Season Four – Shan Turner-Carroll

Image credit: Gary Trinh

Shan Turner-Carroll

Season 4 – Episode 7


The Lock-up Newcastle
LungA School
Catherine McGuiness

Instagram handle @shan_turner_carroll


00:00:00 Kiera Brew Kurec
Hi, I’m Kiera Brew Kurec

00:00:01 Nick Breedon
and I’m Nick Breedon.

00:00:02 Kiera Brew Kurec
Welcome to Pro Prac,

00:00:04 Nick Breedon
where we explore the professional practice of artists

00:00:06 Kiera Brew Kurec
and hear their stories.

00:00:08 Nick Breedon
Shan Turner – Carroll is an Australian artist of Burmese descent. His practice is concerned with unearthing tacit knowledge and integrates mediums, including photography, sculpture, performance, and film. Shan ‘s practice interrogates both human and non human nature, alternative forms of social exchange and interactions between art. artist and viewer, sending and receiving signals. His work sings to snakes, serenades and signals with aliens, and barters with islands, rivers and oceans. Shan ‘s practice looks towards the multiplicity of connections between body and landscape, using site specificity as an embodied methodology of making.

00:00:53 Shan’ s art making is ritualistic and transformative, using play, humour and experimentation as key elements within his current practice. Recent achievements include the acquisition of five works from his series, The Edge of the Garden by Art Gallery of New South Wales, and the exhibition From Impulse to Action at Bundanon. Shan was selected as a finalist in the 67th Blake Prize at Casula powerhouse in 2022.

00:01:21 Kiera Brew Kurec
Shan, thank you so much for joining us on the show today. We’re really happy to have you on season four. And if you could begin by telling us how you got to where you are today and the story of your artistic practice.

00:01:37 Shan Turner-Carroll
Hi, my pleasure. And thank you for having me. That’s a big question. I think it would have been like coming out of high school. I, I didn’t know what I wanted to do and I was pretty lost. I was going to go to like a fashion design school and then I sort of went for the interview and I realised it wasn’t right for me.

00:01:57 And then I was thinking about like, uh, maybe drama school and, and that maybe wasn’t. I mean, yeah, and then I, and then I ended up, trying out for this, for TAFE in Newcastle and, I, and I just sort of fell in love with the program and, and then I said, I did like a advanced diploma with them and it was like the, just like the first time that I felt like, so like, Comfortable and welcomed and, yeah, it was just, I was just having the best time of my life, I think, and, so yeah, so I did, I did, three years of, three years there, which was amazing. And then I, I had a lot of friends sort of go on to university and I decided to just sort of not And, I was gonna just sort of try and develop more of a studio practice at home and, do my thing. And, but then I, I don’t know, I think the, uh, the lack of sort of structure maybe for me at that point, wasn’t so helpful and there was some more also like other sort of personal stuff happening. And then I, I got a little bit like uh, mentally unwell. And, and so I just, I sort of was spiralling quite a bit and, it took me kind of a year, I think it would have been, to, or a year and a half maybe to sort of get, get back into some kind of a healthy rhythm. And, I, and then I was like, I think I needed to, I think I wanted to study.

00:03:32 So then I went to, then I just like, I think, cause you could do like a crossover from like, you did like three years of advanced diploma, which like meant that was basically like two years of a degree. So I, I just, so I went, I went to Newcastle uni then to do like the last, my last, degree, the last year of a degree. And then I did honours, with them as well. And, and I think, I think I just still just wanted to keep going. And so then I. I was sort of trying to figure out whether I should, do my master’s and then I asked a friend whether I should study in, Newcastle or Sydney. And he was like, I think you should study in New York.

00:04:15 And I’m like, okay, yeah, sure thing. That’s, that’s, that’s quite, that’s likely for me. Anyway, we met up again and then he sort of introduced me to, Uh, the program director of a, of a school actually over in New York. And then, so I was sort of slowly following this path a bit. Who, that was, Simone Douglas at the time that was, who was the program director and she’s Australian. And, she kindly like met with me like four times, I think, just trying to chat out, like, what are the prospects of this actually happening? And, anyway, so then I, simultaneously, I was also putting my application, I was, you know, doing my proposal for, the masters at Newcastle. And then I think I’d, I’d, I’d gotten an APA scholarship with them, which meant that I didn’t have to pay a fee, but then, and then also like I got paid to actually do the masters and then, and then I, I was also applying for, the school over in New York, which is Parsons.

00:05:13 And then, so I, I got into the school, with a scholarship, but it’s still wasn’t enough for me. It would have like I would, it would have been like over 200 grand or something to do this. And like, I, I, I just, yeah, my family couldn’t afford it. And then, but then there was the option, especially with, yeah and then, but then there was the option about, maybe there could be an exchange, but that, that you did. My university or Newcastle University and Parsons hadn’t had that exchange. So they sort of spent like a year trying to organise this exchange. And, and then it finally happened. Then I got to go over, for like the second year of my master’s, which was just, just a God send, like, it was so amazing. So special. Like, it kind of, you know, as you can imagine this, like, you know, this person living quite regionally and never had sort of moved out of home before. Finally, Oh, I’m making this huge move to go over there and have this sort of opportunity. And it was just incredible. Like it was, it just blew my mind. As you can imagine.

