Where did you grow up? How did it shape you into becoming an artist?
When I was young we moved a lot and I think that early understanding of how different things could be in different places (and also how similar) has led to a life-long love of moving a lot. In the past 10 years I have lived and worked in Yixian and Lanzhou in China, Hobart, Melbourne, Braunschweig in Germany, Ulaabaatar in Mongolia, Kathmandu in Nepal, and now I am living here in Castlemaine. Until two years ago I worked in research as a human geographer, and I think this, fueled with my love of seeing different places has given me an ability to empathise with almost anyone as well as find beauty nearly everywhere. I think wanting to work more with finding the beauty has led me to my recent career shift to photographer, designer, illustrator and urban sketcher.
Did you chose your art subject or did it choose you?
I think finding beauty in unusual places has always been something that I have loved to do. People have often remarked that I seem to have an ability to make even the most industrial or poor part of a city look beautiful in an image. And I think that is because I really do find beauty everywhere. I think this search for little bits of beauty in mundane daily life is just part of me, and it is now what I focus on in my work.
What is art for you, what does it do for you?
My work fills me with such peace and joy. Shifting from a profession that was all about analysing the world through rational thinking, to accepting and appreciating the world, and then turning this into images has been such a pleasure. It is now a necessity for me.
What’s in store for you in 2017?
My exhibition that will be part of my Open Studio, is my first exhibition, so this is a big beginning for me. In addition, I have illustration and design commissions to complete, and I hope many days of wandering cities, cafes and places, sketching or photographing them, and then turning them into prints and finished images.
How do you make your work?
At the moment I am experimenting in a few key media. I illustrate and design for a prominent NGO and this work involves a lot of digital illustration. My photography is simply a camera and a couple of favourite lenses. In my own personal work at the moment I am focusing on pen and ink drawings in public, in the style of the urban sketchers movement, I am then turning into lino cuts and etchings.
How do you feel that your art fits into the world at large?
I hope that my work offers people the ability to notice the small elements of beauty and human grace that exists all around them. By capturing small moments of everyday life, and portraying them the way I see them (as having great beauty in their normality), I really hope to offer a moment of respite from a world that can easily feel very troubled.
Who is your favourite artist?
At the moment I have a few favourite artists. Firstly, Marc Martin, a Melbourne illustrator, for the way he can capture the great uniqueness of places and moments with such simplicity. Secondly, Melanie Reim, a reportage illustrator/artist in New York whose line and pen work inspires me to work so much harder on mine. Thirdly, a far more classic one Egon Schiele, also for the magic of his line.