TELL US ABOUT / INTRODUCE YOURSELF?
I am Deborah Worthy-Collins, an artist based in Perth, Western Australia. I graduated from Edith Cowan University in 2013 and then took a few years off to have two children. I started back in the studio in 2018, completing a residency at Edith Cowan University followed by an exhibition at Spectrum Project Space. This September I had a solo show at The Lobby in Swanbourne. Although my work is quite heavily textile-based, I consider myself a mixed media artist and like to match the medium I’m working with to concepts I may be exploring.
WHAT DO YOU WANT TO EXPRESS THROUGH YOUR WORK?
For a number of years, I have been exploring themes surrounding life cycles, particularly the way that life and death often intersect. My studio work is an investigation into these themes, the way they relate to me on a personal level and also to the society that surrounds me. I want my work to express my personal experiences as well as the reading and observations I’ve made in the natural world. At its heart I feel like my work is about connection. It is attempting to make the link between life and death and the way that it binds every living thing.
AS AN ARTIST, HOW DO YOU WANT TO BE REMEMBERED?
I feel privileged to be in a position to contribute to cultural conversation with my work. I suppose I’d like to make sure I maintain an authentic voice. Although I know there are many artists in the world who may use similar materials or examine similar themes, I try to remember that everyone looks at the world in different ways. I try to make sure I am speaking from my own experiences.
WHERE DOES YOUR ARTISTIC CREATION COME FROM?
I am inspired by so much around me. I’m lucky to live in a city where the bush land is very accessible and I find that the ebb and flow of life follows me into the studio. Even though the themes of life and death that I work with predate me becoming a mother, the experience of birthing and parenting makes its way into my work as well as observations and reading I do about society at large. The positive birth, sex and death movements interest me a lot because they are
trying to provoke a dialogue about subjects which were once, and still are in many ways, taboo.
WHAT MEANING DOES ART CREATION BRING TO YOU?
I feel like the creation of art gives me a paradigm to explore my place in the world and a voice to express things which I might not have the words for. Making in the studio is where I feel most comfortable and sometimes the most uncomfortable. It challenges me to look at things in different ways and to push myself, but also I feel my happiest when I am making. I learn so much about myself in the process of making which is in equal parts terrifying and beautiful.
WHAT CAN SOCIAL MEDIA DO TO HELP YOU IN PROMOTING ART AND CREATION?
Social media has helped me to connect with so many people I would otherwise not have met. It helps me to keep track of local exhibitions and exhibiting opportunities and relevant events, and also to promote my own work and exhibitions. It is also such a great way to see what is happening nationally and internationally. It means that I can be inspired by artists I wouldn’t normally see. I think it will continue to be instrumental in the promotion of my work.
DO YOU THINK THE PURPOSE AND THE IDEA OF PRECIOUS BIANNUAL ART EXCHANGE SELECTIONS ARE HELPFUL TO YOU?
Yes, definitely. PRECIOUS Biannual Art Exchange Selections can be very helpful for emerging artists like me. Although social media is great, it is also vast and overwhelming. Having a panel-curated selection of international artists is such a valuable thing. It’s so valuable to have my work placed in a global context and I’m very grateful for the opportunity.
ARE YOU CREATING ART FULL TIME? IF NOT, WHAT IS YOUR JOB? HOW DO YOU STRIKE A BALANCE BETWEEN YOUR JOB AND YOUR ART LIFE?
In addition to my art practice, I am also a mother to a 4 and 2-year-old. Balancing parenting with studio time is something that I am still learning to do and it constantly evolves depending on the changing demands of both my roles. I am definitely in a privileged position where my husband supports us financially and has an active role as a parent, but life is often a juggling act!