Leonie Ryan

Leonie Ryan

Leonie Ryan is an emerging Australian contemporary artist, from Nilma Victoria. Her studio practice works is Sensorial Installation Art. Leonie has been making art for over 16 years and more details can be found on her website.

Leonie, do you have an Artist’s statement?
Considerations for my projects evolve during regular daily walks. My bush treks offer a time when I can mediate between my own body and the natural environment. Simply by walking, the physical encounter transports me into an experience which links me directly with my surrounding environment. Since I predominantly select my materials from natural environments these walks are central to my process and practice.

My overarching objective for my projects has been to open the door to the idea of using installation art as a critical sensory practice. As an aid in breaking our dependence on ocular dominance and to investigate a range of other means to draw meaning from art. This activation of our perception critiques the passivity of mass-media consumption and offers a means to bring about a critical vigilance towards the environments in which we find ourselves.

2. 'Site, Substance and Sensation' Master Exhibition Switchback Gallery ...

Interests you have other than art you feel are important to mention?

I am interested in going on adventures and exploring.

How do you describe your work?
I investigate how we find meaning in contemporary art by other senses than visual. Through such deliberations I analyse how this might manifest through art in ways that are not yet immediately apparent between visible and invisible, conscious and unconscious.

What are you currently working on?

At this point my initiative is to work through a series of investigations that will enrich and strengthen my practice in the field of sensorial installation art. For example, Inside Out is a project I am currently working on and will be tested in the Project Space at Seventh Gallery, Fitzroy, Victoria. Inspiration was drawn from the natural history of site, a time when eucalyptus trees (Eucalyptus globulus) grew plentifully, long before Fitzroy was a bustling suburb. Eucalyptus trees are endemic throughout Victoria and its scent is quite distinct, a sensorial reference can be noted on arrival outside the Melbourne airport. Inside Out functions behind the gallery wall and at regular intervals visitors can experience billowing cool air with the scent of eucalyptus from a vent. Other initiatives will develop through experimental approaches and investigations of specifically selected ruins located in my local region and beyond. Each ruin will be explored through my response to site and its history.

What fascinates you?
What intrigues me is the stimuli of our everyday physical world, complex processes of phenomenology that engage between our body and perception, where associations and memories are triggered, brought into consciousness through a heightened sensory awareness which leads to meaning.

Why are you an artist?3. 'Site, Substance and Sensation' Master's Exhibition, Sensory Project Si...
We are all artists; it’s just that some of us choose not to practice.

How important is art for you?
Art is an essential part of my life, it gives me an opportunity to question and explore the world around me.

Your art education was…?
Diploma in Visual Arts and Media.

Bachelor of Visual Arts.

Master of Visual Arts and Design.

Master of Arts, by research.

What did you do before or during becoming an artist?

As a child and in my teen years I always played around with art, ceramics, drawing and sculpture. In my twenties I owned and managed a café, got married and was blessed with three lovely sons. During most of my thirties I studied and practised theatre performance and studied photography. My formal studies of Visual Art commenced in 2000.

What is your earliest memory of art?
My very first day at kindergarten; I arrived kicking and screaming as I really didn’t want to be there. The kindergarten teacher presented me with an easel and paper and a pot of red paint, she suggested I give it a try. I settled down and enjoyed the tactile experience of painting with my fingers directly onto the butchers paper. From this initial experience, I developed a liking for kindergarten, especially art.

Was art a “thing” that was encouraged in your family? Definitely, my mother is an artist. During my childhood I have fond memories of my mother painting with a pallet knife and the sound the knife made as it scrapped and daubed across the canvas as well as the pleasant scent of oil paint and linseed oil tingling my nostrils. I believe environments do influence peoples development.

5. 'Site, Substance and Sensation' Master Exhibition, Sensory Project Si...

What or who inspires your art?
Artists who inspire me are Ann Hamilton, Anya Gallaccio, Ernesto Neto, Wolfgang Laib, James Turrell, there are many more, so I won’t go on. New and original works of art that involve you as the participant inspires me.

What caused you to choose the medium you currently work in?
An ongoing evolution continually propels me to explore mediums suitable to whatever project I’m working on. Currently my practice has steered away from my learned and habitual artistic processes, which involved concepts of symbolic representations produced through sculptural form. My objective now is to investigate how raw and natural materials translate into meaning in contemporary art, through phenomenology and the embodied experience.

4. 'Site, Substance and Sensation' Master Exhibition Sensory Project Sit...

You know you are successful in Visual Arts when…
Success could be defined as setting personal or collaborative goals and working towards achieving them. Reflection is a primary tool to gauge success and failure, particularly when working through experimental approaches, without failure there is little success to gauge.   

Creative streaks do they come in waves for you?

Do you get to other artist’s exhibitions, openings etc?
Yes, regularly.

What can you tell us about your connection to your subject matter, way of working, concepts etc?
My studio practice responds to current trends of an ever increasing engagement between the dominant ocular- centric order and multi-media computer technologies. I direct my projects as slow art, in real time, which integrates the embedded Self and being in the world. Studio methodologies continually develop through reflection, refinement and considerations for successes and failures from previous projects. A degree of discipline is essential during the decision process regarding material approaches, specifically to ensure visual cues are not predominant aspects.

All artists seem to have struggles, tell us about any you have had.
For me, sometimes I struggle to keep my mind in a peaceful state which for me is an empowered state. When I am in the right head space, I feel a gentle flow of energy, harmony and tranquillity within myself.

Do you keep an Art Journal or Visual Diary of some kind?         

Yes, my visual journal is a resource for reference. I enjoy revisiting old concepts and reflect on my development.

Any musical influences?
I enjoy listening to a vast array of music. I own a small cheap record player and enjoy vinyls. Some of my vinyl collection includes, harp music, Sonny & Cher etc.…, classical music, jazz, (Ella Fitzgerald), sounds from space, whale songs, Brian Ferry etc.…, I usually You tube Thievery Corporation, Buddha Ba and Tibetan gong sounds.

What sort of depth or meaning is there behind the work you do?
My projects are a practical exploration and analysis of the constitution of the human experience with place, revealing ways in which we find meaning through perception and experience from the world we live in.

How important is it to you that your work communicates something to the viewer?
I use the term ‘visitor’ in my work instead of viewer because my work is not predominantly visual. The visitors is integrated in my projects as part of the process, the authority is reversed back to the visitor to complete the work. I have no expectations for what meaning someone finds in my work, it’s purely whatever merges from their reservoir of memories, associations or imaginations, which will also continue to change over time.  

Art is about entertainment, experiment, inventiveness or shock for you?
Experimental approaches, sensory experiences and site responsive.

You have been working as an artist for a while, how do you feel about earlier works that are in people’s collections / ownership?
Earlier works are a representation of the past. I like to think my knowledge, concepts skills and techniques are continually developing as I progress over time. The past cannot be denied, it’s what assists with development therefore, earlier works are fundamental. It’s a matter of appreciating the past work for what it represented at that particular time.

Do the seasons affect your work or work habits?
Yes, for me, site responsive is often in the natural environment therefore, seasons, weather, temperature are all important aspects that affect and influence my work.

Do you have a connectedness to other art forms?
I appreciate most art forms that are skilful, technical or creative.

What is more important to you in your work, content or technique, concept or product?
I think all of these foundations are very important.

How important is society, culture and or history to your work?
Very important. The empirical notion that reality can be experienced firsthand has been mostly abandoned in favour of the view that reality is constructed through language and culture. Indeed, most views of the world carry a bias, whether conscious or unconscious, which affects all that is encountered. It is not possible to separate the observable world from the person observing it nor to report on the world without already having a position on how it functions. As such ‘meaning’, in my projects, is found in the awareness that the past informs and shapes the experience of the present moment.

How do you think art can change people or their perceptions?
I believe there is responsibility for the viewer/visitor and art to achieve alternative perceptions. The crucial process artistic expression alters people’s perception is through people’s ability to be open minded or unafraid of alternative perspectives.

When you create your work is it somehow an emotional relief as you do it or at the end?
The emotional connection is ongoing from previous projects to the next.

What is your working routine? Do you listen to music while you work, or stay up late for instance?
My work pattern is daily with a combination of reading, writing and studio practice. I achieve far more when I have a schedule or list to follow. I prefer working in the early morning into the late afternoon, sunrise to sunset. Sometimes I play music, particularly to enhance my energy and fire up happy endorphins.

What do you think sets you apart from other artists in your approach to work etc…,

I find it difficult to pin point exactly what makes my approach different, particularly since all artists appropriate from past influences. I employ influences from various artistic practices and through my own methods and experimental processes create my own unique formula.   

One word or statement to describe your current works?
Sensorial Art Installations.

What can you say about your work that might not be evident to the viewer?
To find meaning from my projects, sensory experience’s such as, sound, touch, smell and temperature, require contemplation; through heighten sensory awareness meaning can be located from memories, associations or imaginations.

The business or marketing side of Art can be a challenge to some, what are your thoughts?
Currently I have released the commercial side of art from my practice. Instead my focus is significantly on developing my practice and testing my projects at various sites.


Artist Interview Harley Manifold

Harely is a Melbourne Based Artist you can find more details at his website http://harleym.net/


What are the main medium/s you work in?

Oil Painting, and more recently and excitingly plaster sculptures! I’ve never sculpted before and I have found working with plaster to be very difficult but fulfilling. Carving, smashing, sanding. Feels like building things on the farm as a kid.


What are your thoughts on artist statements?

For some it would be like trying to put an IKEA bench together… I like to leave the majority of the thinking up to my viewer, which is not to hard as my work gives over to this easily.

Study for The Tunnel 12.7 x 17.5 cm Oil on Board 2014

How do you describe your work?

Well in the words of one of my all time FAVOURITE lecturers… “Painting… has been done before… Figurative painting, well that has been done to death…Figure in the landscape painting, well it’s a little bit old hat”. My works are largely autobiographical, they sway away sometimes.


What are you currently working on?

The sculptures, making as many as I can. I’ve made over 50 now, and most of them have been placed around Melbourne and then people have taken them. Originally I hoped they would stay in place, but people are getting attached to them. Except for the feet, they were glued down – so there are a lot of shoeless little sculptures out there…


One word or statement to describe your current works?

