I discovered the artist Lily Mae Martin when I noticed links to her website on the pages of other artists I admired. I was immediately attracted to Lily's work as it was skilful and challenging. The technical skill shown in her drawings is fantastic and developing with every new work. The palette that is used in her paintings is rich, vivid and hyper real. I love that Lily draws equally well pictures squirrels and pictures that depict violence. She paints tender portraits of her baby and the more challenging depictions of sex or the grotesque. She is an explorer. So without further ado I give you my interview with the talented and sometimes pictorially contradictory Lily Mae Martin.
Lily in her Berlin studio with little Anja
Lily I’d love it if you could introduce yourself to our audience:
Hello readers, my name is Lily Mae Martin. I am originally from Melbourne but have been living and working in the UK and now Berlin, for over two years. I have a studio at the Bethanien which is an old hospital - now a kunsthaus in Berlin. My space is in the basement and I often wonder what that room was used for when it was still a hospital. I'm a figurative artist; I have just been getting back into painting and also have been writing a lot more about being an artist. (http://lilymaemartin.com/blog/)
One of the major themes in your paintings and drawings is the body and I’d like to ask you a couple of questions about that:
What is your fascination with the body?
The body is our vessel that we are given to last our whole life time. It is the thing we try and change with all of our science, make up, surgery, plucking, pruning, pulling at… but ultimately, the body will do what the body will do. We are bound by it's ability and inabilities and we will cease to be when it's time is up… wether we are ready or not. Bits of it also come in and out of fashion if we colour and pluck it a certain way. Bits of it we consider vulgar and censor as much as we can. But we also love to see ourselves. Fashion and advertising have become so caught up with the body that people are so disconnected form their own bodies. We are so convinced that fad diets and detoxes are good for us. That tanning it makes us look healthy. We actually have no idea about other peoples bodies and what is normal and what is not. So if you say, get a haemorrhoid, you can go around feeling hideous and disfigured, when really it's just a haemorrhoid.
Before I started drawing people I had no idea about the body and what was and was not normal. I think through all the people I have drawn naked I have come to really understand that everyone has an amazing body, wether it is pale, tubby, wrinkly. The more I have explored this topic, the less I feel ashamed of my own figure and the less I worry about what advertising sells me as sexy and hot. When people scorn me about my looks, or lack of them, or boobs, I have the strength to recognise that that is their own insecurities, and very little to do with me.
When I draw and paint the body I love getting fascinated by the veins and bones in a foot, or the way skin will wrinkle over an elbow.
You often seem to use it to tell part of a narrative- I was wondering how these visual vignettes take root in your thinking?
I think a lot about things that are said to me or that I have seen and some things just stick out. They may not seem very profound but they are reoccurring and then one day I just use it in a work.
I used to look a lot of fairy tales and children's books and then when I was older graphic novels. I'd often think about the written piece of the work and then what they have chosen to illustrate and why.
You are the model for many of your drawings- how much of the work is self portrait or is it mostly the convenience of being a cheap and readily available model?
I just have to say how surprised I am at people not knowing that all the works are me (except for the bearded men, of course) and when people realise that it is me I get such mixed reactions, usually making the person uncomfortable.
I began using myself as a model as I had massive issues with my body when I was in my early twenties. It's hard being a young women especially when guys expect you to be a certain way and all your girlfriends are competing against you in terms of how your body looks. Gene (my better half) used to try and take photos of me when we were first together and I hated it, I used to hate the photos he had taken of me and I got to a point where it was like "why?" "Why do I hate the way I look so much?" I used to get so unhappy with how I looked that I just wouldn't talk or eat or want to go out. So I think I got to a point where it was like 'I have to deal with this'. The only way I was able too was through my art as I didn't have people to talk to and writing was something that I had been convinced that I was bad at.
So yes, it's a combination of having to get myself over some things and the availability of myself. I have also found it hard to work with people in the past as you get so much pressure from people who pose for you to make them look good and I just couldn't be bothered with it.
But I have some great people around me now and some of them have agreed to sit for me, so I am very excited!
Bleeder. 2011, Pen on paper.
In terms of your art would you describe your body as a tool and has/does your relationship with your body change as you draw?
I became less judgemental about my body when I began to use it for my art. It is what is it and I enjoy drawing it as much as any other body. After having a baby my body was a mess and I just worked through it by taking my 'reference' photos and thinking of it in terms of an artwork.
What keeps you producing?
