Radio Interview – Kaye Green

Kaye Green will be interviewed on ABC radio National on Sunday morning between 10-11am if you’re near a radio. or if you want you can hear it here as the link is already up.

Kaye has been interviewed here and is currently in the midst of an exhibition based around her exploits at the Tamarind Institute in the USA. It’s at the Sidespace Gallery in Salamanca Place Hobart Tasmania. from Feb 25 – March 9 2010.

Pete Nawara – Artist

Pete Nawara is from Chicago Illinos in the USA. He has been painting since 2005, you can check his website at www.petenawara.com and his blog. www.petenawara.com/blog He describes his work as work as figurative with a pop-art feel.

Interests you have other than art you feel are important to mention? I’m very intersted in Film, Music, & Illustration. I’m currently working on a script for a western film and illustrating a children’s book the I’m writing with the help of a good friend.

What are the main medium/s you work in… I generally work in acrylic with other mediums finding their way in. Gold leaf often makes an appearance. I like to be flexible with my materials, but not without making sure they are long lasting and used correctly.

maninahoundstoothsuit

Man in a Houndstooth Suit
[A Portrait of Nolan Farrell]
Acrylic on Canvas
64 x 52 Inches (162 x 132 cm)

Artist’s statement…

a. As an artist, I often find myself reading artists statements of various kinds.  Time and again, these writings consist of endless babble about what the artist thinks the viewer is interested in knowing about the work.  Usually, the artist is completely wrong about what these things are.  I do not claim to be any different.  In my original writings for this document, I will admit that I did my fair share of babbling, mostly about my concerns of the art world, i.e. Conceptual Art.

b. I have found myself in too many museums, completely bewildered by what artists are trying to say, and most of the time, completely disgusted by what they are getting away with.  Don’t get me wrong, I am aware of the important impact conceptual art had on art history, but the statements people are making today are commonly irrelevant to society, or if they do hold any significance, it is completely lost on the general public.  This isn’t even the worse part.  Usually, it doesn’t even look good.

c. I strive to make objects that are aesthetically pleasing. This, first and foremost, is my goal. I want to make a material thing that can be appreciated visually regardless of the viewer’s art education.  Why should someone need an art degree to understand or feel a connection with a piece of art. I feel that my place in the art world is a struggle against just that.

d. With the use of color and composition I attempt to create a visual landscape that allows the viewer to tirelessly view the work. Whether it’s a portrait, an abstract piece, something illustrative, a landscape, or a figurative piece, my primary focus is to assemble a combination of qualities, such as shape, color, and form, that pleases the aesthetic senses. Any conceptual message is inserted as a secondary device, usually for my own amusement.

portraitofrobertshultz

A Portrait of Robert Schultz
Acrylic on Canvas
65? x 63?
165cm x 160cm
2008

Does your work have social, political, cultural and or personal messages?

a. It’s about how we see ourselves. What aesthetic ideal do we hold when we’re observing ourselves, or just people in general? How would we look to someone if we were to display all our vanities for the world to see? How does our reflection relate to us? When viewing ourselves, there are certain imperfections that we are more aware of than an outside viewer might be. Isn’t it like that when artists look at their own work?

b. As humans, we have a certain obsession with reflections, and with seeing ourselves. Look at the world around us. How many mirrors do you see when walking down the street, in a hotel, or in someone’s home. People are constantly sneaking a peek at how they look in their new jeans by catching their reflection in the shop windows. In our cars, we have a rear view mirror and two side mirrors, but for some reason we still find a necessity to have a vanity mirror, often on both the driver’s side and the passenger’s side. The thought of a ‘vanity mirror’ to begin with is a funny concept. We look at ourselves in the reflections of car and bus windows. When we’re on the train, we use the windows to look at ourselves and other people. We are obsessed with the way people look.

What are you currently working on?

I’m currently working on a series of paintings that investigates the ideals of visual aesthetics in the western world titled ‘A Recipe for Beauty’.

How did you get into art?

One thing that I remember in detail was the first time I set foot into the art department of the school I transfered to in the 4th grade. It was the first time I had been to any art department, and it was amazing. My previous school had art classes which involved construction paper and Elmer’s Glue. This place had a metal shop, a wood shop, and some serious assignments. I really found my place here. I didn’t really fit in anywhere else, but once I set foot in the art room, I was on top of my game. One of our first assignments was to put on an entire puppet show, from the ground up.

I remember feeling that I should be officially in charge of the puppet design, a responsibility which I took with the air of an evil dictator. I was eventually put into detention for fighting with another student over the fabric to be used for alligators, and how naturally it should be plaid.

The puppet show was a smashing success, and although the thoughts of being an artist weren’t fully developed, the thoughts of being a professional puppet maker were very strong. I’m pretty sure that alligator still exists somewhere. He was beautiful, plaid, and some of my best work. My Pinocchio, if you will.

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St. Anna
Mixed Media on Canvas – 2005
Sold – Private Collection – Paris, France

Was your education helpful, or a hindrance?

I feel incredibly fortunate that I was able to be exposed to the education I received. I would say it had a great influence on the artist I am today and I would not change it in any way.

Is there any one thing that has given you a big buzz in your art career so far? (Seeing your work in a particular collection etc…)

I was hired by a company to do live paintings touring the country with different rock bands for about two months. I was incredibly nervous at first, but my talents were received well and I gained an incredible confidence in my abilities.

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St. Peter
Mixed Media on Canvas – 2004
Sold – Private Collection – Hawaii

What or who inspires your art?

People inspire me. Everyday people. I’ve always had this ‘dream’ of having a giant studio out in the middle of nowhere. A place that I could delve into my work with no distractions and no interruptions. No people knocking on the studio door or keeping me from my paints with half-hour chit-chats and small talk. I also quickly realised that this concept is not a possiblity for me. I thrive on social activity and being constant surrounded by people. I study them. I eavesdrop on their conversations while I’m at the cafe. I watch them waiting for busses or trying to fight their way to a crowded bar.

I have trouble going out and not meeting new people. I’m a social creature and these social encounters are very important to my work. Without them I’m afraid of what I might end up creating, and I’m sure it would be dull and lifeless.

What can you tell us about your planning and making process for making art, and has that altered over the years?

The physical process starts with the camera. A subject is chosen and asked to pose. The camera is set on a tripod and the subject is asked to pretend the camera is a mirror, and that they are ‘checking themselves out’. Several photos are taken and then transferred into the computer for digital modifications. The photos are then touched up and arranged in a composition. Then, using vector tools, they are traced into shapes of color. Once they have been ‘vectorized’, they are printed in grayscale. The printed piece is then projected onto canvas and the piece is traced loosely. The shapes are then filled in with acrylic paint thinned with water, and gouache markers. Lastly, gold leaf is applied.

Some say the lifespan of many “artists” post educationally is about five years, any thoughts on that?

“ Some say the lifespan of many “artists” post educationally is about five years.” Wow. That’s frightening. I graduated in May of 2005, so ask me in a couple of months about this. I’m pretty confident I’ll still be painting though.

womaninvintagesunglasses

Vintage Sunglasses
Acrylic, Silver and Gold Leaf on Canvas
52? x 60?
132cm x 152cm
2008

If you could have any piece of artwork in your personal collection, what would it be and why?

If I could have any piece of artwork in my personal collection, I’m pretty sure I’d grab a Lichtenstein. Probably one of his large scale abstract pieces. Maybe something straight out of the Chicago Art Institute’s Modern Wing. I went to the modern wing with my Cousin’s and had a good long look at some of those Lichtensteins there. I was really impressed.

Of course the answer to this question could be different almost any day of the week. I’m almost always tempted to become a thief when I see any of Eric Fischl’s work.

What happens to works that “don’t work out”?

Gesso happens.

blackkeysftworth

Black Keys – Dallas / Ft. Worth – The Ridglea – June 19th
Live Painting
60 x 60″
2007

Do you hope the viewer will “get” what you are trying to communicate or do you feel compelled to spell it out to them?

Neither. When I produce a painting, I hope that the viewer will be visually stimulated. I want to reach them in an aesthetic way. Anything I’m attempting to communicate beyond that is purely secondary and supportive of that aesthetic idea.

Have you had much connection post sale with purchasers of your works?

I try and keep in touch with everyone I sell to. It’s important to me to make sure they are still happy with the piece in days to come. If there’s a problem with the piece , I want to be available to help. Sometimes paintings are scuffed or damaged in moves. I’ve had my fair share of repair requests. I’m happy to do it, because that work represents me, therefore it’s condition does as well.

Is your work process fast or slow?

The time it takes me to complete a painting is very dependent on circumstance. I often do ‘Live Painting’ in which pieces are completed in as quick as 4 hours. On the other hand, I have paintings in my studio which I started in 2005 and have still not completed.

Art as a therapeutic device; do you think it is useful for this purpose and is your work in this category somehow?

I would discourage anyone serious about the arts to consider their work a therapeutic exercise.

Do you aim to make “masterpieces” with the aim of being seen in the future as an artist that really made their mark in art history?

When I produce a painting, I consider it an object. It’s just a piece of material with paint on it. It’s not ‘Art’. It’s an object. That being said, I do try to create objects that will easily outlive me.

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Compiled and edited by Steve Gray © 2009+

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Check out our other Art Site http://artstuff.net.au

The Theinert View…

Ursula Theinert is no stranger to the Art Re-Source blog, and now being part of the Fields of View exhibition we chat to her again to find out some details.

News Flash!

Here’s an interview done on SBS… It’s great when artists can get media exposure like this! It’s called inspiration from disaster.

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1. Tell us about the works you have created for this exhibition.

I have completed three works and have nearly finished another.  My first painting was done a few months after Black Saturday, and heralded a new start in my physical and emotional energy to begin my art practice again.  We had just rebuilt a garage and had gathered together, and been given art supplies from friends and strangers, who kindly wanted to help.  My father built me two beautiful easels and a painting table and so with all this support and space to paint I felt energized to begin.

My first painting is called ‘Ashes to Ashes’ and is an acrylic work on a 120 x 150cm canvas, with a similar composition to the many paintings that were destroyed by the fire, which had been stored in the workshop studio which burnt down.  This painting was a great release for me, a coming to an acceptance of what had happened, and acted almost in the same way a funeral does with the grieving of a loved one.  The composition is a panoramic view of the hills of Callignee, as an attempt to portray the vastness of the devastation and the acceptance of the destruction. I also incorporated text using all words beginning with the letter ‘f’ that related to the fire eg., firestorm, fear, flames etc .These words acted as an emotive purge of my feelings about the fire.   This was a necessary start to my grieving and led me to the next phase of my work which was the more spiritual awareness of the miracle like quality of escaping such a dangerous event.

My next painting is called ‘Fire Angels’,  a triptych of  three 120 x 120cm canvases, which as the title suggests deals with the profound sense of a spiritual presence which kept my husband and I safe against all odds.  We came close to death several times and yet somehow we did not panic, we were guided to safety at the right time, with many other coincidences and good fortunes occurring,  all aiding in the sense of an otherworldliness surrounding us.  My composition is based on looking up into the tree tops of our totally burnt trees just next to our little mud brick home.  The trees had crowned and the house next door was destroyed.  The repetition of the images is an attempt to show a reflection on the meaning of the scene and the recurrence of that view and repeated safe outcome of many others, but sadly not all, who had to face Black Saturday.  Again I use text beginning with the words ‘Fire angels’ and list words that relate to guiding and overseeing and ending up with a phrase of ‘’keeping vigil over us”.

My next triptych is ‘Changeling’, and this painting relates to the issues of the acceptance of change to one’s fate, and the tenuous reality of plans and ownership.  I am certain that I was at the ‘angry’ phase of the grieving process at this time because I ached for my home and garden and land and trees and life, just the way it was before the fire.  The gratefulness of being alive and still having some parts of our former life was overwhelmed with the pain of having to deal with the day to day realities of the aftermath.  Again there is text used to reinforce this unwanted change that we all felt,  examples being,  ‘our land’, ‘our home’, ’our community’, our plans, ‘our fate’ etc.

During this time the rebuilding continued at a steady pace and we felt that we had reached certain goals, with our studio and gallery, almost being completed, and the house becoming more comfortable too.  The frenzy of activity and the stresses and positive outcomes of this amazing year almost paralleled the regeneration of the trees around us.  That regrowth and reawakening of nature has I feel mirrored the repairing of our psyche and emotional strength, with my latest triptych depicting an almost joyous scene of hope and a new beginning.

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2.  What does being an environmental expressionist mean to you?

It means I am concerned by the challenging environmental issues confronting and threatening our global future.  In my paintings I use text, colour and emotion to tap into the subconscious spiritual bond connecting us to nature to enhance the desire for innovative changes on a community level as well as globally.

I believe art has an important role to play in visually stimulating an audience with positive and negative messages which reinforce the need to nurture our world.  This visual approach is designed to inspire interest in environmental issues.  Art evokes deeply layered feelings, intuition and instinct within us all.  My works aim to facilitate contemplation and I believe intrinsically worthwhile outcomes occur when we experience another viewpoint and often all we need to do is to …”stop for a moment….!”

3.  What makes this exhibition so important, people should go and see it?

I feel Black Saturday touched everyone in Victoria, with the whole of the country ostensibly coming together and forming an emotional and psychological bond.  The fires are imbedded in our psyche, with this summer season highlighting the amount of interest, care and heightened awareness and education extracted from the painful experience of the fire and its aftermath.

This eclectic range of personal experience is reflected in some ways by the group of artists in Fields of View.  The artistic exploration of the five artists in this exhibition expresses their own individual experiences and perceptions through their own mediums in an evocative and dynamic way.   The complex environmental, philosophical, spiritual, emotional and intellectual issues that the fire has evoked in the artists will resonate with the community at large.   The ‘Fields of View’ theme is based on the Black Saturday fires but it also envelops larger issues, such as, the balance of the natural world, sustainability and conservation.   The power of art to stimulate, inform and encourage discussion through emotional creativity, indeed, can be seen in this valid example of environmental expressionism.

4.  Australian landscape is a well represented genre, what do you think Fields of View and your own work adds to the genre?

I thinks the Australian landscape has been depicted in many forms from the esoteric Aboriginal work, early European settlement, Australian Impressionists, Australian Expressionists and the contemporary art of today. Each have added to the whole journey, story of our history, way of viewing our world and each other.  I quite often feel Western artists have viewed the landscape as either romantically beautiful or foreboding and dangerous, and there is truth in both of these expressions of our surroundings.  However, I believe, artists are now seeing the land, the environment as the one being  threatened by humankind with the grave issues of the ‘balance’ in the natural world, sustainability and conservation all becoming the strong narrative feature of the work.

My focus is on the dichotomy between our love of our country and our use of our resources.  I feel we have a profound spiritual connection to the land, which I poignantly experienced during Black Saturday while I defended my home.   My work transcends known realities to the unknown otherworldly spiritual presences through our interaction with the environment.  I feel this spiritual bond heightens the enormous responsibility we have to our world and issues like sustainable wood supplies, carbon trading schemes and the many global challenges we face can only be addressed with fresh eyes and lateral thinking.

The Fields of View exhibition brings together five artists who were personally affected by the fires and who also explore the complex issues of our perceptions and our place in the world and our affect upon the environment.  We are passionate about art and our work, striving to express our narratives in a modern way, which is, to provide, create and enhance a greater understanding and awareness of environmental issues through art.

Connie Noyes

Connie Noyes is a Chicago based, Professional Contemporary Visual Artist who has been making art for 30 years. Represented by Art Depot, Innsbruck, Austria and the SFMOMA Artists Gallery in San Francisco. Connies website is at http://www.connienoyes.com

me-148

Interests you have other than art?

I have danced my entire life and I think as a result of this everything I experience is through my body. I am very physical and consequently my art is very physical. There is a visceral experience, often for the viewer, when they see my work in person. It is hard to get this from the internet or digital images, so this is important to mention.

2009_lucky

What are the main medium/s you work in…

I consider myself a painter, though I use many different materials in my work. My MFA is in photography but I never actually thought of myself as a photographer. The photographic image was the skeleton of my work. I had a hard time keeping my hands off the image. I had to touch it, to manipulate it, paint on it, erase parts and then draw back into it.

My photographs looked like paintings, and now as a painter people tell me I paint with a photographer’s eye. I think what they mean by this is that I work with the edges of the frame/canvas. This is where tension and poetry are created.


bulgariastudio

Artist’s statement…

This is a statement from my latest body of work Human Steps. It is an ongoing series I have been working on for a year and a half. There are paintings and digital images. Eventually there will be video components and an installation as well.

HUMAN: adjective, have, or relating, to characteristics of people. STEPS: noun, plural, the act of putting one foot in front of the other.

HUMAN STEPS is a dialog, which references the many disparate elements encountered in daily urban life – a metaphor for the way in which dark affects light and vice versa, how the sweet can become sickly if overdone and how close proximity to millions of people, diverse cultures and visual images can both inspire and overwhelm. It is a metaphor for tight quarters, pleasant or not so pleasant meetings and vibrant energy of the city in contrast to shadowy and emotionally difficult places.

For HUMAN STEPS, I use what most people consider garbage as a jumping off place in the work. The materials at one point might have been utilitarian, but were never considered beautiful. The hard, shiny, plastic surfaces often synonymous to commercial objects, would never pass inspection as such. Dirt falls onto the canvases, scratches, cracks, marks occur and there are no straight lines, only the illusion of such. Through the act of turning detritus into “works of art”, or elevating the prestige of garbage, I aim to question the status quo of beauty, worthiness and usability. 2009

2009_lucky_detail

Your art education was…? I have a Degree in Photography from a small liberal arts college in Virginia, Virginia Intermont College, A MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and a MA in Psychology and Art Therapy from Notre Dame de Namur University in Belmont, California.

I also took a few painting classes from Larry Robinson who teaches at UC Berkeley in California when I decided to switch mediums in 1998. Studying psychology and working as a therapist for 9 years changed my life and the way I think about my art practice. Taking painting classes with Larry, changed the trajectory of my career.

2009_therapistchair


Tell us about your study and the MFA…

I was accepted into the graduate program at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago at age 23. It was the only school I wanted to attend, though I had been accepted into two other programs. The Art Institute at the time had the reputation of having one of the best graduate art programs in the country. Plus I had been living in a very small town in the mountains of Virginia, teaching part-time at the college I attended as an undergraduate.

I drove to Chicago from this small town singing Hot Child in the City hoping the words could ease my nervousness and boost my confidence. I was shy, a bit intimidated and a giant sponge seeking food and knowledge. I took and absorbed what I was told about my work and tried to make it fit together in my psyche. I was making what I was told was BOLD work. To me it was simply romantic and stemmed from my own personal history of romantic encounters The response was never indifferent. Professors, other students and critics either loved or hated my work. The extremes intrigued me.

In critiques, the players would argue amongst themselves, passionately describing their response to my photographs. I learned how to play the game and how to get the response from my audience I wanted. In the process of absorbing others ideas -theoretical, intellectual or emotional, I forgot the importance of doing the work for myself.

Though, I never had doubts about getting my MFA, it wasn’t until much later when I could really appreciate what I got from going to school there. I was so prolific and the work I did has been the foundation for all work to come. But with that said, I don’t think I took advantage of the program the way I would have had I been a bit more mature. I received my MFA in 1980 in photography.

If you started painting in 1998 what did you do in the years previous?

I stayed in Chicago and worked and exhibited for two years after school. I don’t think I was prepared for life after graduate school. I was working as a waitress and bartender at night so I could work in my studio during the day. But, then something happened and the social aspects of the bar life and alcohol consumed me. I moved to LA, back to Chicago then back home to Washington where I finally hit bottom…and I thank God it stopped there. I was able to get sober and back in my body! I was married and my daughter was born on Xmas day in ’86.

2008_inthebeginning1

In 1988, when my daughter was less than two years old sitting in her high chair, I watched as she bit the tips off non-toxic markers. The color oozed out of her mouth onto the paper. She spit, drew, rubbed, rolled in the gooey mess. She was covered in color. She didn’t care what any one thought of her drawing. She was genuinely excited by her experience. It was in this moment, in the kitchen with my tiny daughter, I remembered again why I had wanted to be an artist. She and I began playing with art materials together. I learned so much about process from her.

I began working daily, very consciously being kind to the fragile artist child felled for the previous six years. Like my daughter, I suddenly didn’t care what anyone thought of what I was doing. In fact I never had to show anyone. I was just playing. I decided that the process would be my inspiration – one thing leading to another naturally. A year later, I was doing work that felt honest and stood on its own – photographing garbage, old window shades, cardboard, hardware, tape etc., manipulating the images in the darkroom and painting, drawing back into them. I began to exhibit the work in juried shows was awarded a couple of prizes. Soon after, in1990, had a solo exhibit in Alexandria Virginia at the Torpedo Factory. At the suggestion of a fellow artist, I spent every cent I had on having the work professionally framed. I was proud.

2008_harmony_discord

In April 1992, I was awarded an exhibit at Touchstone Gallery in Washington DC. I continued to work with photographic images. The imagery depicted the fragility of relationships – things are rarely what they are perceived to be. The black rose was a metaphor for beauty and the passing of time with sexual overtones. Since I had spent all of my money framing the last show, I used discarded materials to frame and display the work. The acrylic sheets, mounted on the frames with screws purposely didn’t fit. They swung from side to side as people passed. I tacked some of the work directly onto the wall and imposed makeshift frames around the large pieced together photographs.

In May 1992 I moved from Alexandria Virginia to San Francisco, due to my husbands employer. I had not yet figured out how to make a living with my art. Part of me didn’t even want to try. I was more interested in practical ways I could support my children and myself. I know now it was fear that held me back.

Since undergraduate school at Virginia Intermont College in Bristol, Virginia, I had significant interest in psychology. Almost had a double major. After our move to San Francisco, I was accepted into the Marriage and Family Therapy Program, with an emphasis in Art Therapy at Notre Dame de Namur University in Belmont California. I began in June 1992 and graduated with my second Masters degree in 1994.

2008_conform

My relationship to my art practice changed significantly through the process of studying Psychology/Art Therapy. After graduation I worked in a few, rather severe venues, as an intern before private practice was an option.

When I began my private practice it was important to find a space where I could see clients, but also have my own studio. Believe it or not, in 1998, before the dot com boom that destroyed all reasonable rental options in SF actually hit, I actually found the perfect space in a creative arts building. My goal was to work in the darkroom and studio when I wasn’t seeing clients. This might have worked, except 2 children now pre-adolescent, and work with a difficult client base compromised my good intentions. It seemed impossible to carve out enough hours. Darkroom work was impossible. I began painting.

2008_conform_detail

At first, I was painting on photographs, printed before or old furniture I had found. I had learned from past experience how important it was prime the pump in order to get my creativity flowing again. At some point in 1998, I decided to take a painting class at UC Berkeley Extension. I had never been confronted with a blank canvas before. Though my photographs had always been somewhat painterly I didn’t know the first thing about painting. Painting was more immediate than photography. I don’t think I ever anticipated what would happen next.

2007_eruption

I devoured painting. The first night the teacher in the extension class said, “Who are you?” He had never seen anyone attack the process with such abandon in a beginning painting class. Through the work I had done as an art therapist, which is ALL about process, I had developed a deep understanding and trust in myself as an artist. I knew I would learn more about paint and painting materials the more I worked. Once I started I couldn’t stop. I rented a space in a group-painting studio and rented out part of my therapy office. I was seeing clients 4 days a week and painting 3, then seeing clients 3 days a week, painting 4, until I was seeing clients only 2 days a week.

My therapy practice was booming. I kept raising my prices because I didn’t want to work so much. I wanted to paint. Then I got it. If I had the talent to help others get what they wanted in their lives, I was also skilled enough to get it for myself. All I ever wanted to do was make art. Really. Everything else along the way was a distraction to knock me off my path. I was told a career, as an artist was not practical, especially with two children. I decided to stop believing this idea.

One year after I started painting, I was invited into Hang Gallery in San Francisco. The gallery sold everything I gave them. I was able to leave my private practice in July 2001. That year, I had a solo exhibit at Weigand Gallery, connected to Notre Dame de Namur University and was a featured artist at the Palo Alto location of Hang. I also participated in my second open studios in SF and was chosen for the Selections Exhibit through Art Span the following year. I was one of 20 artists from a pool of about 600. In March of 2003 I had a solo exhibit at Hang and sold out the show.

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What fascinates you?

Human behaviour, culture, diversity. I am fascinated how art can bridge differences- open up dialog. I am fascinated by irony and contrasts-opposites that aren’t really such, for example love-hate. These emotions are not opposite, the intensity of the emotions are both too strong. I think hate is intense fear of difference or perhaps an intense fear of ones own unconscious or dark side.

Do you have a personal philosophy that underpins your work?

Just show up!! This is the MOST important thing in the creative process. Something always happens even when I don’t feel like working…and sometimes really interesting things happen BECAUSE of my resistance. I just try to stay open.

Do you have ideas turning over in your head all the time?

YES.

So do you use a journal to bring those ideas to reality or some other recording device?

I write things down, I write a lot actually. I love to write and have even incorporated small vignettes of stories into some of my work, but often I just do it when I get an idea…I don’t tend to make sketches, though I do use Photoshop to manipulate certain images for paintings, especially when I am working on commissions. It gives the client a very close idea of what the final painting will look like.

Eccentricity is seen as a common trait of artists of many disciplines, how about you?

Maybe I am eccentric. Does one know if they are? I feel like a chameleon. I can fit in among people in very diverse settings, some more comfortably than others.

Do you aim to break the rules of basic composition, layout etc or do you ignore the “rules” and just create?

Funny question about rules. I think it is important to know the basics. For example, I was compelled to take a beginning painting class before I made my first painting in 1998. I had no idea how to start a painting. So I learned the rules, or this particular teachers rules, for painting. After a while I got bored with doing it the same way and I wanted to experiment. This is when I began to find my own voice with the medium. I just kept asking, “What would happen if I do this?”, and I would try. It was a painting, I could always undo what I did if it didn’t work.

What seemed to happen though was the more chaos I created on the canvas the more opportunities were presented. I was constantly working my way out of disastrous paintings. As a matter of fact, I don’t ever think I have made a painting in the past 12 years when at some point in the process I didn’t think it was a complete disaster. Usually the day after I was ready to trash the whole thing, the work would somehow resolve itself. In my work, if there is not this chaos or conflict at some point, the painting has no life. I take risks just to see what will happen next.

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 believe the beauty of art, abstract work in particular because of its subjective nature, but all art really, is each viewer brings his or her own experience to the piece. I get asked all the time, “What influenced this work or that. Every time I tell, the person looks disappointed. After a number of these disappointing looks, I got it. They were having their own experience with the work and my answer squashed their experience. So now when someone asks me that question, I always say, I would be happy to tell you, but first tell me why you are asking or tell me what you see in the work. I don’t want my answer to make theirs wrong, because it isn’t. I think art should spur dialog, which is usually what ends up happening with this approach. Art for me is not something that is absolute.

How important is it to you that your work communicates something to the viewer?

There are people who deeply connect to my work and others that walk right past it. Funny story, during an open studio a man walked by my studio door poked his head in and said out loud, “Humph. Buffalo.” Obviously he wasn’t connecting. But then another time a woman wanted to buy a painting I had in a gallery and there was something wrong with the stretcher. I took the painting back to my studio and she waited for this painting for six weeks. When I brought the painting back to the gallery she bought it immediately, took it home to hang in her dining room. The next day she brought the painting back to the gallery to return it. When asked why she said, “It sacred my children.” This was so interesting to me because it WAS an abstract painting, nothing overtly scary. But, the children, obviously sensitive children, picked up energy in this piece that frighten them. And I totally understood what.