A swipe at myself.


Why are you an artist?

I always loved making things, or tinkering things. But I really wanted to be an Air Force pilot, I got all the grades and did the right classes but my eyes weren’t perfect. So of course I choose to be a Visual Artist haha. I don’t know how I would have really been an Air Force pilot, much to sensitive.


How did you get into art?

How did I get into my current addiction…

Manifold_Harley_Suraci_130x162cm_oil_on_linen (2)

What did you do before becoming an artist?

Wedding Photography and Graphic Design, oh and farming, dish washing and pretending I can cook.

Manifold_Harley_Old_Myers_Building 25 x 35 cm_Oil_on_linen

What is your earliest memory of art?

Scratching crosses on all the walls at home, all the walls…

Manifold_Harley_NGV 10 x 15 cm _oil_on_linen

Did the place where you grew up have an influence?

Absolutely, the difference between home where the horizon is hours away and cuts like a razor across your vision to moving to the city where you are getting poked in the face by all sorts of strange geometrics and people.


What or who inspires your art?

Experiences I’ve had, people I’ve met. Places, always places. Music inspires more how I create my art – cinematic maybe?


How important is art for you?

I get a little restless, twitchy and bitey when I don’t create something for a week…

What caused you to choose the medium you currently work in?

…Good question… The difficulty of presenting an idea figuratively in paint was a challenge I took on because I had no idea what to do with my life at uni. Post Air Force ‘careerlessness’,

I got cornered by two lecturers at the end of 1st semester, if I didn’t pull my finger out and start trying harder they would fail me, they said talent is one thing. Hard work is another. I had shown some promise and hadn’t really thought it was a pathway to take in life… Then I got addicted to the challenge. I had always marvelled at paintings though so I guess that’s why. Sculpture until now had not held a place in my heart.

Do you have a personal description of “Art”?

I don’t think it’s a super important question anymore, do your thing and if you don’t hurt anyone well…

How important do you think craftsmanship is to artistic creation?

Highly. Both my parents are perfectionists, many times learning how to fence (not the sword type) on the farm, dad would berate me for not making the ties neat. That said in paint, I leave a lot of the ‘mistakes’ and marks in because I think they have an innate beauty, and it’s to easy to get the finest brushes out and just make something like a photo… That however, is just my experience. I like the idea that over time my painting may dissolve into itself…

Does the sale of your work support you?

Yes, I am very lucky, I do work a lot longer and harder than some of my close friends who make a living and work in offices though… I’ve always wondered what it must be like in an office! Haha.

Some say the lifespan of an “artist” post educationally is about five years, any thoughts on that?

LOL, who said that? I mean who says that, really? Lifespan – do they think an artist makes for a market or themselves? I’d love to meet someone who thinks that…

Tell us about your connection to your subject matter, way of working, concepts etc?

My work is deeply self-absorbed and self-reflective. It’s a personal exploration of, um, my world… (Cringes)… Yeah that’s ‘Harleywood’… (Cringes some more).

If you could have any piece of artwork in your personal collection, what would it be and why?

There are so many, it would be something I could learn from, maybe one of William Bougerau’s large works ‘Nypmhs and Satyr’. Mind blowing tonal rendering. Makes me realise I have a lot to learn.

Have you had any “big breaks” in your career?

My first exhibition, I think we sold 27k of work and I was 21. I couldn’t believe it, I really had no idea it was possible – it opened the door to jam my foot in.

All artists seem to have struggles, tell us about any you have had.

Anxiety and depression played a huge part in my growing up and at school, and that really affected the way I started to paint. Dark places where I could go play in my head, go hide, go and rest. It used to be crippling, but these days I am doing great – I don’t know how it changed, just time. Of course there are always swings, or tectonic shifts haha. I still, despite what most people think on meeting me, get very shy and introverted sometimes. Growing up in the country there were a lot of backward ideas of how a male should be, it wasn’t all accepting, and I’ve never really hung around other artists either…

Do you keep an Art Journal or Visual Diary of some kind?

Always, and I write in it a lot – though in the last few years they are to do lists (ewwww) I also use Instagram, Tumblr, Facebook and a Blog to throw things (not always good) out into the world.

How important is it to you that your work communicates something to the viewer?

It’s not. I do it for myself, I do love it when someone makes up a little story though to what they think is going on! Even if it’s nothing like what I was thinking and feeling at the time.

What can you say about your work that might not be evident to the viewer?

It’s the way I want it to be, otherwise you probably wouldn’t see it – there are exceptions, like when I learn something new.

What can you tell us about your creative development process?

Sometimes it is a very long process, sometimes 6 months of thought goes into a painting before I even start sketching it up. Sometimes it just happens overnight, it’s never the same for two paintings.

Has being involved in the arts proven to be a millstone or a point of elation?

All of the above, I don’t think it seperates to much from life in general. Well I don’t tend to separate it, it is my life now.

Art is about entertainment, experiment, inventiveness or shock for you?

What Hazel Dooney said on this matter, it’s much bigger than just a single thing.

If you stopped doing art right now would you miss it?

I would probably pick up a really bad habit if I stopped it, or maybe get a family or something haha. The thought doesn’t register at all.

What discourages you from doing art?

My own ineptitude at handling a piece of wood and hair haha. Sometimes.

Is motivation to work an issue for you and how do you overcome it?

You just gotta’ treat it like a job, people don’t get to go into offices and sit down at their desks working for a big company and go man I don’t feel like doing anything today. That said, somedays I will do something else and come paint all night. But it’s five days a week the last two months it has been seven days a week plus nights (getting ready for a show).

Do you have a challenge knowing when a work is finished?

I work on a lot of paintings at once, so sometimes you will get better by working on another and come back and go… oh s#!t that needs fixing!

The value of Visual Arts is…


Your first “decent” gallery representation, how did it come about?

I’ve never had ‘decent’ gallery representation, ever, I’ve had people show my work and some who have taken things from me and not returned them… Yes that’s you Adelaide gallery who shall not be named…

Your first show at a “gallery” you thought was of value, how was the whole thing for you?

Mind blowing, I was very lucky, low commission (they raised it the next year) and 27k of sales…

The business or marketing side of Art can be a challenge to some, what are your thoughts?

You work at you artworks, why not work at your marketing? It shouldn’t be a dirty word, you are creative get creative with your marketing…?

What is the most unexpected response you’ve received from a viewer of your work?

An old lady once looked at a work, she was short, and she grabbed my arm and pulled me down to her height – she said I love the painting but why is this young girl suiciding!? (she wasn’t she was doing a back flip)… Happiness from owning it, or seeing it – that has been truly moving to see.

Tell us about getting caught in a creative “slump” and how you got out of it?

I just put a song I can get into on repeat, something that just has a beat or electronic – and just start doing something, even if it’s wrong it’s better to be doing something…

Is your art, “art for art sake…” or a matter of “art for commercial viability?”

I make it for my own sanity, the rest is out of my hands.

Name a book or books, which may have inspired your work as an artist?

Hyperion Cantos… Hell of a tale.

Tell us about your studio environment?

Cramped, an explosion of creative refuse.

Is your work process fast or slow?

Depends on my mind…

Otto Dix the German artist said (in part)… “All art is exorcism…” Is that the case for you? If so how…

Oh yeah, you could say that I am trying to work out somethings, I mean it is Harleywood…

People around you (family friends etc.) what would they say about the way you work, the moods you have, your life as an artist etc? Persevering. Focused and most of them say they just couldn’t do it. The hours, the costs…

Do you have a connectedness to other art forms?

Love music, absolutely one of the most important things on this earth to me, wouldn’t most artists feel the same?

Some artists are more “at home” isolated in their creative process, while others revel in being part of a group to bounce “ideas off” how about you?

Both, I am terribly dichotic. I am happy sitting in a small dark spot reading a book and jumping off a cliff to go surfing miles away from any beach…

What is one thing you need to have in your studio before you work?


What moves you most in life, either to inspire or upset you?


Which is more important to you, the subject of your painting, or the way it’s executed?

I remember one of the only lessons I got at Uni. The teacher sat me down and said, there are two ends to a wheel that if you become an artist you must acknowledge. And you will forever rotate around this wheel. One is Technique, the other is emotion. You must always keep these in mind, because it will rotate constantly.

Are there times of the day when you prefer to do your work?

When everyone else isn’t working… I don’t know why exactly…

From your early beginnings at art school to now, how have things altered for you?

I am more comfortable with what I am painting, I don’t feel like I have to do things for other people to work it out as much anymore.

Is the making of art all it was “cracked up to be”?

It’s better and worse probably, and longer and more tiring, funnier and sadder.

Do you go into any contemporary art prizes, if so why?

Yes, I think it’s a good way to get people seeing your works, I have gained some great collectors from being seen in major prizes like the Metro Art Prize.

Are you the sort of artist that seeks out promotional opportunities or one that shuns the limelight?

I don’t seek them out, but I certainly don’t hide from them. It’s always good to keep your ear to the ground.

When you create your work is it somehow an emotional relief as you do it or at the end?

Hahaaaaaa. Sometimes I’ll leave the studio at night elated with what I have done – then I will come back the next day and go what the f&ck was I thinking!?

Do you aim to make “masterpieces” with the aim of being seen in the future as an artist who really made their mark in art history?

I aim to make things that I am not embarrassed to look at in a few years time. Some of the first things I did were terrible, though I only started painting halfway through Uni. I’ve only been at this about 12 years, and there was a big break in the middle.

What advice would you give to an artist just starting out?

F*ck Nike, just do it.

Paul Compton – Visual Artist

Paul Compton is a Melbourne based Visual Artist and his website is www.paulcompton.net

 Paul in studio

What are the main medium/s you work in…

I mainly draw using ink. Sometimes I use ink mixed with tea and I occasionally use gouache and watercolour. I also create handmade books, zines, etchings and lino cuts.

Lady Gilding 005 high

 What caused you to choose the medium you currently work in?

I find ink to be delicate, versatile and freeing. I used to use an old-fashioned dip pen and felt an instant connection to the tool but now I find my line work is getting finer so I prefer to use a brush instead. I like the unforgiving nature of ink as well, I have to get it right first time or start all over again.



