Friday, December 30, 2011

Another chain complete on the Paper Chain!

William Wernham to Holly Pepper (Chain 11)
This assemblage by William Wernham completes chain number 11 on our Paper Chain. To see more or find out how to join in visit: http://thepaperchain.tumblr.com

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Newspaper Christmas Wreath

Every year I feel more and more conflicted about Christmas. It's a wonderful time for catching up with loved ones and letting people around you know that you appreciate them with gifts, cards and fantastic food. Yet, it is also so filled with stressy consumerism and disposability that goes against everything I (and many people close to me) believe in. So, how pleased I was when I discovered Eco Empire and saw the wonderful DIY Christmas craft projects that they are currently featuring.

All the projects are centered around recyclable and reusable materials - reusable bon-bons anyone! That's so simple, yet so genius. Does anybody ever really like those cheap plastic trinkets and bad jokes anyway?

Below is my version of the Recyclable Paper Christmas Wreath, now hanging proudly on my front door. I realised part way through making this that it is mostly the births, deaths and marriage notice pages from the West Australian newspaper. I quite liked the irony and symbolism of endings and beginnings that this unplanned feature brings to it.

Newspaper Christmas Wreath

Newspaper Christmas Wreath

Thanks so much Eco Empire for lifting my Christmas spirit!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Creative Space

Blocking

This week I added two new blocks to my 200 Crochet blocks project. They are Old Vienna in green and Blocks & Shells in pink. After blocking them in my studio I took them out & about to Point Heathcote, where we enjoyed the afternoon sun together.

Old Vienna in green

Blocks & Shells

To see what other people have been up to in their creative spaces click HERE

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Speaking with Cherish Marrington

Intraspecific Competition, Cherish Marrington,
ink on paper, 2011.

Can you tell us a bit about the kind of work you make?

Most of all I like to draw, and specifically make drawings of characters that oftentimes alarm or puzzle even myself. I tend to invent the personality first, and afterwards, the character. Sometimes they are reflections on people that I have seen or met before, otherwise they are totally imaginary. All the while I question their existence, and as I am drawing, I think about their lives. They are definitely real people—only, I have corrupted them in my own manner.  

Who are the characters in your work?

Some of them are not my friends, and are the kind of people that are only nice when they want something. The way I form a character is similar to the methods of traditional animation. I am willing to redraw the same character many times until it has been moulded to my specifications, until I understand this character’s way of thinking, or simply until I have the line work just so. Concerning lines and textures, I can be quite pedantic and in this manner I can also relate to Chinese painting: the importance of mark making and how each manner of mark has its definitive place in an image. A certain line can be a specific expression all on its own—that sort of thing.  

I really like the photographs of your people out and about among the grass. Do you leave them for people to discover, or do they come home with you after a photo shoot?

I don’t generally litter, although leaving them for people to discover is quite a romantic idea. This was simply one of those explorations that began on a whim—I like to play with scale a lot, and to have the viewer question the time and place of something like this. The imagery captured of these little paper dolls getting lost in the grass led to other things and ultimately I made drawings that related to all of this along the way.  

This Is Ralph, Cherish Marrington
ink on paper, 2010

How did the animated film Sassy Playmates come about? I really enjoyed them dancing about the familiar urban landscapes of Perth, and I was creeped out too… with a smile, great combination!

An important person to mention is an artist named Matthew Moore. Certainly, working with this dynamic personality is an enriching life experience. When I discovered that he knew a thing or two about animation I immediately felt compelled to not let these useful skills go to waste. We share the same sort of sense of humour and planning an animation was as amusing as building it together. This, combined with the music he programmed made a piece that instantly worked for us, and we plan to have more of it this coming year.  

Can you talk about oniemy.org? It seems there has been a few collaborations among the artists, Sassy Playmates being one example and Slave Trade another, also there appears to be a fair bit of exhibiting together. How did oniemy come about, and does being a part of this collective have an influence on your individual work?

Again, I can only speak highly of my cohort, Matthew Moore. Back when we were both studying art simultaneously last year, it came to our attention that our fellow hungry art students needed to get their brilliant work online and we wanted to set up a neat little online space for our favourite Perth-based art minions. As far as collaborations go it is mainly Matthew Moore and I, but there is nothing like doing group shows a few times a year with our friends. I think that there are some good things to come, as we have studios now! Paper Mountain—get excited.  

