Interview with Deborah FISHER
the ephemera interviews
In this series of interviews artists directly involved in ARIs and artist-run culture 1980- 2000 speak about the social context for their art making and provide insights into the ephemera they produced or collaborated on during this period. Artist ephemera includes artworks, photocopies, photographs, videos, films, audio, mail art, posters, exhibition invites, flyers, buttons and badges, exhibition catalogues, didactics, room sheets, artist publications, analogue to digital resources and artist files.
Deborah Hi and thanks, why does a public archive mapping artist testimonies and artist histories about the ephemeral nature of the vibrant Queensland 1980-1990 artist-run scene matter to you?
I believe it’s important these neglected stories are put on the public record.
I was directly involved with several QLD artist-run projects during this era including, in my role as a designer and partner in a contemporary women’s and men’s wear fashion label 2D Designs.
2D Designs clients were positioned in the centre of alternate culture, expressing themselves through art, fashion, music and performance. Fashion at that time was reflecting not only global trends, but also at a micro-colloquial level quickly and intimately mirrored events as they unfolded in the specific locale of Brisbane inner city.
As a Queensland based designer at the time I was working in various media. At the best of times, fashion is a collaboration of art, photography & music.
However, the Brisbane creative community in the mid to late 80’s, fostered strong and innovative interdisciplinary projects where fashion was presented in ARI’s to the sounds of independent music, choreographed by performance artists and promoted through innovative community collaborations and networks at artist-runs, clubs events and public sites.
From my perspective ARI’s at this time provided many artists like me with opportunities of individual self-expression, unconventional formats and liberal boundaries.
They also provided a social space where alternate views and lifestyles were easily accepted, discussed, and debated. This had deep significance on my practice, allowing experimentation and exploration of the design process and fashion’s role within a social system.
Queensland, specifically Brisbane’s rich commercial/mainstream fashion history has been celebrated over the past few years by various informative exhibitions, online archives and documentaries.
It is disappointing that documentation and ephemera from this era, celebrating this rich collaborative time in Brisbane’s cultural growth has not been collected and published.
I understand that the REMIX project is a useful way to change this, and would offer students of design and visual arts to understand the roots of what has been described as a unique Queensland style.
Oral history is an engaging and accessible way for students to learn.
Today I work as a Lecturer in Fashion Design at University of Canberra, and Lecturer in the Creative Industries faculty at Queensland University of Technology, along with a creative practice engaging in various projects.
In 1988 I moved to NYC, where my relationship with many of those involved in ARI’s continued. For some, I became an international link to the art scene in New York through letter, visits and social engagement. My applied knowledge of inter-disciplinarity through my associations with ARI’s of the time provided a strong foundation for my career in NYC, which was to span fifteen years.