@maedforu, twenty three, she/her
what is your art form?
photography and graphic design.
what do you do and why do you do it?
i believe everyone should have access to the tools and collateral they need in order to grow in the arts industry. when i was a fresh musical theatre graduate, one of the first things on my list to do was to get my headshots taken. at the time, i couldn't afford the person i really wanted, but upon my success in finding an acting agent, i was able to get my headshots taken through them. however, i wasn't able to choose the photos i wanted and i found that i didn't look like myself. i personally didn't think that was right. i didn't pick up a camera until 5 years later and i fell into the headshot business by complete accident. i found that a lot of the people i photographed shared the same concerns about their first headshots. they want to look like themselves and better yet; actually like the photos. i found a gap in the market and have been operating as a photographer for the past 3 years and have since expanded into studio work and graphic design. i am super grateful to be able to provide affordable yet professional quality assets to my clients, whether they're emerging creatives or otherwise. everyone should have access to quality.
who/what has inspired you in your artistic practice and why?
there is no one reason as to why i ‘art’. i'm a big believer in giving everything a red-hot go. so that's what i did. i found that i picked up photography quickly so i kept going with that and developed more skills from there. similar with graphic design, i learn more and more every day and every project. there have been many failures, but that's how you learn.
what do you think your role is as an artist? has anything stopped you from fulfilling this role?
i am content to be a stepping stone. as i tend to work with emerging artists and theatre makers, i am happy to be a first step in their journey as creatives. whether it be a first logo for their newly established theatre company, a poster design for a fringe show, or even a linkedin headshot. at the beginning, i definitely struggled to set boundaries and charge more depending on the job, but that just comes with growing up and knowing what i'm worth.
what have been the biggest challenges in your artistic journey?
asking for money and figuring out studio lighting.
do you believe that good art comes from turmoil and suffering, or is that a romantic notion?
no. i think ‘growth’ comes from suffering and/or struggling, and that in itself can add depth to art in some cases. to suffer for the sake of art is not romantic to me in the slightest - it's a weird mix of idealism and tragedy that borders on pretentious. maybe back pre-1900s it was more valid, but i think that nowadays there is more support for artists and people genuinely try to empower them. good art can come from pain; suffering is self-inflicted.
how do you feel your age impacts your experience as an artist?
sometimes i feel like i don't get taken seriously at first glance - like i'm just another young woman with a camera trying something out (look, they're not completely wrong). however, i believe that my photos and my work speak for themselves.
what about your gender/race/sexuality/disability etc.?
one of the things i'm proud of in my work is that a myriad of people have stated that they are comfortable around me in a photoshoot context. it's jarring having a camera pointed at your face if you're not used to it, so i endeavour to make the experience fun and comfortable to the best of my ability. i believe that's more to do with myself as a person rather than the fact that i am an asian-australian woman, but i do believe POC artists wish to see a bit of themselves in the people they work with.
when it comes to art, what would you tell your younger self?