Art Theory / Arts (English, Japanese Studies)
Drawing, printmaking, textiles, poetry
Meet Naomi; curatorial extraordinaire with one the truest most artistic souls you’ll ever meet. Naomi recently headlined in a Kudos Gallery group exhibition and will be sourcing some other amazing talents for Artsweek 2018! Here’s a glimpse into her creative practice...
Name, age and favourite song to get down to:
Naomi Segal, 19, Flamingo by Kero Kero Bonito
How did you get your start as an artist?
My parents gave me all sorts of lessons (swimming, piano, etc.) when I was a kid, and the only one that held my interest was drawing. So I’ve been drawing for a long time, and only recently became multidisciplinary.
Tell us a little bit about your creative process...
I write all my ideas in a journal, break the ideas down into practical steps, then spend my days off carrying them out. This usually involves going to Bunnings or hanging around the A&D campus workshops!
I’m a restless artist and I love picking up new skills. I’m always researching different crafts: natural dyeing, suminagashi, boro, book-binding, lacquerware, polaroid emulsion lifts, rug-making, button-making, etc. I love exploring materials.
It’s endless. I’m always making work but I’m only happy with a fraction of it. I’m aimlessly productive – busying myself with projects I haven’t fully considered. In contrast, my friends are slow, thoughtful workers and I really admire them for that.
You recently had a group exhibit at Kudos Gallery, tell us a little bit about the show and the themes you explored…
RECOVER/REORIENT was a joint exhibition with my wonderful friend Mika Benesh. Our work drew from Mika’s Jewish background and my Chinese-Jewish background, and the ways that cultural recovery and collaboration offer a sense of comfort.
What are some other themes you like to explore in your work?
My work splits quite cleanly into two streams: cultural and environmental.
I’m interested in how being absorbed in nature makes me feel so rinsed and featureless and empty.
Can you talk about your online presence?
Instagram’s fun but it would be good if I stopped checking my phone every 5 minutes. My attention span is shot and as an English major, that’s bad.
I’m not good at using social media as a performative space. I’m way too self-conscious for that. However I love posting questions about ceramics, travel and any other information I need. People are so generous with their ideas!
How do you view the role of social media to artistic practice?
Social media is stimulating and numbing. It’s awesome to curate what I see; scrolling through image after image causes me to constantly re-evaluate my taste.
But after a while my brain just feels…fuzzy and intolerable.
Who/what are your main sources of inspiration?
My family is central to my work, so I must acknowledge them.
I’m interested in seeing different representations of the diasporic Asian experience, so I am also recommending artists Jason Phu, Louise Zhang, Eugene Choi, Jun Yang, Claudia Lau, Charlotte Mei, Joey Yu and authors Li Cunxin and Nam Le.
Other influences include Mika Benesh, Chaya Kasif, Japanese literature and the sea.
Have any exciting projects brewing? What does the future hold for you as an artist, and how do you see your practice developing?
Ok, I have the MCA zine fair (6 May) and Other Worlds Zine Fair (??) soon. At the MCA zine fair I’ll be on a panel about Cultural Recovery with Mika and other artists, which is exciting! A lot more is approaching but not set in stone, so I won’t be writing about it yet!
As for the future, I’ve been thinking about my first trip to China. A lot of my work centralises cultural disconnection, so I’m curious to see what will happen when I finally connect with the land my mother’s side came from. I’m eager for an art residency in Shanghai but not yet sure how to go about it.