I really enjoy the process of making things. For me it's therapeutic, it's escapism and it's fun. Lately I have been getting back into all sorts of art and it's inspiring me all over again.
And last is there an inkling of what is next for Lily Mae?
Well, work wise I am just painting a lot. I am going to revamp my site soon which is also exciting, I will be putting a lot more variety of things I can do, as I feel I have become known as too much of a 'dark artist'. I have two groups shows in L.A early 2012 but pretty much taking time to enjoy my life at the moment- Berlin, baby and painting!
Anja, 2011, oil painting by Lily Mae Martin
So there you have it people please pay attention to thie work of Lily, as she said her website is under construction but you can see her Blog here
: I am very glad she decided she could write. This is a link to her Facebook page
. I promise to let you know when the website is up and running. So stay tuned.
Next week's(ish) blog is as yet unthought of- my creativity is having a little sleep under the couch but some thoughts are devalopping around the ideas of style: how much is choosen and constructed and where does my confidence and honesty to my practice sit with in it: big ideas for a sleep hungry brain my friends.
Last week my first guest on I Interview David Litchfield finished his Drawing a Day
project. I, for one, am going to miss being greeted on Facebook by his imagination and pencils. As the final day drew near and I grew mildly crankier Iwas thinking perhaps I'd just not look at the last drawing then I could pretend.... but I am glad I did look because there it is, down below. What a wonderful THANK YOU! How flattering and touching, but also what a fantastic indicator of the symbiotic relationship between artist and audience. We creators thrive on feedback- almost any. It motivates us and helps us grow and learn.
I hope by now readers that you understand I reject the artist as loner stereotype. I believe so strongly in the importance of creative communities, we spend enough time alone in front of the desk, the page and the easel. We need stimulation and responses and interaction on all sorts of levels- like any other little person. I remember listening to a lecturer insist that the cafe culture of artists was dead and being too young and too timid to say to her - your BARMY. As if! Restructured, maybe. Novel, probably. Different, definitely. But DEAD! Seriously. At that stage the internet was a burgeoning phenomenon and only hinted at the new ways for people to form creative circles, David’s drawing demonstrates the beauty of just one aspect of this wonderful development. His community of fans, followers and creatives enjoyed the year and he created one of the loveliest “Thank You’s” I have ever seen:
I would like to thank David for his interview, his generosity and the gentle inspiration and lessons I took from his project: trust, courage and giving it go- Old lessons that still need teaching over and over again.
Stay tuned for the next installment of I Interview next week with another brave and talented artist: Lily Mae Martin
I Interview is here!
As I often tell you creating can be an isolating process and rural living is definitely isolating!! But to my mind creativity needs and thrives in the sharing and collaborating of ideas and processes and dreams before retreating to ones space to absorb and make. So I went exploring and asking and now I Interview.
David Litchfield, a wonderfully irreverent illustrator, has kindly taken part in this inaugural segment (what a sport!), so without further ado let me introduce him to you:
David thank you very much for doing this now would you mind telling me, the audience and anyone else who drops by a little bit about yourself and your ‘Drawing a Day’ project- anything you think might be relevant:
I’m David Litchfield and I’m attempting to establish myself as an illustrator. In June 2011 I will have completed a project called ‘Drawing A Day’ which is pretty much just me doing a drawing every day for 1 year and posting it on Facebook.
What prompted you to begin, and officially display on Facebook, the ‘Drawing a Day’ project?
My earliest memories are of my drawings. I can remember very clearly drawings I did when I was 4 or 5 of Jabba The Hutt, my dog, my brother, The Beastie Boys, etc, so drawing is something that I have always done every day all my life.
I never really thought about drawing being a potential career for me- even at Art school my project work was rarely drawing based and was made up mainly of film and video, graphics, stop motion animation projects.
In fact- and I really don’t know why- but I was a bit embarrassed that I enjoyed drawing so much. It might have been because I was praised for it at school by my teachers and by my mum and maybe I was trying to rebel against it or something! (That sounds ridiculous but it might be true). The years after art school were also made up of being in bands, writing songs and making music videos for my friends bands. Basically, stuff that didn’t involve much drawing (although I did draw my band ‘Tinker Jack’s’ E.P. cover). I definitely wasn’t thinking too seriously about becoming a professional illustrator.
In April 2010 a local music promoter called Jez Brown needed a poster for a gig he was putting on for a fantastic band called ‘Rue Royale’. So I drew one for him and I was really pleased with how it came out (you can see it here):
At the moment your drawings mostly seem to be of characters- I’d like to know a bit more about how they evolve- do you hit the page with an intention or does it form during the process of drawing?
