About Jodi Clark
The small town I grew up in in Western Australia has fantastic beaches … but not much by way of nurturing the creative side of an identity troubled teenager. I dropped out of high school, caught the travel bug early and finally got around to getting my art degree in my late thirties while I was living in California.
I now live in Sydney with my wife and our spunky 8 month old daughter and make art that speaks to all the things that troubled me then, and the things that trouble me now!
What are your loves?
I love surfing, although lately I don’t seem to get much time to go!! We love to travel, and go camping and multi-day hiking. I guess ‘adventuring’ encompasses it all.
Please share your creative journey? What materials do you like to work with?
Waiting to be picked up after school in the first grade, to fill the time I would ‘make paint’ by pouring water on the sidewalk, then rubbing and scraping the red ochre coloured rocks around in the water until it became a coloured watery paste. Then I would draw on the sidewalk using my finger and my paint. I like to do things myself, using my hands, and experimenting with different tools and materials. Wood and paper are my go-to materials using a plunge router to ‘draw’ with, or charcoal.
You like to challenge normalcy, why?
I hate the word ‘normal’. I get really pissed off at being held to arbitrary standards that society deems to be ‘normal’. At around 12 years old a friend’s mum commented on what I was wearing stating “blue and green should never be seen” (as if I were breaking the law); blue and green very quickly became my favourite colour combination!
Do you have a favourite piece in the exhibition? What piece took you the longest to create?
They’re sort of all my favourites in one way or another – like, ‘The Ringleader’ is special because it is a drawing of my cat from California. This exhibition is kind of a ‘sequel’ I guess to You Must Be This Tall To Ride, which is the installation piece that the wallpaper works and the portraits are derived from. It is the largest work I’ve made so far and it took countless hours drawing and shading the background details. I loved seeing all the new colourful pieces as they were being created and I’m super stoked that the original has come out of storage and people get to to see it and its new iterations in all their glory!
Please share some of the stories behind your works?
In my work I often have decorative or intricate backgrounds, or “wallpapers”, juxtaposed with hybrid characters who are more crudely drawn, abstracted and almost grotesque. For me the wallpapers, with their strict patterns and perfect lines represent “normalcy”, that societal push to be perfect, those arbitrary standards, the boxes into which we’re supposed to neatly fit; and the non-conventional subjects are breaking away and refusing to be dominated by that background. In this wallpaper series, the characters now literally are the background, they have become the wallpaper, and perhaps – a hefty ask -they can become the new ‘norm’!
What does your studio space look like?
My studio space is a living jumble of wood panels, rolls of paper, art tools and power tools, offcuts, things I have collected to experiment with “when I get time!” which ekes its way constantly outward slowly taking over our landlord’s garage, which we live above, in a small apartment. I have a makeshift work table made from art crates and plywood which I use for drawing and painting and routing and framing, and I created a plywood wall which I use for large works on paper. Both surfaces (as well as several easels scattered about) are always piled with works in progress. It’s an organised mess!
5 things you can’t live without?
– a mechanical pencil
– the ocean
– most recently I find it hard to live without my glasses … and my partner’s purse … to carry my glasses (et all) in!
– tools. cordless drill and circular saw at an absolute minimum.
– always gotta have a surfboard and skateboard for play time.
5 things on your bucket list?
– Meet and hang out with Bjork
– See the Northern Lights
– Hike the Camino Trail
– See the Skywhale in flight
– Speaking of whales, would love to see a Narwhal Whale in the flesh in the wild.
What is something people would not know about you?
I’m not actually scary!
What is something you would like to achieve in the next 5 years?
Illustrate the children’s book that my partner and I are going to write.
Jodi Clark’s solo exhibition is from 6 March to 21 March.
For more details on Jodi Clarks exhibition click here.