I am an Artist

Artist Interview: Hazel Dooney-Part Two

Hazel Dooney has emerged as one of the Asia-Pacific region’s most controversial and outspoken young female artists. According to the Australian Financial Review, she “walks the razor’s edge between respect and celebrity in today’s artworld” (September, 2006). She has exhibited in solo and group shows in major cities all over Australia, as well as in the USA, Japan, and England. Nevertheless, in 2005, Dooney walked away from the traditional gallery system and now relies on ambitious, self-produced events and the web to reach collectors around the world.

Where do you see Art and Internet going in the next five years?

I’m not sure anyone can answer that, especially looking five years forward – not even tech’ companies. Certainly, I see the web as being the main medium for the distribution of awareness of younger artists. I see it evolving as the primary ‘system’ to connect the collector to both the work and the artist, obviating the need for commercial galleries, which, let’s face it, haven’t changed the way they do business for nearly 150 years.

Why do some galleries come across as unwelcoming and/or elitist?
Because they are. Too many now see their role as somehow superior to that of the artists they represent. More for reasons of social status than anything else, they like to think of art as something that should not be too ubiquitous or egalitarian in terms of access to it.

Certainly, they have no understanding of new systems of value that have gathered momentum because of the web: for example, the idea that ubiquity not scarcity is likely to drive value higher or that the repository of real value is no longer the artwork, the product, but the artist, the producer. This reflects what has changed even in mainstream business: it isn’t the individual product that’s important but the brand.

What do you think the new paradigm of the art gallery world looks like? In other words, how do you think it the gallery world should operate?
It deserves to die. It’s an anachronism that’s outlived it’s usefulness. I think there is still a role for individual curators or even ‘show producers’ but they need to work in a more individualised, specialist way within a networked ‘virtual’ paradigm – not old-fashioned bricks and mortar.

How do you feel about your art as commodity?

Like it or not, art is a commodity. We ceded (too easily, I think) its value and power as a medium of social, political, religious or sexual expression and now its a kind of couture product. Which is not to say that the artist should stop thinking and striving within a broader, deeper context but we can’t have any illusions about who collects the work and why.

What advise would you give to an emerging artist wanting to get in the art gallery scene?

I’d advise them not to. There are now too many other, much better alternatives for the imaginative and energetic individualist to pursue.

What does art mean to you?
It’s my life. It is everything to me.

Why do you think people (the masses) are afraid to talk about art or share their opinion?
It’s not just about art. We have grown complacent about almost everything and we no longer feel compelled to speak out in the way that earlier generations have. We have become more conformist, more afraid of expressing difference – we toe the party lines, whether we agree with them or not – and we have become way too afraid of the ‘system’, of being excluded from the consumer experience that has replaced real culture in the developed world. We play it safe and in so doing, are in the process of losing our souls.

What are some future goals or plans for your art and career?
Aaarrrgh. I hate questions like that. To be very simplistic in my response: I’m going to continue pursuing the independence I’ve carved out for myself. The web is an important part of that. I suspect that over the next couple of years, I’ll do less painting and experiment with other media. In the meantime, I have more shows, a book – a shitload to do.

Please check out Hazel Dooney’s provocative work link below

Thanks again Hazel we look forward to staying connected.


  • Lauren Odell Usher

    If everything becomes virtual (the art galleries die and disappear) than only those who can pay for it get to see art live, right? I think that’s worse a situation than we’ve got today…

  • Lisa Rasmussen

    I agree. Art should not be privatized. like much of our world like heath care, a large portion of the war machine, etc..
    It brings up the non hierarchial philosophical ideas, Art and imagery should be shared
    discussed on a even field. That is the true power of the internet.
    Your response also reminds of the novel Nineteen Eight four, by George Orwell bleak if the world become virtual.