Linde Ivimey’s first solo exhibition was in a museum - at the Heide Museum of Modern Art in 2003. “I really had to pinch myself,” Linde says. “That is quite unheard of.” Once she turned away from a job in teaching and closed the door to her studio, her art practice and career unfolded. “Every step of the way there has been a professional affirmation,” she says. “I recall a very consolidating feeling, the feeling of ‘this is going reeeaaallly well’.” Linde was born in Sydney but has spent equal amounts of time working in Perth and Melbourne. Nine years ago she returned to Sydney and a studio in the Inner-West. She has been included in the Australian Art Collector’s “50 Most Collectable Artists” issue in 2008, 2009 and 2010. Her work is held in high-profile private collections as well as the National Gallery of Australia and the National Gallery of Victoria. Her latest exhibition Cross My Heart runs until 3 October at the Jan Murphy Gallery in Brisbane.

Which five words best describe you? Persistent, careful, articulate, observant, capable.

How did you get your career start and what path have you taken since? Like a lot of people, I fell out of school early, back when there was no gap year. I went straight into employment and after a bum deal with waitressing I took a job in a print factory. I worked in the dark room making printing plates and pasting up print-ready art work - before the cut/paste clicks on computers.

I studied graphics at night school, and graphic design led me into three-dimensional work. I went on to study print and sculpture at Tafe and when I finished those courses they offered me a teaching job. Tafe was great - technical skills are marvellous attributes and teaching welding, wood work, jewellery and design was really satisfying.

Good students make teaching great but also exhausting. It required a great deal of energy to keep up my own work practice. When I stopped teaching I was encouraged and well supported by my partner, also a sculptor, to shut my studio door and get on with the business of being an artist. During that time I worked relentlessly and the studio filled to the brim with sculptures. When opportunities came to show what I had been doing people were astounded, not always in a good way either, but certainly some impact was made.

I realised the work was all made for me only, not anyone else - that’s how I like it still. When I do commission work, I make it for me also. If it doesn’t quite hit the mark for my client, I will make another one that may. When my work does find resonance with someone I take it as a great delight to be able to share a little bit of my vision. Though I still feel that letting a work go can be like removing a charm from a bracelet.

My dealers are as careful as an adoption or placement service needs to be to match the work to the clients.

What’s the best lesson you’ve learnt along the way? Being innovative requires ingenuity, hard work and long hours - it’s worth it.

What’s your proudest career achievement? The ABC approached me in 2006. They wanted to do a feature documentary on my work; that recognition was very big for me.

What’s been your best decision? Very simple - the decision to make another one.

Who inspires you? Every unknown, tool-pushing, cave-dwelling, harvest-following person whose work makes up the ancient antiquities section in every museum around the world. The people who made things just to satisfy their urge, their spirituality, their god or their curiosity. No names, just a date followed by BC or AD and their objects for me to wonder at.

What are you passionate about? I am passionate about hypnosis. I started studying it as a hobby and have many qualifications now. I don’t have a practice as a hypnotherapist but I love practicing hypnosis. I can think of nowhere it would not be beneficial as a companion therapy. 

Which person, living or dead, would you most like to meet? My father. He wasn’t so keen to catch up before he died and it’s left me with a bit of a heart ache. I think it would help to talk it through.

What dream do you still want to fulfil? I have a profession goal. I would like to be a war artist. I’d love to focus on contemporary trench art and really explore what can be done with the detritus involved with providing for our troops. 

What are you reading? I have three books on the go, from light to heavy they are: We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves by Karen Joy Fowler - it’s a twisty, witty piece of fiction; Closer To The Light by Dr Melvin Morse - amazing revelations learned from the near-death experiences of children; and The Felton Illuminated Manuscripts by Margaret Manion, mainly pictorial research.

images courtesy of linde ivimey and jan murphy gallery