00:06:20 And, I think it was exactly what I needed also. It was, I think there was a certain amount of criticality and, I think the, the types of, people you meet, the types of conversations, like it’s, yeah, it was just. That was just like one of the most craziest, one of the, one of the, one of the best years. It was just like amazing. And, I remember like, I think it was like just before I was starting and I was like, a few of them had met, there was a dear, a dear friend now, actually, but, Fernando de Campo, who I think maybe you both know, but he, he was also studying there full time and then he’s like, come on, we’re going to have a drink, come and, come out with us.

00:07:02 And so I, I remember walking down the street, just like about to meet these new friends and about to like, start this next little chapter. And I was just like, Oh my gosh, it felt so incredible. I think, especially after like, um having sort of some like, like quite debilitating mental health growing up and thinking, okay, this, this sort of a thing would never happen for me. And, and then being there, I was just like, it was just like unbelievable. And yeah, just getting to meet some incredible friends who I, I just like, I, I, I, that’s where I met, Ryota Sato, who is, a dear friend and I just did an exhibition with him at the Lockup in Newcastle. . And then also my, the friend that I, another artist that I met there, Julie Lancomb, she was the one that sort of first introduced me to the LugA School here in Iceland.

00:07:53 Um. Also Fernando De Campo, who I’ve worked with, and who’s a dear friend and, yeah, there’s like, it’s sort of, the, the, the connections and friendships are kind of, so strong and continuous and I think that’s… Yeah, that, that’s, that’s been a blessing over these years and and then I, I think, after coming back home, I kind of felt like a lot of my friends had been overseas. I didn’t know any people from Sydney or, I did have my art friends in Newcastle, but it was a little bit, yeah, I still felt a little bit like outside of some things. So then I I did the, I applied for the fellowship in 2017, I think it was, with ArtSpace and, because I just wanted to make some friends.

00:08:37 Kiera Brew Kurec
Did you put that in the application?

00:08:40 Shan Turner-Carroll
Yeah, I probably did.

00:08:42 Nick Breedon
I’m going to try that.

00:08:44 Shan Turner-Carroll
Yeah, yeah. I just like wanted to make some friends. And then, that was really nice to, to actually. to be sort of, a part of that, that sort of season or whatever you call it, that, that, that exhibition. And I did make friends. I made friends with, yeah, so many people, including Emily Parsons Lord, who I’m sort of working or who I’m working on a project with at the moment. And, um, Yeah, like so many gorgeous honeys in that show. And, yeah, and then what else happened? I think, and then I think I was just sort of plotting along for some time.

00:09:23 And then I was like, I think I’m ready to have a little time in Sydney. And so then I did a little, I did like a three month residency in Parramatta artist studios. And then, and then I was fortunate enough to to, to receive one of them, the houses or the apartments for the city of Sydney, create live work spaces. So I was there for almost 18 months during one of the lockdowns during of COVID. But, I met some even more gorgeous honeys, including both of you. And, I remember. little, dinner at, in one of the apartments and, yeah, that, that was, that just really opened things up for me. I think like having access to, you know, broader communities and friendships and, I think you kind of, yeah, you just, that little bit of, Access was just meant the world and, it allowed me to kind of like meet up with, people that would connect me with other people and then they connect me with other people and, so in that, that, in that time, it was sort of, I mean, which this was, I mean, I mean, I only came back at the beginning of this year, really, but it was, it was kind of nonstop at one point, which was amazing but it was also just like, It was also, it was also a little bit too much, I think, and I think from going, it’s such a, that’s just such an ongoing conversation about how to have a sustainable practice, but also just how to have a sustainable life. And it’s, it’s almost, it’s so tough to have that balance because you, you’re, You feel like you can’t say no to things because it’s like the opportunities are few and far between. And then you do say yes. And then you just completely burn out. And it seems like, I don’t think I’ve felt, I don’t know if I’ve found a happy medium yet, but yeah,

00:11:10 Kiera Brew Kurec
well, yeah, it takes time and at different seasons of your life, it looks different as well as how much you can kind of commit to things or not, and what the projects are as well, and how much

00:11:24 Shan Turner-Carroll
completely, completely. And I think when you’re sort of in like early career, you sort of like, you feel like you can’t necessarily say no to things.

00:11:33 Kiera Brew Kurec

00:11:35 Shan Turner-Carroll
And so it’s, you know, it’s, I think at one point I had, I was like installing three shows in one week, like, like, it was just, it was just a lot, you know, and you often, often you don’t know, like, you’ll, you’ll have one show in advance and then you’ll be like, within like, You know, six weeks, you’re like, you know, there’s another show coming, coming up and you’re just like, okay, like you just sort of go with it. But I think the, I mean, the main, reason I could do any of, do any of it is like really my family, like my, my parents, sort of really, uh, Big supports for me, like our dad will come and like help me install and, drive like, you know, pack big trucks and, and then we, you know, drive down together and, you know, mum will be there and it’s sort of, it’s really like, it really is. And like, all my friends sort of know it, you know, like, it’s just there. I think they they, they all like really care for my parents, but it’s, it really is because of, of them that I can sort of do any of this really, like the fact that I can live with them when I need to. The fact that like, if an opportunity has come up and I’m short of cash, they can be like, yep, you can borrow this sort of thing. You can, you can borrow this to sort of get to that moment, which has really, and then, you know, also just like the emotional capacity. I remember I was going to go through. There was like a job coming up, which was like, like area director for some like, uh, for arts program within disability support. And I thought, oh, I could do that. Like, I feel like, you know, maybe it’s time that I kind of just like, you know, settle a little bit and, And, try and, you know, try something else a little bit and, and the pay would have been like more than I had ever, you know, even dreamt of. And then my dad, and I told my dad, he just looked at me, he’s like, Shan you’re going to be miserable. He’s like, just go to Sydney. And, um…

00:13:30 Kiera Brew Kurec
So good.

