Laura Gentgall is a nineteen year-old artist from Adelaide who focuses on nature and women and that connection through her art. Primarily using watercolour, her creations are as dreamy as the girl making the magic.
We had a talk to Laura to find out more – including what’s coming up for this local lady.
When and how did you first become interested in art?
I’ve loved art for as long as I can remember – my parents have always had art around the house. The first artist I fell in love with was Gustav Klimt - his use of colours and themes of love and life and death. I always loved craft days at home and spent a lot of time at school painting and drawing. In Year 5 I had a teacher who specialized in art teaching and she really nurtured my interest in art. My love for art has just grown and grown since then.
Why is creating important to you?
It’s a very personal and intimate act and I think it’s so important to have an outlet that is that personal. It’s also very soothing and relaxing, and I think that in some ways every single person creates so it’s a very universal act, which connects us all in some ways.
A lot of your art is focused around plants and women. In what way do those two elements inspire you to create?
So many amazing women surround me and I couldn’t help but be inspired by them. I love the connection that I feel women have with the earth and nature. I’ve always been interested in Ancient Greece and the mythology of Persephone – the goddess of springtime, flowers and vegetation. When Persephone rose from the underground every year, the flowers and vegetation would bloom causing spring to begin.
I love this ancient connection between women and nature and feel that it is something that still stands in the modern world. Both nature and women also inspire me separately and for different reasons. I’m a strong believer in a positive body image and loving your body and I feel that painting bodies helps me to be more comfortable with my own and hopefully provides that for other women who view my art and see bodies similar to theirs. Plants and flowers are so beautiful and versatile that I feel I can’t help but paint them.
What else inspires you?
The people around me inspire me – my beautiful friends and their passions, my parents, other female artists, other women who create and involve women. There is so much that inspires me and makes me want to work hard to convey how beautiful the world is. My art really focuses on the positives of life and I want people to feel joy when they look at it and I think that finding positive things to be inspired by is very important.
‘Girl Space’ is an exhibition that’s coming up soon that you’re involved in – can you tell us about that? What can we expect?
Girl Space is an initiative that I’ve been thinking about for a long time. I want to be able to provide a space where young, Adelaide female artists can come together and celebrate their art in a very inclusive space. This first exhibition marks the start of what I hope will become an ongoing program. I’m hoping to also create an online space where the artists can all come together to discuss art and provide a support network. I’m very excited about the artists I have on-board for our debut exhibition – Shaye Dương, Bella McRae, ChiChi Grasby and Lilly Hay are all amazing artist with a varying style of works which will give a small insight into the huge database of amazing female artists there are in Adelaide. My own work will also feature in this exhibition.
What does having a ‘girl space’ mean to you
Having a ‘girl space’ to me means somewhere with no judgement, total freedom of expression and an all-inclusive approach to art. It’s very hard as young artists to find places to exhibit your art and it can be hard to market yourself to galleries especially doing it all on your own. I think it’s important to have a place where female artists can come together to help each other and bounce off each other.
What’s the ‘pot of gold at the end of the rainbow’ art goal for you?
I haven’t really thought about it to be honest. I ultimately just want to be able to bathe in other people’s art, see the art that has inspired me throughout my life, and continue to exhibit alongside wonderful artists. I just hope that art continues to be part of my life no matter what.
Your Instagram seems to almost be a love letter to summer. What’re you most looking forward to about the upcoming warmer months?
I love sunshine and all the wonderful memories I associate with it. I can’t wait for lazy days in the sun and floating in the ocean. Summer to me is social and spending long hours with friends. I especially love springtime and the return of all the flowers – I love walking around the suburbs and cheekily stealing the flowers from front yards and taking home little bouquets to paint later.
What’s the best thing about being a part of the Radelaide art scene?
I think that it’s a rapidly growing scene but due to its current size it’s so easy to meet other artists. There have also been a lot of smaller gallery spaces popping up which are more open to young and upcoming artists. It’s a very accepting scene and I really hope that Girl Space adds something positive to the scene.