Nicole Tattersall is a conscientious, intelligent artist, and so it is that for each showing of her work, she seemingly raises the bar just that little further in terms of both style and content.
With her informative, regular and entertaining blog, Nicole also expertly wields an rare talent for communication, possibly a by product of her event management background and her curatorial experience – however it is her visual work, of course, that shines above all else, allowing her to project conscientious themes with a subtle degree of beauty.
We were very happy to get to speak with Nicole in the lead-up to the opening of her show Patchworked, at the At Large Gallery in Northcote, and to ask her about the themes of the show, as well as differences in direction that shes exploring …
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Your early work involved stencils, surfboards and a lot of illustration work – but what else was there in those formative years of putting your work out there that also influenced the direction you wanted to take your work?
My early works go back even further than stencils, and as far back as 2004 they were abstract backgrounds with outlines of figures, mainly of the surfing and beach lifestyle. I was trying out different mediums and techniques. Those were works I had displayed at Phillip Island and Leongatha. Using stenciling as a technique came about when I wanted to start to customise my own surfboards in 2005, and in 2006 I did some work with Artsticks 2, at the Surfing World Museum in Torquay.
I was also exposed to a large variety of applications for stenciling when I visited the Melbourne Stencil Festival in 2006 at Rose St. So in 2007 I applied for the stencil festival at J-Studios – and was rejected. I found out years latter that it was because the photos were crap. Had I of been accepted, things would of worked out different – for the better? Maybe not. It wasn’t really until late 2007 that I was picked up by 696 (which is no longer) , and that got the ball rolling – from there I just started doing more and more in Melbourne and Sydney. I still have works in Leongatha, various places on Phillip Island and at Torquay.
Starting off small and taking things a they came – well, I can’t say it’s directly influenced the direction my works. It has, however, made me not shy away from the thought of having a work displayed in a curry shop!
Your upcoming show, Patchworked, will delve into techniques and works influences by bygone eras, as well as a recent trip to Germany – how have these two items in particular, contributed towards your inspirational output?
My works for this show features patchworked styled canvases – animals drawn to look like stuff toys, and children using their imagination to create things and to explore their world – things common before there were computers and TVs. Un-intentionally, my recent trip to Europe made me look at things a little differently, and it’s hard to pin point exactly the things that have changed – but some of my works are just a little more deeper in their content, and more developed in their style.
Can you tell us a little more about your involvement with WSPA and how you have utilised your work towards the advocation of animal rights issues?
Animals and creatures are always something that I have enjoyed being around and drawing. It was natural for me that when I created the series based on animals being childhood memories that I started by donating a percentage to World Society for the Protection of Animals of the 9 small canvases I painted. I supported their mission and found them to be a good fit to what I personally would like to see being achieved in the way of animal rights and preservation.
In 2009 I was approached by WSPA to create some illustrations based on their campaign for the banning of the live export of animals now the Huamane Chain. This was an offer I could not refuse, the opportunity to create works for a campaign that when I watch the footage on brings tears flooding from my eyes.
These illustrations will be in my show with all profits being donated back to WSPA to aid them in continuing there mission.
For information on the Humane Chain visit www.humanechain.org
In terms of nature vs the urban environments, at first glance the two couldn’t be further from each other, yet you are able to utilise both influences in a seamless fashion in your work – what techniques or thought processes go into the meshing of such disparate themes ?
“I love the surf culture of San Diego” – they have this weird mix of surfing lifestyle crossed with punk rock and biker style, and I love it! How it works, well, I don’t really know, but it does. I have no real process or technique to my influences, it’s what I enjoy and it’s just a part of who I am.
I’m just being honest with what I enjoy, and what inspires me.
You’ve said on your blog that you’ve “not gone into an exhibition of this scale before feeling this relaxed” – is this due to experience, subject matter, or is it just a case of right time, right place, right attitude?
A huge part of it is to with the medium, stencils take a while to cut and to go into a show of even this scale working with just illustrations has been a huge relief to me. Prior to “Split Personalities” I would get home from work and be cutting stencils until all hours. It’s a misconception that people have about stencils, sure the time it takes to spray isn’t very long and it is a form of printing, but to draw out and cut a proper stencil can take a while. For “Patchworked” not having that component of the process has made things more relaxing for me.
