Please meet our Developing Artist In Residence – Shelley Cheng
How did you hear about Visible Ink and why did you want to use our space?
I heard about Visible Ink through my friend. I thought it would be great to have access to a supportive space to specifically work on my art and personal projects.
Does this space make a difference to your work?
Having a quiet office space and access to the makers’ space helps me focus on my writing and art projects. I get too distracted at home because I don’t have any dedicated spaces for my creative practice. Being a part of DAIR has definitely helped me make more use of the space, as I’m typically at uni or work when the space is open.
What are your goals as an artist?
I hope I can make accessible art that provides visibility, comfort and solidarity to marginalised people. I think representation is really important and art can be an important tool to facilitate that.
What kind of development opportunities have you had at Visible Ink?
During Valley Fiesta in 2017, I was invited by Visible Ink to do a live painting performance in The Pod. I am currently a resident artist with the Developing Artist in Residence Program
What are you currently working on project-wise?
I am currently working on an interactive art installation about systemic racism, I want to build from my previous installation which was used as both an educational tool and a public activation. I want to talk about how racism is prejudice and power, and how it’s about function not intent. Many people get defensive when their racist behaviour is named or challenged because they don’t think they are racist or they didn’t intend to offend. The conversation often gets derailed and the person becomes defensive, plays victim or gaslights the person they caused harm to. Using a very basic example, if you accidentally stepped on someone’s foot, it’s still going to hurt that person, regardless of whether you intended to hurt them. In the same way, if you do or say something racist, it’s still racist regardless of your intentions. I want to talk about racism, fragility and the labour that marginalised people are forced to provide every single day. I think using art to start this conversation may be more accessible to many people.
What do you think of Brisbane as a creative city, what makes it unique or what could be different?
I think people don’t generally think of Brisbane as a creative city compared to places like Melbourne and Sydney. But I think there are quite a few people here doing really important and disruptive creative work both individually and collaboratively. I think the arts scene in Brisbane is quite small and cliquey, meaning access to ARIs and arts spaces is difficult for people who aren’t already ‘in’. I think there could be a lot more funding and support for the arts, which would also increase the public’s appreciation for the arts and open up more spaces for people who don’t take the typical art school route.
What do you do, why did you choose to go down that path, and what do you love about it?
I initially wanted to pursue an arts education but I ended up doing a double degree in law and journalism. I chose this degree because I wanted to use my privilege and lived experience to support disadvantaged/targeted communities by providing legal support. I also wanted to develop my writing skills with a focus on accessibility. Now that I am 4 years into my degrees, I am very disillusioned about what change can actually be achieved through the legal framework and good journalism.
Where can people get in touch with you? E.g. a website / social media www.facebook.com/shelleychengartist
Donny Fraser – Skater, Co-Founder, Youth Ambassador
Australian Skateboarding Community Initiative: a skateboarding group with a focus on development and opportunity for young skaters and their communities.
A QUICK CHAT: Bri Lee – Writer, Co-founder of Hot Chicks with Big Brains, Enterprise tenant
We met Bri Lee (25) last year. She appeared at the window, enthused by the prospect of free printing. Since then, she has been a consistent user of Visible Ink, patiently waiting as we work through the backlog of printing requests.
Bri is a writer, and the Founding Editor and Manager of Hot Chicks with Big Brains (HCwBB). “I started HCwBB back in 2014 as a rather niche, online-only, feminist interview series. I would go interview and photograph successful women, and my best friend Anna would turn the content into beautiful readable PDFs.”
Since then, the HCwBB entity has expanded its focus. “We launched the first copy of our print magazine in 2016, and now we’ve grown into a more flexible, inclusive online and IRL community of feminists. We have a podcast, blog, and lots of events”. These ventures have been met with growing interest – “Each print run of the magazine increases a little, and each time we sell out faster than previously. We have a new partnership with Metro Arts for our movie nights too!”
Bri and Anna have been friends since primary school, and now run the business together. Anna is the Art Director and Assistant Manager, and their roles frequently overlap and intersect. Bri’s own writing career is progressing quickly, as her first book will be published next year and she is a regular at writer’s festivals. Bri credits the motivation behind this creativity to being inspired by others. “I interview successful women all the time and every one of them I meet motivates and inspires me in different ways. I’m lucky to have my work also be the thing that inspires me to do more work”.
Being amongst a community of creatives is one of the reasons HCwBB works from Visible Ink. “It feels good to be surrounded by other people doing cool things as well…There’s a chill vibe and a nice level of trust. I just rock up and get on with things.”
Sarah Moran – Tech Geek, Co-Founder and CEO, Youth Ambassador
Girl Geek Academy: creating a lifelong community of women who love to learn tech, teaching women to launch their own tech start-ups.
Lincoln Savage – Event Producer, Founder, Youth Ambassador
Vast Yonder: producing arts and music events across Brisbane such as Junglelove, Scribble Slam and Brisbane Street Art Festival.