Marion Abraham, Artist
Marion Abraham is a true artist - her ability to challenge herself with her practice is so inspiring. From her amazing ceramics and sculptures to her new work as a painter and illustrator, we are so impressed with her ability to transition and create. Her beautiful responses here are testament to a formidable approach to the arts.
What do you do?
For the last 6 years I’ve been working in ceramics, running a little gallery as an outlet for my work. I had an apprenticeship-style education for the first couple of years in ceramics and then I’ve just been teaching myself off the ol’ Youtube. That was all going quite well, so I decided it was time to have a big change. I’ve left ceramics behind for now and moved to Melbourne this year to study painting and work on my comic illustration studies. I’m a big believer in learning as much as you can across all art disciplines to improve your work, it’s always very interesting to me how ideas cross-over when you least expect it.
Do you have a maxim that you live and work by?
Fuck making it pretty, make it brave.
What are the three milestones that have led you to where you stand?
Choosing to be an artist full time.
Establishing my gallery and ceramics label.
Leaving Tasmania for study
What projects do you have in the pipeline?
I’m currently working on a comic strip and graphic novel. And scheming new shows for the future… possibly some abstract ceramic sculpture for a show in Tasmania at the end of the year. In the meantime, I’ve set up a little studio in Footscray to work from while I’m experimenting with new mediums.
What is your dream project?
Working as an artist-in-residence with the armed forces.
What’s something surprising about you, that we might not know?
I have a fear of colour that I am currently fighting with a big stick. It’s getting a bit brutal, but I think we might end up being allies within the next six months.
What places are important to you?
My studio, or wherever it is I’m working: on a train, in the kitchen, wherever. If you can move your practice anywhere, and work anywhere, you are free.
What is one facet of your field that you want to see change?
I would love to see more focus in education institutions on technical excellence. It seems to be really hard to find teachers in the arts that will put you through your paces and make you work hard at improving your technical skills, as well as push you conceptually. No one needs smoke blown up their arse when they’re just starting out! It’s so frustrating not having the skills you need to execute the work you have in your mind. And it’s hard to break all the art rules if you don’t know why or how they came about in the first place. You’ve got to be armed to the hilt. It would be great to combine the fine arts vocational and high education institutions together.
What do you want to be asked about that no one ever asks you?
Isn’t it a bit ridiculous working in an area that’s insecurity and potential for failure/poverty regularly terrifies you in the dark hours of the night? (Nah, it’s fantastic.)
What is the best advice you’ve been given, or wish you had been told sooner?
Let ideas open up from each other. Don’t have a completed work in mind, it is more exciting to make a series of smaller works that evolve from each other, and in time they may turn into larger, more complex, finished pieces. Also, don’t work crazy hard unless you have a vision!
How can we find out more about your work?
Who would you most like to answer these questions next?
Ooo. Cecily Brown!
Do you have a supportive female network in your field? Was it always this way?
I’ve been a bit of a hermit with my art career so far, a little too focused on production. I have brilliant female friends though, who don’t work in the arts, and talking to them about their work has always been wonderfully inspiring for my own pursuits.
Can you share a creative experience that you have found defining?
Meeting Lucinda Williams after a gig she did. She is so little and vulnerable and drunk, I thought “I can’t believe how powerful you were on stage. You are incredible, pulling this off night after night. What a woman.”
What are you listening to, reading, watching of late, that is inspiring or entertaining you?
‘No Offence’ series from BBC. A cop show with three female leads, created by Paul Abbott. Excellent. Listening to a lot of Liz Stringer’s album ‘All The Bridges’.