Interview – Australian artist Libbet Loughnan

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Most of your work are male and female portraits. Could you tell us why you are fascinated by this subject? People are hard to paint, and have so many layers. You’re usually not just painting what you see but also conveying some essence of who they are to you. Also, maybe half my pieces currently are commissions, and commissioners tend to want people.

You come from a small coastal town and your biography states that you live between Oz, Mexico and NYC. Could you make a comparison with Belgrade? Ohhhh, I only know Belgrade such a little compared to those places. But I am enjoying it: it seems that Belgrade is full of nooks and crannies, cafes, markets, hanging gardens, music, and i must say pastry stands too, full of character, and those are things I love too about places I hang out in oz, Mexico and nyc. Also, Belgrade reminds me of close NYC friends from here.

Would you like to put Belgrade on that list? Well I momentarily at least live here right now and I’m thrilled about that. It is already a lot to split between three places, but certainly i’ll take opportunities to come back. The art scene and the people I’ve met in it intrigue me.

Did you find inspiration here? What caught your attention the most? Yes certainly. What caught my attention most? Ah: so this is part of where my friends come from.

Could you tell us something about the work you’ve done here? I have been working on 3 series: 2 of them starting paintings long-conceptualized but which I hadn’t found the right mojo to launch into, and 1 simply painting quick visual impressions of Belgrade. I like being alone, sketching. Don’t get me wrong, I also like people 🙂

The first 2 pieces I mentioned: 1 is a watercolour diary of 2017. I’ve done 2016 and 2015 prior years, and am now catching up with time. The other is a large 1.5 x 2 meter acrylic on canvas.

But the other side of the work is just living here. You know I also attended a close friend’s wedding, and it’s been fun meeting the studio team and being introduced to Belgrade. And I’ve been happily meandering around through the long summer days. I’m listening to spot-on live jazz as I’m giving you this stream of conscience. That’s all part of my work too, it’ll be there in my future paintings.

What would be your message to Belgrade Art Studio newcomers? Find as many reasons to be here as possible. You’ll have a good set-up through the residency program. Build on that, and pursue whatever you want to connect to Belgrade and see where the experiment goes.