Drawn to the City: Simone Tippett, the multitasker

As an artist, teacher and curator, who also works as a legal secretary, Simone Tippett can’t be summed up by a simple job title.

Drawn to different parts of the city for a range of projects and employment, Tippett splits her week between working as a legal secretary at Carpenter & Associates and teaching, curating and making at Union St Printmakers.

“I like existing simultaneously in different worlds,” Tippett says. “I love the variety. It keeps me grounded. In short, both influence each other and constantly intersect.

“The corporate and administrative skills that make me a good secretary are really useful in running an art practice, especially in terms of being well organised, efficient and professional. Plus an income from a steady job allows me the freedom to pursue a variety of artistic opportunities.”

Tippett commutes to the CBD via her trusty blue bicycle. “It feels so free and adventurous to negotiate the traffic out in the open air.”

The handmade element of printmaking is what attracted Tippett to this artform, which she studied at Adelaide Central School of Art and Adelaide College of the Arts.

“You can see the hand of the artist and residue of physical processes in prints – the surface of the print is textured and has a presence that digitised surfaces often lack,” she says.

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Printmaking encourages collaboration and Tippett warmly welcomes newcomers to the practice. “By necessity, we share workspaces in order to have access to the equipment. This means we have to get along in a group and I think this contributes to the sense of community, belonging and generosity that can surround printmaking activities.”

Printmaking and teaching are inextricably linked for Tippett. After being invited to hold a series of workshops, Tippett found she was hooked. “I love the expression on someone’s face when they pull their first print from the press and suddenly discover they can make an artwork.”

Tippett has taught workshops at the Art Gallery of South Australia and the South Australian Museum. She recently organised a new project called the International Print Folios, where Tippett invites South Australian artists to submit prints to handcrafted folios that are then shared internationally. Last year, Tippett travelled to print studios in the US, swapping and gifting editions of the folios to institutions and fellow print communities throughout California.

The driving force behind Tippett’s multitasking and artwork is her desire to share knowledge.

“Historically, prints have been used to spread ideas, often in the cause of protest and dissent. Printmakers make themselves informed about the state of the world, have opinions and aren’t afraid to express them.”

Tippett’s work will be on display at Praxis Artspace in Bowden from Friday, May 11 to Friday, June 8 in the exhibition Under the Skin.

Leo Greenfield is a freelance illustrator

leogreenfield.com

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