No One Knows What I am Doing, Cherish Marrington
ink on paper, 2011.

Who or what are your biggest influences?

I’m very attracted to the work of Istvan Banyai, Giovanni Battista—his etchings from Piranesi—and the work of such animators as Sylvain Chomet and René Laloux (especially his Fantastic planet).  

What is your earliest creative memory?

Probably as far back as yesterday, and the day before. Everything else gets outdated and vague quite rapidly.  

What are you working on at the moment?

I’m planning a show with my favourites: Erin Tily-Laurie, Lance Kershaw Ladu and Matthew Moore. I am wild about their work.  

How can people find out more about your work?

I would say do some Googling to find out what’s new—it’s easy to do since there aren’t many other Cherish Marringtons out there. Well, maybe there are but they don’t generally have my name.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Thoughts on Skin: an imperfect coat

Skin, it is that thin line that separates inside from out. Even perhaps, a separation from what is myself from what is not. The functions and processes going on beneath our skin are hidden from view, and rarely thought about day to day. Despite this, the smooth functioning of those organs protected within are what enable us to be. In fact, it is not until we are faced with illness that we become acutely aware of the vulnerability of what's hidden beneath this protective membrane.

Installation view, Skin: an imperfect coat, Naomi Hunter.
Image via The Oats Factory.


 
Last Friday night I went to the opening of Perth based glass artist, Naomi Hunter's exhibition Skin: an imperfect coat at The Oats Factory. Hunter combines glass, steel, installation and film to form a three part exhibition. In the front part of the gallery is an installation which brings to my mind the clinical examination of the body - under bright light vessels spill red droplets like blood onto stainless steel surfaces, glass organ-like forms sit beneath specimen containers, and some seem to teeter dangerously close to the edge emphasising their vulnerability. This acts for me, like a manifestation of the loss of control felt when faced with illness. When we place our trust in medicine and submit to procedures that can be frightening and humiliating. Yet, like the body and all its imperfection these glass forms Hunter has created are intriguingly beautiful.

Sam (detail), Naomi Hunter, glass, steel and light.
Image via The Oats Factory.

The second part of the gallery is like a transition into an earlier stage of life. It contains larger sculptural works in a darkened space which have an ethereal quality to them. These works incorporate perforated steel with glass ovum-like centers. The glass, a membrane protecting the light emanating from within.
In the third part we step back another stage. An up close moving image of glass while Hunter works with it is projected onto the wall. Like promordium this liquid is evolving into form, ever changing and ever in process.
Skin: an imperfect coat runs until the 27th November at The Oats Factory, 69 Oats Street, Carlisle WA, Wed – Sun 12 - 5pm.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

The IOU Project

This is such a great initiative. IOU produces beautiful mens and womens clothes and you can be sure everyone involved in the making was paid a living wage. For each item of clothing you can track it's history back to the weaver of the cloth through the website. There is videos & bios so that you can "meet" the indian weaver or the European manufactuer - removing the anonymity of the maker that we have become so accustomed to. Real people with amazing craftsmanship make our clothes and we should be mindful of the human costs next time we see that "bargain" hanging on the rack.



via http://iouproject.com

Monday, October 31, 2011

Paper Chain Update

A detail from Beverley Iles' collage

There is a lovely new collage on the Paper Chain!
Beverley Iles, Australia to Victoria Shiel, Scotland (Chain 12)

To see it in full visit the Paper Chain tumblr!

Sunday, October 30, 2011

A Scoop mention!


Hey look! Our exhibition, Beast for Thee got a little mention in the current Scoop Homes & Art, Spring 2011 issue. It's on page 207. Thanks Scoop!


Saturday, October 29, 2011

Owl mask ready for Halloween mischief

I designed this owl mask for the Beast for Thee exhibition, but since it is Halloween on Monday I thought it might be useful for a little trick o' treating too! You can download the PDF here - http://www.mediafire.com/?237txy2qib0io. Cut it out, colour it and staple some elastic to the tabs at the sides and you'll be ready for some nocturnal revelry.

