Deborah Williams is an artist who is based in Melbourne, Australia.
Working with intaglio printmaking, she lovingly explores the world of the canine.
Please enjoy my dialogue with Deborah about her art and interests.
Rona: Please describe your art for us.
Deborah: When I look at dogs in and around me, I question whether dogs are seen for what they are, as separate beings. I observe that while we do not objectify our dogs per se, our feelings are frequently filtered through human perspectives; these dogs are therefore anthropomorphized, brought unwittingly into our worlds.
I strive to challenge the anthropomorphizing of dogs even though I acknowledge that my work, in common with historical and contemporary contexts of the representation of dogs, is none the less filtered through my own perspectives and brought into our world.
I aim to depict the dog not as a breed above, apart or beyond, but of its own, captured in a moment.
R: Why is the dog as subject matter so special to you?
D: I did not consciously set out to make images of dogs. It just seemed to evolve organically. In 1992 I adopted a Blue Heeler x from the pound. Ruby accompanied me often to the studio and I drew her in those moments when I felt at a complete loss or creatively uninspired. This seemed to happen often.
I began to look at the dog as a potent marker for the fragility of the world we live in. And they represent the qualities we advocate but cannot sustain – unquestioning love, inner peace, inexhaustible spirit. They educate, intrigue and amuse me.
R: Who has been an inspiration to you art wise?
D: Noel Counihan. I was fortunate to grow up with his linocut print The Hunger, 1959. Counihan believed printmaking was a Socialist art form, easier to disseminate to the masses. This philosophy had a direct impact on my decision to study Printmaking and has continually inspired me. His images keep me grounded. They challenge me to keep reflecting and I believe, always will.
R: Which of your art making tools is the favourite?
D: Roulette wheels.
R: When you are working what do you listen to?
R: What is your all time favourite book, and are you currently reading anything interesting?
R: Where do you like to visit for relaxation when not making art?
D: Somewhere warm with an amazing beach and great food. If that’s not possible, walking the parks around the Merri Creek or Yarra with my dog Kish.
R: Thanks for chatting with me Deb!
If you would like to see Deborah’s work in the flesh run along to her exhibition Sense of Self at Australian Galleries, 50 Smith Street, Collingwood, VIC, 3066. The show is on now and continues until Sunday 16 September 2012.
You can also check out more of Deb’s delightful work by clicking here to visit her website.
‘Art does not reproduce what we see; rather, it makes us see.’
– Paul Klee (1879-1940)
‘There is no way to make a drawing – there is only drawing. Anything you can project as expressive in terms of drawing – ideas, metaphors, emotions, language structures – results from the act of doing. Drawing is a verb.’
– Richard Serra (b. 1939)
On Saturday 28 July I had the pleasure of conducting a drawing workshop at Bendigo Art Gallery.
One of the workshop participants was Ann Jones, who has a morning show on ABC Radio.
Ann interviewed me for her morning show and you can see pictures of the workshop, read more about her experience, as well as listen to our conversation about drawing, via the ABC blog site by clicking here.
I’ll leave you to enjoy a slice of the cross hatching King, Robert Crumb…
Paul Compton is a visual artist who lives and works in Melbourne, Australia.
Through his art Paul creates a magically haunting world for us in which to dwell.
This week I had a chat with Paul and this is what we nattered about…
Rona: Please describe your art for us.
Paul: I make drawings, prints, books and zines. I’m intrigued by the curious and dark aspects of the Victorian and Edwardian eras. I am continually interested in the occult, literature, folk lore and outsiders. I tend to suggest narratives in my work that blend sad and grim elements of life with humour.
R: Which of your art making tools is the favourite?
P: My old-fashioned dip pen.
R: When you are making art what do you like to listen to?
P: I love listening to music / musicians that are either obscure or largely forgotten. It feels special to know that I might be the only person in the world playing their song at that exact moment. I adore folk, 80’s & 90’s New Wave and Goth Bands, theatre musicals, bluegrass, classical (Scriabin is my favourite), 1970’s Glam Rock and any obscure German Chamber music I can get my hands on.
R: Who has influenced or inspired you art wise?
