Q&A: Angela Grimsdale

Angela with Andre and Jo

(BA (Hons) ’05 MA ’07)
Sydney College of Arts

Where are you in life?
I live with my partner Joanne (Jo) and our son Andre who was born on my birthday in August last year. The birth of Andre has been the most wonderful thing. I really enjoyed being pregnant and apart from the lack of sleep I am loving being a mother. I’d wanted to have a child for a long time but I decided to get my studies out of the way first. Jo also studied at Sydney Uni, completing a Bachelor of Arts. She now supports us financially, working at the University in administration and she also writes an investing blog – investinginspiration.com; that’s her passion. We’ve been together for eight years.

What medium do you specialise in?
I started off as a painter but I am also a photographer and I make video and sound art. My main area of focus is using paint as a sculptural medium. I set up conditions whereby the artworks create themselves. In 1893 the French writer, Alfred Jarry, invented a new science called Pataphysics – a theory of the workings of the universe focusing on its accidental phenomena. My art is created within the pataphysical tradition: emphasising the role that chance plays in the production of art. The same process is used for each one, though the results are always different.

How did the 2005 Frank Packer Bursary help you when you were studying?
My artwork is experimental in nature. At times it’s akin to scientific experimentation. I had been making a major work for my Honours year and after investing quite a bit of money in materials, it didn’t work out as I had intended. I was quite desperate with less than a month to go before the graduation exhibition. I went to financial services and due to my good academic record I was awarded the Frank Packer Bursary. I am eternally grateful as I was able to invest the money into new materials and create an artwork for the show using experimental methods that worked.

Works from the Pataphysical series

How did you feel when you found out that you were the recipient of the 2006-7 University Post-Graduate Award?
It was an honour to be acknowledged by the University.

What were your expectations when you graduated?
My goal was to be a full-time artist. I am not quite there yet but working on it. My solo exhibition at Iain Dawson Gallery in 2008 was my first exhibition in a commercial gallery. The timing however was a bit unfortunate as it was the week the GFC shook the globe and buying art was the last thing on people’s minds.

What do you like about being an artist?
It is endlessly satisfying to create. It is quite an amazing experience to tap into the creative energy of the universe. I am particularly fascinated by universal processes and through my art I make sense of the world around me. My ultimate goal is to be represented by galleries both here and overseas.

What does your family do for recreation?
We love to go bushwalking in national parks. Astronomy is another big passion of mine.

What does the future hold for your family?
Andre is still very young and dependent on me so there is not a lot of time at the moment to devote to my work. Nothing can quite prepare you for the sleepless nights with a newborn. I feel like I’m just coming up for air now and that everything is starting to settle down. Jo is very supportive of my art and since having Andre I’ve decided that I’d like to get back into painting with acrylics. I take inspiration from Del Kathryn Barton, the Archibald Prize winner who has three young children. I am a firm believer in “where there’s a will there’s a way”.

Top: Angela with Andre and Jo
Above: Images from the Pataphysical series