00:13:30 Shan Turner-Carroll
It was just, yeah, it was like, so that kind of, you know, support is just like, uh, like, you know, it’s just so,

00:13:40 Kiera Brew Kurec
it’s really special.

00:13:41 Shan Turner-Carroll
I’m just so thankful for it. Yeah. It’s so special. And, I think having that support, like it. I am very privileged in, like, having that, emotional and physical support, you know? That, that can actually happen, and so, like, I think it’s definitely not, and, you know, also, like, my family and my friends, like, they will, they will help in… So many ways like I was over in Iceland and my sister and my nephew were packing down an exhibition for me with my dad as well and like You know even just like just so on on so many levels, you know, so yeah I just also the reason that I am where I am is because of them.

00:14:21 And so that’s That’s also a big part of it I think and and and I think that’s sort of knowing that like other people don’t have that support and um And many dear friends who have like, not even that support, but like no support, and they still, you know, they still get through and they work their fucking asses off, so I, I really, I really admire, I really admire that. For all of our community, you know, like in whatever capacity they’re at.

00:14:49 Kiera Brew Kurec
I would love to kind of circle back to two things when I would really love to just hear a little bit more about like the process of applying for universities overseas. Cause I think that’s something, you know, I’ve come up against those challenges too. But before that, I would really love to hear, like when you were thinking about what to go into university. It, it seems like all of the paths you were inquiring about were ones that were all really creative and in some element kind of feed into your practice, now, and, I was just wondering what was that? Like spark or inquiry or, thing that was inside of you as a young person that was like, I’m interested in this, or I’m driven to kind of explore, a creative lifestyle.

00:15:39 Shan Turner-Carroll
I didn’t think it was ever a conscious decision. Like it just, it just came, it was almost like the only thing that I could do. And they just kind of, it just kind of came incredibly, I don’t know. I just, it was just, I would just do things and that’s what the things that I would do. So it wasn’t like, oh, I’m, it wasn’t like, I’m good at this, so I should do this. It wasn’t like a job seeking choice or anything. Like it just, they were just all the things that would naturally come.

00:16:06 And I’ve, like, I, I grew up in like, uh, I grew up in Wonnarua country, which is in, which is in love dale, or in, sorry, the hunter, hunter region and, Mm-Hmm. I grew up in a, in a little area called Lovedale. And, and we, we were lucky enough to have grew up in a bit of land and, so it was a lot of it was play, like my whole life was just real. was a real sense of play, and we were building it. We spent like seven years building this mud brick house, and so my, like every, so I think that was probably my first introduction to sort of like creatively, creative thinking, and like, sort of like material play, and, and Working on something long term, working with family, um, something that was extremely site specific, like we’re literally making the mud from the bricks from the land and, and then we were, we lived in a shed, for those seven years and we all slept in one big room and there was a wood fire stove to heat the water and we’re just. Have little baths and eskies and everything was super makeshift and so I think like there was there was never never like I don’t know like the sense of a right way in a wrong way to do something it was just like which way works and I think that sort of carried carried on for me. In my creative thinking and processing and I mean I was never, I’ve gone through academia but I would never I wouldn’t call myself an academic and, I like, I didn’t really properly learn to read that well until I was like 13, school was really kind of tough for me in like, in the scholastic sense of it, like the social aspects were. You know, we’re great and, but yeah. And so I think I just naturally, like, I just understood because I, because I felt, I felt like maybe I, I struggled with like, particular languages in the sense of like a written language or, I felt like I maybe sort of, there were other languages that I was like learning in the sense of like material language emotional language. How to read. read situations and read objects and, places. And I think that’s, that kind of, was this, that also carries through to me now. And I use that, I use that, I mean, and a lot of that was, I did a workshop a couple of weeks ago here in Iceland. And so, I think, um.

00:18:40 You know, and I sort of taught, I sort of structured it around, around these kind of thoughts as well. So, I think, yeah, I think I’ve always been creative because that was like creative problem solving or creative sort of thinking in like, in, in my upbringing. So that’s, that’s kind of You know, yeah, that’s kind of, it just was a natural progression. And, yeah, yeah, I’d say, I’d say that’s, well, I forget what the first question was.

