{the interview series} Gracia & Louise

Wednesday, 20 February 2013

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Chegou a tão aguardada altura de revelar o vencedor do giveaway lançado pela Sara Godinho...
Entre 43 entradas o site random.org decidiu que o leitor sortudo seria o número 3 - Parabéns Aleka, autora do blog Fishes Make Wishes!
Consultem o update no final do post da semana passada, com o anúncio do vencedor. Muito obrigada a todos os participantes e novos seguidores - e se não venceram desta vez continuem a testar a vossa sorte em próximas oportunidades!

E para a entrevista de hoje trago-vos um duo criativo com um trabalho ecléctico e um sentido de humor requintado: Gracia & Louise. Elas são duas artistas australianas que colaboram frequentemente, juntando a criatividade e a paixão pelo papel como meio artístisco de ambas. Criam zines, livros de artista, inesperadas composições e colagens onde as influências pelo vintage e o mundo animal se juntam. Descubram-nas, vale a pena!
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It arrived the long-awaited time to reveal the name of the winner of Sara Godinho's giveaway...
Among 43 entries the site random.org decided that the lucky winner would be number 3 - Congratulations Aleka, from Fishes Make Wishes!
Check the update at the end of last week's post with the announcement of the winner. Many thanks to all participants and new followers - and if you didn't win this time, keep testing your luck at the next opportunity!

And for today's interview I bring you a creative duo with an eclectic body of work and an exquisite sense of humor: Gracia & Louise. They are two Australian artists that collaborate frequently, sharing their creativity and love for papel as an artistic media. They create zines, artists' books, unexpected compositions and collages where the influence of vintage and the animal world meet. Discover them, it's worth it!

Gracia&Louise

Gracia’s artists’ book, This is where the dormouse lives

Tell us...
Who are Gracia and Louise?
We can be described as two artists who often work collaboratively. We make artists’ books and other works on paper, and have been busy at this since 1999. Melbourne-based, we work from home, in any room of the house that suits purpose, and we are besotted with paper for its foldable, concealable, revealing nature. In our work, we like to play with the idea of things not always being as they first appear. Our artists’ books and other works on paper, from collages, prints, drawings, and zines, are in the collections of the State Libraries of N.S.W., Queensland, and Victoria, the National Gallery of Australia, Tate (UK), and others.

Gracia is High Up in the Trees
Louise is Elsewhere
And together we are Gracia & Louise

Have you become what you wanted to be when you grew up? What inspires you to create?
The answer to this question is both yes and no. Yes, we are both working full time on our artwork (supported also by freelance graphic design work, and teaching students to paint through Open Universities Australia at RMIT university). This is a wonderful position to be in, one both of us have aspired to since little and one we’ve actively taken steps towards. But there is so much we want to do. So many works to make and to find the means to make. We would love one day to be in the position to publish a book of our artwork. “Every book is the wreck of a perfect idea,” said Iris Murdoch, and this sums up this feeling of still reaching, still going, still polishing and perfecting, still trying to make the work one sees clearly in the mind’s eye. Whilst we’ve still ideas and interest, we’ll keep going, trying to make that work you are happy with, though deep down its completion is unlikely. This is what inspires us to keep climbing up the mountain, and we are not ready to begin the descent.

(Louise) installing By This Unwinking Night
(Gracia) installing By This Unwinking Night

Share with us...
Your artistic media of choice.
Paper for its brilliant diversity and abundance, from beautiful new sheets of hot-pressed paper to draw on and bind into book format to found papers and books to modify. Along with having a natural affinity with paper, it is also something that is relatively small and easy to store. There is, for example, nothing to stop you making a series of postcard collages on the lounge room floor. It requires little space. There is no excuse not to draw in a sketchbook. There is also, depending on your taste, little financial outlay. You can always find paper to draw on and art supply stores sometimes have great sales.