We all designed a paper mask each for Beast for Thee so if you are nearby you can collect all four masks from The Oats Factory.

Have a fun Halloween everyone!

Beast for Thee

A few more pictures of my work in the Beast for Thee exhibition. It closes tomorrow at 5pm so if you haven't seen it and would like to, please pop in sometime this weekend. Open hours can be found on The Oats Factory website.
Claire Bushby, Installation view
Installation view
Claire Bushby, The beast in me loves the beast in you (detail)
The beast in me loves the beast in you (detail), hand stitched cotton, papier-mache,
acrylic paint, ink, recycled wood, glass mirrors.
Claire Bushby, Mr Wolf
Mr Wolf, charcoal & pastel on paper.
Claire Bushby, Mr Tez
Mr Tez, charcoal & pastel on paper.

For pictures of work by all of the Beast for Thee artists please visit my flickr album - http://www.flickr.com/photos/bearamongbees/sets/72157626890457426/with/6263489478/

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Images from Beast for Thee

I've got a lovely new camera and I'm trying to get the hang of it! Here is some of the first pictures, they are of our current exhibition, Beast for Thee.

Beast for Thee, Installation view

Beast for Thee, Installation view

Beast for Thee, Installation view

If you haven't seen the show yet it is open until the 30th October! see www.theoatsfactory.com.au for more details.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

First chain completed on the Paper Chain!

Natsu Power to Carla Thursday, Chain 9
 
We have our first complete chain on the Paper Chain!

Natsu Power to Carla Thursday completed chain #9

You can see how this chain progressed by following this link -
http://thepaperchain.tumblr.com/tagged/Chain_9

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Some beastly thanks

Til wears her customised Beast for Thee mask and shows us how it's done!

Thanks heaps to everyone who came along to the Beast for Thee opening last night and made it extra grand! I had a wonderful time and I hope you did too. My biggest thanks go to The Oats Factory gallery director, Melody Smith. She is one awesome, hard working lady who knows how make great stuff happen!

The show will be open until the 30th October, so if you missed last night there is still plenty of time to visit.

See The Oats Factory website for details http://www.theoatsfactory.com.au


Sunday, October 2, 2011

Beast for Thee: opens next Friday!

Beast for Thee (promo)
Photo by Belinda Gittos

Our exhibition Beast for Thee is opening at The Oats Factory next Friday at 6pm.

You are welcome to join us for a drink and a look at the beastly delights we have created.

If you can't make it on opening night the exhibition runs until October 30th.

Beast for Thee: Claire Bushby, Claire Canham, Maria Hildrick & William Wernham
Opening 6pm 7th October 2011
Runs 8 - 30 October Wed – Sun 12 - 5pm
The Oats Factory  69 Oats Street Carlisle WA 6101


Friday, September 23, 2011

Speaking with Laura Mitchell

The Elephant of Eastbury: The Book, Laura Mitchell
Acrylic and Mixed Media on canvas.
via laura-mitchell.com.au

Can you tell us a little about your background?
 
I grew up in a hick town in Virginia, USA and quickly moved to the nearest most cosmopolitan city I could find (Washington DC) as soon as I could! I studied music and English Literature in university since I had a very unpleasant and negative drawing professor early on, but my passion for visual art won out later when I realised I hated playing in orchestras. I returned for a MFA in design where for my my MFA thesis exhibition, I staged a fine art rather than design oriented multimedia installation based on exploration of a multi-tracked narrative. I had formerly made several artists books instead of presenting visual diaries for various critiques during the coursework. This was the beginning of my passion for the depiction of “narratives”, stories, or as we say in the design industry “type and image”. After a career as an art director/graphic designer in the dot com boom, I moved to Perth and decided to redirect my energies into fine art which was my original love. I have a diploma from Central TAFE where I studied sculpture have completed a few semesters of painting at ECU and Curtin.

I saw your exhibition The Elephant of Eastbury at Kidogo Gallery in Fremantle earlier this year for which you had worked collaboratively with poet, Andrew Gates. You also produced a lovely publication of the same name with the fullpoem text and 10 colour images. How did this collaboration come about? 
 
