THIS week we chat with soundscape artist, musician, animator, filmmaker and fabric and jewellery designer Paul Fletcher.
What initially motivated you to become an artist?
I’ve always loved imagination and play and felt that this was actually important for everyone and is something that just seemed to particularly suit me. I have been very lucky to be able to pursue this interest. I have subsidised this work using organic horticulture, gardening and teaching work as well as some commissions, grants and exciting collaborations with other artists and organisations. I’ve always seen art as a way to bring many interests and disciplines together and it is basically a stubborn fascination that will not go away!
Are there any particular recurring themes you like to feature in your work?
Definitely our place in nature, the importance of imagination, dreams, play, experimentation and the intrinsic interconnection of all living things.
Which other artists inspire you and why?
Inspirations come from everywhere. Particular light on a fungi, other peoples’ comments, conversations, behaviour of other animals or pets, others’ artworks from around the world and ages, a good or bad mood, a scientific theory.
To name just a few local artists who inspire me, Jacques Soddell’s steadfast experimentation in sound and video and huge contribution to fostering the artistic community in Bendigo, Ray Pearce for amazing skills, resourcefulness, play, imagination and uniqueness, as well as the craft and imagination of sculptor Anton Hassell.
What are some highlights or fond memories you have from your career so far?
I have spent many years teaching or facilitating the works of many other young and older artists in university and informal community contexts, and these are some of my happiest memories.
I also have a fond spot for the eight years of Hidden Creatures exhibitions that I originated and led as multi-artform installations in Rosalind Park Fernery and Town Hall basement as part of Bendigo’s Easter Fair. It was great to see hundreds of people, from toddlers, teenagers to elderly literally entering into the playfulness and serious appreciation of our part in nature.
How has your practice been affected by COVID? Has there been little change or has it had a substantial effect?
COVID lockdowns and disruptions seem to have produced an almost universal time of reflection, some enforced time for just quietly practicing and honing skills or learning new skills and assessing priorities to value and appreciate every minute and opportunity.
Where can people go to check out your work and, most importantly, purchase it?
My main website paulfletcherartwork.com/shop has a lot of links to my various online shop experiments from timber jewellery and mobiles to video, music, fabric designs and t-shirts. On this website there are also many freely available listening and watching audio-visual offerings.
Currently you can see some of my video and sound work in Helen Kelly’s wonderful Beneath our Feet. This exhibition is open 12pm to 5pm, Saturday and Sunday until 30 July. Lot 19, 19 McShanag Drive, Castlemaine.
What would you say to young regional aspiring artists who are thinking of making a go of the artistic life?
I would say to patiently, but boldly make your life artistic, whatever you find yourself doing. Stay open to all sorts of opportunities and twists and turns of challenges and rewards big and small. Explore, experiment, play, practice and share your distinct care and contribution to the world around you.