Now it’s Dooney TV…

Self promotion? Yep, Hazels got something going on…

Now it’s Dooney TV!

Dooney in five or so questions…

Hazel Dooney is popping up all over the place lately, amazing what some social media, a few good interviews and some other bits can do (like media savvy).

http://spiralmag.wordpress.com/2008/10/15/spiral-exclusive-qa-with-hazel-dooney/

Chances are though that  you read about her here first! :)

Welcome!

If you are new to the site, a hearty welcome, I recently I sent out a heap of info sheets to Secondary and TAFE Visual Art Teachers…. I hope you enjoy the contents as much as I have in putting all this together.

On the right are a range of links and menu options. There is a teachers guide to using the site, links to many Visual Artists web sites I have interviewed and other art resources… Then in the categories you will find Artist interviews and a whole lot more.

If you want to browse the tons of information on offer, simply scroll down the main page and then onto the pages which follow.

Subscribe!!! As I add resources here, you would want to know about it yeah? Well you can get email notification each time I add an article so you can be on top of the art education game. The link to sign up is on the right too.

Also check out our sister site www.artstuff.net.au with lots of creativity boosters and other Visual Art info.

Want to say hi… Then drop me an email, I am always on the lookout for new ideas and options to enhance Visual Art Education. info@stevegray.biz

Cheers

Steve Gray

Art books for you…

Or is that art books about  you… Here is a great device to assist you in creating a slick profile.  Your own book, a full on coffee table book, about you and or your Art.

It’s easy, download some software, create the book, upload it and start selling it online, point your friends to it, your art consultant, your agent etc… and let them buy like crazy, start giving them away to collectors and more.

Here’s one I created earlier… and here’s the link.

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Here’s one by Amanda Van Gils, thought you might like to check that out too, but also, lets not forget Kaye Green’s Art Books, hand made  gems, very different software used….

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Exhibition

6pm – 11pm, Friday 29th MAY. One Night ONLY 
38 Hutchinson St, East Brunswick, Melbourne 

Pigeon Hole Artist collective announces its next Group event Featuring the art, performances and music of over 14 collaborators. 
Providing a context outside of the gallery circuit, the pigeon hole hosts art events where paintings share the space with performers, sculptures and people looking for a stimulating alternative to more conventional art experiences. 

Floating exhibition walls, flying performers, walk around sculptures – experience the visual, audio, artistic theme-park in between 6pm and 11pm, Friday 29th MAY. 

AT THIS EVENT: BEN HOWE, MICHELLE MORCOS, ERIN BRYSON, CHRISTY FLAWS, JODY LLOYD, DAVID RELLIM, DEVIKA BILIMORIA, ROBERT JORDAN, CORIN ADAMS, JAMES LANGER, RUTH SCHALDACH, LUKE O’CONNER, TEA CUP TUMBLE, AND MORE TO BE ANNOUNCED…

Exhibition

What’s your Criterion? This Bill Hart show is at the Criterion Gallery in Hobart Tasmania.

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Vietnamese Contemporary Art

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It’s amazing the people you meet, the people  you get introduced to and the things you find out. In this case I found out there is a gallery which is dealing in Vietnamese Contemporary Art, right here in Melbourne, we had a brief chat and hopefully I will be able to tell you more about the edgy art scene in Vietnam.

in the meantime… go to www.deborahsalterfineart.com.au and see what’s on offer.

News from Carol

Carol Es who was interviewed here earlier  has some exhibitions on the boil and some new work… check out where and what she’s up to next… Carol’s news. Oh and an amazing review! Hey remember  you found out about here here first! :)

Exhibition opportunity

ATTENTION ARTISTS!

Hand held gallery in Melbourne is now accepting proposals for solo or small group shows. Our small space is ideas for small objects, books and paper arts, jewelry, fabrics and textiles.

Hand Held Gallery Suite 18, upstairs Paramount Centre 108 Bourke street, Melbourne 3000

(03)9654 4006 www.handheldgallery.blogspot.com

littleredfishy@yahoo.com.au

Fields of View

Artist’s Leonie Ryan, Peter Biram, and Kerrie Warren together with Ursula and Werner Theinert will share their individual visions, questions and raw emotion through their focus of the aftermath of their own experiences of the Black Saturday fires in Victoria.

Fields of View will be a thought provoking exhibition, which presents a variety of perspectives and perceptions about the environment we live in as seen through the eyes, hearts and minds of five passionate Australian artists.

