Advanced Diploma in Visual Arts, Diploma in Project Management
Hey Melissa - thanks so much for doing this interview with us! First thing - for those who haven't seen your work before, how would you describe your practice and how did you get into it?
I would describe my work as multidisciplinary sculpture, I love to work with a range of different materials, and create both temporary art installations and permanent sculptures. I always had a passion for art since I was a kid. I used to take my drawing book into every class in school, so I decided to study visual arts after I finished high school. After finishing my studies, I decided to pursue other work and maintained my arts practise on the side. 5 years ago, I decided that I wanted to follow my passion full time, and after gaining business experience in my other jobs, I felt that I was able to combine my skillset with my art to pursue it full time and make a living from my art, which I can’t imagine ever going back now!
Leading on from that, what interested you in pursuing a practice in installation, large-scale 3D work in the first place?
I was always fascinated by sculpture and creating artworks in 3d form, and I felt that there was such a freedom to do anything I wanted. After majoring in sculpture during my studies, I continued to use sculpture as my main form of expression and fell in love with it more and more!
As a multi-disciplinary artist, you work with various types of tactile materials for your works. Do you have any materials that you love working with in particular?
I really love suspending artworks through using fishing line to hang objects in mass, I feel like it has such a beautiful intricate and fragile quality to it, and call me crazy, but I actually love how long it takes, as there is something beautiful about being totally present with suspending each piece individually.
What's the creative process like to develop and install such massive works like 'Airwave' for Air Nightclub or 'Wild Heart' for Burningseed Festival?
There are many hours of planning behind the scenes that go into these large and intricate artworks.First I brainstorm ideas, then I create a moodboard of the look and feel, then I start sketching my ideas to give them form, then I plan out all the aspects of the artwork, liaise with the client, gather my team together with the right skillset for the kind of artwork, plan the installation, organise all the materials, then build the artwork, which is the most fun!
You've created all sorts of interesting installations suited for various environmental conditions, such as the beach, cafes and even Market City! What are some of the challenges that come about creating these types of work?
The biggest challenge was learning new skills and understanding the engineering and rigging aspects of my larger, more complex sculptures that are installed within a public space.
Having worked on so many amazing projects, which one has been the most enjoyable to work with?
Ohhh it is hard to choose! I would have to say working with the kids at St Clares school was one of my recent highlights, as the kids were so enthusiastic about the art installation! Also my recent ‘Wild Heart’ sculpture at Burning Seed Festival was so much fun and I had an amazing team working with me, and it was so beautiful being able to make art in nature.
Most of our readers are current art and design students studying their bachelors... As an established, full-time artist, do you have any advice for those who are looking to pursue the fine arts as a career after graduation?
I would really recommend learning about marketing and how to run a business. Essentially, as the artist, it is a business. When I take out the personal aspect, my artwork is the product and I am selling my art and skillset in order to make money. Another lesson I learnt is that I can create any job and opportunity that I want, it is about letting go of society’s image that “artists are struggling and poor” - this is not true, with enough hard work, motivation and a positive mindset, you can do anything you want!