On the Couch with Michaela French

Arts Review On the Couch Michaela FrenchWho is Michaela French?
I’m a London-based Australian artist working with light and moving image. I use animation and compositing to make immersive projection spaces for live performance and planetaria, and I make light-based sculptures and installations for gallery exhibition. I am in my second year of a practice-based PhD in Information Experience Design at the Royal College of Art, London where I also lecture in moving image, animation and expanded cinema.

What would you do differently to what you do now?  
Studying and lecturing at the Royal College of Art and exhibiting my art work in London is a dream come true. I’m very lucky to be developing my creative practice in such a renowned institution. I love the range of projects I’ve been working on lately. And it’s wonderful to continue creating moving image projections in collaboration with some of Australia’s pre-eminent artists and performance companies. I currently have the best of both worlds, it’s a privileged position and for the moment I don’t want to do anything differently.

Who inspires you and why?
I am inspired by people whose passion and determination leads them to do amazing things, For example, Yaron Lifschitz whose work with Circa is exquisite. Olafur Eliasson whose art reframes the way we see the natural world and brings light to communities through his Little Sun project. And my sister and her partner raising their family and building a beautiful off-grid house in 100 acres of bush in country NSW.

What would you do to make a difference in the world?
Open everyone’s mind to the extraordinary wonder and beauty of the world around us.

Favourite holiday destination and why?
A small bush cabin in Reidsdale NSW. It’s a great contrast to the fast pace of London life, very close to nature and an excellent place to refine my bush-craft skills.

When friends come to town, what attraction would you take then to, and why?
The Royal Observatory Greenwich. I love climbing the hill and passing the Greenwich Meantime clock on the way to early morning planetarium screenings. It is the perfect place to observe and consider space and time.

What are you currently reading?
The Practice of Light by Sean Cubitt and Decreation by Anne Carson.

What are you currently listening to?
DJ Koze, Bon Iver, James Taylor and Deepchord Echospace.

Happiness is?
… spending time with the people I love.

What does the future hold for you?
A doctorate, an expanding art practice, great adventures, and ongoing collaboration with inspiring and creative artists around the world.

Michaela French is an artist working with light, projection and time-based media. Colour, light and movement are fundamental to her work which ranges from projected image environments to narrative film, from live performance to drawing and print. Her work incorporates moving image, animation, compositing and projection as well as traditional techniques of painting, printmaking, illustration and graphic design, and has been exhibited both nationally and internationally.

Michaela has a particular interest in the points of intersection between the visual arts and other disciplines, and as such has spent much of her career working collaboratively in the areas of live performance, dance, planetaria and spatial design. She is a PhD candidate at the Royal College of Art, London and lectures in Illustration and Animation at the Cambridge School of Art.

Michaela’s work can be seen in Circa’s upcoming production of Carnival of the Animals at Arts Centre Melbourne from 28 September 2015. For more information, visit: www.artscentremelbourne.com.au For more information about Michaela, visit: www.michaelafrench.com for details.

Image: Michaela French