I cannot really remember where Penny and I met first. Was ist on Myspace or on Furumania? But anyway we stay in touch through Facebook now and that’s where Penny got to know about my artist interviews and sent me hers too:
Please introduce yourself:
My name is Penny Lewin-Hetherington and was born in Kew, Melbourne, Australia. I now live in Ballarat, Australia with my husband Andrew.
I am a painter, sculptor and animator.
What is your definition of art?
To me, art is defined as a way for an artist expresses themselves through visual images.
Why have you become an artist?
I have wanted to be an artist since I was very young and it was something I felt I was given the gifts to do. It was always something I felt a strong connection to and went to the length to study it at university. Studying the visual arts helped me to find out who I am as a person and to develop my skills further.
What is your favourite artwork of your own and why?
My favourite artwork of my own changes constantly but at the moment it would have to be ‘Renaissance Nightclub’. It is a painting I created recently and I love it for its quirky sense of humour. It consists of two 18th Century European ladies being ‘chatted up’ at a masquerade ball by two gentlemen. I have deliberately simulated the masquerade ball to the nightclubs of today (In other words, a meat market).
How do you work?
Mostly I paint with coloured acrylic on canvas or cardboard, and then I will layer the painted surface with cross hatched lines made by coloured gel pens or biro. Later I might stick items to the surface such as fake flowers, beads, bits of metal chains, glitter, sequins, plastic scatters, objects I’ve made from modelling clay, plastic toys, natural found objects (seedpods, pressed flowers). I really like to go to town when constructing an artwork.
Who is your favourite artist?
Even though there are many artists that I love and inspire to, my most favourite artist of all time would have to be Australian artist Charles Blackman.
When I study a painting of his, I feel like we think on a similar wavelength. Like me, Blackman paints through his emotions and I like the way he strongly depicts the feeling of vulnerability in his art, particularly in his ‘Alice in Wonderland’ series. The image of Alice is really of his ex wife ‘Barbara Blackman’ who became blind in her early 20’s. Through losing her sight, she became vulnerable to the environment around her. I remember reading in Barbara’s autobiography, ‘Through the Looking Glass’, where Barbara admitted that Charles were her eyes.
I think also I admire the way Blackman seems to be in touch with his feminine side, which is rare in a male. His works are gentle and sensitive.
What makes me a little different from Blackman is my work too can be quirky such as my amusing concepts in ‘Renaissance Nightclub’ or my actions of sticking objects to the painted surface.
What is your favourite material to work with and why?
I consider myself a mixed media artist and love to work and experiment with many types of materials. It is my way to explore what certain mediums do and how they react to each other. I also like to use certain materials to express the emotion I want to convey. Bright colours are also an important factor when choosing materials.
Could you live without making art?
No! Creating things has become a way of life for a very long time now. To stop constructing would be like chopping off a limb. It is my outlet of expressing my feelings.
Thank you very much for answering my interview, dear Penny!
All photos © Penny Lewin-Hetherington