What are you currently working on?

I made a series of drawings based on the concept of the Wunderkammer (or cabinet of curiosities) for the group exhibition Wonder Room in November and now I am extending the series because I enjoyed it so much. These drawings are a way for me to incorporate a whole range of objects, animals and myths that I love in a playful and engaging way.

Krampus Wreath

 What fascinates you?

I’m fascinated by things that are close to being forgotten and things that are considered a little strange, macabre or “in bad taste”. I love curious historical facts, trivial objects, folklore, supernatural occurrences, odd social customs, crappy television programs, obscure musicians…. Anything that sparks a little wonderment in me.


Eddie Munster Vignette

What is your earliest memory of art?

I never really went to art galleries when I was a kid so my idea of art was found in book illustrations and on television shows. I do distinctly remember a drawing I saw represented on television when I was six years old though. It was when beloved Muppets creator Jim Henson died and on the TV a program was reporting the sad news. In it they showed some drawings that children had done about the news. One was a coloured pencil drawing of Kermit the Frog

sitting underneath a rainbow. Big, blue tears were falling from his eyes. It is etched in my memory for the emotive resonance it had. I absolutely love children’s drawings for their rawness and emotive qualities. They’re a lot more honest than a lot of adult artists work sometimes.

Teen Wolf Cabinet M

Do you have a personal description of “Art”?

I think an artwork succeeds if it make you feel different in some way. Whether it be delighted, repulsed, uncertain, amazed – whatever, as long as it isn’t indifference. To me art makes you think and feel.



Do you have much contact with other artists?

I am lucky because a few of my closest friends are artists. They know my work and I know I can trust their input if I am ever unsure or need some perspective on something I am working on.


Domestic Disturbance Wallpaper (sample)

Any upcoming or completely new projects you want to talk about?

Apart from the series of Wonder Cabinet drawings I am working on, I am also experimenting with ways of drawing that challenge how I usually work. This is (hopefully) in order to develop a slightly different and more intuitive and free-form style that will suit a series of work I want to create inspired by the writings of a particular poet I love.


Thinking of Catland (Picture of Louis Wain)

Do you keep an Art Journal or Visual Diary of some kind?

Yes. It is full of very rough scribbles, notes about books I have read and quotes from people I found interesting. It would not be very compelling or attractive to anyone else but it makes sense to me and is necessary for remembering ideas and revisiting past musings.

Coy Swamp Creature


Can you name a favourite artist or three… and why?

Odilon Redon is an artist I’ve admired for a long time. To me, he is the kind of artist and thinker I aspire to be. He said, “My drawings inspire and are not to be defined. They determine nothing. They place us, as does music, in the ambiguous world of the undetermined. They are a kind of metaphor.” I have a very long way to go!

Edward Gorey will always be a hero of mine. I admire his very individual and distinctive drawing and story-telling style. He was not afraid to make the books he wanted to make, even though many people scratched their heads in bemusement at them.

Grayson Perry is another favourite. I admire his multi-disciplinary approach to ideas, his skill, sense of humour and his ability to create work that is very contemporary but also acknowledges past artworks and history.

Rabbit in the Hat Trick


Do you hope the viewer will “get” what you are trying to communicate or do you feel compelled to spell it out to them?

I hope that my work speaks for itself. Art is like comedy in a way. One person’s hilarious comedian is another person’s tiresome bore. You either get it or you don’t and that’s ok with me.


Little Mermaid C M

What about the role of titles with your work, some hate them others revel in them, what about you?

I often do the titles before the artwork! A lot of the time the title dictates the nature of the piece I am working on whether it be humorous or strange etc. It’s very rare that I call something untitled.


Name a book or books, which may have inspired your work as an artist?

Many but the most notable are The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman (I hope to do a series of works directly inspired by this story in the future), Cat’s Eye by Margaret Atwood and Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte. I’m also very inspired by non-fiction books about history.



Tell us about your studio environment (too big, too small, enough storage or not, the light, the position, how you found it etc)?

My studio is in my home right next to my bed. It is a small table with more space on it devoted to toys and curios than to work space! I find a small space to work more comfortable and inspiring.

Pretty Harpy C M


Otto Dix the German artist said (in part)… “All art is exorcism…” Is that the case for you? If so how…

This is certainly the case for me as I often pick images and symbols that come intuitively. The artworks always end up saying a lot about my personal makeup and sometimes revealing more about myself than I was aware of at the time of making it.


Some artists are more “at home” isolated in their creative process, while others revel in being part of a group to bounce “ideas off” how about you?

I much prefer to be isolated in the creative process.


What is one thing you need to have in your studio before you work?

A cup of tea. Preferably English breakfast.


Which is more important to you, the subject of your work, or the way it is executed?

I really think they go hand in hand. If the subject of the work is most important then it must be executed well to give that subject/idea solidity and character.


How important is society, culture and or history to your work?

I am a complete geek when it comes to researching historical facts and curios. I love to make reference to obscure subjects and figures from history in my work. To me, a solid understanding of what has come before me leads to more informed contemporary work.


Do you collect anything?

I wouldn’t say I have a large enough mass of anything to call it a proper collection but I do have a penchant for collecting authentic Victorian era postcards. They are full of charm and character and I particularly love ones that are pre-owned and have hand-writing on them.

Carolyn O’Neill – Artist

Carolyn O’Neill lives in Hamilton, Victoria, her website is www.carolynoneill.com.au

website artist pic resize low res

How long have you been making art?

I first started painting 10 years ago after attending a beginner’s art class whilst living in Melbourne. The freedom I felt from picking up a paint brush was pivotal and I haven’t stopped painting since.


Interests you have other than art you feel are important to mention?

I am an avid op shopper and collector of Mid Century home wares. My shelves are also piled up with vintage interior decorating, and art books. I dream of owning a large original modernist home one day to display my ever expanding collections. Interior design is another interest of mine.

Balancing Act low res

Artist’s statement…

The act of self-expression inspires and motivates me. The ’action’ or the physical outpouring of one’s inner self becomes a connective force. This raw but intangible energy is what I attempt to convey onto canvas.

I’m inspired by the early abstract expressionists from the 1950’s such as De Kooning, Pollock, Motherwell and Kline. Like them I feel that I am unable to express myself through representation. I desire to move beyond the recognisable ‘surface’; evoking a deeper emotional response.

Much of my work is autobiographical; depicting my inner world and emotions. They are similar to journal entries that are painted rather than written with references to biblical themes and the inspiration of music.

My work is generally unplanned; it is spontaneous and intuitive. I tend to work at a frenetic pace which I find both exhausting and energizing. It expresses a rollercoaster of emotions in varying degrees. The exploration of line, colour and form are a continuum in my creative process.

The physical and emotional tension in my work is evident in every brushstroke and drip of paint. It is this visual dialogue that allows me the freedom to express not what is seen; but what is felt.

Abstract art is similar to a piece of music which may not describe anything tangible or tell a story; yet may stir emotions. An abstract painting depends on colour and design to do the same. “


What are you currently working on?

I have just completed some for a group show which opens this month (Aug 2013) with Manyung Gallery in Mount Eliza, Victoria. The theme is ‘Femme Fatale,’ as all the artists exhibiting are women. Some of my work will be featured in an art collectors book “I LOVE ART; The A –Z of Contemporary Art” published later in 2013. Perhaps a solo show in the near future.

Detour low res

Was your education helpful, or a hindrance?

It was vital in my development. I learnt early on not to take criticism personally no matter how harsh, but to grow from it and remain teachable. The process was challenging but eventually paid off. I often sought out my lecturers for feedback as I was always keen to learn as much as possible.

Equilibrium low res

Have you always been interested in art?

I’ve always had an appreciation of art. The vigorous brush strokes and the depth of colour in Vincent Van Gogh’s work has always moved me. The intense emotion in his work continues to inspire me. When I first started to paint I aspired for my work to evoke a similar response.

Exuberance low res

What did you do before or during becoming an artist?


I worked as a psychiatric nurse until recent years. It has been a dramatic transition from psychiatry to artist and the recognition of emotions and the expression of them are relevant to me and my art practice.


What or who inspires your art?

It’s the freedom to express myself and create in an intuitive manner without boundaries. My faith is my anchor and the bible is a constant inspiration as is music. The creative process in every medium inspires me; like discovering the meaning behind the lyrics of a song or musical composition. Since I often use the titles of songs or lyrics for some of my paintings, I enjoy the process of researching them.

Other art forms including architecture, modernism, collage and sculpture further connect with my work. I often find myself distracted by my surroundings; cloud formations, the pattern on a metal fence, the structure of a leaf, reflections on the water. I am confident that inspiration can be found everywhere if you start are looking for it.

Mysterious Ways

What caused you to choose the medium you currently work in?

My art Lecturer kept encouraging me to move onto oils to bring more depth into my work. The texture and fluidly of oils when mixed with medium add further areas of interest as the rich tones fuse together and set into place


You know you are successful in Visual Arts when…

You have stayed true to your vision and continued to grow as an artist whilst remaining consistent. If you can make a living from your art then you are very fortunate.


What can you tell us about your planning and making process for making art, and has that altered over the years? Yes it has changed significantly. One of my lecturers used to comment that I ‘flew on a wing and prayer’, often finding myself getting stuck as I never planned ahead

Of late I have become more productive as my process is somewhat planned. I now work on several pieces at a time to build up layers of paint and formulate a structure/composition to work with. The colour palette tends to evolve as I mix the paint and add medium.

transition resize

Do you keep an Art Journal or Visual Diary of some kind?

Yes I am a great believer in visual diaries; they help keep me focused and organised. Actually I have a pile of them and try to keep a small one in my hand bag to do some quick sketches or writing just in case a moment of inspiration strikes.

It also helps me focus on my goals and keeps all of my art paraphenalia in one place.

emerge resize

What about the role of titles with your work, some hate them others revel in them, what about you?

For me they are necessary, especially with abstract work to better engage the audience. Sometimes finding titles is a painstaking process and I find myself searching for the right words. There are times when a song or a word comes to mind and seems to be the perfect fit. The role of title in my work is to invite further contemplation.

Calm in chaos

Name a book or books, which may have inspired your work as an artist?

