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Frequently Asked Questions

  • Do you come from a family of artists?
    My parents are quite creative. My father, Colin Harvey has created award winning leather bags, purses etc, he knits and restores furniture. My mother Pat Harvey, is a textile artist, she has always sewed, she is currently creating magnificent quilts. My son Jordan is not artistic, he is heavily involved in Sport. My daughter Rhianon is an extraordinary artist, specialising in photography and she is a very creative soul. My sister Donna is not really creative, she prefers sport like Jordan.
  • What is the concept behind your artwork?
    I draw from life experience, my personal responses to connection – disconnection, suburbia, interiors, the land/sea, order versus chaos, identity, the physical and spiritual self, life, human condition, the psyche, society, popular culture etc ….. the world I live in. I am influenced by my daily life and a sense of place whether it was the past, present or future. Each work represents a chapter in my life, passage in time or a memory. Due to my recent relocation to Melbourne and then my return home to Adelaide I have been working with the concept of connect – disconnect. Stylised houses are often found in my current work, due to researching for our new home. I believe even though my art is a personal process, people seem to relate with it, they obtain their own connection/ associations with it, which is really exciting for me. I enjoy the sense of mystery working in an abstract way. I believe painting and art in general is personal- physically, mentally and spiritually not only for the artist but also for the viewer. We all get a different experience from an artwork. It has do with our culture, our understanding and appreciation of Art plus many other aspects . Not everyone is an Art academic and art should be for everyone. I think this is one of the reasons why I love to do Art with children. They appreciate art for the sake of it, even if it is only in the process of creating. Maybe what I feel I achieved with a particular work someone else will get something else from it altogether and that is OK. We have all walked many different paths to where we are now and because of our individual sense of identity, experience etc- this is why we all have a different perspective on things. I like to create abstract – semi abstract works as they represent the essence of the subject and are aesthetic pleasing as opposed to creating a piece of art that is representational or realistic. I only do this style of drawing or painting when the need arises. Why not just get the camera out and take a photo of it, if you want realistic? Personally I just dont get excited about ‘realism’. My concept is woven and layered into the artwork, its entertaining and thought provoking. I internalize the external and then create large abstract to semi-abstract artworks.
  • How long does it take to create an artwork?
    Without any of my ‘Yesterdays’ , all my memories and thoughts and beliefs I would not be able to create any of my artworks. Therefore each artwork takes a life time to create. How ever old I am at that given moment, is how long it took to create an artwork. There is really no telling how long an artwork will take to complete. My style and process is always evolving, however a ‘brand’ has been born- my work is unique. The conceptual process time is longer than the physical craft of the piece. The essence of time is captured through the layering /collage process. I often refer to the blocks of collage as ‘time lines’. I capture the essence of time- with collage, paint and pastel etc. The layering process also depicts the essence of time. The artworks are about the past and present. Time is captured through the work through rich layers of collage; it becomes intensely personal through layering. It is about conforming, confinement, restriction, control and existing. It took me 12 months of experimenting and exploring with materials to achieve the effect I use in my current artwork. Then ultimately having peace with the artwork- then it is complete.
  • How do you come up with the titles?
    I have a solid concept about the artwork and I am aware of the visual outcome before I even commence. However, the actual titles usually reveal themselves to me during the creating process- but not always. Sometimes I commence with the title eg: Home is Where the Art is’. The titles are often emotions e.g. ‘My Happy Place’ or ‘Escape’. Or they can have double meanings, I like to play with words eg the artwork titled ‘Weapons of Mass Distraction’, viewers automatically read the title as ‘Weapons of Mass Destruction’ (the media influence). The titles also usually solve a bit of the mystery of the abstract nature of the work.
  • What are your influences?