Most mornings I have no idea what I’m going to draw. I’m still half asleep to be honest. It’s quite a nice way of doing it because the part of your brain that is saying ‘Oh, don’t draw that, it’s far too weird’ is still asleep so my drawing inhibitions are not a factor at all.
I agree that a lot of them are characters but honestly I don’t know who they are and where they come from. It’s almost like the ‘stream of conscious’ style of writing where you just write the first thing that comes to mind and let it flow.( But obviously for drawing). I just put pen to paper and see what happens. The fun part is where you can add backstories and names to them after you have finished.
Sometimes I do worry about some of the things that turn up on the paper though.
How has this project affected your work? Your technique, your materials and your, well, general approach to you know your work?
It’s affected it in lots of ways. As I mentioned earlier I started it to take illustration more seriously, and you can kind of see that in the earlier drawings where it is just random doodles.
To be honest it wasn’t until a few weeks in to the project that I really started to think a bit more about what I was doing. I realized that a few random people who I didoject as a way of experimenting and trying out new things. There are a lot of mistakes in the drawings and a lot of drawings that don’t work, but I still put them on-line because I see at the project as a big on-line sketch-book that people can see and comment on.
HERE ARE SOME OF THE DRAWINGS FROM THE FIRST HALF OF THE PROJECT:
I am shocked at the interest it’s gathered. This past year has been a bit mental to be honest. Because of Drawing A Day I have won a few illustration commissions such as a CD cover for the band Sweetheart and some private commissions. Also, Rue Royale
asked me to draw their album cover which I was super chuffed about.
I’ve also had the opportunity to work with Matt Witt and Creaturemag
regularly since starting the project.
One of the funnest things I have done is a 13 page children’s book written by Pamela Page. It’s called ‘The Big Hairy Spider’ and I had the best time drawing it. I have just finished it but will let people know when its available.
Recently, a few galleries have contact me regarding showing the whole ‘Drawing A Day’ project when its completed. This is super, super exciting. There’s going to be 365 drawings so I’m not quite sure how it will work, but it will be great.
But really Drawing a Day has made me look at techniques and styles of drawing. I like to think that I am developing in terms of style (or a few sub-styles at least) and I’m trying a few things out. For example I had never used water-colors before and I’ve started to play around with pastels too.
It’s made me think about what I’m good at and what I need to work on. I really like how I draw trees and feet. But I need to work on my noses and ears. Also, I don’t draw many buildings and this is something I should try out before the project ends.
Just thinking about all these things from the last year is just crazy really. I’m really pleased that I decided to do the project. I would recommend it to anyone.
THANK YOU DAVID and HELLO EVERYONE CHECK HIM OUT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Now David mentioned Creature Magazine and it is through watching his contributions to this fabulous website that I too grew the courage to give it a go: AND VOILA my pictures have been included in an article on the magically sounding CYRA MORGAN
by the lovely BETTY WOOD. HERE IT IS!
I am this weeks feature artist on the ABC POOL'S
What you see here is one of my contributions to the 30 Days of Creativity Project
which the POOL is participating in. Basically the aim is to engage in an act of creativity everyday of June.
I figured I should participate as I am doodling like mad and drawing like crazy, as well as creating my book for the 2012 SKETCHBOOK PROJECT
, (more news on that baby down the twisting track).
I started participating in the pool and the project a fortnight ago and lo and behold: feature artist!
So huge THANKS to the POOL team and Jonathon Hutchinson for featuring me. It is super chuff worthy and I am a little stoked. Especially as the POOL is just such a great place to see other creatives, disciplines, styles and thinkings at work. If you create you should pop by and see if it has anything on offer for you. I also think it is a good example of the diverse media and community opportunities and support good old aunty provides us.
AND I have just woken to find that I am posted on the blog EAT SLEEP DRAW!
EAT SLEEP DRAW is a wonderful blog devoted to new, original and contemporary art. Every hour a new piece of original art is loaded and displayed and reblogged around the world. I have been lucky enough to have three pictures loaded and even more lucky to have had this one staff-voted DRAWING OF THE DAY! (WIN!).
Last but not least I have new sketch for sale: this little drawing is an old favourite I'm finally parting with him. Unframed and mailed directly to you it is selling at the bargain price of $50 smackaroonies! And of course do not forgot the shoes.
