Artist Talk @ The Australian Tapestry Workshop

During my residency this year, I gave a talk with the other artists in residence Britt Salt & Anne Graham at the Australian Tapestry Workshop during my residency

Here are some excerpt of the talk delivered 6 March 2018 at ATW:

'... At 7 people started to notice my drawings, which led me to think I could become an artist. In primary and secondary school I took art lessons at and out of school, during my youth I was always making things while watching TV religiously on Saturday afternoon with my dad. So at 16 exited I expressed to my father that I wanted to become an artist after all I had been working at it for nearly 10 years, this grand phrase didn’t have the grand positive response I expected. His answer was ‘don’t be ridiculous get a job that will pay you a good wage’ … nowadays I finally do understand what he meant and repeat the same sentence albeit not quite formulated the same way to my children! 

I starting with painting, when I was young and brought up with the Degas, Monets and Manets of the world I had not contemplated the validity and the possibilities that other practices could bring.
While furthering art studies in Melbourne, while I discovered many other international and local artists, the NGV put on two major retrospective exhibitions by 2 New Zealanders, which, ‘both’ had a dramatic effect on my art practice. The first artist was Colin McCahon with his earthy tonal painting with text voicing his beliefs. The second artist was Rosalie Gascoigne with her poetic assemblages of objects. At That particular time this was a revelation that anything was possible in art! And a great lesson they both taught!  I realised that for me to become an artist I had to believe in myself and furthermore to stay true to myself in the works I would produce.

With time my practice slowly changed from realistic to abstract however I needed to say something to represent something that was happening around me, to give voice to many voices. That is when I decided to apply for my Master degree at RMIT. 

My appetite for new ideas, different practices and learning new skills encompasses today a full range of experience that has no logical boundaries. Expressing with art the culture of our times has been a continuous thread in my multi-disciplinary and experimental art practice that engages a variety of audiences. Today I am a ‘very’ satisfied ‘artist’ that creates internationally relevant and yet site-specific works that explore global critical issues.  My challenge is to engage and craft experiences for people to participate, feel and reflect to help define our times.

I assemble temporary structures and experiment with new ways of thinking about art, making sculptural assemblages to activate spaces for public interaction. I am actively looking to create immersive or sensorial environments that can enhance the experience of the work...

I have the desire to engage deeply and meaningfully with a project. I put energy into the development of a personal relationship with found objects and new material. For example a certain type or form of plastic may accumulate in my studio for years prior to taking on a new format with a new meaning in its up-cycled state. This accumulation of the same material is of importance in my work especially when working on a very large scale... 

My Motto is about making artworks with a message that have a transformative effect and engages audiences in starting conversations about the environment. I have now been working with recycled materials for nearly a decade now. Some of these assemblage artworks are large in scale, overwhelming in their presence, while others are modest investigations that challenge, move or question through art.
My most ambitious work to date is Glacier made for the Glass Cube in Frankston was audience engaging as they walked around the 2 plastic traps. This work was made to reflect on the single-use plastic packaging we use daily and how it breaks up in zillion of micro pieces in the environment to be found in the gut of fish and birds. This fact is terribly important and alarming as the plastic realises toxins and chemicals have been found in the bloodstream of the fish we ourselves eat all around the world.
Today as we live in the twenty-first century, I think by now we all know and it has been proven, that, WE, humans are altering the balance of nature and that our attitude towards waste has a rippling effect around the world. This fact means that each new creation we design, embodies its own:
1-existence, 2-extraction, 3-weathering and 4-decay so as designer, we need to include a fifth crucial point ‘reuse’!
We need to identify opportunities with waste materials in order to ease the consumption of the world’s natural resources and nowhere is this more important then with plastic in the environment.
We need to re-establish our human relationship with nature. I strongly recommend what seems so be so foreign to this generation, to leave your mobile phones at home and do some earthing and go for a long walk in parks or along the ocean to slow down and regenerate .

So for this residency, two of ‘My Worlds’ collided.
My proposal was around using lost and forgotten clothes from the fast fashion era and to transform these items into unique pieces. A fashion statement that would be made possible with old and found materials gleaned in and around this studio. Of course ‘plastic’ took centre stage once again but this time I enjoyed introducing bits of other materials gleaned from op-shops clothes. Using different mode of representation and engagement my endeavour is in response to this gigantic problem we have around us called ‘consumerism’. Everything is so cheap we don’t even blink and yet we do not care what happens to this purchase when our whim has been satisfied. Here, ‘truth be told’ all the black coats now transformed are from my and my nieces’ wardrobe albeit they all came from op-shop so one could say that consumerism and upcycling run parallel in my veins!
As an individual artist working on the edge of the art world, as you know it, I am humbled to be part of the Australian Tapestry Workshop AiR 2018 program...

This residency has helped extend the breadth of my experimental art practice in bringing together Couture and Art and allowed to further spread this important message into the community during the Melbourne Fashion Festival 2018. It is crucial for artist to be given time for inspiration, conversation and networking with space to reflect and unpack issues of our time. The staff, the calm and light-filled studio and spiritual aura of this space have been a blessing. These six weeks allowed for a period to concentrate and create this Winter 2018 renewed collection that will be presented as part of the Renew Runway Project in a fashion parade in the ACU courtyard this Thursday 8th March at 6.30pm. Six sustainable designers have gathered for this wearable art fashion parade organised by Angela Barnett and the Yarra Youth Centre and partnered with Tim of a Man with a Van to bring a truck and a long platform for the models our friends to strut our design...


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