It was a very difficult period in my life. The energy of those days came through in the painting. The children were right to be scared! So with this said, Paintings can communicate with viewers positively, negatively and indifferently. Of course I always want people to adore my work, but the times when they don’t can be just as interesting!

If you stopped doing art right now would you miss it? There is no way I could ever stop making art. I wish I could, my life would be easier if I had a real job, and a dependable income etc. and I have tried in the past when I worked as a psychotherapist. I committed to my art practice in 2001, full time and have never looked back. This is my soul, my path. It is who I am. I have stopped questioning this.

You mention “There is no way I could ever stop making art.” So is the process or product of art somehow a therapeutic device of some kind?

Well, I am sure there is some therapeutic value, but I don’t consider my work art therapy. Art Therapy is only concerned with the process with little or no regard for the final product. Though the process is certainly an important part of my work, I do have other considerations as well such as concept, overall design, how pieces work together, intellectual considerations etc. When I said I could no longer stop making art, what I meant was my art practice is such an intrinsic part of who I am. It is more than just something I do. My art practice is my playground- it is a reflection of me, my voice, my spirit. I guess I need this mirror.

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How does having a working knowledge of Psychology assist you in your work?

Sometimes I wish I didn’t know so much and could work in blissful ignorance. It is interesting though, when I am in the process of creating a piece, I am not thinking about what it means, how it is connected etc. I am just paying attention to what is happening in the piece. After, when the piece is complete, is when I see everything! I understand the metaphor in my work very easily and how it is connected to my life and my own psychology. But, I also think the concerns I have in my work are universal ones…and lately I have been working more conceptually, so self-analysing my work is not such an issue.

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What discourages you from doing art?

I am always working. If not making art, marketing, networking planning etc. This is a full time job. No, it is a full life! There is no difference between my art and my life at this point. Today I am sick in bed and I am still working. Writing this interview…;-)

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Do you have a challenge knowing when a work is finished?

My challenge is knowing a piece is not finished and trying to make myself believe that it is. It goes back to the chaos comment. After working and wrestling with a piece for a long time, I want it to be finished, but there is always a little nag in my head. It isn’t until I REALLY complete the piece, and I know intuitively when this happens, the voice goes away.

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What about the role of titles with your work, some hate them others revel in them?

I have tried it both ways. My current work has titles. Other series have had more generic titles, titles for identification. Again it depends on the work. I don’t have any absolute rules about this.

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If you could have any piece of artwork in your personal collection, what would it be and why?

One of Anselm Keefer’s Wedding Dresses.


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The best thing an art teacher ever said to you was… “Just follow the work”. This has been invaluable. It keeps me focused on what I am doing and not concerned with what others. Though I look and am interested and get excited about other artists work, I can only go to the places my work and my process take me. Plus, it is always an exciting day when the work pushes me into the next phase of the process.

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How important do you think art is for society?

So important. I cannot imagine a society without art. Artists are the philosophers for the culture. Not only do we bring different viewpoints, thought, images, connections to the table we create the life in the culture- excitement, beauty and innovation. Without art we would live in a culture of grey -mundane, homogeny. There would be no joie de vivre. Depressing thought!

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You mention tension and poetry are created at the edges of a work… Do you want to tell us more about what you mean?

By cutting something off at the edge there is an automatic tension created, a push-pull between the edge and the object. It throws the balance off and suggests continuation into another plane. Isn’t this poetic? Often I will use the edge as the place where most of the “action” happens. The center becomes either a place to rest or a void.


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Art As a way of life, rather than a career or “job”… Do you think other people get that and appreciate the passion this might cause?

No, I don’t know what people get. I am certainly open to hearing other people’s response to that question, artists or non-artists alike. You obviously get it to ask the question. Thank you for that. I am passionate about my art practice, my life, all of the above.

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Here are a bunch of statements you can respond to any way you want. Go for the first thing that comes into your mind, or not…

Sociable and out there, or withdrawn or intense? Sociable, out there and at times intense

Tough and resilient, soft and fragile? I look fragile and soft, my attitude is tough and resilient and I think my inner core is made of steel!!! Though exhausting at times,I am a fighter for what I want…. and a survivor.

Logic and clarity or creative and messy? Clear, Creative and totally messy.

Small and intimate or large and bold? I love the extremes. At one point I was only making paintings over six feet and under 12 inches. Such different energy.

Security or insecurity? Depends on the day

Feel the art and hear the image… Feel, emotional and tactile.

The world is… f#%ked unless we can harness more creative intelligence in our leaders and everyone gets how interconnected we all are.

Creative muscle building… Comes from showing up, as with any practice or discipline.

Delicate and subtle, strong and bold? Again, I am there in the extremes.

Intellect or careless casual connections… There are no accidents. It is a matter of being in the moment, using you mind, body, emotions, spirit and whatever else is at your disposal to either respond or not to what is happening in the work at that particular moment.

Critics are important because? It is another way to have dialog about art. Agree with them or not, it is the dialog, which is important.


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Dan Wollmering

Dan Wollmering BA; MFA: PhD. is a Contemporary Sculptor based in West Brunswick, Melbourne, currently represented by Flinders Lane Gallery & BMG Art, Adelaide. For over 40 years Dan has been making art in Wood, Steel, Bronze and Aluminium. He describes his works as Abstract Architectural. He lectures in the Faculty of Art and Design at Monash.University Victoria. Dan has made pilgrimages to Italy France and New York several times over the years. You can read more on Dan via Flinders Lane gallery’s website.

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Does your work have social, political, cultural and or personal messages?

Some works do (outdoor public sculptures more linked to political & social issues and ideas) Gallery works are concerned more with formal notions of structure, form and beauty invested in nature or a purely from the imagination.

What are you currently working on?

A series of works that were executed in foam & cardboard whilst on a recent art residency at Rimbun Dahan outside of KL, Malaysia – to be cast in bronze and aluminium. The works are loosely related to architectural forms derived from Islamic structures and contemporary buildings in KL.

What fascinates you?

Travel, cities, theoretical physics (what little I understand) discovering a new piece of music, (classical, rock or jazz) Albums that still fascinate me i.e.‘ Kind of Blue’ by Miles Davis, ‘Blood on the Tracks’ by Bob Dylan and ‘Rook’ by Shearwater to name a few . . .

One word or statement to describe your current works?

Tactile and curious.

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Now give us a more descriptive outline on your current works.

A series of 14 aluminium & bronze sculptures that reference small personal architectural statements – based on my living experiences in Malaysia for six weeks.

How did you get into art?

Elementary school on Friday afternoons – a time devoted to art activities that interested me immensely and the teachers who taught it.

How important is art for you?

I need it to make sense of world and to make it – to provide a type of concentration that brings about satisfaction and achievement.

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What is it about Visual Art you find compelling?

Sometimes, but more rarely as I grow older, it can bring goose bumps to my arms that conveys of a type excitement or challenge that is quite outside the world that we live in.

The craziest thing you did at art school was…

Designing a sculpture rocket (dry fuel rockets were all the rage back in the 1970s); it ignited and accelerated to about 100 metres when it nose-dived back to the earth. Luckily no one was injured.

What did you do before or during becoming an artist?

Worked in a variety of jobs – mostly saving money to return to University Art School. (Factory worker Hudson Sprayers, Combine Driver and Mechanic for the Green Giant Canning company, Labourer for a construction company).

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Is there any one thing that has given you a big buzz in your art career so far?

There have been many. One in particular, being selected for the 3rd Australian Sculpture Triennial in 1987 at the National Gallery of Victoria.

Was there a big turning point in your art journey that caused you to think that “it’s all worthwhile”, or “oh yeah I get it…”?

Hummmm . . . a positive experience seeing a major work by Louise Nevelson at the Walker Arts centre in Minneapolis.

You know you are successful in Visual Arts when…

Such a difficult term ‘success’ perhaps when the work hums – most artist know when this condition occurs – as rare as it is. Another measurement, when attached to a commercial gallery, of course, arriving at your opening and seeing those uplifting ‘red dots’ – certainly makes the effort worthwhile although I would not necessarily state categorically this is the only measurement of success.

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What can you tell us about your planning and making process for making art, and has that altered over the years?

I Try not to waste time in the studio. The days of ‘fooling around’ are over – but would like to have more time to engage in this important and necessary activity.

Creative streaks do they come in waves for you?

Not really, am more interested in the ‘flow’ – when one is working a piece – so focused and engaged that hours pass quickly. A good head space.

Do you have a personal description of “Art”?

Yes – a loaded term that Postmodernism has, for the most part, tried to kill off but continues to bounce back when artists aim high.

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Have you had any commissions? Any of note etc…

Yes, a piece titled Dwelling, that I am proud of that was commissioned by Moreland City Council (with some funds from Monash University) sited in front of the Leisure Centre in Fawkner Victoria.

Some say the lifespan of many “artists” post educationally is about five years, any thoughts on that?

I have read this and understand the difficulties associated with making a reasonable living off one’s own practice. Yet, there are many examples whereby artists ‘return to the field’ after years in other occupations, or free from domestic responsibilities, or have sufficient time and funds to commit to the practice. In my experience, most committed artists have to make work and will exhibit in whatever manner they wish over a long period of time; Art is a marathon not a sprint.

What has been a turning point in your career thus far and why?

I have never really turned – just going steadily forward. A ‘focused point’ was when I was doing the ‘rounds’ trying to ‘land’ a commercial gallery when finally after approaching many without success – a colleague friend tipped me off regarding a new gallery opening, I was accepted and became part of the stable of Artists at Flinders Lane Gallery in Melbourne. I have been showing with them since 1989.

Can you name a favourite artist or three… and why?

Rebecca Horn, Louise Nevelson, David Smith, Buster Kendall, Anthony Caro (late) add another 100 artists here.

Have you had any “big breaks” in your career?

Yes – being selected for an International Sculpture Symposium in Southern China – commissioned work that was eventually installed in Shanghai.

All artists seem to have struggles, tell us about any you have had?

Generally after a solo exhibition – work removed, feeling ‘flat’ taking stock and then questioning why am I spending all this time devoted to this activity when I could be doing many other interesting things as well?? It only lasts for a few days – as other art related projects have to be completed. We just keep going.

One thing you wish you had listened to from an art teacher or lecturer?

Not one thing in particular, rather embracing more of the overall arching activities occurring at the University art school at the time – including happenings, performances . . . I was somewhat sceptical of such undertakings as being rather indulgent – but only now recognise the value and significance of these experimental and innovative art forms.

What sort of depth or meaning is there behind the work you do?

Oh dear, another excellent question. Depends on which piece and the brief attached i.e.a public artwork/sculpture – being site referential. My inside gallery work is more geared towards to condition of abstraction and such notions of transformation and imbedded spirit Sometimes, this may manifest itself in ideas of beauty or alternatively, uneasy and precarious possibilities of chance and accident i.e. cause and effect.

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…?

Becoming an activist in the Union movements. The death of both my parents.

Are their special aspects to the making of your work that you want to share?

Process vs product – the age old question. Sometimes only certain sculptors can appreciate this often overlooked creative condition. Enjoying materials and appreciating techniques are often important vehicles of conversation shared between sculptors. Looking at from another angle, perhaps this is why cooking shows are so popular on TV – the mystery of the making.

You know you have “made it as an artist” when…

You are known by your first name, not only with your peers, but by a wide audience.

The business or marketing side of Art can be a challenge to some, what are your thoughts?

Just do it – it has to be done – never ever assume that anyone but yourself will promote your work. Sometimes, a good dealer will make important connections – particularly when it comes to clients.

What is the most unexpected response you’ve received from a viewer of your work?

A man came to our first commercial exhibition held in South Yarra – all dressed in the medium that we were using primarily throughout our exhibition – which was bread.

If someone says to you “Oh your work is decorative and lacks any meaning…” your response would be…?

Most artwork is decorative – some with meaning, some without – don’t worry too much about it. There is a lot of decorative artwork going back to early civilizations, enriched with symbols and significance. Know yourself, the intended audience and then consider the site/gallery in which it is to be exhibited.

Art as a therapeutic device; do you think it is useful for this purpose and is your work in this category somehow?

Again, who knows, if it was not for Art – then there very well may be another passion to embrace – could even be sport – i.e. golf, bushwalking or chess – although at one stage with a fellow artist I played a lot of backgammon.

People around you (family friends etc.) what would they say about the way you work, the moods you have, your life as an artist etc?

I think they think it is all very normal – after all have studied art or made sculptures most of my life. Attending openings, galleries, and museums – all very much of what we do.

Some artists are more “at home” isolated in their creative process, while others revel in being part of a group to bounce “ideas off” how about you?

I need both – but do appreciate private studio time – no distractions.

When you get the urge to create art because something has “pushed your button/s” how compelling is it for you?

It is more a regular work process that I undertake on a weekly basis.

What or how do you respond to the term “Starving Artist”?

No artist needs to starve and another myth that raises its profile, generally when the media has nothing of substance to write about.

Do you prefer a perfect smooth technique or a more energetic expressive technique and why?

Both have their place – depends on what’s required.

How important is society, culture and or history to your work?

Much more considered with my public artworks. And always aware of the historical tradition in Australian sculpture: its practitioners, influences, ambitions, trajectories and possibilities.

How do you think art can change people or their perceptions?

Art really cannot make claim to this – however, I think art can make extraordinary perceptual change with the individual – but not society as a whole. There are now too many competing media and other influences that can undertake major perceptual shifts in society.

Do you go into any contemporary art prizes, if so why?

Yes, to support such occasions and see if I can make the shortlist (for major ones). It is perhaps our equivalent of competition – although highly subjective with luck – if we compare with sports.

Are you the sort of artist that seeks out promotional opportunities or one that shuns the limelight?

Promotion is all part of the industry – one has to if you are serious about being a successful artist. I do – but hopefully not in a grandiose manner that is self delusionary and destructive. I see such occasions all necessary in the process of networking and making opportunities – but not at the expense of wasting time not actually making the work.

What advice would you give to an artist just starting out?

Just do and just keep going. Go to art school, make friends (some may become very helpful later on in your career). When you are ready – do an MFA (research which art school will suit you best). Apply for grants, enter into group shows and awards and when you have a body of quality works – keep an ear to the ground for new gallery soon to open.

How long did it take to develop your own style?

‘Style’ is another one of those difficult terms in the Visual Arts – perhaps best to suggest that it may be idiosyncratic – all depends on the event, exhibition of site specific nature of a work requires flexibility and a more lateral approach.

Does the gallery make the artist famous or does the artist make the gallery famous?

I think it probably has to do more with curators, editors, feature writers, reviewers and critics. Galleries are important, but generally facilitate sales – some have clout to influence the above – but again, the work has to be good, challenging, difficult or stunning beautiful or a ‘wow’ factor that can not be described – or put into words.

Can you respond to this quote “Anyone who is half assed about art should get out.” (Janet Fish).

Hummmm . . I guess one could suggest that we need a lot of the clutter to really appreciate the good stuff.

Cultural connections you may have which may be of value to the viewer? Go overseas and make art connections, residencies, symposiums. It is important to get out of Australia.

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Compiled and edited by Steve Gray © 2009+

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Check out our other Art Site http://artstuff.net.au

Kerrie Warren – The view from here…

Kerrie Warren on her work and her role in the Fields of View Exhibition.

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Tell us about the works you have created for this series of exhibitions.

I’m an Abstract Expressionist painter and am very much influenced by my environment at the time, the ‘Bushfire Series’ came through naturally because the fires and the after effect of the fires became a part of my life.

I live in Crossover Victoria; my studio narrowly escaped the Bunyip Ridge fire on Black Saturday, a day that I will never forget.  I was also influenced later by the talk of ‘Fire Bugs’ in various areas.  Thus the ‘Fire Bugs’ naturally began to appear in the work also, they just flowed out and I didn’t try to stop them.

I work with the canvas on the floor and use acrylic paints, mediums, gravity and gestural movement to express myself through bold mark making and colour.

I do not plan my work; instead I flow with it and work in a spontaneous fashion.  I somehow step inside ‘spontaneous’, where everything slows down and I work to a point of resonation (a climax).

How has the environment shaped the art you produce?

The environment has always shaped my work in a sense.  I explore the ‘sensation’ of it on a molecular level, where energy (life) and movement are recorded in the moment.  The influence is always there…

You were all involved in the Regionalis exhibition in 2009, apart from that not being a travelling show, how is this different?

In one sense it isn’t different, it is simply the evolvement of a journey.  My whole heart is offered in every piece, on every canvas, within each mark; however, this particular series sits within a very raw, powerful and emotional group series based on a catastrophic event.

Two of the exhibiting artists (Werner and Ursula Theinert) were directly impacted by the fire at Callignee on that day and it has been such an experience to work with them on this project, they had to start from scratch and even rebuild their studio first!

I think it will bring forth an emotional response from the Victorian communities, I’m sure that many viewers will relate to our stories and will have their own to tell.

What makes your work unique or magical for the viewer?

I suppose that depends on the viewer’s perspective.  As an Abstract Expressionist, I find my work often sparks discussion, even debate.  It is generally either loved or loathed.

Either way, what the viewer will find is honest mark making, a balance of dynamic colour and something they will not have seen before.  If the viewer is open to this style of work and they have the opportunity to spend time with it, they will allow themselves to ‘feel it’, to communicate with it on layers beneath the surface (like I do).

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How does being part of a group travelling show like this make a difference for you?

Being part of a touring group show creates its own opportunities to exhibit and reach the wider community.

It connects the artists involved and certainly stimulates activity both in and out of the studio.

It also creates an opportunity to connect with supporters and sponsors, International Power / Mitsui Loy Yang B collected a piece of mine from this series, it is very exciting to know that after the tour comes to an end, ‘Firewall’ 09 will end up in a corporate collection.

The Parliament House dinner, how did that come about, and a bit about it…

Yes, the Parliament House presentation and dinner is something I am very much looking forward to.  We made good friends with our local MP Mr. Gary Blackwood Member for Narracan a couple of years ago when we presented ‘Wild Dogs from Down Under’, another touring exhibition that travelled in Victoria and to our sister city JiuJiang in China.

MP Mr. Gary Blackwood was interested to hear about the ‘Fields of View’ tour and assisted us by creating the opportunity to present this project in an official capacity in Queen’s Hall, Parliament House Melbourne, where on the same night participating artist Peter Biram will be launching a new arts movement ‘Environmental Expressionism’.

We are also excited to announce that Mr. Ted Baillieu MLA, Shadow Minister for the Arts, will officially ‘open’ this occasion, supporting the project.

The night will be celebrated along with a VIP 3 course dinner (inside Queen’s Hall) and we invite anyone interested to join us, to support this project and be part of this journey!

*please find the invitation on this link

http://www.kerriewarren.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2010/01/Invitation-to-Parliament-House.pdf

Kerrie Warren, Abstract Expressionist.

Werner Theinert – Field of View Artist

Werner Theinert is one of the five Artists in the Fields of View exhibition, here are his responses to a few questions I asked him about the exhibition.

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Tell us about the works you have created for this series of exhibitions. (medium, style, intent, subject.)

I have chosen three pieces from my Black Saturday series to be a part of the fields of View Tour.

They are all 1200 by 1200mm high resolution images, printed on high quality vinyl which in turn is covered with a clear semi matt protective layer.  This is then self adhesively fixed to an aluminium sandwich board – modern day sign writer technology.  The board then has an aluminium channel fixed to the rear, to allow easy hanging of the work and to provide a degree of strength and rigidity to the board.

The original images are firstly copied and melded into geometric angular panels.  These panels are then combined and shaded to give an illusion of three dimensional boxes.  The patterns create an Escher type illusionary effect.

The original images used to create these pictures were taken on the Sunday morning after Black Saturday, and as such have a very strong association with the devastating events of that fateful night.  The many stark images taken that morning are a clear reminder to me of the hopelessness of mans efforts to in any way try to combat the sheer raw power of Mother Nature – the destruction was total and complete.

The first piece is titled Distorted Metal.  The original image was taken with the collapsed roof of our burnt studio workshop at an angle in the foreground, with the fatally injured Bungalow and blackened tree line in the background.  The interesting patterns created at the corners of the boxes resemble radiating stars, with the blackened trees creating a feather like pattern within the stars.  The other interesting part of the image is the Crab like creature created by the angled metal sheets.

The 2nd piece is titled Burnt Studio Metal, this was all that was left of our Studio workshop – but burnt metal and molten glass, with the stark blackened trees standing sentinel in the background.  The interesting feature of this piece is the appearance of a halo or a circle around the top of each box (or is that the bottom of the box).

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The 3rd piece is titled Mower Metal Burnt.  This was an image of the remains of our shed.  The shed had the mowers, bikes, hydraulic splitter, slasher – anything and everything gardening!  The colours are simply Black, Brown and White.  There are so many different things created by the melding of the images, limited only by your imagination.

Conceptually the boxes each represent a family home, a family unit.  Each box is a part of a group of boxes – a small community.  The next pictures in the Black Saturday series then have many more boxes – representing a large community, and the next one with even more boxes – a State.  With the final image in the series, with the boxes arranged in a seemingly chaotic manner representing the chaos and disorder after Black Saturday, but if you look closely – bigger, overall boxes still remain, in other words the fundamental fabric of the community still remains!

How has the environment shaped the art you produce?

The Environment, and what we the people of the world are doing to it, is a major concern for me personally.  I am an avid reader of people like Heinberg, Gore and Flannery, I am currently looking into things like Permaculture and self sufficiency.

I would say that the events of Black Saturday have reinforced and confirmed my views on climate change.  The extremes of climate which we experienced firsthand that day have increased my resolve and my passion to continue on the path to self sufficiency, and to spread the word on Climate Change and Environmentalism, using Art as a medium.  It has also provided me with a vast number of graphic images and material for me by which I can continue my artistic journey.

My aim is to provide a visual narrative that creates and enhances discussion about the environment, and the future of our world.  I have worked in various capacities within the energy industry.  I have worked in the Telecommunications Industry, Aluminium Smelters, Alumina Refineries, LNG Production plants and Brown Coal fired power stations.

I have lived my adult life in Bahrain, Qatar and in Australia’s Victoria and even the Northern Territory.  I feel that these experiences have given me a valuable insight into the environmental workings of all of these industries, but also an insight into the attitudes and philosophies of our politicians and leaders.

I have made a conscious decision to aim for self sufficiency.

What does being an environmental expressionist mean to you?

Being an Environmental Expressionist, for me, means I am a member of a group of contemporary artists, utilising Art as the medium for conveying the Environmental message to the public and to the world.

The Black Saturday fires forms a major aspect to this exhibition, do the works you have created somehow act as a form of healing for you?

Art has been a catalyst for my healing process by providing avenues of support and a creative voice through expression of my emotional reaction to the destruction of our property by the unleashed forces of nature.

The use of the optical illusion created in my images portrays my own feelings of the illusion of ownership and property.

For me the post Black Saturday “healing” has also been provided by the rebuilding of our property and our lives from the ashes left by Black Saturday.  Closure has occurred by the demolishing team removing the remains of our Studio / Workshop and shed, by finally making the decision to demolish and remove our Study / Office at the end of the house, and the decision to demolish and remove our Bungalow, and replace it with our new Studio Gallery.

The completion of the rebuilding works, have also provided me with the healing and the closure required to adequately cope with this event.  The creation of my new series and the positive outcomes of our exhibition at Red Gallery, the creation and launch of Environmental Expressionism, when combined with the forthcoming Fields of View touring exhibition have further assisted in the healing process.

What sorts of messages are you communicating with your work?

My artistic journey is one of discovery.  My earlier work manipulated the original image and created a spiralling ever decreasing illusionary effect which was a metaphor for the decreasing power and influence of the coal industry and the ever increasing damage done to forests by the changing climate. The narrative for the picture is written in the centre or the focus of the picture.  The text is printed in the same font as used in a dictionary, as if it is a direct copy/paste from the dictionaries authoritive text.  This ensures that the narrative or the desired message cannot be misinterpreted.

My latest series uses the post fire images of destruction to create a range of optical illusions which focus on the illusion of property ownership and its perceived permanence.  The Cubic forms created, represent a container of people’s lives and possessions – a home. The connection of adjacent boxes creates the sense of neighbourhood, community and shared realities.

What makes this exhibition so important people should go and see it?

I feel that Black Saturday touched everyone in Australia, with everyone coming together and forming an emotional and psychological bond.  The fires were a vivid image of the potential destructive powers of nature and an environment out of balance. This summer season has highlighted the new awareness, and changed people’s views on how to cope with a potential future fires.

The exhibition provides a portal through which we can view five different perspectives of an event that has touched each artist on a personal level.  The artists in the exhibition have each created works to stimulate, inform and encourage discussion through their own passionate expressions and concerns, not only for Black Saturday but for the environmental issues that will challenge us in the future.

Fields of view – Interview Peter Biram

Peter Biram

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Tell us about the works you have created for this series of exhibitions.

My current body of work is exploring the recent 2009 Black Saturday bushfires this links into previous works exploring the theme of ‘land ownership’ and ‘usage’ within an environmental framework. This relationship includes traditional and non-traditional interaction with the land. This work reads on several layers-

  1. Mark making

On this level the viewer processes the work on a surface level, that is to say the paint texture and colour of the work. The work at this level can be read in decorative terms.

  1. Subject

At this level the viewer reads the work as a landscape, within this framework the observer can interpret the geometric forms as pure decoration.

  1. Conceptual Narrative

Within this theme of land ownership I am exploring the pressure that is placed on the land in an environmental sense both in a western/ European standpoint (In some works I use the ‘hard edged ’Motifs or symbols’ ) and the koorie perspective, (the dots).

I am also exploring the fine balance that exists in the natural environment, some of my past works explore this theme of ‘Balance.

This is to say “Order & Chaos” found within nature and the balance of power shifting between the two states.

Many of my compositions are deliberately broken into two sections symbolizing the two states of chaos & order, the fine balance of nature is placed under pressure re land “caretakership”.

Within this framework I have explored both contemporary ownership symbolized by various motifs which is usually  in the bottom half of the composition.(from a European standpoint)

The ‘hard edged’ nature of the chosen motifs or symbols’ also represents past civilizations, this presents a symbol of ‘land ownership’ in the sense of  ‘branding’ the land.

I also usually choose hard edge shapes because of its direct contrast to the soft organic nature of the bush motif. This also symbolizes human kind’s influence on the natural landscape.

How has the environment shaped the art you produce?

The concern for the natural environment has always plays a large part of my life. Art can be a powerful platform or a stage that one can express concepts or concerns. In this case I express the ever- growing concerns over the natural environment. In this form my focus is towards human kind and the relationship human kind has with the natural environment with special attention to ‘land usage’.

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What does being an environmental expressionist mean to you?

I have major concerns over the future with regards over the natural environment, and art is an excellent vehicle for expressing these ideas. If we subscribe to these views one can take this to the next level, as collective voice in the form of an art movement, this is why I founded the new art movement – ‘Environmental Expressionism’ ,to more effectively pass on the message

Australian landscape is a well represented genre, what do you think Fields of View and your own work adds to the genre?

The paintings which have established a permanent place in the Australian heritage are usually those which depict the ‘typical’ Australian landscape or express an aspect of Australian character.

This is the common demoninator  which surpasses the changes in genre, style, and me  and links such paintings as Tom Roberts’ The Breakway, Arthur Boyd’s Wimmera Landscape and ShoalHaven series, Sir Hans Hysen’s Spring Early Morning, Russell Drysdale’s The Rabbiters and finally Fred Williams Upwey,Lysterfield and Pilbara series, to name a few.