The poet, Andrew Gates of Connecticut in the US was accepted by Littlefox Press to publish his work. The publisher, Christine Matthieu of Littlefox Press in Melbourne, then approached me to do the project as a commission. I had done illustration work for them formerly, and they knew of my passion for fine art based upon texts or stories. Christine then connected me with the poet in the US.

The Elephant of Eastbury: All and Nothing, Laura Mitchell.
Acrylic on canvas. Image courtesy of the artist.

I'm very interested in the combination of poetry with visual imagery, it can be quite a hard thing to balance two peoples versions of a narrative and I think Elephant does this very successfully. Were there any moments when you didn't agree with each other on how something should be interpreted? Were you in conversation together throughout the creative process, or did one of you create work for the other to respond to?

The poet and the editor had already finalised the poem, so I didn't have any influence on the text. There was quite a bit of collaboration regarding the images, however. I first started working on the images from the concept of “childhood memories” - the elephant being a symbol for memory – and the result was a series of still lifes with an elephant. The publisher then felt that there needed to be at least one image more concretely related to the text “the elephant wandering between the ears”which spurred the series of tiny elephants within an abstract background with the outline of an ear. These I was very pleased with. The other was a landscape with elephant and outline of a person's head, which I felt was too “graphic” and a bit forced, but it satisfied the gap the publisher was feeling between the words and the images. Later, I was looking for more inspiration and asked the poet if there was anything more behind the poem, and he told me a very inspiring story (based on reality) of a young child going next door to find his grandmother lying motionless, beside her a tiny bejewelled elephant which was no longer there when he returned having fetched his mother. This then inspired my exploration of death as a journey: the map, airplane, trunk, and glasses left on open book images were a result of this.

Who are some of your creative influences?

I love Kara Walker, with her incredibly powerful “storybook” cut-out images based on the politics and personal history of women and minorities. I also enjoy the work of Sally Smart and wonder how much influence she took from Walker. Another favourite is LA based “low brow” artist Camille Rose Garcia with her abstract backgrounds and pop culture inspired foreground figures, one series of which supported endangered species. My mentor during the Elephant project was Melbourne artist now relocated to Perth Jo Darvall, whose extremely meticulous approach to colour and her extremely fine hewn approach to mark making is inspiring.

The Elephant of Eastbury: Origins of Meaning, Laura Mitchell
Acrylic and mixed media on canvas. Image courtesy of the artist.

You are also a professional musician, what do you play? And does playing music inform your visual work, and visa versa or are they very separate processes? 
 
I play violin mandolin and sing a bit, but have enlisted 2 great singers to help me with the latter! Our group is called TrioAlegra & the Velvettes and consists of violin, mandolin, accordion, double bass, percussion and of course 3 part vocal harmonies. I have also done session work for various musicians. I used to have a second band on the go but that got canned when my second child came along! More time for that later. My music I would say is a parallel but separate process. For instance the idea of “consonance vs dissonance” in music I can relate directly to visual elements such as line, texture, colour. Harmony and melody and counterpoint I relate to lines and compositional elements, and “timbre” in music I relate to texture in visual art. Pitch I suppose for me could be related to tonality (light & dark) or level of saturation. So in this elemental or conceptual way each process informs the other, but in terms of “representing” aural phenomena directly, no I have attempted that and found it too difficult! I do however love Kandinsky who I believe sometimes worked in that fashion.

Do you listen to anything when you are painting? If so, what?

I frequently listen to nothing but to the sounds around my studio. John Cage was one of the innovators in the concept of simple random sounds, or even silence itself, as music. Because music for me is often “work” I cherish silence. Sometimes I feel obligated to interrupt my art practice to work on music which can be a dangerous form of procrastination – not dedicating enough focus to either the art or the music but getting caught dabbling in both! However having said that I love Bach, Dub, drum and bass, world music, tom waits, old-time/bluegrass, Balkan brass bands... jazz jazz and more jazz and sometimes put my ipod on random while working with all of this rotating.

You have lived in quite a few different places around the world but you are now based in Perth. Have these changes in place had a great influence on you creatively? And what do you like about where you live now?

