Tony Curran – Artist

Tony Curran is an Australian Contemporary Visual Artist  who has a website, a blog and a long list of credits to his name, from a Bachelor of Science to a Masters of Art (Drawing). Tony specializes in “neuro-aesthetics”, stereoscopy, visual design and psychoacoustic research.

self portrait front

Does your work have social, political, cultural and or personal messages?
My work has a philosophical message about the fine line separating the personal world and the “real” world

What are you currently working on…
I’m currently working on a project titled Aural Dynamics for an residency at Fraser Studios in Chippendale. It involves inviting the public to my studio and modelling their left ear for me while I draw it. I’m hoping to reach 300 ears by the end of my residency in August. These ears will hopefully be on exhibition after that.

I am offering a free ear portrait after the show to anyone who sits for AuralDynamics. People can contact me on my website to arrange a time.


Why are you an artist?
I was finishing up my Psychology degree at Macquarie University and studying Perception Psychology at the time. I began to draw certain concepts in perception theory and this started to take on a wider role of the intricate layers of image making and reading from the realistic to the abstract. Now I’m working quite cross-disciplinary and the spectrum from abstract to realistic is intuitively blurry.


How important is art for you?
Art is my profession and everyone needs a profession. Art also tells us people are trying to improve, whether it is to improve the world by making beautiful objects or even just improving their own ability or craftsmanship. Art gives me focus and self expression, but it can be addictive.


Your art education was…?
I completed my Masters of Art (Drawing) from the College of Fine Arts in Sydney. There I studied anatomy, life drawing, animation, sound design and really expanded my practice immensely. In my last semester I was awarded a travelling scholarship to participate in a residency in Edinburgh with Richard Goodwin’s Porosity Studio and the British Council. There were a bunch of other students from all kinds of disciplines including Fine Art, Architecture, Design, and Landscape Architecture, Photo-media, and New Media.


Was your education helpful, or a hindrance?
Definitely helpful. It pushed me in all kinds of directions and really showed me there is always a way to make the work, which is in your head.


Is there any one thing, which has given you a big buzz in your art career so far?
Finishing my degree and seeing my work as a Finalist in the Mosman Art Prize a few weeks later was a big rush.


You know you are successful in Visual Arts when…
When you have a visual art.


Do you get creative glimpses of urges happening and how do you work with these?
These happen all the time and unfortunately I can’t develop all the creative ideas. I try to write them down or blog about them as much as possible but sometimes I just have to let them go and think about what I’m working on now. They’re often powerful and make me want to can everything else.


Do you have a personal description of “Art”?
Art is something you develop over a long period of time. The art can be traced through the works you make but is not a painting per se. Art lives within the art object but is not the object.


Do you get to other artists exhibitions, openings etc?
I try but I find it difficult to maintain my own ideas and thoughts when I do. It’s best for my artistic development to stay away from other art exhibitions unless they are a friend of mine.

Working towards an exhibition, is it a daunting task?
Yes and no. Working toward an exhibition tells you, you have a lot of work ahead of you but the end of the show tells you, you can slack off for a little while and recover.  In some cases a long recovery is warranted

Some say the lifespan of many “artists” post educationally is about five years, any thoughts on that?
A rolling stone gathers no moss. I wonder if it’s the same in another profession. I finished my Psych degree in a cohort of hundreds but I wonder how many of those have fallen into a similar lifespan. I’ve always thought any career you choose is going to be a hard one – that’s life. After Uni you start at the lowest rung of the industry and try and make sense of whatever life you’ve chosen. With art it might even be easier because secretly everyone wants to be creative but not everyone has a secret wish they were more into finance. Maybe that’s just me.

Do you keep an Art Journal or Visual Diary of some kind?
I initially set up my blog to do this but I never find the time to use it in that way. Also I discovered my blog gets a small audience, so I decided to develop it with the audience in mind. I kind of have a visual diary but I usually have about 5 going at one time. They are all different sizes and I work on them based on where they are in my proximity and how easily I can carry them around at the time.

What happens to works, which “don’t work out”?
They hang around my house gathering dust.

Do you aim to break the rules of basic composition, layout etc or do you ignore the “rules” and just create?
I have a very intuitive process at the beginning and if I don’t like the work I determine whether its compositional or not and look through all the rules. At this stage it can always be edited or remade. Sometimes I love what I’m painting so much and it turns out it’s because I’ve broken a rule.

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 suicide of a relative was the kick up my ass to go out and make the most of my life and do what I wanted to do. The suicide of a different relative was a kick in the heart for me which killed me artistically for a bit but then ultimately defined my practice around levels of awareness as measured through sensation and sanity.

Is your Art, “Art for art sake…” or a matter of “Art for commercial viability?”
Both, I think Art can be pushed around in lots of directions from the commercial world most of those directions are probably destructive. It is the role of the artist to fine a good middle ground between artistic integrity and commercial viability because if you can develop it like that, then your art will be better than it ever was.

How has your mind-set changed from struggling to find your own style to solidifying what you are doing today?
Makes me less impressionable with other artists’ work but it also makes me able to appreciate good work when I see it. Once you have your own art practice you are happy with then you can become an audience of other art practices and not a student or critic so much.

Was there a point where you decided: OK I can live off of my art?
In 2006 I had a dream where I took off to Barcelona with no money and drew things and sold them like a busker to get food etc. When I woke up I went to work in a very crappy retail job and decided screw this: Somehow it will work.

Our Artists love to see comments on their interviews, so feel free to add comments in… Note they are moderated and so may take a little while before they are seen on the site.

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!

Check out our other Art Site Loaded with creativity boosters, professional development strategies, investing/collecting art and activities for Artists and Students…


Comments are closed.