Paintings themselves emerge as valuable, known and loved works but it would be impossible to present Great Australian Paintings on the basis of judgment of individual paintings. Rather, this book is a salute to the founders of Australian tradititions in art, artists whose successors are even now enriching that tradition in new ways.

The first great school of Australian painting is well represented in this volume. This was time of he ‘golden era’ of painting in the 1880’s and 1890’s, the time of artists like Roberts, Condor, Streeton and McCubbin. With the light of the French Impressionist movement, they were the first to capture the true vision of the country, to break away from the idealised interpretatons that went before.

It is my hope my work has followed, with no less distinction, by the paintings of this age – each new work I undertake will hopefully be discovering and illuminating a new element in Australian landscape or scene.

What sorts of messages are you communicating with your work?

I am an environmental expressionist painter. The paintings explore the theme of questionable land ownership and usage within an environmental framework. This relationship includes traditional and non-traditional interaction. I examine the pressure that is placed on the land in an environmental sense including the fine balance that exists in the natural environment. I usally break my paintings into two sections symbolizing the two states of chaos & order, with special attention to the effects of the Victorian bush fires of 2009.

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What makes this exhibition so important people should go and see it?

Fields of View presents a variety of perspectives and perceptions about the environment, through the eyes, hearts and minds of five passionate Australian artists. Artists Leonie Ryan, Kerrie Warren, Peter Biram, together with Ursula and Werner Theinert share their individual visions, emotion’s and concepts about the environment including individual experiences of the Black Saturday bush fires.

Start Looking – Art Videos online

I love it when I find another great Art Resource.

This one has all sorts of video interviews with artists. Enjoy!

http://www.startlooking.co.uk/

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Margaret Zox Brown

Margaret Zox Brown from New York has been making art for 23 years and works in oils. Here is her website http://www.margaretzoxbrown.com and her blog http://margaretzoxbrown.com/blog/ you can also check out her work in this You Tube video.

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News Flash! Margaret won an emerging artists award in New York this Jan check out the details here…

Artist’s statement…

As I have evolved as an artist, I have gone through various transitions, building on what I have just learned and then working through my newfound curiosity. Currently, I am exploring the human form attempting to break it down to its more simple abstract self.

For the past several years, the 2 dimensional canvas has really been my muse with color being the true subject and my subject matter being the introductory form that leads the viewer through the journey of each painting. My paintings are neither representational nor abstract but somewhere in the middle. And, what I have ultimately created is quite simply the emotion behind whatever it is I am expressing.

Loose black and white sketches are the bases for all my paintings. I copy them onto each canvas that I have already given a wash of colors from my entire palette. With a thorough, thoughtful, daring and intense exploration of color, I work with my subject matter and deconstruct it and add to it over and over until the entire painting comes together as whatever it is I am feeling and then expressing. I choreograph a harmonious, graceful dance allowing the viewer to freely meander through each painting guided by all the elements; color, emotion, line and shape, paint application, light and depth, subject and mood.

My inspirations are many; the beauty I see in nature, the serenity I feel when observing a Still Life or the intrinsic nature of the human spirit. Whether my subject matter is lost in complex abstraction or broken down to its abstract simpler planes, the journey on each canvas allows me to express the essence of whatever it is, what it feels to me.

My goal with each painting is for it to be rich and thought provoking and emotionally stimulating. There should be moments of excitement, a rush as well as moments of calm and familiarity with a continual discovery of something new.

How do you describe your work?

Expressionist paintings that hover between Representational and Abstract with color as my true subject.

What are you currently working on?

A series of paintings of the Human Form. Currently, I am working on one smaller painting (30” x 24”) as well as one large painting (74” x 66”) which are modelled after drawings of my daughter who was just home for a month from college. I am so emotionally drawn to her, that expressing the emotion of a moment captured with her is exciting and satisfying for me.

What fascinates you?

Color first and foremost then anything that moves me; be it a line or a gesture or a mood or a shape.

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Now give us a more descriptive outline on your current works.

My current works are of a subject matter, the Human Form, I have painted at all different stages of my art career. I am now coming to them, though with so much knowledge and experience they truly express the essence of and the emotion behind each figure and the moment in time I have captured.

The journey on the canvas guided by color and paint application and medium with the awareness and understanding of different movements in Art History empowers each painting to be all that I am seeking.

Why are you an artist?

At this point in my life, it is all I can be. My life and my art are so intertwined that I express my life through my art and my life is lived in how I approach my art. As I grow, my paintings do and as my art evolves, my self is enriched.

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How did you get into art?

I always drew, my entire life. That was in me. And when I first discovered color, I felt as if I had put my key into a treasure box, just for me.

Your art education was…?

I have been taking an Advanced Oil Painting Class at the 92nd Street Y for the past 23 years and other than that, I am college educated and have travelled so I have a strong base of cultural influences.

Is there any one thing that has given you a big buzz in your art career so far?

I have had a wonderful teacher for the past 11 years, Brian Rutenberg, a successful contemporary artist who really brought me to the next level. Also, Robert Gamblin from Gamblin products introduced me to certain colors and mediums which set me on a totally new path of discovery in my art.

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Do you remember your first painting or artwork?

I remember my first Oil painting I did in my 20’s and I remember paintings I did when I was very young at home and was so proud of.

What or who inspires your art?

Different artists, like DeKooning for his painting energy, Picasso for his drawing and genius, Gaughin for his colors and Matisse for his presentation of the world on a flat picture plane…

Was there a big turning point in your art journey that caused you to think that “it’s all worthwhile”, or “oh yeah I get it…”?

When my life and art came together. When I started to abstract and take elements out of my paintings, I then realized I could live my life that way; I did not have to hold onto beliefs or ways of doing things. The whole picture became a way to view the world.

What caused you to choose the medium you currently work in?

I tried it and just loved it. I am very earthy, really so the dripping , messy, smelly experience excites me.

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You know you are successful in Visual Arts when…

Difficult question. I feel successful when I have wowed myself by what I have produced but also when I get confirmation by the outside world that what I have created is beautiful and thought provoking.

What can you tell us about your planning and making process for making art, and has that altered over the years?

I really concentrate on my drawings the most when starting a painting now. The beauty and perfection (as far as I am concerned) in the drawing, is the pivotal element of my paintings now where all other elements like color and paint stem from freely. Initially, my drawings were secondary.

Does the sale of your work support you? If no what else do you do to support your art (job)?

I also teach painting and drawing and will do commissions when they come up. I also am exploring other art related business ventures.

Do you have much contact with other artists?

Yes, I share my studio, I take a class and I have friends who are artists.

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Working towards an exhibition, is it a daunting task?

Yes but so stimulating. The pressure to get it all together and have a goal like that is wonderful.

Tell us about your connection to your subject matter, way of working, concepts etc?

Right now it’s people, but as I have said, there could be a line or a gesture or a shape or a mood that moves me. I see the world as an artist all the time. I am a very sensitive person so I am moved often although I never know in advance what it will be, which will move me to do a drawing and then do a painting from that drawing.

What has been a turning point in your career thus far and why?

When I discovered transparent colors, color became my pot of gold. And when I experimented with abstraction, my personal  life and how I approach the world changed in a great way forever.

If you could have any piece of artwork in your personal collection, what would it be and why?

A Picasso painting, pre cubism. His drawings and mind just wow me each time I see those.

Have you had any “big breaks” in your career?

I was invited to be the keynote speaker at the college I went to around my art and an exhibition of my art. And, my art has been put on banners around New York City representing the artistic area (district) where my studio is.

All artists seem to have struggles, tell us about any you have had.

I have been rejected many times from galleries when seeking representation. It always seems that is like Catch 22- you have to be known and showing to get known and showing.

Do you keep an Art Journal or Visual Diary of some kind?

Just my sketch books.

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What happens to works that “don’t work out”?

I just put them away. People often like them, though, so if they want to buy them that is fine even if I am not proud of the piece.

One thing you wish you had listened to from an art teacher or lecturer?

I wish I had gone to Art School and gotten a Masters in Fine Art when I was young. But actually no one encouraged me to do it. That is just my own personal regret.

Musical influences, Okay this is about Visual Arts but most artists have favourite music they enjoy while working or just in general what about you?

I love Bob Dylan, the Band, Neil Young… All folk rock and I listen to music all the time while painting. Silence makes me too aware of myself and what I am doing whereas the music becomes part of the whole process and brings me to that zone.

What sort of depth or meaning is there behind the work you do?

Sometimes the title of a painting reveals the significance of the journey I took while painting or the influence behind the painting or the ultimate satisfaction in the painting.

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…?

Having children and wanting them to live life in ways I never did, with confidence and richness of spirit, to know and like who they are and to shoot for anything in life. As I said my life and my art became intertwined when I started to put abstract images in my art. I handle life like I handle a painting now and it feels great. I am living creatively rather than being a prisoner to other people’s conventions or dogmas. And I am happy.

What discourages you from doing art?

Real life pressures like money and discord that can crop up with other people.

The business or marketing side of Art can be a challenge to some, what are your thoughts?

At this point, I would really like to hand it over to galleryists to do it for me. I need more time in my studio creating the work so there is work to market!

Have you had much connection post sale with purchasers of your works?

Yes, many collectors are repeat buyers and I invite and include them specially to different events around my art and I have also developed genuine friendships with many of the collectors.

Name a book or books, which may have inspired your work as an artist?

The Biography of DeKooning.

If someone says to you “Oh your work is decorative and lacks any meaning…” your response would be…?

That’s your opinion (I would actually just tell myself this and not express it to them as there is no point in trying to change someone’s mind who is so off the mark).

What would you say are the top three things, which make you successful as an artist?

My colors, my sensitivity in my paintings and the general public’s reaction to my work. I would like to be selling more and in more galleries and in Museums to be as successful as I aspire to be.

Some say a measure of an artwork is the ability for it to hold a persons attention or cause the viewer to come back after an initial glance and become captivated by the work, is that so for your works or an intention of yours?

Definitely I want them to discover new things each time they look at one of my paintings

People around you (family friends etc.) what would they say about the way you work, the moods you have, your life as an artist etc?

My children and friends think my work is great. They are impressed with what I create. I have always been told I am very sensitive, perhaps “they” attribute that to me being an artist. People are only awed by how I work…

What or how do you respond to the term “Starving Artist”.

That is not a term which resonates with me at all. There are infinite possibilities to create wealth through creation of a new thing. Why not for an artist?

Do you prefer a perfect smooth technique or a more energetic expressive technique and why?

Not smooth. I am all about the paint and color and mess. It is visceral and expressive not controlled.

What do you love/hate about being an artist?

I love most of it, it consumes me in a great way that I bring to the rest of my life. There is almost nothing about it I don’t like. I do wish more people involved in the art world were as sensitive and people oriented as the artists creating the work. Pretense is an unfortunate by product of this business which is not appealing, not inclusive and not productive. Art and artists offer so much to the world.

How do you go about marketing your art?

My website, Open Studios, email announcements, art organizations, shows…

How long did it take to develop your own style?

Many years, 23 in all but with the strongest emphasis in the past 11 years.

How many artworks do you produce in a year?

20 or so.

How often do you work in the studio?

As often as possible but not every day as other life commitments are there, like my children and teaching…

How do you cope with any low points?

I turn them around to something positive. There is always another way.

How long do our works they usually take to complete?

Can be months but more often weeks.

What did your prices start off at?

The first painting I sold was for $1,000 and it was 24” x 30” Now that size sells for $3,000

Does some of your current work reflect your earlier works?

Always. You can certainly tell that my work is an evolvement from past work.

How did you manage to survive financially at the beginning of your art career?

It is always difficult but somehow it works out. If you believe in yourself then others do too. So you bring about the reality that you want. And, I want my artwork to be successful and to sustain my life.

Did you have any idea about how the art world worked in the beginning?

Not a clue.

Do you have ideas turning over in your head all the time or…

Yes for new work and ways to express myself and new ventures to move ahead in life and dreams for things I want to do in my life.

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+

Follow me on twitter! http://twitter.com/stevegray58

Check out our other Art Site http://artstuff.net.au

A site for emerging Visual Artists…

I like to think my Art sites are the only ones out there… but thankfully they aren’t and every now and then I get to check out others. Here’s one that came up today which has some great information for emerging artists! http://www.artsyshark.com/

Carolyn Edlund has an active blog with interviews and ideas to get the ball rolling, well done Carolyn.

VIP Art Event 2010…

This is set to be a big event for the Artists involved, but also a great event for those with an interest in Art and the incredible chance to dine at Parliament house in Victoria. Book early so you don’t miss out… Note most of the artists have been interviewed right here, take a search and see their works and what’s driving them…

To find out more about the Environmental Expressionists art movement take the link and see more. The evening will also serve as a fundraiser to create scholarships for prospective Visual Art Students at TAFE level.

The event will also showcase works from each of the Artists in the Fields of View traveling exhibition.

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Evolution series, the first images – Steve Gray

3/12/09

Here are a few images of the first stencil paintings I have done… results are okay so far. this comes from an earlier post about the idea check it out here.

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I’m liking the texture and the colours are so far just three off whites.

Amy Guidry – Artist

Amy Guidry is from Lafayette, Louisiana and is represented by three galleries, Wally Workman Gallery in Austin, TX; The Oak Street Gallery in Hammond, LA; and R. Coury Fine Art in Savage, MD. Amy says she has been making art almost all of her life, her works are mainly Acrylics on Canvas. Her web site is at www.AmyGuidry.com and her blog is www.ArtistCommentary.com

So Amy, How do you describe your work, realistic, stylised, abstract, narrative, symbolic, other? Hmm, if I had to simplify, I’d say surreal.

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One word or statement to describe your current works?
One word – detailed.

Can you give us a more descriptive outline on your current works.
My new work is more surreal than it was and I’m going back to an approach more in line with the original Surrealist movement- taking images from dreams, not altering them.

Why are you an artist?
I’m doing what I love to do.

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What did you do before or during becoming an artist?
I’ve always been an artist, except I went from being a jewelry designer to being a painter.

What is your earliest memory of art?
This isn’t my earliest memory, but it’s my most significant one. My mother let me use a set of oil pastels and I was amazed with the colors and texture. It was much better than my crayons.

What or who inspires your art?
People, really. How we live and function, independently and with others, as well as with the rest of the natural world.

Have your artistic influences altered over time (e.g. artists.)
Not really. I remember being interested in Surrealists such as Dali and Magritte at a young age. Now I’ve just expanded the list to include younger, living artists.

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You know you are successful in Visual Arts when…
Artists you admire enjoy your work.

What can you tell us about your planning and making process for making art, and has that altered over the years?
I keep lots of sketchbooks and refer back to them all the time. Some ideas fit a series I’m working on, while others may be used later. I’ve always worked this way except that over time, I’ve learned not to be as self-conscious about my ideas since I’m the only one who sees them.

How important is the clarity of concept to you, prior to starting an artwork?
It’s important once I’m taking something to canvas, but not so important when I’m working in my sketchbook. I have an “anything goes” policy there.

How important do you think craftsmanship is to artistic creation?
Extremely important. Everyone has ideas, but artists are the ones that execute those ideas with skill.

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Do you have much contact with other artists?
Yes! I know a lot of artists locally and nationally, especially thanks to the internet.

Working towards an exhibition, is it a daunting task?
No, because I make it a habit to stay on top of things and be organized.

Some say the lifespan of many “artists” post educationally is about five years, any thoughts on that?
That’s news to me. I think artists today are very business-savvy and working hard to dispel the “starving artist” myth.

If you could have any piece of artwork in your personal collection, what would it be and why?
Anything by Hieronymus Bosch or James Ensor.

Can you name a favourite artist or three… and why?
As mentioned, Bosch and Ensor, and I’d add Odd Nerdrum. All three have a surreal, dark feel to their work. Bosch and Ensor were doing this even before the Surrealist movement began.

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Do you keep an Art Journal or Visual Diary of some kind?
Yes, the sketchbooks I never throw away.

What happens to works that “don’t work out”?
There’s no such thing to me. All my sketches are saved even if I use them years after their creation. Anything else I’ve taken to canvas has been well-planned before execution

Do you aim to break the rules of basic composition, layout etc or do you ignore the “rules” and just create?
I don’t consciously think of any “rules.” If anything, some principles may have become ingrained in my process, but that’s the extent of it.

Musical influences, Okay this is about Visual Arts but most artists have favourite music they enjoy while working or just in general what about you?
My taste runs the gamut, but I tend to listen to a lot of Imogen Heap, Blonde Redhead, Basia Bulat, Jeff Buckley, and Sia.

If you stopped doing art right now would you miss it?
I may as well be dead.

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What discourages you from doing art?
Nothing discourages me so much as distracts me – emails and phone calls have to be limited.

Are their special aspects to the making of your work that you want to share?
Nothing special except maybe my magic paintbrush… Just kidding.

The business or marketing side of Art can be a challenge to some, what are your thoughts?
Anyone can learn about business. There are lots of resources out there, you just have to put the effort into it. Otherwise you’ve got a roomful of paintings and nowhere to show them.

Is your art, “art for art sake…” or a matter of “art for commercial viability?”
My work is for MY sake… not for a gallery, not for a critic, and not for what I think is “popular” or “sellable.” I paint what has personal meaning to me and what I can be enthusiastic about. Nobody wants to buy art from someone that can’t even be enthused about their own work.

How do you feel about earlier works in people’s collections / ownership?
I always feel the need to improve and surpass what I’ve done before, but I still recognize the value in past works. As long as it’s a “good” piece overall, that’s what is important.

Is your work process fast or slow? SLOOWWWWW.

What would you say are the top three things, which make you successful as an artist?
Talent, ambition, intelligence.

Some say a measure of an artwork is the ability for it to hold a persons attention or cause the viewer to come back after an initial glance and become captivated by the work, is that so for your works or an intention of yours?
I’ve never intentionally approached my work that way, but I’ve been told by others that they feel the need to get a closer look and that they tend to take more time looking. That’s always nice to hear.

Some artists are more “at home” isolated in their creative process, while others revel in being part of a group to bounce “ideas off” how about you?
I work on my own in my studio. I love to get feedback, but that’s after hours. Otherwise I wouldn’t get as much done.

What or how do you respond to the term “Starving Artist”?
It makes the hairs on the back of my neck stand up.

Have you won any awards?
Yes, I guess the most memorable being my 1st place win in American Artist Magazine for their 70th Anniversary Competition.

What is your working routine? Do you listen to music while you work, or stay up late for instance?
Let’s see…I listen to music, I paint all day but sometimes I do overtime if I’m about to finish a piece anyway, and I have, on average, 4 cats sitting around my easel at any given time.

How often do you work in the studio?
Everyday.

How did your first solo show go?
Great! The place was literally packed with people. I had complete strangers coming up to me, telling me they liked my work, giving me the thumbs-up. I couldn’t have asked for a better show.

Do you have difficulties getting into galleries?
I don’t know if difficult is the right word. Applying to a gallery is equivalent to applying for a job. It’s all about presentation and professionalism, which requires hard work, but I wouldn’t consider it difficult per se.

Did you have an inspirational teacher, and how did they affect you?
My art teacher throughout junior high, Mrs. Harris. She encouraged me to try out for the Talented Art program, which I got in, and was always very supportive of my work.

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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Evolution of an art series – Steve Gray

Hi All this should be a short log of a new series I am about to launch into, drop by and see what happens as I work to produce a bunch of pieces. Cheers Steve Gray….

2/12/09

I’ve had an Art idea in my head for some time now, even while creating the last “Harm” series, which was a big part of the Regionalis group show I was part of earlier in 2009.  It will use similar colours, I still have a few containers of those colours from that series and will aim to use similar paint application. I will be doing it with acrylics on heavy cotton rag water colour paper about 5 x 7 size, so they should be quick and flow readily (I can only hope!)

The first of two cutout "stencils"

The first of two cutout "stencils"

From the Harm series (see the direct log I wrote on it.) you can see the colours and read about my approach to that bunch of images and the concepts etc. Mainly though check out the images around July in the log I wrote, which uses the word harm white on white on canvas, with heavy textures. The way the words went on (paint wise) and the subtlety grabed my attention, so this new series is an attempt to explore this.

It will almost be a study, but I err to see it purely as such and am thinking of it as an essence approach to the whole colour and texture devices used earlier. Some will be thinking I probably should have done this lot first before starting the harm series as a study into the colours and textures.

Both stencils ready to go.

Both stencils ready to go.

So with two stencil I am aiming to leave the edges as raw paper for ease of framing and the top one will create different textural arrangements on the page.

Concept… Probably looks to the average viewer as a simple exercise in colour but those who have checked out the harm series would be a little skeptical of such a simplistic view. So lets see what develops…

Sue Beyer

Sue Beyer is an emerging artist based in Brisbane, Australia. In 2006 after a 10-year career as a graphic designer, Sue enrolled at the Queensland College of Art (QCA) to pursue fine art professionally. Sue is currently completing third year and is already an active exhibitor. In the past year Sue has been included a number of art prizes and exhibitions including the LAUNCH Clayton Utz Travelling Scholarship, The Churchie Emerging Art Prize, Artworkers Award and the Prometheus Art Prize. Sue has also has been included in exhibitions in the new Gold Coast art space 19Karen.

Sue’s work can be seen online at www.suebeyer.com.au and on her regularly updated blog http://suebeyer.blogspot.com/

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They drew a veil of darkness across the proceedings – 2009
Acrylic, posca pen and ink on canvas – 120cm x 120cm

Let’s start with your Artist’s statement…
“Through the genre of landscape painting, I explore how people use space in a modern urban context and the assumption of the permanence of our way of life and our cities.

In particular I look at patterns of urban design and outer suburban sprawl, which is the product of individual choices concerning the ownership of space, and forms the setting for displaying the trophies of conspicuous consumption.

By doing this I am conducting a social critique on our modern patterns of living expressed through the social consequences of urban design.”

What personally motivated you to begin a career as an Artist?
I have always been a creative person. Art is very important for me. If I’m not creating the stuff in my head, I am not very nice to be around.

After working as a graphic designer for 10 years and being really unhappy I decided that I had to take a chance and be an artist full time. Leaving behind my financial independence and somewhat successful career was extremely difficult for me. But I am the happiest I have ever been.

What I find compelling about Visual Art is that I can get my ideas across to almost anyone and I hope that viewers may question their preconceived ideas about things

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It is important to ensure that all connections between the wires are properly made – 2009
Acrylic, posca pen and ink on canvas – 120cm x 120cm

The overlaid maps and architectural elements in your paintings have quite a graphic quality to them; do you think your experience as a graphic designer has influenced your pictorial decision making?
My design background has definitely influenced my decision making, especially in terms of composition and colour.

I really like the line and form that can be found in mapping. I also like maps because they show how we try to make order out of an essentially chaotic landscape.

What are the main medium/s you work in?
Painting in acrylic and oil, and currently installation as well.

What caused you to choose the medium you currently work in?
At the moment I am using acrylic because I can get really unnatural colours. It also dries quite fast and I can do more work, more quickly.

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Police were called in to quell the chaos – 2009
Oil on canvas – 120cm x 210cm

Would you describe your work process as fast or slow?
I am a really fast producer. I work obsessively until it is finished and then I make more. I think I am a workaholic.

Do you aim to break the rules of basic composition, layout etc or do you ignore the “rules” and just create?
I always use the golden section in my work. I find that proportion of space it creates very pleasing to the eye. It’s like a failsafe. It always works.

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Pandemonium broke out – 2009

Oil on canvas – 120cm x 210cm

Do you keep an Art Journal or Visual Diary of some kind?
I keep journals all the time. I buy the A4 size with blank pages and stick in things that I am interested in, information on other artists I like and ideas for work. I can look back at them anytime and find out why I did things. It’s interesting to look at old journals. Sometimes I get new ideas from the old ones.

What happens to works that “don’t work out”?
I usually take off the canvas and re-stretch the strainers. I hate wasting materials.

Are there times of the day when you prefer to do your work?
I usually do most of my work from 9am – 5pm, 6 days per week. But I will work whenever the mood takes me. If I am really busy I will work more, but I try to have one day a week for fun.

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At first I tried to keep it a secret from my neighbours (night terrors) – 2009
Acrylic on canvas – 3mts long approx

How many artworks do you work on at the same time?

I work on 2-3 pieces at the same time and I usually work on ideas in my head at the same time.

How would you describe your art education?
I am still at uni at the moment. I am in 3rd year at QCA in Brisbane and next year I plan on doing honours. I’d say my art education is helpful to a point. I try to get what I need out of it and ignore the rest.

One word or statement to describe your current works?
Night-vision

Now give us a more descriptive outline on your current works.

My newest paintings reflect the unseen issues of suburban society.

A suburban residence viewed as through night-vision goggles. A furtive recording, as if from a reconnaissance mission, where the salient details are captured succinctly for later consideration.

The scene is still, with the anticipation of events about to unfold.

A familiar scene on the verge of transition to the strange, representing the dreams and aspirations of a society heading into uncertain times. The fundamental assumptions that make the suburban form possible may no longer hold valid, causing anxiety beneath the calmness of the surface, even as it reaches its fullest expression. The advent of peak oil, climate uncertainty, demographic change, shifting geopolitical realities all impact the stability of a financial system based on risk and the concept of limitless growth.

How will they change the way we view our lifestyle in the coming century?
Will the now commonplace seem strange – how transient are our seemingly permanent marks on the surface of the world?

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They began to make camp before darkness fell – 2009
Acrylic, posca pen, gouache and ink on canvas – 120cm x 120cm

Has your work changed much since your earliest efforts?
When I first started painting I had no direction. Since 2006 I have been painting about what I am doing now. My technique and concepts are much better than it was a few years ago.

How important is the clarity of concept to you, prior to starting an artwork?
I identify strongly with the conceptual artists. Concept is everything for me. If I didn’t have a concept I would just be making pretty pictures and that’s not acceptable for me personally.

What fascinates you or inspires your ideas?
I am driven and obsessed about consumerism, town planning/urban design, architecture, space and the home. Sociology, semiotics and psychogeography also fascinate me.

What are you currently working on?
I have recently completed a public art commission for the Queensland State Government and now I will be working on a series of paintings and then an installation in late November

Though still at university you have already been included in some well known art prizes; how do you think selection into such prizes aids your art practice?
I really think it does help to get into these shows when you’re starting out and trying to be noticed. Lots of different people go to those shows and you never know who might be seeing your work and hopefully taking a bit of notice. I never expect to win anything.

Does your work have social, political, cultural and or personal messages?
Both political and social.

What sort of depth or meaning is there behind the work you do?
I use semiotics in my work. I like to reference ‘lifestyle’ magazines. In particular modern architecture and the utopian ideals associated with modernism.

You mentioned semiotics a couple of times now; for the benefit of those who haven’t yet studied semiotics could you give a brief explanation or definition of the term?

Semiotics is something that I used a lot in my graphic design practice. Just briefly, semiotics is the study of a system of signs.

For example the colour red can signify things like danger, love, speed or blood. So if I wanted to make a road sign that drivers need to take notice of, I might use the colour red as it draws attention to a potentially dangerous situation that needs to be avoided. Thus, stop signs are red.

Another example of a semeotic sign is that people who identify with the emo subculture generally wear skinny jeans and like the band ‘my chemical romance’. If you heard that someone liked ‘my chemical romance’ you might assume without even seeing them that this person is an emo and wears skinny jeans.

