There is no escaping the bright, bold and colourful abstract paintings of Australian artist, Greta Laundy – one glance and you are hooked!
From a young age, Greta pursued her creative calling and now works full time as an artist. Here she chats with our blog editor, Jacqui Taylor, about collaborating with Nerida Hansen Fabrics, embracing the emotions within art and learning from failure.
Hello Greta, really lovely to e-meet and chat with you. Could you start with telling me a bit about yourself such as where you grew up and where you live now?
Lovely to be here! I grew up on farms in regional South Australia and moved to Adelaide when I was 17 to go to university. I have lived here (except for a brief period of time) ever since. I live in the inner south of Adelaide, near the foothills.
Were you destined for a career as an artist?
I think so. I was always good at drawing at school, and it was always my childhood dream to be an artist. I can’t imagine doing anything else, it is such an integral part of my life.
What is your creative process? Talk me through it.
It is hard to describe my creative process as it is so intuitive, although all my works begin with simple line drawings and lead out from there. I don’t try to ‘drive’ a work (I rarely work off compositional drawings), rather I let it evolve through the process of working with colour, shape and space, aiming to create a cohesive and balanced composition. It must feel ‘right’. This can be a fast or slow process. Memory of places is incredibly important as inspiration. I turn these memories into my works. I want my works to not be specifically about a place, rather I want them to speak of the way we feel when we are in places. The human experience of being in nature.
It might sound weird, but the art elements all have ways of affecting our emotions and I feel very sensitive to this when I am painting or drawing.
It has been a difficult time everyone due to a global pandemic and everyone has faced a lot of uncertainty. What has changed for you due to COVID-19? And how have you adapted your work to manage during this time?
I became extremely busy in 2020! I think as people have spent more time at home, they have decided to invest in their intimate spaces and have begun to really appreciate how art can increase our sense of wellbeing and add to the quality of life.
I have had to utilise social media a lot more to get my work out there, and reluctantly put my face in front of the camera to introduce myself to my audience. Also, I will go the extra mile for my clients and video my work or do zoom calls to discuss commissions in place of not seeing work in the flesh.
My galleries have been super supportive and adaptive to the changing environment by doing online exhibitions in lieu of an art fair that was cancelled (for example).
Greta, when and how did you meet Nerida Hansen? Were you familiar with Nerida Hansen Fabrics?
I haven’t actually met Nerida (in person) I have only talked with her on the phone and via email. Nerida approached me in late 2019 to produce work to be made into fabric, and then COVID hit and threw everyone’s plans into disarray. I am so glad to have had the opportunity to produce work for Nerida Hansen Fabrics, it is a bit of a dream. I was aware of Nerida’s fabrics through Instagram.
Tell me about your upcoming collection for Nerida Hansen Fabrics. What were your inspirations for this body of work?
I produced three paintings for Nerida which are used in the collection. Each was very different in colour palette, but all were inspired by the landscape and water. Water features in a lot of my works. I grew up on an island surrounded by the sea, and water as a scarcity was a fact of life throughout my childhood. One painting was inspired by the night, the other by the warmth of the day, and the final one was more Pop Art and fun, and was about summertime play.
Are you ready to see your art as a pair of pants or skirt or cushion?
Oh definitely! I can’t wait to see what the amazing craftspeople out there produce. I have already talked to a local SA business Kitty Came Home about producing clutches (they make the BEST clutches) from the fabric so I can have my own special Greta Laundy X Nerida Hansen Fabrics piece.
Describe your typical day.
Pre-breakfast I walk with my dog Asha, and then around 8am, into work. I usually do admin type tasks in the morning and hit my studio around 10ish. I will work until 6pm with a half hour or so break.
During the day I also organise framing, stretch canvas, wrap paintings, book couriers and try to keep my studio relatively tidy.
At night, I will do further admin, upload artwork, do professional development, write blog posts or newsletters for my mailing list, and finally aim to close the laptop around 9:30/10:00pm. That doesn’t always happen! As a sole business it is busy, busy.
Who has inspired you the most to date and why? Whose careers do you follow?
Oh gosh, there are so many wonderful artists out there. I love the late Sidney Ball’s work. Stephen Normandy is a superb colourist; his paintings and sculptures are very inspirational to me and I would love to own one of his works some day! David Hockney’s solo show at the NGV a few years ago brought me to tears. I follow US artist Alex Brewer, I love how he explores shape and colour in his big works and murals. More generally, I am totally into the hard-edge Modernist movement that came out of the East Coast of the US and I never get tired of Matisse’s works.
I loved David Hockney’s exhibition as well. Greta, do you have a dream collaboration or project?
It has been great working with Nerida for this collection and I would definitely like to do more collaborations in the future. I think it would be great fun to design and create a big mural for a public space, and I would love to see some of my more abstract work as a wall hanging or textile.
What is in the pipeline for you for 2021?
Well, there is the exciting launch with Nerida Hansen Fabrics; and I am working with a boutique curated online gallery in the US on a range of works to be launched there shortly (I am only one of 100 artists in this gallery, so it is very small and very special to be asked to participate).
I am very excited to begin working with the Moree Gallery in NSW as a represented artist, and I already have some exciting commissions on the go. There is always work to produce for my galleries, Art to Art in Melbourne and Satch and Co in NSW. Finally, a bunch of artist girlfriends and I are doing a group show in Adelaide at the end of the year. It is going to be very busy and exciting!
Name three words that best describe your style of art.
Colour-field, abstract, landscapes
What advice would you offer to those that are starting out as an artist?
Experiment, experiment, experiment! And fail and learn from those failures. I really recommend tertiary art training, as it helps to push you outside of your comfort zone, and also to develop your knowledge and understanding of art history and artists. Develop your own style by digging deep into what drives you and make it your own. Imitating other artists will not take you very far. You must have passion, resilience and drive to choose this career path, it is not for the faint-hearted.
Top up your fabric stash with Greta's range available at www.neridahansen.com.au.