How would you Describe the Lucy O’Doherty Aesthetic?
I’d say my aesthetic is dreamlike, I try to capture a surreal sense of mystery in domestic spaces and the everyday.
Your work has Subtle undertones of abandonment, an almost earry feeling of lived in absence.. is this something that has naturally developed through your subject and over all aesthetic or purposeful for the art you are making at the time ?
It’s something that’s always been present in my work but not something I’ve always consciously aimed to achieve. I started doing interiors but have always shied away from depicting people, life drawing was never my strong suit at art school. It can be quite hard to get the proportions right and draw a person convincingly. From there I became interested in trying to tell a story of who might occupy the space and what they’ve been doing by leaving mysterious visual clues in the composition, kind of like the board game Cluedo.
What is your favoured medium to work with ?
It’s a toss up between pastels and oil paint. I definitely feel more confident with pastels. I’ve used them since I was a kid so I feel like I have more of an instinctual understanding of how they work. I love the immediacy of getting pigment on the paper straight away and instantly getting a result. I studied painting at National Art School but I’ve gone through long periods of not painting because I haven’t been able to afford oil paint or a space to paint in. I’ve started painting more this year in the corner of my dining room. Oil paint requires a lot more patience and I don’t feel particularly skilled at using it yet but ultimately I think the result is a lot richer.
What has been inspiring your art lately? what continues to inspire you ?
Lately I’ve been getting a lot of inspiration from old postcards of motels from the 1950s and 60s. I like the pastel palette and the curvy lines of that era’s aesthetic in furniture and architecture. One of my constant inspirations is my Grandpa Jim O’Doherty who’s passed on now. He was a builder when he was young and when he got too old to build houses he started building incredibly detailed dollhouses. I grew up with a spare room filled with dollhouses he’d made, so I think that process of pushing furniture and objects around a miniature room to create a narrative has had a big influence on my work.
What are you currently working on ?
I’m finishing off some paintings for an exhibition called POOLS with Annalisa Ferraris at China Heights opening on the 30th of October. I’m also working on a collaboration with Australian label Worn called ‘House’ that I’m really excited about.
How did the collaboration with Australian Designer WORN come about?
Catherine Conlan from Worn contacted me about doing something together and I was over the moon. I’d met Catherine briefly because she’d bought one of my works which I was incredibly flattered and impressed by because not a lot of young people living in Sydney can afford to buy art. I saw her work on Instagram and was blown away by how creative and well made her pieces were. I think it’s evident in both our creative processes that we have a strong appreciation of Australian culture and bold images so it seemed like a very natural union.
What is the concept behind the range collaboration with WORN?
I’ve made a series of four pastel works that take you on a journey through a fictional Australian house. They have a nostalgic tone that celebrates Australian suburbia. Catherine is creating a capsule collection featuring prints from the artworks on some of the designs and also colour matching from the artworks to make prints and knits.
Is combining your art with Fashion something that you have wanted to do as your father, Reg Mombassa (Chris O’Doherty) did so seamlessly in the 80s with MAMBO?
Absolutely. The thing I like about making printed copies of an artwork, whether its through traditional printmaking or fashion is that it makes it more accessible and affordable, eliminating some of the exclusivity that can be present in the art world. The other thing I like about combining art and fashion and that MAMBO did so well is that it takes art from the private arena of your home and makes it into a public statement. By making wearable art you can share that artwork with others, as well as giving people immediate insight into your sense of humour or interests.
How do you feel about seeing your art in a different context such as fashion and textiles?
I’m so excited to see it in a different medium, especially in the hands of someone who I think is so talented. I’ve always thought my work would lend itself to being printed for fashion or textiles because of the solid way I apply colour, and for it be in the hands of such an exciting new label is pretty much a dream come true.
Lucy O’Doherty’s exhibition alongside Annalise Ferraris open October 30th at China Heights 3, 16-28 Foster St, Surry Hills 2010, AU