Q&A WITH ARTIST CAMIE LYONS

We were introduced to Camie Lyons' work by our dear friend Megan Morton and it was love at first sight!

Camie’s sculptures are playful, simple and mesmerising. The organic shapes and sophisticated materials sit comfortably in any interior. It’s no surprise her work is beautiful, the hands and mind behind these pieces are equally beautiful and inspiring.  

Camie’s pieces make me happy. Quite simply, I’d love a world full of Camie Lyons!

THREE WORDS THAT BEST DESCRIBE YOU?

Tenacious, creative, brave. I think most creatives need these traits to see it through and make good, honest work.

WHAT DID YOU WANT TO BE GROWING UP?

A ballerina and then an artist – I've pretty much stayed on track. When I was 16 I moved from the country to study full time dance – I then went on to work professionally as a dancer for over a decade. I was always a maker of things and that interest eventually won out and I found myself at RMIT in Melbourne studying Sculpture. I then moved to Sydney for love (what better reason and a good move, 20 years and 2 boys later) and completed an MFA at COFA and have not stopped working as an artist since. I feel very blessed to have to fulfilled both passions and continue to do so.

Big Blue Blood Plum  Flocked Aluminium

Big Blue Blood Plum Flocked Aluminium

Pollenate  Charcoal and ink on paper 56 x 76cm

Pollenate Charcoal and ink on paper 56 x 76cm

WHAT DID YOU DO TO EARN YOUR FIRST PAY PACKET?

I worked in a cake shop on weekends on Acland Street St Kilda. It was around the corner from the ballet school and had the added bonus of daily leftovers and free coffee of which I am still an addict! (Note to self: I can not get away with eating cake when not dancing 10 hours a day! Bummer)

WHAT IS YOUR PROUDEST ACHIEVEMENT?

Surviving in such tough industries and still feeling the love . . . I still wonder about this journey and think 'How did I get here? This is actually pretty good!'

My other proudest achievement is raising two fabulous little people with my husband. It's just us, we are a tight unit. They are experiencing a completely different childhood from my own, they have grown up surrounded by art and mess and travel. They have been dragged from pillar to post – literally from the Colosseum to the outback. I can only imagine the influence all this is having . . . time will tell.

From  Midnight Sketching  series

From Midnight Sketching series

WHAT INSPIRES YOU?

I could string off a long list of artists I admire, the Bourgeois, Kapoors and Hepworths, but really it's everyone, everything, every breath. I gather my inspiration from the everyday puzzle that is to 'be', to 'fit' and to 'understand'.

WHAT IS YOUR BIGGEST VICE?

I drink too much, I worry too much, I am overly sensitive – sound familiar?!

Continuous Drawing  Bronze 99 x 70 x 28cm

Continuous Drawing Bronze 99 x 70 x 28cm

DO YOU FOLLOW TRENDS OR ARE YOU A TRENDSETTER?

Can I say neither? I am aware of what's going on and who's who but I am very much on my own path and deeply involved in my own practice. I don't think my work is fashionable . . . I very much hope it is beautiful, unique and enduring.

WHAT DREAM DO YOU STILL WANT TO FULFIL?

To continue making and improving my work until my eyes give up and I can't weld anymore! I do admire the mature artist, they have so earned their stripes and survived a thousand internal battles to keep creating.

I would also LOVE to show in London, and in Paris, and in New York . . . life is long, I think I have time.

Storm  Bronze 35 x 35 x 15cm

Storm Bronze 35 x 35 x 15cm

WHAT IS THE BEST LIFE LESSON YOU HAVE LEARNT ALONG THE WAY?

Tenacity. To never give up and to not question the creative process too much. I try to make quick and honest decisions and be brave when working. This actually applies in many ways to welding – grinding and throwing molten metals can be scary and dangerous, but so bloody fantastic! It reminds me of dragons and I never tire of it! I think it will sustain me for many years to come.

Many Mouths  Bronze 60 x 60 x 35cm

Many Mouths Bronze 60 x 60 x 35cm

Camie exhibits with Olsen Irwin in Sydney and her current show Rural Romance is on until 29 November 2015. 

All images via ©Camie Lyons. 

SEEING THE LIGHT

'My work is about space and the light that inhabits it.'

James Turrell

Since the 1960s, American artist James Turrell has been wowing crowds with his light based installations. The retrospective show at our very own National Gallery of Australia may be one of the most exciting international shows in recent memory . . . and the first living artist to have a blockbuster summer show at the NGA.

The exhibition documents 50 years of Turrell's body of work through his exploration of light, sensory experiential art, participatory installations, prints and a video work that describes his work in Arizona USA, where he has spent the last four decades devising and building a naked eye observatory in the centre of a meteorite crater. He sounds like a wild guy! 

The exhibition guides you through a series of rooms in varying darkness where you experience the disorienting, captivating, hallucinatory, meditative and strangely calming qualities of the light works. It was recommended that I stay in one particular room for a minimum of 8 minutes to allow my eyes to adjust fully, and in my experience, the longer I stayed in the room, the more I saw the light bounce off the surfaces in a way that felt like my eyes were playing tricks on me. 

The exhibition also comprises single light projections that create 3D shapes on flat walls. A series of prints followed this form and I found the geometric patterns of these works to be simple and beautiful. 

In the final room I went to, I climbed up carpeted stairs with no shoes on and entered a room with curved walls and fluoro neon lights, similar to the image below. The colour of the light began to change which altered not only my perception of the space, but my perception of depth, where I felt like I had to hold my hands out in front of me to take a step forward. It was like being in a technicolour dream!  

Turrell's body of work is a fascinating exploration of the effects that light has on internal spaces, a practice that we can refer to in interior design, architecture and spatial design. 

'When you walk into each of these life-changing, immersive works, you are forced to question what you are actually seeing.'
James Turrell


James Turrell: A Retrospective runs until June 2015 at the National Gallery of Australia. 

All images and quotes via NGA