I want to talk about the ‘Junk’ that you have chosen to focus on for this show, as you say in your statement, its these ‘discarded, unwanted and forgotten trinkets that define past experience.‘ Knowing you quite well its interesting for me to recognise a lot of the things you have drawn- for instance the drawings of key rings I know your boyfriend brought back for you from overseas and photographs of you I have seen at your house that you have illustrated- for me the junk becomes really intimate like a self portrait.
Do you see it this way yourself?
Yeah absolutely, but kind of indirectly. I guess the work is like a shadow, representing objects that exist as by-products of existence. I’ve presented not the experiences themselves, but a series of souvenirs that exist as leftovers from events and periods in my life. Having said all this, I hope that this work isn’t too ‘me, me, me’ and that others can relate to some of the subject matter in the work…
There’s also drawings of things that are or will soon be obsolete- met cards, video store membership cards, USB sticks- Its funny to think how fast things change in even a few years -is there a sentimentality you have towards old technology or is it just a coincidence?
Nope, totally sentimental. I really have become a sook when it comes to any reminder of the past. The Metcard for example – once upon a time it played an integral part in so many of our everyday (and perhaps mundane) experiences of the world. When I see Metcards now, I have this longing for my teenage years – perhaps it has something to do with the freedom that comes with travelling on public transport, no longer relying on your parents to give you a lift somewhere. This feeling of newfound independence and excitement is lost, but by holding onto these tokens of experience, I can be reminded of it.
Did you draw things from memory or are you a bit of a hoarder and they are things that you have kept?
Everything in the exhibition was drawn from life, and I guess I do hold onto trinkets in some clingy attempt to bring back the past… But I saw this article recently talking about how much 90s childrens toys like Tamagotchis, Happy Meal toys, Gameboys, etc are worth now. SO MUCH MONEY. So call it hoarding if you like Dani, we’ll see whose laughing in 20 years time!
There are also a lot of references to music, local bands such as Wet Blankets, Ausmuteants, Bits Of Shit, Bad Aches are some that feature as well as CDs Madonna and The Velvet Underground. You regularly illustrate posters for gigs as well as playing in multiple bands Chook Race, School Damage and Pronto.
Can you talk about the cross over in your practice between music and art?
Oh my gosh, this is bane of my creative existence – how to reconcile my music stuff, my illustration stuff, and I guess more ‘fine-arty’ stuff. Sentimental Jamboree was my first attempt at mixing it all together, and I’m still figuring it out. Sometimes I feel like its easier to keep each area, and I actually don’t think there is anything wrong with that other than it can become quite exhausting to have your head in all these different spaces at once. The illustrations and posters just came out of being in bands – a gig would come up, no one had done a poster, and so the finger was pointed at me because I ‘did art’. Luckily I like drawing, so this doesn’t bother me too much.
Any artists or works in particular that influenced this show or your practice in general?
I was walking down the street before and I was thinking “I bet Dani will ask me about some artistic influences. What the hell am I going to say?? I am SUCH a bad art student and never know ANYONE”. But I’ll give it a go.
When I was in art school and developing the body of work that led to Sentimental Jamboree I was pretty obsessed with Christian Boltanski. He is such a smart guy, and without trying to art-wank too hard, his work strikes a real chord with me regarding what it means to exist (and to no longer exist). Song Dong’s work ‘Waste Not’ similarly had a profound impact on my work. In terms of illustration, there are too many to name, but Sam Wallman is a good start.
Any upcoming projects that you’d like to share?
I’m currently working on a show that will be on at First Site Gallery in late April, which is both exciting and nerve wracking as it is the largest space I’ve had to work with. I’m also working on a show at Off the Kerb in the second half of the year with a bunch of other people who do music stuff and art stuff. Apart from that, music stuff is keeping me fairly busy, and – one day I’ll find the balance between it all!
You can see more of Carolyn Hawkins' work here: