What was the inspiration behind your piece for SWELL Sculpture Festival 2022?
My sculpture for SWELL 2022, emblem, has been inspired by my obsession for orchids. They are the most exotic and enticing of flowers. I love their intricate patterns and elegant forms. They are nature at its showiest and they have so much personality. I especially enjoy discovering Australian native varieties.
What does exhibiting in the 20th year of SWELL Sculpture Festival mean to you?
Exhibiting in the twentieth SWELL means the world to me. It is an honour to be a part of such a dedicated community of creatives and art enthusiasts in such a magical part of the world, especially when knowing there are two decades of hard work behind building the festival up to what it is today.
What is the coolest art tip you’ve ever received?
‘Inspiration exists, but it has to find you working.’ Picasso
Is It lonely working as an artist? If so, how do you combat that?
It can be quite lonely working on a project where nobody else quite understands what you are working towards and why. For example – If you are collecting colourful rubbish. The best way to combat this is by going out and experiencing other artist’s work… it always inspires me to keep going!
What does your dream collaboration look like, and which artist/s would you chose?
I would love to collaborate with the iconic Australian artist, Ken Done. His work brings such joy, with its vibrant colour combinations and positive energy. I love that his art isn’t overworked… it leaves space for the imagination to take over. I especially love Ken’s stylised depictions of tropical blooms like Birds of Paradise and would create something inspired by these.
What is your favourite art supply store of all time?
Reverse Garbage is my ultimate art supply store. One man’s trash is often my treasure and I love going in there not knowing what I’ll find. It’s a great feeling knowing you’re creating from pre-used or unwanted materials that might otherwise become landfill.
If you could have lunch with any artist from any era, who would it be?
If I could have lunch with any artist it would be with my partner, Christian Newton because he is a wonderful cook and great company. He always encourages me to stay positive, keep creating and see the brighter side.
What is your favourite thing to do after completing a major project?
My favourite thing to do after finishing an artwork is to see the reactions of curious onlookers. I especially enjoy seeing kids getting a thrill from discovering my art and playing amongst it; spotting household items they recognise and asking questions about plants and their environment.
What is the strangest thing or thought that has inspired a piece of your work, or practice?
Strange pieces of rubbish often inspire my up-cycled sculptures… I love finding objects that have had a past life as something mundane and turn them into something joyful and beautiful after they have been discarded. For my pigface sculpture I incorporated items such as a kid’s slide, a watering can and a wheelie bin.
If you had to pick one artist to create the story of your life through art, who would you pick and why?
An artist that I would pick to express me is Niki de Saint Phalle. I love her clashing colours, curvaceous forms and admiration of the female body. She truly pushed boundaries and there was a real joy in her work and understanding of what it is to be a woman.
Do you have an artist power outfit that you wear while creating?
My power outfit would have to be my blue overalls. I know it’s time to create when I put them on. They are super comfy and I love that there’s enough pockets for all my different tools.
Joss Smith is an emerging graphic designer based in Tweed Heads, loving everything visual and immersive. Her passion for the creative arts has led her to study a Bachelor of Visual Communication and Graphics. She hopes to balance her love for the arts, culture and nature with her strengths in communication and management to create wicked designs with wicked people.