Artist Interview – Art doesn’t start and end in the studio for Karynne Ledger

Karynne Ledger is an artist and always has been. She’s studied fine art, trained as a chef and works closely with Slow Food Sydney, an international non-profit organisation which counteracts fast food and the disappearance of local food traditions. Her creative journey has been through food and nature and her art tells the stories of her experiences. She’s lived in various countries, studied at various universities, whilst simultaneously pursuing her other career as a chef. For Karynne, art doesn’t start and end in the studio. We chatted with her to find out more.

Karynn, 3rd from left, at a Slow Food event.

What makes you want to create art, and what do you like most about it?

There are many things which make me want to create art. Some are easy to recognise others are intangible. But being in nature, seeing certain art works, decorative designs, colours and listening to music can be catalysts to my inspiration.

What I love most about creating art is the physical activity of creating something out of various materials from an idea and following through that journey to completion on paper or canvas. Although, it’s frustrating when what is in your mind does not eventuate, but that is the nature of creativity.

What is your favourite medium to work with and why?

Currently I am enjoying working with inks. They are fluid, bright and work beautifully with the thick watercolour paper I use. In the past I have worked with many materials, and find I work with one medium for a time then progress with the medium or add other mediums to it. It is a continual and often gradual change of mediums.

What food, drink, song inspires you?

As I illustrate food a great deal, I find fresh and natural food inspires me in the work I do. I like to work with fresh produce and go from there with my pieces.

Drink… Well wine is great and can be an inspiration to draw and drink whilst drawing. But I have also done many a series on tea and things relating to tea.

Song… I listen to different styles of music when working; jazz sometimes, classical others. Rock, pop and retro depending on my energy level or mood.

What research do you do?

If I am drawing a particular animal or plant, I research more on their history. I feel it’s important to know about the items one is drawing, to have that additional understanding. I am working on a food series that requires me to know about the foods and background to the animals and plants I am illustrating. I am also focusing on certain areas in relation to the foods so research on the background is vital.

What is your favourite or most inspirational place in Australia?

I love being on the south coast of NSW. There are certain beaches (one in particular) there that inspire me. In saying that, just being out of the city and around nature is an inspiration for me, places which are quiet and still from traffic and city noise.

Do you like to take on commission work?

I do take on commission work at various times. I do like to do it, but it can be difficult as an artistic piece a client may envisage and an artist’s interpretation can be a little different. That is why it is important to be as clear and precise as possible. I find though the people I have done commissions for in the past have been very happy and wonderful people to work for.

What role does the artist have in society?

I would say this is where each individual artist needs to discover for themselves what the focus is they intend to follow with their art. I think there is a place for political art as there is place for art as decoration and everything in between. It is important for some works to be political or have messages to make people think as well as pieces which are purely decorative and add to to the environment we live in. Art should be many things.

I think its important to have all kinds of art, as it should have the role of being beautiful as much as thought provoking.

What themes do you pursue?

The themes at the moment are food and various attitudes we have to it. I volunteer for a global food organisation and to me food is more than just something to sustain us. There are many other themes to food.

Apart from food I also illustrate native birds. Native flora and fauna are disappearing and we have such a beautiful range of uniqueness here, for me it is important to capture it.

What jobs have you done other than being an artist?

I work as a chef as it is creative and ties in with my art.

What is an artistic outlook on life?

Art does not begin and stop at the studio. It is not as though I am only artistic when I walk into the studio and start creating pieces. For me it is the entire way life is explored and lived. The place where I inhabit needs to be full of creative fuel, I could not live in a sterile box, the work I do and the way I spend my time, are all parts of an artistic life. They are all part of my outlook on life. The world to me is full of colour, design and art. It all depends on the way something is viewed.

You can buy Karynne Ledger’s art online at her gallery page here.

SALA Bluethumb Showcase at the Adelaide Oval

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