00:19:09 Kiera Brew Kurec
Oh, and I was, gonna, yeah, jump forward a bit and just kind of, expand a little bit on that process that you had of applying or just like looking into universities. That’s wonderful that the program coordinator was able to meet with you. Because it is, it is this really like trying to figure it out. Especially like, you know, the U S it’s, you know, for, those of us who speak English, it can be easy in the way that, you know, the coursework is going to be in, in English, but the, the, the situation of, having, you know, visas, the cost of education there is so high, healthcare, all of those things are things that need to be taken into consideration. And then, you know, whereas, you know, maybe moving to a country. You know, a lot of people go to Amsterdam or Berlin to study. Yeah. But then there’s other kind of where education might be cheaper, but there’s other things that you need to, you know, work around in terms of language and things like that. Yeah. And it’s just such a, you know, like I, I definitely had the vision of going off and, and sometimes I still do of like doing a PhD at NYU, but the, the logistics of it is really hard.

00:20:22 Shan Turner-Carroll
Yeah. And it’s when you, I think it is very hard and it’s very, I think it’s quite fairly slow. But it’s, I think when you’re working with bureaucracy and institutions like that sort of, I actually, I, I, I, I’m trying to think how much of it, of the process that I, I kind of just feel like, yeah. Okay. So I was super like, because Simone was Australian, she was in Australia at the time that. Like I was. like inquiring about this. And, I, I’d happened to, I think, you know, I think there was a few things within like the opportunities that I’d had that sort of, sort of sparked her interest. And then also, you know, the particular work that I was making at the time. And so, I think she took a personal, like. interest in me. And I think she was the, the strong, she was like the, the Trojan horse, so to speak, to kind of get me in. So she, I think having, for me, it was like having someone kind of fighting for you. And I think that that was a big, that was a big one.

00:21:31 That would have been my, that’s, that was my main sort of thing, I think. And so that was super, that was super privileged to have that, you know, like, and to have that opportunity and, I think, I think because people, I was, there was a, you know, there’s a few people kind of starting to kind of look at, you know, look at my work at that point, like, I’d have like my, the program director at Newcastle who would like set up a meeting to show someone some of my work sort of thing. People were already supporting me and my practice quite early on. And so, and that’s actually where I think, you know, I, I, I’d gone over to Hatched, which was, you know,

00:22:11 Kiera Brew Kurec

00:22:14 Shan Turner-Carroll
And so that was also like, uh, probably a big part of like, opening up some doors for me as well. Cause like, you know, I was meeting lots of wonderful, gorgeous people there and that was probably the, that would have been the biggest show that I’d ever done it or been a part of at that time. You know. And then I was fortunate enough to get, like, to, to win, or whatever you call it, to get the prize, which was pretty, you know, unfathomable for me. And, I didn’t even, like, they, they sent out an email the night before to be like, okay, please, these are the people to thank. There’s like a group message, like, if you were to win, blah, blah, blah. I didn’t even read it. I didn’t, I didn’t, I’m like, this isn’t gonna happen, like, whatever. So I got up there, I didn’t even, I didn’t know who I had to thank. I, I didn’t even, I didn’t even know who gave the award. And like, I was like, thank you to the person, like, It was a bequest, like, the person had passed away. And I’m just like, I had no idea about that. So it was like, it was a little bit embarrassing, but it was also just like, I mean, I think people were fine because it’s just acknowledged as a surprise, you know, but, I think, I think that also opened up a lot for me, like, As in, I think you just, if there’s like one little thing that you kind of get, people, it’s, it’s sort of an access point for people to your practice.

00:23:29 Kiera Brew Kurec

00:23:29 Shan Turner-Carroll
Because they’re like, oh, okay, other people have seen this, so then I, I’m going to give it the time of day. And then I, then I was also did a traveling scholarship with, Jenny Thomas, who’s sort of a, uh, philanthropist, work, like sort of, working in Newcastle. And so she sort of, supported me to get over to Myanmar, to do a, uh, like a, a month long, residency over there. And I did an exhibition and, cause that’s where my, my grandparents were born in, in, in Myanmar. So. Which was also, yeah, really amazing. So those sort of thing, two things happened. quite close to each other. And that was, and then after that, that’s when I, started asking questions about masters. And so I think, I think having, having those sort of two things at such a, uh, sort of an earlier part in, in my study, like, I, I do also acknowledge that that they were huge aspects. Like me, me sort of. Being able to sort of, like, be ready for a different, for something bigger, but then also, because I think often we’re all ready, ready for it, but the opportunities are few and far between, as I said before, so, but then those open doors forming.

00:24:45 Kiera Brew Kurec
Yeah. Yeah. That, that’s, you really hit it on the head that so often we are really ready for it, but it’s, just waiting for the opportunity to come and meet us where we’re at.

00:24:55 Shan Turner-Carroll

00:24:56 Kiera Brew Kurec
Yeah, and I, you’ve kind of already touched on, this a bit, but, what have been some of the, biggest challenges that you’ve had to overcome to continue your practice?

00:25:07 Shan Turner-Carroll
Mmm, good question. I would say mental health, would be one. So I’ve got obsessive compulsive disorder and, I’ve had it since I was 12. And, so, it can be quite debilitating at times. And so it’s an anxiety disorder as well. So that’s, so I, you know, suffer. huge bouts of anxiety. And so these, yeah, this, this is a sort of, uh, sort of more of a constant day to day sort of a struggle that can really quite get in the way. Like, but I think, my, you know, my support systems and sort of the work that we’ve done together really, really sort of keeps, keeps me, well and being able to sort of keep, keep making. But, yeah, there were periods where I was like, I studied painting in art school and then like I would do a painting and it was like it would be like I would be in love with it like I’m like this is something special.

