An inspiring creator in our community, Rebecca Johnson works from her sunny studio among the trees in Banyule. Stemming from a long-term commitment to drawing and journal keeping, she explores ideas through bronze sculpture, painting and drawing.
Rebecca completed a Bachelor of Education with a major in Sculpture at the University of Melbourne, followed by a Graduate Diploma in Sculpture at Newcastle University. She has worked in various bronze foundries around Melbourne as an artisan and technician, and as a demonstrator and technician at Melbourne and Newcastle Universities.
Rebecca currently works part-time as an Art Teacher. We recently caught up with Rebecca, learning more about her practice and balance of creative, work and family life.
How do you describe your creative practice?
I work in a variety of mediums including bronze sculpture, works on paper and painting. My current work draws upon personal experiences, memories and the psyche to channel images and thoughts into sculpture and painting.
My work examines concepts such as Home, Love, and the Material. I am interested in the relationship between our physical bodies as home and our collective home, mother earth.
How and why did you get into this area of work?
As a year 12 art student, I was taken on a school excursion to Inge King’s home and studio. Whilst wandering around her garden admiring her sculpture, I had a very strong feeling that it was what I wanted to do. I identified that it was where I belonged.
What are you working on at the moment?
Currently I am working on a collage, ink and acrylic on paper.
Do you have a studio?
My studio is at home. I have a glassy room built in off the back deck. It is a small space but it’s great because I can spill out onto the deck where there are 2 large tables. I love being able to work outside in the natural light. I have a great backyard and love being able to look at the birds and trees as I work.
What influences, inspires or energises your practice?
I am inspired by the natural world and the wonder of life.
What has been your favourite project?
I was commissioned to do a bronze portrait of a very old and treasured Boxer dog named Caesar, he was on his last legs and I really enjoyed having him as a guest in my studio. My next commissioned dog was a giant Labradoodle named Ollie, he nearly ate my 18 year old cat, so he wasn’t such a welcomed guest, although a lovely dog nevertheless!
In a typical week, how much time do you spend creating?
I have a routine of two days per week, creating from 9.00am till 3.30pm, when my children get home. It’s a juggling act being an artist with a profession and a family.
What do you define as success in the arts?
Enjoying what you do and being able to share your work with others.
What advice would you give to an aspiring artist?
What has been the most touching moment you’ve experienced?
Being commissioned to make a funeral urn for a young girl who died of Cystic Fibrosis. She really loved frogs and I made her family a bronze urn with a frog motif. Her mother was so happy with the urn and said her daughter would have loved it. I found the whole experience very moving.
Do you have favourite artwork?
I have different favourites all the time, one that comes to mind today is Albert Namatjira’s Ghost Gums, a little watercolour at the National Gallery of Victoria. It’s an incredibly powerful work that takes my breath away every time I see it.
Where can we see more of your work?
I am participating in a group show at Otomys Gallery in Collingwood in August.
Check out more of Rebecca’s work at www.kwotch.com
40cm x 25cm x 28 cm
Birds Flying High
Ink and Acrylic on paper
40cm x 35 cm