2015 Artists Alliance Mentee Profile | Michelle Beattie

How would you describe your practice?

In a few quick bullet points I’d say: a mixture of objects and drawings; small landscapes models; muddling’s on how spaces are occupied and owned; random found objects from the garden and lately quite a number of functional craft objects.

One of my mentor programme goals is to become more comfortable and competent writing about my work/self in an authentic manner.

What advice has influenced you the most?

There were certainly some gems of advice at art school but they’ve become so ingrained in how I make and think about my work I have forgotten that they started off as a piece of advice.

The most recent piece of influential advice has come from my mentor Glen Hayward “write drunk, edit sober” (he made sure to include a note saying… not literally drunk though… :)).

This has completely changed my attitude towards writing. I previously felt like I should have these perfectly formed thoughts and succinct sentences ready to get done on paper… but this never worked well, and just resulted in building up a massive negative wall around writing.  So, I’m working on approaching writing like a chatty conversation, tangents and all – this is much more me.

Do you have any specific goals that you hope to achieve while on the programme?

Yes, along with getting over my Grinch attitude towards writing, I am working up a few solo proposals. Watch this space.

How important is a physical space to your art making?

I’ve realised that it is really important. After trying out a few different studio situations – one which often turned into party central, another romantic (but freezing cold) bottom of the garden studio – My current studio is a loft space at home which is warm, quiet and light. So far, it’s exactly what I need.

What is the best show you’ve seen recently?

This question feels like asking someone’s star sign and then having knowing insights into their personality… Ah, a few I have enjoyed lately are The Kauri Project at Te Uru Gallery, The Park http://www.makethepark.info/, and Erica van Zon’s Murky Waters Murky Horizons at Melanie Roger.

And I’m a Cancerian in case you were wondering.

And finally, how do you take your coffee, tea, or favourite beverage?

AM, strong coffee and with milk. PM beer with the current favourite being a copper/amber/red ale option.


Photo courtesy of Janet Lilo.