00:26:04 Kiera Brew Kurec

00:26:05 Shan Turner-Carroll
but then I’d have to rub it off because I felt like I would done something to sort of make it so good kind of thing so you would end up in this like these these sort of worlds and patterns of like, really harmful and, harmful thinking and, yeah, it would just like penetrate into all aspects of my life. And so, you know, even to the, like, I would, yeah, it would, it would just that, so that’s, you know, that, that would, that often sort of like takes up a lot of my space and it still sort of does. Um. But I’m, I, I’m lucky to have had access to mental health and, knowing sort of what tools to use and to go with, and then I would say, uh, I would say money, um.

00:26:51 It’s like, I think that’s, that’s, I mean, mental health for artists, I mean, that’s not really a new thing and, because we’re these gorgeous, sensitive beauties, which I think, yeah. And then also, of course, just money, in that. Like, I, I, I just think, like, if, if, if money is an issue for me, who’s, like, been really fortunate with opportunities, with, really strong support, like, I have no fucking idea how people do it, who don’t have either of those things, like, it’s just, I’m, yeah, it’s just messed up, so it’s like, I think, I don’t, I, even just now, I don’t even, I’m like, how the fuck am I doing any of this? It, yeah, like, I just, I don’t know. Like, many of us, we’ve always had, like, either one or two or three, you know, jobs to support our artwork, our art, practices. And, um. Think it’s just, but somehow, you know, somehow you still kind of manage and you sort of go through. And, I think also just like learning new, learning, like I’ve, you know, like I self funded this trip to Iceland here.

00:28:00 And there’s many things that I’ve sort of just self funded, because it’s just like, you can’t. get an application for a grant in time or you don’t you’re not successful or it’s sort of like it’s too much work because you’ve already done five that year and you’ve got none of them and then you just like you’re completely fucking exhausted and then yeah um you’re constantly Behind in like, like I’ve been living in, I don’t know, like on, like you get just past zero and then you get back to zero and you get past zero and, you know, so that’s, yeah, it’s also interesting, but yeah, so

00:28:38 Kiera Brew Kurec
I was just going to say it’s, uh, it’s an. It’s a funny thing figuring out what things that you need to just go ahead and self fund and like, and just do it and what things are worth waiting for the grant for. And, sometimes, you know, you’ll never know because you, you didn’t take that trip. But, sometimes there’s ones where you know how much you will benefit from that investment into your practice, but it is really hard to, you know, like, you know, sometimes it’s bringing together many, many things to make that be able to be a reality.

00:29:18 Shan Turner-Carroll
Completely, completely. And it’s, yeah, completely. I think, I think that. I think the other sort of to do with like money, it’s, I think, it’s also time like finding the time to do, to do things because you’re, you’re also like, you’re also working these like two other jobs. You’re also like, like, like living on friends couches for seven weeks while you’re doing these jobs. Like it’s sort of, yeah, it’s a real to find. And then, you know, you’re like, what does that do to your mental health? You know? It’s a real, it’s a constant hustle. And I think that’s what, I mean, I, I hustle so much for my, art practice that it’s like, I, I really like something a bit more consistent for my work.

00:30:03 So that’s why, you know, I’ve done disability support for quite a few years. And, and then just recently, like I’ve sort of more stepped into doing a little bit of teaching and then also working with, within the art sector of working with people with, disability. So I work with Studio A and then I also did a semester at UNSW, which was done both were great. But then you have these two amazing jobs that you love and then it’s also like this opportunity to come up. That comes up in Iceland. So then you have to let go of all this work. You have to let go of like, you can’t. So then it’s like, you can’t, you can’t afford to keep an apartment. So that’s why you’re living with friends for seven weeks. And then you, and then you have to work right up to the point. Like, it’s just,

00:30:46 Kiera Brew Kurec
there’s a lot of shifting parts all the time.

00:30:49 Shan Turner-Carroll
Yeah. And I even, it is. And I just, you know, like, I think like three days before I left for Iceland, I went to the doctors. He says I’ve got high blood pressure, there’s stress, you know, and so it all kind of just, it’s a really, it’s, it’s, it’s very unsustainable and I think, yeah, I think just constantly having to renegotiate with what’s, what you want and what’s, what’s worth it is, that’s a, that’s a big one.

00:31:18 Kiera Brew Kurec
Yeah. Well, that kind of feeds perfectly into our next question, which is, what does a successful practice, uh, look like to you?

