POD plus design: Pauline O'Shannessy-Dowling last week at her exhibition. Photos: GALLERY ON STURT

Supporting and exploring creativity, digitally and personally

March 26, 2020 BY

RESEARCHING artists online, engaging with them and sharing their work are some of the best ways to show the creative community support according to Pauline O’Shannessy-Dowling.

The visual artist, also known as POD Design, is the most recent creative to have an exhibition at Gallery on Sturt with her collection, Intricate.

O’Shannessy-Dowling encourages those with social media to connect with local makers and performers who are losing these kinds of public opportunities.

“Highlighting the importance of our creative sector is something we can continue to do every day,” she said.

“Follow artists on their various platforms, share their social media posts about work that they are making, check out their websites, maybe even buy some art or buy tutorials online.

“Remember too, that ‘the arts’ covers a broad range of creative methods; music, theatre, literature, and so on. Lots of people will be hurting right now. I am very aware that many casually employed creatives are losing their jobs and they will need ongoing support and access to income.”

In such a challenging climate, O’Shannessy-Dowling said makers and creatives like her can turn to their art practice for peace of mind and stimulation.

“I always have a number of projects on the go in my studio. Drawing is something that forms part of my daily routine, so I will be doing lots of that. I have some ideas for new work that I want to start exploring in depth,” she said.

“I am currently trying to complete my biggest blanket yet. I have advised my ‘crochet community,’ @grannysquarelady on Instagram, that I will soon be making short videos on how to make a crochet granny square, so that they can access this tutoring for free and learn a new skill.

A triptych from Intricate.

“I am also sharing as much of my art online from Intricate as I can. People often tell me that my work brings them great joy and happiness, so I want to be able to continue doing this during this time.”

Finishing up as co-host of Voice FM’s The Arts Program this month, O’Shannessy-Dowling said art has a place everywhere with anyone.

“I think people want to know that there are things that remain a constant in their lives, at any time, but especially in uncertain times like these,” she said.

“Art is something that people can continue to access online, from books at home to magazines. For those that don’t have access, this is maybe a time to experiment with their innate creativity.”

Many may be willing to be inspired and flex their maker muscles at home right now, and O’Shannessy-Dowling’s got plenty of tips for them to support the artist living within.

“Forget that old fashioned idea that you’re not creative, of course you are. You can use any material at all to be creative. Use what you have around you,” she said.

“I love drawing on scrap paper, newspaper, old books, cardboard… Using whatever drawing materials there are at hand; pencil, pen, crayon, textas, permanent markers…

“You don’t have to be the next Frida Kahlo or Leonardo da Vinci to find satisfaction from your creativity. Make your own mark, this is the whole point of creativity.”

It could be the ideal time to explore thoughts, feelings and inspiration through good-old journaling.

“Cut and tear out pictures and words from newspapers and magazines. Jot down your own thoughts, play with colour, be exploratory with no ‘finished’ idea in mind, and remember no-one else has to see this journal. it’s your own private sanctuary,” O’Shannessy-Dowling said.

“Collect groups of things that would normally go in the rubbish or recycling like milk bottle tops, bread tags, corks, bottle tops… Arrange them into collections or make something with them.”

Her biggest and most important piece of advice is to be kind to yourself when expressing creativity.

“Allow yourself to explore this important part of who you are.”

Visit facebook.com/POD-Design-674854699192220 to check out O’Shannessy-Dowling’s work.