Most recently ‘Living with a creative mind,’ by Jeff and Julie Crabtree. It has a strong focus on the psychology of creativity and has helped me understand myself much more. The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron has been on my book shelf for quite a while too. Both of these books have insightful. I find myself referring to them on occasion.

Some artists are more “at home” isolated in their creative process, while others revel in being part of a group to bounce “ideas off” how about you?

I tend to be isolated, especially if I’m preparing for a show then I’ll be in the studio all day, every day and sometimes late at night. I have definitely become more of a ‘home body’ over recent years and feel quite content with that.

Delivering work to galleries or picking up art materials in Melbourne gives me the opportunity to catch up with friends and check out some exhibitions.

Fire and Ice resize

Technology (websites and social networking sites to name a few) has become an important marketing tool for many industries and individuals, what are your thoughts from a “You Inc” perspective and your art sensibility.

An artist website is an online portfolio . Given the rise of technology, well presented images of your work are crucial. Social media has been very beneficial and has opened up lots of opportunities. Having a Facebook artist page is another great tool for communication.. This has enabled me to connect with a wonderful online network of artists from all over the world.

What advice would you give to an artist just starting out? Study artists that inspire you. Try lots of techniques and don’t be precious about ruining your work. . Learn to accept criticism. Find your own unique style and build on it. Learn the art language and use it to describe your work. Use a visual diary to record your inspirations. Go to lots of openings and build relationships with artists and gallery directors. Don’t give up.

Storm in a bottle

How long did it take to develop your own style?

It’s taken me 10 years. It wasn’t until I studied Visual Art that things started to ‘click’, providing me with an in depth understanding of Art. Through much determination and perseverance my work has developed into an abstract expressionist style. Learning the technical aspects like composition and incorporating the elements and principles of design.

I am continually challenging myself to create work that is balanced, considered and complex.

There is less of struggle when I consider the composition and harmony of the work. Since it is intuitive and emotional, there is a hidden order to discover. Every brush stroke and drip is there for a reason and gravity helps too. Harmony cannot be achieved without considering the work as a whole. They have become like conversations where no one is being left out; so the communication is flowing. My work generally starts off in a state of chaos with splashes, drips and paint covering the canvas. Then the process of reining it in and connecting it together begins with reinforcing some areas whilst eliminating others. Resolving the work until it is complete in my eyes at least.


1.       Grace, 152 x 91cm

2.       Balancing Act, 140 x 82cm

3.       Intersect, 120 x 90cm

4.       Detour, 120 x 90cm

5.       Equilibrium,120 x 90cm

6.       Exuberance,120 x 90cm

7.       Meander,122 x 92cm

8.       Mysterious Ways,120 x 90cm

9.       Transcendent,122 x 92cm

10.   Pipe Dream,152 x 91cm

11.   Transition, 152 x 91cm

12.   Emerge, 152 x 91cm

13.   Calm In Chaos, 180 x 100cm

14.   Fire and Ice, 152 x 91cm

15.   Storm In A Bottle, 108 x 100cm













Deborah Klein – Artist

DK Portrait

Deborah Klein divides her time between Abbotsford, an inner city suburb of Melbourne and Ballarat, in south-western Victoria. Her website is http://www.deborahklein.net/ and she has two blog sites:
Art blog: http://deborahklein.blogspot.com/
Book blog: http://mothwomanpress.blogspot.com/

Interests you have other than art you feel are important to mention?

I’m interested in other art forms, including, music, theatre, literature and film. They have all impacted on my work – particularly film.

Mildred Pierce on St. Kilda Pier, 1995, linocut, 65 x 46 cm

What are the main medium/s you work in…

Printmaking, drawing, painting, and artist books

Lace Face, 1996, linocut, 46 x 30 cm

Does your work have social, political, cultural and or personal messages?

My visual language has evolved over the years and is multi-layered. Many works pay homage to women and their creative histories.

The work is unified by its concern for women: the untold numbers who have been completely written out of history, the courage of those women and girls who must still fight seemingly unsurmountable odds to have their voices heard.

Chocolate Argus Winged Woman, 2010, linocut, 40 x 40 cm

What fascinates you?

Recently I’ve become fascinated by animation pioneer Lotte Reiniger’s silhouette films, especially her masterpiece The Adventures of Prince Achmed (1926). Her films were the primary inspiration for my current silhouette-based work.

I’m also fascinated by silent film. Before the invention of sound, movies told their stories almost entirely without words. They had subtitles, but these needed to be succinct in order to ensure minimum interruption to the primarily visual narratives. I’ve only just become aware of parallels with my current artist books. Each one has a short descriptive title, but the narratives are entirely visual.

Homarsupial and Lyrebird, 2013, unique artist's books, ink and acrylic on handmade Khadi paper, each 80 x 15 cm (open)

Can you give us a more descriptive outline on your current works.

My first solo exhibition to focus entirely on silhouettes has recently finished. The exhibition was in two parts: a wall-based installation of thirteen vertical one-of-a-kind concertina books and an installation of miniature silhouette paintings. I’m now in the process of extending and developing both of these series.

Miniature silhouettes, 2012, acrylic on canvas, 9 x 7 cm, 7 x 9 cm and 5 x 7 cm

Why are you an Artist?

I’ve never stopped to question why – it’s all I ever wanted to be.

I had always loved art, but until early adulthood the only significant works I’d seen were in the National Gallery of Victoria or reproduced in art books. Moving to London in 1973 changed my life. Over my seven and a half years based there, I also travelled widely and saw a great deal of extraordinary contemporary and historical art in the flesh.

Soon after arriving in London I visited Paris for the first time. It was this trip and the artwork I saw there that galvanized me into becoming a fully committed artist, rather than just paying lip service to the idea. After that there was no turning back. I drew and painted for most of the time I was in London. But increasingly I felt the need for a more formal education. In 1982, the year after my return to Melbourne, I enrolled in art school as a mature age student.

Harpy and The Maiden Flight, 2013, unique artist's books, 2013, ink and acrylic on handmade Khadi paper, each 80 x 15 cm (open)


Your art education was…?

and still is, broadened and enriched immeasurably by experiencing art firsthand, not just on a computer screen. There is no substitute for the power of the original work. The Internet is a useful resource, but as Jonathan Jones recently wrote in The Guardian: “The entire online world is less substantial than a single piece of paint on one of Rembrandt’s encrusted canvases.”

On a more formal level, I gained a Bachelor of Fine Art (Printmaking) at Chisholm Institute of Technology, Melbourne (1982-1984) a Graduate Diploma at Gippsland Institute of Advanced Education (1987-1988) and a Master of Arts (Research) at Monash University, Gippsland Campus (1995-1997).

Fuchsia and Cactus Flower, unique artist's books, 2013, ink and acrylic on handmade Khadi paper, each 80 x 15 cm (open)

What did you do before or during becoming an Artist?

For some years I worked in offices. In those pre-computer days I was an abysmal typist and gradually drifted into retail. The benefit of both livelihoods was that I didn’t have to take the work home with me. In my own time, I was free to make my artwork.

Immediately after graduating from art school I worked for several months at David Jones department store as on-call casual. It was a stupefyingly mindless job. Rescue came later in the same year, when I was offered a six-months long position at the Print Council of Australia. After that time elapsed, the PCA employed me as a permanent part-time administrative assistant. I worked there for over two years. It was demanding but also very stimulating. I learned a great deal, met some amazing people and made some lasting friendships, most notably with Diane Soumilas. Many years later she would curate the touring survey exhibition Deborah Klein – Out of the Past 1995 – 2007.

In the early-mid 1990s I ran occasional linocut classes for beginners at the Council of Adult Education in Melbourne. Between 1999-2008 I was a part-time lecturer in the Printmaking and Drawing Departments at RMIT University. I enjoyed teaching, but finally left to work as a full-time artist.

Is there any one thing that has given you a big buzz in your art career so far? 

In 1992 I received a letter from the Australia Council informing me that my application for a three-month studio residency at the Cite Internationale des Arts in Paris was successful. It was a tremendous thrill and completely unexpected, especially as it was the first time I’d ever applied for a grant. When I opened the envelope I was so geared to reading a letter of rejection, it took several moments to get my mind around the letter’s actual content.

Do you remember your first artwork?

One of the first artworks I remember seeing was Ulysses and the Sirens (1891) by John Waterhouse at the National Gallery of Victoria, which was then situated in the State Library of Victoria building. I must have carried the memory of that work with me from then on because decades later I began the Myth-entomology series, which included a flock of winged women. Although my linocuts and paintings were drawn from personal, rather than classical mythology, I’m certain the series had its origin in the Waterhouse painting.

Common Rose Swallowtail Winged Woman, 2010, acrylic on linen, 36 x 36 cm

Was art a “thing” that was encouraged in your family?

My family was always encouraging, although my mother had the greatest input, introducing me to books, film, music and the visual and performing arts. She also took me on my first visits to the Melbourne Museum and National Gallery of Victoria.

Art wasn’t viewed as a serious profession, however, and I was discouraged from studying it at tertiary level. By the time I put myself through art school as a mature age student, I’d lived overseas for several years, was passionate about art and knew very definitely that it was what I wanted for myself. But I’m still grateful to my mother for sowing those first seeds.

Fishwife and Sea horsewoman, unique artist's books, 2013, ink and acrylic on handmade Khadi paper, each 80 x 15 cm (open)

Did the place where you grew up have an influence?

Growing up in 1950s and 60s St. Kilda was in many ways a lonely and isolating experience. It was a very different place when I was a child and adolescent: sadly run down and rather seedy. Yet it had a certain mystique, and looking back through admittedly nostalgic eyes, far more depth than it has today. St. Kilda-related iconography infiltrated my work for many years, and even now occasionally makes an appearance. The Film Noir quality of the downtrodden St. Kilda of my past, with its fun fair, beach, pier and art deco buildings, was another driving force behind many of my works: the seminal Pirate Jenny Prints, 1988, the Film Noir series, including the linocut Mildred Pierce on St. Kilda Pier, 1995 and from the Tattooed Faces and Figures series, Luna Park Face, 1996 and St.Kilda Warrior, 1996.

Eve's Apple and Tree House, 2013, unique artist's books, ink and acrylic on handmade Khadi paper, each 80 x 15 cm (open)

Has your work changed much since your early efforts? 

