Can you tell me a little bit about you?
I am a Melbourne-based artist currently working full time on my practice. I work from a little shed in a friend’s backyard, which is both spooky and mysterious, which I feel plays a part in the subtle darkness in my works.
When did you first discover art, or realize you wanted to make it yourself?
I first discovered that I wanted to make any form of art when I was around 15. I had an art teacher who I really admired and was a huge inspiration to me and helped me through my schooling. Ever since, I have known that this is what I really want to spend my life doing.
What do you like most about working where you do?
I feel as though the art scene in Melbourne at the moment is booming, and producing some incredible artists, and to be a part of it is so exciting. I’ve grown up and lived in Melbourne for most of my life, so everywhere I go, I get a lot of nostalgia, and I think that really motivates me sometimes to create certain things that I do.
What ideas are you exploring in your practice?
My practice has changed a fair bit recently, turning from just pictures to pictures with meaning behind them. I am trying to tap into my nightmares, which I experience quite often, and bring those through in my works. I have always had bad dreams, more often that not, and I’ve actually grown to like them because the feelings I feel in them, and the things I see are quite interesting and fun and gives me some good material to work with.
What is your process like?
My process is pretty simple. I try to draw down whatever it is I’m thinking of or visualising in my interpretation, and then play around with it, either adding or taking away certain parts, then just start painting. I don’t think there is too much conceptualising what I my painting will mean or be about, rather I just try create what makes me feel happy, and once its done I can look at and get that sense of nostalgia.
Is there any subject or theme you’ve been particularly interested in lately?
I have been really into creating quite dark works, sometimes with some light, humorous undertones. More recently I’ve been really inspired by the Australian outback, landscapes, and the cowboy culture. I think thats pretty evident in my works.
What is the strangest thing you’ve ever had to do for art?
I have done things that have made me laugh such as trying to correct my dad about what my paintings are about, but nothing strange springs to mind.
Do you have a day job or other work that you split your time between?
I work in a cafe every now and then, but mostly spend my time on my works or travelling around gathering inspiration and talking to other artists.
Do you have a mentor, or a piece of advice (or both), which has influenced your practice?
My old art teacher in school would always tell me not to try so hard at your artwork. As a naughty student I took that as mess around in class, but now I really understand what he was trying to get through to me. I think I really do overthink most things in life, but now with my art I have been able to control that aspect and just let whatever happens, happen, and not get angry or anxious about a work and then go on to ruin it when I should just let it be.
Is there any piece of advice you would offer to others?
Don’t try become an artist just because you think it’s cool. I think if that’s why you want to become an artist you will fail before you have even begun.
What does it mean to you to have a “community?”
I think community is important to everyone. I think without a sense of community, a lot of things in life would be a lot harder. Having an artist community, as an artist, really inspires you and also challenges your ideas.
What is your studio like?
Super dingy but I love it.
Do you have any routines or rituals in the studio that get you into the mode or mindset to make your work?
I have always had the opinion that if your in the worst mood or best mood just paint anyway. I think it’s a waste of time just waiting for yourself to get into the mode. You never know, you may create better works when your not in the mood.
What do you find most daunting, challenging, or frustrating about pursuing art?
I think the most challenging thing about pursuing art is trying to convince yourself constantly that it’s all worth it.
How would you define “success” in art?
Success in art for me is when I look at a finished painting feel super happy with it. Thats my indicator for success.
What is the most exciting thing you’ve done or accomplished so far, related to your work?
The most exciting thing I have done for my career so far is definitely having a show in London. For a young Melbourne artist I think thats big accomplishment, and I’m super proud of it.
What are you working on right now?
I’m currently working on a large portrait painting.
Anything else you would like to add?
I think what you do (Kate) for artists is really awesome.
Find more on Instagram @harryrothel!