A great website to learn about semiotics is:

http://www.aber.ac.uk/media/Documents/S4B/semiotic.html

Is there any one thing that has given you a big buzz in your art career so far?
I won first prize in the Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital art award in 2008.

How did your first solo show go?
I did my first solo exhibition last year. It was supposed to be a joint exhibition with another artist but they pulled out. I had lots of work that all related, so I decided to go ahead with it anyway. It was a party! I sold three big paintings, which more than covered my costs, and I had a great time.

All artists seem to have struggles, tell us about any you have had.
I am constantly criticising my work and ideas. I get sick of looking at my work sometimes and question what I am doing. This lasts one or two days at the most and then I am off and running again. I suspect that a lot of artists go through this though.

How important is it to you that your work communicates something to the viewer?
It is important to me that viewers take something away from my work. I don’t want to be overly didactic with my work but I do have a message to get across. I would like the viewer to decide what the work is about. The work guides them to point and then they need to do a bit of work for themselves. It’s a two way thing. Having said that, if a developer or town planner saw my work they would get it straight away because I use their language a lot in my paintings.

What about the role of titles with your work?
I love coming up with titles for my work. I have a process that I use and it is working well so far. The titles are important, as they help to reveal the meaning of the work. Sometimes they might be a puzzle for the viewer.

If someone says to you “Oh your work is decorative and lacks any meaning…” what would your response be…?
Are you blind?

Tell us about getting caught in a creative “slump” and how you got out of it?
If I feel like I’m in a slump it usually means that I need a holiday. When it happens I read, watch dvds, go roller skating a lot, anything except making art. The need comes back soon enough.

What or how do you respond to the term “Starving Artist”?
It’s a shame that money has so much control over how a person lives their life. It seems that we don’t have much of a choice in our consumer driven societies, unless you are wealthy, you need to earn money to survive.

How do you establish your art work prices?
I work out my prices by size. When I graduate at the end of this year my prices will go up a few hundred dollars.

Do you have a personal philosophy that underpins your work?
Work hard and then work a bit harder. And don’t get too confident, there’s always someone out there that’s better than you.

Eccentricity is seen as a common trait of artists of many disciplines, how about you?
People have said this about me. I don’t mind, actually I quite like it. It’s better than being boring.

And lastly, interests you have other than art you feel are important to mention?
Roller Derby!

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+

Deb Mostert

Deb Mostert is a Queensland artist whose home and studio is on 3/4 of an acre of bush in Bellbird Park, Ipswich.

An oil painter, Deb uses commonplace objects such as toys and ornaments to set up scenes for her still life paintings. Deb is currently preparing for two solo exhibitions – ‘Bugs on Toy Cars’ at Iain Dawson Gallery from 1st to 12th December and ‘Untold Stories’ in February with her Queensland dealer, Lorraine Pilgrim. (Deb is also represented by Peter Walker Fine Art in Adelaide).

Deb chats with Amanda van Gils about her upcoming exhibitions and about some of her experiences as an artist.

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Bug on Toy Car 9, oil on canvas 42×72 cm

Your work is currently still life; is there any particular reason you are working in this genre? What is the importance of the objects that you are using – toy cars, insects, dolls, cups and so on – or are the objects themselves quite arbitrary?

I am intrigued by something I once read that the genre of still life was considered by the 15-17th century art establishment as the lowest form of painting. Biblical and history paintings, portraits and landscapes all rated higher than the everyday objects.

I was drawn to the humility of the genre and concepts of the sacred and banal. I am becoming increasingly aware that there is no division in my life between some things being ‘sacred’ and others ‘ordinary’. So even vintage toys and household objects can be metaphors for my spiritual journey.

I love the retro stuff purely because it reminds me of my youth. I search for genuine 50-80’s objects to use because I think they are sufficiently removed from our modern objects to startle us with recognition. I am also very interested in paradox.

The objects I choose to work with are strangely worthless and priceless at the same time. They are often keenly sought after by collectors and this drives the prices beyond my feeble budget. I scrounge second hand stores and buy on e-bay if they are cheap enough but otherwise I borrow from collectors and friends.

Earlier this year I spent a couple of days deep in the bowels of the Sydney Powerhouse Museum Collection Store with beautiful and valuable vintage and antique tin toys that will never get out on display. I was struck by the latent potential these toys had for narrative and so I am making a series of works based on these objects for my next solo show in Feb 2010 which will be entitled ‘Untold Stories’.

Having access to the collection must have been a terrific opportunity for your research.

It was rather wonderful to have a glimpse into the wealth of objects that are kept on the nation’s behalf. I was not allowed to touch anything, and I could only direct the white-gloved curator to move the toys this way and that, so it was quite different to the way I would normally work.

And what can you tell us about the work in the exhibition about to open in Sydney.

The ‘Bugs on Toy Cars’ show is on at Iain Dawson Gallery from the 1st-12th December, it’s my first solo exhibition in Sydney. The work for this show is a light-hearted nod to the Dutch Still Life painters who painted bugs into the grand vanitas of wealth, power and prestige. A memento mori, reminder of mortality.

These works are painted using real bug specimens I purchased from a collector perched on top of vintage and modern matchbox cars. The works are painted in scale.  The scale of the objects is designed to confuse and delight, and often incompatible pieces sit in comfortable tension.

The works can be read in many ways, as the objects become reflectors of the experience of the viewer. My work aims to reveal the narratives that lurk beneath the humble surfaces of plastic, tin and bugs”

You were a practising artist for many years prior to going to art school; what prompted you to undertake formal study? And what difference, if any, has the art school experience made to your career and/or sense of self as an artist?

I had been an artist for over 20 years but when my marriage of 16 years ended and as part of the healing process I had to discover who I was and this led me to take up study again. To be single (and a single mum), to grow and learn in an environment of such creative support was part of what I needed to realise who I really was. I enjoyed every second of it (well, maybe not all the art theory lectures…but most of them).

Allowing myself the room to experiment, learn and mix with a wide variety of other creative’s, was hugely transforming to my art practise. I moved from being an artist who just made pictures, to being an artist who makes pictures with purpose. I think, read and research a lot more, I am more aware of my responsibilities as artist, and my practise is more focused and centred. Uni didn’t give me answers but it made me aware of all the questions!

I also had the opportunity to exhibit in the grad show and the Thiess Awards and it was here that my work was spotted by Lorraine Pilgrim. I have been represented by her ever since.

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Aluminium Cups and Robot, oil on canvas, 100x120cm

Congratulations on recently being awarded the Sponsor Prize at the Eutick Memorial Still Life Awards at Coffs Harbour. You have been a finalist in quite a few prizes during the past few years – what benefits do you see in participating in art prizes?

Thanks!

It has been a very encouraging journey over the last few years. I started entering art prizes on the advice of my agent (Lorraine) and although it can be very demanding to be continually feeding this hungry machine, I have been very blessed to have had the opportunity to hang in some exciting shows with artists whose work I really admire.

I also have my fair share of ‘dear john’ letters! It is a strange concept, the art prize thing. Why make a competition out of such an unquantifiable thing as art?

Like every artist, I wonder why I keep entering but I guess deep down it satisfies a need to be seen, to hopefully be ‘selected’ and to have some feedback in what can be a fairly solitary work environment!

I also realise that my worth and indeed the worth of any artist can not and should not be measured by success in art competitions.

Does your work have social, political, cultural and or personal messages?

I guess my work must have a personal message as my work/life/faith is interwoven. I can’t separate one from the other so what’s happening in one area will be reflected across the others. I have become increasingly aware of the love of God for me and it has allowed me so much freedom to be who I am. So I feel the work I am making in these last few years is about that personal journey.

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Tin Bird and Lead Manoil on plywood, 23 x 47 cm

What or who inspires your art?

The heroes of art I’ve always admired have been Michelangelo, Rembrandt, Vermeer, Velázquez to name a few. The painters of the Heidelberg School, and more recently I’ve discovered Andrew Wyeth again. I’m also influenced by Michael Luenig and Charles Shultz for their perceptive look at the human condition. And I’m sure there are many others but these come to mind immediately. But mostly I am in awe of a Creator God, for with out Him none of this wealth of creative energy would be possible.

Have you ever made an artistic pilgrimage? If so, where did you go and why?

Going to Holland was like an artistic pilgrimage although I would need to go back again and again to even begin to see and understand all the art I want to see!! I even found a Jan Mosteart (not sure if he’s a distant relation) in the Rijksmuseum. It was quite wonderful to stand in front of paintings and sculptures I’d only ever seen in publication and revel in the previously unrealised scale and technique.

It made me proud and humbled to be an artist; what a fantastic gift we’ve been given….what a privilege!


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Bug on Toy Car 6, oil on canvas, 42 x 72 cm

Can you share with us some significant moments in your life – events or people who impacted your Art?

I was mentored as a youngster by my aunt Mieke den Otter, who is a fantastic visual artist. (painter, printmaker, textile artist also in Queensland) She encouraged me, gave me art materials, took me to shows, lent me books, took me out drawing and generally invested into me for many years. We have had several exhibitions together and I would say she has been a driving force certainly in the early years of my art practice.

Going to uni, as mentioned earlier was a watershed. Travelling to Holland, Belgium and France during my uni years also helped to consolidate my roots. Both my parents were born in Holland so to go back and see not only my family heritage but also my spiritual and artistic heritage was very important. During my time there, visiting museums and art galleries also reawakened my interest in the still life genre, which is what I’ve been working in for the last few years.

It’s interesting that you mention your Dutch background and the historical import of still life as a genre. When I think of Dutch still life paintings they are quite opulent, loaded with an abundance of objects and symbolism. Yet your works are sparse with the meaning being derived partly from memory and nostalgia, but in the main, from the interaction between the objects that often appear as if they are deep in conversation with each other.

The interaction almost always seems to hijack the work! It’s been fascinating to watch the narratives emerge from conversations between objects. In fact I spend a lot of time ‘playing’ with objects to find the scenarios that allow for more quirky conversation. I enjoy the quiet humour that overrides a lot of the work.  I am fond of the idea that less is more so I tend towards more sparse arrangements and having experimented with more objects together, I’ve come to the conclusion that I just like the look of fewer objects….a purely aesthetic choice. I have also become more aware of the ability of objects to reflect the experiences of the viewer, often people read the same work very differently based on their own paradigms.

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Bugs on Aluminium Teapot 80×80 cm oil on canvas

Winner of this year’s Sponsor Prize at the Eutick Memorial Still Life Awards

What about the role of titles with your work, some hate them others revel in them, what about you?
I have always struggled with some of the goofy painting titles I’ve come up with in the past, so I figure I will just stick to the blatantly obvious and call them exactly what they are. Which in strange way, also alludes to everything else they could be…for me and for the viewer.

Do you keep an Art Journal or Visual Diary of some kind?

I always carry a visual diary, which serves many purposes. It is a place to dream, design, think visually, experiment, note ideas, write quotes, doodle and generally relax. It enables me to think more easily and take in more of what’s around me. I would really miss it if I didn’t have my visual diary. It’s my spare brain.

As well as an exhibiting artist you have done commissions, residencies in schools and you also teach in your studio. How do you balance the competing demands?

I’m a reasonably organised person; don’t really fit the stereotypical, temperamental, distracted artist type. I see my art as my job as well as my calling so I tackle it in a fairly methodical way. I trained as a commercial artist many moons ago, and I often think that it has left me with some handy practical ways of working. To a deadline, to a budget, within a time line…etc I am also mum to three teenagers so that requires organisational skills purely as a matter of self-defence! My desk diary keeps me sane; things never look so daunting when you write them down. And I have borrowed other people’s aids to organisation too.

How do you continue to grow, or is this not important?

Growth is important; if we aren’t growing we are stagnating. I’d hope to always be learning and moving. One thing I’ve learnt is the older I get, the less I seem to know! So I look forward to exploring, praying, reading, looking and experiencing as much as I can. There is so much out there!

What advice would you give to artists who are just starting out?

I would say ‘to thine own self be true’, that is, find what it is you are meant to create and work hard to realise it.

Accept that ‘overnight success’ can take up to 20 years and that your art practice is a long-term journey.

Be prepared to learn, hone your skills, try new things and accept graciously the criticism of others.

Also brace yourself for being holed up by an enthusiastic non art-making member of society who – upon discovering you are an artist – will inform you that their cousin is an artist, and proceed to describe their paintings to you while being astonished that you don’t know them personally. Sigh.

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Delft Blue Dog in Dish 2007 oil on canvas 80×80 cm

Deb Mostert’s Sydney exhibition opens 6-8 pm Wednesday 2nd Dec 2009 at Iain Dawson Gallery 72a Windsor Street Paddington NSW.

Her work can be seen online at any of her galleries websites and also on her website www.debmostertartist.com.au

Lorraine Pilgrim http://www.lorrainepilgrim.com/

Iain Dawson Gallery http://www.iaindawson.com/pages/exhibitions.php

Peter Walker Fine Art http://www.peterwalker.com.au/

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+

How have you used them?

People tell me from time to time they have liked the sites (this one and the artstuff.net.au one… see the testimonials) and occasionally people have told me how they have used them.

Most say there are interviews in here which are inspirational to read and then explore the work of that artist, some who are Art Teachers have mentioned they invite their students to explore the ideas, techniques and creativity boosters especially if they are stuck for ideas.

I spend time wondering about how things are used in here too…. So in the comments I would love to hear what you thought, think etc about the sites and how you use them.

In the mean time here are some of the ways people have used the information.

So, what about  you?

Me – Studio sort time….

I had the chance to do some sorting in the studio, major work has come to a halt post Regionalis exhibition, but some drawings and other media on paper are wanting to emerge. Those familiar with my Harm series will note the cutout effect I used for the text I want to use with symbols etc in future works, should lead to some interesting outcomes… But I digress.

Sorting the studio, ok it’s a garage, but the time had come and so I spent a chunk of time sorting the bits and pieces out… my other work and its various equipment is now vying for some serious space takeover options. Not good but hey it pays the bills!

I wonder how many other artists have to juggle their space with about four other sets of items jammed in their? Things of mine, my works, my equipment and my wife’s bits and pieces, the list is growing!

Sorting should give me the impetus to do the works on paper… draw paint, make it all happen, and save some storage space too!

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Steve Gray

Creativity? YES! :)

Every now and then something catches my eye and this blog on creativity did it today… 🙂

http://creativedynamic.blogspot.com/

Part art, part business… yes thanks!

Sharon Stelluto

Sharon Stelluto, I’m a contemporary artist from Philadelphia, PA. Primarily an oil painter but she also does mixed media illustration pieces consisting of watercolor, pastels, and ink with side projects in collage. You can find her on the web at… www.sharonstelluto.com

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What are you currently working on?
I am working on a new piece that embodies botanical forms fused with industrial mechanical forms. The figurative nature of the work allows the natural world to blend with machinery and metals. Two distinct shapes of opposites dance across the canvas only to combine and blend into one plantlike form made of mechanical parts. My intent is to illustrate the ceremony of opposites, fusing the feminine energy of the natural world along with the masculine energy of industrial forms. A significant theme in my work is the concept of duality. I formulate a space where the dualities can intermingle and create a sense of oneness.

Why are you an artist?
My life has consisted of a distinct inspiring life force that compels me to create. I believe being an artist is no longer about a passion, but more of a necessity and a compulsion.

We are creative beings; it is our very nature and our core to express ourselves. It feels unnatural to me to not let that unravel from my being on a daily basis. It is a way of life to me, not a choice.

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How did you get into art?
I came out of the womb with a paintbrush in my hand. I remember responding to life at an early age by art making.

My parent’s would take us to church every Sunday and I would always bring my bag of crayons and paper. Although I may not have understood the setting, I found comfort in my random doodles among the church pews. I may have even absorbed the Spirituality through osmosis.

Later on in life, my work began to reflect the spiritual path that I soon found myself upon. No longer a believer in organized religion, I found a unique spiritual journey of my own as the truths and divinity of life blossomed for me in its own beautiful pattern.

This soon started to shape and support the depth of my work as an artist.

I saw that the dance with life and the sheer amazement of experiencing this world is a spiritual practice in itself.

Tell us about your connection to your subject matter, way of working, concepts, etc?
As a young child I had a wild imagination. I would thrive on taking nature walks and collecting any shape, plant, rock, or particle that I found interest in.

I loved getting my hands into the dirt, creating dreams and worlds with the earth.

My backyard was a mystical land of opportunity. I would like to think that this passion for the natural world has extended into my work today.

I continue to collect shapes, and references from nature to this day.

My favorite past time is walking in gardens or nurseries full of flowers and lush greenery. I notice shapes and colors but also witness the way plants choose to unfold.

I draw a lot of my inspiration from color and feel that the vibrancy of color contains so much joy and life within it. Nature grounds me and helps me remember what is truly important in my life.

Having studied and practiced yoga for many years as well as being a certified Reiki practitioner, I believe I embrace a more holistic viewpoint of life.

This ultimately creates the structure for my work. Living a life with constant awareness that everything within life is energy, including us, I approach my work with this underlying concept.

My intention is to formulate a visual language for this invisible force that permeates all of life.

I often reference ancient mark making from the Mayan civilizations. Their knowledge and awareness of shape within their art was extremely advanced. I am drawn to the Mayan Art forms because they do resemble cellular structures. I feel the imagery of the living cell exemplifies energy in its purest form.

I am also drawn to the concept of duality and opposing forces. I am mostly inspired by feminine energy vs. masculine energy in its myriad of forms. To create this contrast, I incorporate natural, botanical imagery with the balance of industrial, mechanical shapes.

In blending these opposing forces, oneness is created and a subtle reminder that it all originates from the same source.

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Does the “creative process” happen easily for you?
Yes and No. Yes, because my life is full of so much inspiration and imagination as I live and breathe creativity in all I do. But to blend this inner determination with the outside world and life’s daily demands can be tricky at times. Within my career as an artist, I have found that time maintenance has been a key factor. There also may be moments when you have the time but lack the driving force to create. Creativity, I believe, is not something that should be forced. But sometimes when you reach a block, you have to break through those walls in order to maintain your drive and direction.

On my path as an artist I have encountered moments of creative block and it seems to come in phases with the undulations of life. I maintain hope in those phases, knowing it will return to fruition once again. But I’ve found that one’s inspiration is a well and when not nurtured properly has a tendency to dry up. Your inspiration needs to be fed in order for the creative process to continue to take place.

Do you get to other artists exhibitions, openings, etc?
Yes, I feel it is just as important to find inspiration by seeing other artwork, as it is to spend time creating. I make a habit of going to gallery openings, scrounging through books at the bookstore, or tapping into the wealth of resources on the Internet.

It is important to me to understand what is current. As much as we all have been shaped by our world and what has come before us in terms of art history, I feel it is most relevant for me to understand the present moment. To witness and take in the current trends, and underlying art movement taking place reflects the conscious collective of humanity in the now moment. Society changes over time and although the great masters hold brilliancy and weight for inspiration, I find that the innovation of current work reflects our present world state. To be a part of something that is actively taking place has a greater subtlety and grace to it.

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Can you name a favorite artist or three…and why?
I am very inspired by artists with sharp, bold, linear shapes such as Keith Haring and Jean Dubuffet. I am in love with Jean Dubuffet’s sculpture work where he blends painting and sculpture together, creating living landscapes of art form. His simple use of line and form creates such a beautiful dynamic of shape. Drawing a lot of inspiration from graffiti and the street art scene, I feel that line work and the flow of form is important in conveying emotion.

More current contemporary artists who inspire me are Oliver Vernon and Damon Soule. The work of these artists has distinct connections with the earth as well as spiritual undertones. They convey this by using soft, subtle methods combined with sharper shapes and an urban flare. I feel that these artists are masters of form and color.

What can you say about your work that might not be evident to the viewer?
I am intrigued by the current state of the world and how it is shaping us all. These times are crying out for balance and healing. I believe this healing should begin within us as individuals.

We are so caught up in global change that we tend to forget that changes have to start within us first. I feel that one of the only things in this world that has guaranteed a place of joy, upliftment, pleasure and healing for humanity is that of the arts.

Within my work, my focal point has been on the issue of blending the harsher masculine quality of our industrialized society with the healing of the land through a natural urbanized art style.

My approach in my work is to facilitate an opening of the heart through color and healing forms, reminding us of where the healing really needs to take place.

If you stopped doing art right now, would you miss it?
Yes, extremely. Sometimes I think of the lives of people who do not practice an art form.

I think of all the free time they must have! But I’m sure on many levels, they fill their lives up with other joys. It is just hard for me to fathom not spending a majority of my life in union with my own creative self. I see it as a form of spiritual practice that allows me to commune with the divine and welcome the imagery that would like to come through.

Artists seem to have permission to meditate with themselves much easier than one who does not pursue this mode of expression. It’s like a free pass to your true self and innermost passions!


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Compiled and edited by Steve Gray © 2009+

Follow me on twitter! http://twitter.com/stevegray58

Art Shop for sale… You know you want it!

Leonie Barton from Art Depot wrote asking for a hand in mentioning her business is up for sale… Go on buy her out, you know you want an art store…  you can rummage to your hearts content, meet budding artists and enjoy the ambiance, and in a nice area too! 🙂

Dear Steve…

“I have an art supply store on Sydney’s northern beaches that houses my studio, is beautifully filled with natural light, 2 mins walk to the beach for lunch or afterwork dip and blessed with a wonderful customer base including Bruce Goold, Kerrie Lester and other award winning artists. Sadly (due to one of my childrens health) I am putting the shop up for sale. I realise that normally it would be innapropriate to ask you to include this information in one of your posts but “mothers love” and a need to be out of here by christmas sometimes pushes us to ask the necessary questions. For whomever comes into the shop it is a chance to cash in on the christmas surge. Can you help me ? I hope this note finds you well.”

Yours Sincerely

Leonie Barton

Studio 7 Chelsea Lane
48 Old Barrenjoey Road
Avalon Beach
NSW 2107
02-9918 2009
0414 963 332

Art Classes – Geelong Region

ARTWORX – 136 Ryrie Street, Geelong

Pastel Portrait and Landscape workshops

The Painting Portraits with Pastel workshop explains the basic principals in a step by step approach to building a likeness, while finding and growing a talent for portraiture. The Pastel Landscape and Flowers workshop explores an impressionistic approach to capturing the beauty of flowers using the pastel medium. Demonstrates the basics of colour, composition and technique. Artist: Faye Owen.

Dates: Painting Portraits with Pastel – 9 October 2009
Pastel Landscape and Flowers – 23 October 2009
Times: 10.00am to 3.00pm
Cost: $120 per adult


Illustration Workshop

Learn to draw with international writer and illustrator Conny Fechner in a day. Draw and paint with pen, ink wash, colour pencil and water colour paint. Harness the quirky artist within. Explore your creative skills and combine your favourite person, place and things in your own special piece.

Dates: 14 October and 17 October 2009
Times: 10.00am to 3.00pm
Cost: $120 per adult

Kids Art Classes

Inspire your children to be creative. Let them travel on an inspirational journey with art educator and artist Karen McGlynn. Classes are held in a friendly and caring environment. Classes include drawing and illustrating using pencils, inks and pastels as well as Manga drawing, painting, mixed media and scrapbooking. Ages range from 6 to 14 years. Please bring a snack and art smock.

Dates: To 17 November 2009
Times: Tuesday and Wednesday 4.00pm to 6.00pm
Cost: $120 for six weeks

Adult Art Classes

Artworx has adult workshops to reveal every person’s hidden artist. Come on your own or with a group of friends and enjoy the comfort of a creative environment with well-known art educator and artist Karen McGlynn. Learn to draw and illustrate in pen, acrylic paints and mixed media.

Dates: To 17 November 2009
Times: Tuesday 10.00am to 2.00pm, Wednesday 10.00am to 12.00pm
Venue: Artworx, 136 Ryrie Street, Geelong
Cost: $120 for six weeks
Contact: (03) 5229 4677
Email: sales@artworxgeelong.com.au
Website: www.artworxgeelong.com.au

BROUGHAM SCHOOL OF ART AND PHOTOGRAPHY – Level 1, 73 Malop Street, Geelong

Drawing Skills Short Course

This course will commence with building confidence in foundational skills such as use of line, tone and linear perspective. Further drawing exercises will encourage experiments with a range of drawing media, approaches and techniques with the aim of empowering you as an artist.

Dates: To 26 November 2009
Times: 9.00am to 12.00pm

Art After School

Titled ‘Fruit & Flowers’ these classes will develop drawing and painting skills through a focus on contrasting approaches to Still Life. After studying works by famous Dutch and Japanese artists, the students will be guided in developing an individual approach to still life painting. The classes, taught by Jen Boyd, run for six weeks and are suitable for children aged 10 to 14 years.

Dates: 15 October to 19 November
Times: 4.00pm to 6.00pm
Venue: Brougham School of Art & Photography,
Level 1, 73 Malop Street, Geelong 3220
Cost: $240
Contact: (03) 5229 9984
Email: admin@broughamart.vic.edu.au
Website: www.broughamart.vic.edu.au

Ami Muranetz – Artist

Ami Muranetz is from Victoria, British Columbia, Canada. www.muranetz.com

Are you currently represented by a gallery?
I have a group show opening on October 2nd until the 23rd within Agora Gallery, which is located in Chelsea, New York. After the show I will be personally representing myself, and exhibiting more frequently within Canada.

Interests you have other than art?
Along with my obsession in creating sculptures, paintings, and mixed media artworks, I devote a fair amount of time to environmental and humanitarian issues. I contribute monthly to organizations like the World Wildlife Federation, write letters to politicians and am active in local demonstrations.

Our provincial government recently announced a new budget cut that during the course of 2009-2010 will reduce arts funding by 92%. The local arts community has been outraged, and Victorians, regardless if they are visual artists or not, will eventually be affected by this decision. As a result, I‘ve been inspired to use this issue as the focal point of a new street based art series that is in the works.

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What are you currently working on?
I have recently been sorting through ideas on global change, and ruminating over the direction this might take. One idea that has evolved is a mixed media installation that juxtaposes satellite photographs of urban centers with medical images of human and other animal bodies. The installation will open up a dialogue around our connection to and reliance upon the natural world. Our exploration of technology is not a diversion from the environment we live in, but a potent aspect of it.

Any upcoming or completely new projects you want to talk about?
Children United in Education is one unrelated project I’ve been collaborating on with two colleagues through Camosun College. Comprised of fundraising and giving presentations to local elementary and high school students, the project is designed to raise funds to send children to the Human Factor Leadership Academy located in Akatsi, Ghana. The school will aid in the rebuilding of Africa’s future by training youth and young adults to become capable and compassionate leaders within their communities.

As well as educating Canadian youth about the challenges Africa’s children are facing through writing and art activities, we intend to establish a dialogue between the two nation’s children that will hopefully stimulate new ideas for meaningful change. To look up more information and details of this incredible project, their website is: http://humanfactorla.com/

Can you name a favorite artist or three… and why?
Kiki Smith has been a strong female presence in the art world that has continued to inspire me. She has remained true to her methods and metaphors despite being on the fringe of the art world for many years, which is reflected in the painful honesty of her work. Kate Raudenbush is another New York artist who has been a powerful influence on my creative capacity. The three dimensional sculptures she has built for Burning Man in Nevada are created specifically for the purpose of viewer interaction, which in turn fosters an intimate engagement for each person. The street artist SWOON has blown my mind in terms of scale and level of accessibility she creates for her audience.

