"I have always been drawn to the human form, particularly the human face. It seems to be a primordial thing where so much can be expressed with such subtle gestures, particularly in the eyes."
What’s your earliest memory in art?
The first artworks I was exposed to were in the church of Santa Ana in Manila where I grew up. The iconography and asthetic of these images is still something that influence me to this day. The first museum that I ever visited was the Art Gallery of NSW in Sydney, Australia, which my father took me to when I was 11 years old. This place is very special to me and when I was finally able to be exhibited there a few years ago, it was a truly life-changing experience.
What leads you to human form as the central subject matter in your work?
I have always been drawn to the human form, particularly the human face. It seems to be a primordial thing where so much can be expressed with such subtle gestures, particularly in the eyes. When I paint a portrait, I will always adapt the style to suit the particular personality of the subject so my portrait work is quite varied stylistically.
What elements are important to you when working on a piece?
The overall cohesion of the work is very important. I often like to mix different styles and ultimately a composition only works if there's a sense of unity. It also has to make you stop and look, whether you like the piece or not. It has to convey some expressive quality that makes you stop for a moment and think.
How important is being vulnerable in the creative process?
The longer you make art the more you realize how central this is to the whole process. Being vulnerable is not neccesrily the aim of making art but allowing yourself to be vulnerable creates a gateway for expressing something honest about yourself. This may require a process of trial and error to actually achieve an effective piece of work but without that vulnerability you are just going for effect without substance.
Who are some other artists that you admire?
Paula Rego is my favourite painter at the moment as well as Avery Singer. Historical artists include Schiele, Klimt, Sargent, Bacon, Freud.
If you could ask any other artist, dead or alive, one question, who would it be and what would you ask?
I would choose Rembrandt and would simply ask him if I could watch him work.
What was the last thing you saw that inspired you to create?
I saw my husband under a certain light and immediately wished I could paint him.
What would you like to accomplish with your art?
I would like to be able to keep making it and for it to live on beyond my mortal self.
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