Artist Profile: Elisha McGuckin

Artist Profile: Elisha McGuckin

Jasmine Eales

Becoming a parent is a life-changing experience – full of joy, tears, love, and new challenges. Your perspective on life can completely change as you see the world in an entirely new way. For many women, motherhood also comes with a choice: Your career, or your children. South West creative Elisha McGuckin has chosen both.

With two kids under four, Elisha has spent the last five years juggling brushes and babies at her home studio in Binningup. Her modern still-life’s, depicting scenes of everyday life, evolving as her family grows.

“I am a mum. That is who I am at the moment. Being an artist is equally as important to me, but a second priority.”

Elisha McGuckin sits and smiles at the camera. She has shoulder-length brown hair and wears clear-framed glasses. Her outfit is a white shirt, denim jacket and checkered skirt. Elisha McGuckin. Courtesy of Elisha McGuckin.

Using any free time she can find between changing nappies, preparing meals, and wiping tears, Elisha has been hard at work preparing for her first solo exhibition, opening Saturday 23 April at the Collie Art Gallery.

Argh! What a mess! explores the chaos and beauty of motherhood from inside the walls of her very own messy house. In the work, Elisha explores the colour, joy, and beauty found within the mess and shines a light on the everyday objects most parents will relate to.

Creating the work has meant Elisha looks at the mess in her house in a new light, often saving broken glass in containers to keep as inspiration before they get thrown in the recycling bin. For her, mess is just a part of life; and painting helps her fumble through the emotional and physical exhaustion of parenting.

Painting of a scrabble board, bottle of red wine, and glass of red wine on a wood table. Seven Letters. Courtesy of Elisha McGuckin.

Elisha is excited for the opportunity to have her work exhibited at the Collie Art Gallery. Having grown up in town, she found there was never lot of activity around to satisfy her creative needs. Looking elsewhere for the culture she craved, she moved to Perth instead.

In Perth, Elisha spent her days working as a florist, and her nights partying. She indulged in the culture and music scenes she had missed out on as a teenager. It was around this time she began taking short courses at Fremantle Arts Centre, studying under Jocelyn Gregson.

During one class, Elisha was told to bring some items from home to paint, so she brought in CD’s, cans, and other items that is reflective of her lifestyle. Painting the everyday objects in front of her, she found herself engrossed in the way light hit each item of junk.

Having found her voice, Elisha needed to find the time to commit to her art. As much as she loved it, Perth was full of distractions. So, in 2016, she moved back to the South West… which somehow aligned with starting a family.

A painting of a variety of alcohol bottles and cans sitting on floral sheets against a blue backdrop. Spring Fling. Courtesy of Elisha McGuckin.

While some people wait until their kids have grown up to pursue art, Elisha wanted both. Within a period of just 3-4 years, she has found herself thriving despite a number of major life changes occurring at the same time. While parenting has thrown Elisha a gauntlet of new challenges, the beautiful moments make it all worthwhile.

With the help of her very supportive partner, Elisha now paints full-time and commits to three days in the studio while her kids are at childcare. On those days, she can be found blasting her favourite tunes while she works – her studio becoming a Wiggles-free zone.

Immersing herself in her work has not only helped her create better work, Elisha explains, it has also helped her become a more patient parent.

Painting of two Emu Export cans Shady Days. Courtesy of Elisha McGuckin.

In 2020, Elisha was selected as a finalist in the Collie Art Prize. It was only the second time she had applied, so the nomination came as a welcome shock. Unfortunately, it was only exhibited for a week as COVID shut the gallery down – but the experience was the motivator she needed to keep going.

Since then, Elisha has been hard at work on her solo exhibition, putting together a cohesive collection of vibrant pop-art inspired paintings.

Argh! What a mess! officially opens at the Collie Art Gallery on Sunday 23 April and will run through to Sunday 29 May with an artist talk on 7 May, the day before Mother’s Day.

A painting of a packet of chicken twisties. Twisted. Courtesy of Elisha McGuckin.


For more information on Elisha McGuckin, visit her website or follow her on social media – Facebook or Instagram. To contact Elisha, email art@elishamcguckin.com.au.

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