Friday, 27 January 2012

Studio visit with Robyn Dansie

Robyn Dansie, a regular to Roar Drawing has been busy being creative for 35 years, an 'Illustrator of Ideas' she likes to call herself.  I took the opportunity to ask her a few questions.

What does a day in the studio usually entail?
Usually get to the studio around midday and work until 5- 6 pm. 4-5 days a week. Put on some music. Go through notes I have made away from the studio and look over any work I did the previous day. If I am fully committed to a painting I will work continuously until I feel it is resolved. If I am starting a new work I will spend considerable time gathering my thoughts and material. Sometimes the thinking part takes longer than the execution.

What things most inspire you?  How do you compile these snippets of reference material? 
What inspires me is a mix of complex elements. Multi-layered oeuvre of ambiguous meaning and hidden messages (eg. child like sketches, texts placed beside classical and religious icons). "Hot" colour with structured grid patterns disrupted by random scrawls of graphite, oil pastel etc. A mix of raw and painterly style.

I carry a camera with me to take unusual photos. Garage sales, markets and op shops have produced some amazing finds that I can use for collage and small structures. I also carry a journal for quick drawings and pasting found paper etc. 

Where does Life Drawing fit into your practice?  How does it assist you?
Life drawing takes me away from the studio and what I am doing at the time. It gives me the freedom to loosen up, I call it a workout for the mind. It extends my creativity into mark making and confidence to take risks.

Who are your most influential Artists?
Most influential artists would be, Joseph Cornell, Nick Bantock, James Rosenquist, Ray Johnson, Frida Kahlo, Hundertwasser, Paul Klee.

Who / where is your favourite Art Supplier?
Neil Wallace Art Supplies, Greeves St, Fitzroy

Collaging appears to be quite prominent at the moment.  Could you tell us about the collaging technique you use in your work?
Collage has and will always be prominent in my artwork. I use various methods of adhering material to canvas and paper. Image transfer is one method, Two books I have found useful, "Image Transfer Workshop" by Darlene Olivia McElroy and Sandra Duran Wilson and " Creative Paint Workshop" for Mixed-Media Artists by Ann Baldwin, found on Amazon quite inexpensively. I coat my paper images front and back with Liquitex gloss medium and hang them on the window in strong light for a month to see if they will fade. Mainly if I am using thin paper such as chinese calendars etc. Image transfer is acquired by coating the paper with 3 coats of gloss medium and let harden for a few days and then wet the back and rub the paper away. You are then left with a transparent image that can then be applied to the canvas. This is time consuming but a nice result.

What are your aspirations for the not too distant future?
Aspirations for the near future is to make several series of works and book them for exhibitions around Melbourne. I will compile them first and then decide how I want to arrange them for exhibit. I like to enjoy my work without undue pressure and having to work to a deadline.

Anecdote for Creative Block?
Go for a 40 minute walk and clear the head. Go back to the easel with long brush and paint and draw marks on scrap paper. Usually works.

Best piece of advise for budding Artists wanting to make more of a commitment to their practice?
Budding artists, draw every day, nothing precise, just draw, breakfast table anything. Set up your art as visual experiences of a questioning mind. Don't exhibit too early.

Favourite lyric from a song?
"Follow me down, follow me down,
 To the space between the twilight and the dawn"
When the Leaves Come Falling Down - Van Morrison.