Nocturnal Bounty – Guy Porter

Guy is one of our “interviewees” this is one of his newer works…

Louise Blyton – Artist

Louise Blyton is a Melbourne based artist whose exhibition ‘Cloak’ is about to open at Dianne Tanzer Gallery, Melbourne ( )


A professional exhibiting artist for 20 years, Louise’s life is thoroughly immersed in the arts – she owns and runs St Luke Artist Colourmen one of Melbourne’s best Art Supplies stores where she interacts with and provides technical advice to other artists on an almost daily basis. Louise is also married to fellow artist and manufacturer of the Langridge range of products, David Coles.

In her new show, “Cloak” Louise tackles the hard stuff. A dark and contemplative exhibition of sculptures and large paintings that emote truth and beauty. Large angular linen covered forms are enveloped by vast areas of the deepest velvet black pigment.

Fragile yet imposing these forms rise sharply from the floor casting and projecting their shadows in ever shifting compositions.  “Cloak” is architecturally menacing, cutting and mysterious; the space it inhabits imposes silence and reflection.

Amanda van Gils recently caught up with Louise to talk about her work and some of her thoughts on being an artist.

How long have you been making art?
I feel I always have, but as a professional exhibiting artist it has been about 20 years.

What are you currently working on?
I have been working on an exhibition titled ‘Cloak’ which will be opening at Dianne Tanzer gallery in Melbourne on the 1st August. It is a site specific exhibition, which is my preferred way of working.


You work with pigment on shaped supports- do you define your work as sculpture, painting or something else?
At the moment I would say definitely sculpture, even the works I do on traditional supports I see as flattened out sculptures.

Could you tell us about the ideas you are exploring through your work?
I guess I’m pretty old school in that it’s all about composition, colour and the materials. The physical considerations of shadows shifting from plane to plane depending on the light, though even when the gallery lights are off it should still be art.

I have an aesthetic that demands that colour, form and material be fused, and an aesthetic that seeks out balance and beauty. I am aiming for a distilled essence of beauty.

Working with the 3 dimensional forms allows for a mysterious interaction between the artwork and space around it, where the space around the work is just as important.

Words like contemplation, calmness and harmony inform my work

I believe that it’s arts job to take you to a different level. This quote from Oscar Wilde (The Picture of Dorian Gray Ch. 1) really resonates for me:

“An artist should create beautiful things, but should put nothing of his own life into them.”


How important is clarity of concept to you prior to starting the artwork?
I absolutely must have clarity before I start. I would love to be one of those artists that can just go into the studio and muck around. Most of the work is done in my head, I must have a clear “vision” before I get into the studio, and then it’s full steam ahead!

What about the role of titles with your work, some hate them others revel in them, what about you?
Titles were very important to my work when it became more minimal. I have always used very poetic titles; I used them as a window for people to enter the work. I don’t feel I need the titles as much now on single works, maybe it’s a growing confidence in the belief of what I’m doing. Titling an exhibition is still important that it conjures some contemplation though.


How important do you think craftsmanship is to artistic creation?
It’s essential; you just can’t do one without the other.

What caused you to choose the medium you currently work in?
I love the idea of stripping the medium back to the pure raw materials- dry ground pigment on unprimed linen, you can’t get anything that is so unaltered, so true.

If took a lot of work to get the affect I was after, a lot of messy experiments and getting to know the different pigments as they all have different personalities and behave in different ways.

Though the materials I work with are romantic the application is not- I work in a plastic bubble with many facemasks, 100’s of gloves and lots of fixative!


Can you step us through the process for this current body of work?
I used an aluminum based product as support and had it cut to shape.

It is fairly pliable so I was able to bend it to the desired angles myself.

The front and back of the support is covered in linen. Because I leave areas bare in the finished work I mask those areas to protect them.

The coloured areas are raw pigment, which is applied over many layers, really pushing the pigment into the surface and fixing between layers. It’s actually a very physical process.

Once the pigment is applied and fixed, the last step is to cover the edges in linen.

Have your artistic influences altered over time?
Strangely no, when I look back over the years there has always been a strong thread in my work. It all comes back around but I feel that it gets stronger and clearer as I grow as an artist.

