As a photographic artist, Marian Drew works in video, drawing, sculpture, installation and public art. She studied Photomedia at the Canberra School of Art, blending her two passions, drawing and photography, and then received a scholarship to attend a university in Germany. “I think studying in Germany in my twenties was a pivotal opportunity. Experiencing other cultures helped me appreciate the way cultural history shapes the way we see things.”

Drew has maintained a relationship with Germany, with her work having recently been shown in Michael Reid Gallery, and Directorenhaus, Berlin. “I think it’s really important for artists to be able to travel overseas so that they see their own country with fresh eyes. This new perspective helps give you the confidence to tell your own story.”

The natural world is something that Drew finds fascinating and is a strong inspiration for her artworks. She believes it is becoming increasingly important to bring attention to the natural world as it is in such rapid decline. “We seem to be losing our connection with the natural world, through increased urban living and our absorption in social media. I’ve always tried to spend as much time in natural environments as I can. I work directly within it; it’s my subject matter. Our idea of it is constructed through history and so in my work I am trying to refresh perspectives by bringing parts of the landscape into the home or shaking up the colours so we see it a little differently.”

Drew loves the way art can engage the intellect and the emotions at the same time. “If people give it time then art can help you feel something. I think we need a kind an unlearning so that we can allow art to work its way into our hearts and minds. Art is a bit more like poetry; it’s the tones and rhythms as well as the literal that leads to the deeper exchange.”

Some of Drew’s proudest moments include exhibiting at the first Asia Pacific Biennial, showing her work at the Musee du Quai Branly, Paris and being acquired by the Getty Museum, but she cites the opportunity to work on her long career as an art practitioner as being constantly gratifying. “I try to play down the high points because I know the lows are coming. Working in art one learns about failure, and you become resilient. It’s an ongoing struggle to keep trying to find what you think through fresh perspectives and strategies.”

Drew says her best advice for artists is to get as many eyes on your work as possible. This increases your opportunities for exhibitions, applying for artist residencies, grants for research, and getting your work published in print and on the web. As an Adjunct Associate Professor at Griffith University, Drew is always working on new projects. “I think it’s important to keep giving yourself challenges. I’m looking for ways to bring art into people’s everyday life; to make it more affordable for many, not just the few.”