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    Category Archives: Interviews with Creative Women

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    Regional creative: Danielle Thomas, photographer

    CWC_2016-01-21_georgia-phase_insta-graphic_template

    By Jasmine Mansbridge

    Regional photographers are often spoilt for choice in the gorgeous landscapes and vistas they can shoot – usually in their very own town. One Day Collective’s Danielle Thomas in no exceptions. As a wedding photographer based in south-west Victoria, Danielle hasn’t let her location stop her from attracting clients and shooting stunning images.

    Can you introduce yourself?

    I am Danielle. Wedding stalker. Storyteller. Photo taker. Moment seeker. Family sorter. Happen maker. Girl Boss. Wife. Mother. Yep, Danielle.

    Where are you based and what business are you in? 

    I am based in Tarrington, Victoria. A little village south of Hamilton in the western District. About four hours west of Melbourne. My business is One Day Collective and I am a photographer.

    Have you always lived in a regional/rural area? 

    Yes, I grew up in the area. I used to ride my bike to the general store in the village where I now live to buy 20c worth of lollies and ride home again. I went to school locally from prep to year 12.

    How long have you been in business? Have you found it has got easier or harder as time has gone on?

     I have been a photographer for about 10 years now. It has actually always been quite natural to me so the harder / easier discussion is not something I have with myself often. I think if there has been anything hard at any time it has been through my own self-infliction.

    I could honestly say that it has become more enjoyable [easier] as I have got a little older, surer of my direction and myself. Not seeking out as many back pats, I can pat my own back now….haha!

    What has been/is your biggest challenge?

    Biggest challenge was the decision to focus on weddings and commercial / product photography over being a jack of all genre’s. It was a little scary given my location.

    What are you most proud of?

    I am most proud of myself. Having the courage and conviction to chase what I wanted to do. Changing and adapting as I went without sacrificing or pimping myself to the lowest bidder. I now have my ‘no’ licence – A powerful thing once you get it. Being able to say no without the feeling of loss or offending someone.

    What would you do differently in business if you had your time again?

    I would possibly pop my blinkers on for longer in the beginning. I am easily overstimulated. Looking, following, chasing, being inspired by absolutely everything was a little crazy. I think I would have found my ‘mojo’ a lot sooner had I have done that. I would have also worked less when my little people were babies. I don’t think I am alone there.

    Where do you see yourself ten years from now?

     A farmer’s wife. Happy. Travelling. Still with camera in hand but more personal projects [I will miss the epic weddings terribly]

    What are you looking forward to most in the next twelve months? 

    I have both my children at school as of this year. I am excited for anything. Getting my workflow down. My home, being homely.

    What is your favourite social media platform for your business?

    I love Instagram, it’s a different vibe. Facebook is all business for me and somewhere I store my recipes.

    You can find Danielle at her website, One Day Collective on Facebook and @OneDayCollective on Instagram.

    Posted by: Emma Clark
    Categories: Interviews with Creative Women, Regional | Comments Off on Regional creative: Danielle Thomas, photographer
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    Why I joined CWC: Martina Gemmola

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    Have you been meaning to join Creative Women’s Circle for a while? Well, now is the time to join us and reap the benefits. Our Mid-Year Membership Drive is on until June 30 – you can save 10% off the full price of membership, just in time for the end of the financial year (and it’s tax deductible!).

    There are a whole host of benefits, including the opportunity to join a Members-only Facebook group (launching in July!) to discuss the highs and lows of being a creative, entrepreneurial woman; the chance to attend and vote at the AGM in August; plus discounted event tickets, product discounts, and the chance to attend Member-only events.

    Photographer Martina Gemmola has been part of CWC for several years, and credits the group for providing support and opportunities for her creative business. Here’s her story…

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    Interior design project by Camilla Molders, photographed by Martina Gemmola.

    Why did you join CWC?

    I had returned to Melbourne after 6 years away and felt a little lost as how I should go about launching my freelance business, and how to connect with likeminded people. Having joined a ‘networking’ group overseas, and having felt the benefits of just being part of something, I decided to become a member of the Creative Women’s Circle. I felt an instant connection and was warmly embraced by the creative community Melbourne is known for.

