whiskey and boots, fourty-two, she/her
what is your art form?
Theatre, storytelling, and performance.
what do you do and why do you do it?
I make verbatim performances using stories from real people in a community. I think the truth and real people are interesting, I think audiences long to hear real life experiences from people like them or people who might live around them. There is something special about giving a voice/platform to people who don't usually have one. We're living in a time when it's so easy to only hear from people who think the same way we think, so making work that opens up the listening to all people, whether they agree with you or not, feels kind of radical. But perhaps I mainly do it because I can and it's fun.
who/what has inspired you in your artistic practice and why?
I think I'm inspired by artists who choose to do things differently - artists who have made their own path. I've found I'm particularly inspired by self directing, self producing, female artists (Nat Randal, Nicola Gun, Bryony Cummins) who make work that doesn't quite fit into existing models. They seem to tread the line between genres and don't fit neatly inside expectations. Also, they take risks and sometimes make work that might not be popular - I wish I could be better at that.
what do you think your role is as an artist? has anything stopped you from fulfilling this role?
I don't think there's one role of the artist - it depends on the individual artists and their own personal reasons for doing what they do. I suppose for myself it's to be truthful to the integrity of the stories I'm retelling, be authentic emotionally and make something that an audience will respond to - entertainment is part of that response.
I've found it most easy to fulfill this role when I've had a good team around me that I trust, when I believe in and trust the work and when my ego gets out of the way.
what have been the biggest challenges in your artistic journey?
The biggest challenges have been my own psychology - comparing myself and my trajectory to others, worrying about what people will think, doing what I think other people think I should be doing.
do you believe that good art comes from turmoil and suffering, or is that a romantic notion?
There are plenty of great artists who aren't in turmoil. But I think understanding a level of hardship (whatever that might mean) can give the work a kind of grit and realness that can add a texture to the work. But maybe that's just my taste. I also think artists can lean into their own imaginations to seek out darkness. I also think people are more productive when they're happy so... there's that too.
how do you feel your age impacts your experience as an artist?
Well I think I care less about what people think which is liberating and very good for the work. And the older you get the more experiences you rack up that can draw on. Maybe there's an element of people understanding who you are and trusting you as an artist so you're not busy trying to prove yourself.
what about your gender/race/sexuality/disability etc.?
It's very hard to say, I suppose I can assume a level of privilege that might have been advantageous when I started out being white, able bodied, straight. Hopefully that is changing.
Being a female actor is interesting, when you start out you can be flavour of the month which very quickly moves into roles that seem too old and limmitting and then you can feel obsolete (maybe this happens to men too) but it reminds me how important it is to be making your own art, to not rely on anyone else, I don't think other artforms are as agist as performance/dance/music where it feels that women have a shelf life. Again hopefully this is changing.
My dyslexia has been a challenge - people don't assume you'll have trouble reading and scripts have been a big part of my early career which was really stressful. I think subconsciously I've fallen into a style that doesn't require as much reading as a result. It was very unintentional but we naturally move toward things that are pleasurable and away from things that cause stress... or at least we should.
what kind of work do you want to see created and progressed in the arts sector? what can be done to ensure this has the opportunities it needs to go ahead?
I don't really have a particular want in terms of style or form - I just hope that artists take risks, do their own thing, make things that have never been made before, be weird, find their audience and make work thats fun for them - I think when it's fun for the artists, it's usually fun for the audience.
Maybe artists just need to trust themselves - money also helps.
when it comes to art, what would you tell your younger self?
It's a marathon, not a sprint, so don't worry too much about rushing into things - there's time, there's always going to be time. And just don't worry too much in general, it'll be ok, just enjoy it. It's a catch 22, the less you worry the better the work is - SO HURRY UP AND STOP WORRYING! So then you worry about not worrying. I think focus on having fun, we don't make enough money for it to not be fun.
We're so fortunate to be artists, to be able to do this magical thing we love and share it with other people - I think if I ever find myself not enjoying it, I should stop.