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The disastrous firestorms in the summer of 2009 were a reminder that environmental issues are in the forefront of the collective psyche of the entire country. This was made even more poignant with Ursula Theinert, whose work has for the last few years revolved around forest management issues and who along with Werner, lost years of work and research marterial whilst defending their home at Callignee from the fires.

The entire foundation group were involved within these fire-ravaged regions making them stronger and more determined to use the arts as a vehicle to promote environmental issues.

Each artist will explore and push boundaries through their own unique style and mediums.

The exhibition will be staged at various venues in Victoria and should be an amazing insight into an incredibly debilitating event from a Visual Arts perspective.

For more details check out the web site.

Exhibition

Hutchison and Tilley at Dickerson Gallery in Collingwood.

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New photo’s April 09

I’ve added some new photo’s to my website, you can check them out at http://stevegray.com.au  click on the album button bottom left of the image area. Here’s a sample.

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Erika Teaches Art…

Erika Gofton who we interviewed a while back, is running art classes in Newport Vic at the Sub Station, what a great opportunity to be tutored by a practicing Contemporary Artist! Check the website for details.

Classes will run throughout the year at the recently opened Substation Arts venue in Newport, 1 Market Street, Newport http://www.thesubstation.org.au 

Exhibition

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Guy Porter Exhibition

Guy Porter who we interviewed a while back is having an exhibition.

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More kudos for us!

The guys over at Art Education Victoria have added this site as a link in their resource section, got to be happy with that! perhaps that means we are doing something right… ;)

Art 09 Melbourne

Went, saw got caught up in the masses looking at masses of “art” oh yes there was some, but in amongst the decorator pieces… still lots sold and lots of discussion took place.

I came across a bunch of “emerging artists” in a section at the show, wow some great stuff (and here’s the rub!) lots of business cards with websites, I grab the ones that interested me for later contact… I go to the sites one by one, a number NOT working or STILL IN DEVELOPMENT… Oopsy! I want to see more I go and it “ain’t there” not good.

I have however contacted a bunch for interviews so I hope to see those really soon.

Such is the pace of “Modern technology” I could have looked them up on the iphone live at the opening and ditched the broken ones there and then… instead I did it this morning.

Of note:

Theinert Gallery – Pete Biram – Leonie Ryan, Werner and Ursula Theinert – First go for the new Gallery in Gippsland.

KW Abstract Art – Kerrie Warren and Dragi Jankovic – Dragi’s ceramic work is beautiful… website coming soon he says.

Metropolis Gallery Geelong – Hey I have to send a shout out for my local gallery.

And Emma Hack from Adelaide who painted wall paper and a lady to make the show a real show stopper for the media the Sunrise team was there to film her in the morning, heck she was up at 3am to get ready for a 7am shoot!

Exhibition

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Exhibition

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Amanda gets a mention

amanda van gils

http://www.art-interview.com/Issue_006/interview_VanGils_Amanda.html

http://life-draw.blogspot.com/2009/04/book-amanda-van-gils-views-from.html

I interviewed Amanda earlier and got the goss on what she’s up to, now others are starting to notice… “Aint the web a grand thing..”

Hazel calls the shots…

I Won’t Be Your Give Man No More

Hazel Dooney has written a neat article on the gallery artist web interface, lots of food for thought as usual.

Subscribe! and know it all… WHEN it happens.

Have you missed out on a post in the blog here? Want to know about things WHEN they happen and not weeks or days later when you browse your favourite sites…

It’s simple, check out the subscribe button over in the RIGHT hand menu. IF you use RSS you can get it there, or personally I like the email subscription service. Sign up and you will get the articles in your email. You no longer need to miss a thing. :)

Exhibition

invite-acga

The value of art… another view

Shane from Outback Art penned this on the value of art. http://outbackart.wordpress.com/2009/03/06/the-value-of-art/

Environmental Expressionism

A term used by some artists to indicate a link to the environment and expressionistic techniques… 

http://www.environmentalexpressionism.com/

Oh come on, you let me know (in the comments section) if this is a really valid art “ism” or merely a chance to “cash in” some how on a term or two…

Hey I am one, but I figure so many artists are… Fred Williams… how could he not be?

I figure there is some discussion to happen here… Check their site, their info and ideas and comment away.

Regionalis – an Artistic insight

News just to hand, about an exhibition to be seen later in 2009 will showcase the works of six Artists and their response to “Artists on the Environment”.

