Knock Knock?
Who's there?
Rebekah Greggery from Nextdoor,
here to interview artist Steph Blinco.
Hello! Come on in... 

Examining the experiences that have shaped her identity thus far, Steph Blinco's cathartic practice explores themes relating to childhood trauma, youth, and mental illness through an autobiographical lens. Steph focuses on exploiting humour, irony and symbolism as methods of reimaginating often ominous moments from her past and current experiences. Distorting audience’s understanding of reality, surreal and unattainable dreamscapes are replicated through Steph's appropriation of film and found imagery from the 1960’s and 70’s. This in turn allows her to create a false sense of romanticism, bluffing audiences with her psychedelic aesthetic in order to confront them with the melancholic undertones of her work.

Shell, Carcass, Bones, 2021, digitally manipulated prints on paper.
R : Your current practice is focused on collage moving away from painting, how has this transition changed your practice or approach to your works? 
S : There’s something magical about being able to take materials which have become discarded and breathe new agency into them through my artworks. Whilst I will always have a love for painting, the idea that I can take vintage magazines and apply them into a modern context is something which I truly love about my practice. Whilst I may not always be able to articulate the way I am feeling through painting, I can always find relatability in collage which is exciting to me. I can find one image that I’m drawn to and build an entire work around it.
R : I find that your art is able to blend the vintage with the contemporary incredibly well, which adds this intense layer of surrealism. Can you speak to this use of vintage imagery in your work? 
S : I have always had a love for vintage aesthetics and have found the use of collage in my practice to be quite cathartic. By referencing a time that feels so removed from our current world, I am able to enter a lens of surrealism that makes confronting topics seen in my work easier to digest. Particularly when I make art referencing trauma or mental illness, I find not only myself, but my audience is able to engage with these ideas more intently.
Bedroom Eyes, 2020, collage and pen on paper.
R : Your work is often a reflection on your personal experiences as you visualise your own memories, and at the same time your works are incredibly intricate and complex. Is there a relationship between these aspects of your practice? 
S : For me, creating intricate designs has always been a method of healing. By focusing intently on laborious practices such as complex pattern making, I am able to combat my high functioning anxiety which is often a topic seen in my work. Whilst it may come across as romanticism at times, it’s the only way I am able to address some of my own personal experiences.
All Of Your Friends Are Like Fake Fruit, Only Good For Photos, 2020, paper collage and pen on wooden board.
R : All Of Your Friends Are Like Fake Fruit, Only Good For Photos is probably one of my favourite pieces of yours, can you speak more about this work? 
S : The title of the work comes from some song lyrics I heard once, which is often how a lot of my works originate. I find that I am able to interpret lyrics into how I would imagine them to appear visually, which is what this work is all about. All of Your Friends Are Like Fake Fruit, Only Good for Photos addresses how we have become part of a society that only indulges in superficial intimacy. There is collaged text in the work reading “you always hurt the ones you love”, and I think this speaks volumes to many of us who don’t know how to emotionally connect with one another anymore, engaging in relationships with people who are only there to benefit themselves. This is something I have always struggled with and has left me feeling out of place and alone at times.
R : Have there been any major influences on your practice, artists that you look up to or try to emulate in your works? 
S : Minna Gilligan and Tracey Emin are massive influences to my practice. I have only discovered Minna recently, but Emin’s ability to develop and transform her persona, memories and experiences into works is something I have always tried to emulate in my practice. Her use of text is also something which inspires me greatly, and I draw constantly from Minna Gilligan’s playful exploration of colour.
Thanks to Steph Blinco and Rebekah Greggery! 
Follow our ongoing artist interview series 'Behind Every Door'.
Come see Steph's work at the Brisbane 'Winter' Indie Project
August 13, 2021 6PM
The Zoo (711 Ann St, Fortitude Valley QLD 4006)