Experience has also played it’s part along with the fact that it’s at At Large, those guys make it so easy and seamless.
Given a choice in the matter, what kind of conversations would you like to see engendered by your works?
As I have a selection of works that focus of different ideas it’s hard to say, though in relation to the works I have done for WSPA I would be stoaked if just 1 person who came along to the exhibition talked about what the illustrations made them feel and that they then take action to tell others about the campaign to ban the live export of animals.
You’ve also curated several exhibitions over the past few years, can you tell us a bit more about those shows and your involvement with them?
I have studied Events Management and have worked in various aspects of the events, music and entertainment industry all the skills that have learnt through my time in those roles I’ve been able to apply to curating and organising a selection of group exhibitions and art events; Random Collective 1 & 2, Art On Your Sleeve, Street Art For Ashes, Melbourne Curvy 6 book launch at Magnation and Split Personalities, a duo show I did with fellow artist Megan Dell. The key to putting on a good event is to be organised, to have a plan “B” and carry around a role of ‘gaffa tape – that stuff fixes almost anything.
I enjoy being able to use my skills to put on exhibitions and events that allow others to showcase their work – or to help a cause that they may not of been able to do so in a financial capacity.
Just a little more on that – can you tell us a bit more about Curvy? Its such a great book-zine, and has highlighted so many amazing women working in the arts – can you go into a little more detail on your involvement with them?
CURVY first launched in Sydney Australia in 2004, it continues to be an international favorite amongst lovers of art and supporters of female artists. The annual CURVY book and exhibition series presents a selection of the most exciting female graphic artists and illustrators in the world today. For the up and coming edition #7 there were over 2,300 artist who submitted and of that 120 established and underground female artists are featured in the book from design capitals including Paris, London, LA, New York, Berlin, Rome, Tokyo, Melbourne and Sydney.
I first applied in 2008 to get into issue #5 but was knocked back. On my second attempt was selected to be in edition #6 (2009) with “My Five Friends” and had then applied again to be selected for the up and coming issue #7 (2010) which I to was chosen for with “Indian Muntjac Connection”.
For the launch of issue 7, I had works displayed at the Sydney launch, and I curated, and featured, in the Melbourne launch at Magnation. CURVY 8 will be launched in Sydney on the 18 November, and I’m waiting on details if there will be Melbourne launch.
CURVY is a great experience and is something that I hope all female artists make the effort to apply for, though as there are only so many spots available in the book, not to get too heart-broken if they don’t get in. Compared to many other submission based art activities, this one doesn’t cost anything to enter, and they do have a very extreme number of submissions compared to those who do get selected. If you do get selected ensure you have a celebratory dance around the house!
You have a great blog, with a wealth of information – and you’re also very forthcoming in your advice and sharing of techniques with your readers (I particularly loved your post with framing suggestions) – what part do you believe blogs and internet media, and sharing of this kind of stuff, plays in an artists life these days – especially in the lead up to a show?
For me, sharing of information or links to information I find helpful, isn’t part of the lead up to my show, it’s something that I do on a regular basis. I get asked quite often for advice and rather than sharing it just with the individual who asked, I want to share it with these who visit my blog. They too might also be thinking the same question or be looking for the same advice.
In the lead up to an exhibition the internet allows for people to come on the journey with you as you prepare. Whether it be through posts about going to the framer, sneak peaks at the works to be in the show, works in progress. It give people the option to see behind the scenes a bit and take some knowledge away with them.
What do you have planned after your show, and in what direction are you wanting to take your work from here on out?
After “Patchwoked”, my first point of call is to go for a surf!
Art wise I’ll be at the North Melbourne Market in October and November, this is the only market I do and the crew from Thread Den are so very supportive of my work. I’ll be apart of the Small Art Show at For Walls in November which is raising funds for the organisation Room to Read.
CURVY is having it’s launch on 18th of November in Sydney – I’m still waiting to see if they’re doing one in Melbourne too. Early in 2011 is the This Little Tea Pot exhibition in Sydney, which is the follow up to This Little Piggy. January I’ll be doing a show at Mushroom Crafts, in Leongatha, and in May I plan to do another duo exhibition with Megan Dell at For Walls.
There are also some other projects I have on the burner, but mum’s the word on those …