We know Heather from around town. Heather is a lovely, warm, kind and gentle human being, so naturally we were very excited to find out about her art exhibition ALTERED ENERGIES which is happening this week, details below.
Heather gets out to alot of shows and she takes some pretty amazing photos of bands strutting their stuff out there on the local scene.
We knew she had a busy schedule this week getting ready for the show, but we just wanted to ask her a few little questions and she was kind enough to give us some very deep and thoughtful answers. And knowing that this is her first ever interview makes this little article very dear and special to us here at MSR HQ. Thanks Heather.
This is what she had to say.
Where did you grow up?
I was born in Canberra. Spent most of my childhood there, except for two years where I lived in Vancouver, Canada and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania in the States while my dad was teaching over there.
Can you recall one of your favourite early childhood memories?
I was really lucky to have the opportunity to live overseas for two years while my dad taught. I had one of my favourite art teachers over there Mr D who really encouraged me to draw more, and had the special experience of travelling by bus across the states from Vancouver to Pittsburgh with my family as a child. It really stands out as a significant part of my childhood. There are a lot of memories of walking from one music store to the next, as Dad checked out all the vinyls and CDs, which at that time were much cheaper than here.
Did you come from an artist family or did you pick photography up somewhere?
I didn’t come from a really artistic family, but a creative upbringing was encouraged. The parents exposed me to a lot of inspiration, encouraging me to be free in my expression and try different things. I played music, did pottery and painting, dance classes, and loved writing stories.
Dad had a huge passion for music. He was the radio DJ while at uni and I loved hunting through his vinyls looking at all the artwork. I also remember coming across some amazing drawings my mum had ‘doodled’ on some paper and being inspired by these to draw more so I could get better.
I have always enjoyed taking photos. I learn’t some photography while studying graphic design in Canberra at the University of Canberra, but didn’t really nurture the skill until after uni. Then I had more of an opportunity to experiment at gigs and art events, where I most enjoyed using my camera, and also while travelling overseas. I lived with a talented photographer for a year, Katrina James, who now lives in Berlin, and through hanging with her I rekindled my interest in photography and decided to play around with it more. I also did a workshop in concert photography with photojournalist Damian Baker that allowed me to further develop my interest in that area.
You have a cool art exhibition ALTERED ENERGIES coming up this week with sculpture artist Simon Clarke, can you tell us about how it all came together?
Simon and I work together as graphic designers during the day. Simon Clarke specialises in printmaking and sculpture. I really admire his patience and dedication to his creative work. A lot of time, detail and work go in to each of his prints and sculpture pieces. We regularly share our work with each other and attend exhibitions together. We share a passion for similar things. Gaffa is a gallery we both attend frequently, and we had a moment one night that we thought we should grab the opportunity to display our work there.
What is your editing process when it comes to photos?
I want my photos to stand out, and capture the excitement and energy of the music and night. This can alter how I choose to display the photos. I try to be respectable of the band and audience, and communicate as best as possible how the music communicates with me. Every member of the band is important, and so is the audience’s response. So try to choose the best shot for each. I also try to keep in mind that people don’t want to see the same image over and over again, so try to capture a variety of different angles and moods.
Describe your typical day of making art.
Every day varies. I work full-time as a graphic designer so my week is pretty jam-packed. I usually take my camera with me to gigs and occasionally art openings, and when I have time in the evenings I usually sketch from images that inspire me, both images I have taken myself, and images I have found on the net or in magazines. I like to use charcoal, pastels and graphite since they are forgiving and allow me to mould the image into what I want to communicate.
What inspires you to remain creative?
I believe creative expression is so important. It has helped me get through lots of difficult times. It can also be used to inspire change. Constantly exposing myself to music and art events keeps me energetic and inspired. I have also learnt that you may not always feel like there is any creative energy there, but once you start whatever it is you do and let go of expectations the energy usually starts to flow.
You have a big passion for local music, what’s your opinion about the health of Sydney music right now?
I think it’s very healthy. The talent is mind-blowing. Feel really lucky to be getting exposed to the Sydney talent at the moment. It is sad to see so many venues closing down, and restrictions on noise control being inflicted, but at the same time, lots of new exciting things are popping up all over the place. Brighton Up Bar, Oxford Art Factory, World Bar, the Annandale, Beach Road Hotel, Bucklers Canteen, Club 77 and the Hand Games events are all putting on great bands, meaning that you can see great talent nearly every night of the week.
There is also a strong sense of community and support amongst Sydney and Melbourne’s creative communities, which I love. We generally all support one another, rather then put each other down.
If there was anything you could change what would that be?
There seems to be a constant struggle with noise restrictions arising, and venues closing due to lack of support and funds. I guess I would like to encourage more support for the arts from the community and councils. Artists of all forms are the drivers of inspiration and change, so they are vital in creating a more exciting, happening place to live in, along with ensuring the best for everyone in their support for social causes. With the easy access to music and the arts on the internet now, people possibly become lazy and less likely to go out and support some of the smaller shows. High entrance costs may also be a contributor, as people try to be careful with money. Smaller shows however can be some of the best events, possibly because they are trying even harder to get attention amongst all the noise.
Do you have any favourite gigs?
In the past year I was blown away by the Brian Jonestown Massacre, who I saw play both at the Metro and Oxford Art Factory. They were amazing and can’t wait to see them again. The Black Angels also put on an amazing show last year at the Metro. Other stand out shows for me this year have included local acts including the Fait Accompli EP launch at the Annandale earlier this year, and Melbourne bands Royston Vasie and Immigrant Union playing at FBI Social in October. The passion for music was intense and wonderful at both of these events and made me so proud of Australian music.
Favourite local bands?
Have a huge affection for psychedelic, rock and blues so totally dig Sydney bands The Jones Rival, The Chitticks, GROUP, Walking Who, Unity Floors, Regular John and Melbourne bands, Courtney Barnett, Immigrant Union and Royston Vasie
Do you have any other art projects in the pipeline?
Doing this show has totally inspired new ideas! Already has me thinking about ideas for things I can draw or paint or ways I can use my photos. Will see how this show goes first, but definitely keen to do more.
Have been doing some artwork for a book being put together for The Dandy Warhols by Justine Penklis. Still a work in progress. A section of it is collecting artwork inspired by their music and I am contributing to this, along with some of my photos of The Dandy Warhols’ drummer, Brent DeBoer.
Are you a movie buff or a book head?
I like both, but I am probably more of a movie buff. Love Dendy and alternative indie films.
Cremation or Burial?
Cremation. My father was cremated and asked to have his ashes sprinkled around one of his favourite places. I have decided this is what I would like too. Really don’t like the idea of being buried under the ground for some reason.
Any last words of wisdom?
Bit of a cliché but I really believe be true to yourself, and follow your heart and what you love. Take risks and step outside your comfort zone. It can be scary but the rewards that come with doing it are so much greater. Also, believe everything happens for a reason. I have found even the negative things brought about a positive later in life for me. So I try to keep that in mind, and not take things too seriously.
DISCOVER HEATHER VOUSDEN!