Can you please introduce yourself and share any hidden talents or something most people don’t know about you?
I’m an artist living in Brisbane with my husband John and our cheeky sausage dog, George. I really wish I could say my hidden talent was baking but I have a 50/50 disaster/success rate. It’s either the best thing you’ve eaten or the worst. Baking is a science and I’m not very scientific.
Where do you see yourself and your art headed in the next few years?
I’d like to see myself expanding my practice and have a solo exhibition under my belt. I’ve pretty much solely drawn oceans for the last year (which I love) but I’m itching to explore other things too.
What are you working on at the moment? Any big plans coming up?
I have some things in the works that I can’t reveal quite yet. For the last year I have been mostly working on larger scale commissions and have been busy this year doing that. After I finish my next few commissions I’d like to take some time to create a curated collection of works that I have had in mind for a while.
Have you been met with any challenges as an artist along the way? (Personally or professionally)
Absolutely. I struggled (and still do) with self-doubt, especially because I am trying to squeeze into a lane that is not quite fine art and it’s not illustration so I have felt pressure in the past to fit a certain mould. However, the more I progress the more I realize that you can literally make your own rules. It’s a liberating realization.
What does body confidence mean to you? Is it something you’ve ever struggled with and why?
Body confidence is just accepting that this is your body and it just houses you. The older you get the less important it becomes and the more concerned you become with looking after it rather than perfecting it.
Can you please share a little about how you go into creating artwork and how you’d describe your style?
My process is fairly simple, I dig into my inventory of reference photos (mostly taken by my husband on our travels). Then I map out the piece in pencil on a fresh sheet of Arches paper and spend a long time layering and blending colour on the page until I get it right. With my style, I’ve never wanted my work to be ‘beachy’ or ‘coastal’. I wanted it to be moody and give viewers a feeling of nostalgia, like they are looking at an old memory.
What’s your favourite part about your body and why?
I can’t say I have a favourite if I’m honest. I am ok with it, I am accepting of my small boobs and my soft tummy. It’s all good.
What’s your idea of empowerment?
Feeling capable of anything you set your mind to. Knowing that simply using the resources you have you can achieve anything you put your mind to.
What message do you have for those who are struggling with body confidence/self-love/weight or appearance issues? – What’s helped you in the past?
I can’t speak for those whose body image issues are much deeper and more complex than mine, but I have, like most women gone through phases of hating my body. Unlearning what society tells us about how we are supposed to look, and learning that you are so much more than what is on the outside is such a key step. Also showing little insights into my personality through clothing and style is a small thing that has helped me feel like the way my body looks is less important.
Praise You isn’t just about raising awareness for eating disorders and celebrating body positivity – it’s also shining the light on female support in the creative community, in saying that, what does inclusivity and its importance mean to you?
As women we grow up hearing things like ‘women aren’t funny’ or ‘women can’t handle this’, or ‘women can’t do that’. We grow up subconsciously thinking we are second-rate to men. The fact that this is slowly changing gives me hope for our next generation of girls. I’m also very on board with supporting and speaking highly of the women around me - lifting them up rather than tearing them down. I don’t have the energy for comparison or toxicity in my life anymore.
Do you have any mantras or words to live by?
I once heard a female CEO say that she believed that if you work long enough and hard enough at one thing you will inevitably succeed. It’s so simple but this has really stuck with me.
What advice what you give your 18-year-old self if you could?
To not be afraid to try things. To realize you are capable of more than you think. Believe that with a little hard work you can create the career and life you want to live.
How do you keep up your creative momentum? Where do you look to for the drive to create?
By staying active and keeping my mind fresh. When I start to feel like my creative tank is running low, a little getaway or new experience tends to fill my mind with new ideas.
How has your work and practice developed over time?
Over the last couple of years of taking my art career seriously I have developed my style and found my niche which is drawing oceans (for now anyway). I used to find water so difficult to draw and enjoyed challenging myself to get it right. Even now, I still find it challenging. It’s one of those things that as your eye develops from looking at the same kind of work all the time, you can always find flaws and ways to improve it.
What or who have been some of your main creative influences?
I seek a lot of inspiration from people in different creative fields. Much of my work is inspired by a mood. So music, film and photography play a big part in that. I am often inspired by creative experiences like trying a new craft like ceramics or painting which expands my own mind more than learning from a specific person.
Who’s work are you currently loving right now and why?
I am loving art that is totally different to my own, lots of abstract artists like Bonnie Gray and Stanislas Piechaczek there is something really beautiful and whimsical about their work that really hits the spot for me. I have always loved Julian Meagher’s technique, he’s one that I always go back to. I’m also loving sculpture artist Carla Cascales Alimbau. Her work is so moving.
Where have been your favourite places to travel and have those places influenced your work?
My work recently has been entirely influenced by my travels. Istanbul was the best for the architecture and cultural experience but Italy and Iceland are behind most of the oceans I have been drawing lately. Of all the places I’ve been I was most inspired by Copenhagen. It’s full of happy creatives, it’s the most wonderful place.
As you’ve gotten older – how has your perception of your body and confidence changed?
My perception of my body has evolved completely. I have only just learnt over the last few years that I need look after my body, to feed myself intuitively and exercise just to feel mentally healthy. Growing up I always felt like there was no point trying to lose weight or be healthy because I knew my body would never reach perfection. Realizing that my body is a nothing but a vessel is a liberating concept and has completely flipped my view of it.