Tuesday, 27 August 2013

Take Five Minutes To Learn About Artist #RhondaDee

Its always assuring to know communities in the inner city of Sydney are getting together to create points of interests to share with the locals. This makes living in Sydney a more enriching experience.

The Chippendale Creative Precinct have created The BEAMS Arts Festival to highlight the large variety of talent and creativity grown in the heart of the Chippendale. Often compared to the meat packing district of New York City, Chippendale has blossomed into an art precinct housing many reputable galleries such as MCLEMOI, White Rabbit, NG ART and Living Art Gallery.  

If you are a regular patron of the arts it should come as no surprise that Chippendale is having its very own annual arts festival. However, if your world is far from gallery openings and rubbing shoulders with chi-chi intelligentsia, then the BEAMS ARTS festival is a fantastic way to experience a thrilling night of artistic adventures. The best part is, the admission is free.

On 21 September 2013 - you can expect clever lighting shows, thought provoking art exhibits, wonderful live music, and delicious food, all located around Balfour and surrounding streets, Chippendale, a stone throw away from the city of Sydney.

A highlight of the BEAMS Arts Festival will be artist Rhonda Dee's ethereal artworks. Century 21 Synergy was lucky to get you an exclusive interview with Rhonda Dee before her exhibitions at BEAMS Art Festival.

Thank you for speaking with Century 21 Synergy Rhonda. Lets get straight into it.

How did you come to be an artist?

I have been an artist all my life.  I knew what I was even before I went to school.  I can remember when being asked what I wanted to be when I grew up? I always answered “an artist” which was never received very well!  

I didn’t even know what it meant, as there were no role models around me.  All I know is I was speaking from a steady and grounded part of my interior when I made that proclamation about my life all those years ago.
It was a mysterious and undefined orientation, and I still feel that way about it. Later, in my early twenties, I ended up attending a local College in San Antonio Texas, which changed my life forever.  I was exposed to so many extraordinary artists and thinkers at that time and I knew I had found my “tribe”.  

I received an arts scholarship and earned my Bachelors degree in Fine Art in Seattle in the early1990’s.  I moved to Sydney not long after, and continued to exhibit in Australia and overseas before completing my Masters Degree in Art at Sydney College of the Arts in 2006. I just seemed to have a life compass that pointed in only one direction, and it has been that way ever since.

Artworks by Rhonda Dee.

Do you think art chose you or you chose art?

My art has always been closely linked to my survival.  It is and was a way to process feeling, emotion and to make sense of the interior and exterior world. A kind of deep merging has been taking place between making, feeling and movement over the years.

How did you get involved with the BEAMS Festival?

The BEAMS Festival is a one night event Sept 21st from 5p.m. to 10p.m. in Chippendale. The streets of Chippendale will be closed to traffic and the night will be one of art, food, conversation, music and much more. My representing gallery (MCLEMOI) is one of the highlights of the area and they brought the event to my attention. I was thrilled when my work was chosen from hundreds of submissions.  The theme of the festival is “New World Cities” which is in line with my current body of work.

What are you showing at the BEAMS Festival?

A hanging installation made entirely of coloured links of metal chain. The work represents a passage way or metaphorical gateway at the brink of the new millennium.

Every artist has a voice, a style and story to tell. What would you say defines the nature of your artistic expression?

You know I had a professor in college say once, that every artist has only one thing to say with their art…one essential idea. The trick is finding that core expression and to keep discovering new ways to visualise it.

For me it has always come down to fascination with transformation – whether at a personal level, from a material stand point, or through conceptual means, transformation has a hypnotic effect on me.  It is at the core of what drives my entire practice.

What is your creative process?

I work across a few disciplines including sculpture, painting, collage and installation.  My conceptualisation process usually involves being under the covers in bed in a darkened room.  I get most of my ideas in the stages just before sleep…My conscious mind gives way to the subconscious, and I roam around in that territory a lot. As far as physically making the work - I work in a fragmented way, both conceptually and physically.

Collage is a method I return to again and again as it gives me the freedom to come at my work in very lateral ways. The fragment has become synonymous with ideas in my work of displacement, identity formation, human potential, destruction and newness.  Ultimately, fragments push at the seam of what might be understood as “whole”.  The fragment carries the potential for change within it.

Has your creative process evolved through years of practice?

Yes, most definitely.  I think the early years of my practise was about learning how to accept what I was producing, and how to strengthen my vision.  I began working out of professional art studios from the early 1990’s.  I really developed my discipline in the early those years by learning from myself and other artists what it takes to practise your vision regardless of what the outside world is doing.

Where will you be showing at the BEAMS Festival?
“Host 2” will hang from the balcony where the speeches will be given during the festival. Location is the corner of Dick St. and Balfour St. (just down from the White Rabbit gallery). The Mayor of Sydney, Clover Moore will be opening the festival and other guest speakers include Nicky Ginsberg, coordinator and director of NG Gallery.

"Host 2" by Rhonda Dee

How do we acquire a piece of your artwork?
Stop by my gallery if you are in the city, or look them up online. I am represented by M C L E M O I – G A L L E R Y. 45 CHIPPEN STREET, CHIPPENDALE, NSW 2008, AUSTRALIA +61(02) 9698 8177 www.mclemoi.com. (Sara Leonardi-McGrath (Director) Kristia Moises (Curator).

I am so thrilled to be a part of this exciting gallery space as the team are bringing a high level of quality international and local artists together on the Australian scene.  MCLEMOI is a buzzing place with the recent honour of being voted as one of the top 15 new museums and galleries in the world by Artinfo magazine.  http://mclemoi.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/07/Screen-shot-2013-07-12-at-11.57.08-AM3.jpg

What are your plans for 2014?

The beginning of the year is looking very bright as I am currently working towards my first solo exhibition with MCLEMOI GALLERY.  The gallery and I are looking to do a number of collaborations throughout the year.  

The first will be with Master/slave –Sydney’s leading couture fashion house.  I am excited by the possibilities of working with Master/slave as they are certainly masters in their field!  What attracted me to working in this cross-discipline area is that fashion is a wearable canvas that can be shown to the world on a day to day basis. I love the idea that clothing can create spectacle and that my work can travel outside the gallery context in this way.
Image: Rhonda Dee, Artist.
Each piece of clothing acts as a signifier of a person’s uniqueness, individuality, poetry and mood in their world. On a final note, I’d like to leave you with a quote that I feel sums up the thrust of my work and life philosophy.

“You create yourself moment to moment - you are not born as a fixed entity, but only as an infinite potentiality.”     Osho

Visit: BEAMS Arts Festival , September 21, 2013 . Time: 5pm to 10pm ,

Balfour & Surrounding Streets , Free Admission.

Visit Rhonda Dee's stunning website: www.rhondadee.com

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