March 8, 2022

Words by Tess Wait

Georgia Hill chats artistic practise and International Women’s Day

Most comfortable moving between her studio, a boom lift and the departure lounge, Georgia Hill is an Australian artist and muralist whose works have spanned galleries, inner-city walls, and 400 ft abandoned buildings across the world.

Pushing the boundaries of many artistic fields, Georgia is undefinable; limitless and expansive. She’s an artist of multi-expressions with an open invitation to viewers, letting the experience be the message.

We caught up with Georgia on a down moment between flights to talk about the spaces inbetween, the responsibility of creative industries, and our collaboration together.

On Artistic Practice, Change and Vision

“I look to language and phrasing [for inspiration], how we speak and connect, and how the intention of these words can change so quickly or shift with new contexts or personal experience. I love to look to architecture, spaces, people’s processes and dedicated work – not just artists but chefs, designers, writers – I really enjoy learning how to use and balance that creative moment with disciplined lengths of work. I’ve always been drawn to the details, or what makes this happen, why this reacts, and these textures, patterns and little moments always come back into my work one way or another.

“My practice is in a real state of change – after feeling like I needed to paint and be extremely hands on to be the artist I saw myself as, I’m now coming into a new stage where I need to work with teams and trust others to realise larger works that just can’t be achieved alone. It’s very intimidating and exciting at the same time – I feel like I know exactly what I mean yet have a lot to learn… I’m working consciously to follow what excites me, where I get to enjoy the process for myself and the project is for everyone else.”

Her ultimate show? “Somewhere my work can stay and change with time, whether it holds true or wears away… I would love to have a place for an installation that is about the experience and time spent in that space, whether it’s one year or ten. A place where you can come back again and again, see time has passed, but the work remains in one form or another.”

On women in the arts and this year’s International Women’s Day theme ‘Break the Bias’

“…bias to me is the laziness to not look that bit further and instead stay in what you know. The tools we need to support and elevate others has never been more accessible, and it’s up to those people organising events, shows, etc to put in the work to elevate others, not wait for the next ‘breakthrough’ artist who is ticking apparent novelty boxes.

“The internet is a great thing, there are communities and platforms growing all the time, but sometimes I wonder just how far some artists could go if they could just focus on their work, not also creating their own structure for it to exist in.

“…women and their work are absolutely valid, important signifiers of time, experience and the world we all share – work can be feminine, designed, detailed, ornate, decorative, textile-based, and it still important in it’s record of time, place, connections, histories, struggles, celebrations – all the things that art is meant to document. That women’s work has long been disregarded when it’s too feminine or too crafty is a snub of these incredible abilities and voices, just because what? The perceived lesser value applied to it because a woman made it.

“When I began working as an artist, I burned really long and hard to prove my value is in how hard I can work and how quickly I can achieve the next thing. I felt the best way to help other women was to prove how able and capable I am. This was also quite isolating, because I really focused on my work and not on the community of incredible women around, and in time I’ve tried to support that more and more – whether it publicly celebrating other women’s work or privately recommending women for roles.

I get annoyed that there is still a stance to take, but I also like that I’m growing up, I’m getting bolder, and I can be part of that push.”

On the Georgia Hill X Mary’s T-Shirt collaboration and the phrase ‘Watch Out, Women About’

“I’ve had this phrase on my long list of ideas for a few years now. It basically came about from my time painting large scale murals, where a lot of men watch the work unfold still can’t quite believe I painted it myself, that’s I’m not someone’s assistant, that I can even drive and maneuver a boom lift. The women I know in every industry, and large scale murals especially, consistently take big bites, power through, work themselves so hard to give other women painting a good name too, but are often less celebrated than men – maybe not to their face, but it shows in fewer festival spots and the hierarchy some organisers apply.

“We don’t talk about it, we get on with it. This phrase is my nod that the novelty is not that I’m doing this work, it’s that some people still find it surprising women are out here.”

The Georgia Hill x Mary’s ‘Watch Out, Women About’ t-shirt is available to purchase at all Mary’s venues. All proceeds will be donated to Lou’s Place.