Let's do a Gallery? Good Question!
Emerging Brisbane Artist Jayla Lawrence, Deelan, and Tahlia Kristjansson are taking the lead, and hosting a must see showcase of local talent this weekend.
Though I wasn’t able to sit face to face for this interview. Good Question‘s showcasing artists were more than accommodating in the lead up to their event this Saturday (August 22, 2020). The gallery is poised to be a bouquet of contrasting visual art tuck away at The Station Brisbane in Fortitude Valley. I asked the trio questions about their art, their inspiration, and their up coming show.
The Creative Issue: What are your names and titles? Who are you and what do you do?
Jayla Lawrence: I’m Jayla and I’m an artist, hello! I previously studied landscape architecture but after having a break and studying art, I couldn’t go back and I’ve been actually calling myself an artist ever since.
Deelan: Hi, I’m Deelan, a freelance photographer, visual artist and a storyteller.
Tahlia Kristjansson: I’m Tahlia (@tahliaevedraws on Instagram) and I’m a visual artist.
TCI: How did Good Question come together? What inspired it?
D: Me and Tahlia had been talking about doing a group show at the start of this year but I found myself in Melbourne unexpectedly. I came back for work in July and got to stay much longer so I asked Tahlz (as I’d like to call her) and she was keen! Good Question came along as we were talking about what inspires us doing what we do, so in a way, it is us using our works to question some good questions!
TCI: How would you describe your art style?
J: Hmm my art style changes all the time! I work in a lot of mediums – ink, pencil, paint and clay are some. People can usually pick my work if it’s got lots of intricate details or it’s inspired by nature, life and death. Although more recently I’ve been gravitating to themes of sex and heavy tunes.
D: I’m such a visual person in every way! I always loved drawing, painting as a kid but never thought of pursuing visual arts. I picked up a camera taking photos of all my friends and that’s how I started photography. Only until I went for a semester exchange at University of Westminster, London in 2016, minored in Mixed Media Fine Art, I started to combine my portrait photography, illustration and sometimes digitalising it too. I really love the process of tracing my own photographs into line-art illustrations and playing with it whether in post-production or as simple as a collage. I tend to only do this for friends and family so this is the first time I show it to strangers!! (Scary). I also dabble in videography as well- got to direct, shoot and edit a music video and really enjoyed it! I love a good story, regardless which media/ media it being told.
T: I’ve been using a lot of colour in my works recently but I’ve always used a lot of thin black ink lines on paper. I love drawing cities and buildings but I also love to draw jokes. One of my main motivations for creating art at all is to make others laugh and to create a sense of comfort (by embracing weirdness) to people who might be feeling weird themselves. I want people to feel less alone.
TCI: Are there any nerves about hosting a gallery whilst part of Australia is still experiencing COVID-19 infections?
J: Yeah, there’s always nerves hosting a show and with COVID there’s a lot more to consider. I’m super stoked that we are lucky enough to share art in person again though.
D: Well, I’m extremely nervous, I’m here much longer than expected because as I left Melbourne in July, it got into lockdown again, so I definitely would never want that to happen here too. We are however following COVID-19-safe guidelines at all times. So hopefully we will still be able to enjoy ourselves with some arts and a bit of extra consideration!
T: It does feel weird to be holding a show when other parts of Australia and the world are having a rougher time in regards to COVID-19, but I think QLD has done really well with the COVID precautions that have been implemented. We’re doing everything that we need to do to be safe for this exhibition and the health of everyone is a priority for us. I think the arts are important when times are tough as well as when times are easy.
TCI: Has it been difficult or inspiring to create in the wake of unprecedented shocks to the Art Industry? Did being stuck inside for months change your art or your perspective about Art in any way?
J: It was difficult that’s for sure, but I have learnt so much over all of it. I’m an introvert so lockdown in that sense was okay but trying to make ceramics, print etchings and paint large in my miniature room was pretty tricky so I had to get imaginative and experimental but that’s always fun anyway. I’m really grateful I had beautiful friends around me who were in a similar boat and we could all help each other out. I also realised what a massive impact the art world has on me. I really missed going out to shows and collaborating with others so now I’m even more appreciative of those opportunities.
D: It was definitely hard and demotivated at times, when you don’t know what is going to happen in the near future and so helpless. But it also gave me some extra time in my hands to finish a few projects I have started a long time ago, including ‘MASC4MASC’. What I have realised making art during lockdown is that it was really therapeutic for me. And I do it for a purpose as well, I’m just so excited to share it to the world and start the conversation about this matter that I have personally been through and care about a lot!
T: Being stuck inside for months did allow me to experiment with my art in other ways. Around the time when everyone was self-isolating for the first time in March/April, I made colouring pages and posted them online for people to download for free to colour in. I’m always experimenting with my art but this is something I made during these times that I might not have made at another time.
TCI: What advice would you give to other artists who might be just starting their career this year?
J: Try not to compare yourself with other artists. It’s so easy to put yourself down and say you’ll never be good enough but fuck that, everyone arts differently. You should definitely be inspired and learn from others, 100%, but don’t overthink it. Putting time, thought and effort into creating something and expressing yourself is enough! Also, don’t be afraid to try new mediums, even if your first attempt is shit. When I began I hardly knew anything (and I still only know a tiny amount) but I’m so glad I gave things a go. I can’t imagine what it would be like if I never tried printmaking, now it’s one of my favourite ways to make art.
D: My only advice is as long as you enjoy creating something, keep doing it! Having fun with it is a good start! Having a purpose to it, like to tell a story or share a message makes it much more meaningful and satisfying to me personally.
T: My advice would be that it’s okay to have periods where you’re not creating as much art as you’d like to. I used to (and still do) stress out a bit if I feel like I haven’t been creating as much. I’m definitely the happiest when I’m making stuff and when I’m overflowing with new ideas, but I think that it’s good to have periods of creative rest and periods where your brain sits still. I think that sometimes when you’re in these moments of rest and when you’re living in the world and paying attention to everything around you, that’s when some great ideas can come.
TCI: Other than yourselves what other local artists have inspired you?
J: People close to me are always a big inspiration to me, whether it’s art related or not. All my friends in HUSK (artist collective) are awesome to throw ideas around, collaborate and learn from! Each and everyone of them never fails to impress me with their art. Same goes for my partner Loz who’s always showing me sick art either they or someone else has made. Thank you to everyone who has helped me grow as an artist.
T: First of all, I love everything that Jayla and Deelan create and I feel so lucky to be able to have my artwork beside theirs. There are so many other local artists whose work inspires me so I’ll have to do a little lost of some Instagrams of artists I admire: @linkraptorart, @miri.badger, @unclechronicbone.