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    Floral & botanical design by Good Grace & Humour, photographed by Martina Gemmola.

    What were your first impressions of CWC?

    I felt such comfort! Knowing that I had ‘found my people’ – which is not something to be taken for granted in the sometimes competitive and ‘cliquey’ world of small creative business. Everyone was so welcoming, and so happy to share their knowledge. Plus they were just generally super to be around. It wasn’t long before I was volunteering to help Tess at events and baking up a storm for our morning teas. It was nice to be able to give back to the community that gave so much to me.

    What have been the biggest benefits or positives of CWC to your creative life and career?

    I can’t stress enough the positive effect it has had on my business. In the early days I asked a couple of CWC people on coffee dates and we started to collaborate on some folio projects. What resulted was a greater confidence in my work and in the direction it was going, the freedom to try new things, and refine some old skills. I started to feel a little more at home back in Melbourne, armed with an instant support network filled with absolutely rad women.

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    Kooyong House by Monique Woodward, WOWOWA, photographed by Martina Gemmola. 

    Have you connected with other CWC members?

    I work a lot with the talented interior designer Camilla Molders, who was my first CWC crush, and she in turn has referred me left right and centre all over the design world, which I am eternally grateful for. She introduced me to Ruth Welsby, who has become my styling guru and dear friend. I’ve worked with our fabulous president Tess McCabe on several projects, and have had some of my best jobs referred from ladies of the CWC. I’ve shot some amazing architecture and interiors with fellow members Monique Woodward of WOWOWA and Samara Greenwood of SGArch. I’ve photographed a wall covered from top to bottom with flowers just for the hell of it with the Good Grace & Humour ladies.  I’ve found myself in the most ridiculously stunning luxury accommodation in Port Fairy with Colleen Guiney, who found me through the CWC, and together we worked on an article that graced the pages of Vogue Living – total dream. It’s been an amazing resource for word of mouth marketing (the only kind I do!). I’ve had the best of fun.

    One thing I found at events was how easy it was to strike up a conversation with a stranger, and quickly find common ground. I’ve never really been one to put myself out there, but somehow the events I went to inspired me to give it a go. The daggy networking group I had been a part of overseas was much more corporate, and felt a little like everyone was out to take, take, take. The CWC was just the opposite and was all about giving. Everyone was so honest and real in the way they related to each other. Following up was always easy – a quick email, a good Melbourne coffee, and I always found myself in excellent company with lots of ideas to explore. What a treat.

    Thanks, Marti! Find our more about our Mid-Year Membership Drive here. 

     


    Posted by: Emma Clark
    Categories: CWC News, Discounts and Giveaways, Interviews with Creative Women | Comments Off on Why I joined CWC: Martina Gemmola
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    CWC_2016-01-21_georgia-phase_insta-graphic_template
    By Emma Clark Gratton

    Newcastle photographer Hannah Rose is winning awards and accolades for her stunning documentary, editorial and lifestyle photography. Her series ‘The Empire’ captured the bond between a group of homeless men in her hometown, while her ‘Last Nomad’ photographic essay captured her expedition by horseback across the wild of Mongolia. You can find more about Hannah at her website or follow her stunning images on Instagram.

    What drew you to becoming a photographer, and to doing what you’re doing today?

    I love adventures. Photography seemed like a good way to have lots of adventures. As a kid I was addicted to National Geographic magazines. I wanted to know the planet and it’s inhabitants- the images sparked an intense desire to travel and discover. That was where my curiosity for photography started, I wanted to document adventures and moments of the world.

    Can you give us a little insight into your creative process?

    I have a journal with me all the time and I write and draw the things I am seeing, feeling, experiencing.  Anything and everything. I have lots of things to work with in the pages of my journals. My mood and headspace, and what I am going through at certain time of my life influences my work too. I see things in nature, in books, a person’s face and it might spark an idea so I make sure I write it down and I draw on all this with my work. I have an overactive imagination and daydream probably way too much!

    Who is your typical customer/client?