00:31:26 Shan Turner-Carroll
Hmm. That’s, that changes a lot, but that it has changed a lot for me. I, I used to think, like when, before I’d moved to Sydney, I sort of thought if I was living in Sydney, if I had an apartment, if I had a gallery that represented me I kind of felt like, Oh, and I was showing work. Like I kind of felt like that, that to me would be, I would be, I feel like I would be quite happy. And I feel like that would be, like a big sort of step. And then there’s a period, and then I sort of, and then I was like looking at those three things. Oh, I was like at a point where I was like. I realised I had all those things, but I was still unhappy, and constantly just feeling like, what’s the next thing? What’s the next thing? And then I realised, I’m like, fuck, like, this is a trap. This is, this is, this isn’t going to stop. That, what’s the next thing? Because, you know, you kind of feel like you get to a, you know, like, I’ve, You feel like you’re gonna get to a particular point where you’re like, okay, like, this is sustainable, like, I can afford to live, I can choose what I’m doing, I can X, Y, Z, and then it, and then you get to those points and it’s still, like, It’s nothing really changes that much and so I just kind of just feel like oh I’m it was a nice realisation just to sort of be like this this sort of Thinking of like oh, I’ve I’ve made it or I’m successful or whatever. Like I think there’s so many Like ways of being successful. But it’s, I think maybe like more visual terms of success or, like to other people like it, I don’t think it, I, it sometimes it just doesn’t equate to what you think or what you thought success was gonna be. Yeah. So I think, you know, for now, I think for success, successful means it’s like. I think balance is successful. I think, I think, being able to like have, have a foot in many doors is successful. I think being able to exist within the art world without being jaded is successful. I Think, yeah, I, I, I think, and also just like, like, like having, having a strong, just keep on, keeping on coming back to the practice is successful. Like, and letting, like having a vision for your practice or having like a strong relationship with it. Cause you know, you can get caught up in a lot of external things. You can get caught up in a lot of like this person’s looking at my work or i’m showing here and things like that and that’s great, you know, like um You know like moving to Sydney. I had I was fortunate to have to receive, you know, quite a bit of exposure and Attention, but it’s also just like that goes, you know what I mean? Like you have to be good Those waves come and go and you gotta Learn to ride them because it’s like, yep. Great. That’s good. Like that, that can help me with, you know, like further things, like further opportunities in the future.

00:34:28 But it’s also like, if you get stuck on that, it can be, I think it can be a bit of a trap maybe as well. Cause it’s just, just stay true to the practice, stay true to the work. I think that’s successful. And, also, Yeah. like having a bit of insight, trying to have insight, or like, you know, coming back to why you are interested in art and what’s important about it. I think that’s, and, and, and doing those things. I think that’s, for me, that’s successful. But yeah, yeah, I think that’s

00:34:58 Kiera Brew Kurec
great. Thank you for sharing. Those are some really beautiful points.

00:35:02 Nick Breedon
So Shan, uh, it sounds like, uh, you’re, you’re pretty busy. You’re in Iceland at the moment, but, what is a, what is a, like a, a really good day in the studio or practicing look like to you?

00:35:16 Shan Turner-Carroll
That’s a nice question. Well, I love slow mornings.

00:35:21 Kiera Brew Kurec
We’re sorry.

00:35:23 Shan Turner-Carroll
I love it. No, no, no. I love a slow morning. Like. Like, you know, you, you get up and you make a gorgeous little brekkie, you have a coffee, and just, you have time just to sort of sit, and sort of be quite present, and just really enjoy that food, and that coffee, like that’s, that’s the perfect start to any day, I think, for anyone maybe.

00:35:47 Nick Breedon
Um. Yeah, I prefer doom-scrolling, thanks. Not really, but you know,

00:35:53 Shan Turner-Carroll
not really, I think, I think depending, like my, I think my practice is quite eclectic. So it’s, I, I often like, sometimes I’m not often in the studio, like, or like I’m depending. Yeah. I’m yeah. It’s so like, it doesn’t, I don’t have to be sort of, um. I’m not necessarily using my hands at one point or another, but it’s, I love, like, I think I’m sort of maybe doing it now, to be honest, like, you, you know that the work is coming, the work is flowing, you’re enjoying sort of like exploring ideas and researching and then looking for materials and, and such, but, I think, Yeah, I think, I think when you, yeah, actually, but I, I do, I do also just enjoy, like when, you know, you’ve got something and you’re in the midst of it and you’re just like slowly chipping away at this thing, you are slowly working on this on particular pieces and you, and you know, like that you’re gonna be doing the same thing for about a week or two weeks or something.

00:37:00 Like, that’s, that’s a, that’s quite a nice rhythm to be in. Yeah. So I, I think that’s a nice. That’s a nice day as well. Yeah, I also like lots walking. I think having some outs like outside time is always a really nice part of the day because that’s what I was like, that’s what you’re thinking. Like a lot of the work you do is hidden. Like a lot of, you know, like You’ll, you might be conceptualizing for a month and then it’ll take you two days to make this piece.

00:37:28 Kiera Brew Kurec
Mm-Hmm. .

00:37:28 Shan Turner-Carroll
So, yeah. I think, you know, holding space for many things simultaneously is, is, is good for me. . But yeah, so I think, I think that’s a, that’s a, that’s a good, that’s a good day in the studio,

00:37:42 Kiera Brew Kurec
That sounds great.

00:37:43 Shan Turner-Carroll
Yeah. Yeah. I, I

00:37:46 Nick Breedon
do you, do you work usually like earlier or later, are you kind of more of a night owl or a morning person?

00:37:54 Shan Turner-Carroll
No, I’m probably like just like like a mid morning to like evening, you know, like I’ll finish at like six or something So it’s like a pretty a pretty.

