Big Fig Arts sounds like a wonderful initiative for local artists. Can you tell me a bit more about it?
Big Fig Arts is an artist run initiative that presents a program of diverse and inclusive exhibitions, creative workshops and community projects in Bellingen.
Big Fig Arts showcases work by local artists artists from further afield, community members, local Aboriginal artists and artists with disabilities. The exhibitions show at The Bellingen Brewery & Co., a venue that functions as the public face of this arts project and is home to Bellingen’s local craft brewery and boutique bar.
Big Fig Arts views their project as the creation of an alternative and accessible art space in Bellingen that engages with the community in a new way. They plan for the exhibitions, workshops and other events they host to build their reputation as an engaging and contemporary small arts association.
What brought you to the Bellingen Shire?
I was attracted by the reputation Bellingen has of being a creative and musical place and the beauty of it’s surrounding environment.
Has living in the Bellingen Shire influenced your work?
Yes, I am constantly inspired by living so close to nature and the seasons, the rural landscape, forest and rivers. The dynamic community and the lifestyle here encourages my work practice.
How would you describe the local art scene?
The art scene here is very active and well supported considering we are a small country town. There seems to be a sense of coming together or joining forces to create a stronger and more consolidated art scene here recently, this is very exciting.
How did you personally become involved in the arts?
Since early childhood I have been creative. I studied Visual Arts at uni and have worked in the arts since then, mainly with my own practice as an artist and I have also been involved with many community projects and galleries.
What is your favourite medium?
I am a painter working with acrylics though I am also passionate about drawing.
Has anyone or anything really influenced your style?
My style has been greatly influenced by folk and outsider arts. I really appreciate a direct and intuitive application of materials, I find this really engaging.
Have you or Big Fig Arts got any exciting projects on the horizon?
Big Fig Arts has printmaking and drawing classes planned for the new-year. We also have a project involving local youth and the creation of a light installation that will culminate in a family friendly evening event. All of this plus a full program of our regular exhibitions, changing every 6 weeks at The Bellingen Brewery & Co.
Can you give me a brief calendar of Big Fig Arts upcoming exhibitions or workshops.
January 25th 2017: Opening of ‘Sunburnt’, a collection of urban-scape paintings exploring our experience of the Australian summer. Featuring local artists Amelia Disspain and Matthew Begg.
February 1st 2017: ‘Dead Flowers Society’ fortnightly drawing sessions at the brewery begin again for the year.
March 21st 2017: Opening of ‘The Tea Party’, a big group show with a tea pot theme and a special afternoon tea event for World Down Syndrome Day.
How can people see the Big Fig Arts exhibitions?
Exhibitions can be seen when the brewery is open Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays 5-11pm, Saturday and Sunday midday-11pm, or other times by arrangement with us.
Finally- what is the significance of the name ‘Big Fig Arts?’
We were inspired by the giant fig tree that grows on the edge of the main car park in town. We see this majestic tree as quite an overlooked icon in town with potential to be a showcase feature between the river and town centre. For us the big fig is a symbol of growth and positive change for our town and environment. We hope to be an active part of that plan, facilitating the coming together of people and encouraging creativity, diversity and strength in our community.
Karlee Brown Co-ordinator at Big Fig Arts