Interview by Elizabeth Fitzgerald.
K.J. Bishop is the award-winning author of The Etched City and story collection That Book Your Mad Ancestor Wrote. She is also an artist, with her recent work Beau (the Boulevardier of Broken Dreams) a finalist in the 2016 Deakin University Contemporary Small Sculpture Award. She has a website and an Etsy shop.
Your passion for the dark and whimsical manifests both through writing and sculpture. Do you find it possible to juggle these interests or is your energy focused on just one at a time?
I’m focusing on art right now, but I do write intermittently. I prefer to keep writing as an after hours activity rather than treat it as a day job. After a day’s sculpting I’ve usually achieved something; the work can go slowly and there can be setbacks, but I’m not forever pulling it apart and starting again — whereas I’m a bit like that with writing. So for now I’m concentrating on the field where I get things done.
What was it that drew you to sculpture as an art form?
Chance, actually. I’ve probably always been better at 3d than 2d work, but I didn’t have a passion for it. I took a sculpture course at a local art studio pretty much on a whim, and the teacher was very good. I started being able to make things that I was pleased with. Then I got excited about it. Sculpture suits my strengths and is kind to my weaknesses. I find something very satisfying about making objects in the round.
Do you have any future projects or exhibitions planned?
I have a long list of projects! I’ll probably do one or both of Supanova in Melbourne next year (April 28-30), and the Castlemaine State Festival (17-26 March).
What Australian work have you loved recently?
Gillian Polack’s The Time of the Ghosts and Craig Cormick’s Uncle Adolf were both great, and my artist side can never get enough of Kathleen Jennings.
Which author (living or dead) would you most like to sit next to on a long plane trip and why?
I like to sleep on long plane trips, so a dead author would be best. Someone who was cremated so I could put their urn on the floor and spread out on the seat.