon
Is that a, was that a, a recent, were you always a morning person or is that something you had to, to adjust

00:48:23 Hayley Millar Baker
no, no, no, no, no. That’s Quinn, that is the addition of Quinn to my family. Before I had Quinn, Maeve, she loves to sleep in. She used to sleep until like 10 o’clock and I loved it. And being an artist, you know, I run my own schedule, so it’s not like I need to, if, if I don’t book anything or have anything to do in the morning, then I don’t have to do it, you know? But Quinn, now, yeah, he’s just an early bird and me and Maeve hate it, but it’s what it is, so we’re up from like five 30 when it’s still dark and he’s like, I want breakfast, I wanna watch this, I wanna watch that. Get up Mum. And I’m like, ugh. So we get up and then Maeve in school now, and Quinn goes to daycare. So I do the drop offs. So we leave the house at about quarter past eight, do all the drop offs, and then I’m up for the world. So I’ve actually changed my whole schedule around the last time we spoke, I said like, I wasn’t even showering till like after lunchtime. And now it’s totally different. Like I’m getting everything done By the time it gets to lunchtime, I’m like, it should be nighttime. There’s a whole day left. So usually I book everything for mornings now. Like I’ve been doing all of my editing sessions for my film in the mornings. I will go down to St. Kilda where Fancy Films is. They’re the crew that do the production of my films. They’re incredible. So I do that. I reckon we’ve got this really good system going where we sort of touch base every two weeks to let the work just to let it like simmer in our brains. And, and, because I mean, I could make an artwork in the morning and then by the time I’m done with it, if I worked on it all day, it could be totally different in the afternoon. And so just to let that breathe so I do that. I have about a million meetings during the day, which I love and hate. You know, it gives me more work, but I hate it. It’s just not fun. Yeah. And, and often it’s like, it’s all people that I know, but we have to like put our professional hats on and like, here’s your contract and you must do this and you must do that. What are you doing? And it’s like, how was your weekend?

00:50:36 Nick Breedon
Yeah. Kiera and I have meetings. It’s super weird.

00:50:40 Hayley Millar Baker
Oh, both of you together? It’s a bit, yeah. It’s strange, isn’t it?

00:50:42 Yeah. So I, so I do that. I do all of that on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. So when the kids aren’t around, ’cause I, there’s just no way that I could work with the kids around. I’ve got Quinn on Tuesdays and Thursdays. That’s when he doesn’t have daycare. Just giving everyone my kids schedules, yeah, he is just a small rhinoceros. Like he is. There’s no chance of, like, if I got out my laptop, he would have it off me in seconds, like smashing on it, pretending that he’s doing work. If I answered a phone call on a Tuesday or a Thursday or the weekend, like weekend, he’d have the phone off me. Or would just be like at my legs just screeching to get off the phone.

00:51:23 Nick Breedon
But where did you put him now then?

00:51:27 Hayley Millar Baker
So my sister took him. I was like, you need to be here at 11.

00:51:31 Kiera Brew Kurec
That’s, that’s so lovely.

00:51:32 Nick Breedon
Thanks sis

00:51:33 Hayley Millar Baker
And they was at a birthday party. But before that, ’cause they only just, they. May have just left about 20 minutes ago. I’m actually sitting in my car to get the most quiet I can get. Yeah, it’s great audio in the car. Yeah. Well, you know, like things you gotta do. Yeah. Just sit in your car to avoid children. But yeah. What else do, oh, and I, I mean like once the kids go to sleep at nighttime, like last night for example, from eight 30, I did all of my admin and non-fun stuff. So like grant stuff, admin, all the stuff that I avoid. Emails that I haven’t answered. Yeah, I mean sometimes, like, sometimes I like working at night. I do work at night quite a bit. I’ll rewatch edits of my film or I’ll do research on upcoming projects. Yeah. It’s just basically my schedule is whenever there’s no children around.

00:52:33 Nick Breedon
Do you find you have much energy left in the evenings or sort of petered out by then?

00:52:38 Hayley Millar Baker
I have not had energy since 2017. I am a living zombie. But I’m used to it now. And I just like, the thing is, is that, first of all, I’m a woman. I am an Aboriginal woman. And I’m a mother. Like, those things don’t sit well in the art world as much as the art world wants to think how progressive it is. Like it’s just not, when I, when I had my kids, like, it was very, very noticeable that people had backed off. And when I openly asked about it, they were like, oh yeah, you’ve just had a baby. Like, we don’t wanna put anything more on you. Oh. It was like,

00:53:21 Nick Breedon
how about I be the judge of that?

