Dani Cabs QLD
What was the inspiration behind the piece that is a part of the SWELL Sculpture Festival 2021?
We were first inspired by the light emulsion process as a way of capturing ephemerality. Dani was explaining how cyanotype works and I thought about how it would correlate with the transient nature of dance. In our practice we are both inspired by play and have a deep appreciation for the beauty of natural landscapes. Living on the Gold Coast you can’t help but fall in love with the ocean, so it combines many inspirations in one.
Do you follow a process or plan for each new piece or do you ‘wing it’?
Being a fairly new collaborative team, our process depends on the project we are working on at any given time. The one constant in our collaboration thus far has been the trust we have in each other’s ideas. One of us will float an idea and then we allow it to flow until we make some work or decide we need a change of direction.
Would you describe your artistic journey as a slow burn or a wild ride?
I’d say it’s a combination of both. I started the journey in 2008, as a mature age student, studying Photographic Art at QCA, the time at uni and the few years after were a slow development of my processes, style and interests. That lead me to find Performance Art in 2014, which is what brought about the “wild ride”. Over the last five years or so I have had incredible opportunities performing in front of audiences at some of the biggest arts festivals all over the world.
Can you tell us a little bit more about how you became the artist that you are today?
I grew up in outer Sydney, in a rough community that didn’t value artistic expression. Never feeling like I entirely belonged lead me to travel as soon as I finished High School. Through those long periods away I was drawn to travel photography, eventually I moved to QLD and started studying photography.
While at uni I kept placing myself in front of the camera, playing characters, realising a passion for performance that rivalled image making. This has lead me to be able to adapt to a wide range of artist projects, from street photography to Clowning and everything in-between.
Describe your ideal environment where your creative juices flow?
I love the festival environment. Even though a lot of the development of the work happens prior to showing/performing my work at a festival – I find that surrounded by other artists, artworks and art lovers at a festival inspires new ideas and refines my work immensely.
Is there an artist or body of work that you would consider your muse?
I’m inspired by so many different artists, I could write a list as long as the dictionary naming them all, but I won’t.
Two artists and bodies of work that inspired me from very early on in my arts journey and whom I just saw exhibited at MONA in Hobart are, Tracey Moffatt and her work Something More and William Wegman’s Short Films from the 70’s. Both artists cross between image makers and performers in their work resonating with me greatly.
If you had to choose 3 words to describe your artistic style, what would they be?
Playful, absurd, honest.
Beyond SWELL 2021, is there a forthcoming project you are most excited about?
I’m currently in the early stages of developing a new YouTube series with a good friend and colleague Luca Bovino. We aren’t sure of how it will look just yet, but we know we want it to be fun, satirical, playful and educational. Discussing real life issues around community, environment, and well-being.
The two of us along with another colleague Sara Mitchell have created the group The InterACTs – we create interactive shows for festivals and are looking to take this show concept to theatres outside of the festival circuit.
What does exhibiting in SWELL 2021 mean to you?
It’s exciting to collaborate with Nadia who inspires me everyday to be a better artist and person.
I’ve enjoyed being an audience member at Swell for many years and always wanted to contribute but never thought the nature of my work would suit. So it’s a great opportunity to expand my artistic vocabulary and audience.
Is there anything you do to continue developing as an artist? Would you describe yourself as self-taught or formally educated in your artistic practice?
There are many things I could do to develop further. Collaborating with other artists always leads to growth, as do workshops and courses. As a performer a commitment to singing and dance lessons would better my skillset massively.
I’d say I’m a mix of self taught and formally educated. University gave me the technical skillset for photographic and video image creation, along with the understanding of art theory and dissemination.
In the performance realm it has been an education via trial and error, a willingness to say yes to new opportunities and learning along the way.
What food would you consider your guilty pleasure?
Pastries and Custards. Like a delicious apple and custard danish, or a Creme Bruleé. Or a Tiramisu, a good one though, super authentic. Even a good old Aussie Trifle. Geezus….all of it.
What skill or talent have you always wished you could master?
Singing. I’d love to be able to be on stage hosting an event, or performing a show and then just belt out a killer tune.
If you possessed a superpower, what would it be?
Flight. I’d love to soar above the world and see all the wonder happening below.
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.