William Mackinnon is an Australian visual artist who has been creating paintings for the last 20 years and has received a number of worldwide accolades for his work. With a career still primarily based on the other side of the world and a fiancée with an equally demanding travel schedule, Ibiza seems an unlikely place for the artist to pick as a second home.

Work isn’t Ibiza-based for either of you, so what brings two Australians with hectic travel schedules to the White Isle?

I guess it seems a bit crazy. It’s quite a commute from Australia! Actually, a lot of my fiancée’s work is in Europe and she has been coming to the island for years. She is a designer working for some of the world’s biggest fashion brands; it’s a really full-on career and Ibiza is her place to retreat. So, I really came here for love at the beginning. Then I fell in love with the island too.

So much so you’ve taken on a little holiday home here…

Yes. There’s something very special about being here. It’s where we come back to land, be together and recharge our batteries. A walk and a swim wash away a really busy week or long travels and you can unwind really quickly. It’s the perfect counterbalance to what we do and really important for both of us.

Tell us how you met and became a couple?

Well that’s a pretty good story. I went to primary school with her and I actually took her out on a pizza date when I was 10. We re-met a couple of years ago; I’m 40 now so there was a pretty long gap in between. I got in touch as I had a residency in L.A. and I heard she was there. She wasn’t but it meant we were back in touch. Then she messaged me to check I wasn’t hurt in a bushfire where we used to have a beach house as kids. It all kind of started from there… And now we’re engaged!

Does being on the island help with your work as well?

It’s a wonderful place to be creative with clear head space and time spent in nature or by the sea. Also, I’m quite an introverted person so exhibitions and openings really take it out of me. Here you can be anonymous if you want and nobody cares about what you do; they just want to know who you are. It’s a bit disarming at first but it’s a really refreshing and open way to get to know people.

What tips would you give to others looking to create a base here and maintain a successful career?

Be brave and do it, you won’t regret it. I can’t speak for making money on the island but for us it’s worked really well having our careers away from the island. I guess either way it takes time to find the right balance and it can be confronting and frustrating at times. In the end you’ll have to chill out or leave. So my other advice is stick with it and be prepared for some curve balls. It’s worth it.

What else is on for the year?

I currently have some of my work in the Triennial at National Gallery of Victoria, and a solo show on at the moment at Jan Murphy Gallery in Queensland, both in Australia. I just got back from the opening. Friends in Australia think I am coming back to a party island, but really it’s all almond blossoms, cosy nights in by the fire and restorative yoga! I turned 40 this year so I’m treating myself to a surf trip in the Maldives and have a solo show in October with the Hugo Michell Gallery in Adelaide, Australia.

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www.williammackinnon.com