Working towards an exhibition, is it a daunting task?
My work has always been site specific so I work to deadlines, which can be daunting especially when you want to push it bigger and better. The space always dictates the work. I find having deadlines really helps me to focus.


Running an art shop, creating your own work and exhibiting (2 solos this year) must require some pretty impressive time management. Do you have any tricks or techniques to make sure you get everything done?
Once the vision and deadline are in place there is no stopping me!

I’m very lucky to be surrounded by art materials and artist’s every day and that inspires me greatly. I have wonderfully supportive friends, staff and husband who cheer me on when I need it.

When you have a true love of what you do there is always time to work and play, you  just have to embrace it!

You undertook a residency at Red Gate studios in Beijing a couple of years ago.  How did the residency impact how you thought about or created your work?
I didn’t realize the impact it would have! Beijing is a great place to work. I really put my head down and worked through things that would have taken longer here- it was a good time to explore work and take risks that I may not have done back in Melbourne. Making work that I didn’t think would be seen was very liberating and allowed me to more easily head off on a different tangent. That time made me question if I was pushing the work enough, the art was already coming out and off the walls but what was the next step.

If someone says to you “Oh your work is decorative and lacks any meaning…” your response would be…?
These people are not my audience and I don’t feel the need to spoon- feed them into “getting it”. I don’t believe that is my role as an artist. No artist desires to prove anything. I am privileged to interact with a wide variety of artists on a daily basis and I see enough to know that there are all sorts of audiences who respond to different work; I believe there is an audience that understands my work.

One thing you wish you had listened to from an art teacher or lecturer?
Once when I was having an “art student meltdown” Ruth Johnson said to me, “Louise, do the work, the career will follow.” The thing I have always remembered is, the work is what counts first, you can’t have a career without it!

What do you love/hate about being an artist?
I feel extremely privileged. I do tend to think of it being a calling and to be taken quite seriously. It’s a hard road to go down but when you can realize your vision it is an amazing feeling.

The artist is the creator of beautiful things. To reveal art and conceal the artist is art’s aim

Want to see more Artist Interviews the day they are posted? Subscribe and we automatically send you the latest post via email, it’s easy click here to subscribe.

Compiled and edited by Amanda van Gils © 2009+

Warren gets New York Magazine kudos

News flash, well not quite ,as it was from last month, but great news none the less! New York Magazine Gallery and Studio published this article on Kerrie Warren’s Exhibition and works… Well Kerry you must be very pleased to get these great comments, especially in the lead up to more exhibitions like Regionalis. Well done!

New York magazine Gallery and Studio and Kerrie Warren's NY Exhibition in June 09

New York magazine Gallery and Studio and Kerrie Warren's NY Exhibition in June 09

Carols new studio – Moppet

Carol Es, who I interviewed a while back has just moved to a new studio in L.A. part of a vibrant arts community it seems. I like the picture of it but liked the google maps image more… 🙂

Now why would you call a studio “Moppet”?

She has been busy and will have a few shows on the cards… check out her news.

Paul White – Artist

Paul White lives in Williamstown Vic and says “I have been making Art as long as I can remember. I have scrapbooks and drawing books from my very early childhood, mainly pencil drawings, so I guess I would say I have almost always considered myself an artist. Throughout high school I used to paint on everything around me – shoes, clothes, bags. My bedroom at home was entirely covered with collage, there was not an empty space anywhere, ceiling included.

I like to be always making things or working on things or just using my hands.

I have been an exhibiting artist since around 1996. I completed my Bachelor of Art in 1997 and my Master of Arts in 2003. you can check out my website here.


Paul with his Billboard Piece in Altona Vic.

Interests you have other than art you feel are important to mention?
Collecting, cars, music, my girls – my wife and baby girl… I like objects and objects from the 1970’s (the decade I was born into) in particular. I like collecting in general; I have various collections of various things such as model cars, toys, music, shoes, magazines, lights and on and on.

I like the way these things represent a point in history and the idea I am saving them and keeping them in existence or going. I hate the way things are not built with so much style or durability anymore. It is almost like things are made with built in obsolescence.

