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5 Creative Questions with… Heidi Lai

Heidi Lai is a Sydney-based oil painter. I first noticed her work as part of the online only ACB Selects show of the National Emerging Art Prize. Her piece, Afterglow, shows two musicians playing serenely in a sophisticated interior. ACB Selects, by the way, gives artists who were not finalists a chance to shine if they have caught the eye of curator Amber Creswell Bell. I see why Heidi's work would have stood out to the curator. Heidi clearly has a love of light and hasn't shied away from the complexity of interiors, nor the colour brown, which I appreciate as I am a great fan of this colour and can't stop reaching for my reeking tin of Estapol varnish to apply to all my wood painting panels.

Heidi is fast and prolific, so much so that she (generously, amazingly) arranged to give away five original little paintings to her Instagram followers for Christmas if they could proffer a photo that spoke to her. Five paintings ultimately became eight, one of which I am delighted to say, was painted for me. Mine is based on a photograph I took down at Milson Park. I had a feeling the bright, crisp sail and its red anchor against the blue sky and palm trees might speak to Heidi and it did.

Heidi Lai. Photo: supplied

Heidi Lai is the 17th in my series of creatives to take five questions.

When my creative process is stuck, I reach for... photos. I love photography and the stories behind it. It gives me inspiration about what’s going on in other people’s lives. I think this is what my paintings are about.

The weirdest thing about being a creative human is... trusting my instinct too much?! Sometimes I can be quite stubborn and people don’t know why I have to do things in a certain way, but I believe my heart always leads me to the right place.

The most unusual object in my house is... a pink geometric horse sculpture that is about half a toaster in size. My home is mostly black, grey and white. It is not too big but pink is really not my colour. It doesn’t match anything in my place actually. Now it is sitting quietly and lonely on the staircase…

I celebrate my achievements by... buying more canvas and art equipment. I do love painting! People may ask me why I WORK on holidays, the truth is I honestly don’t see painting as a job, or something people don’t want to do when they rest. It is not hard work for me and I enjoy it all the time. I’m glad my career is my hobby.

Something in the world that already exists that I wish I had created is... a fashion trend. Honestly I don’t think it already exists but you know the fashion industry is full of crazy outfits lol? I always want to cover in a blanket in winter like 24/7. When can it become a fashion trend in Australia?

Heidi Lai's painting Afterglow is currently on view online through the National Emerging Art Prize's ACB Selects. Find out more about Heidi on her website, Heidi Lai Art Oil Painting and Art Prints, and see her artwork on Instagram here.

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