C19 GALLERY RESIDENT INTERVIEWS

KINLY GREY

Can you tell us a little about yourself? How did you become an artist?  

 

Toward the end of high school I very seriously thought the world was ending. I estimated that we had about two years left. I didn’t know exactly what was gonna happen but I just felt it. Besides, that was all beside the point - what was I gonna do with my last two years? Being already very preoccupied with the goal of leaving the small town I grew up in, this impending ending just added an extra sense of urgency. So anyway, I figured I had to go to uni. What a perfectly acceptable reason to move to Brisbane. My criteria for choosing a bachelor degree was

A) it can’t require a good OP

B) needs to be deferrable (I needed time to save the money to finance the move) and most importantly

C) I couldn’t do anything I completely hated.

Let’s guess what my remaining option was! Looking back, I may have showed an aptitude for art but that was well and truly overshadowed by me being a smart arse teenager. It wasn’t til much later I learnt that I didn’t have to be a smart arse all the time. And so, written montage: I worked for a year, I moved to Brisbane, I did pretty terribly most of undergrad (insert scenes of me being busy having fun, struggling with mental health and navigating my queerness) and eventually came out the end of Honours, 6 years later, with the world NOT having ended, an unemployable degree, and with no better idea what to do with myself. HA! Imagine my indignation! And that’s how I became an artist.

How do you describe the work that you make? 

Smoke and mirrors. Literally. Plus light and darkness. Throw in some metaphoric objects; candle, hourglass, my body as a neon circle. There are lots of circles and cyclic things.  Drown in colour, strain forget your eyes, float and remember what your grandmother smelt like. Think about how it might all work then disregard that thought for the feeling of now.

 

What’s your earliest memory of making art? Do you feel like the work you make now has a connection to that moment? 

Once, ages go, I watched a home video of myself as a small child. I was crouched on flat feet on concrete, laboriously and carefully tipping water from a baking cup measure into an ice cream container under the hose, and back, following some kind of system of action I must have invented. Obviously I wasn’t making art, such concepts had not pruned my little child brain yet - I was just playing. Maybe there’s a lesson in this memory for me.

 

I also remember another time, again, I was not making art. I was standing on top of the slippery dip in the backyard. I think I was 5 or maybe 6. I was looking at my hands and moving them in front of my eyes and thinking like, holy fuck, I exist! I revisit this moment sometimes, when I feel lost in my practice. Like a reorienting of myself to some kinda primordial feeling I’m trying to get at.

 

When did you realise you needed a studio space? Was it a conscious decision or something you’ve always understood to be a requirement for being an artist? 

 

This time we’re in has been great for my practice. I mean, I lost my three casual jobs, and y’know, the climbing gym closed 😩, BUT like whatever cause I’ve never had so much time for art! Oh no, turns out this is daunting and I feel pressure to MAKE. Don’t worry, you can read and research, that’s an equally important part of making right? So yeah, classic art cycles still remain. But the studio itself has been a great blessing during this time. It has provided a much needed reprieve from my 6 person share house AND MORE INTERESTINGLY it’s provided the opportunity to start collaborating with Tay in the studio next to mine! How nice.

 

Can you tell us a little about your process? What does a day in the studio look like for you? Do you spend entire days in the studio, or do you flit in and out? 

 

I like to spend long lengths of time in the studio, I don’t like being rushed. Sometimes I have a list of things I need to get done and chip away at it, mostly admin or computer tasks. Other times I just faff about.

 

Outer Space is situated in the cultural hub of Brisbane, with major institutions and commercial galleries within walking distance. Does this impact your experience of the studio? If so, how? 

Not really. Everything is shut anyway. But I do like to go running from the studio, I like that it’s near the river. And you can cop a good sunset. There is a reflective window just outside the door that conveniently pairs the western sky with the eastern. Here is an example from today

How important is a location to studio spaces? What are the essentials you have in mind when looking for somewhere to work? 

Pretty important. I think vehicle access and parking is a big one for when I want to cart lots of things in and out of the studio. Otherwise, a cycle distance from my house is acceptable. Other essentials I require is general quiet and to be left undisturbed.

 

Finally, why is art, and being an artist important right now? 

 

According to me, art is always important because art is for the spirit and art practice is a spiritual one. In times when guidance, solace, connection, soothing, escape, ideas, and catharsis are especially needed, one can lie in art’s cradle while the world so dizzyingly spins. Forgive the flowery language, I’ve been sheltering a lot in poetry these days.

Outer Space acknowledges the traditional custodians of the land where this project takes place, Meanjin, and pays respect to Elders - past, present and emerging. 

Outer Space  is assisted by the Australian Government through the Australia Council, its arts funding and advisory body.

Outer Space is supported by the Queensland Government through Arts Queensland.

Outer Space is proudly supported by