2012 seems to be flying by so quickly, combined with the end of the financial year and the seriously busy arts calender in full swing in all parts of the world- things can get hectic. So lucky for you the theme of our July interviews at arts interview is Stress and Wellbeing. We start this month off with artist Anthony White. Enjoy!
Anthony White is an international artist- Australian born and bred, now based in Paris. After graduating from the National Art School in 2003, White has exhibited widely in Europe and Australia and is held in significant private and public collections in Australia, Europe, Asia and the USA. Anthony talks to arts interview about his practice and the sometimes stresses of working as a full time artist.
Interview by Alex Bellemore
Can you tell us a bit about your practice and what you have been working on recently?
My practice is built around the sensuous nature of paint with an awareness of surface. The paint itself has really been the subject, exploring physicality in order to find form. The process now is becoming one of reduction and erasure. I’m interested in the idea of psychic automatism that the Surrealists were into. The idea of bridging the gap between the unconscious mind and the conscious one and how that relates to the integrity of the mark.
Currently I’m working on a body of work for exhibition in Hong Kong early next year at The Cat St Gallery, Hong Kong as well as a group show called Signal 8 during August in Hong Kong.
What do you think are the broad stress factors for artists?
I think the biggest stress is probably about time management, money and organisation. I think artists in general can have a hard time being responsive towards a deadline and finishing things. Questioning how much of that day job do you work and how much time in the studio tends to make you very, very busy. If your lucky enough to be making art fulltime then its difficult to get the work out there globally, without stretching yourself financially.
Can you tell us about when you first moved from Australia to Paris, what were the stress factors of moving and finding yourself in a new ‘art scene’?
Meeting people in the art world can be difficult with a language barrier. I have also hired a translator for special projects in the past, which helps a lot.
Do you have any specific coping mechanisms when you are stressed?
I find myself in nature a lot, that’s really important. Also I find doing something else totally unrelated for a while until you come up with the answer you need. Sometimes you need to forget about things. I also tend to write copious amounts of lists.
Do you find it difficult to balance your work and lifestyle?
Yes it’s incredibly difficult to find a balance, but I love what I do so it doesn’t really feel like work. I never turn off- I’m always thinking about art.
I think it’s energetic and exciting when something new develops in your art practice. The constant renewal of ideas is the stuff that makes your art alive and can encourage/nurture yourself as an artist when things get tough
What do you do to relax? Is it easy for you to ‘switch off’ from your practice to do this?
No it’s not easy to switch off at all. I find it difficult but I think it is important for creative renewal .In the past I was a professional chef and since I’ve been making art fulltime, I’m finding time to spend in the kitchen at home, making things that I wouldn’t normally have the time for. This lets me wind down a bit.