The favourite corner of your workspace.
No favourite corner for it does not matter where you work. You don’t really notice your surrounds when working as, like blinkers on a horse, the work is the sole focus. It does not matter that there are dishes in the sink and clothes to wash for once you start on those tasks, the day is all but gone. You can be doubled over in curious pose as you glue piece after piece in a collage, your body’s comfort deemed irrelevant for the moment. But there are a few requirements, like a good light source so as to see what you are doing. And the company of sleeping pets sure helps the atmosphere. Finally, if the noisy neighbour is crashing about and breaking his furniture with an axe, a little classical music as a sound buffer helps.

A day at work.
This is always varied. We are fond of early starts. In the early morning, working before other tasks crash into the picture is preferable, and whilst ideas feel within hand’s grasp.

A business tip.
Advice both received and followed: love what it is you do and keep going, no matter the obstacle. Focus on turning shortcomings into something else; flexibility and resourcefulness are indispensable tools. Yes, just the usual stuff to keep one coasting along, really.

An advice to your younger you, and future plans.
The answer to the above is perhaps what we’d whisper to our younger selves though it is probably something we’d dismiss with a shoulder shrug, and to focus on turning a mistake into something other is perhaps what the future holds. There is nothing that cannot be salvaged and transformed later if you are happy to keep altering your intentions. So, we’ll keep climbing the mountain for now, making new works and dreaming large.

Louise’s Jamaican tody (Todus todus), as part of the exhibition By This Unwinking Night
(Gracia) installing Charms of the Gloaming

Let us know…
A personality that influences you.
These questions seem to be getting harder, the further we progress. Shades of a certain hobbit’s adventures are drawn. One personality? It’s probably wise to point out to you at this stage that editing is not something that comes easily to either of us, and minimalism is not our hallmark. We gather influence from a wide range, knowingly and otherwise. We keep, we collect, we hoard. We store, we mull, we squirrel. We are influenced by things we have seen and read. By things ordinary and peculiar. By things darkly beautiful, and other things so light, so fleeting, they need to be tethered lest they float away. And we are supported by the love and interest of our loved ones near and dear, our family and friends.

A book you think everyone should read.
Everyone should read more. Any book, new or classic, long or short. We’d like to see reading seen less as a leisure pursuit, something people say they do not have time for. Today, a combined list of recent reads we’ve loved (though others may not) would include something by Patrick Hamilton, Charles Dickens, Tove Jansson, Thomas Hardy, and something published by Little Toller Books for bringing the natural world indoors to the armchair reader-cum-explorer.

An unforgettable movie.
To pick only one, even if we each answered and together that made two, why, this is impossible. One brilliantly unforgettable film? There are so many, too many. Given that we have recently watched The Story of Film: An Odyssey, (an eight-part, 15-hour series) learning and in awe of film from 1895 roots to present day, this is not something we can narrow down no matter how hard we try this morning. But this we can say, we are looking forward to this year’s film festival. To that stretch of days in winter when 50+ films are seen, sometimes four stacked one atop the other in a single day. A quick look back through August 2012’s archives, and there are all the films seen and loved. Roll on, MIFF 2013, we’re ready.

A city to fall in love with.
By now, you will have sensed a pattern. You know there is no one city we can answer. All have their charms, some more than others, and all have their shortcomings too. Time away is wonderful. Perhaps we will leave it at the city best to fall in love with is either the one you are in or the one you travel to next.

A favourite food and drink.
Lest we sound too unsure of our footing, too unable to make a choice, like two who dither day and night save for when it comes to collaging or drawing and limiting visual overload, we will answer in unison: coffee. By far the favourite drink for us both. It is a little after 9am as we prepare this for you and already we’ve had two strong coffees and a third is not all that far off. As to food, anything home-cooked is best. When you can be liberal with spice and all is well and relaxed. It is these meals that we remember most.

A guilty pleasure.
None that we feel a sense of guilt spring to mind, really. Perhaps, at a stretch, frittering away time could fall under this banner. Scratch that, good ideas can sometimes appear when one lolls about and we are terrific at pottering.

Greeting cards

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