The group show will feature emerging and mature Contemporary Artists from Victoria. Details of the exhibition to be shown at Docklands Gallery Dukes, are still being thrashed out. Details to follow…

Exhibition

DICKERSON GALLERY MELBOURNE
OPENING TONIGHT - 1 APRIL, 6 - 8PM
 
SHARON BILLINGE – SPIDERLINGS
FILOMENA COPPOLA - MOON SHADOW
 
1  -  19 April 2009

 

DICKERSON GALLERY
44 Oxford St Collingwood VIC 3066
P (03) 9416 0031  F (03) 9416 0038
www.dickersongallery.com.au

Kaye Green

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Preface

It is with great interest and pleasure to have this interview with a very special Australian Artist, Kaye Green. A long while back I had the pleasure of working with Kaye in the Print studio at Monash University Gippsland. There in a unique rural setting (surrounded by big mining and power generation industries) Kaye set about adding Lithography to the repertoire of print techniques taught and explored in the print studio… The studio had most of the equipment but for many years it gathered dust and had been seen as “too hard” as a technique to bother with.

Kaye’s enthusiasm, creativity, technical mastery, and work ethic meant the students (and staff) had a great opportunity to watch, learn and explore the fascinating process of Lithography in action. From what seemed like a slow process, a mountain of prints grew as Kaye the “prolific producer” churned out an endless array of beautiful prints.

Any students who moaned about the “slow process of Lithography” were soon shown a drawer FULL of prints, many multi coloured in a variety of sizes… They would soon be making prints bouyed by the inspiration Kaye’s work volume induced. (not to mention her technical and creative expertise.)

At one point she tackled some HUGE mono prints, inking up the laminex surface of a whole table with black ink and drew magnificent islands and hills inspired by a residency in Queesnland’s Griffith University. In contrast to this she created small works and art books, wow that was a revelation at the time, I marveled at these for some reason.

To work in the same department as Kaye was a defining moment in my career as an artist and I can clearly state she is one of my influencers (4-1/2 years in the same building can do that!) Despite all the seriousness we had great times speaking our own version of Scottish (Having Euan Heng an ex-pat scotty on the team helped immensely!) with lots of laughs with the students… one great moment I recall was in the first week or two of Kaye being part of the print team, putting a sign up saying when Litho classes would start (9:30 am) at 9:45 after setting up and waiting for the masses to arrive, she then put her head out the door, cupped her hands across her mouth to create a megaphone, and yelled out… “Litho class is starting guys! anyone wanting to know about making litho prints come now!!!) 5 mins or so passed before enough folks were assembled to start the class. They came on time after that… The rest as they say is “history”.

Now, some 25 years on, I am pleased to present this interview and trust you find some powerful inspiration in amongst the quiet deportment of a great Australian Artist.

Steve Gray April 2009

Kaye lives in Austins Ferry (Hobart suburb) Tasmania, she is represented by Umeda Gallery, Osaka, Japan and also shows a small range of prints at Handmark Gallery in Hobart.

Here is a link to more of her work.

Teachers and Students: You can download a worksheet on Kaye’s interview here.

How long have you been making art?
I’ve been trying to since I was old enough to hold a pencil.

Interests you have other than art you feel are important to mention?
Choral singing, gardening and cats.

above-me-and-below-me-music-in-the-air-lithograph-and-chine-colle-1997

What are the main medium/s you work in…
Lithography, relief printing, drawing and artists books

Artist’s statement:
Kaye Green was born in Ulverstone, Tasmania in 1953 and following a year as an exchange student

in Japan in the early seventies, she completed her BA in Visual Arts at the Tasmanian School of Art in Hobart in 1976. She taught art in a Tasmanian high school for two years before travelling to the USA to undertake a Master’s Degree at the University of New Mexico, graduating in 1981. During her time in Albuquerque she also studied at the prestigious Tamarind Institute of Lithography.

In 1984 Kaye was awarded an Australian Visual Arts Board residency to establish a lithography studio at Griffith University in Brisbane and was also awarded a residency by the National Parks and Wildlife Service to work in a national park in southern Queensland in 1993.

She completed a residency at The Frans Masereel Studio in Belgium in 1996 and worked for six months in the Grafiris Printmaking Studio in Helsinki, Finland in 1988.

In 1996 Kaye won the national Silk Cut award for lino prints which enabled her to travel to Amsterdam for study and inspiration and in 2007 was awarded an Artsbridge International grant to assist with her exhibition held in Japan in February 2008.

Kaye has completed a number of commissions and her work is represented in many national and international public collections including the Australian National Gallery in Canberra and The Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery.

After fourteen years of university lecturing, Kaye resigned from teaching and returned to Tasmania to work full time in her studio.

