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

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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.

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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.

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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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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…….

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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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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