Written by Stella Sui
Arriving at Juggler’s, I had no idea what to expect. My head was a mixture of nerves and excitement. I hoped that the creative environment would help me to develop my art and my mindset to a new standard. My surroundings were incredible, fine art in a huge variety of mediums and graffiti covering some of the walls. There were interesting things around me no matter where I looked. Not to mention the people – I came into contact with so many kind and creative souls and smiling faces. This was my kind of place.
After settling in, I sat alone and reflected on my art and personal style. What did I want to get out of this experience? I allowed myself to drift away and brainstorm. Pangs of self-doubt chipped away at my creative process. I had a lot of work to do for my Graphic Design course, what if I couldn’t keep up with all these responsibilities? I’d seen a lot of amazing art, what if mine wasn’t good enough?
My artistic career had been quite the roller coaster up to this point. Something about earning this studio place assured me that I deserved to be here and could create something great. I had already surprised myself by getting here, now it was time to push that side of myself away and focus on accessing my inner creative flow. I needed to focus all of my energy on flourishing as an artist, like I knew deep down that I was capable of doing.
I wanted to focus mostly on larger scale paintings using acrylics. This was the main area of my chosen mediums that needed the most work and improvement. The theme I wanted to cover was SELF: growing and changing. There is a little part of myself locked away that my anxiety stops me from accessing. Each day I shed another layer of this darkness and allow myself to grow a little more. This is what I wanted to explore through my art, for two main reasons – it could help my growing process greatly and it could potentially be the basis of something really interesting and visually appealing.
The ideas on how I would communicate these themes changed quite drastically throughout my experience. The one idea that stuck was for my painting “Limited Growth”, which I was lucky enough to exhibit in the Juggler’s X Show. This was based on a painting that I’d done years before but never finished. The focus is a green lady, representative of me, sort of growing from the forest floor. Some of her vines and leaves were reaching for the sunlight and growing with her, but some dark roots were holding her back and keeping her tied to the ground. This is a portrayal of where I sometimes find myself, a limbo between two extremes: following the light and reaching for my goals, and allowing the darkness to wash over me and shrinking back down into my comfort zone.
My time at Juggler’s came at the perfect time and was extraordinarily beneficial to me. Working away in a studio in that creative environment, without the usual distractions of my every day home life, allowed me to truly unwind and create. Everything about this experience has been amazing, the people, being able to be a part of the X Show and stay an extra couple of weeks, the surroundings and my own personal growth. It has helped me to gain confidence, decide which direction I want to go in and develop my style as an artist. I have surprised myself in what I have achieved and am very grateful for the opportunity.