    I am influenced by life. Many things influence me, colour, shape, line etc. I think there is a fundamental beauty found in daily life. People, places, things, a moment in time, a memory, a shape or the way the light hits an object. It maybe ephemeral but it lingers in my soul. It could even be a comment from someone eg. We relocated and a friend said that we lived too far away to visit. So I created an artwork titled ‘To the Home of a Friend, the Way is Never Long’. I have an emotional response to my daily life and create! The media influences me, hence the composition of many of the works, it reads like a page from a book (see artwork Titled: ‘A Page from my Book’) , text is sometimes discovered in my work. The written word influences me and the way text is composed on the page. Colour and shape influence me, colour of the land, sky and shapes of what you find in the urban street (see artwork titled: ‘The Urban Myth’). Colour gives the work personal meaning, it is personally symbolic. Colour suggests the mood and is always determined by the subject. It is quite apparent in ‘The Secret Garden’ – green background, shades of pink and orange in the collage. The background colour of ‘Any Given Sunday’ is blue, which is a painting about the beach. Being born and bred in Broken Hill , the land is and will always be a really big influence on my life. The urban sprawl ,which I personally witness from my studio window, the ever changing world, what I see around the city and suburbs. I also utilize aerial views in my landscapes and interiors as subject matter. My major influence, where you can actually see evidence of it in my work is old advertising billboards, I absolutely adore them with a passion. I love the way the paper is lifting off and have glimpses of the history of went before it- the past is hidden (sometimes a bit of text is discovered) and new fresh information is on the surface. I love the way they age. If there is paper lifting off from the artwork, it is supposed to.. just like an old billboard. Exposing information, of what went before it, like history. Text and aesthetics of text are great influences to me. Text can also be discovered directly on the work on closer investigation in some of my artworks e.g. ‘A Day in a Life’ and ‘Eternity’. The work can also be read like a story, it gives a sense of language or a code that some people feel the need to decipher. (My own personal language/ dialogue- instead of words- collage and paint!).
  • What is your earliest memory of your success?
    I can recall being in Year 1, I was 6 years old. I had a teacher by the name of Mrs. Wylie. She was a strict no-nonsense sort of lady. She asked the class to paint flowers. I did this up close and personal, Georgia O’Keefe style work. I remember being pleased with it. She took it off me, framed it and hung it above the chalk board. (Yes, chalk board I was born in 1965 ssshhh!) . She didn’t say anything and it was never returned to me. I believe that is success. In Year 2, seven Year years old, I won a colouring- in competition and I won a party with Humphrey B Bear. I was the envy of all my friends at the time, fabulous memory.
  • What was your earliest experience of art?
    My earliest experience that I can remember would be playing at Pro Hart’s house with his kids. He really did not mind us running around the gallery, bizarre really now knowing the value of them. My Aunty Joy worked there for years. I can remember looking up at the artwork on the wall (and I mean look up I must have been 5 or 6) at some of Pro Hart’s private collection and being in awe of it. It was a definite appreciation of art before I could even verbalize it. I recall (around age 10) at the end of of Childrens’ art Class at Broken Hill TAFE we were all hovering around the sink. Mrs Condon grabbed a plate of paint from a boy and asked the class could anyone see an image of anything in the paint on the plate. No-one said anything, I looked around at the kids and Mrs Condon looked disheartened and was ready to hand back the plate to the boy. I said I think it looks like a Japanese lady in a kimono, Mrs Condon beamed at me. I remember her face to this day. She said sit back down and do some detail whilst the others clean up. Mrs Condon and I developed a close relationship, this I believe was the defining moment. She has always nutured and encouraged me with all my artistic pursuits throughout my life. She turned 90 this year (2007) and we celebrated her birthday with a party in the Broken Hill Regional Gallery. In High School I painted all of my title pages. I can recall being in Commerce and the teacher Mrs. Swift asked if everyone did there homework including the title pages. She said for everyone to hold it up, I held mine under my chin just like everyone else. Her eyes widened and she came straight over to me, I thought I was in trouble for using paint. She said excuse me I will be right back. She took my book and she didn’t come back for ages. I was panicking and the students were questioning me, ‘what did you do?’. I thought she was going to say I needed to leave the paint for the Art class and I needed to redo it. She came back from the Art department full of praise. I was so embarrassed. I have never liked being centre of attention (still to this day). But it is a good early memory.