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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…?
The universe is an extraordinary mystery. I feel humanity is just on the verge of beginning to become conscious of the depth of connection we all share. Meeting my husband was an event that truly altered the foundations of my belief systems.  The first time we traveled to Burning Man in 2008, it was like crossing a threshold into a parallel universe where I actually felt my values, creativity, and spirit were respected and celebrated. Black Rock City is a temporary and autonomous zone, where for one week art forms of every medium are encouraged, and economic exchanges are unnecessary. I see this experiment in temporary community to be the future of how our societies will form, and from this have become motivated to change my focus from artwork to architecture.

What or how do you respond to the term “Starving Artist”?
A guest speaker on the TED series made a poignant speech on how society undervalues the importance of art in our world. The entire system from education to economics is geared to praise left side, logical and pragmatic thinking. Our concept of valuable skills in society is linked to economic gain, and because artwork is not inspired by profit, it does not fit within the existing hierarchy.

Ancient civilizations such as the Romans and Egyptians valued the aesthetic beauty of temples, buildings, artwork, and music, and thus produced some of the most treasured artifacts and buildings in history. Our present culture values such as speed, fast money, and short term gain are at the expense of future generations. The term ‘starving artist’ in my opinion is one that has only recently been needed because our society doesn’t respect the value and validity of artists. Without them though, we would not have the Sphinx, The Mona Lisa, or any other great contribution of art to appreciate.

What are some of your future ambitions and goals?
I allow myself the opportunity to set grand visions and dream big. My current goal is to enter the Environmental Design program through the University of British Columbia next year, and later pursue a career in sustainable architecture. There exists an imperative need to design sustainable and energy efficient yet aesthetically pleasing communities and structures. The technology and materials to accomplish this are available, but the inertia to follow traditional building methods is still quite strong. As our planet changes more rapidly, we may see an increased desire to rethink our current approaches to building our societies.

A secret fantasy of mine is to one day become Prime Minister, with the intent of transforming the current education system and instilling accountability. The entire premise of how we ‘teach’ needs to be re-examined.

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Have you won any awards?
2009 has been a productive year, and I been honored to have been presented with five awards for my artwork.  One was awarded through the Community Arts Council in Victoria for work showing the most promise. Another was first place in the 14th Annual International Competition ‘Beyond Borders’ through the Viking Union Gallery in Washington.

I also recently won three awards through the Visual Arts Department in Camosun College for my portfolio, community work, and commendable achievement. I feel quite blessed to be recognized amongst my peers, and appreciate the faculty within the visual arts department for their commitment to student achievement.

People around you (family friends etc.) what would they say about the way you work, the moods you have, your life as an artist etc?
From what my friends have said of me recently (many things I won’t repeat in this interview), I live my life with no regrets and follow through with my fantastic or at times completely absurd ideas. My inspirations usually lead me to great places in my work or on international adventures, and feel I have accrued a lot of valuable life skills. Although there have been a few times when my mother has looked at me, and has shaken her head. We can laugh about these stories now, but at the time they were not as funny.

The business or marketing side of Art can be a challenge to some, what are your thoughts?
Artists like Damien Hirst have had assistance from trans-national companies that marketed his artwork for him, hence his incredible recognition in the art world. My thoughts are to make a decision about how far you want to take your work, weigh the challenges and joys that may come, and to follow through with the decision.

Before I even contemplated becoming a serious artist, I studied art-marketing books, researched interviews with high profile artists, and read resources on crafting a portfolio. For anyone who is determined to become a celebrated visual artist, I highly recommend doing your research, reading art journals, and studying what innovative approaches recognized artists are utilizing to market themselves. If you do the work, but don’t exhibit, how will anyone know what you do?

Are their special aspects to the making of your work that you want to share?
My creative process usually begins with a dream or an issue that gestates for some time. These dreams then take form in sketches and drawings, and are birthed along with a coinciding conceptual theme. More often, the materials that are used illustrate the statement I’m seeking to communicate. It’s one primary lesson I’ve learnt from my sculpture professor Judith Price, who engrained in her pupils the importance of materials to communication.

What or who inspires your art?
I’m inspired to reach higher peaks in my self-expression by the artists and artwork I see at Burning Man. There are fantastic creations I have seen there, like a fire breathing, articulating dragon constructed from recycled materials that causes me to reconsider the materials I use. Conscious and creative communities also inspire how and why I create artwork, and positive leaders like the Dali Lama encourage me to consider the messages I send into the world through my work.

Now give us a more descriptive outline on your current works.
Within a collage class I will begin teaching in October at The Paint Box School of Art, the students will engage in creating mixed media portraits of the self or recognized person in the community. My own project will involve mixed media portraits of conservative government officials in various prostrated positions. These will take the form of life-size posters scattered throughout the city, proclaiming words of wisdom, absurdities, and provocative sound bites. www.thepaintbox-victoria.com

Artist’s statement…
I take pleasure in constructing tangible experiences for the viewer, in which messages are delivered through physical and visceral experiences.  Current metaphors I embed within my works suggest a curiosity about our social structure, and solicit feedback from viewers in order to distill a collective voice.

My work often addresses issues of social division, status, and sexual stereotypes through manipulations of culturally identifiable symbols. This exploration is carried out through a variety of materials such as plastics, plaster, wood, and glass.  Figurative forms are usually present; either disembodied or referenced metaphorically, and present commonalities that exist between people and their environments.

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Compiled and edited by Steve Gray © 2009+

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Cara Walz – Artist

Cara Walz lives and works in the Sonoran Desert in Southwestern USA and Mexico,  you can see her website at… www.carawalz.com and check out her blog at www.carawalz.wordpress.com . Cara has been making art for about 10 years.

Are you currently represented by a gallery?
No, because I have to mark up the cost of the work too much to cover the gallery percentage. The gallerists I’ve worked with don’t really have an active base of buyers anyway. I do like to participate in interesting group shows at either commercial or not-for-profit spaces.

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What are the main medium/s you work in…

drawing materials, collage, animation

Artist’s statement…

I work with a wide range of materials, but really, I’m always making some sort of drawing, even if its ?nal form is a video, installation or website. While I’m working I ?uctuate between a pull from my head and a pull from my heart. When my head’s in charge I tend to work on innovative structure and technical experimentation, like a scientist.

When my heart takes over I’m focused on meaning and expression, like a poet. I’m happiest when I find a balance between the two, probably because this is where our richest thoughts reside, but I cannot, or will not, control the outcome by purposefully favoring one over the other. The head and the heart both provide valuable insight and I never know which one might offer the best resolution of an idea.

How do you describe your work?

It ranges from pop/kitsch-influenced narrative to industrial/experimental weirdness.

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What are you currently working on?
A series of colored ink & acrylic drawings influenced by emergence theory and some figures influenced by George Romero’s zombie films.

What fascinates you?
I saw my first wild tarantula this morning. I thought they all lived in plastic boxes.

Why are you an artist?
I can do three things: dance, draw and write. I made a choice to devote my life to the most difficult of the three. I’m a glutton for punishment.

How did you get into art?
I didn’t. It got into me.

How important is art for you?
It’s a pain in the ass, like a wayward child. I love it.

Was your education helpful, or a hindrance?
I don’t think art education creates artists, but I valued the history, culture and theory I learned. I also met a ton of interesting folks.

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What did you do before or during becoming an artist?
I worked a long list of crappy jobs, toured a brief stint with a punk band, gave birth, stuff like that.

What is your earliest memory of art?
Sitting on a blanket in a ballet studio, watching legs and dirty ballet slippers fly by, feeling the wooden floor bounce beneath my butt in time with the music

Do you remember your first painting or artwork?
The first artwork I was proud of was an extreme doodle on the cover of a spiral notebook in junior high school.

Was art a “thing” that was encouraged in your family?
From my mother’s side of the family, yes; from my father’s side, I’d say they were neutral

What or who inspires your art?
Currently I’ve been obsessing on Twombly. Next month it will be someone (or something) else.

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Was there a big turning point in your art journey that caused you to think that “it’s all worthwhile”, or “oh yeah I get it…”?
I get it, but I’m not yet convinced it’s all worthwhile.

What caused you to choose the medium you currently work in?
Ink is the first medium I worked with. As a child I constantly doodled with ballpoint pens, and I made linoleum block prints with my grandmother. Now I’m most fond of waterproof, fade-proof ink in bottles applied with a small round brush or a big flat streaky brush. Ink is the only medium that moves fast enough.

Have your artistic influences altered over time (e.g. artists.) ?
As soon as I see a work by someone I either love it or hate it, and I have absolutely no preference for a certain style. I very rarely change my mind about a picture or object I love.

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What can you tell us about your planning and making process for making art, and has that altered over the years?

I really haven’t changed my process of making things over time at all. I always have more ideas than time to execute them, so during times of introspection I plan out a project, knowing full well I may or may not get to it. I have a running list, and I gravitate toward the project that seems most immediate or necessary. Some projects float around in my head or on paper half formed for months before they come together. Some projects pop into full fruition very easily. Some die on the vine. It’s always been this way.

I execute work based on the intent of a project, and so methods and mediums might change to suit this intent, but not a whole lot because no matter how experimental it appears to be I’m always making a drawing of some sort.

How important is the clarity of concept to you, prior to starting an artwork?
Sometimes it’s extremely important, sometimes not; I liken this to symphonic music vs. experimental jazz: both approaches are useful, depending on the project and intent.

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Do you have a personal description of “Art”?
Cultural expression.

How important do you think craftsmanship is to artistic creation?
Craftsmanship can elevate some works and doom other works to mediocrity.

Does the sale of your work support you?
I’ve taught art and I’ve written about art and I’ve sold art to make money, but I wouldn’t recommend you do any of these things to live comfortably.

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Some say the lifespan of many “artists” post educationally is about five years, any thoughts on that?
That’s simply due to the demands of living, paying the bills, especially if an artist decides to have children. If a person completely gives it up then they weren’t meant to make art, which is fine. One can live creatively without making art.

Tell us about your connection to your subject matter, way of working, concepts etc?

I’ve always been the weird one, the one that refuses to settle on a genre or style. When I make something people like, many expect me to make a bunch more of the same thing. Not likely to happen. I make as many pieces as are necessary to complete a project and then I move on.

If you could have any piece of artwork in your personal collection, what would it be and why?
I would love to own anything by Bruce Nauman, maybe a neon piece or one of his ‘animal parts’ sculptures. I relate to him because to me, he is also always making a drawing.

Can you name a favourite artist or three… and why?
I already named two, Cy Twombly and Bruce Nauman. Alberto Giacometti can be my third, I suppose. I admire their work because it’s usually very good.

What happens to works that “don’t work out”?
They get torn into pieces and oftentimes these pieces make their way into something else

Do you aim to break the rules of basic composition, layout etc or do you ignore the “rules” and just create?

What are the rules of basic composition? Has anyone really ever been able to teach this? There is no such thing as ‘basic’ composition. It’s either ‘good’ composition or ‘bad’ composition, and it’s completely relevant to and dependent upon the context/format. The eye either gets sucked into or repelled from the works we create.

What sort of research and or reference material do you do for current works and has that changed over time?
I’ve always done the same type of research, mainly collecting but also reading and writing theory, but I seem to spend more time at it as I grow older.

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Musical influences?
I don’t always work to music, but when I do it might be Philip Glass, Outkast or Billie Holiday or They Might Be Giants, Madonna or the Beatles.

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…?

I watched a 15 year old boy die a little over a year ago. He was dragged under the back wheel of a school bus. There was blood coming out of his nose and a huge bruise all along the side of his body. His name was Kevin.

What about the role of titles with your work, some hate them others revel in them, what about you?
My favorite titles are made-up words, like ‘superfluxable’ or ‘microcosmigram’, and generally I’m a fan of titles as long as they’re short and sweet.

You know you have “made it as an artist” when…
You’re able to live on a Greek island with a herd of goats.

Your first “decent” gallery representation, how did it come about?
It came about the same way all good things come about, through a friend of a friend.

The business or marketing side of Art can be a challenge to some, what are your thoughts?
This is just about the only notion that has changed for me over time. When I was young I thought there was some holy ‘other’ somewhere who decided whether or not work was deserving of…something, I don’t know. Now I realize that the art market is very closed and settled and centered around certain institutions.

I have a ton of education but I’ve always been ‘outside’ this system, simply because I don’t know any rich, influential people. I decided quite awhile back to essentially ignore this system and make work I like and that people near and dear to me like.

In essence, there are two markets, one for the elite and one for the rest of us. This is true not just for art but for real estate, food, clothing, etc. This ‘regular person’ market is actually larger and more various if you’re willing to do some legwork, but it’s tough to stand out amidst a glut of landscape and flower paintings disguised as art.

What is the most unexpected response you’ve received from a viewer of your work?
One person told me the word “spit” was “tips” spelled backwards. My response was “okay, and-your-point-is…?”

Have you had much connection post sale with purchasers of your works?
Some buyers like to keep in touch, others like to covet the thing and be rid of you.

Name a book or books, which may have inspired your work as an artist?
The Ecstasy of Communication by Baudrillard. A Clockwork Orange by Burgess. Oryx and Crake by Atwood.

Tell us about your studio environment?
I have a dirty shop-like studio space in my back yard, which fills the bill unless I want to work on clean little drawings. For those, I work at a table in the house.

Otto Dix the German artist said (in part)… “All art is exorcism…” Is that the case for you? If so how…
At some level he’s probably right, but I don’t think the viewer has to be beaten over the head with this all the time. Delicacy has its place.

Some say a measure of an artwork is the ability for it to hold a persons attention or cause the viewer to come back after an initial glance and become captivated by the work, is that so for your works or an intention of yours?
This is definitely an intention, that the work seduce the viewer. Baudrillard argues that only the object has the power to seduce, and I agree.

What is one thing you need to have in your studio before you work?
A pile of carefully considered debris.

What or how do you respond to the term “Starving Artist”?
I suppose it’s better than the notion that all artists wear berets.

How important is society, culture and or history to your work?
Very important.

Is the making of art all it was “cracked up to be”?
I’ve never harbored any delusions about the making of art, except maybe the aforementioned delusion that the cream always rises to the top, when in fact geography, luck and social status can play a huge part in an artists’ level of success.

Do you work from life, or from photographs or from imagination or some other method? Most of my work is derived from bits and pieces of our constructed world, whether it be photographs, web content, commercially printed materials, television stills, etc. I also work from life on occasion, and I take photographs of subjects I can’t dig up by any other means.

Do you aim to make “masterpieces” with the aim of being seen in the future as an artist that really made their mark in art history?
It’s important to me to make timely work, work that’s relevant in this time and place, but it’s up to the historians to figure out the rest, and I’m more than happy to let them to do that thankless job.

What advice would you give to an artist just starting out?
Bestow hugs and kisses upon anyone you meet who appreciates what you do.

How often do you work in the studio?
When enmeshed in a project, daily.

Do you ever question being an artist?
Sometimes I wish I was a fireman or a nurse or something.

How has your mind-set changed from struggling to find your own style to solidifying what you are doing today?
There have been moments when I’ve thought, “Wow, I’m making some strange stuff!” but those moments are fleeting.

How do you establish your art work prices?
I price things according to how long they take to complete, so something that only takes a day or two to finish is very affordable, but something that takes a month or more to resolve is more expensive.

Does the gallery make the artist famous or does the artist make the gallery famous?
In most cases the latter. Collectors make the artist famous.

What was life like for you as you were growing up?
My mother was a ballet dancer and my father was an alcoholic advertising executive. They divorced, of course, and when I was six I went to live with my father and stepmother, a schoolteacher. I spent a lot of time alone doodling and making things to escape what was a tumultuous, drama-filled household. It wasn’t long before I met friends who also created things for similar reasons, and then I spent more time with my friends than with my family. It’s still that way.

How did your first solo show go?
That would be “siren” at Joseph Nease two years out of grad school, and it went pretty well.

Do you have difficulties getting into galleries?
Most commercial galleries in the midwest and southwestern US sell genre paintings. I’ve never bothered to try to get into them because I don’t make genre paintings. My work shows well in contemporary art galleries, but the buying audience for contemporary work is so small they usually operate in the red, so, especially in the last few years I’ve found it easier to sell work directly.

How do you think people learn about you?
Through the internet mainly, but also through friends.

Eccentricity is seen as a common trait of artists of many disciplines, how about you?
I can’t remember most names or any series of random numbers. Is that eccentric?

Do you wake up with ideas at 2am etc… and have to jot them down?

No, but oftentimes I can’t get to sleep because of a new thought.

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+

Follow me on twitter! http://twitter.com/stevegray58

Sotheby’s Australia sold

Reported in The Age Newspaper this morning 29/09/09

The Australian art auction world is in shock this morning as it wakes up to the news that Sotheby’s has sold its Australian arm to a rival company headed by Sydney businessman and auctioneer Tim Goodman. Sotheby’s Australian staff, who were told of the takeover only yesterday were shocked by the announcement. Mr Goodman, as chairman, chief executive and shareholder of First East Auction Holdings Limited (FEAL), the company that has bought the Sotheby’s licence, was instrumental to negotiations.      He would not reveal the amount paid for the licence, but The Age understands it could be as little as in the low millions. The transaction will be finalised later this year. Mr Goodman is also the current chairman and chief executive of Bonhams & Goodman auction house, but he will be breaking ties with British firm Bonhams, terminating the licence to use the Bonhams’ name on December 22.

Last night, Bonhams chairman Robert Brooks announced that Bonhams 1793 – a shareholder in FEAL, which has traded as Bonhams & Goodman for six years – would launch its own independent operation in Australia and was looking to expand its presence here.

Richard Szymczuk – Artist

In our continuing series on Geelong Regional Contemporary Visual Artists I am pleased to present Richard Szymczuk a Contemporary Photographic Artist.

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Tell us about you and your art a little…
I am a Geelong based, urban landscape photographer.

I photograph abandoned petrol stations, milkbars, old advertising signs, post WW2 architecture, street art, etc. My influence has been cinematic. I developed a fascination to the fringe locations depicted in American road movies in the mid 1980s, while studying graphic design. That started the quest for me, getting on my crappy pushbike with my 35mm Cosina camera in hand, to find similar locations in Geelong.

The most notable films for me were: ‘Paris Texas’ ,‘Vanishing Point’, ‘The Misfits’, ‘Repo Man’ and David Lynch’s ‘Blue Velvet’. I would get such a buzz, out of these movies. I was the age of approx 22 years, and my eyes opened wide, to the amazing landscapes and offbeat locations, depicted on the silver screen, combined with fantastic soundtracks, sound scapes, and intense/ quirky story lines.

I am a massive fan of David Lynch’s artistic vision and creating a sense of dread, within a location which

(Initially) looks ‘ideal and safe’. My photography has developed a more sinister feel over the past couple of years, shooting at night and under the full moon at creepy locations.

In terms of pets, I once owned a black Kelpie dog, by the name of Bronko.

How long have you been apart of the Visual Art scene here?
Since 1986, I have been documenting Geelong’s roadside vernacular. I have probably developed a little bit more of a profile over the past couple of years. I still feel to be on the fringes though. That’s OK, as I would like to have something ‘alternative’ to offer in a visual, artistic sense and perfecting the craft.

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What do you like about being part of this region?
Practicality. Geelong is a good town to live in, with a relaxed pace and northerly aspect. Also, being a very keen Cats supporter in the AFL, I need to get a good fix of my footy news everyday.

A bit about your art background?
I have a Diploma in Graphic Design and an Advanced Diploma in Multi Media. But the real schooling is through observation and inspiration. I have exhibited primarily in-group exhibitions, and also exhibited solo in cafes and swanky restaurants. (Artwork should be accessible to people), especially while they have a café latte. I have yet to have my first ‘official solo show’, though I have many thousands of images to draw from, to present something very solid.

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What do you do other than Art?
I work as a Gallery Technician. It’s good way of meeting visual artists and you certainly learn how to use power tools and work up a bit of a sweat at times, installing and packing up an exhibition.

I also freelance in stylized ‘character’ illustrations and architectural photography. One has to be versatile in an industrial city.

Do you catch up with other Artists in the region? If so how, what, where, when etc…
I feel that what I do in terms of photography, leaves me on the fringe somewhat, (much like the fringe locations) that I photograph, but I enjoy it that way. It’s fantastic to be photographing under a full moon at 3 am in summer. It almost seems like a privilege, to be under the stars at night while everybody is fast asleep, and witness/ record a dreamlike time and subject.

I have a few close friends who specialise in landscape painting, photography and web design. They offer good support and advice. They understand my vision.

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Any local art projects you have been part of?
At present I have artwork in the ‘Geelong Regional Artists Exhibition 09’. Be sure to visit the show and see some Geelong talent!

Being a touristy area, do you take advantage of that somehow?
Geelong is a regional city with a strong industrial backbone and that is well ingrained in its history and culture. The Pivot city … ‘The Bradford of the South’, it has been, but now with the opening of the Geelong Bypass, the city seems desperate to be connected to the Surf Coast. I personally prefer that ‘perceived distance’ of the past. If I do go to the Surf Coast or the Bellarine Peninsula, it’s rarely with my camera.

There are various photographers, recording the beauty of the tourist beaches and forests etc, of Geelong and region. That market is well covered for. I avoid this genre of photography. To me, a beach is a beach … it could be anywhere.

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Do you have a web presence?
Sure do. It is a Flash based website which I designed. One has to have a website, and also to consider networking through social websites i.e.: Face book, and interact with others with similar interests such as the websites: Flickr, Zenfolio,etc.

Richard Szymczuk’s website link:

http://roadszide-images.com/

The Documentary website link:

http://www.digitalzoo.com.au/lost/

Do you have a highlight in your art career you want to mention?
One highlight was having a video documentary produced, on my photography in 2003. It is a 27 minute, broadcast quality, documentary that ‘just missed’ being aired in ABC1.

The Documentary is titled: ‘Lost Highways: The roadside photography of Richard Szymczuk’.

Produced by ‘Digital Zoo Media’ in Melbourne. It’s a nifty documentary!! The story continues on today, with DSLR gear instead. If anything, that would make the documentary more relevant today, with so many more locations having been demolished, and me still documenting that process.

Also, having a photograph of mine, on the cover of Aussie pub rock legends: ‘Hunters and Collectors’ CD and vinyl single: (‘The Way You Live’).

The next highlight will be on a sunny blue sky day.

huggers

Are you working on anything, which has a local flavour?
Nearly everything that I photograph is local. I live here, so I may as well be observant. There are so many visual delights in the urban landscape of Geelong. It is an under-appreciated city. It is not just about beaches, sunsets and forests. I search for the beauty in the ugly.

Do you have representation at Melbourne or local galleries, and is this important for you?
At present , I do not have any representation. I see it as a case, of continually working on the process of recording images. Is time a factor? Money is a factor. In this GFC, one has to invest wisely and get a good return on their efforts. As a starving artist, yes, I have to diversify in regards employment and perhaps representation could lead my photography to be discovered by a much wider audience.

Any takers out there? Ha Ha !

Somebody who inspires me is Australian artist, Rosalie Gascoigne. She had her first solo show at the age of 57. She spent years perfecting her craft, creating a unique vision, and then ‘suddenly’ became a sensation. What a great Aussie story. Scrounging up found objects near her home and transforming them into something totally brilliant! The wait was well worth it.

light-green-house

Did you choose Art or did Art choose you?
It chose me! I loved to draw as a kid in primary school. It’s great fun, excercising the imagination with a fresh HB pencil! I still love to draw characters, especially in the concept and development stages. Drawing introduced me to colors, shapes and possibilities.

Any funny things happen while you exhibited or made art?
Yes. Don’t stand too far out on the road whilst taking a stunning photograph…. Cars can kill you!

Over the years I have become immune to the number of cars beeping at me and boofheads yelling out at me. But, it’s all good fun. That usually brings a wry smile to my face. At least somebody out there, is noticing my photography and passing comment. And at night. bring a torch with fully charged batteries.

Any advice for a young “Artist” contemplating dedicating their life to Art?

Avoid clichés. Stick to your artistic vision. As your vision develops, so too will your skills and concepts becoming fine tuned, or more ambitious/ dynamic, over the years.

Avoid ‘middle of the road opinions’ of your talents, from ‘mediocre people’ within the artistic realm.

If they don’t ‘get it’ …. remember what the VFL Footscray legend ‘Ted Whitten’ would say: ‘STICK IT RIGHT UP ‘EM !!’.

Any other pointers about making art locally you want to mention?
I wish Geelong had an Art Precinct, where there were studios and artist’s lofts in the city, supporting painters, sculptors, photographers, film makers etc. Geelong artists are spread all over the region. Where on earth is there a central point? Where is the artistic ‘cross pollination’ of concepts?

Also, I desire for an edgy, approachable art gallery/ space, to be established that does not take itself, too seriously, to cater for creative people and audience, open to: street wise, edgy, ironic, kooky, and fresh visions, much like various galleries in inner Melbourne.

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Compiled and edited by Steve Gray © 2009+

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Jeff Martin – Artist

Jeff Martin is a Melboune Artist represented by Gould Galleries in South Yarra and has a web presence at… www.jeffmartin.com.au Jeff has a show coming up soon at Gould Gallery, details at the galleries web site or Jeff’s.

Hi Jeff, do you have other than art you feel are important to mention?
I manage/own the Appleton Street Studios in Richmond Victoria.

www.appletonstreetstudios.com

What are the main medium/s you work in…
Mostly Oil on Linen and ink on paper, however I do enjoy playing with sculpture.

buon-ricordo

What are you currently working on?
I am currently involved in a series titled ‘Back of House’ where I spend one evening in a commercial restaurant kitchen during service sketching the chef’s at work. I then take my impressions back to my studio and on a large-scale canvas I convey the working environment of that space.

The work is not about celebrity chefs or food (all the plates on my paintings are empty) it is about the working environment of the professional kitchen.

In February/March of 2008 I exhibited fifteen large paintings of Melbourne restaurants as part of the Melbourne International Food Festival at Gould Galleries Melbourne. In October 2009 I will be showing fifteen Sydney restaurants as part of the inaugural Sydney International Food Festival by Gould galleries at Shapiro Gallery.

What fascinates you?
People.

One word or statement to describe your current works?
Daunting.

And a more descriptive outline on your current works…
This show is big, really big, my most ambitious yet. I don’t know how to give a descriptive out line that would convey the scale of this work, which represents 18 months of my life.

Why are you an artist?
I don’t know how not to be one.

How important is art for you?
It saved my life…. That’s important.

seans-panaroma

Your art education was…?
Is…. Art education never ends.

Sorry…. Being a smart ass.

All my important lessons have come from my interaction with working artists. People that lead by example and get the job done. Not all artists comprehend work ethic.

What did you do before or during becoming an artist?
Worked in restaurants.

Is there any one thing that has given you a big buzz in your art career so far?
I did an Artist in Schools residency through Arts Victoria in 2008, which was a ‘Big Buzz’. I also work every year with grade 3 and 4 kids to make a totem pole for their school fair, which is always a highlight of my year.

Does the “creative process” happen easily for you?
Yes, I draw every day, everywhere. It can cause issues.

beauty-and-the-whisk

Have you had any commissions? Any of note etc…
Yes I find commissions exciting; it must be a collaboration of sorts for it to have any chance of success. I understand why many artists run a mile… it can be tough going if you don’t sort out the rules at the start. Having a good gallery assist you is imperative.

Do you have much contact with other artists?
Yes, daily at the studio.

Any upcoming or completely new projects you want to talk about?
I will be exhibiting in Melbourne with Gould again in 2010 and have plans for 2011. It is really important to balance the project at hand with future planning and know that when it is done, you’re not.

