Why does art in general matter in our current social, political, or global climate? How does your own art speak to a challenge (large or small) in the world today?
Occasionally, I think art can make specific change, drawing attention to an issue or moving large numbers of people to see something in a new way. More often, it’s probably subtler, a collection of things that brighten our days in small ways. Much of the news we hear often focuses on the negative and polarizes people. Art can help bring us together, to see our perspective isn’t the only one, and that there beauty all around us. For the makers, I see it making us happier people than when we’re not creating, and that makes the world a little better because we’re engaging from a more positive place than we might if we didn’t have that as part of our day. For the people who appreciate the art (myself included!), it can provide a bright moment in their day, a reason to stop and take in the details for a little longer than they normally might, and offer something to contemplate. All in all, it makes our collective space a much nicer thing to be a part of.In my own work, I hope I’m translating some of the things that make my life better and happier. It’s about taking a moment, about noticing what is around you, the small things, and about looking deeper. There is so much vying for our attention, to have those moments where you look up and away from technology and witness the world directly or through a piece of art. The way the light is filtering through the clouds, the patterns as shadows fall across a building, the reflections in windows that make the outside and the inside one. That’s what I’m noticing and bringing to the work, and I hope that a little of that comes through for others when they look at it.
Who are your greatest champions? Tell us a little bit about your friends, family, or mentors.
Everyone, it seems! My partner, family, friends and the artistic community at large have all been so supportive in more ways that I can count. I’ve been privileged to have so many incredible people in my corner. Much love to my partner for all his kindness, calmness, and help through it all, and to my sweet pals and parents for always being there to share their wisdom and cheer me on!A huge source of encouragement has been THRIVE Art Studio
, a community of artists that offer each other the support, accountability and motivation they need to accomplish their art making and art business goals. I’ve been a part of it for over two years now and the friendship and support I’ve gained, and also been able to give, has had an immeasurable impact.
What advice do you have for young artists?
An artist is someone who makes art so make, make, make. Be prolific! The more you make, the more you’ll learn what you like and don’t like, what works and what doesn’t work, what it feels like when things are flowing and what it feels like to find your way through when it gets challenging. We often think of art as the finished piece but the process of making it is such a huge part of it. Just keep making!
I would also suggest spending less time looking at other artists’ work and instead make and experiment to help you develop your own voice without too much outside visual art stimuli. It’s fun to go to galleries and look at imagery online – both certainly are wonderful ways to appreciate the incredible things people are making and offer inspiration, too – but limiting that external influence has huge benefits (besides just freeing up more time that you could be creating instead of consuming). Just pick up materials and try something. Find the bit it in that worked and build on that, or notice what didn’t pan out and try again with a different approach. A lot of the joy in making art is the challenge of working your way through things and doing so is a great way to make things that are fresh and new and very you!
It’s also great to forge connections with other artists (or a professional artist consultant service like Dazed & Confucius or a creative coaching service like The Story Shop Studio) – seek out the people that are enthusiastic and kindly critical about the work you’re doing. When you hit a snag, they might have an idea that helps move you forward. Chat with them about your art and consider what they are seeing when they talk about it (and return the favour for them if they express they’d like your thoughts on their work).