Singer songwriter Ange Boxall has scaled many heights since she completed a degree in Fine Arts at the University of Tasmania. Her 2016 country album Into the Wind debuted at No. 11 on the ARIA charts, and she’s worked with some of the best musicians in Australia and the US. She’s also behind spirits company The Splendid Gin, the producer of Tasmania’s Festival of Voices east coast program, and hosts regular music sessions and markets at her east coast farmhouse, Riversdale.

Music has always been her passion, but Ange credits her time at the University of Tasmania studying the Bachelor of Fine Arts for kindling the inspiration, skills and knowledge to be a true creative entrepreneur. Along the way, she’s cultivated a diverse set of skills and roles – from teacher, entrepreneur, promoter, event organiser, recording artist, photographer, performer and more – to ensure her ongoing success. 

After living and working overseas for a decade post studies, Ange returned to Tasmania with partner Mike to start a family and establish a healthy work–life balance on the Tassie’s east coast, near Swansea. They bought and renovated the historic home Riversdale and are currently transforming an old flour mill on their property into an events space. 

Ange explains, “We believe in giving things a crack. If you don’t like it or it doesn’t work out, change tack.” Establishing a gin label required Boxall to revisit photography, which she studied as part of a double major with painting at university. She now shoots images and campaigns for Splendid Gin and various social media accounts. Between the events, the gin, a music career and motherhood, Ange reflects fondly on the value of her Fine Arts degree: ‘It informs so many things. It’s come full circle, where now it ties into everything I do.’ 

Ange has performed at festivals throughout Australia and the world.

So, how do you build, manage, and maintain a successful career in music and the arts? According to Ange Boxall, being yourself, being adaptable, and not being afraid to try new things are key.

Know who you are and what you can be

When asked how she would describe herself to a stranger, Ange answers with confidence. ‘I’m a musician, first and foremost. I started performing around the clubs when I was at Uni. The reason I veered in that direction was because I was making money - for a uni student, I was doing alright! Secondarily, I would now say that I’m an events coordinator.’

Be open to new experiences and growth

Reflecting on her education, Boxall says ‘Fine arts is an experience as much as it is an education. Personally, I had a fantastic time at uni. I learnt a lot, but I feel it was also such a valuable time socially and for personal growth.’

Always keep an open mind

‘I like to keep myself open to any opportunity. Just because something doesn’t seem related to what you’re doing, you can always make it connect. And then you can make change.’

Only do what you love

Boxall works from the heart and highlights the importance of gaining personal and creative satisfaction. ‘If you’re a student, choose the subjects you enjoy doing, not necessarily the ones you’re best at.’

Make everything you do a creative endeavour

‘As a musician I manage myself, I do my own artwork and design. I love making stuff. Creativity has filtered through my whole work and life. Whatever work you’re doing, make it an artistic endeavour.’

Be adaptable to change

‘Don’t be afraid to change track if something’s not working out. You never know, things are often different to how you think they will be.’

Sell yourself

‘A bit of confidence goes a long way if you follow it up with good work and passion for what you do. Even if you make mistakes, people will forgive you if they see that you’re committed.’

Shamelessly self-promote

With her ongoing program of gigs and events at home and beyond, there’s always room for Ange to promote The Splendid Gin brand. ‘Now we hawk booze at every event we do!  Don’t be ashamed to put yourself out there and be prepared to make a fool of yourself. I do it all the time!’

Support other creatives

A career in the creative industries benefits from a connection with like-minded groups and individuals who can help each other out to make things happen. For Boxall’s business, providing financial or in-kind support to cultural festivals and events that are a good brand fit reaps benefits. ‘With the Splendid Gin, we sponsor anything to do with music and art.’

Don’t worry, be happy

‘My philosophy is do what makes you happy. Do what you enjoy, simple as that.’

Written by Brady Michaels.

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