I caught up with fun and talented mixed media artist Luna Cameron-Parrish, who is the creator behind Amethyst Moon Art who showed off some of her new pieces, and told us about the places she finds inspiration.
Elle-May Michael: Let’s jump in! Let me start by asking you to introduce yourself, let us know what you do and what you create.
Luna: My name is Luna Cameron-Parrish, and my brand name is Amethyst Moon Art. I have been making lots of different types of art for a long time and my focus these days is mixed media, which incorporates mosaic work, some assemblage, sculpture, and polymer clay work functional art objects, I’m quite fond of doing quite a lot of different things that kind of come together in sometimes strange ways, but they’re always really fun.
Elle-May Michael: Absolutely! Your stuff is fun is definitely a good descriptor for your work. People always love your art journals, because they’re heavy! They’re a little monster of a thing.
Luna: There’s a lot that goes into those! I’ve tried to make them sort of more user friendly and less heavy, but the temptation is to kind of put so much sort of in there. I’ve been finessing them over a number of years to try and put more sort of functionality than they perhaps have. But they’re really meant to be coffee table books rather than everyday sort of thing.
Elle-May Michael: They’re meant to be a special thing, not something that you’re sitting in bed and enjoying.
Luna: That’s right. Yeah.
Elle-May Michael: And I understand you teach too?
Luna: At the moment I’m teaching classes in mosaics. I also have in the past taught classes in working with polymer clay. There’s a lot of different types of ways to work with that (polymer clay) and I just teach the way that I work with it, which is impression making, making patterns on polymer clay. I love teaching and I love the interaction with with students. But the mosaic classes are going well at the moment and bearing lockdowns, which aren’t very helpful, but classes are happening.
Elle-May Michael: Although hopefully people are like smashing lots of things, getting their frustration out. Putting those things they’ve learned into practice, because they feel like smashing up, it’s probably a really good way of releasing some tension.
Luna: Yeah, I hadn’t thought of it that way, but yeah, you’re probably right!
Elle-May Michael: I think we could all do with a bit of that at the moment! So your work seems to be quite what’s the word? like I noticed some of your work has gone places where it’s quite playful. And you’ve got a lot of almost like fairy magical stuff.
So what influences you? Where does that magic come from?
Luna: Things I read, I love stories, myths and old tales, old legends. What fantastical beasts or mythical creatures, all of that sort of thing, I just love it. Music is often more of a sort of an emotional kind of adventure. So often lyrics or words I’ve read, and the ideas that they conjure up, are really I find those really inspirational. I love nature, I love looking at other artists work, some beautiful stuff that comes through in poetry, just the way that people can write about things that that helps you to conjure up a particular image or a picture or an emotion, an adventure. It’s like an exploration of your own interpretation, I guess, of those of those words, those meanings. There’s a narrative coming through, but it’s not always an obvious narrative I suppose.
Elle-May Michael: And are you that person to just kind of collect weird and wonderful things and hold on to them for years?
Luna: I’m a total magpie! And I’m also a recycling freak. And I just cannot stand the thought of throwing things away or cast aside and never seen again. Even the weirdest little things that you would think are just pieces of rubbish. It’s amazing how you can remake objects and give them a different life. I always think of this idea of giving an old discarded and loved piece a new life that tells a different story or a new voice. It’s quite a cathartic thing to do. So I did that with old furniture for a while. Any anything any sort of found object can make its way into a piece and have a new life.
Elle-May Michael: and do you do find that all of your friends and family try to give you all their rubbish?
Elle-May Michael: So you’re just picking through boxes and saying “you can take this away, but I’ll keep these bits”?
Luna: Pretty much! Sometimes It’s not always helpful when people do that, because I’ve ended up collecting a whole lot of stuff that just sat there for years and years and years and didn’t get used. But, yeah, there are some things I’ve held on to for a long time thinking I know, I will actually do something with that one day.
Elle-May Michael: You just need lots of space to store it I imagine,
Luna: well, I have that now, which is fantastic!
Elle-May Michael: So what are you working on at the moment?
Luna: Well, I always have several pieces on the go. So getting into a new big space has been an opportunity for me to go back to some big projects that were shelved for a while, and they will be eventually in an exhibition somewhere. And I’m also working on a smaller range of polymer clay works that similar to the Goddess series works that I did last year. But there will be a bit smaller so that they sort of can be more easily sold, I think online or through in.cube8r and places like that. So they’re hopefully affordable for people. But it’s also a lot of fun. I like working with polymer clay.
Elle-May Michael: We’ve had so many discussions about how because you sell in the shop, you when you’re doing like markets or selling in something like a cube or even for online, you need to have like a few different collections, right? You’ve got your, your big things like your furniture pieces that you make, and you’ve got your middle things which are maybe a bit heavy and weird to ship for like your wishing chair, for example (I’m so glad that that was a pickup order). Then you’ve been kind of trying to work out a way to do a small wearable range for a while.
Luna: for a long time, I resisted the idea of doing jewelry, even though I had done jewelry in the past. But I think this is kind of a combination of the stuff that I love doing. I’m not sure what that’s going to become yet but I can kind of build on this idea of jewelry that’s perhaps more like costume jewelry, rather than that’s the small and delicate sort of stuff that a lot of jewelers do. Mine’s a bit going to be a bit more chunky and funky. I think it’s a great opportunity to sort of just play and explore and try out some new things. And not everything will work and make it to the shop front. I’m pretty happy with with the things that I’m doing at the moment.
Elle-May Michael: I was wondering, because a lot of the people reading this are makers themselves, and some of them maybe haven’t started selling their work or putting it out there to the public. Do you have any tips for artists that are kind of thinking about developing their art practice, maybe taking it from a hobby to something a bit more? What would have helped you as a younger artist?