There was a great emphasis placed on drawing from life when I was an undergraduate, which I’m very thankful for. But I don’t remember us being encouraged to draw from our interior lives. My first post-art school works were large-scale drawings and linocuts drawn directly from my immediate environment.

In 1987 I undertook a Graduate Diploma at Gippsland School of Art (now Monash University) as a part-time student. I was accepted into the course on the basis of my interiors and still-lifes. But these genres had already ceased to challenge me.

On a train journey to Gippsland I first got the idea for what became the Pirate Jenny Prints, a suite of linocuts inspired by a character in The Threepenny Opera, which I’d always loved. I remember scribbling like a crazy woman in my sketchbook for the entire journey, fearful of losing the germs of ideas that appeared to come from nowhere.

Written by Bertolt Brecht (book and lyrics) and Kurt Weill (music) The Threepenny Opera (1928) was set in London’s Soho and populated by prostitutes, thieves and murderers. In actuality, it was a satire of Germany’s Weimar Republic. At the time I conceived my works, I was back in St. Kilda, living in Grey Street, then one of its more squalid pockets. I wanted to tap into the singular energy and edge St Kilda had at that time, just prior to its gentrification. Prostitutes used to line up in front of my block of flats. It wasn’t too much of a stretch to transfer the opera’s original setting to my hometown, although in the end, it only featured in some of the works. The Pirate Jenny Prints freed me, enabling me to draw inspiration from other art forms and to incorporate more personal narratives. Essentially it became the cornerstone for all the work that followed.

This was a dual turning point, as it was also the first time I met Euan Heng. He was my supervisor and became a lifelong mentor. I had been accepted into the course on the basis of the interiors and still-lifes, but he supported and encouraged the direction into new and uncharted territory.

Pirate Jenny at Luna Park, 1988, linocut, 61.5 x 45.5 cm

Have your artistic influences altered over time (e.g. artists.)

From secondary school level, if not even earlier, my favourite artists were Rembrandt van Rijn and Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, although Rembrandt’s work was more an inspiration than an influence. The line up has expanded considerably since then. But these two still loom large on my list, which now includes David Hockney, Louise Bourgeois, Kiki Smith, Paula Rego, Maria Sybylla Merian, Rogier van der Weyden, Rene Magritte, Bill Viola, Max Beckmann, Otto Dix, Christian Schad, Euan Heng, Stanley Spencer, Edward Hopper, William Larkin, Caspar David Friedrich, Vincent van Gogh, Francisco Goya, Peter Blake, Johannes Vermeer, Hans Memling, Lionel Lindsay, Marcus Gheeraerts II, William Blake, Nicholas Hilliard, Hans Holbein, Annette Messager, William Kentridge, Gwen John, Grayson Perry, Marcel Dzama and Lucian Freud.

In addition, the films of Alfred Hitchcock, Georges Melies, G. W. Pabst, Fritz Lang, Josef von Sternberg, F. W. Murnau, Louis Feuillade, Paul Leni, Robert Weine, Orson Welles, Charles Laughton and Lotte Reiniger have also been influential.

Corporeal_Ethereal, 2012, linocut, 60 x 50 cm

You know you are successful in Visual Arts when…

you are consistently making your work, setting yourself new challenges and goals, and remaining true to your vision, regardless of fads, fashions and the fickleness of the art world.

How important do you think craftsmanship is to artistic creation?

It’s essential that works be as well crafted as artists can possibly make them. Artistic creation shouldn’t just be about the concept. We owe it to our artwork and those who buy it in good faith. Shoddily made works can also create nightmares for conservators.

Craftsmanship is integral to my visual language – for example, the Knots and Braids (1998-2004). The main focus of the series was the high price that can be paid for physical perfection, exemplified by the women’s meticulously wrought hairstyles. If the imagery had not been well crafted, its basic concept would have been undermined.

Maid Made, 1999, acrylic on canvas 30 x 22.5cm (centre) 17.5 x 12.5 cm (L and R panels)

Do you have much contact with other artists?

My partner Shane Jones is also an artist, as are a number of friends. I’m very fortunate to have access to them for mutual discussions about work and ideas.

A year ago I became acquainted with Deborah McMillion, an Arizona-based artist. She first contacted me after seeing some of my work on the Internet and recognizing many mutual thematic similarities. She’s become a firm friend, although we’ve never met face to face. We frequently discuss our work, all the while discovering what an uncanny amount we have in common. I’ve come to value her informed and honest feedback, especially when I hit a brick wall with what I’m doing.

On occasion I’ve worked collaboratively with other artists on themed exhibitions. This can also be an extremely rewarding experience.

Any upcoming or completely new projects you want to talk about?

I’m currently making work for Wonder Room, a large-scale group exhibition at Maroondah Art Gallery that opens on 17 October. It’s an example of a collaborative project between five like-minded artists: myself, Rona Green, Heather Shimmen, Paul Compton and Filomena Coppola.

The exhibition’s point of departure is the Wunderkämmer. The idea of an eclectic collection is liberating – it encourages a far greater diversity of work, embracing differences and contrasts, rather than mix-and-match aesthetic similarities. As part of my contribution, I plan to extend and develop the fledgling silhouette works. In addition, I’ve created a collection of diminutive insect women – 30 watercolour paintings that reside in a miniature plan cabinet. Also in progress is a limited edition portfolio of “Unnatural History” illustrations comprising hand-coloured linocuts.

Emergent Cicada Woman, 2013, linocut, hand coloured, 22 x 18.5 cm

What has been a turning point in your career thus far and why?

A key turning point was in 1997, when my linocut The Lair of the Lyrebird was awarded the Grand Prize, Silk Cut Award for Linocut Printmaking.

The Lair of the Lyrebird, 1997 Linocut on interfacing, hand stitching 64 x 74 cm

The prize was an all-expenses-paid stay in Amsterdam. I’m a long time admirer of Flemish art and the city is renowned for its museums, most famously, the Rijksmuseum, the Van Gogh Museum and the Stedelijk Museum. It is also the home of Rembrandt, one of my first artist-heroes. His house, now a museum filled with his sublime etchings, was another highlight.

Winning the Silk Cut brought a nod of affirmation from my peers and also led to teaching work. The award was acquisitive; the National Gallery of Australia and Bendigo Art Gallery acquired the remaining prints from the edition of three.

The Lair of the Lyrebird was an experimental print made as part of my Master of Arts Degree at Monash University. I was awarded a Monash Graduate Scholarship, which enabled me to undertake a concentrated period of research. During that time my ideas and imagery changed dramatically; this was the work that spearheaded that change. For the second time, Euan Heng was my supervisor and once again he supported the new direction, rather than forcing me to stick rigidly to my original proposal. Conceptually this work sent me even further along the path towards the work I make today.


Mildred Pierce on St. Kilda Pier, 1995, linocut, 65 x 46 cm

Lace Face, 1996, linocut, 46 x 30 cm

Chocolate Argus Winged Woman, 2010, linocut, 40 x 40 cm

Homarsupial and Lyrebird, 2013, unique artist’s books, ink and acrylic on handmade Khadi paper, each 80 x 15 cm (open)

Miniature silhouettes, 2012, acrylic on canvas, 9 x 7 cm, 7 x 9 cm and 5 x 7 cm. Wooden display case 32 x 32 cm

Harpy and The Maiden Flight, 2013, unique artist’s books, 2013, ink and acrylic on handmade Khadi paper, each 80 x 15 cm (open)

Fuchsia and Cactus Flower, unique artist’s books, 2013, ink and acrylic on handmade Khadi paper, each 80 x 15 cm (open)

Common Rose Swallowtail Winged Woman, 2010, acrylic on linen, 36 x 36 cm

Fishwife and Sea horsewoman, unique artist’s books, 2013, ink and acrylic on handmade Khadi paper, each 80 x 15 cm (open)

Eve’s Apple and Tree House, 2013, unique artist’s books, ink and acrylic on handmade Khadi paper, each 80 x 15 cm (open)

Pirate Jenny at Luna Park, 1988, linocut, 61.5 x 45.5 cm

Corporeal/Ethereal, 2012, linocut, 60 x 50 cm

Maid Made, 1999, acrylic on canvas, 30 x 22.5cm (centre) 17.5 x 12.5 cm (L and R panels)

Emergent Cicada Woman, 2013, linocut, hand coloured, 22 x 18.5 cm

The Lair of the Lyrebird, 1997, linocut on interfacing, hand stitching 64 x 74 cm

Deborah Williams – Artist

Deborah Williams is a Printmaker liviving in Melbourne and is represented by Australian Galleries Melbourne & Sydney

She has been on a professional level since 1990 and you can find more information on her at  www.deborahwilliams.com.au


Artist’s statement…

When I look at dogs in and around me, I question whether dogs are seen for what they are, as separate beings. I observe that while we do not objectify our dogs per se, our feelings are frequently filtered through human perspectives; these dogs are therefore, anthropomorphized brought unwittingly into our worlds.

I strive to challenge the anthropomorphizing of dogs even though I acknowledge that my work, in common with historical and contemporary contexts of the representation of dogs, is none the less filtered through my own perspectives and brought into our world.

For a dog, it must surely be a complex relationship, enduring and interdependent, loving and loyal, yet simply ‘other’. It is the ‘other’ that I endeavour to depict.

It is this latter context, which I focus on. I aim to depict the dog not as a breed above, apart or beyond, but of its own. Captured in a moment.


Why are you an artist? 

I’m not sure being an artist was really a choice as the drive is so strong that even when I have wanted to ‘throw in the towel’ I haven’t been able to. I think I would be lost without this ingrained desire to create.

How important is art for you? Well, it is my life, so incredibly important.


Your art education was…?

2006 – 2011 MFA Research Printmaking, National Art School, Sydney
2006 Certificate IV in Training and Assessment
1994           Bachelor of Arts (Honors) Fine Art RMIT
1991 Diploma of Education, University of Melbourne –Hawthorn Institute
1987-1989       Bachelor of Arts (Printmaking) Victoria College, Prahran
1986 Box Hill Tafe, Tertiary Orientation Program


The craziest thing you did at art school was…

Act out the Russian Revolution for a project based on Russian Constructivism while studying at Box Hill Tafe (TOP)

Is there any one thing that has given you a big buzz in your art career so far? (Seeing your work in a particular collection etc…)

Representing Australian Galleries at the Melbourne Art Fair in 2008 was a huge buzz.

