Artist Talk - Vandal Gallery

Art Pharmacy has made the leap from virtual to physical. Starting from a pop up exhibition on Sydney's Oxford Street in 2012, Art Pharmacy has once more returned to an exhibition space in addition to it's highly successful online gallery. Taking over the gallery space of VANDAL, Art Pharmacy brings the best of contemporary art to Redfern’s leafy backstreets.

On a Tuesday evening during Sydney's Art Month, four members of the art world spoke to an audience of established and emerging artists about the importance of creating a body of work, how to best represent art works, what sells online, and how to create a presence within the art world. Gathered in front of Sarah Beetson’s latest exhibition, the talks were simultaneously inspiring, encouraging and informative.

Gabby Malpas was the first to speak. A longtime artist, originally from New Zealand, Gabby began her talk by exclaiming, 'Don't Give Up your Day Job'. To a collective groan from the audience - all those dashed dreams! - she expanded, talking about the freedom that comes from not solely relying on art for income. As she said, 'stress about money creates artist's block.'

As the room opened up to questions, the audience was particularly interested in her reflection on the time and dedication it takes to develop a unique artistic style. 'You'll know it when you get there', she said, to which other artists in the audience spoke up in agreement.

The deep sense of community was evident in the supportive and practically beneficial talk from Amy Piddington, an established photographer. As she said simply, 'good photos make your artworks look good.' From there, Amy elaborated with the particulars - lights facing the artwork at a 45 degree angle, the importance of a soft light force, placing the camera mid height to the artworks. The question and answer session that followed Amy's talk reinforced the importance of photographing artworks well.

Art Pharmacy's Artist Liason, Madeleine Lesjak-Atton, then spoke. Revealing what sells on Art Pharmacy, Madeleine reinforced the importance of photography as well as contextualising artworks. Showing examples of works in situ, she noted 'viewers contextualise your work, they see where you're coming from [as an artist] and they understand the size [of the piece].'

Emilya Colliver, the founder of Art Pharmacy, spoke to round off the evening. Outlining how Art Pharmacy works and how it actively strives to support it's artists, she reinforced the importance of developing a body of work in order to provide a context behind individual works. Discussion then turned to how to make your presence known in the art world, a topic first raised by Gabby Malpas's suggestion of 'Work[ing] it, baby!' and attending gallery openings. Emilya acknowledged the importance of seeing as many shows and galleries as possible, and to converse with gallery attendees and owners about what you've seen and loved.

The evening concluded with the traditional meal of the art world - plenty of wine, cheese and olives - and a chance to meet each other. All in all, it proved that the art world can be a community of supportive individuals after all!

Words by Emma Saunders