Photos & Interview by Tom Pearsall

Alice Linford Forte is a local artist, working from her studio on a farm in an idyllic Margaret River setting. She is participating in this year's Margaret River Open Studios event, running until Sunday April 24. Photographer Tom Pearsall caught up with her, talked art & life, and took a few snaps.

Where did you grow up? How did this shape who you are?

I grew up in Margaret River on a farm just south of Witchcliffe. Both mum and dad were self employed and creative in their own right, and were very supportive of a career in the arts, always encouraging me to pursue it.

Have you lived anywhere else, and how has this experience shaped who you are today?

From the age of 17, I lived in various parts of Australia from Fremantle to Karratha to Byron Bay to Melbourne. After that I spent several years in England and Morocco, to where I find myself today based out of Indonesia. These experiences have instilled a confidence to pursue new things, maintain an open mind and to take risks.

What is your favorite place to find peace and clear your head?

At home on the farm tends to be the place where I always return after my travels, provide a reflection point and a nurturing base to regroup before the next adventure. 

What is your favorite place to stimulate your creativity?

 On the road, travelling to places off the beaten track like India, Morocco, and Indonesia. Also certain European cities like Granada, Sicily and Bristol.

If you lose your creative energy or run into a block how do you overcome it?

Best thing is to step away from the studio and take a break for anywhere between 3 days to weeks. Normally this would involve a short holiday somewhere. 

In your opinion what is your largest achievement in terms of art?

There isn’t any one thing that stands out, but what Im most proud of is the way strangers connect to me through my art, feel inspired and derive enjoyment out of something I created.

Where has your work been displayed?

 Various cafes in Bristol and London. A big resort in Morocco. Wineries, cafes and bars in Margaret River and most prominently in the Margaret River Gallery.

Would you describe art as more work or play for you?

I like to think of it as play and maintain a playful approach but with it being my fulltime job and prices increasing I do take it seriously, using only the best canvases/paints, engaging professional stretchers/framers and feedback from past and present clients.

What are your favorite materials to work with?

 Oil on canvas, although lately I’ve returned to water colors as a fun side project, and experimenting with mixed media. 

How would you describe your art in three words?

 Vibrant – evocative – dramatic.

Is there a defining moment when you realised you wanted to pursue a career in art?

When I was living in London I finally took the plunge with my first collaborative exhibition in Bricklane. It was the first time I’d ever put my work out on display to the general public and although not a huge commercial success the reaction was so encouraging it cemented in me a decision to pursue it as a fulltime job and 6 months later I did my first solo exhibition in Margaret River.

You and I recently collaborated to create a fusion of fine art and photography. Tell us a little about this?

When you approached me with the idea, it immediately grabbed my interest. That was to print select moody surf shots onto wood and have me paint over the top. 

What are your thoughts on the end result? Where do they fit in the world of art?

I’m extremely proud of how they came out. They’re visually exciting and very different evoking strong responses from those who have seen them. 

Like any new idea it’ll take time to find its niche but with the response from the Xanadu exhibition so strong I’m confident and eager to see it evolve.