Reach­ing new heights

Meet three in­trigu­ing Aus­tralian cre­atives from one of Syd­ney’s edgi­est gal­leries, China Heights. In­ter­viewed by Sophie Ted­man­son.

VOGUE Australia - - Art - SITTINGS ED­I­TOR PETTA CHUA PHO­TO­GRAPHS JAKE TERREY

BROOK­LYN WHE­LAN PAINTER

Sophie Ted­man­son: “When did you first know you wanted to be an artist?”

Brook­lyn Whe­lan: “I guess it was al­most in­evitable, as I was al­ways draw­ing and paint­ing as a kid. I ex­per­i­mented with graf­fiti dur­ing high school then taught my­self graphic de­sign on the first bub­ble-shaped iMac and later be­came an art direc­tor. It was like I was con­stantly try­ing dif­fer­ent av­enues for my art. I painted my whole life, but af­ter my first sell­out solo show it all be­came real.” ST: “Where do you get your in­spi­ra­tion?” BW: “I just paint when I get the urge. Dif­fer­ent sounds, vi­bra­tions and light can trig­ger me. Also I look up a lot! Aus­tralia has such an amaz­ing big sky and liv­ing along the coast gives me the per­fect plat­form to view storm fronts mov­ing up. I also lis­ten to a lot of ex­per­i­men­tal ab­stract­type hip-hop when I paint.” ST: “How would you de­scribe your art?” BW: “I think my work def­i­nitely sits be­tween ab­stract and re­al­ism.” ST: “How do you feel when you are in the mid­dle of cre­at­ing a new art­work?” BW: “A com­bi­na­tion of calm and chaotic. I use acrylics, which means I have to paint pretty fast. It’s mostly good un­til it doesn’t go my way. Ha!” ST: “You have de­scribed your in­flu­ences as the 80s, skate­board­ing and sci-fi. Why these gen­res? Favourite sci-fi film?” BW: “I love Blade Run­ner. I grew up with that 1980s neon sci-fi vibe. Skate­board­ing was my other world grow­ing up; it was the cat­a­lyst to sub­cul­tures that still in­flu­ence me to­day. That whole era was re­bel­lious, cre­ative and colour­ful.” ST: “If you could have an ul­ti­mate din­ner party with three peo­ple, alive or passed away, who would you in­vite and why?” BW: “I’d say Johnny Cash, Adam Yauch [MCA from the Beastie Boys] and Jack­son Pol­lock, purely for the sto­ries. They’ve all in­flu­enced me in one way or an­other.”

OTIS HOPE CAREY PAINTER

ST: “When did you first know you wanted to be an artist?”

Otis Hope Carey: “I’ve been paint­ing for around about two years now, so I guess in the past year has been around the time that I fig­ured I wanted to be an artist.” ST: “De­scribe your artis­tic style.” OHC: “I’d say con­tem­po­rary Indige­nous art.” ST: “You are also a pro­fes­sional surfer; what do you love more, waves or paint­ing?” OHC: “Jeez, that’s a hard one. I’d have to say surf­ing; it de­pends on the mood that I’m in.” ST: “What do you feel when you are in the mid­dle of cre­at­ing a new art­work?” OHC: “With any art­work I do I’m telling a story, so there’s al­ways a sense of shar­ing when I paint.” ST: “As an Indige­nous artist, how im­por­tant is it to share your cul­ture and con­nec­tion to coun­try?”

OHC: “I think it’s so im­por­tant to share as much as I can. I’ve al­ways wanted to share as much as I can about my cul­ture in a re­ally pos­i­tive, bright, lov­ing way. I guess that’s why I started paint­ing.” ST: “How dif­fi­cult is it to bridge that gap be­tween telling your tra­di­tional sto­ries in a mod­ern, con­tem­po­rary way?” OHC: “I don’t find it hard at all telling tra­di­tional sto­ries in a mod­ern way; it’s ac­tu­ally eas­ier to tell the sto­ries in their bro­ken-down forms, as some things we can and can­not talk about.” ST: “What does home mean to you? And what places in Aus­tralia in­spire you the most?”

OHC: “Fam­ily is ev­ery­thing, fam­ily means home. I’ve spent some time out at Uluru and I must say it’s mag­i­cal out that way. I’m ad­dicted to that red earth – it does things to me. But I’d have to say be­ing on my peo­ple’s coun­try around Coffs Har­bour feeds me with rich in­spi­ra­tion.” ST: “If you could have an ul­ti­mate din­ner party with three peo­ple, alive or passed away, who would you in­vite and why?” OHC: “Oh jeez! I’d have to say Dave Chap­pelle, be­cause he’s a funny bug­ger; Mac DeMarco, be­cause he’s my favourite mu­si­cian right now and he’s also a funny bug­ger; and Jim Car­rey, but he has to come to din­ner play­ing the role he played in Ace Ven­tura Pet De­tec­tive.” ST: “What in­spires your art?” OHC: “My cul­ture def­i­nitely in­spires my art. And Mother Earth.” ST: “What do you love most about be­ing an artist?” OHC: “The free­dom of ex­pres­sion is a beau­ti­ful thing. I love feel­ing free and care­less when I paint.” ST: “What does the fu­ture hold for you?” OHC: “Hope­fully, hap­pi­ness and health.” →

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