Caity Webster is an emerging visual artist based in Meanjin. Her practice focuses on traditional methods such as graphite pencil through drawings and occasionally works with digital mediums. Her work explores the intricacies of the human experience, such as identity, mental health, and philosophy. She chooses to convey these themes through portraits, as her greatest interest is visualising concepts through the human expression.
“This piece is a self-portrait of myself as a child. I am depicted looking upset, wearing animal face paint. The artwork evokes nostalgia for early 2000s children’s birthday parties. As I got older, I realised the party was indeed over and I continued to enter and exit different stages throughout my life. Nostalgia acts as a doorway, allowing the individual to transport themselves to a different time. I often drew in Microsoft Paint as a child, and the rainbow drawing featured in the background is an actual drawing I did as a child that my parents had kept on a hard drive. The Microsoft Paint screen frames and eternalises this nostalgia.”
That’s very cool that you were able to dig up your childhood Microsoft paint drawings! Was that a recent find or did you always know you had them stored somewhere?
I knew my parents had kept them on our old family computer, but I had completely forgotten about them until recently when I was given a hard drive with a copy of all the files. I just thought wow, wouldn’t that be cool if I could incorporate some of my artwork from childhood into my current work?
All of the nostalgic elements in your piece remind me of the “She lives inside me” trend I’ve seen on TikTok. You’ve said that “Nostalgia acts as a doorway, allowing the individual to transport themselves to a different time.” Would you be able to elaborate some more on this?
There are just some things from your childhood that you completely forget about as you get older and every now and then you’ll see an object, or hear a song, or look at a photo, and it just instantly brings you back to that specific time in your life. It’s such a unique feeling and incredible that seemingly ‘ordinary’ things can evoke such emotion.
What draws you to portraiture/have you done any other self-portraits/what do you think self-portraiture allows an artist to convey?
There’s just something about people that I really find satisfying to draw. Faces are so individual, and you can portray so much with expression. Earlier this year I created two self-portraits based on the ideas from Van Gogh’s pieces The Bedroom and At Eternity’s Gate. It was an interesting experience because I haven’t done many self-portraits but whenever I have done them, I feel like I haven’t captured myself quite right, so when I view them, it has more of an ‘uncanny valley’ effect.
How do you balance art with your studies? Is there any overlap between art and psychology?
I often find that I’ll be inactive during the months when uni is full on and very active after assessment periods. There’s definitely an overlap and I find that because I’m interested in both areas, psychology influences themes in my art. Psychology shares a lot of background with philosophy, and specifically with the human condition which I know influences so many other artists as well.
What goals or aspirations do you have for your artistic career in the coming years, and how do you envision your work evolving?
I’ve developed my current style over the past two years, and I have been focusing on that aspect of my creative process. Currently, I’ve been ensuring that there is consistency in my work and that I am continuing to develop my style to the best capacity.