Interview with StArt Up: Top Arts 2016 artist Angharad Neal–Williams

What has the highlight been of Top Arts 2016?
Throughout the year I put many hours into my folio and the design process, so being selected for Top Arts is a huge reward. The most exciting part is that I will be able to share my artwork with so many other people. The process of developing ideas and creating artworks is highly personal, so to be able to display it for public viewing is an amazing opportunity. The time, care, effort and love that went into creating my artworks is now even more rewarding as the artwork can be viewed and appreciated by a much larger audience. Thus the highlight of top arts is the ability to display my artwork to such a large audience and the joy of my time and efforts being recognized.

Do you plan to pursue a career in creative industries?
Drawing and creating will always hold a vital role in my life. I am always finding new projects to do and new pictures to draw and create. Whether or not I pursue a career in a creative industry I won’t be able to live without drawing and creating art; it is just so satisfying and holds a vital role in my life.

Who are your favourite artists at the moment?
Egon Schiele has, and will probably always be my favourite artist. I love his line drawings, with the emotive black lines confidently drawn in one gesture across the page. His line work is strong and dominating yet quite detailed at the same time. His pairing of paints and colour with the strong line creates an interesting aesthetic… as if they are almost unfinished, however if there were any more colour on them they would be overworked. The balance Schiele achieves between the line work and small patches of colour is what I admire in his works.

I am also greatly inspired by the works of Shahzia Sikander. I am inspired by her use of detail and her intricacy. Her works are developed with many layers. Sikander employs the use of unusual yet strikingly beautiful colour combinations that one would not commonly pair together; which greatly inspires my use and placement of colour. One of the main conceptual links between Sikander’s work and my own is the juxtaposition of opposing elements: Sikander pairs the aesthetics of contemporary and traditional styles whilst I combine the aesthetics of art and science.

What you learnt from the process of Top Arts 2016?
I have found it amazing the amount of people that are required to set up the exhibition; the planning and organizing of the event. It has been interesting to be a part of the process and to liaise with such a range of gallery staff. I’ve learnt how much organizing it requires to develop such an exhibition and the amount of time that is dedicated to ensuring all aspects of the exhibition are covered.

What would you do differently if you were to do your VCE folio again?
I absolutely loved creating my folio, the ability to create artworks every day and call it ‘homework’ and ‘study’ was ideal for me. I’m not sure I would change anything. I put absolutely everything I could into my folio with 110% effort, so looking back, I know I could not have done anything else to enjoy my time more.

Have you been working on any creative projects since your work was accepted into Top Arts?
Of course! I’ve been enjoying the time off since the end of high school, with much more time to create and draw for myself rather than for school. I’ve been spending time drawing and collaging for relaxation and enjoyment. My friend and I are about to create our first ‘zine’ full of our own drawings and creations, available for the public to purchase or just to browse. It has been very enjoyable to have the time to work on such projects.

What advice would you give students going into Year 12, in how to prepare for Art or Studio Art?
Spend time on your folio everyday. Every night I would spend around an hour on my folio. In doing so, this helped me to avoid stressful catch-ups when due dates approached. For me, I never saw my folio as homework, but as a time for relaxation and enjoyment. I would spend time on my folio when I was stressed or very busy as it allowed me to do something that I absolutely love, so it was no longer homework.

I found that it was very important, however, that when I found art frustrating because nothing was working that I would take a break from my folio and do work on other subjects instead. I wanted to keep art as something I loved and enjoyed, not a task or a job that I ‘had to do’.

Everyone always says ‘annotate as you go’. I didn’t want to make annotations something that I dreaded, or something to avoid, so I annotated when I was in the right headspace. I tried to annotate exactly what I thought and how I felt about the artwork or images I had glued into my book; therefore it became more enjoyable and something I would sometimes even look forward to doing particularly if I had hit a roadblock with my design process.