So if you voted, thanks everyone- I no doubt will ask again, ask you to ask your friends pester and prod- you know. But not now- now I am just idling at a blog spot wondering. Wondering about competitions and blogging and the press and squeeze of being a mother with a weekend job, grand artistic dreams, a backlog of ideas, a constipation of nerves, a choke of doubt, a gut full of determination; a lisp of a social life and dreams of a relaxed stomach and teeth that would stop disintegrating under the pressure.
I might have said too much.
I might have, but that might be just the choke and the churn talking.
I am endlessly twitching art into tight spaces- it copes- it survives and in some ever learning and growing way thrives in the dark damp tight places.
Like moss and butcher boys and worms.
The art does but I am not sure the artist does.
The mother does- her goal is fortified by all those bigger things that the wonderfully dense archetype arouses and for all the history and future of reasons, she copes.
So does the wife. And not without her fair share of hiccups and tolerances: the friend.
The artist, (squeezed between fetching lunch, between a squeal, between a glance at a newspaper (between piggy backs and a miniature train track being invaded by play dough aliens) between an appointment in a broken car, between a broken cup and a grazed knee and a cold coffee) rushes into blogs and comps and public attempts and regrets her lack of research, the spelling mistakes, the typos and endless missing bits. Guilt ebbs the churning mess of everything else untill she picks up the pen and pours and draws and leans and dozes into the paper and thinks
it boils down to this
ALANA & THE AGE OF REASONS
Well reader it has been a little while since I last posted and lots has happened since: the exhibition 13, a crowded Easter working at the pub, excitement, overwhelming tiredness followed by a litany of illness and sickness and bed ridden days that melted into couch parenting that wore me down... But the sun always rises and with her came inspiration, competitions, opportunities and a website make over. Resulting in a heck of a lot to tell you about and in the next few days-weeks I promise do my best to walk that wobbly line between interesting, informative and too much.
The exhibition was fantastic! I personally want to thank everyone who attended, supported and bought. We had an estimated 600 people through which for 2 days and one night of being open is fantastic. This translated in to pretty good sales for a lot of the artists and we are so very grateful for the community's support. Hopefully other artists in town will be inspired to put on their own shows.
This is how my work was presented:
And this is me looking awkward and lopsided in a photo- a common pose for me in photographs- I own awkward i can work that pose like Madonna can work that vogue thing she does
And now we have snaps of opening night-
And this below is my darling husband, Alastair Crockett's Rio Gum. Now gracing a local's backyard. So proud:
And an extremely special thanks to:
Joy Forrest, Pam Sumpter, the 13 artists, Carol Franklyn, Vincent Carson, Anthea Wood, Bonnie Greenwood, Billie Leatham, Keira Mcdonagh, The Crockettt's, Monique Revel and Most of all My Husband and the dear friends and family who supported my journey to this night. Cheers Amelia
Excuse me while I go and put on something more comfortable
I love how my backyard turns yellow in the autumn and the sun filtered by baring branches swells with refraction. In this village like town nestled in a pocket of gum clad hills we see no horizons. It is a natural enclave of golds, ochres, burnished reds and browns that contrast stunningly with the blue grey of the eucalypt hills. That beauty is a nurturing comfort and I need comfort because I am nervous.
Yup, it is out, my shameful little secret.
My poor stomach has a hoard of trumpeting elephants stomping through it and after their hearty efforts the butterflies don’t stand a chance. My nervy and excited elephants intermittently cause all manner of mood swings, minor bouts of shaking and not so minor bouts of flatulence, (another little shame flying free).
This is the price I pay to exhibit. But don’t misunderstand me. Despite the stomping elephants, escaping butterflies and occasional wind this is all I have ever wanted to do with myself.
I was four when I decided I wanted to be an artist. I was in kinder. We were making masking tape pictures- you know the kind where you build a picture with masking tape, paint over it then remove the masking tape to reveal said picture. When it came to peeling off my tape I insisted that some of it remain on the paper. I liked that my picture now had three elements: masking tape, no masking tape and pink paint. This discovery gave me a stretching moment of wonder in which I knew that I liked this; I really liked this and I wanted to do it forever. Twenty four years later I am gearing up to present the world these, enjoy:
The Dinner Party, 2011
The party had history and a balcony, 2011
The joy of a fresh painted nail, 2011
Any journey should be done with a nose pressed against it's pane
My time rests in a solitairy cuppa, 201
Bliss is drinking coconut in the loungeroom