By Rich Simmons
From volunteering with Art Is The Cure a decade ago, to becoming my studio assistant, I have seen Lucy Weir flourish into an incredible artist in her own right.
With hard work, positive energy and the biggest heart of anyone I've ever met, Lucy has moved half way around the world to chase love and a career of her own as an artist. I'm excited to share this interview where Lucy get's to tell her story about her passions and her journey.
Can you introduce yourself to anyone who hasn’t seen your work yet?
My name is Lucy Weir (She, Her, Hers). I’m a queer artist from London currently based in Naarm (Melbourne, Australia) living on the land of the Wurundjeri people of the Kulin nation. My primary art form is stencil and spray paint and I love to work with portraits.
What would you describe your creative release or art form as?
My creative release at the moment is painting with stencil and spray paint. I design all of my stencils in photoshop, draw them layer by layer on a lightbox then hand cut them out with a scalpel before painting. I love playing with colours and textures between layers, my favourite thing about stencils is that there is plenty of room for experimentation and reproducing the same image in a totally different way.
How long has creativity been part of your life?
Forever! From as early as I can remember my favourite thing to do would be to draw. Growing up my older brother always hated art class and would often hand over his homework to me, which I loved! If my parents ever took me anywhere they could guarantee having a piece of paper and a pencil would keep me entertained for hours.
Time spent creating art has always been a safe space for me.
Did you study art or are you self taught?
I studied art and design after high school for two years, then studied one year at The University Of The Arts London. I was later lucky enough to find myself working for you (Rich Simmons), which is where I first found my love for working with stencils. I learnt a lot about having a professional art career and the ins and outs of running your own studio. I found this practical experience was more beneficial for me, but everyone is different.
You moved from London to Australia a few years ago. How has the change of scenery and a new country inspired your artistic side?
My move to Australia has had a huge impact on my personal growth as a whole. It has given me a new sense of independence and confidence to put my art out there, if you can move to the other side of the world, you can do anything! Changing your environment to somewhere totally new and different can be extremely difficult, but a breath of fresh air at the same time. Melbourne has a thriving art scene and there are so many incredible artists and creatives around that inspire me on a daily basis. Sometimes you need that shift in environment to really open your eyes and give you that new spark to re ignite your creative fire.
You describe yourself as a queer artist on instagram. How has this part of your personal life shaped your creativity or artistic expression?
I am extremely inspired by queer artistic expression. The queer community is often known for its resilience and unapologetic authenticity. Being a part of this beautiful community has shaped my existence in so many ways and has opened my eyes to many different forms of expressive art. Societal “norms” are left behind, you are encouraged to live your truth, push boundaries and protect each other against the judgment of others. I am inspired to remember those who played pivotal roles in the fight for LGBTQIA+ rights that allow us to be where we are, and who we are today. It is so important to acknowledge and celebrate our history so it can live on and be admired for future generations, which is why I chose to represent queer icons in my paintings.
You love drag performers and that shapes a big part of your artistic creation right now. What is it about the drag scene that inspires you so much?
Drag performers are quite literally the superheroes of the queer community. I am so inspired by the fearlessness they embody. They have the charisma, uniqueness, nerve and talent we all wish we could bring to our every day lives. I have always been drawn to characters who play with the gender binary. Growing up I was obsessed with Boy George and would constantly have the Rocky Horror picture show on repeat. Something about the fearless embodiment of gender fluidity when the world tells you to fit in a certain box was always so beautiful to me. There is so much inspiration to be taken from Drag, from the fashion to the makeup, attitude and creativity. Who doesn’t love a drag queen, right?! Stunning!
Is creativity a daily thing for you or do you get days where it can become overwhelming?
I’ve found this past year has been very up and down with my creativity levels. There are definitely days where I just can’t get into that right headspace and that’s ok. I think it’s important to take breaks sometimes and recharge, creativity isn’t something you can force. A lot of the time I find if I just start something without putting too much pressure on myself and go slowly the energy starts to flow and I’ll soon be on a roll, often starting is the hardest part. I try to take things one step at a time to avoid becoming overwhelmed.
You’ve seen Art Is The Cure grow a lot over the years, thats actually how we first became friends almost a decade ago. How would you like to see the movement grow moving forwards and how has learning about art therapy helped you?
I have so many amazing memories with Art Is The Cure. I always knew that art was a meditative release for myself, but it wasn’t until hosting workshops and volunteering my time with AITC that I truly saw how amazing the impact of encouraging others to get creative can be. I am so excited for what the future holds for AITC. Whichever direction it takes, my one wish is for it to reach as many people as possible.
I truly believe an art therapy organisation like AITC has the power to heal a lot of people, as I’ve seen for myself.
You are one of the happiest people I’ve ever met but has art or creativity helped you through any difficult moments in life?
I try my best to always be happy and give off a positive energy to those around me. Of course this isn’t always what’s going on inside my head. I am an over thinker and often have an anxious mind, Everybody has their own hidden struggles. My art studio is a place I can come to and completely switch that side of my brain off. It is my own safe space where my only purpose is to get creative and do what I love, which is paint! When I find myself immersed in a drawing or a painting it gives my brain the much needed freedom it needs without even realising that it’s happening. I find myself lost in the flow and my thoughts can stay focused. There’s no better feeling than finishing a painting, standing back and feeling proud of yourself for what you’ve just created. Creating art has its own special healing power.
Do you have any favourite artists or creatives right now that people should check out?
Absolutely! It would be uncharacteristic for me to not mention an amazing drag performer. I am totally obsessed with local Melbourne Drag King Randy Roy (@randyroydrag), their creativity is second to none, look them up, you won’t regret it!
THOM (@rawthomato) If you’re into sneakers / trainers / runners or whatever you may call them where you’re from, Thom is your man! Really awesome photography, so fresh! I never new I could scroll through photos of footwear for so long.
Jeff McCann (@jeffmccann) Another incredible queer creative who works across a wide range of mediums including public art, event decorations, fashion, workshops and illustration. I love that Jeff brings his art to life in wearable hand painted jewellery and accessories, as well as using primarily sustainable and recycled materials in the process! He also loves cucumbers so you can’t really go wrong here. Jeff has it all and I’m totally obsessed!
If you could give advice to people looking to discover their creative spark or chase their artistic dreams, what would you tell them?
My one simple piece of advice is just to start. Stop over thinking, wondering and second-guessing, we all have to start somewhere and the only way to move forward is to just DO IT. I believe in you, believe in yourself too.
If you could share a studio with any artist for a day, living or dead, who would you pick?
Sasha Velour, my favourite artist. Their creative vibe is pure perfection. To be in their presence for a day would be a dream come true. They also have an extremely cute Italian greyhound so it’s a win win situation.