Sadami Konchi is a Sydney-based fine artist and prize-winning portraitist who specialises in watercolour. Moon is her first trade picture book. Optimistic and positive in any context.
What is the current creative project you’re working on and what is the inspiration behind it?
I’m working on portraits and new picture book projects under the supervision of Helen Chamberlin and Ann James. I’m writing stories, too. Stories are secrets!
What drives your creativity?
Joy of life, humanity and empathy.
What artists have most inspired or influenced you - and why?
Apart from big names in classics and modern watercolour painting, Helen Chamberlin and Ann James have most inspired/influenced me. Their humanistic approach of picture book themes, advocacy of the disadvantaged and want for social justice, yet sophisticated humour exemplifies our identity of multicultural Australia.
What messages are you aiming to communicate through your work?
Joy of life, humanity and empathy.
Have you received support from Marrickville Council in producing this or other works? If so, how has it assisted you?
Yes, the rapport and wonderful suggestions of Marrickville Council staff. Their support has assisted me to find a solution to how to display my art work and encouraged me to carry out my first solo exhibition. Marrickville Council, you’re the guardian angel of artists!
Tell us a little about the themes and techniques behind the exhibition we will see in Marrickville Council’s Chrissie Cotter Gallery this year.
This exhibition will celebrate my process as well as finished works - preliminary and developmental works exposing the heart and bones of some of my favourite finished pieces. The particular focus is my most recent project, Moon, a picture book for children which will be launched this September. The foyer would display 30 watercolour paintings that include life drawings, portraits and sketches. They show my long relationship to and love of watercolour and also my deep interest in people from all walks of life and at all ages and stages of life. That display will lead to the main gallery showing my 34 picture-book illustrations, roughs, storyboards and little dummy books. The watercolour paintings demonstrate varied techniques: salt, waxing, lift up, wash and so ons. The text of Moon is poetic, imaginative and emotional, yet realistic. It tells how an absent father suggests that his lonely son look at the moon whenever he is missing his dad, as it is the same moon that the father sees; and explores the moon’s beautiful relationship with the world.
Will you be undertaking any special talks / presentations as part of this exhibition?
Yes. “Watercolour painting is fun!” and “Disability is this ability!” In the exhibition, I’ll run watercolour painting workshops for people with disability, children and adults. I’ve invited my dear clients from “Wesley Mission Building Dreams project” to share joy.
What do you hope will be the outcome of your 2015 exhibition? What is your next project?
My exhibition attempts to deepen public understanding of picture books as an “art craft” by displaying a beautiful marriage between text and images. Also, I hope that visitors will enjoy learning about the complicated process and massive workload to create work for publication. Especially, I hope people with disability and anyone will enjoy watercolour painting in my workshops! My next projects are already ongoing. My following solo exhibition “People of Parramatta,” at Parramatta River Theatres will be held Monday, 16 November until Sunday 13th December. It will showcase my watercolour sketches of residents’ daily life, run watercolour painting workshops that will include book signing and postcards sale. I’m developing my own picture book stories and an accessible arts project for people with disability towards 2016.
What are your future goals?
A goal is to be an established picture book illustrator and portraitist who will bring people love, hope and dreams.
What is your favourite place in Marrickville to work or wind down?
“Urchin Books,” “Marrickville Library” and Marrickville St. I love secondhand bookshops. The library and Marrickville street are very active. What a lovely area! Full of human interactions in linguistic diversity and colourful cultures!!