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Here is a preview of an interview with one of our dynamic ’emerging’ artists: Merryn Hergstrom!
Otway Artist Profile MERRYN HERGSTROM
Merryn has been attending art classes at Forrest Hall every Friday for the past five years. Under the nurturing guidance of art teacher Salvia Conti, Merryn has learned new techniques and gained confidence in her art expression. Her bright and vibrant work has sold well at her solo and group exhibitions from Aireys Inlet, Red Rock to Apollo Bay.
What and who inspires you as an artist?
The Forrest Art Group has been a great source of inspiration for me. We all get together and talk about art, our favourite artists and techniques. Also it’s great to get feedback and suggestions. I often come away feeling that there is a ‘point’ to the work I am doing. I started out copying other artists but now I ‘know’ my own strengths and focus on creating and developing something original. My favourite artists have been Joy Hester, Paul Klee, Brett Whitely and Yvonne Audette, last year. This year I want to study the movement and the technique of expressionists. Salvina Conti is a flexible teacher and I’ve always been able to incorporate what I would be doing anyway and also make it the focus for the year. Last year it was fiftie’s style abstracts.
What is your favourite medium?
Last year it was print and mixed medium such as the transfer technique. I love the flow of water-colour and anything that’s non toxic smelling. I hate gritty clay or sandstone and have to keep washing my hands. I have previously dabbled in glass fusing and lead lighting. Also I have done a fair bit with screen-printing. The chemicals for screen-printing are fairly toxic as is the soldering for lead lighting, so have preferred other media.
How do you like to work?
I am not a fine, delicate worker (probably the exact opposite!). I am really prolific so turn out a lot of work. I think this style will suit the German expressionist subject I’ll be getting ‘obsessed with’ this year. I do however admire fine/delicate artwork. I know my strengths now. I have a lot of imagination and love colour and movement.
As someone who has grown up in the Otways, how has this influenced you as an artist?
Being a part of the Forrest Art Group has kept me sane, as art has always been a comfortable, safe place for me. The Arts Inc Gallery in Apollo Bay provided me with a place to have a solo show. I wouldn’t been able to do this in Geelong or Melbourne and don’t know anywhere in Torquay that is affordable and welcoming to emerging artists. I grew up in Colac and often travelled through the Otways with my head out the window. The roads were bumpy and really winding then. Now it’s a smooth exhilarating drive. We used to stay in the huts at Blanket Bay. It took all day to get there.
What is coming up for you?
I am exhibiting in the Red Rock Gallery at the end of the month in a group show of Abstract Art. Also working on Creative Otways/ Wish You Were Here canvas with a coastal theme. Another thing I’m planning is a triptych with three long skinny fifties retro frames. It will be an abstract mixed media and the pattern will carry from one frame to another.
I never run out of ideas so at this late stage feel I’m doing the thing that makes me happy.