artist interviews

teaghan lowry

twenty two, they/she

what is your art form?

i'm an actor, theatre maker, producer, graphic designer, amateur resin artist (specifically dice sets), and expert pinterest board curator.

what do you do and why do you do it?

i have spent the past thirteen years in the theatre industry doing as much of it as i can, in whatever capacity i can. i've learnt a lot about the different roles in a theatre setting, and have tried to make myself as multidisciplinary as i can be in the area. my initial love sparked from acting, and i still do a lot of this, however nowadays, i spend a lot of my time producing theatre. i adore supporting the works of others, and utilising the skills i have gathered over time to ensure that the works of others can come to fruition. i love theatre as it is such a special way to tell stories. i feel like the most i've ever understood humans is when i'm a part of a performance - it is so informing on human experience, even down to the audience and how they react. it makes me feel alive and in love in the most beautiful way.

i used to absolutely love visual arts, and gained a lot of skills particularly in digital art. this lead to me gaining a background in graphic design, and getting a fair bit of work in this area! i don't love this as much as i used to, however, these skills are where i make the most money artistically. admitting that is a little brutal, but hey, it's true!

i've recently reconnected with a small part of my love for visual arts through taking up resin art! i feel it's a really fun creative outlet that in a way is an art form i use just for me, to make me happy. i feel really proud of what i create!

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

i am forever inspired by my collaborators - there is so much i learn by being a part of a team to create. seeing other peoples creative process, and their ideas is something so special. it reminds you that your brain isn't the only brain that exists, and that people are all on their own completely different wavelengths. you become so close and intertwined with your collaborators in such an interesting way, and i always take away so much from them in the projects i work on.

'jack davies and the bush chooks' are a band that continue to inspire me in a very unique way. creatively, they inspire me to make things that make others feel like how their music makes me feel. their songs so uniquely encapsulate the highs and lows of the human experience! personally, they inspire me to take life in a lot more.

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

i believe the role of the artist is to 'empower', and this can be in big or small ways. the work of artists can empower someone to let go and have a laugh, or a cry, or just genuinely feel for a while. people can be empowered to go and be creative themselves - to go and make their own art! people can feel empowered with the knowledge or understanding through perceiving a piece of artistic work. i think empowerment is a huge part of being an artist, and moreover, to make people feel something (and that can just be for the artist themselves too).

i think the major struggle for me in fulfilling this role is self doubt. i really do struggle to feel like my art is worth hearing/seeing, and that if it isn't, i shouldn't be putting it out there. i feel like my art has got to mean something to other people. what i struggle to understand at times is that you, yourself, as the artist, are allowed to make art that empowers you. if you feel creatively fulfilled and like you've got something out of it, great! at its core, that is all you need.

what have been the biggest challenges in your artistic journey?

once again, self doubt and insecurity, however i have already touched on that!

another thing i think really gets in the way of me making art is burnout. i often feel pretty consistently burnt out as a result of working on my art forms in all my free time, which has been pretty damaging to my motivation for these art forms. if they are consistently making me tired and stressed, how can i push through and wake up and want to do them? i adore them, but it's so hard sometimes. this grind i go on i think comes from the fact that people don't perceive artists super highly in terms of 'real jobs', so i work myself to the bone trying to prove them wrong. i feel like the second i let things slip, the second what they say will be true.

another challenge has to be my disabilities. i'll touch on this more later as there is a relevant question about it, but i find going into arts spaces so hard! i have autism, and i struggle to navigate social situations like everyone else can - this idea of 'networking' and making new friends is so foreign to me. if there is someone i admire, that makes it especially hard - i don't want to get the interaction wrong, so often i just shut down and walk out! it makes it incredibly hard to further you own arts career when you struggle in this way. in addition, my physical disability inhibits me from doing the things that a lot of others can, and it gets in the way of me pursuing things a lot of the time.

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

it absolutely does and can, however i don't think it should. i think it is very romanticised to utilise art to heal in a time of struggle, and i think that leads to people feeling like they need to struggle in order to make art, which is incredibly damaging. art is just as beautiful if it hasn't come out of suffering. i don't necessarily think that making art from suffering is inherently bad - often it can be used as a kind of healthy catharsis that helps you grow, however i think there are safe and unsafe ways to do this for your mental wellbeing.

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

i personally haven't ran into too many issues with my age as an artist, however there is always a niggling feeling that when i talk to someone older, they still somewhat see me as incapable? however this is likely just my own insecurity at points!

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

my physical disability impacted me largely growing up, and still does today. when people are aware of my disability, often they assume what i can/can't do, and i am left out of things because it's too hard. i hardly ever am asked if something is okay - people have always just decided for me, and that sucks. i've also walked in to a multitude of spaces that claim to be accessible and accomodating, however when i have raised issues, again, i am told either it's 'too hard', i am taken out of the problem entirely, or it's met with an attitude of me being the problem for addressing it in the first place. it's incredibly frustrating, and makes it hard to feel like there are safe spaces for me.

i have often been impacted by the idea that you need to have a degree to be qualified for jobs in the arts. so many positions i've gone for, but been turned down because i'm 'not qualified'. my autism and adhd made university incredibly difficult for me, and is something that for my mental wellbeing, i decided that i needed to stop. since then, i haven't stopped learning - rather than taking the traditional uni path, i've spent as much of my time as possible learning through experience, which has been of immense value to me. however, i've found arts jobs don't often look at your experience when looking at you for a position, which i've found super challenging.

i think growing up being perceived as female was also challenging as well. i feel consistently condescended by men who don't think i know anything in the theatre industry, when i have spent years collecting on the job knowledge. not only this, but men in theatre would consistently use their position of being 'wanted and needed' to further their chances with women, including myself. i still see so much misconduct surrounding this happening today, and men just getting away with it because 'we need them' - it makes me sick to my stomach.

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

stop holding yourself back. you are as good as the next person and deserve opportunities as much as the next person. you are allowed to love this as much as you do! love it and stop caring that it doesn't look like what everyone else is doing!

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