Want to know a little more about the Artists? Whilst all the artwork is special and unique, we have featured just some of the amazing Artists below.......
Could you please tell us a bit about yourself? (Truncated artist profile)
Steve is 37 and is an experimental contemporary artist working across various mediums. He has attended formal art classes with various teachers for a number of years. His interest in drawing began at an early age and more recently he has developed an emphasis in painting with acrylics.
Steve’s interest in mythology and other cultures influence his work and it shows his connection between his experiences, thoughts, dreams, mythology and history.
Steve’s artwork has been shown extensively locally and is represented in private collections and various print and media formats.
What sparked your interest in art?
It allows me to express who I am. I’ve had an interest in art for over 30 years, since I first started school.
Are there any specific artists or people in your life that have inspired your art?
I love Stan Lee and Marvel and DC Comics. Michael Angelo has been an inspiration and My family has been an influence too. My Father used to say, “I don’t believe in religion, but I believe in you”
How important is art to you?
Art is Everything.
Why do you enjoy doing art?
I love my artwork. I can express who I really am. Art can express who we are and how we’re feeling.
How does making art make you feel?
It makes me feel freedom. I like that. It helps me with my work/life balance. Art helps me to work through things and work helps me to pay for it.
What does the Art Show mean to you?
It helps me connect with people in my community. As Stan Lee says, with great power comes great responsibility.
Could you suggest any improvements?
Covid restrictions are an issue, especially masks because they make it hard to communicate properly. It’ll be good to get back to normal as soon as we can.
What has been your favourite part of the previous art shows?
Connecting with people and getting known as an artist in the community.
What is your favourite kind of art?
I like Fijian art, American street art, Comics and Contemporary art.
Why do you think people should get involved with displaying their art?
Getting involved in the arts community, to get exposure, meeting new people and seeing people you know, making contacts with known artists and personalities.
Why should people come along to the show?
To support their friends and families and other artists. To find out who the artists are and see their artwork.
Steve Canning - Artist
The Art Show is important to have because having a disability is an ongoing struggle, and with the struggle of COVID, it gives us something to look forward to. I have spent all year preparing for the Art Show and my piece and it will be good to still showcase it.
It gives me a boost for the end of the year knowing I’m contributing. My daughter also has a disability and she likes to put a piece in as well which is good for the both of us.
I think the virtual environment will be okay, I’m just happy that it's still going ahead. However, I am not very “tech-savvy” so some instructions would be beneficial, maybe a step-by-step instruction on how to upload pieces.
I really wish the Art Show would run a bit longer just so pieces are showcased a little more. It would be better for sales. Also, advertising could be increased. I wish more people knew about it and got involved, it is a really good day and I wish more people attended.
What has been your favourite part of the previous Art Shows?
I hope this year that the feature artists are allowed to write a piece for the online website for the Art Show. Explaining their pieces and the show in general.
We’ve done that previously in person and it would mean a lot to the feature artists if that continues.
Why do you enjoy doing art?
Art allows a purpose and it is really important to have a purpose. “Finding and enjoying artwork has healed me so much and has helped me with my mental illness, depression, anxiety and the rest of it. It helps with it all, it calms me down, it gives me focus rather than just focusing on the negatives or the fact my legs don’t move”
How does making art make you feel?
“Art is life to me”. It gives me a boost for the end of the year knowing I’m contributing to something amazing. It makes me feel good about myself.
What is your favourite kind of art?
“My favourite art to do is paintings, but I tend to do more caricature type paintings”
“I do mainly paintings, I am an abstract expressionist, it is freeing, you don’t have to think about it.”
The art show gives us a chance to show the community some of our work. It gives me a goal to work towards. I think the art show being online will open it up to people in Melbourne and those who might not usually come to the art show. It will open it up to give a wider community the chance to see it. I think most people are now really zoom and online aware.
I think last year, how they had the community blank canvas, that people could come in and paint on, that was a really good initiative and included people as they came in.
Initially the art show only went for a couple of days, and then last year it went for the whole week.
It’s better going for longer because it gives more community groups the chance to
come and see it. Because they might not necessarily meet on the days that it is on otherwise.
Art gives me the chance to express any emotions and empty the mind of any unwanted thoughts. My favourite art to do is paintings, but I tend to do more caricature type paintings. I can’t paint a photo, but I’m not totally abstract either, I am somewhere in the middle.
Art is something anyone can do. You can always get something on the canvas, some sort of picture.
The art show brings together two things that are very important to me – disability and art. I am very proud of having a disability, and in the past, I have struggled, but art has saved me. For me, artwork has brought me out of depression and has made my disability something great.
Creating art makes me happy, and for people to look at my artwork and think “wow that’s amazing”. That makes me really happy. I want to make people happy. It’s not just for me. I don’t do it just for me. I do it for my friends, I do it for my family, and the wider community. I think having these art shows the last few years has bought disability and art together. It has shown not only my family, but the wider community that Laura Welsh is someone a lot more than a girl with a disability that sits on her bottom.
There is always an element for ‘that poor girl’. But I don’t want to be felt sorry for, for being who I am. It makes me angry, because I want to be known as a person, not a disability, there is so much more to me. So, having this art show is a chance for me to show my artwork and prove that I can do great things, and that I am capable of so much more than what people give me credit for.
