Colourful Language: Bobby Clark on art and motherhood
IMAGES BY SAM WONG
Bobby Clark is a Scottish artist and photographer based in Melbourne, whose stunning paintings often explore symmetry and balance, with shape composition and bold colours. Her incredible work features across everything from furniture and clothes to walls — and she also has a healthy presence in various exhibitions and well-known galleries around the world (Guggenheim, NYC anyone?!).
We sat down — virtually and socially distanced — with Bobby to chat about her exploration of design, traditional tools and getting back to basics as well what she whipped up with some Tint paint. You’ll usually find Bobby with a paintbrush in her hands—it’s her thing, what brings her style to life and what she knows (extremely well). But she’s a woman of many talents and has a burning passion to keep learning and exploring. During our chat, she mentioned she’d love to get into the world of 3D one day, which is perfectly complementary to her shaped-based style. She jumps from the idea of creating 3D to the idea of launching a baby label after her recently born beautiful baby James. Not only that, but she’s also hugely inspired by architecture and buildings, which we reckon could be due to her (drum roll, please) stint as a tradie when she was younger!
Mechanical pencil, a ruler and a compass—that's the start to all my paintings and I just can't work any other way.
Bobby tells us she uses traditional methods through and through: “I know it's important to be connected with technology and ahead of everything that's happening in modern times. But I just love old practices and I really don't want that to die out either.” We see this in how her style came to be. It was the idea of going back to basics. She relates it back to art class at school, where you learn about continuous lines and relearning how to draw shapes again. And that is evident throughout many of her works—the emphasis on shapes and how they work together to create something beautiful.
I think it's really important to make mistakes.
And she’s spent many, many years trialling, exploring, and enjoying the process of creating art. She says 'paper is so expensive, but I never ever think I've wasted that sheet of paper, like there's thirty dollars down the drain, because it's part of the process. And I like making mistakes. Mistakes lead you to something better, like if you just play it safe all the time you're never gonna grow or discover anything new.' It also goes for all her colour exploration—she’s tried hundreds and hundreds of different combinations in order to find the right one. For Bobby, a colour isn’t just a colour, 'it’s more than just a colour, it stands for something and represents different ideas and feelings and what i'm going through at that minute.'
She doesn’t hide her obsession with burgundy, a lot of recent works see the prominent colour featured throughout. So much so that we created a custom burgundy colour for her to play with during her studio spruce-up project (a similar hue to our delicious dark red, 'Wine and Unwined'. She decided to use it for the entryway, because it was inviting and if used inside, then it’d make the space feel too small. She also warmed to our cool ‘Fika’ colour, which she describes as a “pâté, raw clay colour, which is a bit muted”. ‘Fika’ features on her wall to brighten up the space, whereas she went with our ‘Do Not Disturb’ (a deep navy, French-inspired colour) for her door to create contrast.
We hope you’ve enjoyed getting to know Bobby, her beautiful work, and (if you listened to the podcast) that awesome accent! See you next week for another episode of Colourful Language.