• Shopping Cart

    Your shopping cart is empty
    Visit the shop

  • BLOG


    Posted on

    Australian Women in Art: Jacqui Stockdale


    This the first post in a new series on contemporary Australian Women in Art, by creative all-rounder Annette Wagner. 

    Like most of you, I’m inspired by so many amazing artists, both male and female. I especially have a long list of Australian female artists that I sincerely admire, and have many questions I’d like to ask each and every one of them. It’s no secret that being an artist anywhere requires dedication and determination, however, I want to understand specifically what it takes to be a female artist, here in Australia. It’s no feminist stance; it is merely a closer look and more importantly, a show of support. I’ll be chatting to women currently exploring, actively creating and nationally and internationally contributing to the art world. I’ll ask them questions that aim to explore their beginnings, influences, career highs and lows, finding representation, challenges of being a female artist in Australia, being acknowledged overseas and what they are doing now that we can all support.

    I’m very pleased to introduce Jacqui Stockdale, our first contributor. I’ve admired Jacqui Stockdale’s work for a long time as it evokes something quite powerful from her poised stills, like a theatrical performance unfolding.

    Jacqui has won the Doug Moran Contemporary Photography Prize 2012, is a past winner of the Belle Art Prize and the Hutchins Art Prize. She’s had residencies in Barcelona, her work has been shown at the Louvre, Paris and is in collections nationally and internationally.

    Best known for her theatrical portrait photography, figurative paintings, drawings and collages, her practice explores cultural identity, folklore and the transformative nature of masquerade and ritual in society. Her most recent work, The Boho series, currently showing as part of the Adelaide Biennial 2016, is a series of portrait photographs, which are part performative direction and part collaboration.

    Jacqui Stockdale The Boho landscapesJacqui with her works The Boho Landscapes

    Collaboration with the subjects, including Paul Kelly, Missy Higgins and the striking physical presence of Arun Roberts who Jacqui discovered and felt compelled to include in her series. She has also collaborated with friend and artist Kate Rhodes who worked with her to transform the imminent magical object, a spear, embedding it with personal objects, elevating its underlying meaning and importance. Collaboration with Rose Chong Costumes, which transforms the subjects and transport you to her setting along with her enormous painted backgrounds of Australian bush landscapes, reminiscent of the Impressionists from the Heidelberg School. The framing sets the stage. Combined, the outcome engages the audience and completes the theatrical translation.

    After recently meeting with Jacqui, she explained how almost fortuitously this project came together, with both subjects and objects presenting themselves to her during the process of the series. The success of this is evident with all elements coming together, and working well, demonstrating her skill, confidence, intuition and most importantly it allows the viewer to be lost in her performance.

    What in your personal life influenced you to choose and pursue a career in the arts?

    A combination of having a natural flair for drawing and painting as a kid, encouragement from both parents and an artistic sensibility. The fear of having to choose to be a nurse.

    What other jobs did you have before you committed to your art full time?

    I worked at KFC, was a cleaner and a life model.

    How many proposals did you write before you got your first grant/residency/exhibition?

    Good question! In my attempt to write a grant, I would feel ill and dizzy. It took a long time to get good at it, maybe two decades, but now I am fluent. I’d say I wrote about six before I landed a yes.

    I discussed this further with Jacqui when we met, and she said that getting assistance from others helped enormously. People who were stronger writers, or were familiar with proposal writing and she stressed how important their support has been, and continues to be, to review her work and provide feedback.

    'Where I Stood' Missy HigginsPart of her work Where I Stood with Missy Higgins

    How did you achieve gallery representation?

    Once I finished my art degree at the VCA I moved to Hobart and after two years I was approached by Dick Bett and represented by Bett Gallery. It was a good start.

    Was there a turning point in your career that made you believe that the status of an artist is equal to a ‘worker’?

    I’m not sure if it is equal, it’s just very different, and there are pros and cons to being either.

    Were you ever discouraged or had setbacks that derailed your career?

    Yes, of course. There was a time in my mid-thirties that I felt like there was no one out there. I had just returned to Melbourne after 10 years of living in Hobart, Sydney and Darwin and expected to be picked up by a gallery straight away. When this did not happen, given I was working solidly, I began to get really down. You can see in the work I made from that period how dark I was feeling.

    But maybe the work was really rich with meaning, not sure! It started to pick up once I was approached by Helen Gory Galerie in 2006.

    What are your least favourite and most favourite things about being an artist?

    Least favourite thing is dealing with my tax, most favourite is working on my own terms and having the luxury of living a very creative life.

    What do you do to keep yourself optimistic and motivated?

    I dance swing and tango, do ten yoga salutations in the morning, then give thanks to the day, run really slowly around the hood, eat good food, breath deeply, jump on the trampoline with my son, laugh with friends and have ping pong parties every so often.

    Do you think there is a gender imbalance in Australia supporting female artists operating in our current contemporary art system?

    Yes, but I don’t feel it personally.

    Do you feel that Australian female artists have fewer resources, crucial financial support, to go into making and producing art?

    Yes, I think they do, particularly within the realm of motherhood and needing to take more time away from their practice to raise children than men do, though this is gradually shifting as men step in. I know some women who feel guilty about going to the studio while their kids are in childcare. It made me work really hard during those hours, but I always managed a manicure/pedicure. I must say that regardless of these inequalities, I have always surrounded myself with very positive, independent female visual artists (and musicians). Their drive to forge on rubs off on you.

    Beyond the specific political and ideological issues involved in the subjection of women, what does success really mean and how is it achieved to you?

