When did you start drawing and what sparked your interest?
I started drawing ever since I could hold a pencil. I drew before I learnt how to write. When my my mother first asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up, I replied “Artist” without skipping a beat. Slightly worried, from then onwards she tried to convince me to modify my aspirations to something more salary friendly – like a cartoon animator…bless her cotton socks. She’s long given up on that now, though. As for that initial spark – since I discovered the joys of drawing so young, I can honestly say I can’t remember. Maybe the epiphany happened while I was chilling out in the womb.
What materials do you work with?
Usually my staples are good old paper and ink. I am a bit of a paper and ink hoarder. I also use flatback rhinestones, ranging from the cheap plastic kind to Austrian crystals. I am still trying to find a way to convince Swarovski to sponsor me. I also use bottles, teaspoons, other found/hoarded objects and use them together with my 2D drawings. I’ve also dabbled in digital programs like Illustrator, but for me it’s not as intuitive as hand-drawing.
What education or experiences have shaped your skills?
I’m an art school dropout! I dropped out of my Masters degree in Fine Arts. By then I had 4+ years of art academia under my belt and felt that was as much as I could take. I knew my art was low-brow to their conceptual (which I love also), and I was more autodidactic than scholarly. Also I got sick of doing essays. Art school definitely shaped my trajectory as an artist though, especially during the time I lived in Berlin and attended the University of the Arts there.
Technically, my skills are quite rudimentary; I really do think the reason why anyone would like anything I have done is whatever force I put behind my limited technical skills. And I really gained that from just living and observing other peoples’ lives.
Your work includes an incredible range of mythical creatures, sparkles and watercolour galaxies, but you also have a strong focus on depicting powerful female figures and don’t shy away from detail. Is it important to you to create artwork that explores femininity and generates discussion?
Women and notions of femininity are so diverse. It is always great when anything generates discussion. My works aren’t always politically motivated but on occasion I do feel like I am responding to something with a picture, especially if I had read/seen something that provoked me. For me, the personalities in my girls are all different, like it is in real life – some are shy, some of them are warriors, some are quietly having a panic attack, some nursing a hangover.
You also often feature yourself as the subject of your illustrations, do these reflect real experiences from your life or become part of an escape from reality?
I started drawing myself because I wanted the viewer to feel like I am speaking to them personally, via paper and ink. Usually, if I am in the picture, I am starting a dialogue. Something a bit personal and autobiographical but broad enough to not exclude the viewer, It’s like a Rorschach test – what you see and get out of it is kinda up to you.
Do you collaborate with other creatives? What role does this play in your work?
I love collaborating. Nothing better to get your creative juices flowing. Inevitably, we all to a degree get stuck in formulaic creative habits. Collaborations tend to challenge that, its like cross-fit training for your brain when it was expecting a Happy Meal.
How do you stay in touch with your creativity and find inspiration?
It’s important to set aside time to do the things you love – this goes for anyone, whether they are creative or not. I get miserable if I haven’t made anything in a while, so for my sanity’s sake I make sure I get time out to do that. As for inspiration, I have bags full of paper scraps I have hastily jotted down ideas on, so I usually go through those when I am stuck. I am lucky I have such colourful people in my life, they provide me with a lot of ideas.
How do you find the balance between art/work and social life?
I don’t think I purposefully set out to balance those factors in my life. Like many other people who are creatively inclined, work is just something you gotta do to live until you get a big break of some sort. Or marry a millionaire. And as for art vs social life – unless I am meeting a deadline, I do what I feel like and try to not feel too guilty about it. God knows there’s enough of that excessive guilt floating around artists already, don’t need that when I’m trying to enjoy a drink at the pub.
What do you have planned for future creative projects?
I am in the midst of organising an all-female group show, with another artist from Queensland. It will be artworks of women drawn by women. I am doing some album art for an amazing Sydney musician, and I also have a few other zine/collaboration projects in the wings. I also plan to have a flash sale on a big chunk of my drawings because I am running out of space! And finally, hopefully more Kaleido-related collaborations in the near future!