• design

Erica is a legally blind artist, researcher and academic.

The nature of visual perception and how it is affected by vision loss, informs her research and art practice. Her PhD focused on the interaction between art, ophthalmology and the entoptic effects of macular disease. Erica creates multi-sensory, multimodal exhibitions exploring current research in biomedicine to blind and low vision audiences across Australia. She has extensive experience in communicating the needs of those with disability, ageing and dementia, and was awarded as Finalist in the 2019 Australia Museum and Department of Industry, Innovation and Science Eureka Prize for STEM Inclusion.

The project

Erica creates sculptural artworks using food, clay and paper to convey key concepts in biomedicine to low vision and blind audiences. This Creators Fund project extends her practice of making tactile, interactive artworks inspired by structural biology. She will explore ways to incorporate interactive, novel display, sound, 3D and robotic technologies together with living organisms such as yeast and fungi, heightening multi-sensory and multi modal delivery. Erica will collaborate with world leading scientists and technology experts, creating new works informed by low vision accessibility and inspired by current research in molecular science.

What does being awarded a Creators Fund grant mean to you?

Being part of the 2020 Creator’s Fund grant scheme is an enormous privilege. It provides me the time to learn new skills, investigate methods of making, and develop artworks that up to now I have only been able to dream of creating. With this grant, I can reach out to experts in all relevant fields related to my practice, learn from them, develop expertise, and create works that come to life. This is an enormous opportunity to grow as an artist, and I am greatly looking forward to sharing the works that come out of this intensive period of research.

How important is 'time' to you, as an artist/creative professional?

It might not take long to create a work of art, but it could take years to gather the knowledge that goes into making that work. Exploring, researching, thinking, making, playing and remaking are all bound in the investment of time. In this day and age, we are all so time poor, and it can be difficult to allow oneself the space to be fully creative. This grant provides the time and space to do all those things, and in turn, enables me to grow and develop as a creative professional.

What are you most looking forward to over the months ahead?

I am very much looking forward to going on a fantastic journey into the world of structural biology, technology, sound and robotics, bringing all these things to bear in the most amazing interactive sculptures that, at the moment, exist only in my imagination. It will be so incredible to go on this journey with the scientists, technicians and designers that I am so privileged to know and work with. I am eager to bring my microbial inspired creatures to life over the coming months, and to be able to share them with the world.

Where would you like to see yourself at the end of this process?

At the end of this intensive, creative process of research and development, I see myself surrounded by a collection of multisensory, multimodal, interactive, curious little microbially inspired creatures that I have brought to life. I see myself in partnership with my creative, scientific and technological collaborators, having learned from them the most amazing and wondrous ways to incorporate their knowledge into my art practice. This process, enabled by the Creator’s Fund, will propel the creation of future works that cultivate a greater understanding of the wonders of microbiology in ways that are accessible and delightful to everyone.

How do you anticipate your career will develop as a result?

As a visual artist who is legally blind, I want to consolidate my identity as someone who can communicate in ways other than visual. I anticipate that the skills developed during this period will solidify my career as a multi-sensory, multi modal artist, creating works at the junctures of art and science. I anticipate that the successful development of these works will enable me to reach wider audiences across Australia and internationally. It is my hope that a successful career in this field will demonstrate artists who are vision impaired, blind or disabled can have viable artistic careers, that areas of knowledge such as science can be accessible to everyone, that art is a potent method of research and mode of communication, and that art and science can work together for a common good.