HEATHERMATTHEW

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Studio updates.

Success (or failure)

Deluge opening at M-Arts Gallery, Murwillumbah. Photo credit Jill Macfie

Deluge opening at M-Arts Gallery, Murwillumbah. Photo credit Jill Macfie

What happens when you think you have failed…I sometimes think this after every big project. Did I do this good enough, did I achieve what I wanted to, did it get favourable reception, did I get good reviews, did I sell enough pictures/tickets/products? Did I fail?

I think it’s a vicious cycle artists get swept up in as the yardstick of success seems to always be - do you make a living from your art…ie how much do you sell? Maybe the question should be do you live successfully because of your art?

I know I haven’t been able to support the family financially with my art but I have supported my soul. I have put myself out there writing plays, doing community events, making art, holding exhibitions, running workshops…the list goes on.

They are often large projects spanning years, like my play The Widow of Wappan performed in Mansfield, Victoria in April 2003. Or they are short projects like co-curating A Book About Death Australia exhibited at Tweed Regional Gallery (2013) and co-curating Posts from the Big Flood with Chelle Wallace for the Murwillumbah Art Trail in 2017.

But it doesn’t matter how big or small the projects are, they are visible evidence of the spirit at work. Self expression, responses to big social/political issues or small personal ones that crave to find an audience.

They take it out of me, these projects and yet I wouldn’t have it any other way. I need to be doing this work, it is part of my mission in the world to express myself, to inspire other people to be creative, to have a go, and dare the critics.

So I was pretty amazed that this time, this project , this exhibition Deluge, got great peer reviews. I even sold a few pieces which always makes me proud. So do I do it for the money - not really, although the money is nice. I guess I do it because I have to, I do it for my soul. And in the end that’s the measure of personal success.

Deluge ~ artist talk at M-Arts gallery. Photo credit Ruth Della

Deluge ~ artist talk at M-Arts gallery. Photo credit Ruth Della

Heather Matthew