Where are you from originally and where do you live now?
I was born here in Australia, and have lived in many cities across the eastern states throughout the years. Currently I am based in Brisbane with my family. We live close to the city but our house sits on a block adjacent to the Brisbane River surrounded by masses of flora and fauna so it feels a little bucolic. For those who don’t know Brissy (say Brizzie) the river is a major, defining element that snakes its way through the city and out to the west. Everyday I watch how the water moves through the Eucalyptus, Jacarandas and Poinciana trees and I never tire of looking at all the beautiful birdlife that visit our garden.
This collection of work has names that relate to natural disasters and destruction such as "Of Smoke and Floods" and "Scorched Grief". What is this work about?
Recently we have had some crazy weather. A One hundred year flood, devastating bush fires, freakish hail, and cyclonic winds. In December just gone, I recall watching and smelling the smoke in the nearby valley; hearing about houses being burnt to the ground in southern Australia and then two days later being dumped with an enormous amount of rain. My recent works have explored themes based on nature, but more specifically the changes that occur within nature. Seasonal changes, structural changes. I try to encapsulate the patterns of change, movement, stillness, growth, and death. It’s a mapping process. So the recent weather has really impacted on my interpretation of all these things. Although floods and fires have terrible consequences, I see so much beauty to the cycle.
Some of your work is made of paintings and mixed media that is cut out and attached onto paper. Other work is simply on one surface. Do you approach these two kinds of work differently?
It’s both. The cut pieces aren’t always intentionally made. I work over large pieces of paper, build up my layers and sometimes the shapes come out of the image. It can sometimes be a bit daunting to cut up my work, but the shapes give a new life to the colours and textures. Other times I foresee the shape in my head and work to that shape. These shapes often reflect the pods and leaves I discover in my garden. They’re like windows, sewn down to reveal moments in time.
Do you work in other areas, aside from your fine art?
Yes. I trained as a printmaker and whilst at university discovered digital art. This led me into graphic design and eventually teaching. But my love for making art and illustrating has always been stronger than designing logos. I freelance as a designer but more as an illustrator for textiles or editorial work. I’ve learnt the art of saying no. Apart from that, I still have to dedicate many hours of my day raising our children, but have many goals in mind for the future.
Can you talk about your interest in sewing?
I’m not a traditional sewer. My mother and grandfather sewed, but I’ve never had the patience or interest to sew clothes. I enjoy making quilts, but once again, I rarely follow the traditional path or techniques. Some of my quilts use vintage kimono fabrics and can often look similar to my paintings. So for me I love experimental work, and sewing onto paper just seems to connect my art world to my craft world. I also see so much symbolism in sewing such as restoration, growth and attachment.
In your interview on Poppytalk you say, "I always knew from a very young age, that creating images on paper was something that I wanted to continue to do in my life. It’s taken me most of my adult life to work out exactly what and how I could do that. " Can you tell us a bit about the process of coming into your own creatively?
It’s hard to explain the process of coming into my own creatively. I don’t think I have really developed or understood who I am and why I feel this great need to create. Like most artists, you have this invisible force in your head and heart that eats away at you and feeds your imagination. Some people discover it only half way through their lives, but for me it’s been there since I could hold a pencil. It drives me mad some days, being creative that is. Mostly because I am restricted to working only a few hours each day. I often say I wish I was an accountant. Someone who loved nothing else but working with numbers and formulas and I could go to work each day satisfied with my number crunching then come home and not think about work. But maybe accountants can be creative too?