I have displaced myself with migration many times in my life and have thrived on the challenge of absorbing and attempting to assimilate into a new culture or place and the different energy and stimulation each new place has brought me. However I am extremely grateful to be based in Australia, WA in particular as the fantastic quality and style of life has afforded me the option to pursue fine art and music as an independent agent. In the US I lacked confidence of leaving the “job” as health care is exorbitant without an employer, there are no viable free health care options there. When I first moved to Perth I didn't find it particularly creatively stimulating in and of itself, but I found the space, not just in the landscape but in

The Elephant of Eastbury: Edge of an Ear,
Clockwise from Top Left: Bone, Earth, Blood & Water
Laura Mitchell. Acrylic and mixed media on canvas.
Image courtesy of the artist.

What's coming up for the rest of 2011 and into 2012?
The Elephant of Eastbury Book will tour to the US in late 2012 to be presented in 29 Main St. Gallery at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond VA, and on May 11, 2012 I will be participating in a group exhibition on the concept of “Time” at the Moores Building in Fremantle. My works will be developed through a collaboration with another poet, William Yeoman (also Arts Writer/Books Editor for The West). Following the theme of time, he has written 12 poems following the concept of the “Horologos” - a set of 12 poems based on each hour of the day (and night), each with a connection also to a season.

Where can people find out more about your artwork and music? 
 
Thanks so much, Claire. My artwork can be viewed on my website, more recent works can be seen via email or studio visit, simply contact me, details below. To hear about concerts and exhibitions please go to the contact section of my website and sign your email in through the form and I will send notices.
+61 435 054 122 | +61 08 9336 2646




Wednesday, September 14, 2011

In the Studio


Mr. Tez in progress
Mr. Tez in progress

A beast in progress
Stuff happening on the work table

Out the window at the Midland studio
Looking out of the window at the Midland studio

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Beast for Thee

I'm going to be part of an upcoming exhibition at The Oats Factory called Beast for Thee during October.

Maria Hildrick, Stereotypy 2 (Sunbear), 2011. Mixed media on canvas.


Beast for Thee
8 October - 30 October
The Oats Factory

Animals can equally inspire our love and our fear. They act as our companions, protectors, labourers and provide us with sport. We have caged them, cooked them and we have worshipped them. We associate some human behaviours with the animal, often behaviours we would prefer to see as 'other' than human... and some behaviours that we long to allow in ourselves forgetting that we are part of that same 'kingdom'.

Beast for Thee features work by four artists currently based in Western Australia, Claire Bushby, Claire Canham, Maria Hildrick and William Wernham. The artists came together to explore this many layered relationship between humans and animals, from their own individual viewpoints and through a variety of artistic mediums including painting, drawing, collage and small scale 3d works.

Stay tuned for more about this show...

http://www.artguide.com.au/exhibition/beast-for-thee-/

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Paper Chain Update

There is not one, but two new collages on the Paper Chain!

Melanie Diss to Ali Drake, Chain 4.

Leah Baker to Heather Blacklock, Chain 10

To see more images visit:  http://thepaperchain.tumblr.com

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Inspiration: the art of Gerhard Richter

Deer, Gerhard Richter, Oil on Canvas, 1963.

Woman with Dog, Gerhard Richter, Oil on Canvas, 1967.
"Picturing things, taking a view, is what makes us human; art is making sense and giving shape to that sense. It is like the religious search for God."
Notes, 1962. 
Gerhard Richter: Text. Writings, Interviews and Letters 1961 - 2007. Thames and Hudson, London, 2009, pg. 14.

Images via: http://www.gerhard-richter.com

Sunday, August 28, 2011

In the studio

Stuff happening in my studio
I'm currently working towards a group show called Beast For Thee. It is opening in October at The Oats Factory. I will tell you more about it soon.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Something silly and wonderful: The art of Tim Moore

Tim Moore, Bande eccellenti del cavallo del hero, 2008.

I received this Art Nation video in my emails today from my friend John. It's about the wonderful embroidery work of Tim Moore. This has really made me happy.


