On Art & Heart / Inge Flint
Describe the scene before you right now.
I’m sitting in my studio—aka half of the garage. It’s in a transition state between tidy and messy. I have a habit of cleaning up after I’ve finished a series of paintings but, as I start work on new paintings, the studio slowly gets messier, my palette becomes layered with multiple layers of dried-up acrylic that I haven’t bothered to wash off, and bits of canvas start to accumulate in corners. I reckon it’s the ‘mum’ issue—when I get time to paint in the studio, you better be sure I'm there painting and not cleaning up. There are several paintings in progress hanging on the wall and next to them sit a grid full of marks on paper. I also have a table that sits at the end of my studio. It’s covered with pieces of gessoed canvas, most of them works-in-progress, and they sit next to a box full of beaten-up pastels.
Describe a moment from today to remember
After school today, I took a moment to sit down with my children and watch a movie. I don’t normally sit down; I tend more to try and do all the things that come with the after-school hustle and reply to any request with the phrase ‘I’ll be there in a minute.’ But today I sat with these little people, ate popcorn and fruit, and explained what was happening to my princess-obsessed daughter. I loved the way that they sat squished up next to me, almost on me—the divide between them and me being almost non-existent. Surprised that even my nine-year-old in all his staunchness wanted to have a turn sitting on my lap. These moments are beautiful and everyday and fleeting.
What fills you with joy?
The quiet everyday things. Light filtered through leaves leaving ethereal, shadowy images on walls. Feeling a warm breeze on my skin. Finding my legs moving at full speed as I run after my dog and feeling myself sucking down lungfuls of air. Seeing my eldest son finding peace. Hugging my other son as I cook dinner—I love the way he comes looking for cuddles frequently when he’s at home. Having my daughter look up at me and randomly telling me that she loves me. My dog being so happy to see me after me being away for five minutes! Being in the studio and finding myself in a ‘flow’ state. Stretching after sitting down for a while. Those quiet moments when I finally get to lie down in bed, pray out my thanks and struggles, snuggle up to my daughter, and fall asleep.
What fills you with hope?
Knowing that tomorrow the sun will rise and inexplicably all the troubles from the day before will have melted away. Seeing the morning sun peeking through the blinds. Knowing that I have a saviour who promises me that all my tears will be wiped away. That’s a pretty good promise.
What makes your heart ache?
Hard question! So many things. My son has been bullied for most of this year and it’s been heartbreaking watching his self esteem crumble after being so confident most of his life. After battling and working with the school, we’ve just had to cut our losses and walk away for my son’s wellbeing. And I feel as though this is just a small microcosm of what happens in this world; we feed ourselves lies by telling ourselves stories through mainstream media that the hero wins the day—and I do believe that’s what we all deeply crave but, in this present time, I don’t believe it to be true. Bullies win, people are killed because of their race, we wreck the earth and believe that by our own hands we can fix it, and the people who are meant to deliver justice simply don’t. It won’t be like this for all time but, on this side of Jesus returning, it is.
Describe a piece of art that is precious to you
I’m lucky enough to routinely swap art with other artists. One of my favourite paintings at the moment is a landscape piece by Molly Mansfield—it’s just such a beautiful piece that exudes so much peace. The best thing about art swaps is getting to know someone else better and deepening connections. These connections become intertwined with the art and are therefore much more precious to me.
Can you name a few artists who inspire you?
Cy Twombly, Joan Mitchell, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Heather Day, Rinko Kawauchi, and Karina Bania.
Are there any books about art that you have found helpful?
I haven’t been reading many art books lately, but I have been listening to the artist/mother podcast by Kaylan Buteyn. Kaylan is such a thoughtful interviewer and really uncovers the ‘why’ behind the artist and their work. It’s been so insightful and encouraging to listen to.
Is your art driven by heartache or hope or both?
Certainly when I was younger, heartache drove my art; it allowed me to process the messy parts of life that I couldn’t bear or properly articulate. My pain would become an image. As I’ve grown older, heartache is still abundant but perhaps I’m more at peace with it. All I seek in my work now is to find peace. A sense of peace in the act of creating and a sense of peace present in the final work.