This face belongs to Viki Murray, one of our region’s iconic creatives. Here’s what she had to say!
Hello, what is your name and how old are you?
Viki Murray, 49 years old, this year is the big 50!
Your work is based around the mediums of photography and digital art. What drew you to these mediums?
Photography has been a lifelong passion, from early teens I knew this was my tool of creative expression. Digital artistry is an extension of the photographic process and a modern darkroom if you like, with the option to add in other elements, mediums, and experiment with more ease.
What else can you tell us about the creative processes behind your work?
My images and compositions are a collection of the moments that make up days and weeks, and it is often very spontaneous. I do a lot of driving backwards and forwards, its reflective of that. I will come across something and immediately that becomes a series in my mind, so I follow it and it seems to present more creative moments. I shoot in DSLR and iphone, and combine the two quite often, using digital software such as photoshop and Lightroom mostly, and iphone apps. It’s a pretty fluid process which is why my images change a lot from week to week! Recently I have taken up watercolour and ink painting, and this is entering my compositions now.
You are based in the intriguing outback town of Lightning Ridge. How do you think the lifestyle and landscape there has impacted your work?
I often spend time away now, and lead quite a double life – this has impacted hugely on how Lightning Ridge impacts my recent work. When I return everything is so raw, so visually striking in that aridly beautiful and brightly lit way, I go a bit mental taking images, and get completely inspired by everything around me – apart from the obvious visual impact of the mining landscape, there are so many layers to our town, so much talent and unique people really pursuing their interests with passion, it’s kind of in the energy of the place and is very contagious, it makes me want to capture, create and express that.
And of course your husband John Murray is also an incredible artist, with you both running a gallery and being very active and involved in your local arts community…tell us about that!
Yes, we see ourselves as incredibly lucky to be able to do what we do, though it takes a lot of work, we couldn’t imagine what else we would do. As most would know, John Murray is one very positive and inspiring man, and due to this we are always involved in great projects. The gallery is not too different from other retail in many ways, and we both have our roles, strengths and weaknesses, and work quite well as a team, having great staff is really the element that allows us to focus on the creative.
You both have very different styles which could make for an interesting collaboration. Have you done anything like that?
Yes, we’ve exhibited together a few times, with outback stuff from a desert to Broome trip, and a Lightning Ridge exhibit down in Canberra back when I was still using analog and hand printing. Most recently we have collaborated to produce Holden On, our creative tribute to classic Holden cars, a coffee table book released in December last year.
A lot of people think you need to be city-based to make it in the art world, what would you say the advantages are of being a regional-based artist?
Definitely the advantage is that the audience viewing the art see it in the context of where it has evolved from, even if it is not representational, it still has the essence of the place it was borne of. And that audience, whether tourists (like our main market) or residents, have slowed down from the city pace and therefore take it in fully, rather than in a city based rush. In this way the art genuinely gets seen. If you can give it a good go in the retail sense, in our experience it can work just as well as in a city, if not better, as it is removed a bit from the typical art gallery environment, presented a bit more casually, and therefore it gives the general public easier access. I think in terms of creativity, the less influences you have from seeing lots of art shows etc, can make your work stronger, as too much information can really clutter up your head – out here we have the distance and space to shut all that out and just see what is right in front of us – any country based artist has what the city based are starved of, open space and room to breathe.
What else have you been up to?
Years ago I did some sumi – e, Japanese ink painting, and I have recently got all my brushes and inks out, John gave me a box of watercolours too, so I have been painting trees!
How would you describe your style?
I think its best for others to describe it – I jump from one idea to the next, its pretty fluid. Photo-artistry is the genre
Why do you think it’s important to provide creative outlets and opportunities for people, especially in regional areas?
Art is food for the soul, we all need it, it is an expression of what is happening in the community, in our lives, – as well as an outlet for people to express themselves, be involved with others, and see the world from the perspective of others. In times of hardship, like drought or, art can serve as a bridge to bring people together provide an event to attend, or just at way of letting some of the built up stress go.
What have you got coming up?
Excited to say I have an exhibition coming up at Outback Arts in July, then a photography a trip to Kyoto, Japan.
What would you be doing if you weren’t an artist?
I toyed with the idea of textile or interior design but photography won.
Where can we see more of your stuff?
I have a permanent wall at John Murray Art Gallery, and my work is featured on the www.johnmurrayart.com.au site, as well as www.vikimages.com.au FB – Vikimages, Viki Murray & Instagram Viki Murray .
Lastly, Beatles or the Stones?
Stones, no question!