Working towards an exhibition, is it a daunting task?
No, it’s all planning. However I did earlier describe my current exhibition as daunting but I think that’s just the idea of starting it all over again.

Some say the lifespan of many “artists” post educationally is about five years, any thoughts on that?
Bullshit how…. Lifespan? They need more education.

If you could have any piece of artwork in your personal collection, what would it be and why?
I already have it. Well, I am getting it back from the framers today.

Do you keep an Art Journal or Visual Diary of some kind?
Yes, I have many sketchbooks. You can see some of them on www.jeffmartin.com.au under works on paper. I will post more before the October exhibition.

What happens to works that “don’t work out”?
It all works out, it just might not have been resolved yet.

One thing you wish you had listened to from an art teacher or lecturer?
I have a teacher say to me “Art is Not a Career” If you look over my visual diaries you will see this comes up time and time again. It can be taken a number of ways and I like to watch people’s reaction when they first read it. (btw the teacher was being negative)

Do you have a personal philosophy that underpins your work?
Work hard.

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Compiled and edited by Steve Gray © 2009+

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Australian tax ruling benefits artists!

The Australian Tax Office has a ruling which could benefit many Artists…

The main points of the ruling mentioned in this article are:
1. Purchased (And Paid for) prior to the 31st Dec 2009
2. Write off 50 percent of the purchase Price
3. Artworks classify as depreciable Assets
4. An annual income of less than A$2m for 50% deduction
5. 10% deduction if the Annual income is greater than A$2m
6. The Artwork must be NEW – A work that has never been sold before.  (from an artist, primary Gallery, not the secondary market, eg Auctions etc)
7. Displayed for a Dominant Business Purpose (In Australia)
8. If a home office, then hung in that office and not the living room.
9. Artwork must be held for a minimum of 1 year…

20090917-ato-ruling-inverstment-allowance

Chelsea Gustafsson – Regional Contemporary Artist

Welcome to a fresh new series of interviews on Regional Contemporary Visual Artists, these are Artists who live outside major cities and often face differing challenges to Artists “In the thick” of a busy contemporary art scene, which can often be found in big cities…

My aim is to showcase these Artists from time to time and give them a few extra moments of “fame”. To start out I want to introduce you to some Geelong regional Artists, for the overseas readers check out Geelong and the “Great Ocean Road” online to see what you are missing.

If you are a Geelong artist or indeed any regional artist outside a big city… consider dropping me a line to be interviewed. Remember though the focus is on contemporary works.

Chelsea Gustafsson, is first off the rank….

self_portrait_by_numbers_detail

Tell us about you and your art ?
I live in sunny Barwon Heads with my husband, dog and chooks. I’m currently studying graphic arts and about to complete the course and be thrown back into the real world. Studying full time for a couple of years has been very indulgent and a load of fun, but I’m looking forward to having some paid work again and my weekends free to paint, surf, hang out, whatever. This year in particular I haven’t been able to paint as much as I would like to, but I’d probably complain of that regardless of the amount of time spare anyway.

How long have you been apart of the Visual Art scene here??
I moved to Barwon Heads from Melbourne in 2004 and just kept plodding along painting and doing what I do. I’ve participated in a couple of local exhibitions here, in Barwon Heads. In 2006 I successfully entered the Geelong Regional Artists Exhibition and then this year I was fortunate to be invited back to exhibit in their 7 year Retrospective Exhibition. I’ve had some paintings up in Torquay, but other than that Melbourne’s nice and close and there’s loads going on there with annual exhibitions and art prizes to enter.

marooned_35x45cm

What do you like about being part of this region?
The environment. I grew up in a small community in East Gippsland and it just seemed right to settle in a similar kind of environment after running amok in Melbourne and overseas. My husband and I both enjoy surfing, so somewhere by the coast was a no-brainer for us.

Tell us about your working arrangements?
I’ve just packed up my studio space actually. I had a room at the front of the house set up with an old drafting table as an easel and all of my materials and bits of inspiration scattered throughout. But I tend to use the kitchen table most of the time, so I had a ruthless spring clean and squished everything into a cupboard. I generally work quite small so it’s not too hard to pack things away again. I think I need it for my head-space too. If I’m returning to work on a painting and there’s too much “stuff” existing around it I find it quite hard to get back into the groove of it. Less clutter equals a clearer head for me. I do have intentions of setting up the garage and taking over there though!

converse_20x25cm

A bit about your art background??
I left High School and went on to study painting at RMIT TAFE. One of my painting lecturers told me I’d never amount to being more than a waitress. I haven’t worked hospitality for awhile, I’m probably not even qualified enough for it these days. Maybe I’ve amounted to less than even he expected! I’m pretty happy with where I’m at, at the moment though. Not happy enough to just cruise with what I’m doing, there’s always more to strive for, but I don’t feel like a complete cock up just yet.

What do you do other than Art??
Other than art? What else is there? I’m currently studying graphic arts, but I guess that doesn’t count. Surfing. Kicking the footy at the park with my husband and dog. I really do like arty stuff. It is a pretty broad term though isn’t it? Art.

the_swimmer_35x45cm

Do you catch up with other Artists in the region?
Not really. I have a friend nearby who I met back at RMIT TAFE, we’re both a bit useless at catching up regularly but we will call on each other when needing inspiration or a pat on the back. I also recently had lunch and a chat with someone that I have only crossed paths with a few times. He’s just getting back into his more creative side and wanted to know how other’s go about their craft. I don’t think I told him anything he doesn’t already know, but it’s good to reaffirm with yourself sometimes that you’re on the right path, or have “stuck” moments just like everyone else. I think we all second guess ourselves and lose confidence in what we’re doing sometimes. It’s usually an up and down thing.

Being a touristy area, do you take advantage of that somehow??
I try to, but I don’t exploit it as well as I could I don’t think, but that comes down to a time thing mostly. Earlier this year I had a series of small works up at TigerFish
in Torquay. Their size and price made them quite accessible for tourists passing through. I intend to keep up this series but there’s that time thing again!

Do you have a web presence??
Not yet… I thought I would by now. I intended to! It’s getting there. I’m hoping to be on top of that in a couple of weeks…

ownership_20x25cm

Do you have a highlight in  your art career you want to mention?
I was pretty chuffed when Linden Arts Centre in St Kilda asked if they could use one of my paintings to promote the following year’s Linden Postcard Show. I got a few calls and messages from folk recognising my work travelling around Melbourne on the trams as a poster.

How does the process of creating an art object begin for you?
Sometimes it’s just a colour that will dictate what I paint. Sometimes just a situation that may appeal to me and I’ll create a scene to photograph for reference and work from there. It can just be the way some lines flow through an advertisement that sparks something. It comes from everywhere. I draw it up, transfer it onto the canvas and then it’s just like paint-by-numbers from there.?

Did you choose Art or did Art choose you?
I chose it from since I can remember. Don’t all kids like art? I just kept doing it, and missed it whenever I stopped doing it.

Any advice for a young “Artist” contemplating dedicating their life to Art?
You’ll either do it or you wont. It’s really that simple. I’m sure it’s the same for someone who is good with words, they write because it’s pleases them. Whether you make money from it or not isn’t the driving force behind it.

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Compiled and edited by Steve Gray © 2009+

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Irene Wellm – Artist

Irene Wellm is a Melbourne based artist whose large scale oil paintings of mysterious and magical scenes reveal a fascination for the human psyche.

With a career spanning 30 years, Irene has exhibited extensively both in Australia and internationally. Her work likewise is in international and Australian collections notably Artbank and Ballarat Regional Gallery.

Irene is currently working long hours in her Clifton Hill studio as she completes work for her first solo exhibition with Catherine Asquith gallery, who she joined earlier this year. “Something Like Us” is due to open on Thursday 8th October, 6 – 8pm. Irene’s work can also be seen online at http://www.irenewellm.com

wellm_something-like-us-oil-on-linen-122-x-183-cm-2009

Image: Something Like Us, oil on linen, 122 x 183 cm, 2009

Artist’s statement…
Painting for me is a way to tell a story. It provides a conversation with the unconscious and is a way to gain insight, a way to become civilised.

Most people aren’t what they appear to be. We are ambiguous expressions of varying facts and fictions at different times, and as an artist I am interested in finding a way to express this about myself, and about people in general. The background to my work is inspired by a personal interest in depth psychology and Carl Jung’s theories on the process of individuation.

Recurring themes are searching, displacement and the idea of ‘home’, or belonging – where do I belong? So a painting may address this along the lines of ‘lost and displaced’ or may express associations of where the feeling of belonging is met, or the search for such. The sense of a dreamscape is often in my work, whose meanings are also explored through the physical handling of the painting style.

Have you always been interested in art?
Yes, ever since I can remember, I have liked being creative by drawing and writing. My family on my mother’s side was particularly creative, and my mother had been on the path to becoming an opera singer when she was in Denmark after WW2, but she got tuberculosis and it stopped all that. My Aunt creates pictures by weaving that have been quite large in the past – some bigger than my work!

My earliest work of art was in my older sister’s room, on her wall, in ink. It was grand, but my parents apparently didn’t think so! I was 5, supposed to be having a nap. But the allure of the ink bottle on the desk was too great.

wellm_von-dem-vater-oil-on-linen-1525-x-122-cm-2008

Image: Von dem Vater, oil on linen, 152.5 x 122 cm, 2008

What is your earliest memory of art?
A Salvadore Dali painting – one of his more gruesome ones, Soft Construction with Boiled Beans (Premonition of Civil War), 1936. I was probably no older than ten, and it was my mother’s book. I remember sitting on the floor and staring at it for ages, trying to fathom what on earth it was all about.

Some say a measure of an artwork is the ability for it to hold a persons attention or cause the viewer to come back after an initial glance and become captivated by the work, is that so for your works or an intention of yours?
That certainly is what I hope for, that my work might live on a little in the minds of those who see it. I think some part of me wishes to make art that makes a difference in some way. I know from my experience that there are paintings I have seen by other artists that live in me continually, and they have broadened my language and visual perceptions of my environment. I think a good artwork contains a dynamism even within its stasis as a physical structure, and it holds this movement like a life force. One can only aspire!

Which is more important to you, the subject of your painting, or the way it is executed?
I try to give equal importance to both, because with my current work the way the paint is laid down is an important part of the language about an idea, so it all ties in together. I like to use the paint in a more expressive way that will add depth of meaning to the subject, so I vary the technique accordingly.

What are the main medium/s that you work in?
I work primarily in oil paint on canvas or lately, a fine linen that is oil primed. It suits the way I work in that the weave doesn’t interfere visually with the thin layers I mostly use. Oil primer allows the paint to sit on top, rather than sink in as happens on an acrylic primed surface.

Do you work from life, or from photographs or from imagination or some other method?
All of the above. Sometimes I begin with an interesting photo I might have found, from my own collection, or from the Internet, and I play around with it as one might do with a collage, but on the computer. Other times, the seed of an idea flashes through my mind, and then I go on a hunt for references or make my own, and piece it together. After that, I draw it up on my canvas and let another process begin. The collage work is really only a starting point most of the time, because then the painting process takes over, and decisions get made along the way accordingly.

It’s a bit like piecing together a jigsaw puzzle – every new development sets off another conundrum, and I keep going until the last piece slots into place. Of course, its not always so straight forward… It can really be an emotional roller coaster, with one day up, the next really low. And when there’s the added pressure of a show approaching, it can bring a lot of sleepless nights. But mostly by now I have learnt that I just have to trust the process, and generally I will get there in the end.

When you create your work is it somehow an emotional relief as you do it or at the end?
Not so much an emotional relief but a joy that starts to bubble up when things start to pull together towards the end. Before that I can get quite stressed and impatient.

Would you say your paintings reveal something private about yourself?
Most definitely, they do, but half the time it takes me until long after they’ve been completed to really understand what that might be. Because of my working method and my interest in ideas from the unconscious being allowed to come through, it seems to be inevitable. Of course, then people want to know what it is they mean, and I have to say, well, I’m not sure, I don’t know yet. And if I have a clue, well, then I don’t really wish to share such things with a stranger anyway. And really, it doesn’t matter that I don’t know, because people will always bring their own ideas and experiences and their own unconscious with them – which can then make for a very interesting discussion.

So mostly I prefer to leave the mystery within rather than analysing it too much.

Does some of your current work reflect your earlier works?
I find that the making of work has a cycle, one that goes around and comes back to ways of seeing that you did when you first started to paint. But you never arrive at the same point as you did, so it’s like a spiral. Ideas develop and mature as you do. So, yes, I constantly find echoes of past paintings, especially lately. I keep finding myself in the forest, but thankfully not as a little girl anymore!

Recently my work has become more about people again, which was what I was interested in during the ‘80’s and early ‘90s.

wellm_siren-oil-on-linen-1422-x-1524-cm-2009

Image: Siren, oil on linen, 142.2 x 152.4 cm, 2009

How did your first solo show go?
I had my first solo show the year after I graduated from Melbourne State College (now Melbourne Uni) in 1986. It was at the long defunct Roar Studios in Fitzroy, and I exhibited the paintings I did in my final year. In hindsight, it was probably too soon, but I just assumed that’s what you did if you wanted to be an artist. It seemed very natural.

It was a good night with friends and family, and I even sold two paintings. It’s so long ago, I don’t recall any reviews or such.

I have a long exhibition history of various solo and group shows from that time on, all at various cafes and artist run spaces up until 1999. After that it was with commercial spaces.

Did you have any idea about how the art world worked in the beginning?
I had absolutely no idea. My training had been for teaching, and that’s what was focused on, not how to be an artist – although we were taught by artists, including Terry Batt, Godwin Bradbeer and Claire Day. We had an incredible professional practice regime in those years, hours of drawing and painting. How could I teach after experiencing that? The main turning point came after hearing Wendy Stavrianos give a talk in one of Suzanne Davies’ Contemporary Art classes. That was it – I had to paint forever!

After graduating, I wanted to do a post-grad course at RMIT, but I didn’t get in, and I didn’t know anything else about art schools. I was very naïve, very young. So I went and found myself a studio to work in, found part time work, and just kept going.

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Image: Silent Dreaming: The Warning, 152 x 178 cm, 2006 (Collection of Ballarat Regional Gallery)

You have been exhibited many times since that first showing and been represented by some quite prestigious dealers – has it met your expectations?
I think, first of all, that a lot of my expectations were unrealistic. My first commercial gallery was Gallery 101, and I left them after a year to try and find my place in what I believed was a gallery with more kudos.

I had felt that I was lost in a large, much older stable, and I wanted to be in amongst artists my own age, where I believed the ‘pulse’ would be…. I’m sure I came across to Diana as incredibly ungrateful. Thankfully, she still talks to me! I respect what she does immensely, and her gallery was a beautiful place to show my MFA work.

After that I was taken on by Nellie Castan, and it made a lot of difference to everyone else that I was there. I know now that it helped my need to be seen as an artist of merit. That’s the honest truth. I was so thrilled to be a part of that scene, and it did my ego an awful lot of good!! But it was not meant to be forever, as life had different plans for me.

I had believed that a gallery would support an artist through their whole career, but I found out that this is probably an old fashioned idea. And not one that NCG could honour for various reasons. The experience of being asked to leave was a very painful one, but a good wake up call. Leaving there relieved me of a lot of pressure to “be” someone, someone that it wasn’t in my nature to be.

During this time I was taken on by Michael Carr in Sydney, but that was short lived as he went bankrupt after a few years. But my one show there went really well.

Since then I haven’t pursued a gallery in quite the same way. I needed to let someone find me, someone who would understand where my work was coming from, and hopefully build a relationship from there. This is what has happened with Catherine Asquith, where I am about to have my next show.

Do you have any cultural connections that you think may be relevant to viewing you work?
I have cultural connections to Germany and Lithuania, providing me with influences as I grew up. Ghost stories seemed to be everywhere! Faeries and other creatures inhabited the trees and flowers, and goodness knows what trolls lived in dark places. The dead walked among us, and to spook my elders was the greatest challenge for me (I learnt this talent from my maternal grandmother).

As I am growing older, I seem to be developing a strong connection to my German side, especially as I am mostly attracted to German painters – Anselm Keifer, Neo Rauch and Daniel Richter to name a few. I think the attraction is the cultural element, and Germany’s history of Romanticism in connection to the forest. A lot of my work over the years has had elements about a person being connected to nature in one way or another.

In 2000 you were one of three Australian finalists in the UBS Art Award in London which traveled to Basel, Zurich, Geneva, Monaco, & Munich. What was that experience like? Did it lead to further success for you?
That particular time in my life was such a turning point! I was at the VCA doing my Masters degree, and the opportunity came up to enter a new prize. My supervisor Su Baker encouraged me to try – I almost backed away as I didn’t feel I had anything current in my work that was up to scratch for an international competition.

The experience was exhilarating and frightening all at once. I was chosen as one of three finalists from Australia, and we were flown to London by the UBS Corporation to partake in a huge event. The show was held at the Whitechapel Gallery, and was judged by Nicholas Serrota from the Tate. I have never seen so much money put into something for art. They flew all the artists (worldwide – twenty or so) and their work there. They put us up for a couple of nights at a big hotel, did a swanky catalogue, and generally made us feel great.

After that was done, I stayed in London with a friend who was there from the VCA on exchange at Slade Art School. We were on a houseboat on the Thames! Then I traveled to Madrid and Bilbao, Spain and Paris, France for another two weeks, looking at art and just walking everywhere.

As to where it led, well, here in Australia, the whole event barely registered a blip, as far as I know. That was a strangely disconcerting experience, after all the fuss I had experienced in the UK. I really don’t know how much external success it granted me when I returned, but as far as my painting was concerned, I launched immediately into a new body of work with real confidence. I think that was what the whole experience gave me – a greater confidence in myself as an artist.

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Image: Untitled (Fall), oil on canvas, 168 x 168 cm, 2000

How do you continue to grow, or is this not important?
This is really important to me. All my creative and personal life, developing who I am and how I create is all that has mattered to me. And as I get older, it matters more and more.

It is often commented to me about how my work has changed over the years, that I don’t do the same thing over and over. It’s really been a long journey finding my way as a painter. I don’t know how young kids just go out and do instant styles – I guess we’re all different, thank goodness! But for me, it was trial after trial, and a lot of exploration of other artists. I know now I could never have done anything differently, because you are who you are.

The ‘Art Market’ may not have been able to keep up with me, but that’s their problem. Well, actually, it’s yours too if you really just do art to sell. And of course, I want to sell my work too, but my deepest creative impulses never seemed to have the same agenda! I was and am driven from a place that has it’s own path, so that has effected my career greatly. I’m pretty sure I even lost representation by one gallery because of it. But what do you do?

If I try to do what I think is the way to go commercially, it all dries up inside me and I get bored with what I’m doing after a year. I feel empty, and really, there’s no point painting then. Conversely, that’s not to say it wasn’t all a part of a learning process ultimately. Every diversion, every exploration has taught me a lot.

Now, in my practice, I grow by continually looking at art – on the internet, in magazines, and go on the very infrequent overseas trip when I can – that is definitely the best way to grow. Each time I went overseas, it gave me such a distance to look at what I was doing so I could gain the courage to make a leap forward.

And personally, I am very interested in Jungian psychology and dream interpretation, and what Jung calls the process of individuation. I am currently devouring all the books I can on these subjects, and others by associated authors. It brings me into the interpretive fields of myth, fairytales, and alchemy, which are all rich pickings for my work as a painter and storyteller.

This aspect has never changed in my work.

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Image: August, oil on linen, 134.6 x 167.6 cm, 2009

Do you feel there is a contradiction in the inherent nature of creativity and desire to experiment with the way the art industry seems to operate (e.g. establishing a recognisable ‘style’)?
Well, yes, I do. It goes back to what I was saying before about the need for growth. The Art industry is a business like any other in this current climate, and of course they want to make money, or gain kudos. I think an artist has to find a way to travel along on the outside of this if they really want to find their own personal way, especially in the early years.

After a while, you find you can dip your toes into that realm every now and again, but I don’t think it’s healthy for an artist to stay there. But when we are young, we want to be appreciated by whatever the Art authority is, and we are easily swayed. Well, at least I was. Maybe things are different for younger artists now. Their education is certainly different.

Perhaps it comes down to a separation from what was once seen as the inherent value of Art and the Artist in our culture? Ever since the concept of ‘Economy’ took a hold, it seems to me the more humanistic values have mostly been forgotten in lieu of fame and fortune, and ‘sell-ability’. It’s not that it is bad to want all that, it’s just that I think an artist needs to find more of a balance, more of a deeper understanding of where their internal creative motivations and drives are coming from, if they want to work confidently with the Industry without it effecting who they are within.

What do you believe is the hardest or most challenging aspect of being a professional artist… and the most satisfying?
The hardest is staying true to myself at all cost, regardless of whether others like or approve of what I do. I would say this has been my greatest challenge – to believe in myself, to persist and maintain courage in what I was doing, even when external ‘success’ was not apparent. And to learn that ‘success’ has different meanings and that things take time.

The most satisfying is being able to paint, and making work that is interesting to me. And the feeling I get when a work starts to come together!

Every day I am grateful that I can come to my studio and work.

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Compiled and edited by Amanda van Gils © 2009+

Thanks fellow Arties!

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Rehgan De Mather – Artist

Rehgan De Mather from Melbourne is currently represented by Cowwarr Art Space (VIC), Jackman Gallery (VIC) & Linton and Kay Contemporary (W.A) and says he has been making art since he was a teen. His website is www.busyplayingart.wordpress.com Rehgan works in Acrylic, spray enamel, oil stick, collage and assemblage and enoys travel and music.

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Artist’s statement…
In music, sampling is the process of taking a pre-existing piece of recorded material and reusing it to create something new yet undeniably familiar. It’s a way of cutting and pasting an interesting lyric or break to be born a new in a different context.

Originally born out of necessity, patchwork was a way of making fabric last longer. Once a garment was worn out, it was cut up into patches and sewn together with other pieces of fabric to create a “new” useful item.

A collage, from the French word coller; meaning to stick, is a collection of disparate items combined to create something new. While my practice is primarily painting based, I employ collage and assemblage techniques to create layers of imagery, text and motif.

Much like a musical sample or patchwork fabric, I reuse and recycle previous works and canvas, cutting them up and casting them amongst new landscapes. I refer to these as “contemporary leftovers”, a collection of disjointed stories, themes and ideas sewn together across time and space.

This process is as much about building a personal iconography as it is putting together the pieces of a puzzle. Driven by a desire to create, construct and connect; collage and assemblage allow me join the dots between past work and new ideas.

How do you describe your work?
My work has been described as urban and neo-expressionistic. My work shifts between the graphic and gestural, depending on what form is most appropriate to a particular work. Although my practice is primarily painting based, I incorporate collage and assemblage techniques in my work as well.

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Does your work have social, political, cultural and or personal messages?
My work is a record of both interaction and interpretation of my environment and surroundings. I view myself as a builder, collector and storyteller. Whilst the works often lack a defined narrative there are a sequence of clues; images, text, marks and motif that encourage the viewer to construct their own meaning, interacting with the work and becoming involved in the process itself.

What are you currently working on?
I am currently finishing work on a new series of paintings entitled, Movement Mashes
, in preparation for an upcoming exhibition at Linton and Kay Contemporary in Perth.

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What fascinates you?
I enjoy the structure of order and the appearance of chaos…

One word or statement to describe your current works?
Movement Mashes…

Why are you an artist?
I am driven by a desire to create, construct and connect.

How did you get into art?
At age 13 I wanted to be an architect. Later I became more interested in graphic design. When I was 15 I picked up a paint brush and never really looked back…

During my VCE studies I was involved with a youth magazine, Voice, which also held art exhibitions for young emerging artists. This encouraged me to pursue my artistic studies at a tertiary level.

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How important is art for you?
Very, it’s how I relate to the world around me.

What is it about Visual Art you find compelling?
The creative challenge.

Did the place where you grew up have an influence?
Growing up in the country (Gippsland) didn’t influence my work a great deal, but it did have a strong impact on my career. I was fortunate enough to have a great support network and mentors in Clive Murray-White and Carolyn Crossley from Cowwarr Art Space, an old butter factory turned into a contemporary art space. Such a place is a rare find indeed, especially in more regional or remote areas, and both Clive and Carolyn were incredibly supportive of my practice and helped foster my development as an artist. I was also offered exhibitions at Gippsland Art Gallery and Latrobe Regional Gallery, which offered me an great opportunity to develop my practice and showcase my work.

What or who inspires your art?
Words, music and mayhem…

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What caused you to choose the medium you currently work in?
I’ve always worked with paint; seemed natural really. Lately I’ve been working with collage, assemblage, bas-relief and some object based work, however my practice is still primarily painting based and very process orientated.

Has your work changed much since your early efforts?
Interesting question in way. My work has changed a great deal since my early efforts, although I would say that the overall aesthetic is still quite similar. I have recently been revisiting older works, using them as collage and elements within new work. It’s a way of reinterpreting previous works, but also connecting past work with new ides.

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Have your artistic influences altered over time?
Yes. When I was younger I was quite interested in the work of Jean Michel Basquiat, I enjoyed his gritty aesthetic. Working backwards from Basquiat I quickly became interested in Cy Twoombly and Jean Dubuffet, I enjoy their mark making. After travelling through Europe and the States I became interested in Surrealism and Dada, in particular the work of Schwitters and Miro; I also enjoyed the work of the CoBrA artist’s. Lately I’ve been looking at Klimt and Kandinsky, as well as contemporary artists Alan Glass and Sally Smart.

What can you tell us about your planning and making process for making art, and has that altered over the years?
I’ve always been a big list-maker. I find words are more of an influence for me in terms of a starting point; images seem to be more of a final product for me. Words>Lists>Sentences>Ideas>Images.

I should probably do more preparatory drawing in my folio, but I tend to work directly onto a canvas, working back and forth between the painting and my folio or notes, problem solving, revising, building and editing as I go.

Does the “creative process” happen easily for you?
I find it difficult to switch of my brain; as such I have plenty of ideas. The challenge for me is which ideas to pursue and resolving them effectively.

How important is the clarity of concept to you, prior to starting an artwork?
It used to be quite important, but as I have become more confident with my work and processes it has become less and less of a concern. In many ways it helps to be free of a specific vision, as I can move and evolve with the work. I’ve grown to like Dubuffet’s idea that an artist should try to relate their thoughts to what they have done, not the other way around.

Do you have much contact with other artists?
Yes, I am part of a social group/artistic collective called the Dirty Jaded Ravers.

The Dirty Jaded Ravers are a group of individuals who, as the name implies, had an awfully fun time in the Melbourne dance scene at the turn of the century. Facing nearly a decade of bright lights, thumping bass and truly crazy times, many found themselves faced with the decision to bow out gracefully and settle in Caroline Springs or to get involved in the scene they love.

From humble beginnings to random meetings, the Dirty Jaded Ravers have grown to form a large social group active in the arts, music and charity event. Included amongst the impressive group of ex-ravers are some of the scene’s much-loved DJ’s, producers and promoters, as well as established and emerging artists, musicians, graphic designers, photographers, fashion designers and multi-media artists.

Any upcoming or completely new projects you want to talk about?
Upcoming solo exhibition at Linton and Kay Contemporary, Perth. September 18th – October 3rd. Have also been selected as a finalist in the upcoming Black Swan Portrait Prize and the Sunshine Coast Art Prize (currently on).

If you could have any piece of artwork in your personal collection, what would it be and why?
Cy Towmbly’s Four Seasons from the Tate Modern in London. It’s my favourite painting, grand, poetic and lyrical. I visited it many times when I was in London.