The consistent themes in Kaye Green’s current work are elements from nature with a strong Japanese sensibility. She uses these elements as powerfully expressive metaphors and approaches the landscape, and elements in the landscape, not for their literal imagery, but for their spiritual and associative qualities. The landscape and elements of nature provide a vast sphere of influence where form denotes mood. This personal encounter with the nature results in a poetically inspired visual language. “…her imagery retains that slightly meditative, mystical and visionary quality. Her art explores both the elements of nature which she encounters in the physical world and the internalised landscapes of the mind, the landscape of dreams and of nature revealed through intuitive imaginings.”

Sasha Grishin, Catalogue essay “Seeing the Same Moon” 2006

How do you describe your work?
Semiotic, spiritual, poetic, abstract qualities.

Does your work have social, political, cultural and or personal messages?
Universal ponderings.

What are you currently working on?
Large free standing drawings, multi coloured heavily inked lino prints and preparing ideas for my trip to Tamarind.

book-of-birds-artists-book-2006

What fascinates you?
Horizon lines, clouds, rain, lightening, rocks, trees and words.

One word or statement to describe your current works?
Poetic landscapes

Why are you an artist?
No choice…it’s who I am.

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How did you get into art?
I have always drawn. At an early age …maybe 4? I wanted to be an artist even though I had no exposure to art or artists at that age

Your art education was…?
BA at the Tasmanian School of Art, MA at the University of New Mexico, USA.

Have you always been interested in art?
Yes, although I would say ‘interested’ is not really the right word. More appropriate words would be ‘involved’, ‘passionate’ or ‘preoccupied’.

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What did you do before or during becoming an artist?
Packed carrots, waitressing at a Japanese seamens’ club and lecturing in the art school system.

Is there any one thing that has given you a big buzz in your art career so far?
Seeing my work hanging next to a Modigliani in a gallery in Japan was fairly extreme!.

What is your earliest memory of art?
Well, my own and other kids’ work at school of course but my first serious art experience was seeing a Rembrandt portrait in a book. I fell in love.

Do you remember your first painting or art work?
Yes, Indians in a canoe was the first piece I remember. I’m sure there were many “abstracts” prior to that.

Was art a “thing” that was encouraged in your family?
No not at all.

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Did the place where you grew up have an influence?
Good teachers at school and beautiful surroundings on the north west coast of Tasmania.

What or who inspires your art?
The earth, music, words, other artists.

Was there a big turning point in your art journey that caused you to think that “it’s all worthwhile”, or “oh yeah I get it…”?
There have been a few turning points but I have never doubted that it is “all worthwhile”. I have never experienced times when I haven’t been able to work. Winning the National award for lino prints (The SilkCut Award) was a huge boost though.

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What caused you to choose the medium you currently work in?
I made a lino print in 1st year high school and was attracted to the indirectness. I never felt right standing in front of a canvas. Then Rod Ewins, my lecturer at the Tasmanian School of Art, encouraged me to make lithographs because of the way I was drawing in my final years of art school but I preferred etching. When I went to the University of New Mexico and Tamarind Institute in 1979 I realised lithography was indeed a wonderful medium for me and it’s been my favoured medium ever since.

Has your work changed much since your early efforts?
I hope so! I think the biggest difference is that I think my work used to be something I produced and I would look at it with a certain detachment but now I am totally convinced that my work is me.

Have your artistic influences altered over time?
Yes I think artists from other art forms have become more influential and art from other cultures.

You know you are successful in Visual Arts when…
To me it is honestly not about being successful in the normal sense of the word. I’ve never felt comfortable in the commercial gallery scene for example. I suppose I would consider success is about commitment and integrity. I suppose I think I’m successful whenever I complete a piece of work I’m happy with.

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What can you tell us about your planning and making process for making art, and has that altered over the years?
I have always worked fairly spontaneously in that I have never tended to make many working drawings. I have my ideas sketched out as words or small drawings and then when I start on the major work I just use those preparatory works as a guide. I like the work to be fresh. Over the past ten years I have become more open I think and I like using mixed media.

Does the “creative process” happen easily for you?
Yes I am never stuck for ideas; there is always something I want to explore. If I don’t feel like working, I sharpen pencils or tidy my studio or cut up old work to be used as collage material.

Do you get creative glimpses or urges happening and how do you work with these?
Any time I have a creative glimpse I write it down in a small notebook which I always carry with me. Sometimes it is just a word or a fragment of something I have seen or heard but they make sense to me when I look through my journal. One word or a tiny drawing can transport me right back to the original thought or inspiration.

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Have you had any commissions?
Yes a few. They have varied from a commission to make a series of prints for the Surveying Department in the Geography Faculty at the University of Tasmania to a private commission for a friend whose husband had died.

