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Julie Payne Artist

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I wish I could say I was wonderfully informed about my career options for life at 18 – but I chose art school simply because my friend Maria was there.

It sounded the most dangerous and exotic place imaginable. So I majored in sculpture at the University of Tasmania School of Creative Arts, and adored the world of ideas and making the invisible visible. After graduation in 1983, I immediately set up a contemporary art space in Launceston called Cockatoo Workshops. It was well supported by Arts Tasmania and the Australia Council, which in turn provided a much wider window of connection with fabulous artists and contemporary art spaces across Australia.

During the five years as the director at Cockatoo, I also started my degree in architecture, effectively expanding the dimension of sculpture. I returned to full-time arts practice after a career of lecturing and architectural practice in 2012.

My family has lived in Tasmania for the past seven generations, so I’ve always felt an unquestionable connection to the island’s social and physical landscape. In my work, I look for the conversation with the viewer. It may be a fleeting emotive response that’s required, or the use of humour to engage and draw into much broader issues. I tend to use whatever technique or material is needed to connect.

I love working with a very diverse range of concepts and learning new techniques. These include drawing, sculpture, painting and ephemeral gardens.

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