Killjoy, fresh from completing her studies at TAFE, sat down with ArtLab to discuss her work, her amazing ArtGames win in the 2014 Summer Series, the reason behind her name and where she sees herself in the future! Read ahead for some really interesting insights into the world of a talented budding artist.
Q: Tell us about your art, have you always been creative or did you discover that later in life?
KILLJOY: It was the first thing I really knew I was good at. I did it in primary school, I was actually dyslexic and was lagging behind in most subjects except art. It’s always something I’ve been relatively good at. I don’t know if it’s a huge passion but it’s definitely a skill, and one I can use for the future
Q: You draw, paint, screen print and even do some sculpture work, what is your favourite medium?
KILLJOY: I’ve got to say throughout study, I definitely enjoyed printing; I enjoyed printing on lino, metal and wood, if I were to go back and do another course I’d do that again. An interesting part of the course was taking photographs and printing them, I didn’t really understand why photography was printing at first but then they explained it- you physically print out the pictures and develop them. Sculptures are also great fun, just picking up rubbish and sticking it together, you can’t really go wrong, but I’d say printing for just the paint. I love the different textures and the effects you can get are cool, even though it’s mainly the board that makes those effects, it’s an interesting process.
Q: What did you study and where?
KILLJOY: I just studied Visual Art and Design Fundamentals, those were the two courses I did. I left school at the end of year 11 as I was sure I didn’t want to get my ATAR, or whatever it’s called now, and I was good at art so I figured I’d be able to pass that! I did a Cert. 3 in Design Fundamentals and a Cert. 3 and 4 in Visual Art. The design course was probably my favourite, the visual art one got a bit “artsy fartsy”. We had to do two written courses in theory and history. Our essays were terrible, it’s just your perspective or someone else’s perspective, when really beauty is bought by judgement of the eye. That quote is actually the first tattoo I got, because it’s the most relevant thing when it comes to art- someone can think something is awful and someone else thinks its amazing and wants to hang it in their house!
Q: Your Art Games pieces included some unusual creatures, does your work have a running theme and ideas or do you create depending on what your mood is that day?
KILLJOY: I’d say their is always a theme, their are certain things I like to draw, most artists would have certain things they draw or are good at. I love drawing faces, and that’s probably more because I’m good at it, and female form, again I just find it relatively easy. And also draw some underwater stuff, since I was in high school I’ve loved jellyfish and octopus, I like their textures, trying to draw the texture of an underwater creature is a strange thing. With the Art Games final, I just drew what I had been obsessed with and I’d been drawing those fish that were flying for a while, I did them for some TAFE projects, so I chose them!
Q: How did you find the Art Games, were they stressful or did they suit your way of working?
KILLJOY: I was really stressed and I’d never done anything like that before. I’m not the most confident person, and I know a lot of people like my art but I’m not really that bit of a fan so standing in front of a bunch of people showing them my stuff was really hard. I had an anxiety attack before the first one, and the second one I just sort of used my anxiety to get me through, and I think the second one was my favourite piece, I was able to channel the anxiety! I won that one even though I was up against RLSM and his work was all over my TAFE, his stickers are everywhere, and he does surrealism mixed with realism which is what I like, and I thought I was going to get my ass handed to me! In the last round I was panicking because I was in the final and I didn’t even think I’d even get through the first round!
Q: Did you plan what you would paint before the games, or did you decide when you were up on stage?
KILLJOY: I planned so heavily, I would wait to get the brief and I would start practicing straight away. I’ve got one file which is full of ArtGames stuff with 10 or 15 full page drawings for each round, because I’m not secure with my artwork, I know people appreciate my art but I have a lot of self doubt. Yeah, there was a lot of planning involved, and for the final I changed it right before hand. I wanted it to be so good and I realised I really couldn’t pull off my original idea, I wanted to do a perfect circle as a border with the fish in the middle of it flying through the sky like birds, which was a really cool idea but it was just too hard and I only had 100 minutes! So I did the line drawings and filled it in with water, so I drew that image over and over to practice.
Q: Where would you like your art to take you, would you like to make a career out of it?
KILLJOY: That’s the thing, I’m really not quite sure yet. I would love to use my art considering that’s what I’m good at, and to make money from it. I’m just not sure how to do it. I wanted to be a tattoo artist since I was like 12, and when I was 18 I did some work experience at a studio. They didn’t treat me very well there and I got made to feel even worse about my art, I didn’t get paid for my time and I left after 3 months, but it was a good lesson. Now, I think possibly working on murals or doing some sort of commission pieces for people until I’m sure of what I want to do. I used to not be comfortable with myself so I couldn’t produce art, but now that I’m more confident, if I got to the point where people wanted me to do art for them and I was getting money for it, I’d feel like my work was more valuable and I’d be happy to do it all the time! I’d love to be able to live like some of my artist friends and be surrounded by my art, I can’t even look at mine, I mainly give them away, I’m not really a fan of looking at my own work
Q: Where does the name Killjoy come from?
KILLJOY: They told me I needed to have an artist name for the games, and I didn’t have one. Sadly, the truth of it is I went through some pretty bad times from the age of about 13 to pretty much 18, I had depression, anxiety, all of that. I feel like everyone is a good human being, and I’m no less than anyone else, but I used to think that I was less and I thought I was bringing everyone down around me who cared about me, so that’s a pretty funny thing to look at now that I’m out of my depression, the idea that I’m a ‘kill joy’. I didn’t want it to be an angst-y teenage type thing, I wanted it to be more of a joke, just making fun of myself. I felt like that, I was such a broody little teenager for so long, and now that I’m 20 and I can not be shackled to making art about how bad I feel and I can make it more about release and growing. I think that was the best thing about the Art Games for me, it taught me that when you open yourself up to life, you get happier, you learn things and you make new experiences and connections, that’s what life’s about. If you don’t put yourself out there you don’t live- end of story.
Q: Where can our readers see and/or buy your work?
KILLJOY: I have an exhibition starting on the 24th of October at The Hive called Sultry and Sinister, it’s a collaboration with two other artists and I will make sure that I’ve got some work there for sale.
This exhibition is a good example of how I work- I’ve created two pieces so far and I only have a month left! When I plan it never works out, but if I just do something and let myself go and not be critical of what I’m doing, it’s so much easier. I love the kind of textures paint makes without you making it, like throwing paint on a wall and having it splatter, you cannot replicate that by drawing it. For the exhibition I’m thinking of doing some really realistic artworks then doing some quite abstract paint splatters around it, so a bit of both realism and surrealism, I love that kind of look.
Sultry and Sinster has its opening night on Friday October 24 from 7-10pm, and will run until Friday the 31st October. The Hive is located 53 James St, Northbridge- see here for more information.
KILLJOY is also on Facebook- link