Australian born Kym Staiff is a passionate man especially when it concerns the creative arts. He does not consider himself an artist nor author or any other category for that matter, but just an ordinary man who enjoys toying with creativity. His interests tend to steer him in the directions he wishes to express himself. His keen interest in literature with a particular attraction to limited editions, with artists illustrating texts with original engravings pushed and continually motivates him into the world of graphic design, bookbinding, composition, computer technologies and the art of the book as a unique object.
His eclectic passage through life has allowed him to express his creativity in a diverse number of fields. He started his career as a production assistant with Taylor O’Brien in Dorcas Street, Melbourne, Australia, after spending some time at the South Australian School of Art in North Adelaide, South Australia. Moving back to Adelaide he worked in advertising then Rigbies, a book publishing company. After a short time, tired of the publishing game, he returns to his father’s farm doing manual labour while waiting for a new and different vocation opportunity.
He moves back to Adelaide into the Medical field. Starting a career in haematology where he is suddenly steered back into the realm of where his true talents lie, illustration. Discovering the need for illustrators in the Medical profession opened up new horizons for him. The Adelaide Children’s Hospital was affiliated to the Royal Adelaide Hospital inturn part of the Adelaide University complex. Kym found new ground to play in becoming one of the scientific illustrators on the University campus. During his career here, in the mid-seventies, the University develops a multi-media centre equipped with a radio station and a colour television studio, of which he was involved. This was a first in the Southern Hemisphere. During this time he had also dedicated part of his time to theatre acting, designing sets and costumes with the South Australia Creative Workshops. Working together with professionals like Martin Christmas, Steve Noble and Tony Stracken.
Still seeking the philosophical stone he once again changes course and heads out into the Pacific Ocean aboard the Klaraboug. A Swedish Gaff Rigged Ketch, reminiscent of the first fleet boats that sailed into Byron Bay, carries Kym off on a major ‘walk about’.
After living and working in Dallas, Texas, forever running into the local artist communities and using his skills as an illustrator in an industrial animation company he eventually moves on to Europe.
The big city life in London did not offer him a great deal other than cultural enrichment, which was highly enlightening for a naive Australian, and so happily he moves onto the Continent again starting his ongoing pilgrimage in Paris to discover as much as he can.
Running extremely short on funds he finds himself stuck in Lausanne, Switzerland. Again being pulled into the artistic circles of this new community Kym finds work in the theatre. Kleber Mellow employs him for the building of sets under the direction of Jean-marc Stele and Phillip Mottaz. Settling down, big words for this eclectic man, he weaves his life around illustration for publicity - publications and the theatre. In the mid eighties he discovers a certain style of stability teaching in the recently opened design institution called Art Centre Europe. Here he feels he can share his creative energy with young enthusiasts guiding them to try and discover the force that will help them to live creative lifestyles. Discovering the manipulative forces of a bigoted administration he survives in the College for seven years. His survival here was based on his keen interest for the student where he often considered himself as much as a student as teacher. He admits that this experience was one of his most rewarding where he feels that he harvested as much as he had sown. He continues to move in and out of design schools, but carries the burden of bitterness in having to deal with administrative incompetence and malevolence.
In becoming more distant to the social expectations he seeks and struggles in a world he feels most comfortable – his own. It may be one of solitude, but he has the freedom to express his own ideas in his own idealistic manner without the necessity to justify. As selfish and egocentric as this may appear he feels comfortable leaving a mark that may or may not make a difference, but in his terms he has made a mark. Also in his terms the mark is not that important, but the act and process of making it is. The method and the creative energy invested, is the true magic flux of existence to this man. The result or product is for the others to do with it as they wish. If his creations provoke even one person to create something ‘the product’, as he refers to his creations, has done a good job and one that was worth processing. ‘My process is the result of others before me that have taught and enticed me. My motivation is questionable. It tends to lean on life’s frustration and tragedy like a grain of dirt in an oyster where one can then attempt to build a pearl. We need the evil to build good and visa versa and consequently the mastering of paradox is a full time job.’
His passion for the cinema is, for him, a unique world that entertains his fertile imagination where he admires the product and the idealistic world it represents. ‘So close, and yet so far.’ He says.
He loves and admires his wife Nicole and their
three children, Melvyn, Jason and Luella. He lives, for the moment, in St-Saphorin,
a small village that hugs the shores of Lake Geneva, in a house with a view,
where he is forever amazed at the true beauty offered by this planets nature
we visit for such a short period of time.
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