My wife and I have acquired a good collection of mostly late 1960’s Australian ‘danish’ style (such as parker) furniture. We have a 1974 SLR5000 Torana and a 1978 Torana. I have also had a 1976 Torana and a 1975 Pontiac Firebird, which I had when I was living in Los Angeles where I completed my Master of Arts. I have always been into cars as well as art; it is kind of a counterpoint to my practice.

I am also into 1960/70’s hi fi equipment (with my ipod running through it!) I have a good collection of eclectic music and I like to almost always have something playing on the stereo. I have in the past played music myself, although I don’t find the time these days. I like making things generally; lately I have been working with timber and have made a few things such as a sideboard and various speaker cabinets.


What are the main medium/s you work in…
I like to explore a range of different mediums and ways of working. I like working with ‘handmade’ or crafted techniques such as pencil, with fabric and sewing, painting and using found objects. I am interested in mediums that exist somewhat outside of traditional art practice. For example I find inspiration in methods of craft and illustration as much as ‘fine art’. I see my practice as a continually evolving process and something that is continually reinvented In relation to the time and place I am in. This keeps it exciting and challenging for myself. I loose inspiration if I work in the same way for too long, it starts to feel like a production line.

Artist’s statement…
My practice is concerned with exploring notions of fragmented identity (personal and sociological) and in the evolving and cyclical notion of the everyday and the individuals’ relation to it. My practice explores the fractures in society, where obsolescence leads to rebirth and reinvention. This exploration is based in examining objects and images that are part of the popular culture that one navigates in the everyday.

I am particularly interested in elements of the everyday and popular culture that are suggestive of notions of obsolescence and decay. Such as, once thriving objects or elements that have succumbed (or will inevitably) to the process of history and time. Objects of comfort, desire, dreams and necessity often become altered, transformed or lost through time. In relation to this, aesthetics, styles, and fashions are constantly recycled, re evaluated and re-used through time and in relation to the now. They become a measure for the body or self via the various physical and conceptual structures of the everyday that contain or surround it.

This examination of notions revolving around evolution, extinction and the ever-changing nature of the universe, becomes a celebration of the cyclical, constantly evolving, recycled and tenuous nature of culture and the everyday. This in turn leads to a hope for transformation, growth and renewal as much as an act of remembering or nostalgia for the past. These notions are explored through a range of different mediums, from drawing to sewing to installation. The mediums are however always based in the hand made, objects crafted by myself. The objects use captured and actual elements of the everyday to explore the notions mentioned above.


What are you currently working on….
I am working on some large scale pencil drawings on paper and am continuing my exploration of drawing by experimenting with coloured ink on timber. I am working in a much looser way than previous drawings that were very precise and laborious with their photo realistic style. I have been limiting each drawing to one colour only ie one drawing is all brown or all green or all pink. I have had my work used in some alternative environments recently too, such as a billboard in Altona. I have also had my works used for several fashion labels, on t-shirts and snowboards. I am interested in a practice existing both within and outside the ‘artworld’.

How important is art for you?
I see ‘Art’ as the way I navigate and process everything around me, so it is all encompassing. I like to be working on making things, even if they are not directly part of my practice. I like using my hands and seeing what they can do.


What is it about Visual Art you find compelling?
When it all comes together and takes your breath away…I wonder sometimes why I am compelled to make art. I have always felt the need to, it’s a way of communication that works for me and I just don’t know any better I guess.

Is there any one thing that has given you a big buzz in your art career so far?
A few highlights amongst the many rejections would be winning a Samstag Scholarship which enabled me to study in Los Angeles for 2 years, seeing my work hang in the National Gallery in Canberra, seeing one of my works randomly in the background on a tv show. It’s always a buzz to see a gallery installed with your work after having worked away in the studio one piece at a time.


What or who inspires your art?
Everyday happenings.

What caused you to choose the medium you currently work in?
I wanted to slow down my process and create an almost mediative place. I wanted to try something new, something I wouldn’t expect to see myself do, to surprise myself.


What can you tell us about your planning and making process for making art, and has that altered over the years?
It can change depending what I am doing. In the past I would work a little more off the cuff, experimenting and letting things happen as I went, albeit with a framework in mind. More recent work has probably been more staged. I tend to plan things out now and then execute them.

