Amidst bump-in for the launch of her next exhibition, Miranda Jarvis took time out to answer a few questions and give us some insight into what was going up on the Courthouse Youth Arts Gallery walls.

Thanks for taking the time to chat with me! You’re currently undergoing your honours, how is it all going?

My honours is going great, so far! After 5 months off from uni, it’s exciting to be focusing on something new!

What’s looking to be your focus for the remainder of the year?

My major focus will be a site-specific project researching my family home in the Otways. I’m interested in the female experience of the land, but also how we as humans are influenced by our environments, and in turn how we shape the world around us. I will be looking at working with photography, sound and participatory based works this year.

Your name is one that comes up a lot through various creative involvements at CHYA, do you remember your first exhibition and what that experience felt like?

My first show at CHYA was in 2016. I had a week long residency working in the gallery space which culminated in a show with another Geelong based artist, Lydia Semjanov. I recall feeling nervous! However, the show itself was a beautiful celebration where both Lydia and I were surrounded by friends and family who came to see our work.

Your upcoming show is a double-opening with Dean, are you familiar with his work? How do you think your pieces compliment each other?

I am writing this after meeting Dean this afternoon. Once the show was announced, we followed each other on Instagram, and I had a look at his work on his page. Today, when we saw one another’s work in the space, we were able to muck around and see how we would make it work together.

Dean and I have different styles and processes in our paintings, but I think this adds something special to the show. I’m stoked to be sharing the gallery with Dean, and the way in which our works go together is quite serendipitous.

You mention mental health had an effect on your creative process and that was a stimulis for the show, how important do you think it is that as artists we are open on discussing mental health in the arts?

Mental health issues are personal, and I don’t think that anyone needs to be totally open about the ways they are managing them. However, for me, making art was a nice way to work through my anxieties. I was nervous about being open about these little struggles in my work, and I debated on whether to bring this up as a theme when talking about these paintings.

I would also hate to put out the idea that creating and making art is a way for people to ‘cure’ mental illness. For me, painting was a way to process how I was feeling, but of course this is not going to be how it happens for everyone.
Mental illness is so prevalent among young people, and I think that in the arts, we need to be supportive of people that are managing these issues. I’m not sure that picking up a paintbrush will assist someone in handling any form of mental illness, but I do know that proving safe spaces where people are encouraged and welcomed, just might.

Visually, what will be some notable differences attendees will be able to see? Or perhaps a reinforcement of your style?

Last year, I stepped away from painting and worked with really tangible materials like fabric to create a series of wall hangings. In this show, the works are all paintings, but their abstract form lends itself to a certain intuition that guided me in the process. I feel very close to each of these paintings, mainly because they speak to a time where I was experiencing such a strong period of growth. I’m excited to share these little parts of myself with everyone.

The show is fittingly titled ‘Finding my Feet’, what was the first little step that helped reignite your creativity again?

Around November last year, the thought of making work was freaking me out. I was feeling anxious after the culmination of such a massive year, and I wasn’t sure how to start again. One night, my boyfriend Nick and I were hanging out and I suggested we do some painting on some blank canvases I had in my room. These canvases were next to my bed, and while some people find a blank canvas inspiring, at the time they just caused me stress. I decided I needed to relearn how to make work and create a process that was positive. After that night, I kept painting and learnt to walk away when the process wasn’t serving me.

Is there anything over your career as an artist that’s been a consistent source of inspiring your creativity?

For me, it’s when I visit somewhere beautiful, or read a great book or have a wonderfully insightful conversation that I feel most inspired. It’s when I experience inspiration that I want to create work to put out in the world, even if it stays in my room. I am also motivated by the idea that creating art could lead me to many more beautiful places and
wonderful conversations that motivates me to work.

You’ve been a part of Courthouse many times (the CO. exhibition, painting the laneway, Voicebox, solo show etc) what do you enjoy most about interacting with the space?

There is something so exciting about being around people who make things happen and Courthouse facilitates this type of creative activity. CHYA also encourages young people to be a part of something, which is important, especially when you’re young and starting out. The people at CHYA are supportive and warm, letting you have your voice and expression whilst providing guidance.

Also, a special shout out to Amber, who works so hard to help you realise a vision. Amber is a wonderful curator, but also a friend to all who comes through the Courthouse.

What do you hope for attendees to take away from the exhibition?

This is a hard question! I really think that each person will have a different idea on these paintings, but I truly hope that people can allow themselves to be a little more vulnerable after this show. Being vulnerable enough to love, express yourself and share with others, are all little victories that we should all enjoy. I am also just so pleased that people are seeing my work. Above all, I hope they have a nice time sharing the works that Dean and myself have in the gallery.

Lastly, do you remember the first thing you created as a child?

Hmm! I can remember being little and having my mum buy massive rolls of butcher’s paper, whereupon we would sit together and draw massive murals with lots of happy animals. That was nice.

Launching tomorrow night (March 28), the dual exhibition between Miranda and Dean de Landre kicks off at 6pm. Head here for more information and to RSVP to Miranda’s show.

Main image taken by Leikography.