00:38:04 Nick Breedon
It’s very reasonable

00:38:05 Shan Turner-Carroll
Like if I start by like 10 or 11 and then finish by sort of six ish Like it’s a very it’s a very soft day, you know Yeah, it’s really delightful but but it’s yeah, I don’t I’m not like yeah, there’s no early there’s not you know, it’s It’s unless like, you know, there’s totally been times where I’m like up at four in the morning jumping in a river or something to get a particular photograph or.

00:38:30 oR, you know, there’s all, there’s always those times where you, you know, you’re up at two, two in the morning before a show, you know, or handing in something. So all of those things exist, of course, but that’s, that’s not my ideal art day.

00:38:43 Kiera Brew Kurec
I did spend a lot of time when I was on residency at Bundanon staring at that river being like, how did they take that photo?

00:38:54 Shan Turner-Carroll
When were you there, Kiera?

00:38:55 Kiera Brew Kurec
Uh, in, I think it was May, This year.

00:38:58 Shan Turner-Carroll
Oh, gorgeous.

00:38:59 Kiera Brew Kurec
Yeah. It was really, it was glorious. It was wonderful.

00:39:02 Shan Turner-Carroll
Oh, beautiful. How long were you there for?

00:39:05 Kiera Brew Kurec
Only two weeks.

00:39:06 Shan Turner-Carroll
Oh, that’s nice though.

00:39:07 Kiera Brew Kurec
Yeah. It was a really, and walking actually was such a integral part of my daily practice there. I mean, it is everywhere, like every day, but there I had these two very specific walks that became. As much important as being in the studio was the time.

00:39:24 Shan Turner-Carroll
Yeah. Oh, beautiful.

00:39:27 Kiera Brew Kurec
You kind of already touched on, you, or you, you spoke about earlier how important your family is as a resource in terms of, you know, what that, how they assist you through your practice. But, I was wondering if there’s any resources that are kind of practical, tangible resources that other people can access that have assisted you through your practice, whether it be a book or a website or, a course or anything like that.

00:39:55 Shan Turner-Carroll
To be honest, like, it, it changes. And my, okay. And, and my friends and my colleagues, like they’re like, if like when I’m in need of something, like I’ll go and ask questions and then they’ll be able to often give me advice to on where to go. What to do or where to go or who to write to, or how do I apply for this thing? So resources like, so much of stuff is word of mouth for me. I think I don’t often like use particular platforms to find out about residencies or, I’m just trying to think what, what I, what I could be useful though.

00:40:36 Like, my meditation. My meditation practice, like, that’s, I think that’s, that’s a really good one. I also love exercise, although I, that I haven’t been doing huge amounts of it this year, but that’s though, both of those, I think for me, like big, big, hurdles are mental health. Knowing the tools to, to sort of work with that because it’s sort of, you know, that’s just isn’t like my, my, uh, healthy mental health, being mentally well is just as important as like, a conceptual idea or what material I’m using because it’s like, they go hand in hand.

00:41:09 Kiera Brew Kurec
Oh, totally. Yeah.

00:41:11 Shan Turner-Carroll
Yes, well, I can’t do one without the other. They’re really good tools. I think Critiques I often do critiques with friends and chat about work and talk about okay. What’s this and how’s this and That’s a really important Part of my process.

00:41:29 Nick Breedon
Could you, just explain a little bit about like how you, how you kind of set up that? So when you do a critique, like you just like ask a couple of friends and you say, hey, Yeah. I’ve got some work. Yeah. Do you mind coming over and, how do you do it? Yeah. How do you kind of do it?

00:41:44 Shan Turner-Carroll
Yeah, I’m, well, yeah, I’ll either like do a studio, like ask them for a studio visit or we can just, even just talking over the phone or talking in person, I mean, like with a cup of coffee, chatting about these things that I, I have, I have like a few friends that I tend to go to, because I think, we, we, we have a trust of each other and we both know each other’s sort of work really well. And there’s a, I think also like, yeah. They know how to hold like ambiguous spaces of like, this is kind of what I’ve done, but this is I’m thinking of this thing and I can, I feel like there’s a real, they hold space for me in those like ambiguous times as well. And so they, I think there’s a real strong trust there. So finding someone that you trust, finding someone that, Can understand your work, but it’s also like I’m I’m not I’m not very good at talking about well, I’m not I’m not great about writing about my work. Maybe that’s better. Yeah and so I think I often friends that I do sort of work with to to to you know, just to have chats about my work they they often like have like incredible, you know, um, ability, like, like skills in like, writing and they’re extremely well read. And, and so I think it’s, for me, it’s like, it might take me like, you know, it could take me years or months to read up to read about something, but a friend might. Your friend would put me in would they would might know something a lot about that topic, or they might put me in contact with someone so to have a few conversations with someone to find out information, you know, that can be a lot faster than spending three months reading a book or something.