How important do you think craftsmanship is to artistic creation?
Integral.

Creative streaks do they come in waves for you?
Not really but some places inspire me to think more deeply than other places. And it’s not necessarily the most beautiful places.

Do you get to other artists exhibitions, openings etc?
I go to exhibitions but try to avoid openings.

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Any upcoming or completely new projects you want to talk about?
I have just been awarded an Arts Tasmania grant to enable me to go to Tamarind Institute in Albuquerque, New Mexico to make a series of lithographs with the Tamarind Master printers. I am starting to prepare the work for that series now.

Working towards an exhibition, is it a daunting task?
I don’t really tend to work towards an exhibition. I just work… and then I have exhibitions. I usually have plenty of work so I have never really made work specifically for an exhibition.

Some say the lifespan of an “artist” post educationally is about five years, any thoughts on that?
The Tasmanian school of Art offered me an exhibition about 2 years after I had graduated and I think that was a great incentive to have a body of work ready for exhibiting. However I have always made art so the 5 year problem wasn’t relevant for me.

Tell us about your connection to your subject matter, way of working, concepts etc?
I am totally connected to my subject matter and Sasha Grishin once wrote: “Much of the imagery in her art is in the form of meditations on trees, clouds or the moon. In her titles she frequently employs the term “portrait”, in the meaning of tree portrait or bonsai portrait. These are not inanimate objects which she depicts in her art, but rather they are living entities where she has entered into communion with the tree, cloud, rock or the moon. Nature is not something that is outside of her, something that she can objectify and depict, but she is part of nature which forms her subject matter, in a strange sense; each of her images is also an image of self. In the same way as we can say that all of Bea Maddock’s art is self referential, a type of self-portrait, Kaye Green identifies with nature to such an extent that she and her subject merge identities.”

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What has been a turning point in your career thus far and why?
Definitely the turning point was living in Japan when I was 17. When I arrived and couldn’t speak Japanese, I just thought a lot and made a lot of art. I think that is when I feel I became a really whole person in that all of my other senses were heightened because I didn’t have verbal language to rely on. Japan has been my second home ever since and I was offered my first solo exhibition there after I completed my MA in the USA. I flew from Albuquerque to Osaka completely broke and there was my work, beautifully framed and presented in a prestigious gallery in Osaka. I love making art in Japan and I love exhibiting there.

If you could have any piece of artwork in your personal collection, what would it be and why?
Either a Rembrandt self portrait because seeing a Rembrandt when I was about 12 years old moved me to tears. I actually touched the surface of the painting when the guard wasn’t watching and wiped my fingers with a tissue which I think I still have somewhere. That same portrait is now covered with glass…my fault maybe! Or perhaps a Morandi still life? Or a Rothko. I’d love Christo to come and make a work in my garden!

Can you name a favourite artist or three… and why?
Bea Maddock, Rembrandt, Morandi, Christo and Rothko… well really the list could go on for ever. Just like I love listening to certain music I love looking at certain works of art. I love observing and exploring the abstract qualities in art. I can actually get something out of looking at most art.

Have you had any “big breaks” in your career?
I have had a few “big breaks”. *Being accepted into the MA programme at the University of New Mexico and then a collaborative course at Tamarind Institute. *Being offered a solo exhibition in Osaka on the completion of my MA. *Being awarded a Visual Arts Board residency at Griffith University to establish the lithography studio. *Winning the Silk Cut award. *Having a large solo show at the Carnegie Gallery in Hobart. * Being awarded an Arts Tasmania grant to go to Tamarind to work with the Master Printers. There have been other smaller “breaks” but these have been the big ones so far.

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All artists seem to have struggles, tell us about any you have had.
I think I struggle with some issues constantly but some examples of tangible struggles are: * Struggling with a compulsory unit of silk screen printing in my 2nd year of printmaking. I hated it. *Being desperately poor all through art school. *In the United States I was seriously ill with meningitis and nearly died. It was a terrible time for me being so far from home. It also meant that I had to use a lot of my savings on hospital bills so it made the rest of my time in the United States very difficult financially. I was so poor I actually considered writing to ten friends and relatives asking if they could lend me $10. I dreamed of receiving the 10 x $10 notes. I couldn’t ever bring myself to doing this mainly because I couldn’t afford the postage! It was a huge struggle but it made the journey home with my MA in my bag all the more satisfying. *I also had a serious accident in 1992 which has affected me enormously. My struggles have been about my financial situation and health!

Do you keep an Art Journal or Visual Diary of some kind?
Yes always. I have kept an art journal since high school. I don’t know what I would do if I didn’t keep notes and drawings. My brain would be overloaded.

