Illnesses can affect people’s emotional well-being in various ways. It can cause some to shut down completely, or it can trigger others to mine through their feelings of frustration and create artistic gold. Amelia Robson sits in the latter category. In our latest spotlight, Amelia tells us about her passion for architecture, and what artworks she would own if she were the richest person on earth.
Q: Hello Amelia! Can you please tell us a bit about yourself?
A: I’m a graduate of architecture from UniSA, and I worked as a graduate architect with Peter Stutchbury in Sydney for a year. I really love architecture, and I’ve always seen myself going down that path. However, having a chronic illness, I’ve realised that architecture is probably not one of the most accommodating careers for people who have illnesses that aren’t visible or cannot be controlled for periods of time. I guess that’s the same of any illness or disability.
Over the last couple of years, I have found that art, drawing, and painting have been a way for me to let out my frustration with my disease and express my feelings of being left out of the architecture community, the isolation from friends, and the loneliness illness creates. For me, creating art creates worlds within worlds for me. My work started with a lot of negativity and has since become more positive. It has helped me overcome a lot and inspire a network of other people who also suffer from invisible illnesses which for me makes me feel like I could help again.
Q: Who inspires you? What inspires your art?
A: This is a pretty loaded question. I think there are so many people who can inspire you. For me, it is an architect who inspires my work: Peter Stutchbury who I worked with in Sydney. He inspires my work because of his philosophies and his everyday approach to life. His partner, Fernanda Cabral, is also an amazing inspiration for persevering; she just keeps going with her positive attitude that life always gets better. Some amazing artists like Frida Kahlo and Edward Kienholz, as well. However, I think I am over my quota.
Q: Do you have a preferred medium?
A: Surprisingly, I actually prefer sculpture and model making, but due to my illness, I have learned to take up watercolour and painting again. I really love the softness and the depth that you can create with the colours. The fine line drawing has been a part of teaching my brain how to function with fine motor skills and also is drawn from my architectural training. Overall, I really am enjoying watercolours to my surprise. I drew motivation for my fine lines from a French author/artist called Sempé. He does beautiful work, too.
Q: Can you please describe your artistic and creative process i.e. from lingering idea to putting it into practice?
A: My process at the very beginning was pretty erratic and undecided, deciding on my mood where I painted whether it was on the floor, on my desk, or asking myself, “Do I even paint today?”. Once that is out of the way, it is a growing process of gathering of everything. It is generally a reflection on my mood most of the time.
I now write in a book next to my bed on ideas of what I can draw next, and this usually happens at some unearthly hours. Now the process is to draw, erase if not right, start again, and draw lines. Then draw and watercolour within lines or even over them. Each drawing is unique with a different story, so the process changes. One could take 1-2 hours then the next drawing could take 1-2 weeks
Q: Where do you see your art practice taking you in the next five years?
A: I would love to see my art practice grow and have its own studio. I can see myself transitioning to doing this full time whilst still dipping my hand into architecture still as it my first love. Taking the prints and drawings I do and having them printed onto fabric and create hopefully one-off bespoke pieces of clothing. Making MIMI & CO available for everyone in a range of art-based concepts whether it be in clothing, paintings, prints or other ranges.
And not to be afraid to have a piece hang in a gallery too… haha.
Q: If you could recommend one artist, who would it be?
A: For me it would be Tracey Emin. She was my artistic awakening. She made realise there are no boundaries. Anything is possible. As women, men, and humans we don’t need to be ashamed of anything that has happened to us in our past.
Q: What is your favourite gallery?
A: Easy, my favourite gallery is the Museum of Contemporary Art in Sydney. It’s my hometown, it has a lot of sentimental value to me. Amazing exhibitions there.
For my 21st my family took me there to see Anish Kapoor and it was a life changing event that has stayed with me ever since. The smell, the texture, the scale of his work, and use of vibrant colours have stuck with me.
Q: Where can we find more of your work?
Q: If you were the richest person in the world, what pieces of art would you purchase?
A: First of all, I don’t think that’s ever going to happen, but one can dream. My piece of art I would be Robert Klippel’s tiny sculptures that look like they belong in a dolls house, or Basquiat’s boxing bags. Either way I would prefer that they would all stay in an art gallery then everyone can appreciate them. Art should be for everyone to access.
– Masya Zabidi