4dialogue of the dog

What is your earliest memory of art?

Arthur Boyd’s Melbourne Burning. A reproduction of this painting hung in the hallway outside my bedroom door. I distinctly remember spending many nights looking at that image and discovering new elements I hadn’t seen previously. It scared me, yet intrigued me.


What caused you to choose Printmaking?

I grew up with Noel Counihan’s lino print Hunger, 1959 . I believe my parents paid $50 for it. Counihan believed printmaking was a Socialist art form, easier to disseminate to the masses. This philosophy had a direct impact on my decision to study Printmaking and has continually inspired me. This in turn links into the Political household that I grew up in, which at times I rejected but essentially and perhaps subconsciously was motivated by. Instilled with a passion for fairness and social justice. And Counihan’s print illustrates just that.

5_Her world_2011

Does the sale of your work support you? If no what else do you do to support your art?

I am unfortunately not able to live off my artwork, however I am lucky to have employment in an area directly related to my practice. I teach Printmaking in the Diploma of Visual Art at RMIT University and I also do some sessional teaching at VCA in the Drawing Print media Department.

11 I am what I am 09

Do you have much contact with other artists?

Many of my friends and work colleagues’ are artists. My life is enriched by having so many creative people in my life.


Can you name a favourite artist or three… and why?

Mike Parr, specifically his printmaking. His exhibition at Anna Swartz in 2010 The Hallelujah Chorus, has been one of the most memorable exhibitions I’ve been lucky to witness. An amazing series of collagraph and drypoints, they were almost sculptural. The physicality of his works, the immediacy of the mark, are both dynamic and raw. I’m not sure I’ve seen this in prints before.

Leon Golub is an artist I have admired since Art School. There is a great energy in his work, they are gutsy and evoke an emotive response. I am also informed by his use of space, stripped of detail.

Noel Counihan, his images keep me grounded. They challenge me to keep reflecting and I believe always will.

10.of its own

Do you have a personal philosophy that underpins your work?

Make the work for me, the moment I start making works to please people as opposed to responding to my own drive is the time I believe I should stop.


Musical influences, Okay this is about Visual Arts but most artists have favourite music they enjoy while working or just in general what about you?

Daft Punk, Gil Scott Heron, Nina Simone, Mazy Star, Polica…….


Some say the measure of an artwork is the ability for it to hold a persons attention or cause the viewer to come back after an initial glance and become captivated by the work, is that so for your works or an intention of yours?

It certainly is an intention of mine. I think if I can grab the viewer’s attention and draw them in, I have achieved my aim.

Do you ever question being an artist?

I question being an artist less so now than I did when I was younger.  There were periods when it was difficult to keep putting time and money into making work with little reward. I considered a change in career, however the drive prevailed.

What did your prices start off at?

I used to give my work away!

How many artworks do you work on at the same time?

The way I work is very slow so I generally have many works evolving. This is partly because I would get bored if I was looking at the same image every time I was in the studio. It can take months to resolve and complete a work. Having up to ten or so works on the go means I can easily move from one to the other.

How did you manage to survive financially at the beginning of your art career?

Lots of different part time jobs from bar work, gardening, house cleaning, waitressing and working in a Medical bookshop.

How do you establish your art work prices?

That is a very difficult task and thankfully I do not set the prices, my Gallery does.

Did you have any idea about how the art world worked in the beginning?

Absolutely no idea, I discovered the workings as I trundled along.

What is your work space like?

Organised chaos. I aim to be very organised but there is jut so much stuff! I do know where most    things are though.







Shane Jones Artist

Shane Jones lives and works in Abbotsford and Ballarat, Victoria. He is represented by Charles Nodrum Gallery and The Art Vault. Shane has been making art for over 35 years you can see his website at www.shanejonesart.com and follow his blog here http://jonesartblog.blogspot.com.au/


Shane, do you have any interests other than art you feel are important to mention?

Cinema, theatre, music, sport. Although it’s hard to say what impact these interests have on my art practice, apart from horse racing, which is a subject I am now engaged with.

What are the main medium/s you work in…

Mainly painting, but sometimes printmaking and sculpture.

Irreversible, 2005, oil on linen, 61 x 50.5 cm

How do you describe your work, realistic, stylised, abstract, narrative, symbolic, other? 

My work is realistic but the subject matter is not always what is depicted. I see it as a mixture of  the realistic, the conceptual and the philosophical.

How important is art for you?

There is nothing more important than art in all its forms. At its highest level, art shows us the best that human beings can do, and excellence and imagination can only inspire one and enrich one’s life. It’s the only form of true magic we know, since it’s beyond technical tricks that can be explained in a manual or a  secret that can be passed on.

Missing, 2010, oil on canvas, 83.5 x 60.5 cm

Was your education helpful, or a hindrance?

I had been working as an artist for nearly 20 years before I went to art school, but  my work changed a lot when I did. I think what art school taught me was that instead of painting an object for its own sake, the greater aim was to paint an idea. Since art is an extension of your thoughts, then if you change your thinking you change your art. I didn’t need to change my realist style, rather it was more that I added something to it.

Quodlibet, 2006, oil on canvas, 122.5 x 81.5 cm

Did the place where you grew up have an influence?

I did not grow up in a visual art environment but I was always encouraged in art by my school teachers. There was a retired policeman who lived down the road, a Mr. Thompson, who once studied drawing at the National Gallery Art School at nights and  he was also encouraging. I grew up in Mordialloc, Victoria, which was then an important horse racing area and I became an apprentice jockey in my teens. This is significant at this time because I am making a body of work with horse racing as a subject.

Self Portrait, 2009, oil on linen, 35 x 25 cm

What or who inspires your art?

Artists, both historical and contemporary, have always inspired me, but life does too. Artists show you what can be achieved and life provides the experience and subject matter that leads to the making of art. I also think that if you see your own art progress, then that can be an inspiration too.

The Famous Straight Six, 2013, oil on linen, 76 x 91.5 cm

You know you are successful in Visual Arts when…

The word success is often misused where art is concerned. It usually means how many sales you have had or how your career is coming along. Artists like Van Gogh, Cezanne and Constable for example, were highly successful artists although they made little money from their work and had relatively insignificant careers. I think the best you can do as an artist is to move someone silently, inside, and this power is independent of the politics, marketing and fashions of the art world. If you can do this, especially for viewers of the future, then you are a successful artist.

Untitled #22, 1998, oil on canvas, 183 x 91.5 cm

What can you tell us about your planning and making process for making art, and has that altered over the years?

I work mostly from life, so I don’t rely on preparatory drawings or sketches. I generally have a good idea of what the finished picture might look like before I start, and sometimes I carry an idea in my head for years before I act on it. Working from life can sometimes give me ideas I could never make up, like someone being in a particular spot, the play of light or the fall of a shadow. I love detail, so my paintings need many sittings to complete. Recently, I have been exploring the subject of horse racing, but I have had to rely on photography to make these works, so my philosophy of working directly from life has changed. It’s impossible to get a horse to pose, especially when you want the image to be of a horse in motion.

Untitled #26, 1999, oil on linen, 152 x 83.5 cm

Do you have a personal description of “Art”?

For me, art is light and space which is greater than its subject matter. Light and space give life to ideas and energize the mark making, but art is also the combination of craftsmanship, thinking and feeling. Sometimes subject matter is mistaken for the art, by that I mean that great and noble subject matter does not automatically mean great art. There can be more art in a simple still life than walls filled with political or social commentary.

Untitled #46, 1999, oil on canvas, 30 x 25 cm

How important do you think craftsmanship is to artistic creation?

Craftsmanship means that an artist directly thinks and feels through the hands. If artists cannot make images with clarity, then they cannot fully bring their art into the world. Something beautifully made is not just about skill,  it’s about being involved in what you do, loving what you make. From a technical point of view, if making art is worth doing, then you owe it to your art to make it last.

Untitled #73, 2000, oil on  canvas, 152 x 83.5 cm

Do you have a personal philosophy that underpins your work?

Much of my work is based on identity considered through the questions – Who am I? Where do I come from? Where am I going? Since these questions cannot yet be answered, it means that we do not understand who we really are. My work is based on the idea of identity as a question rather than a definition. I am also interested in space as something that contains mystery, which reflects the three questions.

I have always avoided story telling in my work, but now the horse racing subjects have perhaps provided me with a narrative to explore, which is reflected in the titles. It has also directed my attention away from an interior space into a more open dimension.

Untitled #87, 2001 oil on canvas 152 x 101.5 cm

What is the most unexpected response you’ve received from a viewer of your work?

Two come to mind. Once a person said to me that I am not a real artist because I paint from life. But on several other occasions others have said that my work looks like I love what I paint.

Untitled #102, 2002 oil on canvas 110 x 91.5 cm

How do you feel about earlier works that are in people’s collections / ownership?

When I see my early works I sometimes wish I could retouch them. But I have also been pleasantly surprised to see works that don’t look too bad. Whatever I think of them, the one consistent thought I have is that it was the best I could do at the time.

Untitled #104, 2003,oil on canvas, 91 x 50.5 cm

Name a book or books, which may have inspired your work as an artist?

My local library was one of the most important locations for me when I started as an artist because it was the only way I could access great art. There was not one book that inspired me but the many books I discovered on the shelves. Too many to name.

Untitled #109, 2003, oil on canvas, 30.5 x 35.5 cm

Tell us about your studio environment (too big, too small, enough storage or not, the light, the position, how you found it etc)?

I have a place to work at home, but since I paint from life I have to be adaptable. I have painted portraits at the sitter’s home, painted at racetracks, the country side, street scenes from inside the car, in small rooms, large rooms, in windy conditions and in very hot or cold temperatures. So long as I can see the work in a good light then all other problems can usually be managed.

Untitled #110, 2004, oil on canvas, 102 x 92 cm

Is your work process fast or slow?

