The Jan Murphy Gallery in Brisbane has a fine stable of artists. One of them, currently exhibiting, is Nicola Hensel. She studied visual arts at university and has always focused on her art, exhibiting regularly. In 2005 one of her works was selected in the Dobell Drawing Prize. She lives in Newcastle, and her home will feature in an upcoming issue of Country Style magazine.
Which five words best describe you? I asked my husband and after a couple of suggestions too rude to print, he settled on "kind, sharp-eyed and funny", to which I added "grounded and private".
How did your career start and what path have you taken since? I decided in primary school that I was going to be an artist and just never wavered. My parents didn't discourage me and after high school I went to art school and then just rolled into long years of intertwined baby and art making. In the early years I produced and showed less, but as the family grew I had more time to make art. Now I work full time at it and show regularly.
What's your proudest career achievement? To have held onto the thread of my practice through my child-raising years and to have come out the other side alive, kicking and better for it.
What's been your best decision? It's a decision I have to regularly reconsider and make fresh- and it's the one to not get sidetracked on a more "sensible" career track. Each time I set myself to "just winging it" for art again, I get fresh energy for my work, and generally, fresh opportunities simultaneously arrive.
Who inspires you? Strong, older women in the arts, and anyone who combines a creative practice with a stable loving family life. In my practice: Seeking an honest alive line, trying to see as clearly as possible and not being afraid to make beautiful things.
Which person, living or dead, would you most like to meet? I would like to be greedy and have a 'grande dames' meeting with Louise Bourgeois, Twyla Tharp, Vivienne Westwood and Patti Smith where I would absorb everything I could glean from them about having long productive creative lives.
What dream do you still want to fulfil? I've learned to keep my hatchling ideas private until I'm on the way with them, but I can say that while I'd like a fat life of travel and overseas studios I could also be content with just pen, paper and garden.
What are you reading? I'm an eclectic bookworm who can't go to sleep without reading for a while. My bedside table holds five novels, two gardening books, bits of the Saturday paper and the very complicated instructions to my new vacuum cleaner.