After a conversation with a fellow artist today, I was reminded that despite it being 2015 (yes, a new century and all), being a contemporary multi-media artist in regional Australia strikes some as just plain odd/curious/uninteresting – whatever word you choose to use.
At a recent event I was introduced by a mutual acquaintance to a local painter whose speciality was fakes, complete with signatures. They even had printed titles stuck to the paint surface. He went into great detail with me about his practice and methods, adding he doesn’t like Monets because they’re too hard. After giving me the rundown he politely asked me what sort of painting I do?
“I don’t – I create installations. Sensory installations.”
“Oh, I thought she said you did restorations?”
“No, installations.” (smiling)
The conversation ended there.
Today’s conversation again went into this particular artist’s practice and methods, including discussion about oils vs acrylics – the pros and cons of each medium particularly working en plein air. I made reference to what I used to do when I was painting, until he asked what it was I do now?
“Sensory installation. I work with light, sound, smell, touch, temperature and visuals to create something that evokes a memory or response in people. Sometimes I like to take away a sense to put more emphasis on say smell and sound, because of how powerful those senses are.”
He looked at me blankly…while I stumbled forward in explanation.
“Do you still draw?”
“Of course – I draw up my ideas and make models and maquettes for my works to visualise them so I can work out how on earth I’m going to make it happen.”
The blank face stared back and the conversation ended politely.
The upside of these two conversations, held only weeks apart, was at least I had a brief opportunity to let other artists know that other art forms do exist and we’re an active bunch of people doing some pretty exciting things – you just can’t hang it on your wall (most of the time).