13 October 2011

A Conversation with Brenda of Go Benny Go

Go Benny Go is a partnership of two artists - Brenda and Mike, together, they are all about creating exciting, high quality, vibrant, and energetic art designed to stimulate a child's imagination.  With everything from limited edition canvas prints, posters, reward charts and gift cards produced using only premium inks and materials and with the fab tag line... 'It's cute, but it's cool'.  Let's learn more...

Who is {Go Benny Go}?

Brenda Sutton and Mike Howie; we are a kiwi couple (one very short and one exceptionally tall!) who have a background in traditional animation. We met in Sydney while working for Walt Disney Animation Australia, and we returned to New Zealand together about 8 years ago.

What’s your “handmade groove ?”

With our animation background we lean towards all things illustrated. Our first collection features limited edition canvas art prints, reward charts, and posters. We have greeting cards planned for release shortly, and a whole host of paper and print goods in mind for the future. We are fussy artists and everything has to be just so – we take pride in our products being high quality.

What’s on your bedside table right now? (hey, no tidying up or censoring)

I’m very messy and disorganized. This gives you an idea…

Oxford Dictionary and Thesaurus

Politically Incorrect Parenting by Nigel Latta

Views From the Loft – A Portable Writers Workshop

My Mistress’s Sparrow is Dead (Great love stories from Chekhov to Munro)

Bounty pregnancy pack (I am currently 26 weeks pregnant)

DVD of my baby’s 12 week scan

A HUGE stack of loyalty cards and coffee cards

A timer - with instructions- for the heater (we bought it two years ago and I am yet to read those instructions and get the thing going!)

Always about a million cups

And that’s just half of it but the rest is too boring!

Who are your creative role models? What music, books, images, poetry spark your creative fire?

I am fascinated by Janet Frame and Katherine Mansfield.

I love Charlotte Grimshaw’s short story collections and find them very inspiring. William Trevor’s too.

My favourite book is The Elements of Style Illustrated by Strunk, White, & Kalman.

(I love books about writing and writers.)

Music: Lately I’ve been enjoying Micah. P Hinson though we haven’t had any new music in the house for so long, it is more out of desperation than it being first choice!

I write a blog called Kitty as a Picture (www.kittyasapicture.com), and in this I showcase all kinds of surface design for kids. It keeps me inspired and up to date with what’s happening in the industry.

I love Print and Pattern Blog. (www.printpattern.blogspot.com)

And I love Orla Kiely.

What could you talk late into the night about with like minded people?

I like to compare a reading experience with someone who has read the same book as me.

I love to hear about people’s lives and challenges. I would talk all night with anyone who is open and honest; I love to be surprised by people, to find that there is so much more to them than I considered.

If you could go to three free workshops/creative events this year which ones would they be? What are they about?

They would mostly be writing events – listening to authors talk about their creative process and their new books, and I also like to participate in writing workshops. Every now and then I fancy doing some life drawing.

How do you balance your creative life with your family, life commitments?

It is a constant struggle. I get up super –early to work, and if all my work commitments have been met I use this time for my creative projects. I am constantly frustrated that there are not more hours in the day! Many of my projects, especially writing, are on hold while I have a young family.

What is your favourite creative screw-up?

Funny, I can’t think of one. I do screw up an awful lot ;) but ‘creative screw ups’… Sorry, nothing comes to mind.

Kitchen table or studio?

Neither. I guess you could call it a studio if you were imaginative, but it’s a tiny house – I use an old 1920’s sunroom which is also the entrance to our house. We have rigged up a trestle table and a pin board, a few bookshelves and, though small, it feels nice. It looks out onto the garden and I like it. But Mike and I dream of having a real studio one day :)

Do you have a wish list? Can you tell us what’s on it?

A bigger house. I soooo want a bigger house! Pretty please!

You can shop for Go Benny Go products ... here
Read their blog ... here
and Follow on Facebook ... here


  1. Great to hear about your arty life Brenda,love your reward charts, cheers Marie

  2. Lovely to hear more about your work Brenda :) Great photos!


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