Luna: I think what one thing that I have learned more of as I’ve gone along is that I really enjoy collaborating with other artists. If you’re not afraid to sort of reach out and ask for help or ask for assistance with other people from other people I think that it will be a bit of a catalyst for you. Because a lot of artists are just used to working at home in their studio, you work by yourself and working on your own ideas. That’s great and you can get a lot done. But there’s just something about when you do actually connect with other artists and you talk you talk about ideas, you talk about potential group projects and things that you could potentially do together. It expands you, and you can learn new skills, you can learn lots of tips, and certainly create different stuff that you might not be creating in your own studio work. I found that over the years I’ve got more and more collaborative and I really enjoy that aspect as well as doing my own work in the studio.
Elle-May Michael: Yeah, and you’ve met a few people that you collaborate with through in.cube8r, right?
Luna: I have, I’ve been so grateful for that, because it’s just been the most fantastic network. And you like you meet lots of artists and and some of them I’ve just really been able to connect with, and we’ve gone on to kind of do other things together it’s been great.
Elle-May Michael: it really makes my heart sing whenever I see makers that I know who have met through an exhibition or through being cubers, or just even through our online community pop up on Instagram together. And I’m like, “Oh, this is what I always wanted!”. What is something that you struggle with when it comes to kind of marketing your brand, but staying consistent to who you are, because I know for a lot of artists, the last thing they want to do is marketing. They find themselves having to almost change their art to suit social media or whatever platform they happen to be using.
Elle-May Michael: So what what do you struggle with?
Luna: All of it! Marketing is my least favorite thing to do. Part of the problem is that I’ve been making art and trying to market my art for many years and it changes all the time. The world is changing rapidly and we you have to get to grips with new ways of doing things constantly. It’s always about finding the right balance between what and what works for you, and how comfortable you feel doing it. And you do adapt your art a little bit to try connect with a market or to make some sales. Some of that’s just natural exploration, I think, as an artist too, because sometimes move beyond your comfort zone. I guess it’s just about trying to balance those things out
Elle-May Michael: With art specially as compared to craft where you like maybe making jewelry or something like that with visual art, your style, and the types of things you make does fluctuate so much. So it makes the idea of having like a target audience or a marketing plan really difficult, because you really don’t know what you’re going to be doing in a year. So how do you project that?
Luna: Very true. I don’t want to pigeonhole myself into a particular style or a particular type of art. Because that for me, that’s not what being creative is all about, I really want to keep growing as an artist. And that might mean that in two years time, I’m making something completely different to what I’m making now.
Elle-May Michael: I guess if you’re taking the approach that your social media is a place to share your passion, and your interests, and kind of the behind the scenes and what you love about what you do, then the marketing becomes a little bit easier, right? Because you’re not kind of feeling like you’re selling your soul. You’re just having conversations with people that appreciate what you do and are like minded. And it’s meant to be a community type of thing. It’s meant to be a space to kind of gather people that are like you. So I think if I was to give one tip to artists, it would be to just be yourself. But I understand how hard that is.
Luna: I agree fully I do more, the more you go through the process, and I can’t emphasize that enough that you need to stay true to, to yourself as an artist, because what you do is unique. And I think lots of people come through and they copy other artists or they, they go to classes and workshops, and they end up making art that looks like their teachers work, which is great for learning, but but at the end of the day, what what you do is unique and no one else can do it the way that you do it. So you need to stay true to that. Eventually, people take notice.
Elle-May Michael: Yeah, and people like me who love the idea of doing art and I often go “Oh, I might do some art” and I’m just like I’m one of those people that’s terrified the blank page, right? Like I’m just like, I don’t know what colors to use. Do I draw a circle? Like even with weaving or something I find it really difficult to put those things together. So I love following artists that can talk about the process and and how they do things and I often they don’t know how they do things but you pick up on little little things. So, yeah, like, I would absolutely be that person that’s walking out with an exact replica of what I learned. And I probably would never go any further. So I give my hat the I tip my hat to those of you that can do it. It’s it’s a skill. It’s really awesome. My last question is, how do you sell your art? Where do you sell your art? How can people support you? Where can people find you all of those questions?
Luna: Okay, so obviously, I’m part of in.cube8r. So at the moment, my work is online. But I may, with my new line, be back in the queue begin in the near future. I have my own website, obviously, at amethystmoon.com.au I’m also on Instagram, at @lunacameronparrish, and I have a Facebook page which is connected to that as well. So those two are linked. And I’m also part of two different collaborative groups, both groups of female artists Creativity Cluster and the Lucy Goosey Womans Art Collective.
Elle-May Michael: I love that name!
Luna: Great, isn’t it? So both of those groups have their own Instagram handles. And I think creativity cluster has a website as well, which is separate and features all of the artists on there with their own pages.
Elle-May Michael: Awesome. Well, thank you so much Luna, this was really fun. I’ll put all of the links in the description to all of those things. I encourage you to keep up with what lunar is doing because it’s very inspirational and it’s fun. And every time I see a new piece it kind of, you know, puts a little bit of joy into my day. So if that’s something you’re looking for…
Luna: I’m glad it brings you joy.
Elle-May Michael: It does colorful, so good. Awesome. Well, you enjoy the rest of your day. And thank you everyone for joining us.
Luna: Okay. Bye
Elle-May Michael: Bye!
Luna Cameron-Parrish can be found at
Facebook as @lunacameronparrish
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*Words of interview are edited for brevity and to make more sense in a written format without changing intentions of words*