Marle Women is created to celebrate our philosophy of designing pieces for women of all ages and stages of their lives. Each feature profiles a woman we admire and we hope each interview inspires you the same way in which these women inspire us.
For our latest edition, we speak to artist Bobby Clark who uses her own experiences, along with symmetry and balance, to trace the outlines of her interactions with the world. Her studies speak in metaphors, answering intricate questions with the clarity of minimalism.
We chat about her own distinctive style, her progression as an artist and a businesswoman and of course, her personal style.
You moved from Scotland to Melbourne some years ago, how do each of these places influence your work and what do you love most about living in Melbourne?
Melbourne has so much culture, great art galleries, design, food. It has everything we love. I still miss Scotland almost every day. I love Scotland, it’s a huge part of who I am and I miss Scottish people so much. The banter, the cold air, the mountains. It will always be home in my heart but for now Melbourne is where we are settled. My work is heavily influenced by people and my experiences so being torn between two places has definitely been a constant theme in my work through my studies of balance.
How would you describe your work and what influences your subject matter?
Describing my work is really difficult. I don’t always know what I am painting or working through until much later. My works explore balance, minimalism and colour theory in a geometric structured format, exploring the relationship between shapes and negative space. My ‘stripes’ body of work is an abstract depiction of person, designer or collection. Seeing people of objects through a selective colour palette.
In a podcast with LadyBrains, you mentioned a realisation that changed the way you conducted your business - discovering you had 40,000 visitors to your website each month and no art to purchase. Did this business model change the way you approach your art?
Yes, but I don’t know if that's entirely a good thing. These days it's more business than painting. Obviously everyone wants to succeed and financial gain is a huge part of that but it also can stifle work production. It’s hard to find that balance when I’m running everything on my own. I have to wear so many hats. I am my own P.A, admin assistant, courier, packer, designer, painter, photographer, web designer and everything else that running a business requires as well as trying to be a good partner and mother.
I think for most, the pandemic flipped everything on its head so I’m still trying to find my way and learn that delegation is the key to a successful business. Something I am terrible at, being a complete control freak.
I also only get two studio days a week as I choose to still spend two days with my son. I am also working on a few other commercial projects and for Little Company so trying to cram a week's worth of work into two days is slightly mental.
What do you hope people see, feel and think when they view your pieces?
I hope it makes them simply feel. To view a piece of art and feel something, good or bad is what art is supposed to do. It’s escapism, it’s the starting point to great discussions, it evokes emotions and feelings. For art to prompt a reaction is what art is created for. I hope my work creates a sense of familiarity, a sense of calm. The space to think, I hope it makes someone stop and look deeper, to feel a connection.
You’ve started offering art classes intended to “form the connection between mind and body.” Can you explain the inspiration behind this?
How often as adults do we take the time to sit and create with no end goal. Children are often offered pencils and papers to create in cafes and restaurants but we have forgotten to create ourselves. We are so connected to our devices we overlook the simple act of colouring and drawing to calm the mind. The simplest exercise of putting pen to paper is completely overlooked in our daily lives. Have you ever sat down to write a card or a note and felt disconnected from your body? So much so, writing feels alien. One of the first things we are taught at school is to draw creatively. My art classes teach basic drawing techniques to reconnect our mind and body and build connections with our intuition to draw freely. Using drawing as a means of meditation, taking us back to the freedom of being a child.
How do you support your own mental and spiritual wellbeing?
Lately, not enough. I have been swept up in the return to normality that I’ve been working too much. My health has suffered and I’ve had to take a step back, take a deep breath and look at what I am doing to support myself physically and mentally. Someone just yesterday asked “what are you doing for yourself weekly to disconnect and have some alone time?”. I realised that my ‘me time’ was barre class which isn’t restorative alone time, it’s exercise and I haven’t been doing a single thing to support myself. I immediately booked myself into the Japanese bathhouse in Collingwood (GO!) and read a good book.
At Marle, our design process starts with the natural fibres we use and from there, we form our design brief and draw what the garment might end up like. Talk us through your creative process.
I usually dream of a painting, I see it. Usually at night. I get obsessive with colours, shapes or textures and usually I go straight to my sketchbook before creating a bigger piece. To begin a painting or canvas I always start with measurement. It’s my favourite part. I love finding the balance before I even make a mark. I find the centre point of the paper even if it's fluid and unstructured, it helps to ground me. I sketch or mark out the shapes then select colours and create a palette. I am pretty obsessed with colour. I know the exact tone and spend a lot of time finding on colour before I begin. I research constantly and keep a bank of ideas I want to work on when the timings align.
How would you describe your personal style and how has this evolved over the years?
I have a background in fashion and textiles so quality and fabrication are a huge factor in my personal style. I love the craftsmanship of vintage pieces. Colour is huge. I love bold colours and interesting patterns but am slightly paired back. I love interesting pieces that have classic tailoring and shape. The first thing I do with a beautiful coat or pair of pants is turn them inside out. Garments should be just as beautiful on the inside as they are on the outside.
Marle is designed to add effortless ease to a woman’s wardrobe, how does wearing Marle make you feel?
Classic and elegant. Marle has a sense of simplicity that I love. Timeless, staple pieces that can work with any style.
What is your most treasured object and why?
My mum's wedding ring, polaroids and photographs and a star necklace given to me by dad on my wedding day. Obviously my son, James.
Favourite home cooked meal?
Sunday roast with homemade yorkshire puddings.
Favourite thing to wear?
A great trench.
Your non-negotiable daily rituals?
Morning cold shower and hot coffee.
Spring/Summer or Autumn/Winter?
Spring/summer every time. Coming from a colder climate I LOVE the warmth of the sun.