Irene Koroluk

Born in: 1965, Melbourne, Australia
Lives in: Taroona, Tasmania
Describe your art in three words: Intricate, layered, tactile
Education: Master of Environmental Studies (University of Tasmania),  Bachelor of Fine Arts (University of Tasmania)
See More Work:

Out There - Bleach painting, free motion machine stitching, fabric, batting, thread, shellac ink, 90 x 90 cm

“My artistic practice is rooted in my profound connections with the natural environment. My work seeks to encapsulate and unveil the sense of wonderment, diversity and beauty inherent in wild and remnant habitats. Extremely drawn to fragile and threatened landscapes, I am committed to imparting the value and significance of appreciating and safeguarding the remaining habitats of importance."

What themes does your work involve?
Mostly Australian native landscape diversity, beauty and fragility.
Describe your creative process.
Before commencing any work, I attach canvas or fabric to an underneath layer of bag batting using free motion stitching in a repeated pattern. This repetition allows me to get into the right creative head space. Once complete, my first starting point is always a tree or a plant. From there I add more and more foliage, working from foreground to background. My work is improvisational, with no outlines or sketches. As I often work blind due to scrunching up my work to fit it in between the sewing machine arm and bed, a lot of time is taken balancing and rebalancing the design. I know a work is finished when I stop wanting to add or unpick content.
What influences your work? What inspires you? Why do you make art?
My work is influenced by the materials and the facilities I have available on hand when I start a piece. Upholstery thread colours, and bag batting I require are not always available, so I need to work within those confines. Content wise, my work is inspired and influenced by my encounters with the natural world, places I explore and travel to. My work is also informed by my environmental background, interest in conservation and plant diversity, and by my place of residence which borders a ravine with towering eucalypts and native species. I make art because I get a real buzz and validation from selling my work, getting into art prizes and being published. It is also about healing and accomplishment. I've also always had an inner compulsion to scribble.
What is good art? What makes a piece of art great?
Good art to me is work that makes me go 'wow'. It often uses techniques or materials I have not come across, or made by someone whose mastery of technique and workmanship is out of the ordinary. It is work that makes me want to ask questions including how on earth did they do that? It is work that I want to marvel at, spend time with, and stirs my soul. Good art to me is often unique with unusual or difficult content. Good art can evoke emotions of discomfort, happiness, and admiration of beauty. Great art is art that you see and never forget, it is art that speaks to you. Louise Bourgeois's spiders, William Rickett’s Aboriginal sculptures, Rew Hanks lino cuts to name a few. It is work on your bucket list that you want to see before you die; and when you see it, it makes you more whole.
What is the role of the artist today?
Being an artist allows me to share my love of the natural world and hopefully inspire people to go out and be enriched by it. It allows me to continually learn and improve, expand my imagination and keep my brain healthy. Art chose me through luck, being able to draw, and being in the right places at the right times. Art in contemporary society should have many roles including: community engagement and inclusion through community-based art; cultural, aesthetic and individual enrichment; and social and political education and activism.


This interview was published by Circle Foundation of the Arts. © CFA Press ∙ Images are courtesy of the artist