00:53:22 Hayley Millar Baker
Yeah. But also I’ve had a baby give me something because this is like boring as hell and that’s the thing like, you can be so productive in your own life. Like, yes, you wanna take, if you’ve got a job, you wanna take that time off, but like, it leaves open so much time for things that you enjoy and want to do and want to think about. But yeah, I mean, I, I was thinking of applying a few years ago to the Samstag Scholarship. You know that one. I don’t know whether this should be left in there or not in, in the podcast, but basically, If you leave out small details, then I’m sure. Okay. I mean, I don’t even really care. I like blowing the art world up anyway.

00:54:00 Nick Breedon
We love it too.

00:54:02 Hayley Millar Baker
They, I was gonna apply for it and so I was reading through their terms and conditions and I only had Maeve at the time. And one of their conditions was, if you have a family, you should reconsider applying because, what was the word they used? Burden. , a family. A family could be a financial burden and take away from time of the experience.

00:54:25 Nick Breedon
Gosh that’s incredible.

00:54:26 Hayley Millar Baker
Fucking Hayley. What I did was I screenshotted it and put it on Instagram and was like, I tagged Samstag and I was like, what’s this? Should I not apply? And I kid you not within like an hour. I don’t know how they got my number, but they called me, and apologised and said that they had their lawyers working on it, on the terms and conditions right now to update them. And that’s not what they meant. What they meant was that you should just think about because it doesn’t fund your family, blah, blah, blah. . And they’re like, please still apply for it. And I was like, I don’t think so because I’ve got a family and it’s a bit of a,

00:55:01 Nick Breedon
oh, the crazy thing that, that it’s like also, you know, something like samstag , it’s probably the best amount of money you’ll ever have as an artist too. So it’s like have you thought about the fact that maybe I could support my family with this better than I can without it?

00:55:18 Hayley Millar Baker
Yeah, a hundred percent. And the thing is, Samstag is amazing and the people that work there are incredible. And I don’t know when those terms and conditions were created. Whether it was in their time or before that, but you know, I just think that people need to be more aware of things. Like it’s 2023. Yeah. I went to Prato. Part of my application was I have a family at the time I just had Maeve and then Quinn was a surprise, so then I went with two. And they were like, yeah, absolutely. We’ll put you in the family suite and we’ll get your kid, we’ll look into daycares and kids classes for you, you know, so they can do something. Yeah, it was incredible. And when I applied for DESA which is the artist residency in Ubud Bali, which I’ve got coming up. My app, because I just feel like now my applications, whenever I apply for something where I’ll be going somewhere. I have two young children if it’s like, you know, a great amount of time. Or also I just really love taking my family with me to experience and see what I’m doing. Yeah. Yeah. Important. You know, a great,

00:56:25 Nick Breedon
that’s important.

00:56:26 Hayley Millar Baker
Yeah. It is. Like, what a great experience for them to, you know, and maybe one day they’ll end up in it, but Yeah. I just, I’ve, since Samstag with that scholarship, I’ve just felt the need for everything that I apply for where I will be away to note I have a family. So either they will need to come. So do you have a place like that will fit us all? Like, you don’t need to support ’em financially I can do that. Yeah. But like, do we have enough beds? You know, kind of thing. Which is a bit silly, but actually I think that it’s opening doors because now people, like, it’s, it’s not unusual to take your family or to take your partner on all of these things.

00:57:07 Nick Breedon
Yeah, of course.

00:57:08 Kiera Brew Kurec
Totally. And like you said, like who knows, you know, when these things were written and we really, you know, by advocating and, you know, pushing for families and saying that it’s making people be like, oh yeah. Like, why don’t we have extra space? Why don’t we, you know, does it actually cost us such much more money to accommodate,

00:57:26 Nick Breedon
make accessible? So, you actually, you’ve spoken, a little bit already about all of the different resources that you’ve used, particularly having mentors and people, in your practice that have helped you. But do you have, any other, resources that you would like to speak about, that have assisted you on your path as an artist?

00:57:44 Hayley Millar Baker
As much as I hate to credit university, I think, I mean the, the lectures in university are kind of invaluable, whether, you know, I feel like. We had a set of series, a lecture series on feminist art, not new feminist art, feminist art in like the sixties, seventies, eighties. And while the teacher was male, it was quite sexist too. Like it did give me that knowledge to only recently in the last couple of years, bring all that information back and question it and critique it and have an even greater understanding and appreciation for those artists. So I feel like those small seeds that I got out of theory in university has been at the time, hated it, thought it was so stupid. Like just the lectures and the way that they were given and stuff, but you know, where there’s all that aside that has been amazing little seeds that had, was planted to now have grown. And now that I’m older and have more knowledge and experience in the art world, it’s all coming back and is actually quite useful for me now, other than that, I mean, people, people are the greatest resources. And I feel like 99% of the art world is very, very open. And just chatting to somebody like it can just change everything.

