The peak body protecting and promoting the Australian visual arts sector

​Q&A with Elvis Richardson

NAVA spoke with Elvis Richardson, artist, academic and author of the blog, CoUNTess, on her practice and experience as an artist.

How would you describe your practice? What are you currently working on?

Basically I like to investigate the things I find and collect. At the moment I am collecting old contemporary art magazines and catalogues as I am interested in the life cycle and ecosystem of an artist's 'career'. Acting like a human data collector I have been cutting out artists' names, titles of works, titles of shows, gallery names, dates and then reassembling and regrouping the cut up information as a mixed media collage. It's a lot of fun as I learn about art history and different contexts with the advantage of hindsight.

How do you find opportunities to share your practice?

After 20 years of art practice I find that most of the shows I participate in are the result of invitation. I enter some art prizes if they are local as otherwise the freight costs are prohibitive. I keep my website up to date. I love running galleries or projects but the space has to come first. The Alderman Bar in Brunswick run by artist Lisa Young is great as she donated the space above her bar to run the gallery DEATH BE KIND in 2009-2011 with Claire Lambe. A new gallery project has opened this year in the space called Incidents above a bar with a focus on exhibiting painting.

What barriers have you come across in your art practice?

I have proven to myself through doing my blog CoUNTess that there is a definite gender bias in the contemporary art world. Doing the blog was a way to overcome the frustrating situation many women who are mid-career artists find themselves in.

All the mentioned women in ten different issues of Art and Australia 1992-4

Elvis Richardson, All the mentioned women in ten different issues of Art and Australia 1992-4, collage on box board, 100x75cm, 2014.

You've had a variety of experiences, from creating your own art space in DEATH BE KIND, to being commercially represented, all whilst writing your ongoing blog CoUNTess. What insights or advice can you share from these projects?

Insights I am not sure. I have just done what I am interested in at the time. I like working with other people as I find art making a lonely pursuit although I do enjoy my own company. I find while art practice gives my life positive drive and meaning; it also demands many sacrifices and I think the economy of being an artist is unfathomably hard, sometimes demoralizing and rarely profitable. This is difficult when we live in an economic rationalist society.

What do you think is the next big trend/issue for the arts in Australia?

Women. Put the e back into quality. Museums and galleries will steadily progress towards the proper recognition of women's work and careers.

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