Monday, August 15, 2011

Acts of Intimacy Prints

Acts of Intimacy IV (Series 1)


A selection of my Acts of Intimacy series prints are now available for purchase (framed or unframed) from The Oats Factory! Click here to have a browse : )

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Love is what you want


While in London I saw the Tracey Emin exhibition Love is What You Want at the Hayward Gallery. I wrote about Emin in my Honours paper so I have read extensively about her and it’s something I’ve been wishing for ages, to see Tracey Emin’s work in person, as opposed to reproduced in a book or online. So when I found out there was a survey exhibition of her work during my stay in London I was pretty excited.

At last I got to see her films in their entirety, which to be honest I was reluctant to do, since I’m generally bored by films in contemporary art and was hoping it wouldn’t put me off one of my favourite artists. It didn’t, Emin did not disappoint me. The most memorable for me was the film, Why I never became a dancer.

This film features super-8 footage of her home town Margate, against which she describes her adolescent dreams of getting out of Margate and nearly winning a dance completion, only to be taunted till she ran away from the dance floor in tears by some older x-boyfriends. In the end we see her in a dance studio, where she names these men one by one, then exclaims, “This one is for you” and begins dancing with a huge smile on her face to Sylvester’s, You make me feel mighty real. It actually made me cry but not because it was sad but with a wonderful feeling of triumph, this film really says a lot about overcoming those moments in our past that have completely knocked our self-confidence to the ground.

Love is what you want features the wide range of mediums Emin has worked with over the course of her career, including painting, drawing, photography, textiles, video and sculpture. Her work is incredibly diverse, which can be quite distracting, yet the themes are so tight that this is not the case with Emin.

Although the subject matter is deeply personal and sometimes quite confrontational, these stories are about life – being human, being female. What I enjoy about Emin’s work is that I can relate to her trauma and her joy, there is no right or wrong way to cope with what life throws at us. Emotion is real and not to be denied.



I was so blown away by the size of her blankets, and some of the stitched drawings; I just had no idea of the scale of these works. I came away from Love is what you want with even more respect for this artist both technically and philosophically than I had before (and I already loved her greatly).

If you are in London and haven’t seen this exhibition you really must.

Tracey Emin: Love is what you want
Hayward Gallery 18 May - 29 August 2011

Note: The above images were sourced from the Hayward Gallery website.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Waste Landscape

Something fasinating I stumbled across on the net today... amazing!





elise morin + clémence eliard: wastelandscape
At 'halle d'aubervilliers', Le Centquatre in Paris.
On exhibition until 10 September 2011

In the artist's words:
'made of petroleum, this reflecting slick of CDs forms a still sea of metallic dunes;
the artwork's monumental scale reveals the precious aspect of a small daily object.
'

more at Design Boom

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Narratives of Debris


Did you enjoy the interview with Melanie Diss posted yesterday for August Speaking with?
Perhaps you'd like to go see Melanie's work in Narratives of Debris currently showing at The Oats Factory in Carlisle.

narratives of debris
July 29th - Aug 14th
Shelley Brookland, Melanie Diss & Connla Kerr.

An exhibition exploring the memories of places & objects.
Sculpture, ceramics and painting by three emerging artists.

The Oats Factory
69 Oats Street
Carlisle WA 6101

Open: Wed – Sun 12 - 5pm

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Speaking with Melanie Diss

Paint Petals (Purple), Melanie Diss, 2011.

Hi Melanie, Could you tell us a little bit about your background? Did you grow up in Perth and did you study here?

Hi Claire, yes, I grew up and still live near the Swan Valley, pretty standard upbringing. My whole family is quite creative in different ways so I've always had some sort of artistic activity going on around me. In high school I took TEE Art, as well as Art & Design and I also chose to spend my free study period in the art room so almost half my weekly school schedule was spent making art!

I think that was a really productive time and it reinforced what I had always known, that whatever I'm doing, making art needs to be a big part of my life. Saying that though, I had no idea what career art would lead me to other than "graphic designer". I had gotten into university but I wasn't too keen on jumping straight back into full-time study so I thought I'd go to TAFE part-time instead and see where that leads.

I studied Fine Art at Central TAFE in Northbridge, which was an amazing place to study, the lecturers, the resources, the whole atmosphere was really creative and inspiring. I went on to get my Advanced Diploma, then ended up continuing on to university after all, where I got my Bachelor of Arts at Curtin.

Age, Melanie Diss, 2008.