Does the “creative process” happen easily for you?
Sometimes, not always.


How important do you think craftsmanship is to artistic creation?
It’s not really at all important, but personally I do get a thrill to see something that is well crafted. I didn’t really care especially for painting until I saw a Gerhard Richter retrospective in San Francisco. It was so amazing and reminded me that simple well-executed works can be as powerful and sophisticated as anything. Another example would be seeing a Tim Hawkinson retrospective in Los Angeles – such virtuosic use of materials that add a sense of wonder to the works and concepts.

Working towards an exhibition, is it a daunting task?
I find it easier to work towards an exhibition than just making work for the sake of it. Its exciting planning and mapping out the works and their juxtapositions then seeing it all take shape and change.


Some say the life span of many “artists” post educationally is about five years, any thoughts on that?
It is definitely harder in some ways working outside of an institution. Within an institution you are forced to defend your practice as well as having an immediate network of other artists. I had around 4 years between my bachelors and masters degrees, which was nice. It has been almost 6 years since my masters now and I feel at times a little isolated. I have some desire to be within an institution again.

Tell us about your connection to your subject matter, way of working, concepts etc? I tend to work from personal experience – from things that surround me or that I navigate in ‘the everyday’. I often work from photographs I have taken or from materials I have come across. I like to have a personal connection to the subject or concept.


Do you keep an Art Journal or Visual Diary of some kind?
I keep a rough book of ideas and images. I keep notes of words and images that eventually form into actual works. I also keep images and notes on my laptop. I have a large library of photographs that I have been using as the basis for work for the last few bodies of work. A lot of these photos were taken on trips overseas, especially the United States. Some photos are just taken on an everyday basis on my phone. I also keep ideas or ideas for works stewing in my head. I have a theory that good ideas will remain and develop in my head.

What happens to works that “don’t work out”?
I usually plan out a work fairly thoroughly so works usually go to plan. Sometimes I feel like unsuccessful works were not planned out well enough, and these are usually reused for another work or just tossed out. In the past I would work in a more experimental way, which probably produced more aborted works. I somewhat miss working in this way, I intend to revisit this way of working in the near future.


Musical influences?
Music is very important to me. I usually have something on while I’m working. I like a wide range from jazz to metal to funk to hip hop to avant garde. I often like to work to pretty up-tempo stuff to keep me going.

Do you hope the viewer will “get” what you are trying to communicate or do you feel compelled to spell it out to them?
I don’t like to spell anything out; I seek to create a space that stimulates individual thought. Of course I have concepts in mind when developing and creating the work. However I am not especially concerned whether someone has a particular reading of the work, just that they get something from it.


If you stopped doing art right now would you miss it?
I get anxious if I don’t make something for too long, it’s too much a part of me.

What about the role of titles with your work, some hate them others revel in them, what about you?
I like titles; they can be useful for adding layer to the work, or for giving a hint or even for creating a bluff.


The business or marketing side of Art can be a challenge to some, what are your thoughts? Marketing and (self) promotion are necessary to help create opportunities that help to get your work ‘out there’. Sometimes I feel like marketing takes time away from my studio practice, however it is important for the above-mentioned reason. Whilst I get self-satisfaction from making work, I make it so other people can see it, so the more that can see it the better.

Tell us about your studio environment ?
It is a room in my house at the moment. I like to work from home, however much space there is or isn’t. I don’t like the idea of having a studio removed from my domestic space; I like it all to be mixed up and close at hand.


Is your work process fast or slow?
Depends on what mediums I am working with, it can be at either extreme. My pencil drawings were in part an attempt to slow down my practice, they are very slow and helped me be more patient.

Do the seasons affect your work or work habits?
The Melbourne winter is pretty good for staying in and making work, there’s no incentive to go outside.


Are you a purist with your art materials or willing to mix things about?
I like to use any materials really, often more alternative materials yield interesting results. Having said that there is beauty in using something simple like a pencil and paper is, in stripping it right back.

Which is more important to you, the subject of your painting, or the way it is executed?
The beauty is when the two things come together perfectly.

How important is society, culture and or history to your work?
These elements all form the background or context for my work, they are what influence the conceptual development and physical construction of the work.

