9 February 2015 Comment
+Melbourne Art Review: Thanks for chatting with us Gab, can you tell me a little bit about your practice? What medium(s) do you use and what is your primary subject matter?
Gabrielle New: “My primary training is in Butoh (Japanese Contemporary Dance), Improvisation and physical theatre which informs most of what I make.
I have a day job working as a therapist. This greatly influences the subject matter of my work. I use performance –live and video, costume and installation to explore archetype and psychological landscapes with a focus on transformation, potential and hope. My body is probably the most important aspect of my work; Movement and costume are used to express inner worlds not usually accessible in daily life.
I have always been passionate about dance and art but my real journey began when…
Butoh found me. I went to dance school. Became obsessed. Joined a company. Made my own work. Studied around the world. Kept making work. Went to art school. Performed around the world. Formed a company. Needed a change. Did a Masters. Kept making work. Exhibited some work. Made more work.
Now…still making, training, performing, collaborating and exhibiting.”
+mar: Can you tell me a bit about your process in creating a work? How does it come together? When is it ‘finished’?
GN: “My creative process feels like it’s different with every work I make but I know this isn’t really true just hard to pin down and define. I have different starting places and these lead in different directions but the content is always of a psychological or archetypal nature with a message of transformation and hope. This is what I’m interested in exploring through my art.
Structured Improvisation is a big part of my creative process, creating frameworks to hang the work on-every time falling slightly differently. I enjoy the process of collaboration and I’ve been lucky enough to have formed some fantastic collaborative relationships, some that have lasted many years. I don’t know if my work is ever ‘finished’ I’m interested in my work being a process or experience rather than a product. Performance and live art is never really finished it’s always growing and changing which is why it’s such an exciting and cool medium to work in for someone like me who likes a little danger in their life.”
+mar: You mentioned that you work a day job as a therapist (which is pretty incredible) is this how you keep your practice sustainable?
It’s a constant juggle between all my other life demands; home, travel, partner, friends and family, training, work for money, arts admin (not in any particular order). I continually amaze myself that I find the time and motivation to sustain my arts practice but It’s something that I can’t not do. Having an incredibly supportive partner helps. Being slightly insane is essential, and being incredibly driven and passionate, setting goals and time frames but also allowing space and balance. I have come to terms with the fact that currently my arts practise needs to be financially subsidised through other work. I’m lucky to have a second career that I love and feeds my art.”
+mar: Do you have any advice or tips for other emerging creatives or students?
GN: “Follow your intuition to find what is right for you. Let it unfold. Play, experiment, learn, practise, make and never be afraid to show your work and get feedback. Remember there will always be lovers and haters. Don’t take things personally; it’s all learning. Find a way to manage rejection because even if you are the greatest artists of all time you will have to face it (look at Van Gogh!) Don’t compare you path to others - you are not them, they are not you. Developing an arts practice takes time and commitment; make it a part of your life in a way that’s sustaining and enjoyable. Keep making. Invest in your work without putting yourself into financial crisis; the stress will kill the passion. Take risks. Create a community of support people around you who you love to work with, trust and inspire you. Don’t try to fit into a box; you are not square, you are an amazing, individual, creative being - shine in your very own special way. Find your individual voice!!!! And finally…. Learn to write well.”
+mar: That’s beautiful Gab - good advice.
What would you say is one of the biggest challenges being a young creative in Melbourne, trying to exhibit and produce art?
GN: “The expense and amazing competition. Finding great cheap or free spaces to show work.”
+mar: Who (or what) is your biggest inspiration at the moment? Do you have a favourite local artist?
GN: “Junya Watanabe is a fashion designer who makes the most incredible body-distorting, sculptural, wearable art pieces. He is my art hero, inspiration and envy of the week. I’m going to Brizzy on Tuesday (today) to see some of his pieces at GOMA. Lucky me! Locally, my art hero’s this week are the weavers at The Australian Tapestry Workshop. Wow!! Awesome!!!”
+mar: Do you have a show on at the moment?
GN: “I have a video / performance work in Peripheral Visions at First Site Gallery opening on Tuesday 10 March at 5.30pm. The work is called “Luftmensch(n)” and explores the relationship between costume, performance, self, other, internal and external space to examine the peripheral spaces of consciousness.”
+mar: What is your next project that you are working on?
GN: “Next week I start a residency at the Australian Tapestry Workshop and will be making a new work called ‘In the space between chaos and shape there is another chance’. During the residency I will begin exploring the construction of two wearable installation pieces called ‘Chaos’ and ‘Shape’ and a performance and video installation to be exhibited later in the year…”
+mar: Awesome! Thanks for chatting with us Gab.