An Interview with Carley Cornelissen
An Interview with Carley Cornelissen
Carley is an emerging Australian artist based on the Sunshine Coast, Queensland. Her contemporary works are beautiful, colourful and full of energy. Carley has strong feelings towards the way humans treat animals. This inspired her to use her work to highlight the influence of human population and greed on the environment. Each piece she creates holds a special meaning, hidden in the flowers, the insects, birds or animals. Carley’s pieces contain references to endangered fauna, extinct animals and wildlife at risk.
1. Can you tell us something about your beginnings as an artist? What motivated you to pursue artistic career, how and when did it all start? (Does it include formal art education?)
In my teenage years I was in love with painting and drawing but thought I should follow a more structured career path and started studying Graphic Design straight out of high school but after six weeks dropped out and moved to a visual arts course and then on to complete my Bachelor of Fine Arts and have never stopped painting since!
2. Who are your biggest influences; people, movements, styles you looked upon while establishing your visual language?
My work is very inspired by pattern, design and colour, I find a lot of inspiration in anything from street art to interior design to paint swatches I collect from the hardware store! I am lucky enough to work in an art supply shop so a lot of my inspiration comes from my nine to five job!
3. How would you describe your style in terms of techniques, mediums, materials you use etc.? What are those specific features that make your work unique and original?
I always refer to myself as a mixed media artist because of the different techniques and form of acrylic I used in my work. I use acrylic not only in paint form but also paint pens and acrylic spray paint as well as stencils and photo transfer techniques.
I have been experimenting with photo transfer techniques since I was in University over ten years ago and I constantly feel that I am learning something new. The process is quite experimental and sometimes the result was not what I expected which can be a good or bad time!
4. How does your creative process look?
I don’t normally sketch down ideas, I can usually see what I want to create in my mind and just go from there, there is a lot of room for change in the process and I will often remove parts or certain colours if I don’t think they are working. I am not precious at all when painting, I find that constantly making changes normally produces the most interesting work. Sometimes I can be a little too spontaneous and that can also be a good or bad thing!
5. What is your greatest inspiration?
I’d have to say colour. I feel like I am always thinking about colour combinations and patterns and it makes me so excited to get into the studio and try them out.
6. What are the themes you usually tackle in your work and why are they of particular interest to you?
For the last five years I have been really interested in and horrified by the plight of endangered species. I use them as the subject matter in most of my works to highlight their situation but without all the doom and gloom that can often be associated with endangered species. With education and awareness I believe there is still a lot of hope for the world’s creatures.
7. Can you describe the evolution of your style over the years? Are there any important phases in your career you would like to highlight?
My continued exploration of transfer techniques is always evolving my work. The more experience I gain with acrylic techniques and mediums the further I feel like I can push my work. It tended to be simpler years ago and with a lot more negative space but as my confidence grows the negative space seems to shrink!
8. Which project, exhibition, artwork etc. do you find most significant in your work so far? Can you single out some important milestones in your career?
My first solo show four years ago was a sell out and I feel that was so significant because it really gave me the confidence and boost I needed in that early stage of my career. Lately I have completed some private commission murals which I absolutely adore doing, I really feel comfortable with large scale pieces.
9. What are the messages you’re trying to send to the viewers and what are the responses (feelings, questions, thoughts…) you hope to provoke?
I definitely am trying to bring awareness to the plight of endangered species in a lot of my work, hopefully being confronted with these species in a very intensely bright and patterned piece will strongly resonate with the viewer.
10. What are your plans for the future (this year and in general)?
I would love to complete more murals, I did two in January so hopefully 2017 will be the year of the mural for me! It is really coming into the art prize season here in Australia at the moment so I will be busy working on entries for the next couple of months.
11. How do you feel being represented by an overseas gallery? How does this compare to being represented in Australia?
It is certainly exciting to be represented by such a wonderful gallery in London! My work feels very much influenced by my local area, very tropical and bright so to be able to present that on the other side of the world feels very special!
12. Are there any go to galleries in your area that inspire you?
I live on the Sunshine Coast in Queensland and it is quite a beachy, outdoor kind of place and there are very few galleries. But an hour south from here is Brisbane, the capital city and there is a really amazing gallery of modern art there (GOMA) definitely worth the drive! I did live in Melbourne for a long time and still visit friends there a number of times a year and I always love to get my gallery fix when down there, I miss living there for the amazing art, coffee and food!