How did art find you?
As a young child I loved colour, the natural world around me and creating things with my hands. I remember making posies from flowers in the garden, drawing, cutting, pasting, marbling, painting. As I grew up I made beeswax candles, beaded jewellery and cards for friends, I painted, sewed and drew. In school I loved a range of subjects, but art was what really made my heart sing. It’s where I felt the most alive, where I could play and create and challenge myself for no other reason than pure enjoyment.
When did you decide to become an artist?
Following high school I felt immense pressure to study something “hard to get into”. Towards the end of a year-long exchange in Germany, I knew that I needed to listen to myself and to study art.
Art is vital to my being and the way that I experience the world, but making my own work is only part of a bigger relationship that I have with art. I think that being an artist is a decision that I am constantly making and coming back to.
Please tell us a bit about you and your artwork?
Before moving to Germany in 2019, I worked in various roles within the Sydney art world – from education and visitor engagement to curatorial and gallery assistance. Alongside these roles, making and exhibiting my own work has ebbed and flowed from season to season.
For many years my practice was based around observational drawing. In a way that’s similar to blind-contour drawing, I don’t look at the surface that I’m drawing on, but rather at the subject that I’m observing and documenting. This was the foundation for pen-on-paper drawings, lino cuts, paintings, video animations, drawing performances and installations.
More recently I’ve been working with found images – photographs, books, postcards, discarded paintings – which I use as the basis for new works. I draw into and paint on these images, or cut into them to create collages. I’m making minimal interventions into the original images, using the process to think about different ideas or to question the original maker’s intention. Since moving to Germany in January 2019, I’ve mainly been working with images of Germany and Australia, thinking about culture, home, homelands, belonging, landscape, ideas of ‘the foreigner’ and ‘the other’.
What is your favourite medium, technique?
I always come back to drawing, usually with some kind of black felt-tip pen or marker. The allure and tactility of blank paper will never grow old for me, and I love the directness and no-nonsense process of drawing without the option of erasure.
Do you have a favourite colour?
I often say that I have favourite colour combinations, rather than having one favourite colour. If I had to pick one, I would probably swing towards green. Eucalypt green, forest green, lime green, all types of green!
Who was or is your favourite Art Teacher and why?
My art teachers in high school were both wonderful. Ms Huggins was a ball of enthusiasm, knowledge and matter-of-factness; she taught me so many skills and to believe in my own artistic abilities. Mr Lording was perhaps the most kind-hearted teacher ever, and delightfully scatter-brained. He opened my eyes up to so many artists who’ve stuck with me over the years.
Who or what inspires you?
I feel most inspired when I’m connecting – whether it be with myself, with other people, with a particular activity or with the natural world around me. At the moment (and since moving to Germany) I am in love with watching the seasons and colours changing.
Why do you think Art is key?
Art gives us a way of putting our inner world out into the physical world – and this, in turn, allows us to connect with each other as humans.
If you could ask your favourite artist any question, what would it be?
I don’t think I have one favourite artist…but I’d ask all of them the same, super open-ended question: what makes you tick?
When creating with children what are three things that work wonders?
Be open, see the world with the eyes of a child, and remember that they have things to teach you, too.
Could you share with us 3 Artist you follow in Instagram?
Lily Cummins @lilycummins
James Tylor @jamesptylor
Nicole Kelly @nk_nk_
Marker on found Otto Siegner Image
documentation of drawing installation
Window Drawing 11.11.2017, Out of Line, MAY SPACE. Image by Mariam Slewo.