It's been so great to have such positive feedback on the photography interviews I've done here and here, so thank you! I'm absolutely loving searching out young creative people to interact with, and I'm really making an effort to find potential interviewees in a variety of different ways, so hopefully they will be brand new to the majority of readers. Since this is still a personal blog, I am only contacting people whose work reflects my own taste at this stage.
Jessica Bellman is a 21-year-old artist who is currently holding her first solo exhibition at the Red Brick Gallery in her hometown of Ballarat in the state of Victoria, Australia. Bellman says "[Red Brick Gallery is] a contemporary space which supports new artists, and is incredibly professional."
If I have any Melbourne-based readers lurking around, I recommend that you take a little road trip out to Ballarat, and check out Bellman's gorgeous paintings. For those of us living in less fortunate locations, Bellman has answered a list of questions below, about her work and her exhibition. You can find more examples of Bellman's work, and photos from her exhibition on her Facebook page, which I absolutely recommend you 'like'!
"Memento is a show about memories. Some of the paintings are people I have had in my life, some are experiences. It's about nostalgia, and has a touch of darkness and sadness, I think because they are all memories that have passed and will one day be completely gone."
How long have you spent preparing the body of work you will be showing?
There are 17 pieces in the show, and I have been working on them for three months.
How have you promoted Memento, and how did you promote your previous group and solo exhibitions?
Memento has been promoted online and also on printed invitations. Red Brick Gallery has done an incredible job of promoting the show too!
How old were you when you first picked up a paint brush?
My earliest memories of drawing is taking a large blue marker and drawing circles all up the hallway walls. I think I was about two years old, and I just loved to draw circles everywhere.
Did you study fine art at high school?
I have always drawn, but highschool allowed me to experiment with heaps of different mediums before settling into painting and drawing. Its where I first discovered oil paint, and I used to spend hours in the painting studio just experimenting - it was great!
What other qualifications have you gained in the fine arts field?
After highschool, I studied a Bachelor of Visual Arts (Graphic Design and Multimedia), and while I did learn graphics it also allowed me to progress my illustration skills.
Is your family artistic?
I think they all are in their own way, my mother is a keen creative writer, my brother is an incredibly talented guitarist and my dad loves to draw.
How do you earn a living?
I work as a full time graphic designer and its really great to be able to have a job in the creative field. It is very different from painting and illustration as you are working on the computer and general on commercial projects, but I really love having the mixture of this and being able to paint when I get home.
What was the first piece of art that you sold?
My first painting was a laser engraving/oil painting titled 'Keeper'. It was sold just after featuring in a group show to another artist, and I was blown away someone wanted to own my work!
What role has the internet played in getting your name known as an artist?
The internet is such a powerful tool. Coming from a rural town, it is great to be able to connect with people all around the world and also see what other artists are doing.
Who do you draw inspiration from?
I am very inspired by my husband. He is also an artist and designer, and is constantly cooking up something amazing! Its great to have someone to bounce ideas off, and get feedback from.
Who are your favourite artists?
I have a lot of favourites, and I am constantly finding new ones, but some are Glen Bellman, Audrey Kawasaki, Autumn Whitehurst, Kukula, Amy Sol, James Jean, Mark Ryden, Stella Im Hultberg, Marta Dahlig and Melanie Delon.
What inspires you?
I am constantly on the look out for inspiration, I love looking at other paintings and drawings, and seeing what new things other artists are up too!
What materials do you like to use for painting?
I have always draw with graphite, and I love combining it with oils. At the moment I love painting on wood, I just love the texture that shows through.
Do you buy a surface to fit a painting, or create a painting to fit the surface?
I think the painting fits into the surface. Sometimes I will crave doing a big painting, sometimes a small one!
Do you have a favourite colour to work with?
I go through phases where I will work with a set of colours for a series of paintings, and once that is out of my system move onto the next ones. Some colours I always seem to come back to are browns and creams, I think maybe because they are so neutral and match the wood so nicely.
Is there a particular gallery in the world where you would love to have your work exhibited?
I think one day I would love to exhibit somewhere overseas, maybe in California or Paris.
Do you have any goals for the next five years?
I have only just decided to be an artist, and I am loving it so far. From here I am keen to progress my body of work, and continue to exhibit - maybe work towards being represented by an Australian gallery. Whatever comes my way, I can't wait.
Jessica Bellman website.
Jessica Bellman Facebook page.
Red Brick Gallery website.