Behind the doors of an artist’s studio, and buried deep within a finished piece, lies an incredibly unique and personal process. This process is often filled with various rituals – both significant and subtle – that help to gently set the mood, or encourage that first brush stroke on a blank canvas. With this fascinating concept in mind, we invited a selection of artists to create a work, or series of works, that spoke to their own rituals, for our upcoming group exhibition, Ritual Practice.
Liam Haley is a multi-disciplinary artist currently living and working in Melbourne. Born on the Northern Rivers of NSW and an RMIT graduate, Haley’s upbringing in a scenic environment of green and blue fertile landscapes has shaped his art practice today.
Here, we chat with Liam about his works created exclusively for Ritual Practice, as well as daily ritual of his own.
While painting the four works for Ritual Practice, Haley often found himself viewing them first thing in the morning with coffee in hand. It was a time to reflect and allow new thoughts and ideas to come to mind. “When it comes down to the first strokes, I will usually let my body take control before my mind,” he says.
1) Tell us about a ritual that is part of your daily life – be it connected to society, community or self.
My lifestyle is always changing with whatever is going on around me. I think this really impacts rituals that become part of my daily life. There are usually only a few things that I will do nearly every day that are connected to myself and how I interact with the world. These rituals can change in quality and quantity dependant on moods and the time of day they are executed.
Some of my favourite rituals are the ones I do after waking up, such as making coffee. I think I enjoy the process of making a cup of coffee as much as I do drinking it. I grind the beans with a handheld coffee grinder and let the pot brew whilst I go about my other morning activities. This is usually the first thing I do in the morning and I like to enjoy it outside, occasionally accompanied by a cigarette.
I also will usually go into my home studio in the mornings to view my works in progress. I do this regardless of how my day is planned and I find it quite important to ground myself with the work to keep fresh ideas coming to mind.
2) What does this ritual mean to you?
They say your best ideas come to you whilst in the shower and I think that these daily rituals of mine share a similar concept. They allow me to spend time within myself at the beginning of the day and this I find very important to my health and my creativity. It gives me time to think about the recent past, the near future or quite often, nothing at all.