1. What’s your story? Where are you from?
My name is Madelaine, I represent myself as Madbutt and I am from Brisbane, Australia. I started doing collage in the Summer of 2015 after moving back to Brisbane. Previously I had lived in Sydney, that’s where I started playing around with art again by doing painting and drawing with friends.
In the past year I’ve been travelling to and from New York immersing myself in the art culture and learning from my mentor, Faust, who is based there. So far I’ve exhibited in Brisbane a handful of times and once in Melbourne and London. I am a member of Primary Arcade (@PrimaryArcade), Brisbane Collage Club (@BNECollageClub) and Raw Artists (@RawBrisbane).
2. Tell us about your aesthetic.
My aesthetic is constantly evolving as I experiment with what I can create and how I can create it. I don’t consider myself to have one aesthetic.
3. What is your favourite medium and why?
I really love using wheatpaste. It’s my new favourite glue to use – it never hardens unless applied and it allows me to work with larger images which in turn lets me make larger scaled works. When I was visiting New York over the Summer I met some of the most legendary graffiti writers and my question would always be, “Tell me what you use in your wheatpaste?!”…They would say “Ask Shepard Fairey!”. I haven’t met him (yet – one day hopefully!) but his video on wheat paste is a good stepping stone for learning about how to make your own and how to apply it.
When starting to make my own last year, I incorporated his method of creating it and eventually found a bonding agent that works well instead of using the traditional wheat, water and sugar like you see in other videos.
4. What is your artistic process like?
Somedays I find it easier to create things than others. It really depends on my mood and what is happening around me. Once I start I really can’t stop and if I do stop, I find it difficult to switch my brain off and go to sleep.
I can work for hours on end doing a hand cut or digital collage and my back is killing me but I persist because there’s a certain drive and passion that comes along with the commitment of starting an artwork. I am starting to learn about looking at things with “fresh eyes”. Usually when I’m finished with something that would be it and I’m done, but now that I’m allowing myself a few days to reconsider things it has really helped me produce better works.
5. Who and/or what inspires your work?
I am pretty easily triggered or enabled, I have only just learnt this about myself and I am trying to channel most of this energy into inspiration. It doesn’t take much for me to get an idea from something I’ve seen, done or heard. Galleries and museums are my favourite place to go for inspiration. Nothing better than white walls and contemporary art. I am always searching for new exhibitions or things I want to be immersed in, it’s the only time where I truly live in the moment and I present my authentic self to those I am around – I feel most comfortable there.
6. What role does art play in your life? How does it change the way you view the world?
Art plays such an important role in my life these days. There isn’t one moment when I’m not wondering how I could be a better artist, what I could say or do with it. I think as someone who has always had a creative mindset I’ve always seen things a bit differently than others. I haven’t noticed how it’s changed my view of the world, I still think we’re all pretty much screwed with the way things are going but it does give me some hope that things can change for the better.
7. Where did you study?
I haven’t taken the traditional approach of studying a Bachelor of Fine Art or anything like that. Everything I’ve learnt is self taught or talking with other creatives about processes.
8. Where do you see yourself in five years? Working in an agency?
I’d love to be living and making works in different cities around the world with the help of agencies (New York, Melbourne, Paris or London) and assisting for other artists that I admire. That would be ultimate!
9. What about in ten?
To be honest, I haven’t even thought that far ahead with my career! However, just thinking about it now…. I would love to be on the same level as other great contemporary Australian artists such as Ben Quilty, Guido van Helten and Peter Drew. They base most if not all of their work on political and human rights issues such as war and the refugee crisis both here in Australia and abroad in places such as Syria. Having a large audience like them and projecting a message of importance, I think would be really gratifying. Even more so when we live in a society where as humans we can be so superficial and trivial, I can’t imagine how we will be in ten years time if we continue on the same trajectory.
10. What do you hope to achieve with your art?
At the moment it’s about helping people escape their own problems for a few seconds, minutes or hours and giving the audience an outlet that feels creative – whether it’s viewing, being inspired to create or curating on Instagram or at a gallery.
In the future I would like to do more exhibitions focused around social and human rights issues that help charities and give awareness to what’s really happening beyond the superficial level of art.
11. Now, tell us a little more about you as a person: what is your favourite food?
Wow, I can’t pick a favourite food. My dream foods if I could eat them all day, everyday and not get tired of them ever, are:
The chicken parmigiana with side of tomato pasta from John’s on 12th or Pepe Rosso to Go in Manhattan. Highly recommend (10/10) for anyone living or visiting NYC.
If you visit Brisbane, make sure to check out PJ Steak’s in West End or The Valley. The triple cheese is my go to after a big day of being creative. I don’t pass on a cheeseboard either, I have C.R.E.A.M. tattooed on my left foot sometimes it equates to Cheese Rules Everything Around Me.
12. Favourite book?
The Young Romance series 1 and 2 are the best of Simon & Kirby’s romance comics. I was given these two books as a gift for Valentine’s Day this year. Usually when someone gets you a book you don’t even have interest in it but it was lovely to receive and I love reading them.
13. Favourite genre of music?
So hard to answer again because I am always changing what I listen to, but my favourite go to artists are Soulwax, Wu Tang Clan and Lana Del Rey.
It was so amazing that Lana Del Rey shared my collage on her Instagram to promote her new album, would’ve been even more amazing if she credited me but as the saying goes you win some, you lose some! I still love her just as much as I did before.
14. What are your hobbies?
Art is life, I have no hobbies.
15. If you weren’t an artist, what would you be?
Well, I’m not sure but it’d be something just as great.