P: Odilon Redon, Gustave Dore, Edward Gorey, Peter Blake, James Ensor, Paula Rego, Vilhelm Hammershøi and more recently Grayson Perry. The most inspiring artists are the ones I see exhibiting regularly in Melbourne. I see their work progressing and they inspire me to keep going and attempt to get better at what I do each time. They have truly unique and personal styles which I find very encouraging. These artists include Deborah Klein, Shane Jones, Petr Herel, Steve Cox, Rona Green, Sheridan Jones and Jazmina Cininas to name just a few.
R: Where do you like to go to see some art?
R: What are your favourite horror film and ghost story?
P: My favourite horror films aren’t gory ones, more subtle and quietly disturbing. The Omen and Rosemary’s Baby are my favourite bedtime flicks. My favourite ghost story involves the Black Shuck which is a fierce, ghostly black dog that famously appeared to a church congregation in Blythburg, England in 1577. It killed two people, caused the church steeple to collapse through the roof and as it fled into the mist it left scorch marks on the northern door which can be seen at the church to this day!
R: Why did you become an artist, and what do you enjoy most about the artistic life?
P: It is the only thing that gives me a true sense of an identity. When you put on an item of clothing it is designed by someone else and someone else in the world might be wearing it too but with making art it is purely the amalgamation of all the things that interest, inspire and scare me most. I enjoy the feeling of accomplishment when I finish an exhibition because then I can move on to my next one!
If you would like to view Paul’s art in the flesh go see his exhibition Domestic Disturbance at Hand Held Gallery, Suite 18 Paramount Arcade, 108 Bourke Street, Melbourne, running from 28 June til 21 July 2012.
‘The artist is nothing without the gift, but the gift is nothing without the work.’
– Émile Zola (1840-1902)
Previously I have posted about my studio in the Mercator Building at the Abbotsford Convent.
In this post I thought I would give you a glimpse inside the studios of my talented and industrious neighbours.
Studio MG1 is the workshop of Phoebe Porter, a creator of stylish contemporary jewellery.
When I dropped in to see Phoebe she was completing work on a pair of commissioned wedding rings.
You can see the finished result on Phoebe’s facebook page.
Studio MG5a is the workspace of Pip Davey, who creates evocative pictures in oil paint and encaustic.
When I visited Pip she was working on a series of encaustic paintings inspired by recent travels.
Pip is also organising a group exhibition that will take place during August and September 2012 at the Abbotsford Convent. The show will include paintings by Pip, jewellery by Phoebe and prints by myself, as well as work by other artists from the Mercator Studios. I will let you know more about the event in future.
To finish here is what was happening in my studio on this day.
I spent the day hand colouring a linocut edition for an Australian + USA print exchange folio and exhibition project organised by artists and lecturers, Melanie Yazzie (University of Colorado, USA) and Rodney Forbes (Monash University, AUS).
If you have a particular interest in artists studios and listening to artists talk about their work I highly recommend the PBS documentary series Art21.
‘For me the subject of a picture is always more important than the picture. And more complicated.’
– Diane Arbus (1923-1971)
All kinds of images fire up my imagination.
One photo in particular has intrigued me so much that I have created three different interpretations – it is a snapshot of my guy’s birthday party, illustrated above.
The first incarnation, party, was highly influenced by my love of Jean Dubuffet’s art.
Then there was Birthday Boogies, a mixed media piece including soft sculptural objects that I call poppets.
The poppets were born from a fondness for dolls, puppets and masks. As a kid I adored The Muppet Show produced by Jim Henson, and the colourful characters of Warner Brothers and Hanna Barbera cartoons.
After Birthday Boogies came Secret Robot Society, which incorporated my fancy of the Dutch Golden Age of painting.
After making Secret Robot Society I produced two more prints – Treacherous Boys With Charisma and The Ventriloquist – to form a trio of group portraits.
My creative process is very much about collaging together an eclectic range of source material to invent something otherworldly and somewhat absurd.
In the case of these prints I have referenced the Dutch painters along with TV shows, horror movie stars, dolls and puppets, as well as ideas about social hierarchy and esotericism.
And finally I should make mention of the beloved Women’s Weekly Children’s Birthday Cake Book!
PS: From now on I will be posting every Tuesday – until then, have a good week!