Marie Ellis Feature Artist - Carolyn McKenzie-Craig

Carolyn McKenzie-Craig, Brisbane
I draw every day and its physical potentials to engage with my subjective being keep my practice alive.

Where are you based?
I am based in Brisbane and Sydney. I work at the National Art School in Sydney and am a PHD candidate at the Queensland College of Art, where I have my studio.

Tell us a bit about yourself and your work
My current practice investigates how power is socially inscribed upon the body, focusing on how gestural and linguistic regimes may reproduce systems of power and shape subjective presence. Material investigations commence with the primacy of drawing and extend to engage with Printmedia, photography and digital arenas. I am particular interested in the historical nature of the photo archive in constructing truth and social hierarchies and how this may be both articulated and subverted with graphic potentials (both drawn and reprographic trace).

How would you compare the traditional practice of drawing to the digital approach?
Both traditional and digital drawing offer the artist rich tools for investigating the graphic arena. Some ideas are best realized within a digital form and some ideas require the haptic and kinesthetic engagement that traditional drawing materials offer. The convergence of both approaches can lead to exciting new developments with contemporary graphic practice, and activate “traditional” materiality by bringing them into new perspectives and outcomes. In considering the term digital I am referring to all the digital tools available such as scanning, photocopying as a drawing tool, illustrator and other direct drawing interfaces, film and video, digital still cameras which may draw with light or movement, 3D scanners and printers, data modeling, and architectural design elements.

How do you feel the practice of drawing evolved over the past 10 years?
The visible presence of drawing within high profile curated shows ( unfortunately mostly overseas) and drawing centres such as The Drawing Center ( New York ) and the Drawing Room ( UK) has given impetus to the practice of drawing based artists and increased the commodity value of such practices within the art market. This has translated into a renewed interest in the practice of the graphic mediums and expanded and traditional drawing.

Why are competitions like the Marie Ellis OAM Prize for Drawing important within Australian Arts culture?
The Marie Ellis OAM Prize for Drawing provides a review of current drawing practice and a tangible support for artist’s who work within the graphic mediums. The prize makes drawing visible, validates it as a medium of importance and importantly financially invests in artists through the generous provision of prize money.

Why is the practice of drawing important to you?
Drawing is the primary investigative tool within my practice. The kinesthetic action of graphic mediums activates process driven thought and experimentation that I can only articulate through the medium of drawing. The final outcome may not always be directly drawn but the initial phases of all experimentation is drawing. I draw every day and its physical potentials to engage with my subjective being keep my practice alive.