The lovely Andy Faraday and Hayley Walsh, full time artists, part time collaborators, answered some questions for us in the lead up to The Other Side where they will be among many talented Perth artists sharing creations that explore their interpretation on ‘The Other Side.’ Hayley and Andy will be showing a range of individual pieces and joint works, in what they describe as a mash of where their imaginations collide.
But first, they discuss their motivations, inspirations and provide us an insight into the day in a life of an artist.
What inspires you to create art?
HW: In all senses my work always starts with an emotion and dealing with my own thoughts. It’s a selfish way of creating really, but it’s the only way I can do what I do. As long as I have satisfied figuring out my own emotion in the piece, then it has kind of done its job. After that I leave it in the hands of the audience.
AF: When I was a kid, I used to want to create a camera that could hold up to your head and capture whatever was in your imagination. I guess that’s what I still try to do today. Music, personal experiences and travel are big ingredients to make what I do.
How did you come to be an artist?
HW: I never really planned to be an artist. I always loved to draw and paint, so I studied to be an illustrator. When I finally became an illustrator in the UK though, I realised that creating images for other people’s visions wasn’t truly satisfying my creative need. I only felt truly happy when I was making something for myself, rather than doing it to achieve the approval of others. After working as an illustrator for newspapers, I went onto writing and illustrating my own children’s books, based on my own stories, thoughts and feelings. Then, when I made the move to Australia, I started sharing my thoughts and feelings through painting.
I was dealing with a lot of self doubt, so creating was a way for me to process the thoughts. I was working all sorts of jobs at that time, but always making things in my spare time. Soon, I started working on shows and exhibitions and creating my art became more of a full time process. It was and still is though, primarily a way of expressing and figuring my feelings out and finding satisfaction within myself.
AF: When I was studying photography at university I was always trying to create that ‘perfect’ image and it wasn’t until my final year, after suffering the loss of my brother to depression, art became my release – a therapy, and I found myself becoming far more intrigued by the imperfections I would get as a result of experimenting with film and developing ‘accidents’ as they felt far more connected with how I was feeling.
How do you stay motivated to create art?
HW: Creating is really like a therapy for me. Whether it’s drawing, painting, sculpting, writing or creating an experience, the process of pushing my imagination to create something takes me to another place where I feel at peace and where I need to be. Whatever struggles I might be dealing with, or fears I might have, I channel and process through my art. So my creations are really a by-product of me figuring out the world around me.
AF: Working closely with your best mate is very motivating and I feel we both pull each other through the harder times. It’s something we both love doing and I wouldn’t want to swap it for anything.
In a nutshell what does a day in your life look like?
HW: I’m not a morning person. I wish I was. Generally, I wake up kind of disappointed at myself for getting up so late and by the time I’ve gone through emails, admin stuff, dropping things off at the post office etc. I don’t get into actually creating something until the afternoon. From then I might continue painting, drawing or sculpting way into the night. It’s generally cooler then and I feel more relaxed and inspired and I can create without the pressure. I’ll just keep going until I feel satisfied or until Andy tells me we need to go home. Usually by then it’s dark and late and we’re starving. We’ll eat. Then I’ll check my emails again and start communicating with clients and projects in the UK and get sucked into that. Finally I go to bed stupidly late, with the intention to wake up early…. then I wake up late again.
AF: Stretch, coffee, get to the studio, check email, dip into social media, trying not to get sucked in too much…eggs and bacon, various errands depending on what I’m working on, could be developing, scanning, shooting, printing, ordering film. If it’s too hot it could be a trip to the beach around midday after post office drop. Totally depends, I don’t have a set routine like some people. Recently my time has been consumed on an awesome installation project I’m working on but can’t say too much on that.
Hayley, to me your creatures are magical and from fantasy but ask us to consider ideas to do with our own reality, almost those things that we have lost touch with in the haste of life, and now we need to go somewhere different figuratively to reclaim those elements of trust and faith and love, where did these creatures come from and did you always see your art as being something motivational?
HW: You are absolutely right about my creatures. In their own way, they ask us to consider our own reality and the things we might have lost touch with in the haste of life. I love how you describe them 🙂 So perfect.
It sounds weird but the creatures kind of appeared. I’d always loved working on found objects and repurposed surfaces and when I started, I would often see these creatures lurking within them. Their eyes suggested in the knots of the wood or shapes on the road signs. I’d sit and stare at the surface and the creatures for a while, then paint to bring them out. After a while of doing this, it occurred to me that each creature was a reflection of myself and looking back at a collection of my paintings was like reading diary entries. Each creature was kind of reminding me to stay on track, or helping me figure out what I was going through at that time, like my inner voice and really still is today. I don’t really aim for them to be motivational for anyone else other than myself. Each message or narrative I suggest is really what I need to tell myself at that time, whilst keeping it open enough to suggest a wider context. Each piece is created to satisfy own need firstly, then if my creations can make someone feel something or inspire them in some way, then that is amazing.
Andy, to me pieces of you photography have a beautiful loneliness to them, sometimes a sadness and then the treatments/filters you apply give it almost it’s only a memory/ dream feel, what are you looking for when you look through the lens, do you actively try to evoke a particular feeling?
AF: Thanks, that’s pretty much exactly what I’m trying to recreate, I often want to create a visual of lost memories, or faded dreams. When I’m looking through the lens your mind can get caught up in technicalities and exposure compensations, the feeling comes more apparent in the process however. The process doesn’t end at taking the photo, but continues in the lab. I get quite destructive with my film, exploring imperfections in an endless search for happy mistakes. My chemical mistreatments would be frowned upon by any lab, but that uncertainty and possibility of losing everything, is probably one of the most exciting parts of what I do.
When given the brief for The Other Side how did you approach it (without giving too much away!) and what drew you to this brief?
When Rabbit Hole invited us to be part of ’The Other Side’ we just couldn’t say no. In all of our shows, creating experiences and taking people on a journey is very important to us, so to be part of an exhibition, which celebrated that, was an offer we couldn’t refuse.
‘The Other Side’ to us really meant ‘another way of being’, and so our work in this show, I guess really questions the reality of this dogmatic society we live in, with the idea of finding an alternate route. As in most of our collaborative creations we blur the boundaries of reality and imagination, inviting the audience to question, which is which. In this show we’re exploring ideas of reality, being present and the transition on personal journeys, ultimately finding an inner peace and a more spiritual way to live.
Your collaborative exhibitions previously have been quite interactive and use a variety of mediums, how do you like to involve people in your art and what kind of experience do you like them to have?
It’s really important to us that people feel something when they experience our work, whether they physically interact with it or have to go on a journey to find it. Ultimately, we enjoy taking the audience out of their comfort zone. What we’ve created for this show is a bit different to other pieces we’ve created in the past, and we are both really excited to share it.
When you create art together how does that process come together?
We’ve worked closely together for the past ten years so it was a natural progression for us to collaborate. I think one of the most important elements is balance. We both have a huge respect for each other’s artistic voice and need for creative freedom. We never try to force collaboration but rather, when we both want to tell the same story, we join forces to work through it together.
The Other Side, 7pm Saturday 25 February 2017 at Fridays Studio, 13 Old Aberdeen Place West Perth. Entry will be free before 8pm and $15 thereafter. 18+ Event.