Q & A – What is your prefered medium to work with?

What is your prefered medium to work with?
Currently I work a lot with paint and canvas. Sometimes I am experimenting with other materials like polystyrene, wood, fabric or found objects to making sculptures. Now and then I paint shoes. I also enjoy making digital work.

When I went to art school, at the end of the first year, we had to choose our favourite medium to work with, a choice of three categories – two dimensional, three dimensional or new media. I remember very consciously making the choice of ‘new media’.

I knew that the mediums of sculpture and paint would wait for me, that I would be permitted to explore them later, but that the medium of digital art would not wait. It was such a happening event, the new media, and I knew that there was going to be a very fast journey of expansion and innovation. If I didn’t sit behind a computer and start educating myself, experimenting and creating, I would be left behind.

So in art school I focused on making digital work. I love digital work. I love the freedom of photoshop and the myriad potential avenues of creative possibilities for my imagination. There were challenges and frustrations. I had the urge to take the art out of the digital space into the physical space. Many times the work did not come out right, it came out flat, and with a look of mass-produced shine on it. It looked better on my screen than when it occupied physical space. Also a drive was developing to create large artworks, and this seemed especially challenging to bring to fruition using the digital medium. I am very happy that quality and possibilities for producing digital work became so much better over the year. I really enjoy producing digital creations on perspex.

I love to work with paint because it is so direct and unforgiving.

Paint compels me to work with my mistakes and to forgive myself. It also asks me to be brave in the changes I make, to take risks. There is no way back with painting. It is a path of no return. There is no undo button. I love that. It reminds me of the fleetingness of every moment in life. In an age of such safety, security and convenience, where we can pause the television, undo our photoshop changes and correct our spelling mistakes with a press of a button or slide of a finger, there is this realm of painting where one has no safety net, where one is ‘out on one’s own’, out in the wild, left to fend for oneself. There is danger, the potential for failure. Hours, days, weeks, months of work can be canceled, possibly wasted in a moment. The paint is irreversible. There may be an illusion of control but one walks on a razor edge. There is always the possibility to fall.

At the same time of course there is no real danger. This stimulates my nervous system. I am triggered by the vulnerability of the situation, and the risks, but this is a safe environment in which to experiment. I find this healing. Painting for me is a kind of sanctuary, a protected place, a zone where my heart has protection, where I can love, where I can release, where I can appear to succeed or fail, where I can explore, where I can come to rest, or start to move. In this situation, this ‘place,’ my imagination gets to wander and play, and travel into the unknown, but however far I go, I am never far from home. I won’t get lost. I may peer over the edge of a precipice, or even fall, but still I am always on safe land. Nothing is going to die in the act of painting that I can’t afford to lose.