During the first week of her studio residency with Blacktown Arts Centre, we met Lorraine Simiana and got an insight into her practice: processes, restrictions and motivations.
Tell us a little bit about yourself and your practice as a visual artist.
I am a visual artist majoring in painting and photography. I have been studying for the past six years both at TAFE, where I completed my Advanced Diploma in 2014, and then my Bachelor of Arts degree at the National Art School last year. My work is very experimental and I’m always trying new techniques. Although I’m a painter, I don’t restrict myself to a specific medium. I don’t just paint; I take photos and make videos, as well as create installations.
What are the main ideas and processes motivating your practice?
My current work explores and communicates sound through various mediums. I have been working with resin, as its transparency allows light to project the movement and patterns onto different surfaces. I find the whole process captivating, almost trance like.
Your experience of the residency program has been met with some challenges and restrictions regarding material use. Can you tell us a bit about that and how you’re approaching these restrictions at this early stage of your residency?
Yes, unfortunately due to OH&S issues, I cannot use resin in the studio space. It’s a hazardous material and needs a lot of
ventilation. Once the resin is cured it’s quite safe. I may have to complete this part of the work at home and bring it to the studio to finish the work. Other methods are to use previously made resin objects and project them onto a canvas in an attempt to paint the projected images. Alternatively, I am still trying to source other safe materials that I can use instead of the resin.
Despite these challenges, why is it so important for you to continue as a resident in the Main Street studio space?
When you leave university/TAFE, you’re on your own. There are few paying jobs, so you feel you have to get involved and keep working, which is why this residency is so important. I am so grateful to have been given this opportunity. The space allows me to work independently whilst associating with fellow artists.
If you could travel back in time 10 years and give yourself any words of wisdom, what would they be?
I believe I am where I’m supposed to be and probably my only regret is that I didn’t start this artistic journey sooner. Advice to former self: to be successful you have to go out and make opportunities for yourself and immerse yourself in whatever it is you want. As for the rest, I’ll take it as it comes.