Close Up Interview with Artists Madeleine Preston

Tell us a little about yourself and what you do.

My art practice is often hard to define as the materials I use vary from project to project. I used to say I never make the same work twice, but that doesn’t really explain what I mean. I don’t have a style. My work includes oil paintings, installation three-dimensional pieces and new media; whatever medium or method works with the idea.

Who (or what) inspires you to do what you love in your own creative business?

The people who continue to make work over a long and often not financially rewarding period.

Where do you get your inspiration from when you design/paint?

Inspiration is a hard word because I think people often feel that artists and designers have a moment when they are inspired when its much more cumulative.

Tasmanian Guston #1
500x600mm Oil on board
photo by Joy Lai

What are the five words that people who know you would use to describe you?

I honestly can’t answer that – I would like to say resilient even though it doesn’t sound very much like

Tell us about your very first job and what path have you taken since then?

First artwork to be exhibited was part of Art Express at the Art Gallery of NSW but job wise I guess if you are talking design it was with the 11th hour advertising and was something of a baptism by fire as I knew nothing about computers.

Describe a typical day in your studio space?

There isn’t really a typical day it depends on the project being created.

As a Solo Artist, what is your biggest frustration?

Juggling the administrative side of my practice with making the work.

Glenfield Commuter carpark –
Sculptural facade northern wall 3 storey carpark wall
Pic Perf Steel fabrication

Tell us about how you prioritise your studio work.

In the past I didn’t I just hoped it all came together but more often than not it didn’t so now I use a spreadsheet – dull as that – I create a timeline of dates and work to that – exhibitions, competitions and anything else art related all in one spreadsheet – the whole years worth.

Since you are working at home, can you please tell us about how do you connect with other artists, and your customers (i.e. how do you network)?

Networking in an art context is hard as working in the studio on your own used to mean exhibitions were the main means of networking, but now a lot of networking for want of a better term is done through the web – through social networking and artists networks online.

Madeleine in studio
photo by Joy Lai

What advice can you offer other creative people who are just starting out and following their passions?

I am not sure I am the right person to offer anyone advice other than to say try to avoid the clichés that surround artists, the romanticism.

 Summer Lovin’ –
Presidential Suite…we the people
530x720mm Collage (framed)
photo by Joy Lai

What dreams do you still want to achieve or fulfil in your life?

To be able to keep doing what I am doing and for it to gain momentum so that I could be in a position where I didn’t have to work on anything other than my art practice.

What is your proudest moment so far?

Probably recently, seeing a collaborative work with Desginer Silvija Lomanaite, completed when a 3 storey sculptural façade was built in Sydney’s western suburb of Glenfield as part of the South East Rail network expansion currently being undertaken by the NSW State Government.

Who do you most want to meet and why?

Too many to mention…

Anniversary plates,
from left Wood, Silver Gold 300mm diameter
each Vinyl on vinyl
photo by Joy Lai

What book are you reading right now, and do you have a book you would like to recommend?

Autobiography by Barbara Steiner and Jun Yang – it’s a collection of artists talking about how identity plays into their work. The most incredible book I have read recently is The Tall Man by Chloe Hooper about Cameron Doomadgees death on Palm Island but its about so much more. If you want an insight into the legacy of colonialism in Australia.

Where do we find you and your artworks? 

I have a website which has downloadable pdf portfolios of my work at

and a recent autobiographical photographic project blog at

you can find more images at

Vinh Van Lam
the authorVinh Van Lam
Vinh Van Lam, co-founder of ArtSHINE, is a visionary art coach and entrepreneur with a passion for fostering creativity. With a diverse background in art and business, he brings a unique perspective to empower emerging artists, enabling them to thrive in the dynamic art industry through the innovative platform of ArtSHINE.

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