At one of the previous art shows, my kinder teacher came to view it and it was really nice to know that history from 30 years ago was still there. It is nice to have people who know me see my work. I’ve lived in Leongatha almost my whole life, so to have people that have seen me grow up and see my art and achievements means a lot to me. Particularly for my mum and my stepdad who are very proud of me for what I have been able to achieve with my artwork.
Years ago, I didn’t think my art would come to anything, I didn’t think it would be this big, I certainly didn’t think there would be an art show that would let me show my artwork, and it really means everything to me. It is a part of my life now, and a big part, which is great. Being given the art show opportunity is amazing and I really want to be known for my artwork rather than my disability.
My disability doesn’t define me. I let it define me for a while, but I don’t anymore. It has taken me a while to get to where I am, and I now appreciate the talent that I do have. I love that I can change how people look at people with disability by doing art. This art show has given us the opportunity to express our feelings and get out of our shallow bits, to meet people and talk about arty things which is always very enjoyable and fun to do.
I don’t think there are any barriers to having the art show online. I think it is a great idea. I think it will broaden the scope of people who view it, and I think it will highlight what the health industry is doing and what people with disabilities are able to do despite their disabilities. I am not very good with online things, but I think it will be more accessible to people who are even slightly interested in art, they might have a look through word of mouth. So yes, I think it will be a really good thing. I would miss the interaction amongst people I suppose.
I will be just happy to get my artwork out there and for people to view it and maybe even sell some things. It is nice to be exposed as something positive. Also, I’m a bit of a reserved person, so I don’t like big crowds and when the attention is all on me. So, I think the art show being online will be easier for me. It’s hard when there are crowds and five people are coming up to you at one time, it’s too much for me. Being in a wheelchair I also find people are standing over me and around me, I get intimidated and a bit panicky.
Although it will be different from other years, I think overall it will be a positive change. I can’t think of any improvements that could be made to the art show, I am happy with how they have been previously. The set-up has been great, the refreshments have always been done well, the advertising has been great. I am always just happy to be involved and to be valued as an artist.
Art gives me purpose and it is really important for me to have a purpose. When I was a teenager and in my early adulthood, I didn’t know what my purpose was, and I just thought I was a burden. I think finding art has given me purpose and I think everyone needs a purpose. So, to do this art show, every year, gives me purpose. I have a purpose, I have a job to do, to show people that the term disability is just a word, it actually doesn’t mean much to me at all. I see myself as a normal human being.
It really gets to me when people define people by disability. All people are just people and I think that by doing this art show, people realise that those with disabilities are also just people that go through a heap of stuff like every other person. I’m like every other person except I just happen to sit on my bottom and that’s fine, I’ve learnt to live with that. I don’t let that stop me. Finding and enjoying artwork has healed me so much and has helped me with my mental illness, depression, anxiety and the rest of it. It helps with it all, it calms me down, it gives me focus rather than just focusing on the negatives or the fact my legs don’t move. It helps me to take myself away from all of the negatives and I get something creative out of it. I’ve always been creative, and I love being creative. With artwork there is so much you can do, I’m never lost for ideas. I do mainly paintings, I am an abstract expressionist, it is freeing, you don’t have to think about it.
I think so much of my life is full of things I have to do. I have to take a pill, or I have to have my carer come. So much of my life is regimented, so I think my artwork frees me from that. It’s very personal, very free flowing. My artwork has so many hidden meanings behind them. I title my artwork to reflect how I’m feeling or something I might be going through at the time.
I always paint with a lot of bright colours, so even if it is about a bad depression, I make it colourful so that people wouldn’t look and think “that girl is depressed”, they’d think “oh that girl is happy” and that’s what I want people to see. I always try to make people happy when they look at my artwork. I want people to go away feeling happy and positive rather than feeling sorry for me.
I don’t particularly like the word disability, however, there is the word ability in there, and I try to remember that. It’s not just the parts of me that do not work, there is plenty of me that does work. I can decide what colour goes where. I have never seen my disability as an inconvenience, and my mum has bought me up to believe I can do anything I want. I can basically do anything except walk. My hands and my arms are very important to me. Having artwork to go to when I feel sorry for myself or when things are too hard, does really help.
Art is life to me. I can’t be clearer than that. I think everyone should do art, no matter who you are, everyone should do it. Disability is just a word. I have struggled, but I have also won a lot too. I love having opportunities to express myself, opportunities to do normal things. I see an art therapist for counselling, and I learn so much from them, my dream is to become an art therapist. You learn so much about yourself. It’s not always about the artwork, but it is about emotions and about feeling your feelings. I’m not usually good at feeling feelings, it makes me uncomfortable, but I think that’s why artwork is so easy for me, because I can feel my feelings and I don’t have to talk about them. I just put my feelings on the canvas, and then they’re there.
People sometimes ask me about the painting, and I’ll sometimes tell them about the feelings and story behind it. Art has definitely helped my mental illness. I don’t paint everyday even though I would love to. But with my shoulders, it’s a bit tiresome some days. But I paint when I can. I do finger painting too which reminds me of when I was young. I will keep painting for the rest of my life. I don’t want to be known for having a disability. I just want to be known for my artwork.
At the end of the day, I am an artist. I just happen to be on my bottom, but I don’t let disability stop me. I really hope these art shows continue. I am just so grateful for the opportunity.
Laura Welsh's "Reflective Ocean"