    I don’t really have a typical client, but a common thread in the clients that seek me out is the storytelling element of my work. That is something I hear a lot and it tends to reference my personal documentary work, they want that element of narrative applied to their project whether its editorial, fashion, portraiture etc…

    What does a typical day involve for you?

    Not sure I ever have a typical day but typical things you will find in my days would be shooting, emails, quoting, invoicing , retouching, meetings, riding my horse and planning travel and projects.

    What has been your proudest career achievement to date?

    I have a bio on my website that will tell you about those things but if I think about this question and don’t make it about awards or exhibitions and the like, then I do have a story. I was shooting a campaign and we were photographing  older women. All of these women were real women and they all were so shy and worried about having their picture taken. A lot of them said things like “I’m so ugly” Or “I’m too old and wrinkly”. We did their hair and makeup, we had champagne and cheeses. We made a real fuss of them. I worked with each of them in a studio portrait session and talked them through their worries. When I showed them the pictures, there were many tears.  “I look beautiful, we all look beautiful” was the response. I was proud to be a part of that exchange.

    What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given?

    Shoot what you love.

    What are your plans for the future?

    I have some collaborative works planned, working with incredible artists and designers. I also hope to start shooting a project which I am currently researching. It’s still under wraps but basically the story looks at the bonds of a unique human/animal relationship in Australia, and the controversy surrounding it. Hoping to get back to Iceland and finish the project I started last year working with Icelandic horses and just create great work for great people.

    What do you see as a benefit of being a CWC member?

    Connecting with other women who are working in creative fields. It’s nice to be part of a tribe and be inspired by all the great things these women are doing.


    Posted by: Emma Clark
    Categories: Interviews with Creative Women, Regional | Comments Off on
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    Australian women in art: Emily Floyd

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    By Annette Wagner

    Emily Floyd’s work needs little introduction, and for some EastLink Melbourne commuters, you’re lucky to appreciate a glimpse of her almost symbolic signage work daily with her public art installation of an enormous black iron bird and yellow worm (Titled: Public Art Strategy, 2008).

    Read into that what you will as this is exactly Emily’s point. Her work is an ongoing investigation into texts, typography, literature and ideologies.

    Honestly, it’s not often you get the opportunity to ask questions of someone who’s work you admire tremendously, and while I’ve been enamored and thrilled with the depth of Emily’s responses, I’m not surprised. Her bold and colourful work provokes discussions about design, cultural and political ideas, and provides spaces for social interaction and community engagement that I’m pleased to say even my own children enjoy.

    Emily graduated in sculpture at RMIT University in 1999 and has exhibited widely since, including Heide Museum of Modern Art Melbourne, Monash University Museum of Art Melbourne, MCA Sydney, Anna Schwartz Gallery Melbourne, Dundee Contemporary Arts Scotland, Seven Art Limited New Delhi, NGV Melbourne, and Queensland Art Gallery Brisbane. She has multiple awards, completed public sculpture commissions, and is held in major collections nationally and internationally, including the V&A Museum in London.

    In my Q&A with Emily, she reminds us that it can be a big step to say ‘I’m an artist’, that turning off technology can be liberating and analogue methodologies are considered the new avant-garde. A response that resonated most with me was “…success for all artists is about making better work and achieving a connection to an audience, no matter how small”.

    Emily Floyd. Photograph by Sean Fennessey. Courtesy of The Design Files.  (1)
    Emily Floyd. Photograph by Sean Fennessey. Courtesy of The Design Files.

    Growing up with makers, then studying graphic design, before focusing on sculpture, all evidently contribute to your exploration in contemporary art. How long did it take you to realise you were destined to be an artist, and build the confidence to commit wholeheartedly, create and exhibit your own work? 

    I started exhibiting formally in my final year of art school, although I have always made artworks and experimented with different modes of display. My grandmother made wooden block sets in our family’s toy workshop in Melbourne when I was growing up, she would never have thought of herself as an artist but had an excellent ability for abstract composition. I enjoyed assisting her to do this work and it helped me develop the skills I use today. My first exhibition was a collaborative project at an artist run space in Melbourne’s Nicholas Building called Talk, that was in 1999 and I was 26 years old. It can feel like a big step to say “I’man artist” and something that some women find pretentious or confronting, for me the decision and confidence has been cumulative.

