In Conversation with Imogen Clarke

Tell us about yourself.

My name is Imogen, and I hail from tropical Queensland. I have since moved to Canberra to study psychology. I aim to be an arty psychologist in the future, and am working with kids and training as a play therapist in the meantime. When it comes to creativity I have an eclectic taste, so I don’t have a particular technique I stick to. I mostly draw inspiration from nature, the human figure, religion, and psychological states of mind. I generally don’t start an artwork with a plan, so the end products are always a mash-up of different drawings, paintings and images.

Have you always been a creative?

I was raised in a creative household: my mum is an art teacher and artist, and my dad is a prosecutor but dabbles in gem faceting, silversmithing and blacksmithing. I guess I always had materials at my fingertips and parents who supported me, so it’s always something I’ve loved to do.

Imogen 2 (1).pngHas being women-identifying informed your practice? If so, how?

Historically, art has been dominated by men, but I think this perspective has flipped and art is now considered a ‘feminine’ practice. Girls are perceived as being better at drawing and painting, and I’ve had people attribute my ability to draw to my gender. This is ridiculous because, in reality, I have spent hours of my life practicing drawing so gender is irrelevant and ability is what matters.

Name three women-identifying artists who inspire you.

I’m inspired by Frida Kahlo’s ability to question identity, gender, class and racial stereotypes, while also being extremely successful. This type of passion is so inspiring given these stereotypes were so entrenched within society. I also find Georgia O’Keeffe’s works equally inspiring – she painted abstractions of female genitalia and flowers, which was extremely controversial within her time. I think she was a pioneer in acceptance of the female body and expressive female freedom.

Where do you see your artistic practice evolving?

I’m studying psychology and want to eventually incorporate art therapy into my practice. People differ so much, and traditional dialogue-based therapy mightn’t be effective for everyone – particularly for children, persons with verbal disabilities and those raised in an environment where emotional expression is discouraged. I think art therapy is an inclusive emotional outlet and I aspire to incorporate it into psychology somehow.