Artist Profile: Laura Brown, The Maximilian

There's something about art that frightens people, I think. When I take my 'non-artsy' friends along to an exhibition or a contemporary performance I usually sense some kind of apprehension within them, a discouragement that tells them one thing - they do not belong because they do not understand. 

While I am a firm believer in art being accessible to all, there is definitely something to be said for a good deconstruction and analysis. Nothing makes me appreciate a work more then understanding what so inspires an artist to create, or how a work can reflect decades of historical movements and cultural-political changes through history.

Laura Brown is an artist, curator and producer of Brisbane's The Maximilian, an online publication focusing on the dissection of art, theory, philosophy and culture. The Maximilian invites analytical and exploratory discussion of art; an open dialogue, if you will, between the arts educated and the arts body itself. We got talking to Laura about The Maximilian, what she does as an artist/curator/producer and some of her favourite online hotspots:

1. One sentence to describe yourself

A writer and a reader, at other times an editor and curator, but usually each of the above combined into one concentrated output.

2. How would you describe what you do?

Forever trying, never quite succeeding, to pick the perfect words to describe a thing (such as: describing what I do).

3. How’d you get into your particular practice?

A simultaneous lazy meandering, frantic searching, and deliberate choosing through which I arrived at what I care about and am interested in most sincerely.

4. Tell us a bit about The Maximilian - How did it come about? What does the group aim to achieve? etc…

There was a gap within writing and critical discussion in our current context, and there was the opportunity for this gap to be filled, with just the attitude and quality we wanted, using the internet as a fertile and viable resource, and so we did it.

5. What can we usually find you doing on an average day?

A lot of reading, thinking, and typing. Intercepted usually by an afternoon nap and/or an evening drive. On a good day a decent burrito is likely to be involved, and a fair amount of internet trawling.

6. What are your favourite websites/blogs to trawl?

Triple Canopy are excellent, and were indeed one of the platforms we looked toward in our own research for The Maximilian. The same is true for Afterall, who are also a great journal that have an excellent online component. Mousse Magazine also has a great blog. Discussion Lab are an exciting online platform based in the Philippines, and Eyecontact is a good review site from New Zealand always being updated with writing on exhibitions internationally. And of course there's always tumblr trawling...

7. What would you say are the top 3 most exciting +/ rewarding things about what you do?

Being able to genuinely engage with the work I care about. Ceaselessly learning new things from this exchange. The hopes of producing something meaningful through this.

8. What are the hardest things about what you do?

Choosing the right words, form, and rhythm, and knowing I’ll know a lot more by the time I’ve finished and want to go back to change it all.

9. If you could change one thing about the arts scene in Brisbane what would it be and why?

It would be an increase in direct and fruitful engagement by way of lectures, roundtables, reading groups, and so forth. It would also look like the larger institutions making more of their potential for the likes of studio residencies, guest curators, and writing programs (particularly for younger practitioners).

10. Who inspires you right now?

The endless number of people, from past to future, far more intelligent and perceptive than I could hope. A special mention to George Orwell and the ones that I love.

11. Where do you see yourself and The Maximilian in 5 years?

I can’t even think of a flippant joke with which to shrug this question off, it makes my brain ache. At the very least I’d know a whole lot more than I do now.

12. What are your favourite places/venues in Brisbane?

Anywhere with a decent thick milkshake and/or good conversation.

13. If someone gave you $1 mill what would you do with it?

Be boring and invest the majority in order to live comfortably off the return each year.

14. What is your biggest fear?

The spiders that creep in when it rains

15. Website? Blog? Tumblr?

Max can be read in its fullest at here. Personally, my tumblr and my website.

Want to submit your essays to Max? Their call for applications closes Monday, 18th March! More info here.