This week I wanted to share a little insight into Lucy Roleff - a Melbourne artist and musician whose work I deeply admire.
What is a constant theme explored in your body of personal work?
In much of the work I’m drawn to, in both painting and music, there seems to be a sense of the quietude or solace of domestic space. The songs and paintings seem to straddle two worlds, one which is very relatable and one which we find ourselves longing for. I’m still trying to put this into words properly but I’m interested in creating spaces such as these for myself and for others.
What kind of person inspires you?
The artists I admire and look up to the most tend to be those in the underground - quieter, introverted types who work hard on their craft but don’t necessarily demand the limelight. I think this is because I used to think I had to force myself to be really gregarious and pushy to get anywhere, but eventually realised that the artists I aspired to be like we're the opposite.
What is the story or inspiration behind your new album?
The album came together from four or five years of occasional songwriting. I work quite slowly on songs so I suppose it is more a collection of snippets from my life over that period of time. The album ended up being quite autobiographical, with one of my early paintings on the cover, so it does feel more personal than music I’ve made in the past.
Most influential painters, who have impacted you on a personal or creative level?
There are quite a few but among the top ten would be Vanessa Bell, John Singer Sargent, William Nicholson, Rupert Bunny and Alice Neel.
What draws you to still life as the subject matter for your paintings?
I enjoy studying objects, moving them around and wondering about their purpose or hierarchy. It’s not unusual for me to spend a good half hour looking at a shelf of things in my house and moving them around till I like the feeling the arrangement gives me. I suppose this is very similar to my approach when setting up for a painting. Personally I am drawn to paintings of still life and interiors in particular because the viewer can project themselves into that space, something which is harder to do with portraiture.
One ritual which help’s get you into a creative frame of mind?
I really enjoy the walk to my studio, along the backstreets of Thornbury. I pass lots of interesting older houses, flowers, native trees - and my sunglasses have warm lenses so everything looks very striking! This rambling pause between waking up and working is really important to me. I also like cleaning my studio before I begin a new painting - luckily it doesn’t take long.
What do you want your work to say about the world, if anything?
I really respect art that makes a strong statement about the word at large, and perhaps one day I will try to do that, but for me it’s all on a much smaller, day to day scale. I’m interested in recreating the sense of space which inspires me to reflect and go inward. From what I can gather there are lots of other people who have that same desire for solitude and reflection - so it doesn’t feel like it’s just for myself.
Favourite colour currently on your pallet?
Dusky green, and titanium white mixed with just a tint of something.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
Good question! Hopefully still painting as regularly as I am now - potentially exploring interiors and landscapes, as I’d like to push myself into other areas and see what happens. I’d like to still be making music but with no where near the sort of pressure I’ve put on myself in the past. I like the idea of living a simple life, making work regularly and having nice chats and coffee with other artists and close friends.
Favourite song or album, thats the soundtrack to your life?
At the moment I’m alternating between Montserrat Figueras “Lux Feminae” and Galcher Lustwerk “Information” - quite a mix!