Artist Interview: Michelle Gilks

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Colour and creativity is what excites me about Michelle’s work. I first stumbled across her very engaging work at an exhibition in Fremantle over a year ago. Since becoming friends on Facebook I have seen her work evolve over time. I have always loved her expressive style, use of bright colours and interesting delightful designs.

I was fortunate enough to have Michelle answer some questions; here are her answers…

Please describe in a nutshell your motivation for painting:

It’s hard to describe my motivation for painting…I paint because it’s what makes me happiest!  I get fully absorbed in the process of painting – combining colours, adding swirls and drips, and then building up to the final image.  When I am painting I can lose myself in the process and I guess it’s almost a form of meditation or stress release.  I have a very busy mind, and when I’m painting my mind just focuses on that one thing.  I put on some of my favourite music and just begin!

I especially love that moment when the painting is finished and I stand back and see what has happened on what was once a blank canvas.

I love this little piggy.
I love this little piggy.

What things, topics, ideas inspire you to be more creative?

I love to create beautiful things.  Anything that is beautiful is a potential inspiration for me.  Beauty of course comes in many different forms.  In the past I was particularly fascinated with portraits, but not necessarily representing conventional beauty.  At the moment I am painting the natural world and am particularly interested in animals.

Last year my Dad was diagnosed with cancer, which strangely enough ended up being an inspiration to me.  I decided that I could either wallow in the sadness of it, or choose to express myself and therefore release my feelings through my paintings.  My work around this time featured many birds in flight.  These were representative of breaking free of the sadness and seeking the positive.  Many of these pieces featured in my 2014 solo exhibition ‘Transformation’.

What advice would you give to other creatives?

Stop comparing yourself to other artists.  Everyone is unique and there is no art that is better or more worthy than another.     If your art brings you joy, and perhaps joy to others, that’s all that matters.  Creativity is an amazing gift.  You could tie yourself up in knots thinking ‘ I wish I could paint like….’, but at the end of the day it’s much better to paint like yourself!

Love the colours and meditative closed eyes on this beauty.
Love the colours and meditative closed eyes on this beauty.

Do you have any exciting projects/exhibitions in the near future you would like to share?

This year I have spent my time entering local art awards and other collaborative exhibitions, just to ‘get my work out there’ and gain more experience in exhibiting.

Next year I am planning an exhibition with another artist – Samantha Hughes.  Samantha and I met working together on an artist in residence project at the school I was teaching at.  We have since completed a second project together with the students’ at my latest school.

Samantha is an illustrator and an author.  Her style is super colourful and quirky and we get along so well!  We are planning a joint exhibition of animal inspired works and are just waiting to hear back about a proposal submission.  Stay tuned!

What is your art background or experience so far, in a nutshell?

I have no formal training in art really.  It has always been something that I have loved doing.  I have done a few art courses here and there – UWA  Summer School, a Tafe unit in oil painting and so on, but no formal qualification.  I also work as an art specialist in a primary school, so I am surrounded by art all day!

What are three of your passions in life?

Creating beautiful things!  Travelling and seeing the beauty of the world.  My family and friends.

What is one of your ultimate goals as an artist?

Ultimately I would love to be able to earn a good living just by being an artist.  Being able to devote all that time to something I love would be amazing!  It would also be great to be an artist whose work people would aspire to own.

~~~The end~~~

Michelle is a successful artist in my eyes. She continues to push herself out of her comfort zone and to exhibit her work; I realise self promotion is key to success for an artist. You really have to believe in your work that’s for sure!

You can reach her Facebook page here.

I love to be inspired by other artists and I hope you have also enjoyed her wonderful art work.

Have a great day,

Love Anita xx

Creativity takes courage.” Henri Matisse

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