Inspired my Japanese architecture, culture and language, artist Darcy Whitworth has re-imagined the mastery of her favourite artist Katsushika Hokusai in her newest exhibition, ‘Reimagining Hokusai‘.

We had a chat to Darcy about inspirations, study and the Geelong artistic community.

Thanks for taking the time to chat with CHYA, how are you and what are you up to at the moment?

It’s a pleasure and I am very happy to share my stories with CHYA! I am well and am currently undergoing my Honours at Monash University, investigating changing variation in modern Japanese speech.

As well as this, I have been working with Monash University to help mentor Japanese students with their research to help them prepare for an upcoming academic conference in September.

In my spare time I have been seeing friends, family and vigorously preparing for my upcoming exhibition at CHYA! It’s been a busy year, however, I am happy that I have still been able to fit in time for my art and my hobbies!

Congrats on the exhibition coming up at Courthouse, how is the prep coming along for the event?

Preparation for my exhibition is coming along nicely. Although an extremely slow process, I feel that I am making progress with my artworks. As is the nature with all intricately detailed fineliner pieces, creating works can be very time-consuming, however, I am balancing writing my thesis with my drawings so things are coming along!

Are you able to please fill our readers in on what to expect with the pieces.

This exhibition will include a selection of works with the aim to highlight the beauty and wonder created within Japanese woodblock prints. Similar to my research into Japanese language, I seek to investigate perception in all forms, whether it be words or objects within the environment. These works will include a range of different types of extremely detailed patterns and lines which aim to depict aspects of Japanese artist, Katsushika Hokusai. Recognised as one of the most influential and creative minds in the history of Japanese art, Hokusai has been one of my favourite artists for as long as I can remember. Through this exhibition I seek to re-create aspects of his most famous works to offer new perspectives to the Japanese aesthetic.

We saw line and dotwork are heavy features in your pieces, how did you first come to using this style?

I remember being fascinated with watercolour and pen ever since I was a small child and even created works at the age of six! My passion for my current style of art, however, really developed in year 12 when I had a chance to experiment with different types of styles in studio art. It was here where I learned to incorporate a range of patterns and lines within my drawings. One of the greatest developments I remember was when I decided to draw from experiences and Japanese culture, incorporating aspects of an overseas exchange I completed in Japan with year 11. From this time I have continued to develop and refine my style of drawing through small projects investigating Japanese architecture, film and nature.

How has studying art influenced your own artistic process?

I am very grateful for being able to study art in high school as well as university. In order to create your own artist style it is essential to first consider what has already been completed throughout history. From here, we are able to select artists who have created works which are similar to our own and we are able to use their style to create an entirely new aesthetic. For myself, the biggest influence on my own practice was movements such as surrealism and cubism. I loved learning about different ways to manipulate perspective to perplex the mind and summon new streams of thought about form.

We saw you’re inspired by Miso too and those influences can be seen in a few works, who are a few other artists who you admire what they create?

I am influenced by a whole range of artists; Australian and international. For example, artist Nigel Peake and his series of drawings of the city, has been a major influence on the development of my own style. I also admire the works of David Hockney, Ghost Patrol, Evie Chair, Gemma Topliss and Del Kathryn Barton.

You recently created a zine with some of your favourite places in Melbourne, what are a few favourites and what makes them highlights for you?

I have always loved the architecture of Melbourne from a young age and am constantly in wonder of the details people overlook in buildings along Collins and Swanston street. My sister and I have a tradition of visiting St. Pauls Cathedral to light a candle and make a wish. I have always loved the area around Degraves Street in central Melbourne and this is featured within my zine of Melbourne. I have endeavoured to recreate a series of memories my sister and myself have experienced within Melbourne in this zine. I have drawn the architecture of Melbourne along with a collection of our favourite songs we associate with the city in the winter, and maps of places we have visited in our time together.

Do you often see the potential to draw places when you’re out and about?

My greatest inspiration comes from the environment around me and I am constantly taking photos whilst I am out and about in the city. My previous works on Melbourne and Japanese architecture were based on the photographs of buildings I took whilst working in the city and visiting Japan on a holiday in 2016. I aimed to draw from these photos by adding my own abstract style to the images.

You’ll be exhibiting in Geelong as well while you live in Melbourne, are you familiar with the artistic community in the region? Any Geelong artists you admire or follow?

I am somewhat familiar with the art scene in Geelong, having exhibited works in a collaborative show at the Shearers Arms Gallery last year and in 2016. I admire the works of local artists Joshua Maxwell de Hoog and Jack Grayson, who both have unique methods and styles of art construction. I have also been a longtime follower of Prudence Caroline and her beautiful watercolour creations.

Going back to the beginning, do you remember your first experience with art and what you created?

Back to the very beginning I believe I was always exposed to art in some form. My mother always encouraged my sister and myself to paint and be creative – taking us to galleries and museums. I can remember running around in the backyard splashing paint at my sister as well as painting with watercolour in prep! Some way or another I have always gravitated towards drawing as it has always been my outlet for creativity and relaxation.

Thanks again for chatting with us, is there anything else you’d like to add?

Thank you for the interview and I hope you enjoy my show!

Darcy’s exhibition opens on Wednesday, June 13. Find more information here, or follow us on Facebook. You can also find Darcy on Instagram.