As with a wordless glance, a lot can be said with the scant strokes of line drawings. Sydney artist Alice Cherry lent us hers to create the PF X Alice Cherry t-shirt and sarong; depictions of the female form, both entangled and outstretched, resplendent and vulnerable. She spoke to us about her practice and affinity with female bodies.
What's a typical day in your life look like?
Juggling two jobs and full-time uni means most of my days are pretty hectic. Early morning is my favourite time of day, and I like to start with a walk and a swim when I can. I’ll then head to my local café and have an espresso while I plan out my day or catch up on any work I have to do. For me, it’s the best way to start any busy day. On my days off, I like to people watch. I find it really therapeutic, and it’s also a great way for me to find inspiration for my drawings. I also spend quite a lot of my time helping my family and friends to rearrange their homes and cull the things they don’t need, which, for me, is a super fulfilling, productive, and a helpful way to be creative. Although my days are usually full, I always try to find inspiration, and am constantly taking photos of locations, colors, textures, and buildings that I can work into my practice. I’d love to be able to create art every day, but sometimes just finding the inspiration is all I can manage.
Favourite artists (big, small, dead, alive) who best depict women?
I discovered Egon Schiele when I was fifteen. To this day, his work inspires me endlessly. He's most famous for his erotic depictions of women, which in fact sent him to jail for a period of time, because they were so provocative. He uses gouache and simple line work to create beautiful images of the female figure. Every stroke is emotive. I love how he captures the sexuality and confidence of his models. When I have a creative block, I always find myself coming back to his works. He is what drove me to want to be an artist.
You work primarily with line drawings. What can you say about the format and how it works for the female form?
I've only recently begun drawing again. Before that I was primarily painting. I was finding it difficult to capture a whole image, which is why I ended up creating line drawings. I think the simplicity of even the smallest line can create so much mystery and reveal so much of a figure. I feel this technique has allowed me to observe my own sexuality, as each figure is based on my own, and allows me to look at myself from a new perspective.
What did you and Dani (Par Femme's Designer) want to achieve in this collaboration?
Dani and I wanted to turn my figurative drawings into wearable, everyday garments for women. I had a lot of creative freedom, really.
I keep looking at the sarong print and uncovering new things I hadn't previously seen! Was it difficult to plan the arrangement? Did you pay particular mind to optical interest?
My drawings were inspired by the female form and how it speaks to our emotional experiences of the world. Dani and I worked together to create a balanced print that could be repeated and printed onto the sarong. She then joined the drawings and created the repeat.
Women you admire?
Tracey Emin has always inspired my practice. I’m particularly interested in her drawings, which are so delicate and beautiful, but equally as tragic at the same time. I love the scratching techniques she uses to create an interesting surface for her works. It makes them so special. The confessional side to her work is incredibly confronting, too. I find her so brave—she isn’t afraid to show the world who she is and what she feels, which I find so inspiring. The women in my family are all special people who I admire, too. They're all so wonderful in their own ways and are so driven by everything they do, which is something that encourages me every day. All of them always supported my artistic side and pushed me to pursue my creative passions, which I will be forever grateful for.
Creative #goals (sorry) for 2018?
To expand on my drawing skills, primarily. I want to experiment more with how I can use lines to construct images of my world. My most important goal, though, is to create more work more frequently, to build up my archive of works. Later this year I'm hoping to expand my practice and look into selling prints of my drawings, which I'm sure will keep me busy!