00:59:26 Nick Breedon
Yeah. Certainly that’s, I mean, that’s, yeah, that’s what we do doing right now.

00:59:32 Hayley Millar Baker
Well, yeah. Yeah, it does. And you know, maybe someone will listen to this and someone will be like, oh my God. Hayley just talks and talks and talks about crap and, or, you know, she thinks she’s got all the knowledge or whatever, but then somebody might be like, oh yeah, I haven’t thought about it that way. Or, or I feel the same way. I’m glad she said it type thing.

00:59:52 Kiera Brew Kurec
Yeah. Because I think sometimes, sometimes, we’re, you know, working away in very isolated circumstances often. And if you, you know, are not someone who’s at it, like every opening or whatever it can be really, it can be really hard. And then when you hear someone else articulate what you have experienced or what you’re thinking about, it’s so validating.

01:00:15 Hayley Millar Baker
A hundred percent

01:00:15 Kiera Brew Kurec
for me, it gives me the, kind of confidence or just understanding that I’m not alone, yeah. In my practice.

01:00:24 Hayley Millar Baker
And I mean, you know, as much as I hate social media Yes. And feel like leaving it every single day, every day, I’m like, today is the day I delete Instagram. But, you know, I, I feel like you can just connect to everybody and it’s, it’s not, I, I have anxiety. I have social anxiety also, which I have to fake it till I make it for every single social thing that I go to, which is why I don’t go to openings. Yeah. I would love to and I plan to, and I put it in my calendars, and then when it gets to it, I’m like, Ooh, people are gonna wanna talk to me. And whether it’s just like, hi, hello, what have you been up to? I’m like, oh, what do I say? What have I been up to? I don’t really know. Because I’m just like living in my own little bubble. Like I, you can just reach out to anybody on there and it’s fine. And I’ve had people say, do you have to contact this person? I’m like, no, they’re on Instagram. Just message them. Oh. But that’s not professional. I’m like, nothing is professional these days. You know, like all contactable, at any time you can literally call anyone that you have on Instagram because it’s all linked to our phone numbers now. Yeah. Nobody call me please, but I’m just saying

01:01:34 Nick Breedon

01:01:34 Hayley Millar Baker
that you can reach somebody. No, no, no. Not you guys. But, you know, you just click, you go to message and then you just click the phone and it calls them. It’s

01:01:43 Kiera Brew Kurec
, but also we are all presenting ourselves on Instagram as professionals. Like we’re using it as our, you know, and then there’s like personal stuff mixed in. But we, there’s this level of professionalism that we’re all expected to have. While we’re online. Yeah. Which is, you know, yeah.

01:02:01 Hayley Millar Baker
All of our work. Yeah. We are businesses, we’re promoting ourselves and marketing ourselves. And, but I do, isn’t that bit yuck?

01:02:07 Nick Breedon
Like, I love, I love when you see on Instagram though, like an artist is more, you know, they’re posting more than just like, you know, oh, this show, I have this show, I have this show, I have this show, I have this opportunity. Like, I, I do really love it when I see people,

01:02:23 Hayley Millar Baker
being real

01:02:24 Nick Breedon
well, being real and, you know, your, your, account. You know, true that you actually do say things and, you know, give your opinion really freely on there. And I’ve always really appreciated that. But like, I think, you know, social media for me, like I’ve done, you know, it’s done more for me it’s ex expanded. My networks way more than just going to shows has Yeah. You know, going to shows has over time because you, you just, you just start chatting with people and then you, you know, they do actually develop into these kind of like long conversations where you keep, you know. And I, I think I’ve, I’ve probably, you know, made some quite good, good friends actually, you know, in the sort of Australian art scene, you know, just outside of my initial kind of like, you know, peer group, I’ve actually kind of, you know, made friends beyond that because I’ve just started talking to people and I would, you know, that’s, I mean, you know, this isn’t about me, but some advice to, to people if you are, you know, a fan of someone’s work, just like literally reach out to them and say,

01:03:20 Hayley Millar Baker
oh, hi.And that’s the best. Yeah. I love it. That’s the, yeah. Like, yeah. I mean, yeah, I’ve done it.