What happens to works that “don’t work out”?
I’m fortunate in that I’m aware early on if something is not going to work. With lithographs, for example, I can tell almost with the first mark if it is going to work or not. If I feel it’s not going to work I stop and start again. Any pictures that don’t work usually end up as fragments for collages.

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One thing you wish you had listened to from an art teacher or lecturer?
Not really. I am friends with my high school art teacher who maintains that I never listened to her but just went ahead and did my own thing. But I was listening to her… perhaps observing more than listening. I was inspired because she did a lot of her own work in class. I wish I had studied photography as my minor at art school and I think someone made that suggestion to me.

Do you have a personal philosophy, which underpins your work?
I think it’s mainly about honesty and integrity.

Do you aim to break the rules of basic composition, layout etc or do you ignore the “rules” and just create?
I certainly don’t aim to “break the rules”; I actually enjoy using the rules but they don’t inhibit my creative process. I work intuitively within certain boundaries.

What sort of research and or reference material do you do for current works and has that changed over time?
I think I am more inclined to use reference material now. I used to rely wholly on my own observations. I make use of a wider range of resource material.

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Musical influences, Okay this is about Visual Arts but most artists have favourite music they enjoy while working or just in general what about you?
I love singing and listening to choral music especially a cappella. I enjoy a wide range of music except jazz, rock and country and western.

Do you hope the viewer will “get” what you are trying to communicate or do you feel compelled to spell it out to them?
I hope that viewers will enjoy my work in some way but I don’t expect them to look at my work and say “Oh, I understand.” It’s much more intangible than that. Many people tell me that they respond differently to my work depending on their own mood or time of the day. That’s very satisfying. It makes me feel that my work is alive and not stagnating.

How important is it to you that your work communicates something to the viewer?
There is no ‘message’ as such but I would hope that my work enables people to think differently or to experience something. I like to think I can show something of the way I see the world.

What can you say about your work that might not be evident to the viewer?
I’m not sure because I don’t think I understand how people see my work. I know my work intimately of course but I don’t know what is evident to the viewer and what isn’t. And sometimes people surprise me by seeing things I haven’t perceived.

What can you tell us about your creative development process?
I honestly am thinking about my art most of the time so in a way it’s not a process for me… more a way of being. It’s a matter of having enough time to make all the images I am keen to make.

Has being involved in the arts proven to be a millstone or a point of elation?
Both

Art is about entertainment, experiment, inventiveness or shock for you?
For me art is about ideas.

If you stopped doing art right now would you miss it?
I couldn’t exist.

What discourages you from doing art?
Extreme highs and lows in my mood and a totally chaotic studio.

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Is motivation to work an issue for you and how do you overcome it?
Not really but if I ever do find it hard to get moving I just tidy the studio or sort through my work. My cat Megumi loved me going to the studio and would complain if we were not at work by about 9.30 each day. She even had her own “work chair.” She recently died after 17 years of being my companion so the studio is a lonely place at the moment.

Do you have a challenge knowing when a work is finished?
No, I don’t often have that problem although I am aware of it and often have to force myself to stop.

Are there special aspects to the making of your work that you want to share?
I am dedicated to making art and I value my work very much but I see some people (mainly students or aspiring artists) who are too careful or fastidious… precious about their work. Sometimes they spend too much time fussing over tiny details which I feel are not important. I think I might be a bit ruthless sometimes but I’m glad I am… I’ll try and think of an analogy. Yes it might be like a parent who has a terrific child but the child has a tiny freckle on the sole of their foot. The parent keeps complaining about the freckle instead of ignoring it and enjoying all the other qualities in the child. It’s not a great analogy but I hope it explains what I mean.

You know you have “made it as an artist” when…
You want/need to make art every day.

The value of Visual Arts to you is…
Value… worth, significance… it is a vast concept. It’s a bit like asking what value do I have as a person.

Your first “decent” gallery representation, how did it come about?
An art critic in the USA wrote about my work “having a Japanese sensibility” and I sent the newspaper article to my friends in Japan. They wrote back and invited me to go to Japan instead of going back to Australia following my graduation. They offered me an exhibition in a prestigious gallery in Osaka. I only had enough money for an airfare from the USA to Australia or Japan but not both. The friends said that they would pay for my fare from Japan to Australia so I started sending my work to the gallery and by the time I arrived the work had been framed and there was a beautiful invitation. It was overwhelming. The exhibition sold out so the pleasing thing was that I was able to pay for my fare back to Australia. I have shown with that gallery ever since.

