Act of God deals devastation

Flood damage destroyed Solveig’s art studio in what has been some of the biggest flooding Mullumbimby has seen in decades. Solveig lost equipment and a number of irreplaceable works. At first, Solveig thought the damage was extreme, but as it dried out, far less damage than expected had actually occurred. Even so, Solveig was prompted.

Even though Solveig enjoyed her little studio in town, she wanted more. She wanted to go to the studio in the middle of the night or first thing when she woke up. But this meant driving 15 minutes into town. What Solveig really wanted was to go downstairs and continue working.

 This idea has been with Solveig her whole adult life. To simply be able to get up when the urge takes you, when the desire is there and the juices are flowing. But because of life’s restrictions and variations, and duties and responsibilities, Solveig has always felt compromised about her art versus her commitments.

How do you divide your time to allow both the creative and the domestic? Everything takes time and planning.

The early days

When Solveig was at Art College in the 70’s, she used to go around to the big converted warehouses around Darlinghurst and Paddington, and a lot of the so called popular artists of the day in Sydney. Artists of the ilk of Martin Sharpe and Ken Reinhard used to rent these wonderful studio warehouses with high ceilings and windows, and plenty of room above.

Such space allowed big works to be created, things like sails and creatively-challenging art. Such art was impossible to create and display on a small wall in a commercial or urban house. These studio spaces really gave their creative residents freedom.

This was the 70’s. This has nothing to do with way our society receives and supports art these days. But back then in Whitlam’s day, it was wide open to artists. They were valued. They felt that their contribution was as valid as anyone else’s. And because they were theatrical and creative and pushed the boundaries of design and conceptualisation, it was a golden age for artists.

The dream begins

Solveig was a student at the time looking at those beautiful spaces and dreaming of the studio that she would like to paint and work in. Dreaming of the circumstances where she could have a truly creative process in a space that was bespoke for her.

So instead of reinvesting in restoring the town studio, Solveig built a studio at her rural property near Mullumbimby. She is artist who could live her whole life happily in a studio.

She could spend days there in the creative space, custom designed  for her creative flow and activity at all hours with all sorts of media and materials.

The studio is not just setup for painting, not just set up for one application. But for all sorts of creative endeavours. She is able to work inside and outside with electrical equipment and tools, with mess and paint and mixed media.

She can create sculptures as well as paintings and self express fully as the full time artist she is. The artist that is completely determined to come out and not accept the compromise she may have in the past.

Time to call the builder

Her studio was planned – a very simple idea. And then she got her builder. Not your usual builder, he used to be a usual builder, but time and nature and his philosophy turned him into a whole other creature.

Solveig builder builds in his bare feet. He walks all over  everything as he works, jumping, squatting, panting. He works flat out, singing to himself, whistling a happy tune and out of all that activity, he created in front of Solveig’s eyes the perfect, most appropriate, most wonderful studio she could ever have imagined or wanted.

Solveig stands in her space, an atmosphere where she feel completely at home and at one with the process of her creativity. She works happily, whistling a tune creating art that reflects society and herself. She paints the beauty she wants to draw attention to, the natural beauty.

Now, rather than keeping her artwork small for a small space, she paints unlimited, unrestrained. She can paint and sculpt and go outside and erect my sculpture in situ in my environment. As an artist, all Solveig’s dreams have come true.