Have you had any “big breaks” in your career?
I‘ve been a finalist in the Brett Whiteley Travelling Art Scholarship (twice), City of Whyalla Art Prize, Araluen Art Award, Sunshine Coast Art Prize, Black Swan Portrait Prize, John Leslie Art Prize, and Arc Drawing Prize.

Do you keep an Art Journal or Visual Diary of some kind?
Yes, I keep a folio of lists, ideas and basic sketches.

What happens to works that “don’t work out”?
Some are reworked, others are used as collage or drop cloths in the studio picking up leftover paint and marks.

Musical influences?
Music is very important to me, and my practice. I am always listening to music; in the studio, in the car, when I got to sleep, when I wake and when I go out on the weekends.

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 enjoy giving the viewer some choice(s). I like to encourage them to get involved with the work or interact with it in some way. I think it’s important not to give away everything, but rather entice them in to the work, whether that be through colour, shape, form, pattern, rhythm, image, text or motif. There are repeated images and motifs that have become a part of my personal iconography and ongoing narrative, but many of these narratives are broken, allowing the viewer to construct their own meaning and become involved in the work.

Tell us about your studio environment?
My studio is very busy, but also very organised. I always a have a number of works on the go at once. I tend to tidy everything in the morning and move things around, before sinking my teeth into a particular painting for the day.

Is your work process fast or slow?
Both, depending on what I am working on and what process I am using. A lot of the collage work is quite time consuming with construction, composition and cutting and pasting where as the panting is much more immediate and rapid in terms of application and mark making.

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Compiled and edited by Steve Gray © 2009+

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Sarah Parker – Artist

Sarah Parker is an Artist from Stanwell Park. Northern Illawarra. N.S.W. and has been been making art most of her life. She has been exhibiting professionally for about twenty years, you can find here website here… www.sarahparker.com.au

What are the main medium/s you work in…
I paint acrylic on canvas and always have a sculpture on the go.

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Does your work have social, political, cultural and or personal messages?
I approach my work with a personal narrative, bearing in mind that this is my trigger, and hopefully the viewer will respond to my images in their own emotional context. I have in the past dealt with a series of works about the feminine and memory, and in recent years my work has been about nurture. I’ve been painting the horse and bird image for the last couple of years, which I use as a symbol of the mother.

What are you currently working on?
I have a show this year October the 23rd– 25th at Villa Alba Museum, a historic house in Kew, Melbourne. This new series is inspired by the museum and matriarchal imagery.

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What fascinates you?
Spaces fascinate me. I am intrigued by people’s houses. Landscapes inspire me. I enjoy visiting homes and looking at keepsakes people display. It’s remarkable how much space changes with personalities.

One word or statement to describe your current works?
Gentle.


Why are you an artist?
It was never a question to be anything else.

How did you get into art?
Art has always been in my life, so it’s difficult to pin point the moment. I come from a large family of seven children; creativity has always been part of my life. Artefacts from New Guinea and other countries my parents travelled filled our house. When my older sisters went to uni, they’d bring home poets, musicians, writers and artists and sit them at the kitchen table. I spent school holidays at drama workshops or art workshops. I was kept busy as a child creating. When I was about 6 or 7 I was forever being sent to “The Naughty chair”. Mum believed this was a progressive way to parent my misdemeanours. The point was for me to spend time thinking about my behaviour on the chair and hopefully apologise and behave. I was to be left alone. Once on The Naughty chair I became comforted by this new silence and space. I’d end up completely entranced by Arthur Boyd’s print we had hanging on the wall. I’d stare into the painting and imagine playing in his landscape. I’d get lost in that painting and completely forget why I was naughty. I was in the chair quite a bit as a child as I realised if I sat there the rest of the family would leave me alone. It was rare for me to have such a personal space with three brothers and three sisters to contend with. Arthur Boyd’s painting taught me to sit, be quiet and dream. .

Your art education was…?
I left school in year 11 and went to R.M.I.T. I had to fight my way into art education. My family wanted me to do H.S.C. but I was convinced I didn’t need it. I did the T.O.P applied arts program, and continued to study sculpture at R.M.I.T. I moved to Sydney and studied painting at The National Art School.

The craziest thing you did at art school was…
left before I finished.

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Was your education helpful, or a hindrance?
I loved art school. I loved meeting like minded people. I enjoyed the cross section of students, and loved how the world just miraculously opened its glorious gates of possibilities. I was in heaven.

What did you do before or during becoming an artist?
I worked at a few Art galleries and was involved with artist run projects while I was studying and in the early years. I worked with children setting up art workshops and spent a good amount of time in retail in the years I started to exhibit. This actually helped me learn how to sell. I’ve done community projects and festivals, and still get involved with small events in the local area. I create spaces for musicians to perform in with art and lighting, cross referencing music and visual imagery.

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Is there any one thing that has given you a big buzz in your art career so far?
I was offered The New England Regional Art Museum artist residency program. This was a life saver for me. I was in the perils of a drawn out divorce and was working full time to support my son. My work had dwindled, and my head was full of anxiety. Stephen from Tameresque in Sydney suggested I look into this studio residency. He called the museum while I was there I gave notice at work the next day, and arranged details for my new adventure. In one month I left with a tiny car full of canvas, paints, inks, tools, sculptures and books and drove to Armidale. I was so nervous I drove around the town three times before I entered the museum. When I was taken downstairs to the studio, I was completely overtaken. I found myself a massive white space all to myself. It was enormous, and I worked for weeks to cover the space with colour. It was fantastic. I still hold Armidale dear to my heart.

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Do you remember your first painting or artwork?
I remember doing finger painting at Kindy. I loved doing those paintings and covering my hands with the paint. The best feeling was squelching the paint in my fingers or grabbing a friends hand and squashing the paint and watching it ooze and change colour. There’d be lots of laughs. It felt great. I was forever painting and making spaces and houses for my toys.

What or who inspires your art?
New cities and road trips get me going. The best time for me is to get in a car and drive. I take in all that space, or maybe I empty my mind and find solace in large open areas. When I do road trips I make a point to visit small regional museums and visit old historic sites. It is interesting how small towns in the Australian rural areas hold close the ghosts of their past. I enjoy reading how people adapt and interpret their communities. I get thirsty for museums and books.

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What caused you to choose the medium you currently work in?
I work with acrylics as my studio has always been at home. In the early years my son was in the studio with me. Once he went to school, I could work with more toxic materials, and did a series of oil paintings, but generally as a rule I chose the less harmful materials. I am unable to cast my own sculptures at the foundry now, as my body has taken in too much toxins from previous castings. I pass out from the smell.

Has your work changed much since your early efforts?
My work has evolved to where it is now. My work has grown with me. My interest with feminie imagery is still part of my narrative.

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Have your artistic influences altered over time ?
I’ve learnt more about artists through friends, magazines, travel and books. As a student I loved the frescoes and iconic art of the Renaissance and still do. I have always been intrigued with history, and love researching ancient antiquities. I devoured the surrealists. It’s one of my favourite movements. I love the playfulness of its manifesto. I had a major obsession with the Mexican Muralists for a while, again the intrigue with murals, iconic sculptures and frescoes from history. The work of female artists has always encouraged me to keep exploring, working and living as an artist. Frida Kahlo, Louise Bourgeois and Kiki Smith are inspirational. I understand their imagery. Andy Goldworthy’s beauty and playfulness is a joy. I have recently fallen in love with Franz Marc, and understand his love of nature.

Creative streaks do they come in waves for you?
I can look back now and say that naively I believed I could ride the eternal wave of creativity. I have since learnt and accepted the wave is tidal, and the perplexity of the ebb and flow is what I need to master. To create a wave involves 5 key elements. I believe it’s a constant, the swell isn’t always massive. That’s ok for me. I’ve learnt to be kind to myself in that regard.

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Do you get creative glimpses of urges happening and how do you work with these?
I get very passionate about an idea, thought or theory. I research the idea, do a whole lot of impulsive writing, look for images, and just talk about it non stop, everything becomes part of it. The thought becomes a story board, and I live in that moment until I can paint it out of me.

How important is the clarity of concept to you, prior to starting an artwork?
The concept is the starting point for me and the clarity evolves with the work.

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Do you have a personal description of “Art”?
I believe Art is all around us. It’s the perception and acknowledgement of this that is art.

Have you had any commissions?
I have spent a long time developing the knack of commissions. It’s a difficult process. Some artists scoff at commissions and believe that it takes away the focus of their personal mission. I’ve done a number of commissions for private collectors, and it’s been an enormous learning curve. It’s a compliment to be asked to paint a special piece for a family, or business. The very nature of art is about communication, and commissions are an integral part of learning how to articulate successfully.

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Does the sale of your work support you? If no what else do you do to support your art (job)?
I have had years where I can support myself with my sales, and other years where I have to be more entrepreneurial. I have found that it’s easier to have a fall back, so that a body of work can be produced without selling everything to pay the bills and have nothing left for a show.

Do you get to other artists exhibitions, openings etc?
I love going to shows and openings when I can.

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Do you have much contact with other artists. Thankfully I have wonderful friends and family that inspire, support and encourage me. I owe them everything. We all have a similar edge and fragility that we share and support. It’s a great thing to be understood.

Any upcoming or completely new projects you want to talk about?
In October I am exhibiting at Villa Alba Museum in Kew, Melbourne. I am collaborating with the committee of Villa Alba and the design faculty of R.M.I.T. under Marius Foley’s coordination. I have also invited Stephen Philip, a musician, to create some soundscapes for the show. Some contemporary stencil artists from Melbourne, Zvi Belling and Prowla have also been invited to contribute. The motivation for the Villa Alba exhibition is to present art in venues that inspire and reflect cultural exchange, making art more accessible within alternative environments.

Villa Alba Museum is the inspiration for the show, the muse for the artists contributing to this event. For me the house is a metaphor of nurture. My work for this show is inspired by cultural antiquity, stories, myths and images of the feminine. Villa Alba was built for Anna Greenlaw in 1870 and was handed down from mother to daughter, later to be remodelled as a dormitory for mid wives in the 1950’s and a post natal hospital for mothers and babies. Today it is in the process of being restored and is now a Museum. Villa Alba Museum is of National significance by virtue of the quality of its hand painted interiors, it’s one of Australia’s finest examples of 19th Century decoration.

Working towards an exhibition, is it a daunting task?
I find it exciting, exhausting and fun.

If you could have any piece of artwork in your personal collection, what would it be and why?
One of the Asian Minor sculptures of Artemis. It’s a reminder of history and strength, a wonderful statue of the iconic mother. It’s encouraging, beautiful and comforting.

Can you name a favourite artist or three?
Giotto, I love his figures. His images are very empathetic. Frida Kahlo I love. I read her bio when I was 17. It was a big moment for me. Her determination to succeed in Art fuelled me and gave me constant encouragement. I hadn’t read an account of a female artist before. It was only ever about the men. When I moved to Sydney from Melbourne I studied painting at The National Art School and worked at Mori Gallery part time on opening nights. This was where I was introduced to lots of female artists. At the time the common thought was that once female artists got married and became mothers they’d stop exhibiting. There were always plenty of female art students but the torch bearers of exhibiting artists were like a small coven, and it was in Sydney that I was introduced to them. Things became supportive for me in a feminine context to art. I didn’t paint massive big abstract paintings. My works were small and intimate. At the time Vivian Shark Le Witt, Jenny Watson, Fiona Mc Donald, Julie Brown Rapp, Susan Norrie, were inspirations for me. I discovered Kiki Smith a few years ago. She is from New York. Her narratives and research into the feminine are inspirational. I love Drysdale, Nolan and Boyd because they articulate the Australian landscape, the people and the space of our country so well.

Do you keep an Art Journal or Visual Diary of some kind?
I have lots of journals and books and folders that are scattered about. I always have one in my handbag. It’s a good way to sort through ideas.

What happens to works that “don’t work out”?
Sometimes I destroy them, throw them out, or I’ll paint over them. Others hang around like ghosts waiting for life. I’ve recently gone back to a painting I did in Armidale 6 years ago. It felt strange, like I was re writing some past history, perhaps it was fine in its previous state of limbo. Anyhow, that ghost has life once more and I’ll be exhibiting this painting at the Villa Alba show.

Musical influences, Okay this is about Visual Arts but most artists have favourite music they enjoy while working or just in general what about you?
Music is an important part of my creative process. Just like visual art, music imbues a mood. I’m excited about working with music in my next show. Music like visual art can bring me to tears. I believe music is provocative and significant to our language.

What sort of depth or meaning is there behind the work you do ?
In my recent series of horse and bird paintings I am exploring the relationship between animal and the human spirit. Horses in ancient times were symbols of the mother. Celtic and Gallo-Roman civilizations used the horse image to symbolize fertility, re birth and abundance. The bird and dove image has been used throughout history as the symbol of innocence, gentleness, the embodiment of divinity and the matriarch. I use the animal iconography in my work as mother/nurture metaphors.

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 use these symbols in a subliminal context. The beauty about symbolism is that each person has a story or association with an image that has nothing to do with my personal investigation. The use of symbolism in a way is the freedom to take an emotion or idea further. Symbols have been classified, and there are contexts to various imageries, but the important thing is that the viewer interprets the work from their own personal dialogue. To take the personal into the universal.

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…?
Tragedy changed my life and my art. I understood beauty so much better once I experienced the darkness of personal tragedy. Maybe that’s why my work now focus’s on nurture and why I love Franz Marc so much. He understood the beauty of animals and the way emotion and communication can be simplified. I understand his gentle brush strokes and kind soft images. I also have great feeling for Giotto and Della Francesca’s work. We all have disaster swirling around us; this is the nature of being. I guess it’s how you want to see things. Life can be fast and furious. I prefer a slow and kind life. I believe the world needs more humility. The post war artists dealt with the shocking imagery of war in different ways, Marc took to nature, and in himself restored some glimmer of hope and beauty. Perhaps my paintings can soothe some wounds or translate some sort of emotion that is tender to the viewer.

If you stopped doing art right now would you miss it?
I don’t actually think that it’s possible to stop thinking about art. I had slowed down when I was ill, and that made me feel terribly depressed. It’s a strong part of me, and without it I would feel lost.

What discourages you from doing art?
I have a habit of becoming extremely sensitive. I think I become quite fearful of being exposed. If I get too introspective I can’t work.

Is motivation to work an issue for you and how do you overcome it?
I know from experience not to push and probe the beast of procrastination. The more you talk about it the stronger it gets. When motivation or lack of it comes charging through, or sneaking up, it needs to be ignored. It feeds on self doubt. I tend to look for new books or visit friends. I’ve also learnt to stop being so outrageously personal, most of my work can be viewed as a common thread or understanding. This is helpful when I get scared of being personally criticized. The theme of the work needs to be strong. This helps me feel secure to paint and motivates me to do the work. If I can somehow articulate a thought, and we’re talking subliminal as well, then I know it’s going to be ok, I’ll work hard. If there’s one notion or thought that I’m going to be ridiculed then I just don’t work. I can’t motivate myself to be put in the firing line.

Do you have a challenge knowing when a work is finished?
I have learnt over the years to understand when a work is finished. There has been some really bad judgements and a few tears in the past, but this is all part of the knowledge.

What about the role of titles with your work, some hate them others revel in them, what about you?
I like to play with titles. I get disappointed at shows when the works are untitled.

Have you had much connection post sale with purchasers of your works?
Yes, a few buyers have become collectors and dear friends. I have been supported over the last few years by these friends. I became ill and was unable to exhibit for a few years at galleries. At the start I was very attached to my paintings and protective about them. It’s crazy I know, they were like a part of me. I didn’t want my work to be stored in a cupboard or collected as an investment. I believed they had a life force of their own. It was important to me that I felt they were looked after. I want my paintings to be part of life, not hidden or unloved.

Tell us about getting caught in a creative “slump” and how you got out of it?
The slump is hard, esp when you rely totally on your income of producing and selling work. It’s a dark place that one. I’ve had to dig myself out of that hole. I have found it useful to do small art courses to help stir the pot so to speak.

If you have been working as an artist for a while, how do you feel about earlier works that are in people’s collections / ownership?
I like to visit them; some of the earlier works are silly. Some shows were such fun to do. I went through a phase of laughing at myself. It’s good to not take myself so seriously. It’s important to have fun.

Name a book or books, which may have inspired your work as an artist?
I read Angela Carter when I was at Art School. That was explosive for me. ‘The Bloody Chamber’ is unforgettable. That led to other books about female artists and writers. Marina Warner is an inspiration. I visit favourite books often; most are research and anthropological topics. I fell in love with Simon Sharma’s book ‘Landscape and Memory’ about ten years ago, and often read a passage from that every now and then. I read Sherry Ortner’s paper “Is Female to Male as Nature Is to Culture” last year that was fabulous, massive and educational. I research lots of topics and spend a great deal of time sourcing facts and fiction. It’s the base colour of my canvas. My works are layered with subliminal stories.

If someone says to you “Oh your work is decorative and lacks any meaning…” your response would be…?
I’d offer them an explanation about what it means to me. I’d comfort them with the notion that it’s up to them to give it meaning if that’s what they want. Some people get scared about art and think that it’s some huge dilemma and that they have no context about how to read it. Some people and some art need a translator. Some art is a different language. It’s important to make people feel comfortable. “I don’t know much about art but I know what I like.” “My six year old can do that” etc. It’s all valid really. We as the artist have a role to assist people to understand how to feel it, if they’ve made an attempt to view it, and it is foreign to them, I’d spend time with the person. All people have different processes to appropriation. I think it’s unfair to expect everyone to feel and think the same way. I don’t understand Russian, but I listen to the sounds and manner and make up what I think it’s about, look at the faces, the hands, watch the reactions. I still don’t know what has been said, but I can feel the idea of what’s being said. I’d possibly be wrong, but I’d enjoyed trying to work it out. I think the same can be applied to Art. If however it’s an aggressive attack and meant to be hurtful, I’d try to ignore them. Some art to me can seem decorative, and that doesn’t demean it, it still has a purpose.

Art as a therapeutic device; do you think it is useful for this purpose and is your work in this category somehow?
To some point it is, but in all honesty, who wants everybody to know what is in theory a private discourse. My art does calm me, and is to some degree therapeutic, but again I feel it’s important to be able to translate the personal to the universal. It’s the nature of communication. Art is a language. My intent is to offer a narrative where hopefully anyone can have a dialogue with it. Otherwise I wouldn’t find the need to exhibit. I speak with colour and my brush; it’s my preferred way of communicating.

Some say a measure of an artwork is the ability for it to hold a person’s attention or cause the viewer to come back after an initial glance and become captivated by the work is that so for your works or an intention of yours?
Yes. I would like that very much. I want people to feel the work.

Some artists are more “at home” isolated in their creative process, while others revel in being part of a group to bounce “ideas off” how about you?
When I start a new body of work I need to hibernate and give the process utmost priority, I can get easily distracted and not focus. It’s a time when I don’t think about the daily routines.

Are there times of the day when you prefer to do your work?
I keep within the working hours of the day. The light is better for me, and it’s a good habit. I’ll paint after dinner as well, but generally I find it difficult to shut off if I’m in the middle of something, I’ll give myself as much time as I need.

Are you the sort of artist that seeks out promotional opportunities or one that shuns the limelight?
I get very nervous about the spotlight. It can get terribly embarrassing but it is so important. I don’t like to blow my own horn. I have been taken out of context before and I got ripped to shreds. Bottom line is I spend most of my time in a studio, not in a marketing office. I know how to, but it’s very difficult speaking about my work and not being construed as an egomaniac. People are genuinely interested in why artists spend so much time doing art, it does fascinate the majority. I think though within the art world some people can just get plain nasty. It’s tough.

Do you work from life, or from photographs or from imagination or some other method?
I work with stories and images, then paint them my way. I paint straight onto the canvas, which can take a bit of adjusting.

When you create your work is it somehow an emotional relief as you do it or at the end?
I think for me it’s a kind of meditation. Some works tend to trigger an emotional shift in me. I spent last year painting only one canvas. I’d spend weeks just looking at it, some days gently painting it. Months would go by and I’d stare at the canvas, maybe paint a thin wash over it. Like bathing a baby almost. My brush strokes were soothing. I did get a sense of calm. However it isn’t great to totally absorb all my energy into one painting. I lovingly painted that piece for a year. It was for me a weeping song of some sort. I think the tenderness of that work does translate to others. People enjoy looking at this painting and say it makes them feel calm.

Artistic Pilgrimages, any to talk about…?
I had the chance to go overseas for a family celebration in London. I hadn’t been there for twenty five years. I had a multitude of images in my head from all my art books at home and I knew I could visit the originals. I had studied these images for decades. When I went to the Tate and saw Stubbs’s horse I went completely weak at the knees. My heart was pounding and I wanted to burst into tears. It was like a skit from some romance comedy. Me rushing through the doors trying to reach this painting. I got there after many doorways and I had to try and calm down. It was crazy.

I also went to Firenze and the feeling I had there was like I was in some twilight zone. It was truly bizarre: disbelief and euphoria all in one. I spent days wondering around the city feeling so re charged. I took my time studying my beloved frescoes. It was almost like a belief had been justified. There is majesty in art, there are the masters, and they do exist.

Did you intend to become a professional artist?
Yes ever since I was a little girl. I’d pretend I was an artist and set up a shop outside my house selling “art” that I’d made.

How many artworks do you produce in a year?
The last couple of years my work has been slow. Sometimes depending on work commitments I have produced 20 images a year. In the last couple of years I have produced half of that. My work takes a longer time to do now.

Do you ever question being an artist?
As a mother I did. Deep down I knew it was the right thing, but I often felt guilty about it. I become a bit absent when I work for a show. The defining boundaries of the female artist mother have been blurred and re defined many times in my life. I thank my son for being so patient with me and understanding. I’m sure it’s not easy having an artist as a mother.

How do you cope with any low points?
In the past, not so well. I get very sensitive. It’s hard to put your work out there in the world, and watch it get devoured. I’m learning to create some sort of boundary. It’s difficult, because to be an artist I believe sensitivity is the key, to deal with the critical crowd is a different type of sensitivity all together. To acknowledge the low is possibly the best thing to do, but never wear it like a shroud.

Have you had any critical reviews and were they good, bad or indifferent?
I’ve had fantastic reviews. They made me feel welcomed. I was excited. I felt loved and understood. I’ve had a bad review and it made me feel trivial. I felt like a caged animal. It made me feel sick, I felt so stupid.

What technical aspects do you focus on in your work?
I apply many washes of thin colour, wet on wet. A lot of water is used when I paint. Then again I also paint dry on dry.

How long do your works they usually take to complete?
Months to years.

How has your mind-set changed from struggling to find your own style to solidifying what you are doing today?
I have learnt to become confident in how I paint, rather than paint to be liked.

How many artworks do you work on at the same time?
I normally work with three images and work on a sculpture. I find this is a good way to spread the paint and not waste it. Acrylics dry fast, so it’s important to use as much of it as I can.

Does some of your current work reflect your earlier works?
My work has always been inspired by stories of women. I come from a strong matriarchal lineage. My mum would talk often of her family, her aunts and great aunts. I’d ask her questions about them and their life, I’d try to imagine what life was like for them. These women and their stories were very much kept alive in my imagination as a child. When my father died I realised our lives are song lines and stories that create our identity and history. Those car trips I did with my mum and hearing her stories were in effect my songlines about the women in my history. I am one of four women in my family, so I guess we have become stories for my nieces and cousins. My mother is a great grandmother now. The stories are endless.

How did you manage to survive financially at the beginning of your art career?
Well I was poor and so were my friends, so it didn’t matter. It’s easy to have fun with no money when you’re young. I worked odd jobs and was an extra in movies for a while. That was pretty good cash and I got to dress up in very strange outfits. I also worked on opening nights at a few galleries for some years. I did a bit of life modelling, which was weird, that didn’t last long.

Did you have any idea about how the art world worked in the beginning?
I had been working in galleries and artist run initiatives as an art student so I knew a fair bit. I learnt how to promote my work and was taught how to hang a show. I made great contacts as well. I did witness some pretty nasty transactions with dealers and artists, but the art world is no different to any other industry. I have learnt to never rely on anyone else but myself. That’s been imprinted in my mind. I also know that the art world has many worlds within it. The trick is to find the one that is caring.

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Compiled and edited by Steve Gray © 2009+

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Chinese Contemporary Art… a source…

Here is a link to a blog on the subject, interesting. http://www.mlartsource.com/en/blog

Make art and sell it? Then this could be for you…

Art Palaver, one of many art resources but Daryle’s seems to have a different edge to most… check it out… http://www.artpalaver.com/

Steve Rosendale – Artist

Steve Rosendale www.steverosendale.com.au is a Melbourne based painter whose figurative cinematic oil paintings capture a romantic view of urban life. Heavily influenced by film noir and such cinematic greats as Michelangelo Antonioni, Steve’s paintings emanate a moody nostalgia of times long past. His commitment to his imagery is equalled by a commitment to realism and to mastering his materials, which is apparent in his finished paintings, some of which can be seen in his forthcoming exhibition “Incidental” at Libby Edwards Galleries Melbourne (http://www.libbyedwardsgalleries.com/exhibitionpage.asp?FType=69) “Incidental” opens 27th August 6-8pm and continues to mid September.

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Artist’s statement…
My intention is to create works of mystery and drama, high contrast and atmosphere. All based on faint memories I have of wandering the city at night in my late teens, memories which become increasingly hazy and romanticized over the years.
I will use quite a variety of materials to create a composition – including sketches, personal photographs, film stills, magazine or news clipping; in fact any visual device i stumble across that seems to correspond to the sub-conscious memory. Then from this manufactured reality produce a finished oil painting.

What are you currently working on?
An exhibition at Libby Edwards Galleries for 27th August 09

A few words about what fascinates you?
Modernism, Tonalism, Romanticism, European New Wave Cinema.

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You mention cinema as something, which fascinates you and obviously this comes through very strongly in your choice of imagery, could you tell us more about that?
From my earliest days as an artist I began using film, television and magazines as source material for my work. This really came about as a matter of pure convenience because I found it increasingly difficult to get models to pose, stay still, or even stay awake (!!) while I painted them. As time went on I began to rely more and more on film to provide the figures I needed for the paintings, eventually abandoning other source material all together. Over the last few years I have spent countless nights sifting through hundreds of films to find the exact pose or image I am looking for.

I have used the term “Incidental” to describe the work, in that the use of film as subject matter is really secondary to the mood or feeling I am trying to convey. Film is simply a device or tool that I manipulate to express the deeper, almost subconscious reasons for the choice of scene or figure.

I am far more interested in the use of composition and colour to create drama and mystery in the works rather than which particular film or actor is being borrowed for the scene. The result is not unlike a film still but on transferring it to the canvas and manipulating various elements the finished work will inevitably be filtered through the lens of my subconscious and imbued with the mannerisms of my personality.

Have you always been interested in art?
Always subconsciously, but only consciously for the last 12 years.

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What is your earliest memory of art?
I recall a painting on the wall of my parent’s house by Neil Savage that fascinated me…I still have it today and it has been a huge influence I think.

Was art a “thing” that was encouraged in your family?
Hell no.

So did the place where you grew up have an influence?
Yes in the sense it was a negative influence; everything I wanted to escape from, ignore and avoid.

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What did you do before or during becoming an artist?
IT course, Philosophy course, Photography course, worked in a factory, apprentice hairdresser, assistant manager supermarket, art store, framing store, shoe store…need I go on….?

