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Image by Taz Mclachlan @andthentherearestories

Michelle Mclachlan

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Hi, I'm Michelle. 

I am a visual artist based in Melbourne, and I am currently studying the Advanced Diploma of Visual Arts at RMIT.

My work is  raw, visceral and honest. My work often included themes of mental illness and life experiences.

In making work about these topics, I hope to  normalise difficult life experiences and help end the stigma surrounding mental illness and other issues that people face that society still doesn't accept as the norm.

Image by Taz Mclachlan @andthentherearestories

What have you struggled with in isolation?

 

I think the most difficult thing for me has been feeling lonely and missing physical connection. 

Talking to friends, family and professional supports on zoom feels so different to being with them in person.

 

It's kind of like when you look through a camera viewfinder. Everything looks better. For me, anyway. I love viewing the world through a viewfinder. Or a camera obscura, which is something I have been working on for a uni project. 

 

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It's the opposite with connection and using a computer screen or phone to connect and talk with people. I struggle with people, emotions and connection at the best of times, even before covid and isolation. I was just starting to work on some of these things and then it all got pulled away, then got put through a screen. Connection did not feel possible with a screen in front of you and km’s between you. 

 

Seeing friends, family and people I don't know struggle with coping with how the world is now and the uncertainty of when we will go back to ‘normal’, and what is the ‘normal’ going to look like has also been hard.

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'things that are soft' digital animation, 2020

How have you dealt with that struggle?

 

I have had to be more open to how I communicate. I have learnt that my ability to communicate via phone or face-time is a lot better than I thought it was, and that whilst still not being comparable to real human interactions, there has been and is a lot to learn from communicating in this way about both myself and others. I have started learning it is ok to ask for help and not being ok, and that vulnerability is not a bad thing, it is a human thing, and probably the biggest part of connection and feeling connected with people. I have also learnt I am more capable at giving, of knowing how to help other people.

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While I have missed out on a lot through the changes that covid has brought, I have learnt that I am resilient and that there are new things to learn in different ways, which I might not have learnt if covid/iso hadn't happened.  

 

I am currently studying an advanced diploma of visual arts at RMIT, so I've been keeping busy doing artwork and written work. Having classes, even though they are online, creates a sense of a routine and connects me to people. Plus my teacher is awesome and my classmates are pretty cool too, so that helps a lot.

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'disquiet' digital animation, 2020

What have you found in your 5km radius?

I have a dog, Annie, and we go on a walk most days. 

On not so nice days we go around the streets close to home. Spending a lot more time frequenting familiar places has made me notice more, like, there is a cactus growing out of someone's house gutters, and some mannequin heads in someone's window. There is also a population of spoons not far from my house.

We also like to explore ‘new’ places; though for us, exploring new places is going to places we are familiar with but not staying on the designated track. We like finding logs to climb, being quiet at sunset to see the foxes along the creek, or finding a nice place to sit and enjoy the sun. 

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I think one of my favourite walks has been when the weather was the opposite of sunny. There were big puddles everywhere and the ground was  muddy. So I took my shoes off, and walked through every puddle and got muddy because it was fun, and it was quiet, the weather kept the usual walkers at home. Also, puddles. Who needs a reason?!

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'look at them it will tell you everything' photograph, 2020

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'A cure for vulnerability' photograph, 2020

all the dead lie down
all the dead lie down

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noise

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focus

all the dead lie down
all the dead lie down

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see more of my work on my website, instagram or facebook page.

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