Interview of Brooke van der Linden by Sophie Pellegrini
Tell us a bit about yourself!
I am a 25-year-old creative person from Melbourne, Australia. I have identified with feminism for about 7 years now; it informs my artwork and is pretty much a huge chunk of who I am. When I’m not making art, I like to read and write; if I had to pick a favourite writer I’d have to say Alice Walker. I also have about 20 indoor plants that I’m terrified of killing.
How did you get started in the arts?
I was that cliché arty kid until I dropped out of high school. I spent a couple of years completely lost until on a whim I enrolled in an art course at TAFE. I used my TAFE qualification to get into University and am about to start my final year of my creative arts degree. I know studying art isn’t for everyone, but I’ve discovered that I flourish best in a structured environment with deadlines.
What medium/s do you work in? What’s your favorite, and why?
I’ve dabbled in a lot of mediums; when I started getting serious about my artwork I was painting in oils, then I moved onto acrylics and inks. I was making a lot of self-portraits and wanted to take a step back from that, so for the past year I’ve almost worked exclusively in collage. Using found imagery has really resonated with me, it creates deeper meaning, especially when using ‘women’s’ magazines to make feminist art.
I should also mention that I did a short ceramics course recently. I was attracted to the idea by some images of ceramic objects I used in collage. I wasn’t stoked about anything I made but it was a lot of fun! I never want art to become boring or painful to me, so it’s important that I keep having fun and experiment with different mediums – they all feed into one another anyway.
Tell us a little about your artistic work process.
I go op-shopping for vintage books and magazines even though I have hundreds already. Then when I’m at home I’ll pick a pile to go through and start ripping pages out; I don’t always have a specific theme in mind. Once I have cut out some bits and pieces, I lay them out and start combining them in different ways; it’s a lot like doing a jigsaw puzzle.
What inspires you? What do you do to get your creative juices flowing?
One of my biggest inspirations is women and non-cis men kicking butt in the arts. A lot of the time I can just scroll through Instagram to get my creative juices flowing. I love that art is so accessible through the internet, but it’s still important for me to go to shows, and support artists by buying crafts, prints, and zines when/if I can. I love surrounding myself with that kind of stuff. It makes me feel like I’m a part of something special.
What do you find most difficult about your artistic practice? What’s one of the best things?
The chaos! I live in a small unit and work on a desk in my bedroom, or if I need to spread out, the living room floor. My books and magazines take up a lot of precious space, so I’ve started trying to organise all my materials in a filing cabinet.
I love that it’s the perfect excuse to go op-shopping/thrifting, which is one of my favourite things to do. I have always been a bit of a hoarder, so now that negative trait is more of a positive one.
Are there any projects you’re currently working on that you can tell us about?
I’m collaborating on a zine with my sister Amie Green. For the first one, I’m making collages to correspond with her poetry, but in the future we might swap places as both of us do visual art and writing.
If you could go anywhere in the world, where would you go?
I’d love to go to the Frida Kahlo Museum that’s in her old blue house in Mexico.
What are a few things you love about yourself?
I love my body. I am fat, tall, and hairy. I didn’t always love my body, but drawing and painting so many self-portraits helped me in my journey to self-love. I can also be a very obsessive person; even as a child I used to throw out my colouring books if I coloured out of the lines. It sounds bad but it’s actually a really positive trait when it comes to collage.
How can we keep up with your work?