Tell us about your journey to becoming a creative?
I started studying Cert IV in Art and design at Perth Tafe in the early 1990’s (after I left school and realised that I did not want to become a psychologist). This course taught Art very differently from high school. I loved the freedom to explore in many mediums and concepts. I finished this and went onto Curtin to complete a Fine Art degree. The head of the school Ted Snell organised for my final semester to be at the Glasgow Art School studying Sculpture and Environmental Art in Scotland. There I cemented my passion for Art outdoors both from the course and after visiting the Sculpture Park of Ian Hamilton Finlay. Over many years Finlay created a small sculpture park over 5 acres. With a tingle up my spine, I knew then I wanted to make Art in Nature.
How has your creative practice changed over time?
My art practice has changed in three main ways. Like many artists I started with a solitary practice. Learning to create site specific artworks, by listening and relating with the places where I was making the artworks. I always had an ‘activist’ motivation, hoping to help people (and myself) to connect with nature and help to heal the ecological crisis that we can see unfolding. Spending so much time on the Land here in Australia I became increasingly aware of the Aboriginal people on whose land I was standing and the important ‘stories’ in the Land.
Through a scholarship at Sculpture By The Sea, and at the suggestion of Michael Hill head of Theory at Sydney University, I went to meet International Land Art Chris Booth. This wonderful meeting led to him coming to Australia to work with Wardandi Elder Vivian Brockman at The Farm Margaret River. I saw how important and easy it was for her to acknowledge and collaborate with our Traditional Owner (TO) This practice of meeting with TO’s he has maintained throughout his life as a Site Specific Artist . Although I had been spending time with Viv, I had felt too shy to ask her anything related to my own practice. Thanks to Chris and all involved, I now work closely with Viv and her daughter Mitchella often here on Wardandi Boodja and have made contact as much as possible with the Traditional Owners wherever I travel and on whose Land I make artworks. At a minimum to ask permission and if the stars align collaborate.
I have also grown to love to collaborate with people from all ages and backgrounds. Facilitating community groups, school groups, businesses and NFP’s to work together to make large scale artworks expressing our collective connection to our beautiful ecological planet.
Finally in the last several years I have started to exhibit indoors. This has offered me an opportunity to tell deeper stories of place and to exhibit documentation from ephemeral artworks that many do not get to see.
What’s the biggest challenge you’ve faced working in the creative sector?
Promotion is the biggest challenge for me, Land Art is not something most people are aware of. The photos and videos only tell a small part of the journey. It is something harder to understand and better to see and experience.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given?
The best piece of advice was given by my dad, “find what you love to do and do that”. I don’t think he could ever have imagined where that advice would lead me, I am very grateful.
What would your dream project look like, if you had unlimited money and time?
After visiting Gibbs farm in New Zealand and seeing the monumental site specific artworks created there, I would love to make a large-scale artwork working with Traditional Owners and the local community, constructing a very large scale ephemeral artwork. Not one that goes back into the earth over a few weeks or months one that takes years. I dream of thick blankets of honkey (Marri) nuts, wide rivers of thick bark and hills of sticks.
Name three creatives that inspire you and why?
Local WA artist Helen Siever as she works with very deep and profound themes of reconciliation and death. She is absolutely sincere, heartful and real in her explorations.
Joseph Beuys who for many years has been my main aspiration. He taught that Art can be used as a social force to help bring about change.
Wadjuk artist Sharyn Egan. We collaborated together several times over the years. Extremely dedicated and talented, she taught me how to have a laugh and stay grounded in practice no matter where you exhibit and who you meet. Also, to diversify and collaborate with different people and mediums.