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‘Exquisite Familiar’ Artist: Johanna Roberts

Johanna is one of our ‘The Exquisite Familiar’ artists. ‘The Exquisite Familiar’ is an Access2Arts project that sees a group of eleven South Australian disabled artists, both emerging and established, working together through multiple workshops and mediums to create powerful collaborative art. This art is then exhibited at the Art Gallery of South Australia and MOD., placing disabled artists firmly and proudly in prominent institutions.

What was the inspiration for your uncanny creatures?

My inspiration came to me form bits and pieces of artworks of mine. I chose eyes, wings and space/stars that you would see in my works. I did the sections of the head, stomach and legs one at a time and then tried to make it look like a person. I like how it turned out in the end it always surprises me when I see the final work.

A black and white illustrations of a fantasy creature with a long tail, tentacles for arms, and bug-like wings.

Tell me a bit about yourself and your artistic practice.

I am a indigenous artist, I was born in the Riverland and raised in the Barossa Valley Region. I studied Certificate IV in Visual arts at the Collage of arts/TAFE. I attend Tutti Arts on Wednesday where I create art and meet other artists. I create art to feel connected to my culture. I make stories within stories, so when people look at my art they can see my stories on canvas but their minds can make a storie. My style is a mix of European and aboriginal which represents both my heritage and culture.

Where do you find inspiration?

I get inspiration from many different things like movies/tv, music, books, and old artworks of mine. I sometimes don’t have anything planned for an art work and just put something on the canvas and see what I can make from that. Inspiration also comes from talking to other people and there thoughts on the work that I an doing as it also helps me name and put a description to my art so I get their view of what my artwork is to them.

How does your disability influence your craft?

I don’t let my disability stop me from creating stories and meaning into my art. I make little poems/stories that I do for my artwork descriptions to add to the number of hidden means to my artworks. I think I add the stories to my art and descriptions because when I was young reading online books helped me get better at reading and writing and now I do it a deeper and different why through my art and through colours like blue for sadness.

What food, drink, or song inspires you?

I get inspired when I listen to music, so I play songs on Spotify when I am doing my art. I listen to music from different artists and dozens of genres that inspires me to get creative. Music helps me with creating art and takes me to a new world in my mind, where I image works and do sketch-like images of what artworks would look like finished.

Read more of The Exquisite Familiar artist interviews here.