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Grace Barnes

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Grace Barnes is a multidisciplinary artist who focuses on illustration and animation and whose inspiration comes from nature.

Stage One

Tell us about the evolution of your concept through this creative development process.

My concept evolved with challenges gathering the qualitative data aspect of the work. Spending more time on face to face interviews and collaborations rather than reaching out widely through internet surveys. It also evolved with me leaning into the literature and data I was responding to. Interviewing members of the community and Glenn Albrecht (the man who created a lot of the words I was exploring) changed the feeling I wanted to get across to the viewer of the final artwork. Less doom and gloom and more educational and uplifting. I knew I would have to mould and shape my initial ideas by confronting my own personal biases through asking questions of my interviewees and listening to the wide and deep answers.

What experts/community members did you connect with during your creative development?

I tried to reach out to a wide array of people. In the end they also had to be receptive to talking about the subject, which is quite challenging in a place like the Upper Hunter where there is so much wrapped up into imagining what our future would look like. I talked to Glenn Albrecht, an incredible eco philosopher. I talked to a local guide group, land holders, farmers,  a woman who grew up in Hebden, a place which today is mostly swallowed up by the mines & Jane Richens, another Regional Futures artist.

“Regional Futures has given me a new way of looking at my practice, seeing it as a way to capture collective voices. This project has given regional artistic voices a soap box to stand on.”

– Grace Barnes

Finished art work

Finished Art Work

Describe where your work has reached in the development process and how you can see it progressing.

It has reached its final stages but definitely has a bit of room for refinement perhaps in the audio department. I was thinking this would have been an area of the work I would have liked to have collaborated with an expert/creative in this field. Initially I proposed 9 illustrated artworks, and 9 animated works, I made it to 6 of each. Acknowledging that with adapting my research-gathering processes to face to face interviews and workshops, more time would be put into that and I would need to step back on the final artworks.

There are so many stories to tell, questions to ask and perspectives to listen to from the Upper Hunter community. I have only scratched the surface.

If you were to tell someone about the impact of Regional Futures and this creative development opportunity on your practice, what would you say to them?

It has legitimised my practice. It has also given me a new way of looking at my practice, seeing it as a way to capture a collective of voices and responding to that stimuli to make a work that hopefully reflects a feeling we are all experiencing in our region. This project has given regional artistic voices a soap box to stand on which In my opinion is quite rare. I would love to see more projects like this.

Exhibitions Fill 1 Copy 4 Created with Sketch.

Regional Futures, (2023) Grace Barnes, Branxton Cafe Maitland Street Collective, Maitland, 3 February – 1 March