Why are you an artist?
I was left with no other choice. Or to put it another way I had tried everything else, and when I discovered drawing and painting it was immediate it was so obvious I should have known all along.

How did you get into art?
Began by doing a photography course, then a drawing course, then onto to TAFE to build a folio then onto University Fine Arts.

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Was your education helpful, or a hindrance?
Helpful. In the beginning I was a sponge for information so it didn’t really matter where it came from, even though I may not agree with different artists or art teachers or their methods there is still something to pick up from each one. If you don’t like a persons work (or the person) that shouldn’t mean you brush off what they have to say too quickly.

And I’d say art education is ongoing. It doesn’t end, everyday there is something new, something to learn, some new break through, just when you think you have unlocked some key secret you open a door on to a vista of things you don’t know.

Can you tell us about any significant moments in your life, the sort of things,which changed things for you and your art?
The first time I went to the city at night, I was about 17 and caught a train in. I was mesmerized by the lights; I was in awe, I was in love…it was an artistic moment but I didn’t realise it until years later. A moment I have not forgotten.

Did you have any idea about how the art world worked in the beginning?
No.

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Your first “decent” gallery representation, how did it come about?
I walked into gallery after gallery until one said ‘yes’.

Was that a long process?
No it wasn’t long it is actually quite easy to get into a gallery there are hundreds of Artist run spaces who will take ‘anyone’ if you are not choosy. I don’t think gallery representation is a problem unless you get picky. So at the start anything will do, but then as you move on obviously you want a gallery who can do a bit more for you then just take your money. The idea is to simply “start somewhere “ and progress from there.

How did your first solo show go?
Great, thankfully…. which I guess encouraged me to go on…though in between I have had shows that weren’t so good…I remember having an opening night somewhere in the middle of winter where no one had turned up, I remember standing by myself freezing to death, because they had no heater and I was just determined to believe that this was not a problem…. just a stepping stone on the way to somewhere else…now if that had of been my first show who knows what my reaction would have been but I think by then I had enough behind me not to take it too badly…I couldn’t believe 6 months later the same gallery had the nerve to ask me if I wanted to show with them again!?

What caused you to choose the medium you currently work in?
Oil I guess It was just traditional…Also It was so difficult to grasp at the beginning it became like a challenge to master and then you just become addicted to finding out more and more of its properties and potentials etc.

Has your work changed much since your early efforts?
Certainly I feel there is a constant improvement and a constant evolution going on…though the more personal elements and the subject matter has remained exactly the same. But the way they are expressed is constantly evolving through practice and experimentation.

Have your artistic influences altered over time (e.g. artists.)
Yes. In the beginning – ( and it seems true for most artists I meet ) Salvador Dali was the main influence It was all Dali, Dali, Dali. Then there was a long Warhol period…but lately I am becoming more interested in artists who use paint in very unique and individual ways such as Ben McLaughlin, Rick Amor, John Singer Sargent, James McNeill Whistler, Glenn Barr…

Do you get creative glimpses of urges happening and how do you work with these?
There is a constant process of looking, searching… always on the look out for the next ‘big thing’ ….some come to me on their own and others I discover for myself…” Do Not wait for inspiration…light out after it with a club!! “ Jack London. I mean everything can be inspiring if looked at in the right way…i.e. a Cézanne apple the most mundane of objects but to him the cornerstone of much of his work. So I think it is YOU who must be inspired and then it doesn’t really matter what the subject is.

Do you have a personal description of “Art”?
Art is music, poetry.

What happens to works that “don’t work out”?
Torn up or painted over.

The problem with the art scene today is…
Too many people just “ having- a- go “ I mean would you let someone ‘have-a-go’ at Brain Surgery? Or someone who has trained and practiced for ten years? There is a belief that art should be “ for everyone “ and “ anyone can do it “ but again… can just ANYONE do brain surgery?? I believe everyone has the potential to be an artist but they must get down to the business of it, not just a romanticised ideal of it. I mean its ok to express yourself and have a creative outlet but when that sort of work ends up in the gallery system… I…don’t know what to say? It’s like watching the Australian Idol try-outs. Also a lousy Doctor would be dismissed but a lousy painter can hang around for years.

One thing you wish you had listened to from an art teacher or lecturer?
“Spend more time in the studio“

Was there a big turning point in your art journey that caused you to think “it’s all worthwhile”, or “oh yeah I get it…”
Every couple of weeks there is a major turning point that I think is ‘THE’ one and then another even greater one occurs a week later that makes the first pale in significance so I now believe it may be a never ending process of revelation.

What would you say are the top three things, which make you successful as an artist?
Practice, Drive, Patience

Are there any books that have inspired your work as an artist?
Remembrance of Things Past
. Marcel Proust.

Some say a measure of an artwork is the ability for it to hold a persons attention or cause the viewer to come back after an initial glance and become captivated by the work, is that so for your works or an intention of yours?
Certainly I think the measure of an artwork is its longevity and its timelessness

Do you have a connectedness to other art forms?
Yes Music, Poetry. I write a lot, I have been in several bands as a drummer and singer. (I attempted acting but …was quite hopeless at it!)

Some artists are more “at home” isolated in their creative process, while others revel in being part of a group to bounce “ideas off” how about you?
I need complete isolation. I don’t mind company but it can be a distraction. I don’t have a group of artists that I bounce ideas off. I am quite independent.

Can you describe your working process?
I am in the studio daily, sometimes with the weekend off. I have many more ideas than I could ever put down and it’s hard to decide which ones to do and which have to miss out…

Before I start I have sketches, drawings, watercolours, reference photos etc at hand. A lot of the finished painting is worked out well in advance of the execution.
In the early days I worked straight into the canvas sometimes without any reference material at all. The result was abstract and expressionistic, but it was also very hit and miss and perhaps because of this I began to spend more and more time on the planning, which slowly evolved into the way I work today.

What or how do you respond to the term “Starving Artist”?
I would rather starve as an artist than become wealthy doing something uncreative… but I think it is quite possible (not necessarily easy) to become a wealthy artist.

What advice would you give to an artist just starting out?
If you’re going to do it, put everything into it and don’t look back.

Would you say your paintings reveal something private about yourself?
Yes
: my work should be read in a psychological way where the work is the end product of my past experiences.

Is there any one thing that has given you a big buzz in your art career so far?
I remember doing an over the phone interview for a Brisbane newspaper while reclining in my boxer shorts and sipping champagne in a hotel room…feeling that perhaps I had achieved something…!

You know you are successful in Visual Arts when…
You create a painting, which completely blows your own mind and then wonder if it was you who actually did it?

Can you respond to this quote “Anyone who is half assed about art should get out.” (Janet Fish).
Yes

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Compiled and edited by Amanda van Gils © 2009+

Jacqui Stewart

Jacqui Stewart has been making art since ‘teenaging’ set in. “I got into art at secondary school mainly photography and some fine art practices. My art teachers were positive and encouraging..” Jacqui said.

The web address for more info is… http://723.com/jacksme http://www.warmtoastcafe.com/art/jacks68

Also the blog for Jacqui’s for radio show http://www.houseofjack.blogspot.com

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Interests you have other than art you feel are important to mention?
Radio and Music, I enjoy being a DJ and interviewing interesting people.

What are the main medium/s you work in…
photography, painting, I am also interested in sound in gallery.

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How do you describe your work, realistic, stylised, abstract, narrative, symbolic, other?
Photo documentary artistic photography and abstract art. The photographs are a record of out times and I’ve recently joined the digital revolution so use my digital camera when I can. I still wonder at the miracle of film though. The abstract art lets me express things without concrete images, which may make the pieces more intriguing.

Does your work have social, political, cultural and or personal messages?
It’s a record of our times and says something about people on the margins and my own personality.

What are you currently working on?
Some black and white portraits sound ideas.

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What fascinates you?
The world and all the different kinds of people in it

Why are you an artist?
I enjoy photography, it’s a way of connecting to the world and expressing who you are.

How did you get into art?
Loved it at secondary school. I was encouraged and we had good art spaces. Which led me to TAFE, which I absolutely loved. You could be whoever and whatever you wanted to be at TAFE . no bells to tell you when to go to your next class. Just the enjoyment of being a young adult able to express oneself through art.

Your art education was…?
Top in art and design BA fine art museum studies at post grad level.

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Was your education helpful, or a hindrance?
Helpful, gave me discipline and the skills to move on. You had to help yourself in many ways Teachers just let us do our own thing. I learnt a lot and loved the facilities.

What or who inspires your art?
The people of the world. I like photographing people the way we are all quite unique and have all travelled on this planet both emotionally and physically I try to capture this.

What caused you to choose the medium you currently work in?
Easy to get things printed easy access to a camera something you can take around with you. The camera is a very accessible thing.

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Does the “creative process” happen easily for you?
Yes it does I feel that is was my choice to be creative

Do you get to other artists exhibitions, openings etc?
I try to see as much art as possible across all mediums and genres. It always fascinates me the variety of ideas people have and it’s always inspirational to look at other peoples work.

Do you have much contact with other artists?
I’m at an art studio so yeah. People are doing all kinds of different works at the gallery studio space. Some big works other small intimate works and such a variety, everthing from abstract to photo realism

Any upcoming or completely new projects you want to talk about?
I put in for a submission to the midsumma festival, we shall see.

Working towards an exhibition, is it a daunting task?
It is a daunting task and takes lots of energy but its good to get your work out there. The results usually pay off when you see your work displayed. I was pleased with my last exhibition I thought it came up well had lots of good comments.

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Some say the lifespan of many “artists” post educationally is about five years, any thoughts on that?
An artist is an artist for life I think you keep maturing and developing.

Do you keep an Art Journal or Visual Diary of some kind?
I jot down ideas do sketches and plan things. I should sketch more I tend to launch into finished artworks before pre sketching. I enjoy just randomly putting any random idea on paper kind of like just seeing what comes out and it can be surprising

Do you have a personal philosophy that underpins your work?
When working in photography its about the decisive moment.

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Musical influences?
I love bands like massive attack portishead, and radiohead music can be inspirational.

If you stopped doing art right now would you miss it?
Sure would, I’ve always got something on the go I always take photos.

What about the role of titles with your work, some hate them others revel in them, what about you?
Sometimes I title things, others I don’t, some titles are more factual then others ie photo taken at Camberwell market is self explanatory while rebirth is open to interpretation.

What is the most unexpected response you’ve received from a viewer of your work?
I did a piece called fork off which featured forks on a canvas and it got quite a response, many saw the humour.

What or how do you respond to the term “Starving Artist”?
It’s a reality.

What moves you most in life, either to inspire or upset you, which might be connected to your art?
The thrill of the unexpected nature of film is inspiring and capturing that moment.

How important is society, culture and or history to your work?
In some ways it is about context, society, culture and history can shape your work and give it meaning

How long did it take to develop your own style?
Forever developing and changing. I do different things like put words on canvas play around with sound ideas I’ve even got some old super 8 film which I want to piece together for a projection in a gallery.

What was life like for you as you were growing up?
I was never into sport so I was an arty kid at school a bit weird and kind of different I couldn’t wait to get to art school. I could be who I wanted to be at art school.

Eccentricity is seen as a common trait of artists of many disciplines, how about you?
It helps to be a bit different.

Do you wake up with ideas at 2am etc… and have to jot them down?
Some of my dreams can be inspiring they can be very creative.

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Compiled and edited by Steve Gray © 2009+

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Tom Haney

Tom Haney is from Atlanta, Georgia, USA and says he has been making art most of his life but his current work started in 1994 and began doing it full time in 2000 for more descriptions and images of his work check out his web address. www.tomhaney.com his current works are mechanical sculptures, with found objects and assemblage.

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Artist’s statement…
Mu
ch of my work is unseen. Whether it’s an intricate part of a mechanism or the curve of a leg, so much of what I do is not instantly apparent. On a kinetic piece, 50-60 percent of my time is spent on the mechanism hidden inside the work.

I hand-carve the bodies of all my figures and sculpt each head one at a time, doing things the old-fashioned way. No corners are cut, no shortcuts taken. When making a piece that moves, I aspire to produce a piece that will operate for years to come.

A great deal of time is spent perfecting the mechanisms to ensure I will never have to spend my time repairing them. The special people who collect my art understand what goes into creating it. They appreciate the hours, days, weeks, and sometimes months of dedication it takes to create these unique pieces.

Woodcarving was my initial approach to creating the figures, but lately I’ve found myself using materials as diverse as fabric, polymer clay, and found objects. Electrical motors, miniature lights and motion-detectors have been added to my mechanical repertoire.

For the most part, I approach my work searching for that characteristic of the human spirit that struggles to overcome anything fate can throw its way. I’ve always been on the side of the underdog, rooting for the little guy. Their lives and stories inspire me.

What are you currently working on?
A commission of a clock that is 12” high and 72” long with a movable figure and multiple movable objects.

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What fascinates you?
Anything mechanical.

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Now give us a more descriptive outline on your current works?
Darker than previous work. Using lighting to a greater degree. Narrative slightly off of reality, more dream-like.

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Why are you an artist?
I was born this way and I can’t help thinking like an artist. It’s very important for me, it’s my life.

Why is it so compelling?
The challenge to make something that people want to look at and try to understand.

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Your art education was…?
I have degree in Industrial Design.

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What did you do before or during becoming an artist? I made props models and miniatures for photography, commercials and movies.

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What is your earliest memory of art? Seeing my older sisters creating art and drawing with crayons.

Was art a “thing” that was encouraged in your family? Yes, but it was discouraged professionally.

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Was there a big turning point in your art journey, which caused you to think “it’s all worthwhile”, or “oh yeah I get it…”? In 2000 I did my first outdoor show and sold many pieces and heard great comments from people.

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What caused you to choose the medium you currently work in? American folk art.

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What can you tell us about your planning and making process for making art, and has that altered over the years? When I first started making things I wanted to see it finished at the end of the day. Now I have lots of patience and take my time to finish a piece. My pieces today, take weeks to finish.

Does the “creative process” happen easily for you? Yes but sometimes it’s hard to get started.

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Do you get creative glimpses of urges happening and how do you work with these? I usually sketch these ideas down somewhere.

Have you had any commissions? Yes, half of my time over the last few years has been spent on commissions.

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How important do you think craftsmanship is to artistic creation? Very important, I try to do the best work I can always.

Does the sale of your work support you? Yes, but with this economy it’s been a little slim.

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Do you have much contact with other artists? My wife is an artist and I do try to keep in touch with creative people.

Any upcoming or completely new projects you want to talk about? Currently I’m working on a commission piece, a clock 12” high x 72” long. It’s areal challenge and a bit out of what I normally do.

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Working towards an exhibition, is it a daunting task? Yes, there is never enough time to do all the works I have ideas for.

Tell us about your connection to your subject matter, way of working, concepts etc? I always look for subjects, which have an interesting movement to them. Sometimes pieces are more of a personal challenge, a problem to solve.

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What has been a turning point in your career thus far and why? In 2000 I became a full-time artist and had the time to commit 100% to my work, this opened up many possibilities.

Can you name a favourite artist or three… and why?
Calder, Picasso and Da Vinci. Calder made a huge impression on me as a youth. I have no idea how old I was or what show I saw when I was young, but my parents said I could always recognise his work even as a small child. Picasso went from being classically trained as a youth and through his career stripped everything down to the basics elements. I wanted to be Da Vinci when I was young, (and still do), because he did everything, he was an artist, an engineer, an architect, and an inventor.

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Compiled and edited by Steve Gray © 2009+

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Black Saturday radio stories

ABC radio in Gippsland has been interviewing people about their experiences in the Black Saturday fires which devastated communities in the region, here three Contemporary Visual Artists chat about their work in the aftermath of the fires and their experiences on the day… HUGE!

Kerrie Warren

Werner and Ursula Theinert

Art in action

While an exhibition Steve Gray is part of (Regionalis), is set for mid August 09 at red gallery, it doesn’t stop him from working! Here you can see some of what Steve has been up to, as he logs a journal with pics of where he’s at now. Take a look. You may recall he was interviewed here earlier

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Open Studio – Ghost Patrol

An open studio for ghost patrol, should be a good event… Aug 8th 09

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Kaitlin Beckett

Kaitlin Beckett is originally from New Zealand and now lives in Melbourne. Kaitlin started taking her art seriously 3-4 years ago. You can check out more of her efforts at www.a-curious-bestiary.com Kaitlin says “Music is a big part of my life too – art used to always take a back seat to music, though now I’m pouring 100% of my energy into art.”

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What are the main medium/s you work in?
For a long time it has been a combination of inks, watercolours, chalk pastels and embellishments with metal leaf, foils and iridescent pigments. I recently started using an airbrush, this has been an exciting (and messy) journey.

Artist’s statement…
“Since childhood I have had a love for the fantastic and the imaginary – I enjoy depicting the real and the unreal together, things turning into other things, the unusual engaged with the everyday. However macabre some of my creatures may seem, they still have a whimsical quality – it’s important to me that people can see the humour in my work.”

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How do you describe your work, realistic, stylised, abstract, narrative, symbolic, other?
Illustrative, with fat black outlines!

What are you currently working on?
I have a solo show coming up in September/October, so I’m preparing for this – most likely to be fish themed. After that…perhaps something anatomical?

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What fascinates you?
The natural world! The diversity of the creatures on earth is utterly fascinating and an endless source of inspiration.

How important is art for you?
I think everyone is naturally creative, it just depends on what works best for you to express it. If I were not painting and drawing, I’d find another outlet – as long as you have something, you won’t experience creative frustration.

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Your art education was…?
Soul destroying.

Was your education helpful, or a hindrance?
I all but gave up visual arts for many years as a result of art education… it can be a very dangerous thing, if you don’t find the right kind of course or teacher to nurture you and preserve your originality. I know many people do manage to find a learning environment that helps them they way they need to be helped, but I’ve heard from many other artists who had a similar experience to me! Sometimes you need to make your own mistakes and learn from them yourself.

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Is there any one thing that has given you a big buzz in your art career so far?
I was pretty happy to be a featured artist in 2009’s Curvy book (a compilation of female artists and designers).

What is your earliest memory of art?
Nothing too specific – though I remember I had a little wooden table that was my ‘art space’ for years – I’m sure I made a lot of play-dough animals on that table, haha.

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Was there a big turning point in your art journey that caused you to think “it’s all worthwhile”, or “oh yeah I get it…”?
The first time I sold a piece to someone I didn’t know was a special moment. I felt like at that point I was ‘allowed’ to call myself an artist!

What caused you to choose the medium you currently work in?
Lack of patience I guess. I like working with mediums that don’t take ages to dry and hold me up…all I have to wait for during most paintings is masking fluid and that’s pretty quick. I also like chalk pastels – I like to rub them into the canvas with my fingers, there’s something satisfying about getting your hands dirty.

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Has your work changed much since your early efforts? (e.g. as a student).
Definitely more confident with my mediums…and also the detail is becoming much more refined.

What can you tell us about your planning and making process for making art, and has that altered over the years?
I used to jump right in to the painting part once I had an idea… but I found often I’d lose interest or realise I’d made a mistake I couldn’t ‘fix up’ in the finishing of it. I now take time and do sketches and tests first – if something bugs me about a concept in the sketch stages, I know it will bug me far more when the piece is finished! So now if something doesn’t feel right, I make myself do it again and again until I am happy.

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Does the “creative process” happen easily for you?
I guess so – I feel like I have lots of ideas floating about. It can be hard to figure out which one to pursue though, and this is the form of ‘artist’s block’ I sometimes get!

How important is the clarity of concept to you, prior to starting an artwork?
As I said above it’s very important. I see the finished piece in my head first and endeavour to extract it intact! There are sometimes happy accidents along the way but during the process I know how I want the result to look. Also as my work has layers of mediums in order, it’s not so easy to go back and change some things, I usually ruin it trying to do that.

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Do you get to other artists exhibitions, openings etc?
I try to but often I’m standing there looking at the art thinking ‘I should be at home right now painting!’.

Working towards an exhibition, is it a daunting task?
The most important thing is to make sure you are ready and are proud of the work you are submitting. Rushing to get work finished at the last minute is not an ideal situation! For my next show I plan to choose my best work from what I have available, rather than throwing everything in to ‘fill’ the space.

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Some say the lifespan of many “artists” post educationally is about five years, any thoughts on that?
Lifespan? That seems ridiculous. I feel my art has improved so much over the years I have been devoting myself to it – and I look forward to continuing and developing. As far as I’m concerned there is no such thing as ‘post-educational’ – you are always learning and growing as an artist.

Do you keep an Art Journal or Visual Diary of some kind?
I have a lot of bits of paper pinned to my wall at home…when I have a new idea I will sketch it on whatever is lying around. I kept an art diary for a while but as it contained everything in one place, it became too precious and I got paranoid about losing it and stopped carrying it around with me! Which defeated the purpose of an art diary really.

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What happens to works that “don’t work out”?
You have to know when to stop! Because I do my sketches and planning first, it’s unusual for that to happen. But when it does there’s a point when you have to step AWAY from the canvas and not get any more agitated. Having said that though, during most of my pieces I have a moment of thinking that it is not working out and I should just stop, but then I persevere and I’m happy with it.

Musical influences, Okay this is about Visual Arts but most artists have favourite music they enjoy while working or just in general what about you?
Music is ESSENTIAL! I can’t paint without it. I listen to different kinds of things depending on the time of day – something mellow in the morning, heavy music at night.

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Do you hope the viewer will “get” what you are trying to communicate or do you feel compelled to spell it out to them?
Definitely not! People respond to art in such varied ways and it is entirely personal – you can’t make someone see something or connect with something the way that you do. I like it when people tell me what a piece means to them, or what they think is happening in the situation, and that they are not afraid – I think often people don’t feel comfortable to do this as they don’t want to say something ‘wrong’. There is no ‘wrong’! If someone’s interpretation of a piece is completely different to yours, you can’t be offended or disappointed.

What can you say about your work that might not be evident to the viewer?
Nothing. If it’s not evident, it’s not relevant to them. Like I said above, I want people to respond individually. If all they see when they look at a piece is a pretty picture with no meaning, well, this is fine too.

Do you have a challenge knowing when a work is finished?
Maybe if I worked in one medium I might… you can always keep fiddling with it. Though as I work in stages with different mediums there’s a definitely an end point. And I varnish quickly so I can’t change my mind.

What about the role of titles with your work, some hate them others revel in them, what about you?
I wouldn’t say ‘hate’ but there is certainly no ‘revelling’! My titles are functional and to the point…haha. Long pretentious titles annoy me, but then so do titles ‘Untitled XI’. Call a spade a spade I say! Until you end up with a few paintings of spades, and then you have call them ‘red spade’, ‘spade 3’ etc…

The business or marketing side of Art can be a challenge to some, what are your thoughts?
It can definitely feel like a hassle…but it has to be done. The internet makes it much easier to do these days, and there are more opportunities for free promotion than in print.

Name a book or books, which may have inspired your work as an artist?
When I was young I was given a picture book by VC Vickers called ’The Google Book’ (not related to the search engine!) – it had odd illustrations and odder poetry – scared and fascinated me at the same time. The creatures in it were bleak and macabre but also endearing.

If someone says to you “Oh your work is decorative and lacks any meaning…” your response would be…?
That’s OK, it’s their opinion! However – I’d appreciate a comment like that more if they said ‘…lacks any meaning TO ME’. People should never assume what a work may mean to the artist.

Tell us about your studio environment (too big, too small, enough storage or not, the light, the position, how you found it etc)?
My studio is in my home, which suits me best as I can flit into or out of it when I want. The light is average but there’s room for lots of desks. I don’t know if I could share a creative space with anyone…I am a stereo nazi.

Some say a measure of an artwork is the ability for it to hold a persons attention or cause the viewer to come back after an initial glance and become captivated by the work, is that so for your works or an intention of yours?
Whether people liked it or didn’t, I’d like to think it was at least interesting and worth a second look.

Some artists are more “at home” isolated in their creative process, while others revel in being part of a group to bounce “ideas off” how about you?
I definitely prefer to be alone and with no distractions…though I have worked in collaborative situations before which have been challenging but rewarding.

What is one thing you need to have in your studio before you work?
Music…and then incense & coffee.

Are you a purist with your art materials or willing to mix things about?
Definitely not a purist. I will splash out on some things like brushes and varnishes but I still use the same box of cheap chalk pastels I got when I was around 10.

Which is more important to you, the subject of your painting, or the way it is executed?
I suppose the subject. I see many paintings around that have been executed brilliantly that are just so trite. You can learn the technical skill as you go…if your ideas are unimaginative or imitative, good execution will not save them.

Do you prefer a perfect smooth technique or a more energetic expressive technique and why?
I am currently attempting to balance the two.

Have you ever made an artistic pilgrimage? If so, where did you go and why?
Not really, though I’m trying to go diving as much as I can during my current fish phase!

How long did it take to develop your own style?
Not too long I guess – looking at older pieces and unfinished works from before I started taking it seriously, I can still see my fat black outlines and squiggled marks. My style has been refined a lot though as I have matured as an artist.

How do you cope with any low points?
By not doing anything dramatic – it will pass!

How did you approach your first gallery?
It was an ‘all works accepted’ auction at a local gallery – I thought ‘good, they can’t reject me!’ As it happened the owner liked my work and I was able to be part of a few events after the auction. It’s difficult to know where to start as you need a ‘body’ of work to secure your own show, and if you’ve never shown before you might not be given that opportunity. Group shows are the best foot in the door and some galleries arrange them on a regular basis – artists should try and join as many mailing lists of local galleries as they can, to find out about these events.

How many artworks do you work on at the same time?
I used to work on the one piece from start to finish – but I realised I like to be able to switch from ‘concept’ stuff that uses a lot of concentration to more brain dead stuff like varnishing or masking! So these days I will normally have about 2-3 pieces I’m working on at once. I like to alternate large and small works too – usually after finishing a big canvas I want to do something more manageable, and after the fiddly ones I want to stretch out.

Does some of your current work reflect your earlier works?
I do have some recurring characters – sometimes there will be a year or more before they make their reappearance! I do like to look at images of my older works from time to time and pick up a thread.

Can you respond to this quote “Anyone who is half assed about art should get out.” (Janet Fish).
Anyone who is half arted about ass should get out.

Was there a point where you decided: OK I can live off of my art?
I’m hoping this will be in the near future!

How did your first solo show go?
Better than expected! Though my expectations were fairly low. I had a small room at a local gallery and showed about 14-15 pieces.

Did you have any idea about how the art world worked in the beginning?
No! And I still don’t. I’d just like to get through it intact

Do you have ideas turning over in your head all the time or…
Yes, like a cement mixer. If it stops turning, your ideas go all hard…

Eccentricity is seen as a common trait of artists of many disciplines, how about you?
Well…eccentricity is found in all walks of life, certainly not just in the ‘right-brained’! I’m sure we’ve all had a nutty maths teacher. What I don’t like however is affected eccentricity, or people using their art as an excuse to behave strangely.

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Compiled and edited by Steve Gray © 2009+

Follow me on twitter! http://twitter.com/stevegray58

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 ( http://www.diannetanzergallery.net.au/ )

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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.

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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.”

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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. www.paulwhiteart.com

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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 http://www.peterforward.com Peter works in paint, collage, drawing and installation.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

Meet the Red Bubble Guy!

You are invited to the next hive melbourne event with Peter Styles from RedBubble.com on July 14th. go to the site and see the details, it’s free and usually a great event! bookings ESSENTIAL!

http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=95134963722 (that’s for details and to RSVP on facebook)

http://www.thehive.org.au/
Scroll down when you get to the site, to the melb event with Peter… Smile

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