The business or marketing side of Art can be a challenge to some, what are your thoughts?
Is there a stronger word than challenging? I find the whole marketing issue impossible.

garden-ii

What is the most unexpected response you’ve received from a viewer of your work?
Possibly when a business man came to one of my exhibitions and was moved to tears. (in a positive way that is!)

Have you had much connection post sale with purchasers of your works?
Not really although there is a friend who has collected my work for the past 30 years or so. It is interesting to see a ‘retrospective’ every time I visit his house.

Tell us about getting caught in a creative “slump” and how you got out of it?
It has never really been an issue for me but following the premature death of a very close friend and mentor I found it extremely difficult to work. I was deeply inspired but could not face looking at a bare sheet of paper to start work. It was a real struggle for me but then I decided to start cutting up old pieces of work and I made some small collages. That was a very helpful process and it also introduced me to the idea of collage as a serious medium.

Metaphors, analogies, symbols, stories, how important are they to your work?
Very important. It’s what my work is about.
I employ image and metaphor to investigate the nature of reality and more specifically my perceptions of the relationship between nature and the integrity of human existence. I endeavour to comprehend, through analysis and representation, my perceptions and ideas in an attempt to illuminate and interpret this spirit. I draw directly from the landscape and I use elements of nature such as a tree, a cloud, which, for me, is visualised in spiritual darkness (depth), in sky reaching down to touch the earth, in the mystery of lightening and the sacredness of a large rock. For me, these elements have power for metaphor and are therefore parabolic in revealing and exemplifying the attitudes, ideas and moods which I like to reflect upon. Through these assembled metaphors a broader holistic statement emerges concerning my perception of the universe.

Is your art, “art for art sake…” or a matter of “art for commercial viability?”
Art for art’s sake and for my sake definitely not for commercial viability.

If you have been working as an artist for a while, how do you feel about earlier works that are in people’s collections / ownership?
Sometimes it is lovely to see an older work but a few times I have been embarrassed and tried to swap the work for a more recent piece.

Name a book or books, which may have inspired your work as an artist?
The Book Thief, The Alchemist, The Glass Bead Game, The Shadow of the Wind, The Other Side of Me.

If someone says to you “Oh your work is decorative and lacks any meaning…” your response would be…?
“I think you might have been looking at someone else’s work!”

Tell us about your studio environment (too big, too small, enough storage or not, the light, the position, how you found it etc)?
My studio is situated in my back garden about 20 metres from my house. It was the original cottage on the property. I extended it so that it consists of two reasonably sized rooms. The lower room is where I draw and prepare and the top room is where I have my press. The light is quite good and I love the aspect. I look down onto my house and across the river to the hills. I love being in my studio at night when I have left a light on in the house. It makes me feel content. I have a fridge, stereo and couch in my studio so I have everything I need up there. My laundry and second toilet are also adjacent to the studio so I also have access to running water.

Is your work process fast or slow?
I usually have a number of things going at the same time. I think I work fairly fast.

Art as a therapeutic device; do you think it is useful for this purpose and is your work in this category somehow?
I guess it can be for some people. I have made certain pieces to get me through periods of grief but they are quite different types of works to my normal work.

Do the seasons affect your work or work habits?
Yes, the main reason I moved back to Tasmania is to experience four distinct seasons. I do work better when it is cold. I am especially inspired on dark, cold, wintry days. I remember how excited I used to be when it was so dark walking to school that the classroom lights would be on and the teacher would have lit the fire in the classroom. I used to feel particularly alive and exhilarated and that’s how I feel now when it’s so dark during the day that I have to have the lights on in the studio.

Some say a measure of an artwork is the ability for it to hold a person’s attention or cause the viewer to come back after an initial glance and become captivated by the work, is that so for your works or an intention of yours?
As I said in a previous answer, people often comment that they gain a different insight or perspective each time they look at my work. Depending on their own mood, they can respond quite differently to my work at different times of the day. It’s not really an intention of mine but my work does not have the immediate “wow” factor…more a transmuting or gradual appeal.

People around you (family friends etc.) what would they say about the way you work, the moods you have, your life as an artist etc?
When I was very young my mother realised that I became moody if I didn’t draw. I’m not sure what my family members and friends think. It’s so tied up with who I am they just accept that that’s what I do. I have two young nieces who love the fact I am an artist and they love coming to work in my studio.

Do you have a connectedness to other art forms?
Yes prose and music.

Some artists are more “at home” isolated in their creative process, while others revel in being part of a group to bounce “ideas off” how about you?
I have always worked alone and find it difficult to work in a group situation. I find it very distracting and not at all stimulating. Even at high school I actually built a wall in a corner of the art room so I felt I had my own space.

