Art Talk | Caroline Walls
Artist Caroline Walls is fascinated with the female form. Her work features abstract female shapes and forms in all their organic and curvaceous glory over many mediums such as painting, painting, drawing, soft sculpture and print-making. Caroline funnels her broad experience as an artist into creating pieces which challenge our notion about the female form - especially what lies beneath the surface, the unseen aspect of a woman which can easily be neglected. Here, we catch up with Caroline to talk all things art and also find out her passion and drive as an artist.
Hi Caroline, tell us a little about the journey to where you are today? I have always had a keen interest in the visual arts and having completed an Honours Degree in Graphic Design I began working in large-scale fashion and lifestyle brand agencies as a Designer and Art Director both here and in London and New York. After years of doing this, I craved some creative autonomy and felt a real yearning to explore my own art practice, away from the restrictions of clients and design briefs. I returned to Melbourne and enrolled in a Post-Grad in Visual Arts as a way to explore this, and I haven’t looked back.
Your work includes painting, drawing, soft sculpture and print-making - which is your favourite medium to work with? My interest in working across multiple mediums is for varied reasons – it allows me to explore the same theme in many ways, to produce unique responses to the notion of the female form and what this word can evoke through varying the tactile and aesthetic qualities of each medium. The choice of medium can also dictate how spontaneous I can be – I choose drawing with charcoal for its ability to be freeing and expressive – anytime or anywhere, whereas my paintings on canvas are made up of highly considered compositions that take more planning and a deeper thought process. I love sitting with a painting for hours and methodically applying layers of paint – it’s really meditative.
As an artist, what theme do you always return to? I am deeply curious about the private and the public self and what we project to the world around us. As I’ve continued to develop my art practice I’ve moved towards a more abstracted response to the bodily forms I create, whereas when I initially began my paintings and drawings were much more literal in their depiction of a body, a breast, or an arm for instance. The works were very obviously figurative whereas now my figures and forms aren’t so easily perceived or understood.
Your work heavily features the female form - what is about it you find so alluring? I think it is really a mixture of things that drew me in to representing and interpreting the female body in my art practice. On a very basic level I really do love the aesthetics of the female form - its curves, solidness, its sensuality. But I’m also interested in what lies beneath the surface, I guess the unseen aspect of a woman that’s so easy to overlook. I am deeply curious about the notion of what it means to be a women in today’s social and political climate, and how women are represented in our current cultural sphere.
What do you love most about your job? Creative autonomy is the greatest love of my job – and of course having people respond to my work and collect my art for their home or interior is something I still pinch myself over.
How do you challenge yourself? Feeling the need to be constantly ‘on’ and inspired is often challenge enough for me to keep moving and develop my practice. In saying that though it’s often in down times when I am away from the studio when inspiration and clarity comes through.
Tell us a little about your own daily routine - what does a typical day involve for you? Each day is different to the next, although I love being in the studio creating I often spend the early morning responding to emails and handling the business side of my art-practice. By 10am I hope to have these sort of tasks out of the way to allow for the part I enjoy the most – paintings, drawing and thinking about upcoming projects and exhibitions. Generally, I will switch off by about 5pm for a few hours before returning to any further emails – I work with a lot of international clients so given the time difference, emails often start coming through in the evening. When preparing for an exhibition I tend to switch off from all of the business side of things as much as I can for a few months to allow me the headspace and focus to produce a new body of work.
What are you most passionate about? Laughing often, food, art-making and not taking myself too seriously.
You’ve spent a lot of time living in both London and New York - how has living in different places influenced your work? I tend to think that each city has inspired me differently.
Where do you go for inspiration? Old books in big libraries, galleries, travelling as often as possible and my wife.
What are you looking forward to in 2018? I am currently working on my next solo exhibition, opening on August 14th 2018 in Melbourne, Australia. The show will be a series of paintings exploring the boundaries of the female body - and how it has become a layer of armour between the inside of the body, mind and the outside world.
I usually wake up at: 5:30am as my wife heads off to her café business for the day.
My perfect day would involve: Good food, wine, sunshine, swimming and lots of laughs.
I am inspired by: The everyday human experience.
Best advice I’ve ever received: Anything you can dream, you can do.
I couldn’t live without: A pencil and paper.
My favourite daily ritual: A long morning walk with my dear friend and sounding board.
I recently discovered: Wide leg pants.
On my wish-list: More artwork for our home.
I’m currently reading: Call Me By Your Name by Andre Aciman.
And listening to: Perfume Genius.
My guilty pleasure: Gnocchi!
My mantra is: Make your own reality, dream big and never settle for a mediocre life.
+ Maybe She exhibition photography by Lisa Ray..