1) Who is Melanie Waugh?
I’m from Bellingen in Northern New South Wales. I’ve lived in Sydney for 12 years with a recent three year hiatus spent in Barbados. I studied my under grad at The National Art School and post Grad at CoFA and I am currently completing an artists residency at Curwoods Lawfirm.
2) Explain your current body of work?
Painting for me is a gateway into another world. My current body of work is a series of large oil paintings that are based on my time spent working on a boat in the Caribbean particularly Barbados. They are narrative figures in landscape. A pictorial diary of my time spent in the sun observing this international playground. I think of the scene I want to paint, which is usually a nostalgic memory and then scour the internet or my own photo library to try and find something like it often using collage or photoshop to piece it together. These are happy memories but often for me with a cloud of doubt or sadness over them because I remember the way I felt at the time… often feelings of love lost, missing home, the misplacement of trying to fit into another culture. I don’t like to over intellectualise the creative process and find I more like talking with colour. I’m very interested in colour relationships, what happens when you place one colour next to the other. I’m about the business of painting the actual physicalness of it and I hope this comes out in my work.
3) If you can pick one artist as an inspiration, who would it be and why?
The artist who first comes to mind is the American painter/sculptor Eric Fischl. I am hugely influenced by him. His subject matter and loose painting style. Fischl’s brushmarks are bold and direct. His ability to paint somewhat beautiful paintings with a sinister subject matter. He brings the nude into contemporary art. I have played with this idea for years now. I find his paintings infinitely fascinating there is a real sexiness to them. I also love for obvious reasons as both of them live/ lived on tropical islands Peter Doig and Gaughan.
4) With your own art/art practice, where would you like to be in 10 years?
Painting full time, settled looking at the sea from my huge studio mixed with travel. I’d like to be influencing the Sydney art market towards young female painters. I would like to have done a lot of different residencies…documenting this crazy world…..
5) How are you finding the current art market?
I’m lucky in many way because I’m still experimenting and painting for myself uninfluenced by the G.F.C. and uninfluenced by external forces. My paintings sell steadily. I’m too fresh at this business to really comment on this as I’m not yet gallery represented (but I’m taking applications).
6) Name four things that you cannot do without in your studio?
Itunes, the radio, at the moment its mainly 702 and podcasts! I love listening to other artists talking as I paint and there’s so much out there..Definitely cups of tea, I have about ten a day and for some strange reason I’ve gotten into the habit of wearing the same pair of shoes whenever I paint and don’t feel right picking up a brush if I don’t have them on. Sorry that’s five.
7) What was the funniest thing you’ve heard someone say about your own work?
I’m not sure of the funniest thing I’ve heard but someone let me know how they felt about my work by running a hand through the wet oil paint on one of my paintings in my studio one night. I would have like to have heard the drunken banter surrounding that.
8) What is next on the agenda?
The culmination of the residency program I’ve been doing is a solo exhibition at Australia Square in Sydney March 6 – 18. Beyond that? Rekindling my passion for exotic locations within Australia? In search of inspiration for my next body of work. Also hunting for a new studio space and I think I might spend sometime printmaking, particularly woodblocks.
9) Where can we find more about Melanie Waugh?
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