Leonie Mulqueeney & Moth Gallery

Leonie Mulqueeney is the artist at Moth Gallery. New to Parramatta and interviewed two weeks into her tenancy of a short-term shopfront in Connection Arcade in June 2011, she has found Pop Up Parramatta an opportunity to really connect with the local arts community.

Recent arrival to Parramatta from the Gold Coast, Leonie Mulqueeney has taught building and interior design at TAFE since 1993, after working as a building designer and graphic designer early in her career.

"But I've never had time to do what I've taught," she says. "So I took 12 months leave without pay from work and moved down to Sydney and it's given me the chance to paint."

"About 150 paintings that I completed over this time were stored in my studio/garage; it was becoming a bit claustrophobic. So it was really good timing that I got this space as part of Pop Up Parramatta."

 
 Leonie Mulqueeny at her Moth Gallery. Rudy Bauer's low cost, pop-up gallery fit out.

Fortunately for Leonie her partner Rudi Bauer is a retired engineer who was able to fit out the gallery on a budget.

"It made setting up a bit easier. Rudi put together the lighting and also the hanging tracks; the hanging system.  They're very expensive to buy so he actually poured an aluminium extrusion which he put up. He's also used fishing line and chains and things he bought at Curtain Call," says Leonie.

Although Leonie started with enough product to sell in her space, her key challenges have been building a market and learning to run a business.

"It's been interesting because artists are not known for their business, what's the word, 'acumen' generally are they?" she says. "I've spoken to some of the others and they're just laughing at their business ability."

"It's thrown us in the deep end."

"It would be good if Pop Up Parramatta ran a business course for the artists and when they accept you provide a checklist of instructions on the things you need to do: like registering a business name and getting an ABN."

On the marketing side, Leonie recently started painting in the space, as well as exhibiting, to attract foot traffic, but is looking at specific targeted marketing too.

"I don't really think people that walk by are necessarily the people that are going to buy my stuff," she says. "For my art to sell, I need to get in touch with developers, builders, architects, building designers and interior designers, so Moth Gallery becomes my showroom for them. It's probably more appropriate to what I'm creating."