“I like the process of delving into a different world where I have control of what is dreamed up and made into a reality,” says Melbourne artist Heidi Yardley. “I’ve been fascinated with making pictures since I was a child.” While Heidi knew she wanted to be an artist during her teens, she didn’t really understand how it might work as a career. “I just went for it,” she says. After graduating with a Bachelor of Fine Arts (Hons) from the University of Monash, Heidi was chosen as a studio resident at Roar Studios. “It felt like a validation of what I had dreamed of doing,” she says. “It allowed me the time and space to create work while also contributing to running the artist-run galleries we had there.” The floors were thick with paint from all of the artists who had been through the studios over the years. “It felt like the right place to be and allowed me to have a regular studio practice. Opportunities like that were very rare at the time. To this day the smell of Linseed oil makes me happy.” 

Heidi has worked as a full-time artist since 2009, and since then the Australian Art Collector magazine has listed her as one of Australias 50 most collectable artists (2011). She has also been a finalist three times in both The Archibald Prize and the Doug Moran National Portrait Prize. And twice she has been selected by The Ian Potter Cultural Trust for artist residences in New York. Heidi is currently exhibiting at Arthouse Gallery until June 20.

Which five words best describe you? I must be difficult because I dont know how to answer this question!

How did you get your career start and what path have you taken since? Probably through Roar Studios, but there have been many twists and turns since then. I have worked in a variety of jobs over the years to support my practice and I also studied teaching. I gained commercial representation in 2007 and have exhibited with solo exhibitions every year since then.

What’s the best lesson you’ve learnt along the way? A career is a journey; you don't suddenly arrive at a place of “success”. You have ups and downs, thrills and spills and you have to be very strong to face whatever challenges come your way.

What’s your proudest career achievement? Becoming a full-time artist and persuing that despite all odds for the last six years has been a significant achievement for me. Also, having my work acquired by some incredibly talented people around the globe - in places like Reykjavik, Barcelona, Hong Kong and New York. I’m proud to have the encouragement and support from creative people who I truly look up to.

What’s been your best decision? To never give up despite the many challenges.

Who inspires you? Creative people: artists, musicians, writers, film directors. To list a few I would say Michael Borremans, Frida Kahlo, Anais Nin, Hunter S.Thompson, David Lynch, and Jim Jarmusch, but I could go on and on.

What are you passionate about? Art, food, gender equality, the universe.

Which person, living or dead, would you most like to meet? My great grandmother. She was in a circus troupe in the early 1900s and I’d love to have heard her stories.

What dream do you still want to fulfill? To travel, to see most of the world.

What are you reading? Meeting the shadow, it’s a collection of essays based on Carl Jung’s psychoanalytical research, and I’ve used the title for my latest exhibition.

images courtesy of heidi yardley and arthouse gallery