Do you work from life, or from photographs or from imagination or some other method?
I usually work from photographs, often photographs that I have taken on travels overseas.

Have you ever made an artistic pilgrimage? If so, where did you go and why? I haven’t been on a pilgrimage as such, but the museums in the Netherlands are great for seeing old master works. New York is of course amazing for it’s concentration of galleries and modern masters. LA is great for post art school and contemporary work. There is no denying we miss out in comparison here in Australia.

How many artworks do you work on at the same time?
I usually work on one thing or sometimes two things at a time. I like to complete and resolve something before I start on the next thing.

Want to see more Artist Interviews the day they are posted? Subscribe and we automatically send you the latest post via email, it’s easy click here to subscribe.

Compiled and edited by Steve Gray © 2009+

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Peter Forward – Artist

Peter Forward from Geelong Victoria has been making art since his childhood, he likes travel, eco buildings, politics and friends. You can check out his website at Peter works in paint, collage, drawing and installation.


Artist’s statement…
So you think things are bad…. the price of food keeps going up…. kids drink and run the streets… the city is a danger zone. Someone’s drawing on the walls… the world is going crazy. Rivers are dying… the poles are melting. They keep on fighting wars. The times are out of joint. I don’t understand art anymore. Just leave me alone. Let me stay inside. Just let me chill out in my spa.

Why are you an artist?
Why is a banker a banker? Thinking about and viewing the world visually was my ticket to coping in this slightly crazy world.


How did you get into art?
As a child I was into drawing and painting, however as I got older even though I tried other avenues somehow my art side came along for the ride. I ended up training as an art teacher but lasted only a year. I travelled, tried any other kind of work and ended up building a studio and house in country Victoria where it was cheap. It was 1978.

How important is art for you?
Most people eat, work, shit and die. Artist’s leave a few smatterings behind them. Its important to me my smatterings have some meaning.


What is it about Visual Art you find compelling?
I’m not sure compelling is the right word. Addictive might be better, Visual Art making is hard work. Achieving is what it’s about, more a carrot in front than a gun in the back. A small success can create enormous drive.

Your art education was…?
My formal art education was a four year course at Melbourne State College…but I think good artists are always educating themselves.


Was your education helpful, or a hindrance?
Mostly helpful, our lecturers where committed and knowledgeable in their fields, buts there was always the ego thing. Teachers often see themselves as gods.

What did you do before or during becoming an artist?
Worked as a builder, labourer, shearers rouseabout and potter, house painter (UK), dairy, kibbutz (Israel), travelled, taught.


Is there any one thing that has given you a big buzz in your art career so far?
Yes, having my Canberra exhibition opened by Bob McMullan MP

What is your earliest memory of art?
Meeting a painter in a suburban Sunshine house when I was eleven. The walls were covered in small framed paintings mainly of flowers. Remember, there was no TV or internet. I had never seen anything like it. I didn’t know artists existed till then.


Do you remember your first painting or artwork?
Yes, my sister still owns it. I copied the front cover of a cheap comic book. A red Indian in full headdress.

Has your work changed much since your early efforts?
I have spent a huge amount of time using ceramic materials and was quite successful. I had a near death experience which I am since thankful for and which made me change direction completely. I’m actually much happier working with paint.

Have your artistic influences altered over time?
Absolutely. In the 70’s Bernard Leach was all the rage with the ceramics world. Following his philosophy was a rejection of American hard edge painting for me. Later I discovered Francis Bacon, Brett Whitley (his paintings in Australian Galleries were selling from $400. I was a student and $400 was the earth)

What can you tell us about your planning and making process for making art, and has that altered over the years?
I’ve never planned any artwork, I’m not sure it’s possible. I think an artist has to be receptive to change at any time, especially as they work. Most of my work alters radically during the making process.

Does the “creative process” happen easily for you?
Mostly its thinking, looking, forgetting, reviewing and reworking in that order, then repeat the process. I don’t think it’s easy but it can be rewarding.

Creative streaks do they come in waves for you?
Not really. The question implies artists are somewhat manic. Some maybe, but stay away from them. However I would add that ideas often surface when least expected. There’s a small space somewhere between cognitively thinking and absolutely not thinking. Its in this space that my best ideas flow.

