Just ask me anything - Q&A with Heath
Surprisingly, some of you actually read our e-mails (shock) and a few of you went so far as to reply with suggestions when we asked you if you would like to ask me a question, ANY question. Big thanks to those of you who did.
Below are answers to some of the questions.
Ian asked: what are you inspired or influenced by?
The answer this question is best summarised by Paul Smith who said "inspiration comes from everything". He's right.
I have a little bit of an obsession with books. At the moment, I'm collecting as many [visual] books on propaganda that I can get my hands on. I have bought a few more this month. My current favourite at the moment is Made in North Korea - Graphics from Everyday Life in the DPRK. Definitely recommend.
When I was out in Copenhagen I also managed to check out the infamous Shrig Shop, which I have to admit really inspired me. I like that he has made his work accessible and appealing to all people.
Matt asked: what are you looking at?
I went to see David Bray's latest collection at Stolen Space (Feb 2nd to Mar 12th) so too late to see this show not but I highly recommend checking David Bray out if you haven't already. I've also started reading 21 Lessons for the 21st Century by Yuval Noah Harari, which is both inspiring and frightening in equal measure.
What are you watching?
I've just started watching Last of Us (TV series), and came across this Aussie gem of a movie The Drover's Wife - The Legend of Molly Johnson. Both are worth watching.
What am I listening to?
You can check out my latest Spotify playlist . Otherwise, I listen to quite a lot of audio books. I'll share my recommended list if I can figure out how!
Marcia asked: what's your process for developing new ideas and series?
Creating new collections is hard work. It really is a voyage into the unknown. For a long time I've been thinking about adopting propaganda as the topic for my upcoming work. In many ways it has always been there.
At the moment I'm at the stage where I'm trying to really bring it to life. There's so much I've yet to explore. I find running is a great place to start. The monotony of a long run usually clears my head and gives me the time and space to think about a new direction or piece of art I’m working on. I rate long showers too.
The hardest part is taking an idea that gets you excited and making it real. Often the two don't always align. This is where persistence normally helps. Equally - as most creatives know: you work when you're feeling creative and you do the mundane clerical stuff when you're not.
Tom asked: are there any similarities between the processes of a (graphic) designer and artist?
Coming from a background in design, and having run my own design/branding agency I don't think you can directly compare the two. However, a commercial design background means you approach art in a way that is probably different from that of an art student.
I approach my work through the lens of a brief per se - and by that I mean, I work out what I am trying to sell or achieve, what's the key message and who my audience is. The brief is to create things that I'm particularly passionate about, and create art that I would have on my own walls.
Many people don't realise I created Rich Enough to be Batman, and almost all my other collections, for myself. I had no interest in selling, it was just a fortunate bi-product. As a result I am now full-time employed on the simple mission to create artwork that I really enjoy thinking about and creating. This might be the single most important difference between design and art - pleasing yourself versus trying to please other people.
Kev asked: What art groups or things do you recommend for artists who are on their own too often?
I’m not part of any art group as such. I always assumed that being an artist would be quite an isolated endeavour, one where you have to fend for yourself. My advice to any artist is to exhibit your work as much as possible - meet people and observe their reactions. It’s ok if people don’t like your work. If it’s being seen then you can’t ever complain that you’re a lonely artist!
Abi asked: What are your weekend plans?
My favourite weekend pastime is visiting the skip. Other than that it's : work, run and eat pastries. But not necessarily in that order.
Johnenry asked: What is your favourite biscuit for dunking and do you have a top 3? And why?
I’m not really one to dunk, nor am I a big tea drinker. I also don't drink coffee. That being said, when I was younger I did like Marie biscuits, Tim Tams and the occasional Anzac. In truth, I can’t really remember the last time I ate a biscuit!! Weird right?
Tuff World asks: Do you have an art collection at home? what would be your dream piece to own?
Yes - I’ve acquired a number of pieces over the years. Normally from artists I have worked with, as well as pieces from artists I just admire. In the last year or two I’ve managed to buy a David Shrigley (‘Fucking Ace’) which I had wanted for a long time. My dream would be to own either a Jeff Koon’s Balloon Dog or a large Harland Miller original. I’m sure I could add many more to the list but these two would certainly be the most wanted.
What is your mission as an artist?
I want the work I create to evoke a dialogue that encourages social change. I never want my work to just be enjoyed and critiqued by art lovers. I want it to be accessible for everyone.
What is your process for creating art?
My work is always centred around a narrative; or a tapestry of interwoven stories. I remain unattached to a particular medium or technique - they are secondary to the messaging or idea I want to convey.
If you had to have one, would you prefer a Queen or a King to reign over us?
The Queen. She was the surrogate grandmother to most people in the world.
How does creating art make you feel?
I sometimes find it challenging to find the right idea. Or, if I find the right idea it can be hard to translate it into meaningful art. When I do end up creating something meaningful, it’s the best reward.
If there's anything you'd be interested to know, please contact us and we'll try and put the answers in our next newsletter which you can sign up for here (if you'd like).