Wednesday, June 25, 2014

In Conversation: Mic Eales

We had an amazing turn out for the launch of Re-writing the Image, and after all of our lovely visitors had gone home, I went for a walk around the empty gallery. I had my own responses and thoughts about each of the artist’s works, but I wanted to know more. I was hungry for more meaning and who better to ask than the artists themselves. This is the first in a series of interviews with the artists of Re-writing the Image.

3000 (2014), performance piece, dimensions variable, performed 17/06/2014, Copyright courtesy of the artist.

Mic Eales is an installation artist based on a small farm in northern NSW who has just completed his visual arts based PhD titled, Different Voice Different Perspective: An arts-based and evocative research response to original voice narratives of suicide. As an art-based researcher with a history of self-harm and suicide, his aim is to consciously explore some of the difficult questions inherent within the phenomena of suicide by helping to unwrap personal narratives in a sensitive way.

Paradoxical Spiral (2012), mixed media, dimensions variable, Copyright courtesy of the artist.

Tell us about yourself, where are you from?
MIC EALES: The easiest way to describe myself is that on the outside, I am an old guy, but the inner me is someone who still resists growing up - I am a big kid at heart. My personal space is very important to me which is one of the reasons that my lovely wife and I live on a small farm in the Northern Rivers region of NSW. We share our property with an assortment of wildlife, several chooks and grow a few vegy’s. We visit our 2 grandchildren whenever we can - even though they exhaust me make me feel like an old ….

How would you describe your work? What materials do you use?
Essentially I see myself as a storyteller so I use whatever materials I feel best conveys the story that I am endeavoring to portray or express. My work is highly layered and symbolic. I originally trained as a potter/ceramist back in the early 80’s where I began combining clay and natural fibres. After a 12 year break I returned to art making and developed a strong interest in bronze casting and handmade paper-making at Southern Cross University. I am very much a mixed media artist. 

3000 (2014), performance piece, dimensions variable, performed 17/06/2014, Copyright courtesy of the artist.

What’s your favourite word? What does it mean and why do you like it?
Serendipitous - occurring or discovered by chance in a happy or beneficial way - fortuitous. Most, if not all of my artworks have involved a sense of serendipity at some point of their creation. Where else does inspiration come from? Paradoxical spiral came into being through the picking up of a babies booty and a spiraling tattoo - go figure!!

If you could collaborate with any other artist, who would it be and why?
Most of my works are collaborations. Paradoxical spiral is a collaboration with poet Jessica Raschke. Jessica and I are currently collaborating on another project together. Joesph Beuys would be fun to collaborate with but then again I am sure that he may have channeled through me once or twice before.

What inspires you?
Nature, people, babies booties and spiraling tattoo’s - inspiration is all around, we just have to open our eyes to it.

When you’re creating art, do you listen to music or work in silence? If so, what is the soundtrack to your creativity?
My studio overlooks a large dam at the back of our property so I generally listen to the noises of the wildlife, I talk to myself a lot and talk to the various creatures that inevitably visit my open air studio.

What do you think people will take away from seeing your work?
Storytelling in whatever form is a deeply human activity that can lead to shared knowledge and understanding. One of the major objectives of Paradoxical spiral, my performance piece and for that matter most of my artistic work, is to find ways that can invite new meaning making around the issue of suicide (or trauma in general), to develop empathy for the suicidal mind and to engage with diverse audiences to help them better understand their own relationship with the issue of suicide/trauma. That said, people will I hope, create their own meanings though inner dialogue and transform their sense and interaction with the work into their own stories.

Where can people find out more about your work?

What’s next for you, any big projects coming up?
Over the next few months I will be carrying out several more performance pieces (Perth and Brisbane) and using the resulting scrolls to create a series of Artist Books. As most of my work revolves around the issue of suicide from a lived expertise perspective I am now very heavily involved with Suicide Prevention Australia. Apart from my collaboration with Jessica Raschke I am hoping to get back into doing some bronze casting in the near future.

What is one piece of advice you would give to an aspiring artist?
Be passionate and trust your intuition (that’s two).

No comments: