Deena Lynch is the motorbike riding, music-making, very cool big sister we’ve always wanted. She’s had a massive year touring with her band Jaguar Jonze, with their latest single release, ‘Beijing Baby’. This is along with her visual art project Spectator Jonze, where she interviews and illustrates people about mental health. Deena is an extraordinarily passionate and authentic artist, dedicating so much energy to all of her creative projects. We had a chat about what inspires her and how she stays so motivated.
Deena, there’s a real cowboy theme about you and the work you make!
Yeah! My dad’s a very Australian, full blown cowboy and we bond over everything country. I went to rodeos with him, he dressed me up in Wrangler jeans and bootscootin’ jackets, but people would never pick it. That's the influence that was always close to me growing up. I like it too ‘cause they have this culture of being outlaws or bending the rules or defying what society might want of them. I feel like there's a little bit of that in me as well in what I do.
It’s only in the last five years or so that you’ve started these creative projects. What made you get into music, was there a ‘Eureka Moment’?
I started music 6 years ago, before that I wasn't really a music person or that much of a creative person either, but I lost a really close friend of mine. I think the only way I was able to have a conversation with myself about what my emotions were up to and to process that grief, I started writing songs. It was super random, I walked past a garage sale and I saw a guitar and I was like, cool, I'm going to buy that guitar and learn how to play it. From there I just slowly fell in love with music and realised that I had finally found a passion in my life. As I gave myself permission to do that I started exploring other avenues of creativity. I started my drawing project, Spectator Jonze, two years ago and then my photography project this year in March.
Giving yourself permission is a really interesting concept.
I have no rules when I write songs, I just let it be a stream of consciousness and see whatever comes out of it. It’s the subconscious conversation with what's going on with my insides. With Spectator Jonze, I interview each person before I draw them. It’s a conversation external to me, about their journeys and what they're getting up to. It’s taking that subconscious conversation that I have had with my music and starting to practice it outside of my own private space. I think that exchange these people have generously taught me has allowed me to become a lot more open and a lot more transparent, giving myself further permission to keep creating and expressing and sharing that with other people.
What would you love to see more of in the creative and music industries?
I really want transparency. I feel like we always have to portray this glitz and glamour that sometimes really doesn't exist. Why don’t we just talk truth? If we start talking that truth we might be able to help each other more, I hate this dog-eat-dog. Not having to create this pedestal between where we are and whatever else. We're all just people, we're all just creating, we can all do that together!
What advice would you give ‘Young Deena’ or other young people to start this creative process?
My advice is just go for gold! No one's going to ever know what you're doing unless you put yourself out there. If you don't believe in yourself and you’re not going to present your work then who is? Just go and do it and be a steamroller at it and who cares what people think. People will notice what you're doing and that's when the opportunities come.
What dream projects would you love to do in the future?
There’s always a joke where people ask me, “What are you gonna do next? Become a food critic and be Belly Jonze”? At the moment I just want these projects to grow. I keep pushing through with my music because that's my main focus and passion and I'm so determined and stubborn about making it work. I feel like those seeds that I've been planting are starting to sprout. It's time for me to keep watering them, pruning them and make sure it gets to a place where I create a sustainable little forest.
Check out her new video clip for Beijing Baby and some of her amazing artwork
Main account: @deenajonze
Art page: @spectatorjonze