Sometimes it can take a year or two for a work to be completed, not that I am continuously working on that one piece, but rather it was the time it took to finish it. On other occasions it can take a month or two or a week or two, and I sometimes retouch a painting several years later. When painting outdoors, bad weather can mean long delays between painting sessions. I have never finished a painting in an afternoon though, unless it was a quick sketch for its own sake, which would remain the finished work.

Waiting for the Winner,2012, oil on plywood, 40 x 40 cm

Some say a measure of an artwork is the ability for it to hold a persons attention or cause the viewer to come back after an initial glance and become captivated by the work, is that so for your works or an intention of yours?

I think that is a great description of what a work of art should do and it’s what I would like to achieve with my own work.

How many artworks do you work on at the same time?

For many years my ideas have been expressed through still life and self-portraiture, which means I can set things up in the studio and work on them. This allows me to begin a work and see it through to the end before I start another one. But since I have been painting outside for these last few years, and as the weather can influence when I work on a painting, I now have a number of things in progress at the same time. I can have up to 5 paintings in different stages of development.

Tell us your most memorable art experience growing up.

When I began to study art seriously I found the most difficult questions to consider were how do you become an artist and what does this mean. For many years I thought about art and experimented with many techniques but made little progress. I finally went to London in 1981 and  came across the small outdoor oil sketches of John Constable in the Victoria and Albert Museum. This was a turning point in my studies because I saw for the first time that I should be working from life, and this important revelation has stayed with me ever since.

Does the sale of your Artwork support you?

I have never made a living from my art practice, but sometimes I think this might be a good thing for me. Since I paint slowly, I need a lot of time to make a single work or prepare for an exhibition, so I would need to sell my work for large prices to live off it, but this does not happen. I also like the idea of having time to think about what I am doing and experimenting, without the pressures of selling. Throughout my life I have had a several jobs like jockey, bricklayer, bicycle courier, self-service petrol station attendant, taxi driver, track-work rider, part-time art teacher and to date I have a small lawn mowing round which I’ve had for many years.

Compiled and edited by Steve Gray © 2013+

Follow me on twitter! http://twitter.com/stevegray58 or LinkedIn http://lnkd.in/ZW-iDZ


LIST OF WORKS – From top

Irreversible, 2005, oil on linen, 61 x 50.5 cm

Missing, 2010, oil on canvas, 83.5 x 60.5 cm

Quodlibet, 2006, oil on canvas, 122.5 x 81.5 cm

Self Portrait, 2009, oil on linen, 35 x 25 cm

The Famous Straight Six, 2013, oil on linen, 76 x 91.5 cm

Untitled #22, 1998, oil on canvas, 183 x 91.5 cm

Untitled #26, 1999, oil on linen, 152 x 83.5 cm

Untitled #46, 1999, oil on canvas, 30 x 25 cm

Untitled #73, 2000, oil on canvas, 152 x 83.5 cm

Untitled #87, 2001, oil on canvas 152 x 101.5 cm

Untitled #102, 2002, oil on canvas 110 x 91.5 cm

Untitled #104, 2003, oil on canvas, 91 x 50.5 cm

Untitled #109, 2003, oil on canvas, 30.5 x 35.5 cm

Untitled #110, 2004, oil on canvas, 102 x 92 cm

Waiting for the Winner, 2012, oil on plywood, 40 x 40 cm

Rona Green – Visual Artist

Rona Green is from Melbourne and is represented by  Australian Galleries in Melbourne and Sydney, and Solander Gallery, New Zealand. You can see her website here www.ronagreen.com and her blog ronagreenblog.com

Rona Green_2000_Class and Taste_linocut

How long have you been making art?

I clocked up a fine art degree in 1995 and have been working at being an artist since then.


Interests you have other than art you feel are important to mention?

I really enjoy listening to music, reading and going to the movies, and I adore reality television programs. As my art is concerned with narrative all these interests directly feed into it.

Rona Green_2003_Treacherous Boys with Charisma_linocut and hand colouring

What are the main medium/s you work in…

Printmaking, drawing, soft sculpture and painting.

Rona Green_2004_Discotheque Nasties_linocut

Artist’s statement… 

My work explores ideas about identity through a narrative approach. The pictures I make investigate the potential of the body to be a vehicle for story by means of transformative devices including anthropomorphism and body markings.

Rona Green_2004_Leather Street Birds_mixed media

How do you describe your work, realistic, stylised, abstract, narrative, symbolic, other? 

It is representational, specifically figurative, with a narrative quality. The imagery is based on observation and twisted with imagination.

Rona Green_2006_Dally-boy_linocut and hand colouring

What are you currently working on?

Producing a body of work for a solo exhibition to run from 27 August to 15 September 2013, at Australian Galleries, Derby Street, Melbourne.

Rona Green_2006_Mestizo_mixed media

What fascinates you?

The strange and unusual.

Rona Green_2007_Cockhead_linocut and hand colouring

Why are you an artist?

I cannot envision an existence that does not include making pictures.


How did you get into art?

It probably all stems from my Nana and Great Aunt introducing me to needlework and quilting as a youngster. I loved the processes of coming up with designs, selecting colour schemes, choosing materials – the fusion of the cerebral and the tactile. Then later, towards the end of high school, I first contemplated that being an artist could be a viable option.


How important is art for you?

Not a day goes by when I don’t work on my art in some way, so I would say it’s pretty important.


What is it about Visual Art you find compelling?

That a picture is perceived in a unique way by each person that looks at it.


Your art education was…?

During high school I always took art as a subject. After that, I went on to do a year and a half of a Diploma of Photography, then switched to studying for a Bachelor of Arts degree in Fine Art at La Trobe University, Bendigo, finishing in 1995. In 1998 I went back to university to attain a Graduate Diploma in Visual Arts at VCA. And earlier this year I completed a Master of Fine Arts degree through the Monash University Gippsland Campus.


What did you do before or during becoming an artist?

I’ve been a full time artist for the last couple of years but prior to that while working part time at my art other employment included customer service at Kwik Kopy Printing, Technician at the Australian Print Workshop and teaching at Box Hill Institute of TAFE and RMIT University (where I still teach a drawing class once a week for a few hours to animation students).


Do you have much contact with other artists?

The vast majority of my friends are artists or other types of creative people. I thoroughly delight in talking shop! Also, a part of my artistic practice is organising print exchange folio projects and this activity facilitates regular engagement with my professional peers.


Can you name a favourite artist or three… and why?

Alberto Giacometti appeals to the Existentialist in me. Peter Blake taps into the part of me that is a fan of things. Jean Dubuffet because he is super terrific at almost everything.


Do you keep an Art Journal or Visual Diary of some kind?

I’ve always got a few note books and sketch books on the go. I do find books a somewhat awkward format for storing and retrieving information from. In my studio I have a few large double-sided pin boards on wheels and I prefer to put stuff up on these so I can take things in all at once and ruminate.


Do you have a personal philosophy that underpins your work?

In a nutshell, my work must amuse me (I’m not sure if technically that is a philosophy but it is amusement that drives me).


Musical influences, okay this is about Visual Arts but most artists have favourite music they enjoy while working or just in general what about you?

A sound system in the studio is integral! I wouldn’t go so far to say I like all types of music but my taste is eclectic. Today, for example, I listened to Pink Floyd, Ghost, Quiet Riot, Wham and The Dictators. Musical favourites I’ve had since my teen years include The Cure, Pet Shop Boys and The Smiths. Other stuff that gets played quite often is Morrissey, Accept, Supertramp, Alice Cooper, Roxy Music, Mojo Nixon, Anvil, Jimmy Buffet, New Order, Jethro Tull, Rainbow, Spandau Ballet, Thin Lizzy, the list goes on…


What can you tell us about your creative development process?

To generate ideas my preferred methodology is gathering imagery, collecting words, joking around, constructing characters and personalities, manipulating esoteric information, collaging. Reference material for my work is gathered by picking through a variety of sources such as primitive and fine art, comics and cartoons, reality TV, film, music, magazines and books, and the internet. Popular culture in general and subcultures especially feed my imagination. I take a lot of my own photos to refer to (of animals and people). Brainstorming and stream of consciousness activities are valuable for me. Researching my interests and what captures my imagination is exciting and rewarding. I keep notebooks and jot down everything that catches my attention. And I incubate what I find and call on it as required.


What about the role of titles with your work, some hate them others revel in them, what about you?

Giving work a title is so much fun! It’s like the icing on the cake. I often think of a title for a piece early on, sometimes this becomes a working title and changes later, and other times the title comes last. The title of a picture can be used as an aid to enter into the work by the viewer which I think is a good thing.


Is your work process fast or slow?

S – l – o – w …


Which is more important to you, the subject of your work, or the way it is executed?

Both are equally important. It is difficult to realise an idea without technique.


Do you prefer a perfect smooth technique or a more energetic expressive technique and why?

Smooth. There is something comforting to me about smoothness!


What advice would you give to an artist just starting out?

Have a vision, work hard and don’t give up.


Have you ever made an artistic pilgrimage? If so, where did you go and why?

Of a sort, yes. I travelled to Borneo to investigate Iban tattooing traditions.


Do you have a group of artists that discuss your ideas with?

The person who I throw ideas at, brainstorm with, ask for advice and assistance from, is my partner Aaron – he is in tune with what I’m about and I can trust him to be completely and brutally honest when critiquing my work.


Did you have any idea about how the art world worked in the beginning?

None what so ever! It certainly is a world of its own.


Do you have ideas turning over in your head all the time or…

Yes. I never suffer from the problem of being short of ideas. If anything I have too many. I’m not saying they are all good ideas though!


Did you have an inspirational teacher, and how did that affect you?

Over the years I have been so lucky to have had a number of inspirational teachers. In high school John Watts (photography teacher) and James Watt (art teacher) made me see that being an artist was possible. University lecturers Peter Jacobs, Julie Millowick and John Robinson were all pivotal in shaping my identity as an artist. And my Masters degree supervisor Rodney Forbes was such a generous contributor to my further development as an artist.


Do you collect anything?

Quite a few toys, dolls and figurines decorate my environment. It is not a collection with a ‘curatorial direction’ though, it is a fairly broad community of sorts. Favourite items include a RuPaul Glamazon doll and Arnold Schwarzenegger as The Terminator figurine.