  • The art has a strong contemporary design element and suits modern decors, was that on purpose?"
    I am aware of the formal design and structure of the work which I believe is a culmination of my study in Visual Art and Applied design. At times I work with a grid/ block which creates the formal feature with a contemporary style. Order versus chaos theory is a concept I work with and is represented by the orderly fashion of the squares or rectangle shapes. Every detail of the artwork is deliberate and relevant. As I have mentioned the structure of the composition of some of the works loosely represents pages of a book (my ongoing autobiography – with pictures!) E.g. ‘ A Day in a Life’ and ‘A Page out of my book’. I certainly do not create Art to suit decor, It is only by chance that the artwork is ‘fashionable’, I believe the quality, nature and style of the artwork will exceed the current fashion trends. The space surrounding the grid/ block collage is extremely important- it represents isolation, introspection and awareness. The grid/ block appears to be suspended in space. The spatial relationship between one block / line to the next is also meaningful, it gives a sense of quiet, rest and then draws you back into the searching the collage again. A sense of movement comes from the interaction and the relationship to each ‘time line’. The eye automatically wants to read the work from top left to right, like a book or newspaper, it has something to do with our physiology and human conditioning. The movement is expressed through the horizontal and suspension of layers. The movement comes from within the viewer, not directly from the painting- it is an automatic response, but I feel it is entertaining and makes you want to come back time and time again to look at it.
  • What is the process of creating your art?
    This is a difficult question. No two works are the same. I use a variety of mediums, the medium I use is determined by the subject. In my current work I primarily use collage- magazine, newspaper, old artworks etc, acrylic, oil, charcoal, conte, graphite and pastel. In my artwork titled ‘Natural Selection’ (see gallery of artworks) I have utilised red and white wine, tea and coffee etc. This piece came runner up in the painting category in the Waterhouse Natural History Art Prize. Presently, I enjoy using mixed media on canvas, on large stretched canvas. Some of he areas are rubbed back- some not, some parts of the surface are painted and drawn over many times, some sections are detailed and some are not. This is directly linked to the subject. This process is often quite a healing experience. I construct and destruct most of the time. Calculating every step of the way. It is a time consuming and a personally satisfying process. I am assessing layer after layer to achieve the desired affect. Sometimes I leave parts of the canvas exposed, this usually represents where I reveal where I personally feel exposed and vulnerable. The aesthetic that I am currently achieving took me 12 months of exploring and experimenting with media. The subject always determining the medium including the surface/ support and the dimensions of the artwork. Sometimes I use MDF board, canvas, timber, linen or other times I have used water colour paper. I really do not want to locked into a specific surface or support. Currently I am using premium quality primed stretched canvas.
  • How/why does your art make people feel peaceful?
    I am in a good head space and am spiritually driven when I create. The textures are rich, the colours are inviting and many people are suggesting the artwork gives them a sense of peace, which is personally humbling. I am always assessing, layer after layer to achieve the desired effect. I love the aesthetics qualities/ texture of the layering. It is all about the layering- my personal history. I also love the texture/ aesthetic of the collage. There is a depth (visually, intellectually and metaphysically). The layering of the collage in parts are rubbed back and fragments of collage are remaining, to represent there are remnants of time left behind, like a distant memory. It is about the past and present. It is a social/ cultural comment on ageing, history and time. In our society we are programmed to read from top left to bottom right. I have created the works to be read the same way and people are comfortable with it but they don’t usually realize why. It is a passive response to influence the viewers psyche. The work sometimes evokes emotional responses from the viewer as they retell their own story. The artwork stirs memories, it maybe the colour or texture of the composition. Uniformly, my work is about my personal history and a sense of time, created in a a contemporary style . Conceptually, I work in an instinctive and emotional way, which reflects ‘peace’. I think this is what viewers respond to.
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