Artist Interviews 2023 | Caitlin Mansfield

/ / Artist Interviews 2023

We Asked Caitlin Mansfield 12 Interesting Questions About Herself.

What was the inspiration behind your piece for SWELL Sculpture Festival 2023?

UP-RISE was a concept created by Ben Tarento. This dramatic sculpture draws its inspiration from the awe-inspiring world of coral reefs in the ocean. As artists, we recognise the critical need to shed light on the delicate balance of marine ecosystems and the impact of human activity on these precious underwater realms.
My role in UP-RISE is painting the structure. The use of UV blacklight signifies a symbolic awakening of consciousness, a call to illuminate the significance of coral reefs and their fragile existence. With fluorescent paint, we aimed to replicate bioluminescence. Bioluminescence serves a variety of crucial functions. Some organisms use it for communicating, attracting mates or deterring predators. Others use it as a warning sign when under duress or hunting and capturing prey by illuminating the dark depths, turning the tables on unsuspecting targets. The viewers can decide what UP-RISE is using it for.

As an artist, how do you manage a work-life balance?

As an artist, art educator and mother of 2 little girls, maintaining a work-life balance is extremely important to me. Art is not only my passion but also a significant part of my daily life, and I have found a beautiful synergy between my creative pursuits, my role as an art educator, and my responsibility as a mother.
One of the key factors that contribute to this balance is involving my children in my art classes. By sharing my love for art with them, I get to spend quality time while nurturing their creativity & artistic development. As well as the support of my husband, his assistance with my art and understanding of the demands of my artistic career has allowed me to have the time and space to nurture my creativity while giving me the flexibility to prioritise my family when needed.

If you could travel back in time and do one thing, when would it be and what would you do?

If I could go back in time and do one thing, I would love to see Janis Joplin live. I’d go to Woodstock! I’d get to see Jimi Hendrix, Jefferson Airplane, The Who.. So many amazing musicians. I think I would love that whole experience.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever been given? either professionally or socially 

“Happiness is a choice” -ever since hearing that, I have always chosen to be happy 🙂

If you weren’t an artist, what would your profession be?

I’ve always wanted to be an astronaut. Since I was very young I have dreamed of going to outer space. Seeing our continents from above, without lines or boarders. Or seeing our sun from outside the planet, with a pitch black background like a star.
Some of my first drawings were of me in space! My mom still has a drawing I did when I was 7, of me as an astronaut on the moon shaking hands with an alien.
However, I found math and science to be challenging. Despite my unwavering yearning for the stars, the stars themselves seemed to be scattered too far across complex equations. Today, my paintings take me through the cosmos. My theme throughout my artistic career has always be space and our universe. I cant physically get to the stars but I have found a way to bring them to me.

If you are having a ‘cuppa’ is it tea or coffee?

Ah, the delightful dilemma of choosing between a comforting cuppa! I can have tea or coffee. I usually pick whatever is easiest!
Herbal tea.

What was your most played song last year?

Spotify says it’s Trolls Wanna Have Fun from the Trolls Movie. Thank you children! If I scroll down enough on my Top Songs playlist I found Cant Get It Out by Brand New and Polar Opposites by Modest Mouse. Theres a lot of Encanto & Smurfs songs in between.

What is your easy-to-watch movie?

The Devils Rejects by Rob Zombie. Horror movies are also a passion of mine!

In your opinion, how can artists support each other?

I think as artists it’s important to foster a sense of community, to collaborate and to encourage each other!! When we support each other we grow, learn and work towards advancing the world of art as a whole.
Artists support each other by appreciating each other’s art.

Is sustainability important for you and your work?

Absolutely. All the metal we’ve used in UP-RISE has been repurposed industrial fixtures and the steel is recyclable. Even in my children’s art classes I focus heavily on sustainability. Most of my lessons involve recycled materials- lots of cardboard, bubble wrap, plastic bits, etc. Children who come to my classes often bring me bags of things they’ve collected from their recycling that they think they can use in our art projects. I love coming up with new ideas depending on the recycled materials I’ve been given!

When is your favourite time of the day to create art?

Whenever I can fit it in!

If you could have lunch with any artist from any era, who would it be?

If I could have lunch with any artist I think lunch with Salvador Dalí would be pretty interesting! He would have had an extraordinary way of viewing the world and expressing his thoughts, so I can imagine conversations with him would have been mind-bending. I’d love to get his insights to the symbolism and meanings behind his paintings, and maybe some style tips!