Tuesday, October 30, 2012

The poetry in the folding of laundry: have you discovered Lily Mae Martin?

I know I've been off the boil lately in the blogging department, but I've been conscious for a while that it would be utterly remiss of me not to let Divided Heart readers know about the extraordinary Lily Mae Martin.

If you haven't already discovered this impressive woman on your virtual travels, Lily is an Australian artist who has been living in the UK and Berlin over the past few years. But she has recently returned to Melbourne, as she discusses in her piece in the latest issue of Kill Your Darlings, "Kids in Berlin: Motherhood and Friendship".

I never ceased to be amazed by Lily's talent and creative output. Not only is she is mind-blowingly prolific in her main gig as a visual artist (I have no idea when this woman sleeps!) but she also maintains a blog, Berlin Domestic, full of searingly honest outpourings about the rocky creativity/parenting/partnering path.

As she has said: "Life as a parent is not what I expected. In retrospect I'm not sure what I had in mind, but I guess I thought that sometime after having my baby I would return to life and to work – that things would resume as normal only with the addition of a baby. This however was not the case.

"Then one day I thought – why not draw it? Why not write about it? There's a poetry in the folding of laundry, the sweeping of floors. An art in the food splatters and the cooking of countless meals."

Lily diarisies her days, churning out hundreds of sketches depicting scenes in the cafes and domestic spaces of everyday life. If this didn't keep her busy enough, though, she is also building a substantial body of meticulously rendered paintings, drawings and illustrations, the detail of which just blow me away. Hyper-realist in style but with something far darker and dramatic lurking beneath the surface, her works that simultaneously encompass the the beauty and brutality of existence.

Lily is a rare artistic talent. She is also rare in her openness and eloquence about the impact of parenting not only on her day-to-day life and art, but also on her relationship, her sexuality, her identity and her psyche.

I hope she inspires you as much as she does me.