When you get the urge to create art because something has “pushed your button/s” how compelling is it for you?
I don’t really get “the urge” because I am constantly either working or thinking about it. However sometimes I do get excited about a particular project and can’t stop working. A friend of mine once called me an “alcoholic”… she meant “workaholic”!

What is one thing you need to have in your studio before you work?
Music and my glasses!

Are you a purist with your art materials or willing to mix things about?
I am a purist with lithography and printmaking in general in that I don’t hand colour and I do have a “truth to materials” approach. Over the past ten years however I have made a number of mixed media works… bits of prints, pencil, crayon etc.

What moves you most in life, either to inspire or upset you that might be connected to your art?
The sky, trees, hills and rocks and music. And sadness.

Which is more important to you, the subject of your work, or the way it is executed?
They are completely interwoven.

Do you prefer a perfect smooth technique or a more energetic expressive technique and why?
I can’t say energetically expressive but quietly expressive. Certainly not smooth.

What is more important to you in your work, content or technique, concept or product?
Well the technique is a means to an end…without it my work wouldn’t exist. For me everything is a part of everything else.

Are there times of the day when you prefer to do your work?
Not really although I do love working at night. I also love it when it is raining and I’m in my studio with the lights on, hearing the rain on the tin roof and listening to music or the cricket!

From your early beginnings at art school to now, how have things altered for you?
I’m not as ‘precious’ or self conscious about my work. I am not as elitist as I used to be.

Is the making of art all it was “cracked up to be”?
I don’t think I was ever led to believe that it was “cracked up to be” anything really. Making art has always been a part of who I am…it’s what I do.

How do you think art can change people or their perceptions?
It can offer people different insights and other ways of thinking and seeing. I love it when I observe people changing to become less rigid in the way they think about art.

Have you won any awards?
Yes a few. The Duroloid Silk Cut award for lino prints, Australia Council residency, Queensland Government residency, drawing award, and some grants.

Do you go into any contemporary art prizes, if so why?
Yes, because I am not represented by a commercial gallery in Australia art prizes offer me the opportunity to show my work. Getting a picture ready for an award demands a certain discipline which is challenging.

Are you the sort of artist that seeks out promotional opportunities or one that shuns the limelight?
I can’t say I specifically seek or shun. I do my work and things just happen! I am not one to push myself forward though.

Technology (websites and social networking sites to name a few) has become an important marketing tool for many industries and individuals, what are your thoughts from a “You Inc” perspective and your art sensibility.
A friend is designing a web site for me but otherwise I’m not really comfortable with technology. I’d rather be in the computer-less studio.

Do you work from life, or from photographs or from imagination or some other method?
I always work from observations of some sort. Sometimes I take photographs, draw or write but always in response to something I have seen or heard.

When you create your work is it somehow an emotional relief as you do it or at the end?
Not really either of those. I don’t seem to ever be emotionally relieved!

What is your working routine? Do you listen to music while you work, or stay up late for instance?
My preferred routine is to go to the studio at about 9am and I usually spend the first half hour looking at what I have done the day before. If I am particularly excited I’ll go up to the studio early in the morning in my pyjamas to see something. My studio is in my back garden (about a 2 minute walk to work) so I go down to the house for lunch and then finish at about 6pm. Sometimes I’ll go back up and work late. I always listen to music (or the cricket). I love the radio but sometimes play CDs. However there are other distractions so not every day is like that. I have choir rehearsals, a garden to look after and other responsibilities.

What do you love/hate about being an artist?
Hate: Filling in entry forms, packing work up to send away, completing application forms and receiving rejection letters. Love: Being excited about my work, having a solo exhibition, which I’m pleased with, working in my studio, drawing on a lithographic stone. I love many things about being an artist.

What advice would you give to an artist just starting out?
Start making work straight away and try to do something in the studio each day. Enter a few awards/prizes and be ambitious with the work. I used to get frustrated when students asked me “Is this good enough?” I don’t think this is a useful way to think.

Have you ever made an artistic pilgrimage? If so, where did you go and why?
London, Paris and
New York mainly because I thought I had a professional obligation to visit those places and their respective galleries. It was surprising to me that I loved London and New York but was too overwhelmed by Paris.

What do you think sets you apart from other artists in your approach to work etc…
I’m not sure. I only know how I approach my work and I’m not sure I have ever been close enough to another artist to be able to make a comparison. I have always been totally committed and I am consistently prolific but I’m not alone there.

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Compiled and edited by Steve Gray © 2009+

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