One of the my greatest pleasures since starting my studies in Fine Art has been to connect with other artists. Gaye Tait from Australia is one such artist whose work leaves me breathless and wanting more. Her style, while fresh and playful with a satisfying Klimt-like familiarity, is strong and timeless. Her subject – Mother and Child – resonates universally and through her art Tait teaches us how to cherish the most sacred (and often misunderstood) amongst us. Enjoy getting to know Gaye through the interview below and if you like what she offers please support her by ‘liking’ her Facebook Page – ShoeString Floating Art Studio.
- Who are you and what do you do?
Gaye Tait. Artist and student, Wife, Mother, Grandmother and Great Grandmother
- Why do you do what you do?
Art: Because it feeds my soul. If I am not creating I feel lost and lonely. I think about art continuously and how I can achieve the desired outcome.
- How do you work?
I try to stick to a plan organising my time. I prefer to work alone as I become so lost in the moment that I would not be able to work and be social at the same time.
- What’s your background?
Some of my earliest memories are of drawing and creating beginning when I was about 4 years old. Becoming a wife and mother in my teens limited my creativity and then as a single mother working became a priority.
I started painting again in my 30s having small successes in the country town where I lived. Again, work became more involved and there was never enough time for art.
When I retired I then had the time to pursue my love of art. I enrolled in a Bachelor of Fine Art at Curtin Uni WA. I have been studying part time for the past 4 years with 2 more years to go before graduating.
Living in Bundaberg I became very involved in the local art scene. I have entered several group exhibitions in Bundaberg and one solo one. I also exhibited in Brisbane for the ‘Celebration of the female form’ exhibit in 2014. Recently I moved to Bribie Island and entered an exhibition competition at Aspire Gallery in Paddington, Brisbane and was delighted to be a dual first prize winner. The art gallery gave me the opportunity to show my work for 6 months which was wonderful. I am currently applying for two more exhibitions at Aspire and I have been accepted to exhibit my work in June in Brisbane for ‘Celebration of the female form’.
- What’s integral to the work of an artist?
Research, workshops, a place to work and make a mess and like minded social group.
- What role does the artist have in society?
Artists’ role is to express their feelings and emotions as well comment on what is happening in our world.
- What has been a seminal experience?
Research has helped me identify where I am heading in my art work. After 4 years of study I am only now seeing what I don’t want to do with my ideas and concepts and also having the courage to head in the direction that appeals to me regardless of the risks.
- Explain what you do in 100 words
What a tough question! I am finding that I am developing work from my own experiences. I married when I was 17 and had my first child two days short of my 18 birthday. By the time I was 21 I had three very small children and a husband who couldn’t cope. Divorcing at 22 left me alone and bewildered. Those were tough years that only in hindsight do I realise what a struggle it was. To cut a long story short I find myself painting images of a mother and child a lot.
I remember other people’s attitude to me back then as a young mum and how alone I felt. Now in my art work my aim is to show young mums lovingly caring for their babies. Young mums having fun enjoying the gift they have.
Just because a woman is young and inexperienced doesn’t mean that she doesn’t want the best for her child. My art reflects the fun side of having a young mum. It shows the warmth and love that these young women have in abundance. I guess in my small way I am trying to change people’s attitude hopefully making the viewer think about their own responses to young, single mothers.
- How has your practice changed over time?
It has changed in how I approach my work in as much that I am more thoughtful about what I am painting and why.
- What art do you most identify with?
So many artists that move me I am not sure where to start. I adore Gustav Klimt’s work as well van Gogh. Of course the old Masters for their skill and dedication but am amazed at the work of many contemporary artists.
- What work do you most enjoying doing?
Painting women and children.
- What themes do you pursue?
- What’s your favourite art work?
Anything by Gustav Klimt and Marc Chagall
- Describe a real-life situation that inspired you?
My own experience as told above.
- Why art?
It is the only way that I can truly express myself.
- What is an artistic outlook on life?
Seeing the beauty and the ugliness in the world. Looking beyond the obvious and finding what is beneath. Noticing the shadows, the darkness and the light. Being open to new ideas and change.
- What memorable responses have you had to your work?
Winning shared first prize at Aspire Gallery in Paddington, Brisbane. One of my works chosen by Dalgety Australia as part of travelling outback exhibition.
- Is the artistic life lonely? What do you do to counteract it?
It does involve isolation at times but for me never lonely. I do make sure that I involve myself socially although to be honest there are times I would rather lock myself away in my studio.
- What do you dislike about the art world?
Not a lot. I guess there can be pretence and arrogance by some artists. Some artists who put other people’s work down but on the whole I find the art world quite a welcoming place.
- What do you dislike about your work?
Everything! I am never really happy and see lots of mistakes.
- What do you like about your work?
I like the idea and the involvement. I become the work and it becomes me.
- Should art be funded?
- What role does arts funding have?
To encourage and fund emerging artists. To fund training, workshops. To bring art from other countries to Australia to broaden our minds and ideas.
- What research do you do?
Not a lot re funding but huge amount regarding artists and techniques.
- What is your dream project?
I am living my dream. Happy with the exhibitions that I have been involved in and the ones that I am planning for the future.
- Name three artists you’d like to be compared to.
Klimt, Klimt and Klimt and of Chagall.
- Favourite or most inspirational place
Ocean or country where I can just sit and look.
- What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given?
Relax and let it happen.
- Professionally, what’s your goal?
To exhibit and sell my work. I would also like to teach children and the elderly.
- What wouldn’t you do without?
For more work from Gaye Tait join her Facebook Artist Page, ShoeString Floating Art Studio.
Questions sourced from Artsculture
This exclusive interview was originally posted on the blog (on this site), January 13th, 2016.