We spoke to New Moon 2012 and Sydney-based artist, Nanami Cowdroy, whose work graces the promo image you may have already seen for this exhibition. Nanami’s laser etched piece “UPROAR” is highly detailed, mixing traditional elements from Chinese culture with more current elements from popular culture. She graciously shared her thoughts behind this work and delves deep into her motivation, medium choice and inner workings as an artist.
What zodiac sign have you chosen to represent? And why?
I have selected the powerful and majestic Dragon. Aside from the fact that 2012 is the year of the Dragon, I love that the Dragon is viewed as an exotic and mystical creature, full of contrasts with other worldly traits.
A Dragon in the Chinese Zodiac is generally regarded as a dynamic and divine free spirit, which doesn’t like to conform. Whilst researching the Chinese Dragon, I came across a common extract: “Conformation is a Dragon’s curse … Restrictions blow out the creative spark that is ready to flame into life. Dragons must be free and uninhibited”. It is this excerpt that inspired me to create my piece.
Tell us a bit about your piece and the process for creating it.
My artwork piece is essentially a play on the generally nonconformist nature of the Chinese Dragon… and it is this rather maverick character of the Dragon which also influenced the title of the piece, “UPROAR”.
Although the word “uproar” may conjure up some rather negative concepts relating to disorder, turmoil and chaos… For me, my curiosity lies in the powerful energies that are created through disorder, as well as the important insight and wisdom which can be discovered out of chaos, which is extremely interesting and inspiring.
“UPROAR” is a playful piece embracing the concept of Nonconformist Creativity.
As an extension of this concept – I also wanted to use and reflect common objects which have come to symbolize non-conformity/rebellion in today’s modern culture ie. the Spray Can and Skate Deck. The combination of a majestic, mystical creature embracing the modern.
My artwork is essentially a freehand illustration, custom laser etched onto a wooden skateboard deck. The process combines my hand drawn illustration created using pen, pencil and spray paint onto paper – which I scanned into the computer in order for it to be lasered onto a timber skate deck.
The process of using a laser was also a deliberate choice, intended to harness light & fire. Elements often identified with the Dragon.
What is your zodiac sign and do you think it is accurate?
My Chinese Zodiac sign is the Fire Dragon. I’d definitely agree that I do possess many of the characteristics of a Fire Dragon. This is particularly accurate when it comes to being an overtly passionate and enthusiastic type of personality (not to mention a perfectionist also!) As this is exactly what I feel when I’m making my work, it’s all consuming… I’m just missing scales and a tail!
‘UPROAR’ Haiku by Nanami Cowdroy
Fiery forces brew
Creative passions embraced
Noble spirit soars!