Felicity Hayward is a multi-talented young woman from Melbourne whose work reflects the architectural diversity of this great city. She is more concerned about the process of creating than being bothered with notions of genre and where her work fits across this spectrum.
Where were you born?
I was born and bred in Melbourne.
Your work is heavily influenced by architecture – tell me about that?
I worked for architects for about 6 years and was surrounded by sketches, drawings and architectural models all day. It was nice to be able to work in such a creative environment. Even now, I’m working for a structural engineer and am surrounded by plans and drawings of buildings and beautiful structural details. I find it all really fascinating. My office and my studio are in the heart of the CBD so I’m constantly surrounded by towering buildings and the lovely crisscross of laneways that’s very Melbourne – it’s hard not to be influenced by it.
It’s weird, I majored in painting at university and would never thought I’d say this, but I think my preference is drawing now. Drawing is something I can do anywhere, and feel more in control of than painting. I get frustrated too easily with paint and I end up hating the work and the process. Every now and then when I want to challenge myself I get the paints out. It takes a long time to get back into though, but it comes back eventually. I’m also not very patient when it comes to drying times, so the immediacy of drawing suits me better.
How did you get involved with the Blender Studios in Melbourne? Are you a fan of street art?
I happened to be looking for a new studio space and I just thought what the hell, I’ll just see if there is a space free and emailed Blender. I thought there would be no way I would get a space in a studio like Blender with its talented stable of artists. I feel like a small fish in a big pond most days, but everyone is really supportive and encouraging, it’s a great place to create. How could anyone live in Melbourne and not love street art? It’s everywhere. It’s part of everyone’s life in Melbourne whether they like it or not and I love that.
How would you describe your art?
Describing my art is really difficult and something I get asked all the time. You would think I’d have a better response by now, but I don’t really. It’s not drawing and it’s not printmaking or even a painting – it’s a combination of all three. I start by taking a photograph which I then print in black and white in reverse on a photocopier. Then using a solvent I make a hand print from the photocopy. I then draw over the print in markers and fine line pen and finally wet the image down with a damp paintbrush. I can ruin an artwork in a matter of seconds in that last process and it can be quite frustrating.
As to what style or genre my work is – I have no idea. I just make art. I’m not bothered by where it fits in the grand scheme if the art world. I just enjoy the process of creating.
Was there a time that you remember when you went from doing art to being an artist?
I think when people started buying my work, during art school that I felt more like an artist. Although, it’s funny, I’ve only really started introducing myself as an artist in the last few years. I have always felt a bit weird calling myself an artist but realise now that I need to have confidence in the fact that I am an “artist” if I’m ever going to be able to sell that fact to an audience or buyer.
Who is your greatest influence?
I don’t have one great influence. I have some amazing people in my life and they all influence me in one way or another. My partner, as well as being super supportive of my art, is a chef and DJ and produces some beautiful things with food. He has been known to spin me tunes until the wee hours of the morning the night before a show to help me focus while I’m finishing off artworks. At Blender Studio I’m also surrounded by some very talented artists and it’s hard not to be inspired the minute I walk through the door.
Who are your favourite artists?
I was always fascinated with the work of Giacometti and Antony Gormley during my studies, and would say I still love their work but there are so many talented artists in Melbourne it’s hard to choose a favourite now. Every week there is a different show to go and see and with the street art scene being as big as it is here, I only need to step outside to see some incredible art.
If you could meet anyone in the world, who would that be and why?
I have really struggled with this question and have decided that my answer goes back to the question about my influences. I already have so many amazing people in my life that I don’t desire to meet anyone else. All the artists, musicians and actors I admire, I admire for what they do, not who they are. I know that’s not very interesting, but I think all the people I am supposed to meet I have already met, or will when I am supposed to.
What are you currently working on?
I’m currently working on a large commission piece. It’s about 10 times bigger than my normal work and not an image I would have chosen to work with, but was up for a challenge – and it certainly has been that. Some days I feel like I’m fighting with the art but then surprise myself with the outcome.
I’m also starting a new body of work that examines urban place making and sense of place, focussing in particular on the Docklands in Melbourne. I am fascinated by the Docklands and how isolated it is to the rest of the city and how it has struggled to take off as a destination for so long. I hope to have completed enough work for a show early next year.