Creative Feature: Get to know Simon Cross and Stephanie Davies
As the Nillumbik Artists Open Studios weekends return this November we sat down with the lovely couple, Simon Cross and Stephanie Davies and got to know them and their stories a little better.
Simon and Stephanie have joined the program for the first time this season, and are amongst 31 other artists who will be opening up their creative spaces for the second time Saturday 6th and Sunday 7th May 2017.
Introduce us to your studio, what are the vibes and what are some of your most treasured items?
The vibes within our studio could be thought to be eclectic, quirky; some people have said we’re in an odd museum with random bits and pieces scattered all around. We really enjoy being within the space, as it is constantly evolving and part of our artistic journey. Some of the most treasured items in the studio include an etching press and negatives of photographs alongside photo albums.
What are you both currently working on?
Simon is currently working on a body of etchings and ceramics relating to the industrial environment and our surrounds while Steph is continuing photographic documentary work on the body in time and space alongside the migratory occurrences of birds along the coast.
As artists how important is it to have someone to bounce off? Do you rely on each other for critical feedback or do you work autonomously?
We do bounce off one another sporadically, when we’re driving to locations to undertake photography and artistic pursuits we will often discuss our ideas and flesh out our concepts with one another. Feedback varies from artwork to artwork and we can take on board one another’s constructive criticism and considerations pretty well.
What are you currently experimenting with?
Experimentation continues in relation to the mediums that we both work with relating to printmaking, ceramics and photography. This includes experimentation with the equipment and materials that we use such as etching processes and digital outputs. Current and experimental work will be revealed in November!
Where do you draw your inspiration? When was the last time this happened for you?
For the both of us, we are very much inspired by our day to day life and the intricate experiences that you can have at any moment. This is from going for a walk, through to subconscious dreams that you might have overnight. We regularly attend exhibitions and galleries and have been inspired by a range of artists, most recently being awed by the Frida Kahlo exhibition at the New South Wales Gallery of Sydney and a collection of Diane Arbus’ photographic work shown at the National Gallery of Australia, Canberra.
Whose work do you admire and is there someone you would both love to collaborate with?
If the opportunity ever arose Simon would love to collaborate with Patricia Piccinini because of her vision and the way in which she interprets the world and her surroundings. For Steph it would be Trent Parke given his amazing skills and abilities in the documentary approach that he brings to his black and white photography. That and the way in which his life story has driven some of his recent work with the Black Rose series.
Being in a creative partnership, how do you encourage each other to keep pursuing what you love?
We both continually encourage one another to continue to create work, and importantly make the time available in order to focus on art. We both have a background in education and understand the importance of a work life balance and the role that creativity has in having a positive approach to life.
What do you love about living in Hurstbridge?
The natural and green environment that we are surrounded by, being able to feel as if you are part of the trees as we sit outside on our deck. Taking regular walks along the Diamond Creek and surrounding wetland environments. There are plenty of events to attend and experiences to have in the local area.
What are you most looking forward to being apart of the Nillumbik Artists Open Studio’s Program?
Being able to share our passion and engage with the arts with the local community. Making new connections and friends with other artists within the group, and with people of who visit our studio and are interested in our work. We look forward to opening our Studio 11&3 for the first time this November, and welcome all in the local area to pop in and say hi.
Which other studios in the program do you think is a must see on the November Open Studios Weekend?
Simon grew up with his parents being friends of the Pittards both Chris and Mary Lou, and back when he was in Year 10 he undertook his work experience with them as an aspiring artist. The Pittard’s family studio is always well worth a visit. Jacquie Campbell with her glass studio, it’s amazing to see her work output and her highly intricate creations. We are grateful for Jacqui’s support and encouragement through our process of joining the group.
Any local coffee shop recommendations?
Locally we enjoy Heart and Soul in Hurstbridge, which comes with a great breakfast. We do enjoy getting a take away coffee when visiting the monthly Farmers Market. Further afield in Eltham, we’ve finally come across Little Drop of Poison after recommendation by friends, which we enjoy for a Friday afternoon or weekend treat.