    Lecturing in Fine Art at Monash University, you noted that today students have grown up with the internet, and are not just interested in one discipline. It is evident that you yourself are comfortable with the fusion of ideas and processes, working with many different materials in sculpture, and printing, to name a few mediums you explore. Do you have a preferred medium or material to work with? If so, why and how does this engage your imagination and abstract thoughts? 

    This year I’ve been making a wooden sculpture and block-print installation for an exhibition at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Sydney called Telling Tales: Excursion in Narrative form, curated by Rachel Kent. I’ve made hand carved letterpress typography using cyrillic fonts developed at the Moscow based institute “Polygraphmash: Laboratory of Special Graphic Forms.”  Following the fall of the Soviet Union in the 1990s, type designer Lyubov Kuznetsova digitised the Polygraphmash font archive as an online resource, it has been amazing to research and work with the typographic legacy she assembled, including font books by mid century book designers Solomon Telingater and Galina Bannikova.

    Your work, especially public sculptures, explore many references to font and colour, shape and size, material and movement. How important to you is interaction and the process of engagement with your work? 

    The process of engagement is the moment when art enters life, so it’s very important. Participatory art can have a social function when integrated with other strategies, including research and media communication. I try to make objects and situations that facilitate direct engagement for an audience, for example a forthcoming hands-on typography workshop at the MCA makes the proposition that design can exist in support of political and social change.

    I’m also mindful we’ve come to expect a great deal of spectacle, movement and direct participation from contemporary art, but active engagement can also involve a quiet afternoon wandering through a museum or cultural space, reflecting on diverse ideas and forms that are discovered rather than overly presented, it’s a fine balance and I would hope that art offers an alternative to the relentless engagement of Capitalist junk space.

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    Emily Floyd’s ‘Labour Garden’, 2015. Installation view ‘All The World’s Futures’, 56th International Art Exhibition, Biennale di Venezia, Venice, 2015. (Courtesy of the artist and Anna Schwartz Gallery).

    With references to Dada, Bauhaus, Russian Constructivist, and folk culture, your work demonstrates your passionate research and the exploration of contemporary social, cultural and political ideas. How do you see new technologies enabling your work and facilitating the translation of our culture today? 

    I usually begin in the studio with analogue methodologies because it helps me to think things through in a material way: reading, writing, cutting out objects, printing and collaging different images. The turn away from digital technology can be liberating, I am finding students and young artists who have grown up with digital technology often view analogue systems as a new avant-garde, which is interesting. Once I have worked something out by hand though, I’m happy to leave Middle Earth and work with new technologies. In the studio we use laser-cutting and CNC routing processes, 3D printing and modelling, graphics software, ink jet printing and scanning, a lot of cut and paste.

    As an Australian Woman in Art, and beyond the specific political and ideological issues involved in the subjection of women, what does success really mean and how has it been achieved so far for you here in Australia?

    Contemporary cultural institutions present a kind of democratic ‘balance of power’ so the fact that Australian and International museum collections are full of artworks made by white, male artists makes an unprecedented opportunity for women artists, we can offer a counter position, what they call the ‘feminine multitude’.

    I feel extremely fortunate to be working in this time because I know how difficult it has been for previous generations to find a voice. Success for all artists is about making better work and achieving a connection to an audience, no matter how small. I hope to have the opportunity to continue researching different approaches to language and my next step is a project exploring invented languages in the literary genre of Feminist Science Fiction.

    A good dose of statistics is always reassuring, two Feminist art blogs I love to read, both exploring ideas of success and failure in the art world, are Countesses and Natty Solo. As well as looking at the data they are brilliant artworks in their own right, affirming that by inventing new contexts, we can make our own success.

    Emily Floyd is represented by Anna Schwartz Gallery, who I would like to thank for their assistance in coordinating this interview.

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    Posted by: Tess McCabe
    Categories: Interviews with Creative Women | Comments Off on Australian women in art: Emily Floyd