Meet Certificate of Creativity student Barbs Myers, whose dazzling work is inspired by hard house music, nature and sacred geometry.
Why did you decide to enrol at The Learning Connexion and was it a good decision?
I was involved in a joint exhibition some time ago with about 15 other artists and nearly all of them were current or ex students. The people I spoke to raved about the place so I looked into it and when I felt ready I opened that door and here I am. I also used to look down the driveway of the campus whenever I went past it – for years. Better late than never I say!
How would you describe yourself as an artist?
I guess I would describe myself as being multifaceted, just like a dodecahedron. I love to put my best energy into my work for others to view and hopefully absorb. I paint my thoughts and feelings as well as painting the music which brings me a feeling of freedom and joy! I'm a fun-loving, heart-based artist who is a deep diver and very introspective, so my work is extremely profound. I'm also a recycled leather book maker, and now I have found a passion for life drawing which is taking me down a new path.
Do you have a project you are currently working on?
I always have new projects on the go. At this moment I'm working on an ultra violet painting, some sacred geometry paintings and a new series I've recently come up with which was inspired by my Figurative Expressions class.
What are some of the things you enjoy most about studying at TLC?
Some of the things I've enjoyed during my time here are: Finding new skills I never knew I had! Meeting like-minded people and being in a really positive and supportive environment has been awesome and extremely helpful for my personal growth. The main thing I've enjoyed is pushing myself through the frustrations that come along with the creative spiral. I know there is always something good beyond that point of frustration, so I'm determined to work through that and have a finished piece at the end of the day.
I want to make the most of my time here so I make sure I stay in class till the end of the day! I was never like that back in my school days. That must mean I'm in the right place.
What does a typical day look like for you?
I'm an early riser so I normally start each day painting, drawing, doodling or just sitting at my drawing table with coffee in hand and my cat on my lap, thinking about what else I can create. I feel the need to do something creative each day to keep my motivation and inspiration ticking along. A day without doing something creative is a very strange day indeed. I have wonderful supportive friends who purchase my work and I'm always so grateful and blown away by that. I have sold my recycled leather books through the Eastbourne Van Helden Gallery, and just recently I learned of its upcoming closure which is such a shame for the local community.
How do you sustain your creative practice and where do you draw inspiration from?
My inspiration comes from many things: my love of Hard House music, other artists or creatives, mathematics which relates to sacred geometry and its connection to the universe and consciousness, although I'm terrible with maths but I love the patterns it produces. Spirituality plays a big part in my work. Nature and the cycles of life have an impact on me also. The sudden death of my mother was a major turning point in my life and this made me realise life is too short not to do what you love, so it gave me the courage to follow my heart and do what is right for me. I chose the name Grouse Art N.Z. as it is a direct link to my Scottish heritage on my Mother's side of the family. It's my way of keeping her memory alive.
Describe a highlight or "wow" moment of a recent work or creative experience.
I'm always having a WOW moment as I'm constantly surprised by what I do and come up with so I guess I am my own inspiration at times.
I remember in the first term when I picked up a piece of charcoal for the first time and drew the upside down portrait, stepped back and thought WOW that's really good! I love surprising myself.
Then there was the life drawing exercise and something definitely "clicked" for me, so I went on to take the Figurative Expressions class. This has had a major impact on me on an internal level and I can honestly say that it changed my perspective and enabled me to see myself in a whole new light.
Art and creativity is definitely a powerful healer if we are willing to go inside ourselves and question what we think we know.
What are your creative ambitions? Where would you like to be in five years?
I have no idea where I will be in five years, I didn't know I'd be here at TLC one year ago so I guess I'm just going with the flow and walking through the doors of opportunity when they open ... as scary as it seems sometimes! I know I will continue to paint, make leather books and draw, but I'm sure there will be something else I'm attracted to in the future and I look forward to that adventure.
Ready to surprise yourself? Enrol for a New Zealand Certificate in Creativity (Level 4).