FINESS HONEYS | Maddy Young
The instantaneously recognisable work of artist Maddy Young combines monochrome illustrations relating to memories of experiences, regret, a sense of loss or longing together with intricate details of delicacy, and with such a genuine personal connection to each piece, it's not hard to see why this Honey has been so successful in her destined field of work.
Originally from Brisbane, Maddy now resides in Melbourne building up quite an extensive portfolio. Experimenting with zines, hand made badges, an apprenticeship at Hidden Moon Tattoo, and not to mention the latest Sole Finess artist collaboration, Maddy has been one very busy lady indeed, but we managed to catch up with her for a studio hang to find out more about her work, what she's been up to and her profound love for action movies.
Can you tell us about the path that led you to where you are today?
As far back as I remember I've always been drawing. When I became a teenager it became more of a reliable source of catharsis in which I found a lot of gratification and reward. Growing up in Brisbane was very helpful in many ways as well, the art community is very inclusive and encouraging, and even at a young age I found myself a part of a genuine community which demonstrated how achievable it could be to make a career in the arts.
I also think I developed a pretty strong sense of DIY as a teenager, which has helped me progress more as an artist now. This sense of being able to figure a project out and making do with what you have. I studied art fairly casually in Brisbane for a few years, before moving to Melbourne where I started to pull back from the idea of having a day job in order to concentrate more on pursuing a creative career which no longer seemed impossible.
How did art for you progress from just being something you loved doing to more of a full time job?
Only in the last couple of years have I found myself able to concentrate fully on artistic pursuits. I think you need to invest a lot of time and energy, and be patient on waiting for some kind of a return. I’ve always been mindful of my documentation and aesthetic, and have tried to consistently make things that make me feel and think. It can be hard to find a balance between the work people respond to, and the work that is important to you.
So what's the story behind your black and white aesthetics?
I'm a chronic perfectionist on a technical level, often I will draw the same image five or six times if there is one tiny mistake, or spend hours on a work only to throw it in the bin. Working only in black and white was both an aesthetic decision and a way to set myself boundaries. I also have strangely strong emotional responses to certain colours, that I think would cause problems if I wanted to work less monochromatically.
Would you say this is a reflection of your personal style too?
Unsurprisingly I spent much of my teenage years idolising women like Siouxsie Sioux, which naturally lead me aesthetically down a certain path. I experimented with colour a bit here and there, but always found myself wearing mostly black. Now I've grown up a bit more, there’s definitely more shades of white and grey than there once was in my wardrobe, but I think my style will always be fairly colour free and simple.
What one sneaker would you say sums you up?
Black and White Old Skool Vans are the sneaker I've spent the most time with. I have a paint splattered pair I wear on painting jobs that feels like returning to an old home. They always remind me of Brisbane Summer.
How do you find Melbourne, as a source of creativity in comparison to let’s say, Brisbane where you’re form originally?
When I moved to Melbourne I had all these notions about what it would be like, and what it would mean for me as an artist. There is definitely a wider spectrum of artists and creators in Melbourne but I'm not sure necessarily if that means much to the individual.
Brisbane has a comparatively smaller community but in my experience it is incredibly inclusive and welcoming, people really band together and are happy for each other’s success there. Not to say it isn't the case in Melbourne, just in my experience people seem to be focusing on their own work as much as possible, where Brisbane has a bit of a feeling of everyone being in it together.
We loved your collaboration with Georgia Hill, are there any other ladies out there that you’d really like to work with?
I'ld love to collaborate with Georgia further. Every couple of months we have some kind of late night message exchange about working together when we both have time and are in the same city, but to be honest it sometimes feels like our way of telling each other we miss one another.
There are so many talented women I would love to work with such as Dakota Gordon who is one of my favourite photographers, or Laura Mckay who is a Sydney based jeweller. I would love to collaborate with women in other fields, in particular I find photography and jewellery making so fascinating.
We’re pretty excited that you’ve started tattooing, how did that come about and how are you finding it?
Paul Stillen approached me about mentoring me a while ago, I had already been working within Hidden Moon for a while, and had developed so much respect and adoration for everyone who worked there as both friends and peers that I jumped at the chance to learn in that environment. I think the way I am naturally inclined to draw lends itself to tattooing fairly easily, it seemed like a logical next step to take, especially considering working in the shop had given me such a reverent love for the environment and culture.
Paul is such a considerate friend and teacher, and even though it has been incredibly stressful and difficult at times, I know I'm very lucky to be doing the apprenticeship I'm doing with the help from everyone. Its such a huge step to take from artist to tattooist, that permanence and trust is such a daunting responsibility that is both humbling and terrifying at the same time. I try to honour that as best I can by working hard and studying as much as I'm able.
Experimenting with different mediums has given you quite an extensive portfolio, have you got any big plans for 2017?
I took a bit of a break from bigger works after my last show in order to concentrate on tattooing, but I’m looking forward to getting back into making larger and more complex pieces. I always have these grand ideas in my mind of works I'ld love to create, I want to play more with ideas of light and shadows, and work more with materials like glass and Perspex.
And when you’re not in the studio, where could we find you?
Binge watching action movies in bed late at night, or waiting impatiently for a single serve of hot chips at the corner store most likely.
So what's your favourite action movie then?
The Fast And The Furious, any of the ones with The Rock!