How important is the clarity of concept to you, prior to starting an artwork?
I have never had clarity of concept prior to working. I’ll have an idea to start with but the work itself generally alters the original concept to something totally different from where I started.

Does the sale of your work support you?
You have to be joking. If you do the sums an artist would have to be selling $150,000 to break even. I have spent a lot of time restoring houses then moving on. You CAN make a living from this – but not making artwork.

Any upcoming or completely new projects you want to talk about?
I’m thinking of doing another collaboration with a youth arts organization, also something with Famous When Dead, Melbourne

Tell us about your connection to your subject matter, way of working, concepts etc?
I would like the world to become just a little more civilized. I choose education and communication to solve conflict, not hardware designed to kill. I don’t think its asking too much. I make a statement and throw it into the public arena for others to comment on or alter as they wish.

What has been a turning point in your career thus far and why?
Almost dying from a brain bleed makes one take stock. I no longer try to make art primarily to sell. I know each day could be my last.

All artists seem to have struggles, tell us about any you have had?
I nearly died once trying to carry a load of ceramics into a gallery with no help offered. My brain haemorrhaged

Do you have a personal philosophy, which underpins your work?
Ordinary people i.e. the ‘battlers’ are 99% honest as the day is long, it’s people with even a smidgin of power you must look out for. Also, when I encounter ‘charm’ I become wary. I try each day not to take myself too seriously and to be honest to myself. Truth is important to me.

What sort of research and or reference material do you do for current works and has that changed over time?
Digital media and programs have changed the world entirely. Together with well written books, journals and google, the world is at my fingertips. It was not always so.

Musical influences?
I work in silence when its something I need to think about. I tend to listen when I have music on, I mean listen. My Ipod is full of stuff chosen by my 16 yr old nephews and nieces. I like variety, the Smiths, the Stones, Dylan, Bjork, Sting, Beethoven. Tori Amos is my latest find.

What sort of depth or meaning is there behind the work you do?
Nope, its all on the surface and in your face. Why should we have to understand a language of metaphors to connect with artwork?

About significant moments in your life, the sort of things that changed things for you forever… perhaps altered your Art… Who how why what and where…?
Oh God, not this again! I almost died. I survived because of modern medical technology. This would make most people change unless they were made of stone.

What about the role of titles with your work, some hate them others revel in them, what about you?
A title is like a springboard for my viewers. Heres where you jump off, then your on your own. It’s best the springboard is a good one.

Your first show at a “gallery” you thought was of value, how was the whole thing for you?
Hard work, it was in Canberra, it was middle of summer, very hot. I had to mount the show myself and arrange the opening etc in a strange city. I had no place to stay. I ended up in a university residence with lots of overseas students who could not go home. It ended up being quite educational

The business or marketing side of Art can be a challenge to some, what are your thoughts?
Don’t ask me, I am totally clueless on this one. Very important these days if you want exposure.. Must be easier for city based artists I imagine.

Do you have a connectedness to other art forms?
Yes especially music and film, and I like some of the new media stuff if its kept simple- like good design

When you get the urge to create art because something has “pushed your button/s” how compelling is it for you?
‘THINGS’ don’t push my button, ideas push buttons. Ideas are thoughts – special kinds of thoughts. It would be stupid for me to ignore these thoughts so I make a note.

Is the making of art all it was “cracked up to be”?
I encourage young artists, but not as a career, Australia is a desert in more ways than one

How do you think art can change people or their perceptions?
We are constantly surrounded by art of some kind in this current world. (Unlike preceeding generations) It must have a bearing on the people’s perceptions. Gallery art is out of this equation however, only a fraction of society is involved

How did you manage to survive financially at the beginning of your art career?
Managing to survive financially is not restricted to beginning as an artist- it an on-going state for us all.

Do you have difficulties getting into galleries?
The people who know about my work are receptive, in fact I am invited, but my work is probably a little too out of left field for most. (which is a strange thing to admit about art galleries).

Cultural connections you may have which may be of value to the viewer?
I have connections to Multi cultural arts organizations nationally, youth arts, artist-run spaces, council-run arts venues and some special commercial galleries whom I have exhibited with.