Compiled and edited by Steve Gray © 2011+

Follow me on twitter! http://twitter.com/stevegray58 or LinkedIn http://lnkd.in/ZW-iDZ


Rosa Tato – Visual Artist

Rosa Tato currently resides in Northcote, Melbourne and was represented by Axia Modern Art until they closed in 2012 Her website is www.rosatato.com and www.facebook.com/rosatato.com.au


Interest you have other than art that you feel important to mention.

Cooking, learning about food and its historical evolution, Dreaming…

Did the place where you grow up have an influence?

I am a Melbourne gal through and through.  There were incredible rich experiences in my upbringing. My parents were founders of the Spanish Club on Johnston St., otherwise known as ‘Hogar Espanol’. I led a  double life of sorts… late nights (as all Spaniards do!) at the ‘Club’, and trying to keep awake at school!  Such fond memories of picnics, long lunches and dinners, Spanish ‘school’, live music, flamenco lessons, and fabulous aromas that came out of the Club’s Kitchen.

My first commission was the creation of a poster for a University production of “Pharlap”  directed by Peter Green in 1983.  A silk screen stencil made in my father’s garage. My process of cutting still exists. Some recent artworks have begun with an intuitive hand cutting process in paper, so my love affair with the stencil continues… I recently tracked Peter down and found the poster on his Kitchen wall!


What or who inspires your art?  Have your artistic influences altered over time (eg artists?)

I am inspired by quality exchange with people, their stories, cultural dialogues as well as the investigation and research of cultural objects unknown to me. My own small art collection is about the artist’s personal triggers  – there seems to be a theme of intimacy & the unexpected impact of  relationships.

Munch’s sensibility of color + intensity has always impacted me whilst these other artists – Antonio Tapies, Anselm Keifer, Cristina Iglesias,  and Louise Bourgeous  – color, texture, textiles and scale are key indicators.

Can you name a fave artist or three?

Chillida, Oteiza, Basterretxea are 3 sculptors from the Basque region who have sought to make art that explores their Basque identity in such a hostile environment…under the Franco dictatorship. I admire them being able to create under such extreme and tiring circumstances. However, what resonates with me are their processes, and materiality, whilst passionately exploring the possibilities of abstraction. They gleaned inspiration from the human figure, nature and artifacts of ancient civilization.

Do you get creative glimpses of urges and how do you work with these?

I often reflect and yearn to be disciplined enough to work on my practice every day. A drawing, an entry into my diary, an experiment…  The reality is that I create when I am immersed in a situation when a deadline looms. Recently, a project I worked on stalled for many months, and fortuitously was able to have time and space to ‘articulate’ and review the artwork and the experience related to a dynamic social art project. This ‘time’ allowed for reflection, several changes and ultimately an outcome I was happy with. I often have several visual diaries on the go and when I take time to open them up and re read them, there is always an underlying thread  relating to a process that I am wanting to explore.

Do you have much contact with other artists?

I am acutely aware of the importance of keeping in touch with my art school friends. It connects me to similar issues and concerns that we are faced with. Following close friend’s art practices is very important to me – an intimate sense of following their process. By meeting and discussing things regularly has resulted in working on projects together. In 2010 after more  than 12 months of planning, I took part in an artist in residence program with fellow artists Alexandre Prado and Angela Leech in the remote community of the Shire of Menzies, in Western Austalia. Three distinct workshops were held at diverse locations throughout the Shire in conjunction with the Remote Community School, Menzies Aboriginal Corporation and Moropoi Station.



I am a member of Artery Cooperative which is a Melbourne based artists initiative. www.acoop.com.au

Artery is filled with individuals that are committed to sharing knowledge and skills, and nurturing emerging artists. I have enjoyed being a part of this community on a wide range of levels. Artery started because there was a need to create an environment that was about sharing of resources and fostering a sense of leadership, and equality. Artery is filled with passion, belief and this resonates at meetings.

Have you had any commissions? Any of note? 

A permanent work based on ‘El Pañuelo series’ for Crown Casino was commissioned by Batessmart in 2010.



Mills Gorman Architects commissioned me to create some designs for site specific functional features. A steel balastrade, floor to ceiling timber screen and columns have been integrated throughout Maha (part of the Press Club Group) in Melbourne. (A steel balastrade, floor to ceiling timber screen and columns)

maha balcony


MAHA dining

In collaboration with recent arrivals from Eritrea, Somalia, Sudan, Sri Lanka,  – & other CALD Communities, I was commissioned by the City of Melbourne and North Melbourne Language and Learning (NMLL) to create a sculptural installation. A 30-metre long steel panelled artwork incorporates patterns and motifs that represent the cultural diversity and personal histories of people from 16 countries.




Have you had any big breaks?  All artists seem to have struggles….tell us about any you have had? 

There have been some really pertinent and timely ‘breaks’.

I returned to study as a mature age student. In second year I was the recipient of the George Alexander Scholarship. It enabled me to finish my studies (my two girls were 5 and 9 at the time). Getting through the next three years as a single parent was a definite struggle. The scholarship, guidance and financial assistance allowed me to keep studying & essentially stopped me from leaving University.

I assisted Melbourne based sculptor, Penelope Lee in 2006 & 2007 during the making of a large permanent installation (made of hundreds of Sherrin Footballs). Penelope’s belief in my ‘making’ skills meant that I walked into the world of Public Art. Hundreds of footballs were sourced from all over Australia, some signed, some dated back to the early 1900’s. Cutting, placing, creating patterns on steel structure was part of our process for well over 7 months. Project management, sub contractors, timelines, the world of budgets and pressures! The day the work was installed at the Members Area of the MGC (Melbourne Cricket Ground) will be one of my fondest memories – climbing up scaffolding with engineer. I felt at home. Penelope had a vision for a work that symbolized Melbourne to its core. It was not about an individual footballer – but about the game, it’s history, the object. I would thoroughly recommend any artist to assist or volunteer if the opportunity arises.

MCG completion




cleaning sherrins

On reflection, the ‘football project’ was the beginning of my preoccupation of creating a work related to a cultural object; an underlying theme in my work. The deconstruction of a cultural object  – works from a desire to create an understanding of a story.

In 2007 I received funding to partake in an RMIT Art Residency in Shanghai with fellow artist Kasia Lynch. This was a great surprise and as my circumstances did not allow for a 4 – 5 month residency, I was able to split the experience into two. This was the first time I had traveled abroad based on my art practice. A series of works were generated relating to the discovery of ancient Chinese lingerie.

Tu Don Metal Series


tu donsoft

I received ArtStart an Australian Arts Council initiative in 2010. This grant enabled me to reflect and take action on professional limitations as an artist.

In 2012 I was invited by NGV Studio’s curator Reborah Ratcliff, to be a part of Fluoresce. It was an ideal fit for the NGV as our studio promoted new and experimental art forms – encouraging innovation and experimentation in content, context, interpretation, participation and display.  As a group we created an evocative works of color, fleeting shadow and light.


What is the most unexpected response you have received from a viewer of your work?

Whilst in China during the second phase of the residency, the idea of installing preliminary works in the back streets of Shanghai meant for a great deal of preparation as I required an interpreter, and a local to take me to ‘zones’ away from the main streets. My interaction with women who remembered the object was crucial to my investigation -finding women over the age of 70. Weaving in and out of gates and seeing the ‘inside world’ of Shanghai, women came out of the shadows squealing with laughter and delight.

They were acutely aware of my presence, enthused by the work (in progress) and its meaning…crowds formed and followed us. Women wanted to wear the work, others wanted to hang the work on their clothes lines, others tried it on and began to perform. There was no language barrier…This was documented and my observations exquisite – those that hid, men who also came to show me their mothers lingerie.  I engaged with the Chinese clothesline, an intimate space in public chaos. The unexpected discourse and social interaction was unexpected.






Do I have a connectedness to other art forms: dance, theatre, painting, architecture

A desire to create work for artists that can engage, dance, perform in, around, through or behind. Collaboration with choreographers/producers from the inception of a performance appeals, so that the work is site-specific, large in its aspect and has the capacity for interaction. Focusing on inherent shadows and materiality in the planning could be very interesting.

Most artists are more at home isolated in their creative process, whilst others revel in being a part of a group to bounce “ideas’..how about you?

I feel very isolated at times, as recently I have been working from my home studio. Subletting one’s space becomes an option at different times. I am aware of importance of being in touch with the outer arts community.  I like to have a few projects on the go and at least one where I can be a part of a collaboration. The latter means meeting, sharing processes, sharing ideas, feedback and dialogue and experimentation in thought.

How important is society, culture and history to your work?

Very… Looking back at Artist or Project Statements, submissions  and evaluations, the idea that work can capture a time and a place in our minds is important. I am interested in remembrance, memory and truth in that I am reminded of the potential of storytelling as a means to making art…the idea that the work can capture a time and place in our minds…  Such interactions with minority groups (see below) recently has created a cultural and important message.

There has always been an intrinsic need to learn about another place or culture. The unexpected impact is an important insight into my role when making work or in collaboration. I have been working as an Arts Facilitator in a wide range of fulfilling programs and settings resulting in short term dynamic artistic experimental outcomes. In 2012, for example, I worked alongside young offenders at the Juvenile Justice Centre. Personal histories were embedded in works and the desire to share culture and memory was integral to the individual artworks that were created.

My own artistic knowledge and discovery, equals a developing and positive art practice.

Currently working on 

Reorganizing my studio and space! Since the completion of the Public Art Project at North Melbourne Housing Towers, (and my eldest completing High School) I am tying up loose ends. This is proving itself to be a significantly big job, before I can work on a new project or create a new body of work. Gaining equilibrium through a massive clean out is crucial!

I am also resolving lighting issues with several private residential commissions, Crown Casino and the Embracing Distance North Melbourne Project so that I can document the work. Quality photos of all artwork is constantly on my mind. Recently I have created works in steel in small intimate spaces and documenting their ‘shadow work’ is a challenge.

I have been implementing, and creating fully operational Pop Up Art Studios in Supported Residential Service (SRS) environments around the North West region of Melbourne with Arts Access.  My time working at these studios has meant rewarding workshops requiring much fluidity and organically driven sessions including the observation of individual processes in art making.