00:43:23 So that’s, I think that’s like it’s like sort of using, resource, not resources, but like, like friends and people like, you know, it’s like this, we hold a lot of really incredible information. So it’s like, really you know, wanting to, wanting to receive that information and for them to share with you, like that’s, that’s, I think that’s probably another strong sort of, tool that I use. Yeah, I don’t, I don’t, I don’t know if there’s any, yeah, anything like, I, I talk to people a lot. Like, even if I’m at a place, like I’ll go and like, go out and just like meet people and like, I’ll talk to like people at the coffee shops or whatever, or like. To like learn about a place, but then I’ll also go out and talk to the trees and the rocks and, and so, Trying to communicate a lot, with, and I’m not a shy person, so I think that comes a little bit easier, but but yeah, I think just broad forms of information, I think is Is quite nice. But that’s also like in the same sense as I like, you know, I’m like, oh, I want to, I want to spend some time overseas soon. So then I’ll start reaching out to some friends to be like, where do you think that could be good for me if I’m interested in X, Y, Z? And so like, I think that’s our strong, like within for, for people working within the arts, like that’s our strong point, like our, our networks and our connections and our community. It’s, I think that’s a really big one. So it’s also like, the same thing for like, I think res another Residencies are really amazing. Like, I can’t afford to come and have a holiday in Iceland, but because of the work that I do, it allows me to be able to do a residency where you can stay in a place for free and you also have food, you know? So it’s sort of like what’s, what’s within your, yeah, what can, yeah, knowing what you’re worth or knowing what you, you can have access to. I think there, and like residencies are a really amazing way of doing that, or seeing the world or experiencing things or making, making work, meeting people.

00:45:28 Kiera Brew Kurec
For sure, for sure. Thank you for sharing those with us, crits are fantastic and I, yeah, I, I do the same and, sometimes it’s even been like during lockdowns and things like that, or just because of the, you know, selecting the group of people that I want the feedback from in there in different places, they’ve just been held over zoom and they’re Still so informative, and I, you know, I might just be talking about an idea or moving my computer around showing some stuff that’s lying on the floor of the lounge room. But, also like every time I’ve done it, I’ve had messages or calls or emails from People who’ve been part of the crits that have been like, Oh, thank you so much for that because that actually helped me like unlock something in my own practice or something that I was thinking about. So even just being like a participant in other people’s crits is, an awesome experience, even if it’s not about your work.

00:46:23 Shan Turner-Carroll
Completely, completely. I love it. I think it’s.

00:46:27 Kiera Brew Kurec
Shan , anytime you want to crit, let’s do it.

00:46:29 Shan Turner-Carroll
Okay. Be careful. Be careful. I will jump on that.

00:46:38 Kiera Brew Kurec
Yeah, let’s do it. Moving on to the final question, if you could go back in time, and tell younger Shan any advice, what advice would that be?

00:46:52 Shan Turner-Carroll
Oh, oh sweet little Shan .

00:46:57 Nick Breedon
I want to go back and give little Shan some advice.

00:47:01 Kiera Brew Kurec
Advice? A hug.

00:47:02 Shan Turner-Carroll
Just a bit.

00:47:03 Nick Breedon
Just a cuddle.

00:47:03 Shan Turner-Carroll
Yeah, I would love that. Just a cuddle.

00:47:06 Nick Breedon
Just a cuddle.

00:47:07 Shan Turner-Carroll
Just a little cuddle. Maybe just stop worrying little darling. Just stop. you know, just stop worrying. What would I say? I, it’s, I feel like I, maybe, yeah, just, maybe that’s it. Just to, just to stop worrying, which is probably the same advice I give myself now. I would do that.

00:47:27 Nick Breedon
Yeah, just project forward and then back again.

00:47:30 Shan Turner-Carroll
Yeah, exactly. I’ll project back to then go forward, back to the future. But I, Yeah, and like, I think just sort of, you know, just, just keep on chugging along, like, stay true to yourself. Yeah, I, yeah,

00:47:47 Kiera Brew Kurec
I think that’s perfect, perfect and succinct and probably advice that we all can, we all probably, we all need, we all need to be reminded

00:47:56 Shan Turner-Carroll
And there’s no, there’s, yeah, there’s no right or wrong way, like it just, like, there’s no, you know, like, just, yeah, there’s no right or wrong way, just, you know, just, Find your own path, which I mean, I think I did, but it’s like, maybe just for other cute little honeys out there. Just maybe that’s a nice bit of a something.

00:48:18 Kiera Brew Kurec
Thank you, Shan

00:48:20 Shan Turner-Carroll
yeah, no, thank you. I think, it’s been so, it’s been really lovely and, and gentle and, a perfect little interview from my bed. I’m still under the blanket.

00:48:33 Kiera Brew Kurec
Ah, we love that. Well, I hope someone gets to listen to this while they’re like having their morning coffee and maybe still in bed, so thank you for spending your morning with us today.

00:48:44 Shan Turner-Carroll
Oh, my pleasure.

00:48:46 Nick Breedon
Thank you.

00:48:48 his episode was recorded on the lands of the Bidjigal and Gadigal of the Eora nation. We pay our respects to Elders past and present and acknowledge that sovereignty was never ceded. And we extend that acknowledgement to the lands on which this podcast reaches you on today.

00:49:04 Kiera Brew Kurec
This season of Pro Prac was funded by Creative Australia.

00:49:08 Our music is created by Evelyn Ida Morris.

00:49:11 Nick Breedon
Thanks for listening to Pro Prac. You can find us on Instagram @propracpodcast or reach out to us at We would really appreciate if you could take a moment to rate and review us. As it helps others find Pro Prac and it assists in our funding applications.

00:49:27 Kiera Brew Kurec
Also consider sharing this episode with a friend.