Inside & Outside: Interview with the Artists

Sydney-based artist, Harleigh English, credit: Susie Beth George

Sydney-based artist, Harleigh English, credit: Susie Beth George

Written by Kate Bettes

How do you escape?

Reality. Someone’s trying to escape it, someone’s trying to reinvent it, and someone is

attempting to strengthen their bond with it.

Inside & Outside looks at how we change our physical spaces to express our internal selves.

Introducing three talented Sydney artists, who have come together to showcase the ways they use their art to change their relationship with the public and private spaces that they find themselves in.

Join us at Vandal Gallery April 11th 2018, 6pm-8pm, to experience 'Inside & Outside: Exhibition Opening'

We ask the ‘Inside & Outside’ artists to spill the beans when it comes to their creative backgrounds, hidden secrets and the way they interact with their favourite materials.


What is your creative background and how long have you been creating your art?

Bailee Lobb: I grew up in a creative household and in some ways have been preparing my whole life to be an artist. I was taught how to sew, bind books, felt, marble paper, and build things like decks from the matriarchs in my family. Creative expression was very much encouraged, and I learnt this language early in life ... I have developed a strong practice centered around experimentation, play, and the process of learning and making.

“My current work is a playful and vibrant re-imagining of female potency. Neon hues and symbolic sensibilities strive to convey the possibility of embodied energy." - Ali Noble, Credit: Jonathon Dalton

“My current work is a playful and vibrant re-imagining of female potency. Neon hues and symbolic sensibilities strive to convey the possibility of embodied energy." - Ali Noble, Credit: Jonathon Dalton

Ali Noble: My mother was a seamstress, so the textural and sculptural possibilities of fabric have always been interesting to me. According to my oldest friends I have always been making ‘stuff’, so lets say I’ve been creating since I was a kid.

Harleigh English: I have originally have a media arts background in film and photography. But over the past year I have swayed into ceramics and painting. This has entirely influenced my approach to media mediums.


What materials and/or tools do you prefer to work with and why?

Ali: Textiles are always present in my practise, they’re so versatile. I love my sewing machine – sewing always makes me feel like I’ve accomplished something! It also connects me to my mother in a nice way, as she taught me how to sew.

Harleigh: With photography I prefer to shoot film, because of the texture, the roughness, quality and colours.

It offers me something that digital doesn’t: forces patience and a different perspective. I make sculptural works with clay because I love hand-building and the whole process of glazing and firing. It gives me a new way of expression through art to transfer my ideas and thoughts onto.

Bailee: I prefer to let the experimental process dictate my tools and materials when I’m making a work which means I am often learning new things because the work went in a direction I didn’t expect. I love learning new things and experimenting with modes of creative expression that are unfamiliar to me. In saying that, since I was a child I have had a special place in my heart for work that involves cloth or cloth-like materials and this is often the start point for my material experimentation, the texture and the properties of the cloth interest me. Cloth is so ubiquitous and so versatile, we all have a relationship with it and I find that really interesting.


Can you share one thing with us that most people wouldn’t know about you?

Ali: I’ve sailed across the Atlantic (not alone).

Bailee: Only my shoemaker knows - my right foot is a size smaller than my left. She custom made me a beautiful pair of shoes, size 8.5 for the left, and 7.5 for the right. You can’t tell to look at them but I can tell because they are the only pair of shoes I own that fit perfectly.


Where, what or from who do you draw your inspiration from?

Harleigh: Andrei Tarkovsky, Willem De Kooning, Sam Hall, Bela Tarr, Terrence Malick, Robert Adams, Jim Goldberg.

Bailee: I draw inspiration from my everyday; from the oddity, beauty, and challenge of the experiences I have as a queer woman with mental illness and disability, and from the environment around me. These often overlap within my work as my environment hugely affects my experience.

Ali: I draw inspiration from all sorts of places – other artists, music, nature, literature, film, daily life. I’m mostly just interested in people , how they operate in the world, how they respond to life's challenges. I like to look at the relationships between things – different colours together, scale, form – how things ‘speak’ to each other.