10 Feb

Questioning our relationship with the natural world, Amanda Parer

Having grown up at the base of the Blue Mountains in Western Sydney, Amanda Parer now resides on the equally beautiful coast of Tasmania. Amanda has spent most of her time here when she has not been travelling the world installing her giant creations. We had the pleasure of interviewing Amanda before she debuts her feature installation ‘Lost’ at Beyond the Sand.

‘What is your background?’

‘I studied Visual Arts majoring in painting and sculpture at Sydney College of the Arts, graduating in 1991. Post art school, it was a struggle to get my career happening for years. I moved to Tasmania with my small family 12 years ago. Doing so allowed me time to explore and nurture my style, themes, and mediums. After joining the stable of commercial galleries and exhibiting my paintings and sculptures in numerous fine art exhibitions, I had a go at art installation. This is when I presented my giant glowing rabbit artwork ‘Intrude’ at the Vivid Festival in Sydney in 2014. All of a sudden, I was exhibiting art installations around the world from Aberdeen to Shanghai to Calgary. These instillations are still going strong (even through a pandemic) and I have not picked up a paint brush since!’

‘What has influenced your piece – Lost?’

‘My new artwork, Lost, continues to explore themes that have be prevalent throughout my work. These centre around man’s relationship with the natural world. All the botanical species in this artwork are either extinct or endangered through our mismanagement of the environment. In Lost, all the botanical species featured are either endangered or extinct. I have made the forms beautiful and oversized, giving viewers the belief, they are entering a world of fantasy, likening to Alice lost in her Wonderland. I like to entice viewers into the work to then reveal the more serious ecological themes in the work.’

‘How long did it take you to create Lost?’

‘This artwork has been at the idea stage for quite some time. It is a simple idea, to make giant illuminated threatened botanical species look like they are growing organically in a public space. The difficult part came when I had to choose which species to display, there are just too many examples to choose from. In the end I chose plant species which worked together compositionally, and which came from all corners of the globe. It was important to me to be able to communicate that this is an international problem. Once the species were chosen then it took about 18 months to design, engineer, manufacture and now place on display. I am extremely excited to see the flowers all up and glowing at Beyond the Sand.’

‘Where is your creative space and what gets you in the zone?’

‘I am lucky, I have a studio underneath our house in scenic Tasmania. We enjoy a great river and mountain view where the light and colours change all day everyday, which is inspiring. I have several people that help me in the studio and together we create new works and manage the movement and display of existing works. It is a fun job!’

‘A shot of inspiration can come at anytime and anyplace. It can come from seeing an image, listening to a story, listening to the news, or reading a book. The idea comes first. The idea most of the time sits and peculates, rounds out in my head before I deem it strong enough to make it a reality.’

‘If you had to create a piece about the Gold Coast, what about the Gold Coast would inspire your artwork?’

‘I would love to see my latest work called Slime on the Gold Coast! Slime has been inspired by the abstract forms found in the Slime Moulds or Myxomycetes found in Tasmania. Myxomycetes are in a kingdom all of their own, as their composition and behaviour does not fit with plants, animals, or fungi descriptions. Myxomycetes in nature grow to just 4mm high. In my artwork Slime, I celebrate their modern designs, delicate compositions and remind the viewer that the wonders of nature come in many sizes.’

‘What is the best piece of advice you can give to an inspiring artist?’

‘I would advise an inspiring artist to never give up, keep exploring, find your position in the artworld and believe in your worth, because when you do others will also. Many have ideas of being an artist and others feel they have no choice but to be creative. It is those that stay which develop their direction, skills and often have long careers. There will be a lot of knock backs, develop a thick skin, learn from these and just keep going! Oh, and have fun!’

‘What is the most memorable moment in your creative career?’

‘This is a difficult question to answer. My art installations have taken me to some very incredible places where I have enjoyed some amazing experiences. Like dancing at a silent disco with hundreds of other people around my giant rabbit in Los Angeles. Having a circus troupe in provincial France perform around my art installation purely because they were inspired to do so. Watching workers from Sydney CBD come to look at my art installation after a hard day only to flick off their shoes and run around the bunnies like children. Or to have a feminist protest march choose to stop to give speeches in amongst my giant white rabbits in Santiago Chile.’

‘I have enjoyed some interesting and fun times exhibiting my artwork in public spaces around the world and I am grateful for each and every one. But as an artist I am most excited by what is happening next, and at the moment that is having the world premiere of my brand new work ‘Lost’ at Beyond the Sand in the Gold Coast.’

We hope this interview has been really encouraging to aspiring artists as Amanda’s story is one of sheer determination and passion which has gotten her to where she is today. We are very excited to witness the premiere of her instillation ‘Lost’ which will bring a giant piece of fun botanical fantasy to the Gold Coast.

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