Meet artists and first-year university students, Katie Masonwells and Jocelyn Depamaylo, recent residents in the Main Street Studios.
What motivated you to apply for the creative residency program straight out of high school?
Katie | We are very ambitious and we applied for the residency because we wanted a reason to continue with art since we’re both pursuing more … ‘sustainable’ options in university.
Jocelyn | We saw the residency as a great opportunity to develop our abilities and gain more experience, so that we would have the option of pursuing art as a future career.
Tell us a bit more about the project Blacktown Storyboard.
Katie | The project is based around the notion of storytelling – namely, the construction of narratives in art. We especially delve into the concept of liminality – which just means a point between two thresholds. It is a concept that’s very relevant to us because we are standing in the middle of so many options for our future: we just left high school, so we’re caught in this place between youth and adulthood, as well as different career opportunities and pathways. Again, it’s a storyboard – everything has some kind of narrative attached to it and every artwork is carefully constructed to express this.
Jocelyn | Since storyboards are meant to visualise a final project, it’s like the project itself involves us experimenting and growing and trying to figure out what we’re doing with our lives …
Katie | So we thought that exploring the area and the stories of other people would be a good place to start.
How will you tell these stories?
Jocelyn | We decided to balance our skills and make this work through a series of collaborative projects on top of our own individual works. Our strengths are quite different, mine being landscapes and watercolour paints while Katie’s is portraiture and pencil. The concepts of liminality, growth and potential pretty much link all of our projects together. We aim to explore social realities that are not only relevant to us personally, but to the rest of the community in the hopes that our works resonate more deeply with the audience.
Katie | We’ve also filmed the process of making some of our artworks, so that we can make a short video at the end of the residency, or the end of the year, that we can publish ourselves. Since we’ve been using the local area as inspiration, the video is part of our project to engage the community and to document and share the artistic process with the public. The video that we are currently constructing is this idea of putting together inspiration and artwork, much like cause and effect.
What artists or movements inspire you?
Katie | We look at various movements and styles, but we particularly like to look at renaissance works. We think of them as a paragon of technique, and we like to compare to see just how well we’re doing. Otherwise, I am very fascinated by postmodernism. Postmodernism tends to delve inwards rather than outwards, exploring the self, the psyche and the personality. It looks at subjectivities and anxieties quite unashamedly and quite bluntly.
Jocelyn | My art style tends to take from some postmodern qualities such as using visual symbols to create deeper meaning. Though honestly, the “Aesthetic Movement”, which is basically making works simply for its aesthetic quality and nothing more, drives most of my practice. I find Reylia Slaby, a Japanese artist and photographer, rather interesting, particularly how she merges fantastical themes with reality. She incorporates female subjects in a style that is beautiful but dark; subject matter I tend to explore quite often.
What is your favourite place in Blacktown?
Jocelyn | I really like Blacktown library. Despite it being the centre for stressful students – particularly during exam time – it’s always be a go-to place to meet with our friends to study (or at least pretend to study).
By Sanki Tennakoon
Photograph of Katie Masonwells and Jocelyn Depamaylo by Joshua Morris, 2017