You have a studio in Midland, where we are neighbours : ) Did you get your studio quite soon after leaving uni or did you wait a while? and do you feel that having a studio (as opposed to working in your home space) enhances your creative drive?

Through Artsource I heard about a venue in Midland becoming available for studio spaces in early 2009, which was the year after I graduated. I hesitated to put my application in at first because I assumed I didn't have enough experience. But a friendly person at Artsource encouraged me to apply anyway and let me know that Artsource are all about helping emerging artists so I went ahead and applied and got a space.

I definitely think it would have been harder for me to continue making art if I didn't have my studio space. It's invaluable having a space outside of your home that is dedicated to making art. It keeps you disciplined in that it can be like going to work, but it also gives you freedom, in that it's a room that's solely used for art and doesn't need to be tidied up and used for some other purpose! It feels like a continuation of my space at uni really.

I agree wholeheartedly with what you say about having your own dedicated space, it really does make a difference not having to consider the other uses, or people that use a space!

Who are some artists you find most interesting and why?

While studying and developing my current body of work I discovered artists who were doing really interesting things with paint textures. I wanted to work with paint without a canvas, Linda Besemer, a US artist was doing amazing things with this idea. I also looked at the work of Lynda Benglis, who used paint and other materials, like latex, to create the effect of really visceral paint sculptures. I also love the work of WA artists Cynthia Ellis and Alex Spremberg, while very different, the effects and textures they both create are really incredible.

Paint Patch (Green), Melanie Diss, 2011.


Coming from a textile background, I got so excited when I first saw your work and realised you were painting on fabrics other than canvas! and I think it is kind of funny that people seem to forget that canvas is a textile too. Is that something that you were consciously thinking about when you started painting on organza?

To be honest it's not something I was conscious of! At first I wanted to work with paint only, and create paintings with no support, but I couldn't get the desired effect. So I experimented with a few different materials including plastic sheeting and different fabrics like tulle and voile, before discovering that organza was exactly what I needed.

I wanted a material that would 'disappear', with the support being almost invisible. Organza definitely gave this appearance but when I started using it I also found it had other really interesting qualities that I could work with and manipulate, and with it's transparency there are lots of things you can do that you can't do with canvas.

Installation view - Narratives of Debris @
The Oats Factory, 2011.

Are there constant themes that you are attracted to throughout your work?

With my current work I am really interested in texture, and I find that I'm drawn to that in other artists' work. I also find myself noticing interesting textures everywhere now! I'm also interested in the themes of decay and renewal, and finding something attractive/appealing in discarded or neglected objects.

Are there any mediums/materials you would like to try that you haven't done yet?

There are so many different skills I've yet to learn, I think that's what makes art so exciting, there's an infinite supply of techniques and materials to try out. For me though, I'd like to learn screen-printing and finally learn to sew properly! I do find I always end up coming back to working with paint though, there are so many things I've yet to try and there's so much it can do. I'm also only just starting to use different painting mediums and glazes more, so I think I'll be sticking with paint for the next few years at least.

I often hear music playing from behind your door when I walk past at the studios. I think it is interesting how some artists need silence to work and others really draw from that energy music gives, or they drown away outside distractions with it. What part does music play for you in your art making?

I find I generally need the TV on or music playing if I'm working for long periods of time. I find it occupies the part of my brain that thinks too much! If I have music playing while making art I tend to make more intuitive decisions, I don't over-think what I'm doing. And yes, it definitely blocks out other outside distractions too, so I definitely prefer having music playing.

Installation view - Narratives of Debris @ The Oats Factory, 2011.

If you could go anywhere tomorrow where would it be?

I was gonna be cliched and say the Louvre, travelling around Europe, seeing as many galleries/churches/museums as I can but the truth is, tomorrow I'd love to be able to go to my studio and work full-time as an artist, and quit my boring day job.

Any current/future shows coming up?

I have a show with Shelley Brookland and Connla Kerr, at Melody Smith's gallery The Oats Factory. The show is called Narratives of Debris and the last day to see it is next Sunday, 14 August.

Where can people find out more about your work?

I've just recently set up a blog which can be viewed at melaniediss.blogspot.com, please check it out!