Artist Inquisition: Natasha Kelly

The opening night shenanigans may be over but SHOOT V2 is still happening at our Preston gallery, and we heartily encourage you to come down and take a look during gallery hours! While you're there, you'll be able to take a look at Natasha Kelly's work - find out more about it, and her, in our latest edition of Artist Inquisition!  

Tell us a little about the photo series you've chosen to include in the SHOOT V2 exhibition at Melbourne Arts Club.

I'm exhibiting 3 photographs as part of the SHOOT V2 exhibition. It's titled 'Kids'(very original title!) & explores the openness of how kids express themselves in whatever they are doing. Kids are pretty much always doing weird shit(at least mine are) & up until a certain age they show very little restraint in expressing their emotions. By showing this, I hope that people can remember back to when they were like this too.

Natasha Kelly_Bubblegum

How did you first get involved in art - were you one of those little kids who always loved being creative, or is it something that came later?

Yep, I was one of those little kids that always loved being creative - I grew up with performing arts, I was a dancer, then later in a band. I was always making or drawing something. I grew up always surrounded by cameras & they were always accessible to me, so I was always taking photos as a kid. After high school I went on to study sound production & writing & editing. Then, I somehow found myself in a corporate job, and it wasn't until the year before my 3rd child came on the scene that I became more focused on getting back involved in art.

Where do you make your art, and how long is the process for you? Is it a slow burn and you find yourself working on pieces over a long period of time, or when inspiration strikes, it's all done and dusted relatively quickly?

Most often at home, or other people's homes. The length of the process changes depending on what I'm working on, but when I'm commissioned by families to document them, I'm constrained by the time that I'm actually spending with them, whereas for personal work that process is a lot longer (which can be both a good & bad thing.). I work when inspiration strikes - and when my kids let me. I'm currently working on a long term project which is definitely a slow burn!

Its All Fun Games Until-Someone Gets Hurt

How does living and working in Melbourne influence your work?

I think it gently guided me into working indoors - with our great erratic weather and all - and to embrace working with the light you've got.

Who or what do you turn to for inspiration on days when creativity just isn’t flowing?

If I'm just not feeling it, I try to just let it go for a bit, give myself a day off or two. I'll write, just anything really, to get things out of my system. Or I'll just hang out with my kids & be a somewhat regular Mum. I know (pray!) that it will come back eventually, because it's been doing that forever, so I try not to panic. If it goes missing for a while, I'll grab my sidekick (my 3 year old son) and we'll head out into the city to explore and just look around. Other times, I just keep picking up my camera and keep making really shitty photographs until it comes back.

What is your favourite artwork of yours and why?

Oh, it changes all the time. You know, I'll have a favourite for a while and then when the next one comes along I'll wonder what I ever saw in the other. Then after a while, I'll look back and change my mind all over again. How's that for not really answering the question!

What is your favourite artwork of someone else’s, and why?

At the moment, my favourite series is Larry Sultan's 'Pictures from Home', simply because, I wish I had made it!

Is there an artwork in this exhibition that you’re most proud of, or one that has a particularly interesting or funny backstory?

The one of the little girl getting dressed - that's one of my daughters. She takes forever getting ready for school each morning. This particular morning, I walked up to her room and found her struggling to put her tights on in the weirdest way ever, so I quickly snuck off to get my camera, and then just hid and waited for the right moment to take the shot. When she was finally done, I asked her if that was how she put her tights on every morning and she said, 'yes'. And so, I found out why the hell she took so long to get ready each morning!

What's the best piece of advice you've ever been given?

From my Mum, 'Never wear exercise clothes out in public unless you are actually exercising'.

'Always go with your gut'.

Getting dressed

What question do you wish we'd asked you, and what would your answer have been?

I've just spent way too long trying to think of something witty to write, but I've got nothing!