Australian Fine Artist

Louise Paramor

Artist Talk at Chisholm Frankston

Louise Paramor was born in Sydney in 1964. She received a Bachelor of Fine Art in Painting from Curtin University, Perth, in 1985. In 1988 she completed a Post-graduate Diploma in Sculpture at the Victorian College of the Arts, Melbourne. Since 1988 Louise has actively exhibited in Australia and overseas and has held twenty-four solo exhibitions.

For her talk today Louise took us through a video presentation of her work from the 1980s through to the winning sculpture at the McClelland Sculpture Park Survey in 2010.

Louise has always been a collector and her passion has led her to creating sculptures from found and recycled materials, mostly in plastic. Although starting her life as a painter, she has gradually added to her repertoire with larger and larger sculpture pieces.

Her liking for the three-dimensional comes out in her collages, where what is on the wall or hanging as banners takes on a new  feel from the two dimensional paint on canvas. With a love of colour and letting the materials arrange themselves in a manner, Louise creates flowing and complex shapes that work in and around each other inviting the viewer to try to imagine what they can of what they are seeing. Her paintings, collages and sculptures all work with each other in spaces, sometimes reflecting a theme or complementing each other as she explores new ideas that she encounters in her daily life.

Many may have seen her work on the Peninsula Link freeway in Victoria. It is the very colourful construction of various shapes at the Eastlink Interchange.

Louise’s work Lustgarten, a series of large-scale ‘honey-comb’ paper sculptures, produced during a one-year Australia Council Fellowship at the Künstlerhaus Bethanien, Berlin, Germany I think was the work that I liked personally from her collection. The regular patterns and the drawing from the Indian culture for some of the shapes I felt was very pleasing to the eye. The fact that they could be laid flat was amazing and showed her great skill at using the material.

Louise’s work over what is now three decades showed us how an artist can evolve and mature as they experiment and keep working. She has not been afraid to take on big projects and much of her practice’s success has been from her ability to get grants, commissions and funded public projects successfully completed. Her advice for emerging artists in this regard is to keep putting your art out there to be seen. She was initially helped by tutors at Melbourne College of the Arts (part of Melbourne University) who brought the right exhibitions, galleries and financial avenues to her attention, after that she said it was just a gradual snowballing effect of once one lot of people know about you, others do and the invitations to put in a proposal start to come in.

This doesn’t mean that “dry spells” will not happen in your income. It seems to be a part of life as a creative that is running their own business. Finding multiple streams of income whether in and out of the arts, or all in the arts in one way or another, is up to each of us to discover.

Louise, for her practice, keeps working as creating ideas, in the form of small marquets. She also has a store of materials on a property to use and reuse. From these she can assemble and design a new idea, to either completion or as a guide for the cooperative engineers, painters and site managers required for major public works.

There is no big social or political agenda or message to Louise’s work, which I found to be a relief. Sometimes I feel we get too much thrown at us and just need a break to enjoy something fun or beautiful. This applies also to the artist creating work. The creative process in itself, and the outlet of using new materials and the creative process can be an end in itself, just as the viewing of an artwork that you like the look of can be its own end. Just as we may love a great sunset, or the sound of the ocean, a piece of music or a non-sensical movie. it can be just for its own sake, nothing more.

I have been moved to tears by several artist’s work that was just so beautiful and the paint so luscious and vibrant, that I sat, stared and teared up. This was the beginning and the end. Joy as a viewer and as an artist, peace and that higher level of awareness from being in the presence of something so creative from the mind of another person.

After the talk, David Salter, one of the tutors at TAFE, asked a few questions of us, and we had a very lively talk about not only Louise’s work but the role of art in today’s society and how we think about it as artists, and how others may look at it.

We were asked the following questions:

  1. Identify meanings in Louise’s work (Why is it collected or commissioned? What makes it important?)
  2. How to I feel about the experience of hearing from the visiting artist?
  3. How does her work inform or challenge my sensibility or direction with my art?

Here are some of my thoughts:

  1. It is easy for others to put their own meaning to any art. You will pretty much get a feeling or reaction to anything you see. The artist often has no say over what your reaction to their work will be, even if I write an accompanying text to go with my art, someone will see something different from what I did as I created the work. Louise said she had no particular message in her work, and I don’t see any either. She likes what she is creating, and even though it is not what I like to look at, if it is “working” and selling, then great.
  2. If you think and analyse at any artist talk, you can always come away with something new to think about. Even when they don’t do art that appeals to me personally, I try to look for that one thing. There is always a story, and always a fact that you can use for your own practice. It can be how to get noticed, where to get more education, ways to promote your work, different materials to try, or just a change of thinking or attitude you need to take on.
  3. Louise works hard, and consistently. That professional attitude, I feel is a big part of her success. It is not enough to be clever or creative, you need to know how to get noticed and how to sell if you want to make a living from your work. It doesn’t matter to me if I like her style or materials or not, the way of running her business, how she got started, how she plans and designs her work does matter. The process and attitude are what I took away and have added to my understanding of how I need to plan my own business. Plus we all know it isn’t easy to get up in front of a load of strangers to give an hour talk. I have to admire anyone who does it as well as Louise did today. (computers not playing nicely totally not a part of my thinking in this regard – she coped really well)

My thanks again to the tutors at Chisholm for arranging yet another thought provoking artist talk. Apologies to David for getting so animated during our discussion afterwards!!

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