Marie Ellis Feature Artist - Caroline Walls

Caroline Walls, Melbourne
There has been a real return to and appreciation for craftsmanship – people are looking for a sense of authenticity and traditional, drawing offers that.

Where are you based?
My studio is in Collingwood, Melbourne. I love the area.

Tell us a bit about yourself and your work
I am an artist and designer working across a number of mediums such as drawing, oil painting and soft sculpture. The female form is a key area of exploration with sexuality and the fluidity of this being underlying themes of my work. I guess I’m really interested in the construction and complexity of the female identity and the distinction between the private and the public self.
Although I am now based in Melbourne I spent five years living in London and New York so was able to immerse myself in the international art scene. I wasn’t really involved in my own practice apart from sketching every now and then but since returning to Australia I have enjoyed picking up the tools and creating a larger body of work.

How would you compare the traditional practice of drawing to the digital approach?
I work in graphic design so I employ both approaches on a regular basis – I think that they can happily coexist given they play such different roles, especially in the commercial sphere. I have just recently done a series of hand-pulled screen prints of figurative forms that I used the computer to build for instance, so I think each have their good qualities. Personally though, stepping away from the computer and working on something by hand is so much richer and rewarding, where as there is a certain aspect of disposability to digital. I love that traditional hand drawing is so pure – take a pencil and a piece of paper and you are off.

How do you feel the practice of drawing evolved over the past 10 years?
I think 10-15 years ago there was still a buzz around digital technology and the internet, so many people jumped on that because it was a fairly new way to create, but today there has been a real return to and appreciation for craftsmanship. People are looking for a sense of authenticity and traditional drawing offers that.

Why are competitions like the Marie Ellis OAM Prize for Drawing important within Australian Arts culture?
Competitions like this are important to continue a dialogue around traditional artistry – drawing has expressive and educational value and these competitions encourage and engage with this.

Why is the practice of drawing important to you?
Drawing has a meditative effect on me – whether it is one of my quick sketches or a larger, detailed piece they both offer me a moment of quiet that I don’t find from anything else.