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Mia Hamilton graduated from the Learning Connexion in 2009. Since graduating she has been working as a full-time artist. She works primarily as a ceramic and an installation artist. Mia actively pursues creative opportunities that extend her, build her reputation and get her work into the public eye. We asked Mia some questions about the creative path she has taken since graduating.

What have you been doing since graduating from The Learning Connexion? 

Since leaving TLC I have been working as a full-time artist. This has included a one year residency at Wellington Potters (2011 Potter in Residence), 15 months working out of a studio at Toi Poneke in central Wellington and the building of my own home studio in 2012.

How do you sustain yourself as a full-time artist? 

It has taken time to reach the point where I can sustain myself from my art. I needed to ‘invest’ in my art for the first three years of being a full-time artist. By this I mean doing different exhibitions etc., because they were great opportunities to get my work seen rather than because they were going to earn me money. Now as my reputation has grown and my prices have increased I am able to earn a decent income from my art. It has been great to have the support of an ‘earning’ partner to ensure there has always been food on the table during the lean artistic times.

Do you have a family? How do you juggle family with art?

I have a partner and two children. I have been lucky to have real growth in my art career at a point where my children have got older and a little more independent. Bringing my studio home has been helpful in that I can now work much longer hours and for bits and pieces of days dependent on family demands. It also has its down side of having no escape from the work.

Can you talk about being a finalist in the recent Portage Ceramic Awards.

It was fantastic to be selected as a Portage Ceramic Awards finalist for the second time in 2013. To me this confirms that my ceramic works are of a high standard, which is an important benchmark for me as an artist. I feel it is important as an artist to be involved in events such as this one as it gives me credibility as a New Zealand ceramic artist.

What other competitions have you participated in and what results did you get?

I have been a finalist in Small Sculpture Awards 2012 and 2013 and have been selected for 2014 also. I have been a finalist in the No. 8 Wire Awards, The Estuary Art Awards, Tui McLoughlin Emerging Artist Awards, The Objective Art Awards, Signature Art Awards at the NZ Artshow and The Wellington Arts Review, all within the last three years.

The piece you made for Sculpture by the Sea in Sydney was impressive; can you talk about the experience of exporting and installing a work overseas?

Sculpture by the Sea was a major milestone in my art career. It was my first overseas selected exhibition. The exporting of the work was a very long and intense process. I am very grateful to have had the support of Creative New Zealand and various others (e.g. ArtNews NZ and Geoddis NZ) for their financial help in getting me and this work to Sydney. Installing was great. The team behind Sculpture by the Sea are a well-oiled machine. They are there to support and guide artists and made the installation for me a long (nine hours in 33 degree heat), but positive experience. It was a help to be relaxed about the work and to have the knowledge that I had installed similar works in New Zealand previously.