Get to know, artist Eleanor Orchard

A self proclaimed ‘bad poet’, Eleanor Orchard was the artist behind the exhibition, okay. Working as a conceptual artist (as in, her medium is decided by the concept rather than the other way around), Eleanor entered into the realm of video and projection for her newest work.

We had a chat with the artist about all that and more!

How did you first hear about Courthouse Youth Arts?

The curator Amber Smith is a friend of mine. We’ve known each other since studying our undergraduate together. Initially, Amber asked if I’d like to run some drawing workshops with CHYA and I jumped on the offer. Amber is a really ambitious and talented person, so I wanted to keep up with her endeavours. She was kind enough to offer me a show.

And how have you found the process exhibiting so far?

Exhibiting is always a peculiar experience. Depending on the gallery and the curator, it can sometimes be quite stressful, but Amber made the whole process extremely easy. Exhibitions are usually financially and emotionally draining for an artist, as they are often required to provide and organise everything, but CHYA offers installation, marketing and an opening night. It’s extremely generous.

Can you please tell us a little bit about your exhibition, okay., which just finished up at the gallery? 

The show is about how we navigate the loss of control and our own independence. The video work acts as a self-inflicted empathetic response.

This is a bit of a change from your illustrative work in the past, what sparked your interest in video with this exhibition?

I’m currently studying my Master of Fine Art at RMIT. My practice is a conceptual practice, so my medium is lead by my concept instead of the other way around. Since caring for my terminal Mother I’ve found that my creative priorities have changed. I feel like drawing would not do this feeling justice, so it’s become secondary to me. Drawing is something I do occasionally, but my love for it has changed. I’m not hugely attracted to video, but it seems like the best way to communicate this information.

How did you find working with the new medium?

A new medium is always a bit scary, but exhilarating. If you’re not familiar with something you are either unknowingly defying or accepting conventions surrounding the medium. These works were more about the performance and the video was the best way of documenting each act. I stuck with generic angles, but the camera has a way of revealing information you never intended on sharing.

You’re currently studying at RMIT, what has the formal teaching process taught you about your work so far?

The Master’s program has taught me how to speak about my work and assess myself. Prior to the course, I was exclusively drawing, but I was too comfortable with it. I asked them to challenge me and my advisors rose to that challenge. I use to think my work was about celebrity culture, but I’m slowly learning that I actually work with the language of control and the transcribing information into new logic.

You did a series on K-Pop, what’s your favourite act and what do you love about it?

Ha! Everyone goes back to the K-Pop. I’m not sure why, but I’m glad people find it interesting. My favourite act would either be Big Bang or BTS. I love the theatricality of K-Pop. Everything is so precise and beautiful. I’ve decided to move to South Korea so I can be closer to their diligent work practice and intriguing aesthetics.

Does music have much influence over your work?

I’m not sure. I feel like I have two lives. K-Pop and art. I’m irrational and smitten by Korean popular culture, to the point of making strange decisions and foolishly pursuing it no matter what, but art is like my organising system. It allows me to think logically.

Your pieces often explore the illogical facets of human nature, what are some that perplex and intrigue you in particular? Are there any you’ve found difficult to capture in your work?

I find most human responses to be illogical. I have an obsessive nature and I’m consciously aware of my decisions often being misguided. I think it’s more about how we choose to filter our impulses, whether it’s affection, grief or even management. Probably the most difficult thing for me to understand is how people can rely so heavily on other people. I’m not sure if I have severe trust issues, or I’ve just been independent for too long, but I’ve never been able to comprehend it. Leaning on other people is an obscure concept for me.

Lastly, what do you get most out of creating art?

Art feels necessary. I don’t know where my energy would go if I didn’t have it. I wake up early and go to bed late for the sake of art. It makes me feel like I’m never doing enough.

Is there anything you’d like to add or plug? Maybe something we haven’t mentioned?

Umm…I feel like I’m about to waste an opportunity here. You can check out some of my work at www.eleanororchard.com. OH! and please support the art practice of Amber Smith and follow all her fabulously curated shows. She deserves a lot of support.

Images by Leikography.