Artists' Korero: Yvonne Gillespie

Germinated, 2020, Yvonne Gillespie

I am a local Ōamaru artist. I moved here from Wellington and love the Otago region. I have a small space in my house where I am very happy painting. My work could be described as an assemblage of images (at first glance, seemingly unrelated) forming an harmonious whole. People see it as surreal. My work references many sources, Western and the Far East as well as prehistory, mythology and mystery. Images spring from a lifetime of looking and seeing and it’s a pleasure to dip a pen in ink and make a mark, draw a shape, add some paint, some shellac and even gold leaf.

An added dynamic is that of the lot of in life of a multitude of women. Women suffer and my work makes a statement about women’s experiences and draws attention to the plight of many women globally. The references are not overwhelming but there to be seen and noted.

My artistic career started after years of nursing, gaining a  Law degree, only to discover a passion for drawing and art in any form.  I enrolled at  Whitecliiffe College of Arts and Design -  graduating with a Diploma in Fine Arts.  My style has changed and evolved over the years; through experimenting with materials and ideas. I’m now creating works that give me enormous satisfaction and a sense of achievement and fulfilment.

Art  adds richness to my life. Creativity is my default position and the reason I find it so relaxing and fulfilling. Colour and harmony are major elements of my work and act as a release from the complexities of the world. I enjoy the artistic process and seeing how others connect and react with my art. A recent successful exhibition was the first time I had a group of works that I was proud of, the first chance I have had and it was thrilling exciting and confidence building. As an older person I hope I am an encouragement to others my age. It’s never too late, and I am deeply thankful to all those who supported and encouraged my progress.

Art and expressing my creativity is the place where I most want to be; I now have the time to commit myself to this on a daily basis. My career now is as an artist selling my art pieces.

The Arts are a connective form of expression, engaging hearts and minds, emotions and recollections. In a perfect world, funding for the Arts community would be accepted as necessary as is funding for health and wellbeing. Community spaces would be available for all art forms (painting, music, dance, sculpting etc) and for all cultural groups. Ōamaru’s Forrester Gallery is pointing the way with projects in local shools, supporting local creative initiatives and communications to the wider community. No one should have to pay for the pleasure art can bring. ART TO EVERYONE is a great mantra. 

Image above: Germinated, 2020, Yvonne Gillespie, acrylic, gold leaf, shellac, pen and pencil.

Image: Experience Unfolded, 2020, Yvonee Gillespie, acrylic, gold leaf, shellac, pen and pencil.

Image: Opening Up, 2020, Yvonne Gillespie, acrylic, gold leaf, shellac, pen and pencil.

Image: Upturned, 2020, Yvonne Gillespie, acrylic, gold leaf, shellac, pen and pencil.

Ingrid Cole