    Success to me means working steadily on my practice over many years and making a living from my art (as well as being subsidised by teaching, grants, nice patrons).

    What is the best advice you have ever been given?

    10% talent 90% perseverance.

    Jacqui has recently collaborated on film and animation with Michelle Jarni, producing a short film about the process of her ‘Super Naturale’ series of portraits.  You can also check out her new series The Boho at various locations in Adelaide and Melbourne.  

    Annette Wagner is a designer, marketer, creative consultant, artist and writer. She is also on the board of the Creative Women’s Circle. Obsessively passionate about the arts and the creative process, she is determined to not talk art-speak and instead focus on supporting and sharing concepts and insights most creative types crave to know.

    Posted by: Emma Clark
    Categories: Regular Columns | Comments Off
    Posted on

    CWC Reads: Books on staying creative and organised



    Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear by Elizabeth Gilbert

    Elizabeth Gilbert wrote the blockbuster memoir Eat, Pray, Love, a book long beloved by women seeking enlightenment and escape. Big Magic is her first foray into the self-help arena, and she manages to weave plenty of personal stories and examples into her advice and tips on prioritizing creativity. Some parts of the book can veer into woo-woo territory (Gilbert is a firm believer in magic, literally, which might turn you off) but the messages about finding a muse, managing creativity and a family and handling fear are both practical and inspiring.

    Gilbert describes creativity as not necessarily “pursuing a life that is professionally or exclusively devoted to the arts,” but “living a life that is driven more strongly by curiosity than by fear.” This makes it appealing for anyone who wants to live creatively but doesn’t have a traditional artistic practice. The book’s six chapters—Courage, Enchantment, Permission, Persistence, Trust, and Divinity make up Gilbert’s tenets for creative living, and are peppered with anecdotes, pep talks and digressions.

     Magic Lessons with Elizabeth Gilbert is the accompanying podcast, where Gilbert chats with people about overcoming their own struggles with creativity.

    Five word synopsis:

    Permission to live creatively without fear.

    Better than Before: Mastering the Habits of Our Everyday Lives by Gretchen Rubin

    Habits “are the invisible architecture of daily life,” Rubin begins. “If we change our habits, we change our lives.” As the follow up to Rubin’s bestseller The Happiness Project, her new book discusses the extent to how our habits shape our lives, and how to make lasting change.

    Like The Happiness Project, the book is very accessible and relatable. Rubin strikes a perfect balance of information and anecdote, and imparts a lot of knowledge without overwhelming the reader. She will help you discover your own tendencies – are you a Rebel, an Upholder, a Questioner or an Obliger? – and explains how to change your habits accordingly. Using 21 strategies, including Treats, Loophole-Spotting and Cues, she uses herself and her family and friends as guinea pigs in what does and doesn’t work when changing your habits.
    Like Big Magic, Gretchen also has an accompanying podcast called Happier with Gretchen Rubin, which she co-hosts with her sister Elizabeth. Her website also has loads of tips, quizzes and resources on the practical pursuit of happiness and good habits.

    Five word synopsis:

    Changing our habits changes lives. 

    The Checklist Manifesto by Atul Gawande

    This book literally changed my life. Written by surgeon and writer Atul Gawande, the general premise is how professionals – from surgeons to pilots to builders- deal with the increasing complexity of their responsibilities. As many professions move towards becoming a Jane-of-all-trades (and we know this is true for many creative types!), the sheer amount of knowledge that we must remember and draw upon is staggering. The answer? A checklist.

    In order to reduce inevitable mistakes of human error, we need to use checklists to walk through the key steps in any procedure. After reading this book, I’ve started using checklists in our business, in my daily life and when starting a new project.

    Gawande uses many examples from his own profession. A five-point checklist implemented in 2001 virtually eradicated central line infections in the intensive care unit at Johns Hopkins Hospital, preventing an estimated 43 infections and eight deaths over 27 months. In the last section of the book, Gawande shows how his research team has taken this idea, developed a safe surgery checklist, and applied it around the world, with staggering success. 

    Five word synopsis:

    Using a checklist really works.

    Steal Like An Artist by Austin Kleon

    This is the kind of book to keep on your desk and flip through when you need a boost. Full of hand-drawn pictures and handwritten quotes, it is a little book that packs a punch of inspirational advice on being an artist. Like Big Magic, Steal Like An Artist uses the term artist loosely, so the book is for anyone who considers themselves to be creative.

    The book is based on a speech that artist Austin Kleon made to a New York college in 2011, where he outlined ten basic principles to boost your creativity.  Kleon posted the text of the speech on his blog, which went viral and became a huge cultural phenomenon. The book expands on these ten principles, with examples, exercises and anecdotes peppered throughout.  The advice is solid: Chapter six is “Do good work and put it where people can see it” and Chapter Two tells us “ Don’t wait until you know who you are to start making things.” The ten principles are printed on the back of the book for easy reference.

    The ideas and advice really made me think about originality, creativity and work. Kleon explains that “Nothing is original, so embrace influence, collect ideas, and remix and re-imagine to discover your own path. Follow your interests wherever they take you. Stay smart, stay out of debt, and risk being boring—the creative you will need to make room to be wild and daring in your imagination.”

    Five word synopsis:

    Discover your own original path.

    Emma Clark Gratton is a writer, editor and podcaster. She also runs furniture design studio GRATTON with her husband. She blogs about mothering and renovating at Worst House Best Street and is co-host of The New Normal podcast. Find her on instagram at @emmaclarkgratton. 

    Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
    Posted by: Emma Clark
    Categories: Book Review | Comments Off