01:03:27 Nick Breedon
Don’t weird though.

01:03:27 Hayley Millar Baker
I’ve done it to so many people. Yeah. Don’t be, don’t be weird, but like, getting messages from people, like, you know, I, I saw your show, or, you know, your work means so much to me, or something. It’s just like, Yeah. It’s just, it’s so nice. But I mean, it, yeah, it can get a little bit weird. I’ve had people recognize Maeve like out in the wild and, and go up to go up to her.

01:03:52 Nick Breedon
Oh, that’s weird.

01:03:53 Hayley Millar Baker
And say, you Maeve, and I’m like, who are you? And she’s like, I follow you on Instagram. She, I said, she, oh my God. They, not to, I hope nobody thinks that it’s them now. Anyway. Yeah. And so, you know, so I’ve, and then I watched Ingrid goes West. Have you seen that?

01:04:11 Kiera Brew Kurec

01:04:13 Hayley Millar Baker
Okay. Well, it’s, that’s, that is one of the reasons why I stopped, why I deleted most of the private things off my Instagram like my personal life. It’s about social media and like, just everybody watching you and knowing where you are and like . What cafe you went to and like this and that. And I was like, oh my God. But yeah, I mean, you know, social media is a tool and a weapon. Yes.

01:04:37 Nick Breedon
Don’t, don’t be weird. That’s

01:04:39 Hayley Millar Baker
Yeah. Just don’t be weird. Just don’t be weird. But that’s, that’s the way, that’s the way to start it though. Just send someone a message. Get to know someone. And, and same goes with me, like, pretty much, I would say like 90% of the people that I now love and support my practice. And I have ongoing friendships and relationships with, with exhibitions and working together or you know, them supporting me to get something else. Are all people that I started following on Instagram because I admired what they did.

01:05:13 Kiera Brew Kurec
Yeah, for sure.

01:05:16 Hayley Millar Baker
And now look where we are.

01:05:19 Kiera Brew Kurec
So to wrap it all up, Hayley, if you could go back to yourself, your younger self at university and hating it in the mall, if you could find Hayley in Melbourne Central walking around, what advice would you give to her?

01:05:39 Hayley Millar Baker
I actually don’t know. Maybe just keep walking around. No, I don’t know. Like every, everything from all of those decisions has led to where I am now. So, I mean, I really don’t know. I was never gonna give up art. It was just, I couldn’t, I wasn’t being nurtured in that environment. So, I don’t know. I guess find your people. That’s it.

01:06:11 Kiera Brew Kurec
That’s beautiful.

01:06:12 Hayley Millar Baker
Find your people because otherwise, otherwise you’re just like, I don’t know, you are like a little weed or something, you know? You gotta go find all the rest of the weeds to nurture you. Yeah. So you can thrive. Yes. You know what I mean?

01:06:32 Nick Breedon
Yeah. Yeah. Well, if the people, if, if the people that you’re surrounded by, you know, are not, nurturing you, go find some other ones.

01:06:41 Hayley Millar Baker
Yeah. Because there’s a million different people out there. There’s a million different groups. Like, you know, I just wasn’t, I wasn’t in the right ones and I found the right people and I got the right support and I got the right critique and the right feedback and the right advice and, you know, I’ll just continue to do that. And that’s ongoing. Everything in the art world is ongoing. I don’t think anyone should ever think that they’ve made it. ’cause it could all just be taken away in a minute. It’s like we just gotta keep, keep pushing.

01:07:16 Kiera Brew Kurec
Well, I think that’s a great place to leave it. And thank you so much, Hayley, for joining us again. We’re so happy to have you on season three of Pro Prac and yeah, just a huge thanks for your time.

01:07:29 Hayley Millar Baker
Thank you very much.

01:07:32 Nick Breedon
This episode was recorded on the Sovereign lands of the Eora Nation. We pay our respects to the traditional custodians, the Gadigal and Bidjigal people, and pay respects to elders past, present, and emerging. We extend this acknowledgement to the traditional custodians of the lands and waters that this podcast reaches you on today.

01:07:53 Our intro music is created by Evelyn Ida Morris.

01:07:56 Kiera Brew Kurec
This season a pro prac was generously supported by the Australia Council for the Arts New Project Grant.

01:08:04 Nick Breedon
Thanks for listening to Pro Prac. You can listen to other episodes and subscribe to us on Apple Podcasts or wherever you listen to podcasts. You can stay up to date with what we’re up to on Instagram @propracpodcast or send us an email at