artist interviews

robbie fieldwick

@robafieldwick, twenty two, he/they

what is your art form?

theatre maker/storyteller/physical theatre.

what do you do and why do you do it?

"i want to make art that challenges me, this is important to me due to how much thinking and challenging is tied to my sense of self." - heartbeat.

it is a unique challenge of making 'art' to ever define just exactly what making 'art' is. i think the word 'challenge' encapsulates what i would like to do, as vague as that sounds. i want to challenge peoples perspectives, challenge forms and mediums of art, challenge people intellectually, emotionally and in whatever way i can. i have held this trait since i was a little kid, always wanting to challenge the world around me with questions of why? and how? and but that doesn't make any sense!

who/what has inspired you in your artistic practice and why?

"Orpheus by Wright and Grainger, for showing me what an artist looked like." - heartbeat.

i spent much of the devising process for heartbeat, not in perth with my friends and castmates but instead over on the other side of the world hanging out with a few really cool people. Phil Grainger, Alex Wright, Meg Drury, Brains, Yoshika Colwell and Casey Jay Andrews (amongst many many others) are a group of (mostly) UK based artists who made and performed a series of spoken word/ gig theatre pieces that have really shaped me artistically. they are all masters at their craft and it is a craft that hasn't really made its way over to this side of the world yet. they have inspired me to want to take up the flame and create similarly emotionally soaring, heart pounding pieces of live theatre through mediums that i hadn't engaged with until seeing their shows.

what do you think your role is as an artist? has anything stopped you from fulfilling this role?

"Finally, we have the Cynic." - heartbeat.

i think the cynic is a fitting title for me, i don't quite have the bright eyed optimism of a lot of my peers and have seen many, many people before me fail, sometimes it is hard to see how you will do it differently. continuing down the path of creating is a choice, and it's a hard choice every day when waiting for you in your 'backup' is stability and income. i never want this to discourage others from the pursuit but within most projects i bring a lot of the reality checks, logistical questioning and making sure things don't run away from us.

what have been the biggest challenges in your artistic journey?

"I could be a teacher." - heartbeat.

listening to all those outside (and inside) voices telling me that a backup plan is vital, led me to delaying my artistic career by a few years so i could complete a teaching degree. now that i am a (semi-?) qualified teacher, the certainty of that income and the safety of that career is a constant struggle in my choice to pursue arts. i haven't figured out how to do both quite yet and i hope that will come in time, i am currently struggling with every second spent in the classroom is a second spent not pursuing the dream and every second pursuing the dream is a second not getting paid a living wage.

do you believe that good art comes from turmoil and suffering, or is that a romantic notion?

"Pain is never as beautiful as people make it sound." - heartbeat.

i am a firm believe against this trope and speak out (sometimes a little too much) against it. nothing is more important in life than your health, physical, mental, spiritual whatever you need to feel good. life is meant to be enjoyed and the pursuit of art through suffering seems like steps in the opposite direction. i think people absolutely have the ability to harness some of those more intense emotions, but our society celebrating that as much as we do i fear creates the wrong lessons. without telling someone else's story, i have seen friends in my lifetime seek out the angst and the pain, in the pursuit of art and it scared me.

how do you feel your age impacts your experience as an artist?

"I used to be ahead of the curve, but now-" - heartbeat.

i am not too proud to admit that this idea is unhelpful and ultimately a little harmful in the long term. with each year that passes into my early 20's, the further and further i get from the praise, the adoration, the surprise of "Wow your only ___ years old!". i let this define me as a teenager and young adult and the ability to feel so much further along than my peers gave me so much confidence and energy to create. now that i grow older and my age becomes less and less impressive i have certainly noticed those expectations i placed on myself as a teenager coming back to bite. the confidence is flittering away, the zest and spark of creating up and leaving me. i have tied so much of my passion for art, to the praise i would receive due to my age. this needs to change if i want to stick around and give the arts thing a proper shot.

what about your gender/race/sexuality/disability etc.?

"I would get... opportunities over other people, because... I'm a guy in theatre" - heartbeat.

i am a cisgendered, straight, white australian male with no diagnosed disability, impairment or the like. i am about as privileged as you could get and theatre has done nothing but reward me for that privilege. i have seen many better artists get overtaken in their field by myself and people exactly like me and i cant pretend that it isn't a problem. i want to shine a spotlight on these people and share stories with and for everyone, i am now just looking for ways to do that without failing into the traps of grandstanding, white saviour and the likes. i cant say i have it all figured out quite yet but i want to learn how and i want to see things change.

when it comes to art, what would you tell your younger self?

"Go find art earlier." - heartbeat.

this is simple for me, i got into art too late and for the wrong reasons. i want my younger self to find it himself, for himself. take some of the pressure away from being ahead of his age and instead find the love and passion in the play.

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