Angela van Boxtel QLD
What was the inspiration behind the piece that is a part of the SWELL Sculpture Festival 2021?
The old adagio ‘if you got lemons make lemonade’ exploring the idea if you got nothing get creative. The sculpture is entirely made (knitted) out of lemon netting disposed as industrial waste on the tip. Lemon netting is single use plastic; most of us use it regularly to send off to landfill. We don’t need netting for lemons to make lemonade. Focus on the lemons or think what you dispose of. The square footage of the knit represents our mutual footprint – rethinking waste while being playful.
Do you follow a process or plan for each new piece or do you ‘wing it’?
I definitely ‘wing it’. Each new piece is about exploring. I first have to find the waste material that talks to me. Often when I drink coffee, ‘my zen moment’, I get visions of ideas by simply reading lots of magazines, talking to lots of different people or just staring into space. Think it’s stimulating the synapses in the brain. I was lucky for this piece to be able to ask collaborating artist Fraser the Razor if it would be possible to make me gigantic knitting needles from scrap metal. ‘You should have seen the look on his face….’
Would you describe your artistic journey as a slow burn or a wild ride?
Definitely a wild ride but also with a bit of a slow burn at the end. As with any crazy idea, it’s just an idea in your head and while on the journey you figure out the details in the process. In the moments you think ‘what was I thinking’, you’ve got to persist. Sometimes that is a hard part as in my case I work with waste materials and I can not go ask anyone ‘how did you do this’ as I am on the front line of exploring and that makes it fun and definitely wild.
Can you tell us a little bit more about how you became the artist that you are today?
Wow, that’s a long story and hard to tell in a nutshell. I am actually academically trained with a university degree in Media & Communications with Psychology/Anthropology on the side with no formal training in the arts. What got me started one day was a young woman with a big bag of plastic bottle caps begging me to do something for the environment. I grew up on a farm in the Netherlands, we made do with whatever was available. I was always making things with what I found when young. I think I just awoke that crazy child within me.
Describe your ideal environment where your creative juices flow?
Definitely nature. I love to get lost there and often when walking in the bush or swimming in the ocean ideas or solutions pop in my head. I also love movies and documentaries, anything related to the sixties or seventies which seems so much more creative and free to me as a society. I also love ‘ugly urban environments’ or those grey city areas, it’s there where I start decorating in my head how much more colourful & inspiring these places can look like. AND definitely as previously mentioned…coffee shops and drinking coffee!
Is there an artist or body of work that you would consider your muse?
Yes. My muses are my Mum and my Grandmother as they taught me all those amazing textile skills I now transfer to larger ideas. They taught me sewing, crochet & knitting but above all they taught me problem solving and that everything can be fixed. They also taught me having limits (having no art resources) is fun as it’s there where the creativity flows. Then there are my male muses such as my Dad & all the other farmers I knew when I was young. They were always fixing things. As a kid it was normal to be around tools and fix things.
If you had to choose 3 words to describe your artistic style, what would they be?
Colourful, fun, educational.
Beyond SWELL 2021, is there a forthcoming project you are most excited about?
Yes. I am working on a large floating piece for Floating Land – Noosa in October.
I am very excited about this as it’s rare you have a show where you can display your sculpture in the water. Lake Cootharaba is just stunning. Interestingly I will be working with plastic bottle caps again, it looks like my art career is back to full circle after 10 years time. I will be adding some other things but that stays a surprise for now but I think it will take my art back into a different direction – media, as to where it all started.
What does exhibiting in SWELL 2021 mean to you?
It means an opportunity to show my work to a new audience in an absolutely stunning location. I always wanted to be part of it. Although logistical wise when living in NSW is not always possible. So I am extremely thrilled to be invited for this year (being a Queenslander myself now) and can’t wait to meet all the other amazing artists and check out the sculptures.
Is there anything you do to continue developing as an artist? Would you describe yourself as self-taught or formally educated in your practice?
I am self taught. I am always interested to learn from others. I am mostly interested in learning traditional crafts skills which I then can translate to my art. I also find that by teaching myself I learn a lot. As students simply inspire you, their ideas, their visions. Everyone is different and you can learn something new every day. It does not have to be major. Or as I mentioned simply have a coffee with a stranger. Get out of your normal circle and explore what is.
If you were to go on a holiday, would you venture to the ocean or the mountains?
I used to say ocean. I am a long distance ocean swimmer and I love the water. Though since moving to Queensland and living in Noosa I have learned the beauty of the Hinterland and I must see where I venture now is changing. I love exploring the mountains and can’t wait once the borders are open to take this passion around the world. But for now Queensland has so much beauty, we are so lucky and glad to be stuck here.
Gourmet restaurant or home-cooked meal?
Home cooked meal as long as I don’t have to cook it myself.
How would you describe your taste in music?
Old fashioned gal that loves to sing along to anything that you can sing along to… it can be from every era. It needs to pull on the heart strings and open up the lungs.
Courtney Stephens is an emerging creative event producer based in Tweed Heads. After a successful career as a Practice Manager, her passion for the creative arts industry has led her to study a Bachelor of Business in Convention and Event Management. She hopes to balance her love for the arts, culture and nature with her strengths in communication and management to create community based events.