Oh what a gem is contemporary Indigenous artist Wendy Rix! I read her “About Me” on her Wensart website and giggled myself silly. Such a character and her vivacious personality is equally matched by her rich and vibrant art. Wendy comes from a close knit family, and her mob are Noongaburra people from around the central border of QLD/NSW (yuwaalaaray language group). This artist faces life with humour and enthusiasm backed by a strong spirit and certainly sounds like one of those Aussie battlers that just keeps going.
Currently Wendy works as a community nurse to supplement her new creative business. But there aren’t any complaints from the ambitious single mother of 2 young adult daughters. I’m super proud to share her art with you cos this lady is a talent and one can only expect Wensart to explode across the art world any minute!
Did anyone from your family instruct you in you in Indigenous art techniques? How did you learn? How has your art been influenced as a member of the Noongaburra people?
I am a self taught artist. I studied art all through high school, and have painted for many years. however the transition to indigenous style of painting has only been in about the last 10yrs. Some of my younger cousins paint, but I don’t believe any of us were ever taught. Other members of my extended family also paint, but pretty much all of them do more traditional style. My great uncle Vic Chapman is an artist, and was the first indigenous principle of NSW.
Your art is based on a spiritual representation of your own story telling. How do you think this impacts on your viewers?
I describe my style as my spiritual representation of my own story, as I don’t paint dreamtime stories, or animal X-ray art, as some people see as being “indigenous”.
My earlier work had some aboriginal symbols in them, but I felt since I wasn’t taught this way, that I didn’t have a right to paint it. I am not sure if thats correct, but its how I felt morally.
I hope viewers of my paintings can still feel a spiritual connection within themselves, when they see one of my paintings, even if it differs to mine.
What have been your personal highlights so far as an artist?
Personal highlights…..well its the most humbling experience when someone parts with their well deserved, hard earned dollars, to purchase something I created. I think thats an incredibly amazing feeling.
Back when I was “a mum at the local primary school” – I was a part of the Fete committee and ran the art gallery for 2 years. Which consisted of working with every student in the school, creating a piece for the gallery, that was then offered for sale. I believe I had around 430 pieces of art (painted pots, bamboo didgeridoos, air drying mushrooms, you name it) in my house by the time the fete happened. I would have an “opening night’ the evening before the fete, so parents could come and put red stickers on their kids art if they desired. I also would have wine and cheese as any opening night
I was also the Defence Transition Aide, and would run art sessions at lunch time on the days I worked. Other highlights have been:
2004 – Commissioned piece for the opening of the new preschool building at Our Lady of the Assumption school, Enoggera – “the good samaritan”
2006 – Commissioned pieces for the Archdiocese of Brisbane, Catholic Education Building
2012 – Maka Ya Publication Issue 1/2012 – Dept of Education – commissioned artwork for the use in the publication
2013 – First solo art exhibition evening – The Villager, George St Brisbane. Sold 6 from 15 paintings.
2014- Art Edit magazine – April/June edition
2014- June – one week gallery Percolator Gallery, Paddington. Sold 16 from 27 paintings, several cushions and crosses.
2014 has been huge – Wensart became a registered business name, the website has been created, the blog, instagram, twitter etc, have all happened this year! Turning paintings into fabric prints for clothing/soft furnishings has been an amazing experience and HUGE learning curve!
If you could change any one thing in your creative life right now, what would it be?
If I could change one thing it would be to give up nursing and concentrate solely on art.
Dorothy had her red shoes, Wonder Woman her golden whip. What object would your friends immediately associate with you?
Too funny – my friends call me wonder woman
Anything you would like to add, or upcoming Wensart exhibitions etc?
I have a stall booked at the Eagle Farm Boutique Market on 29 Nov – my first market stall for Wensart. I am also looking into chiffon caftans, fat quarter fabric squares for the quilters out there, and holding art classes/workshops in my home.
I also am enjoying writing the blog, and the painting I am doing right now, in conjunction with a blog entry, has an even greater depth – watch this space and PLEASE SUBSCRIBE AND COMMENT! I love a chat!