FOCUS catches up with local Artist Sharon Tudor Smith and talks about her artistic inspirations, the Archibald, her latest work and exhibition at the Other Side Gallery.
Name: Sharon Tudor Smith.
How long have you lived in the Manning Great Lakes?
I moved here just over two years ago, from the Central Coast with my partner and daughter. My son is travelling overseas.
What do you love about living here?
The magnificent views of the countryside, with its surrounding distant hills fading off in all directions. Saltwater is one of my favourite beaches.
Where do you draw your inspiration from?
There are 5 artists who have had an influence on me over the years, all for different reasons.
Brett Whiteley, for his uninhibited subject matter and energetic free drawing; Marc Rothko, for the way he mixes bold shape and colour with such effortlessness; Margaret Woodward, for her masterful drawing skills and sense of balance and design; John Firth Smith, for his beautiful use of shape, line and colour; and Andy Goldsworthy, for the way he collaborates with nature to create his art.
Could you elaborate on the inspiration you draw from Andy Goldsworthy’s work?
I think his work is so amazing. He creates transient or ephemeral artworks using whatever pieces of nature are at hand – whether it’s leaves, snow, rocks, twigs, ice, anything, within its environment. When they’re complete, he takes a photo, which is the evidence of his participation in nature. Then, due to time and elements of the environment, the artworks just disperse.
Tell us about your Earth 2 Art project.
It’s a form of art I do in collaboration with Central Coast artist Sandy James, and it’s similar to the work Goldsworthy does – the difference being that we preserve the natural forms, then frame them in a specifically made Perspex case. They hang just out from the wall, causing the fauna to cast shadows back onto the wall. Up until now, we have used seaweed, thick bark full of sap, native flowers, shells, pods, oyster shells … you name it! Each piece seems to have its own soul.
In 2008 we were invited to be part of 25 feature artists in ‘Artisans in the Garden’ at the Royal Botanic Gardens Sydney.
We also installed a large number of Earth 2 Art works in a five star resort in Tasmania. It’s mostly produced for a specific wall space or installation.
What are you working on at the moment?
Quite a few different things, actually. I have a commission for a large monochromatic painting of a nude layered with drawings rendered from string. I am putting together a new series of artwork called ‘Adoorable’; it’s named this, as the paintings are rendered onto old doors. A stone sculpture is in progress. Due to my passion for working at a large scale, I am currently promoting Indie style wall murals; it’s an affordable, innovative way of transforming a room.
I also have just painted artwork onto a plaster cast I made of an expecting mother’s tummy. I love working close to my clients, but this is ridiculous! … jokes aside, I would love to do more. It was great having them both actively involved to produce a unique piece of art for their wall.
You have previously entered work in the Archibald prize. The Archibald is one of those mountains many artists endeavour to conquer year after year. What is the appeal?
For me, the appeal is the entire project: the combination of finding a subject, completing the portrait and getting it to the NSW Art Gallery. Regardless of the fact that it’s much like a lottery; this year there were approx. 800 entries, and only about 40 are selected. My sister, (portrait artist) Wendie Patch and I have made a point of delivering our work together each year, providing us with a visit to the Gallery and a day in Sydney; it’s all part of the journey. This year I also entered the Wynne Landscape prize, which runs in conjunction with the Archibald. The experience has allowed me to grow each year as an artist, and it would be thrilling to have my artwork hung there.
Is there anyone in particular you would like to paint, and why?
Well, this year I painted Australia’s first Miss World, Penelope Plumber. She was a brilliant model, with such poise and grace. Maybe next year I could stay in keep with the ‘Australia’ theme and paint Hugh Jackman … (I wish!)
Your work is quite diverse, but do you have a favourite subject matter that you return to, or are you fairly fluid in what you choose?
My subject matter is varied; I like to experiment with different approaches.
There is, however, a distinctive free flowing, bold yet serene theme running throughout my work.
When designing, I am aware of my desire for balance with breathing space. One of my favourite applications is to use charcoal drawn energetically over painted areas. Another is to use random layers of exposed paint, texture and translucent glaze.
You have some works in an exhibition at the moment. Tell us more …
Currently, a selection of my artwork is hanging in conjunction with artworks by Mrs. Shepherd and Wendie Patch at ‘The Other Side Gallery’ at Ghinni Ghinni (which is 5 mins north of Taree on Moto Rd, off the Pacific Highway). It’s an awesome gallery space, with beautiful food and is open from 10am ‘til 4pm, Friday to Sunday. On each of its open days, one of the artists is available to discuss art with you, between 11.30am and 1.30pm. I also teach at their weekly art classes – anybody is welcome.
Creating beautiful contemporary art has been a lasting passion for me. I welcome all enquiries, whether for an individual, interior designer or commercial. You can view my art and contact me through my website: www.gekkoarthouse.com.au
Thank you Sharon.