Everyone has one and for each person it is different. It is the place where you can be alone with your mind and truly imagine, dream and create. It is your creative space. But this space is not easily acquired or found – it takes trial and error, time and a willingness to temporarily isolate oneself from the white noise of every day life. For many, this space is temporary – a time of relaxation and rejuvenation after a hard day at work, but for artists such as Abdul Abdullah (Archibald 2014 finalist) this space is also his job. In our interview he gives us insight into what a creative space is or can be for a professional creator and how this led to his portrait of Richard Bell for the 2014 Archibald.
If you could title your studio what would it be called?
Haha this is a funny question! Maybe “the house of pain”… Nah, I’m not sure. It is a workspace. It is a private space. I get away from everything here. It is a deeply personal space.
What are the small things in your studio that make it yours? Are there things that others would not notice?
Everything in here is mine. Each object has a particular story. I can remember where I got just about everything in here. One small thing I guess is a little photo of artist and friend Matt Doust. He passed away last year. I also keep a photo of him in my wallet.
What makes it a creative space?
I think all spaces are creative. My studio is no more creative than anywhere else. I guess because the work is produced there, but most of the ideas are thought about in other places. The shower mostly.
How do you find your inspiration for your next collection?
I never call my work a ‘collection’. It sounds fashiony. I like to think in ‘series’. I read a lot when researching a series. I order a lot of books online, watch a lot of documentaries and movies, watch the news and read the paper, and most importantly live my life as usual. Most often my ideas are manifestations of things I have been thinking about for a long time.
What inspires you? How do you take these inspirations and generate them into concepts?
Social and political issues are the source of many of my ideas. I research in the way of a journalist. The process of turning these ideas into physical outcomes will also usually require a lot of drawing.
How long does your creative processes roughly take? Days, weeks, months, years?
The ideas can take years to work out, and often they will be rolling around in my head for a long time. Turning that into a work can take months or weeks in the case of paintings, and sometimes hours if things all happen quickly.
What was your creative processes behind ‘I wanted to paint him as a mountain’ piece you submitted for the Archibald 2014?
In 2014 my painting was called ‘I wanted to paint him as a mountain’, and is of Richard Bell. The title is a literal description of my creative process. I see him as mountainous and wanted to paint him such. The astronaut suit reminds me of a snow-capped mountain. The symbology in the image ties into the politics of my recent series ‘Siege’.
‘I wanted to paint him as a mountain’ is pictured below:
Pieces from the ‘Siege’ collection:
Title: ‘Someone else’s king and Someone else’s country.’