1) Who is Bridie Connell?
I’m a Sydney born and based visual artist. I studied Painting and Drawing at CoFA but I prefer to work across mediums and the general thread that ties everything together is an interest in representations of women in art and pop culture. I like playing with virgin/whore clichés of femininity, fusing eye-candy with dark humour and making shrines. Art aside, I like cats and collecting holy cards and singing Hole songs real loud but most of all I like dancing. I’m a 60s style go-go dancer and
sometimes burlesque performer and this all inevitably feeds into my art practise.
2) Explain your current body of work?
My current body of work is about go-go dancers. I’ve been looking into the history of go-go in Sydney’s own red light district, Kings Cross and my recent solo show, Kings Cross Affair, transformed Alaska projects in Kings Cross into a shrine-like homage to the original 60s go-girls I adore.
3) If you can pick one artist as an inspiration, who would it be and why?
Oww, that’s too hard! I’ve collected a lifetime of art moments that have inspired my artistic journey, perhaps more than individual artists – like gasping over a gallery full of Andy Warhol Marilyn portraits and pouring over the Sensation catalogue as a teenager or sitting in empty gallery watching Bruce Nauman paint his face over and over for hours on end…
4) With your own art/art practice, where would you like to be in 10 years?
Hopefully still making work and curating shows and projects with other artists I admire, hopefully from the comfort of a real studio space. I currently create and rehearse from home, which is a shared inner-city apartment, so having the time and space to spread out and do more is such a lovely fantasy! Performance wise, I may well be past my used by date in ten years so I’m just making the most of what I’ve got and enjoying the ride.
5) How are you finding the current art market?
I think the current market is cautious. Selling work has never been my motivation but after a lifetime of day jobs in retail I’m pretty sales savvy. I like to make smaller, affordable works and they always sell really well. Having said that my last show was an installation with no works for sale and from that I was commissioned to make another work so I guess if someone loves what you do they will buy into it no matter how cautious the market.
6) Name four things that you cannot do without in your studio?
Music, music, music! I like fresh air – an open window. I also like to wear heels but I’m sure there are health and safety guidelines advising against that.
7) In the arts is social media helpful or not and why?
Helpful. Most people are connected in some way these days and social media sites can play an essential role in promoting your work and making industry contacts. Given the pop cultural links within my own work I also find a world of inspiration on the Internet.
8) What’s the funniest thing you’ve heard someone say about your own work?
My photograph Fantales (I’ve got it all) attracts some funny reactions. Basically it’s a re-take of Tracey Emin’s self-portrait I’ve Got It All in which the artist is shown, larger than life, legs astride, pulling a pile of money into her crotch only in my version I swapped dollar bills for pink wrapped lollies. It’s a bit in-your-face and given the obvious sexual connotations it was left off the educational tour when shown at Hazelhurst Regional Gallery and Arts Centre but one sneaky kindergartener snuck a look and declared, “She doesn’t like to share!” Clever boy!
9) What is next on the agenda?
Next up is an encore of my Kings Cross Affair installation in a vacant shopfront as part of the Kings Cross Festival in November. Moving on from go-go, I’ve been working on a series of candy hearts (they seem to be a signature of mine now) titled Winona Forever dedicated to my celebrity girl crushes, a site-responsive installation inspired by Edie Sedgwick for a Warhol film screening and I’m packing a shrine in a suitcase to send to New Orleans for the ALASKA projects show at Good Children Gallery in December. Think Virgin Marys and Voodoo dolls.
10) What is your advise to children who want to be artists?
Work hard. Live and learn and love and play and eventually you’ll find your voice.
11) Where can we find more about Bridie Connell?
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