I’m an artist working mostly in what would probably be called contemporary realism.
Tell us a bit about yourself?
I’ve been drawing and painting since a young age. I studied Fine Art at Curtin University but am mostly ‘self-taught’ from books, articles and tips I’ve been given by other artists. Since 2010 I’ve been represented in Perth by Buratti Fine Art, where I’ve had a number of solo and group exhibitions, and I’ve been lucky enough to have been featured in a number of awards including the Black Swan Prize for Portraiture and the Shirley Hannan Portrait Prize.
I also work in arts policy for the State Government, which means I get to put some of my practical knowledge of the arts sector to (hopefully) good use, and I get to be out and about at lots of arts events around Perth.
What inspires you/ Where do you look for inspiration?
I am constantly inspired by things around me – people, objects, structures, landscapes, colours. As an artist you really have infinite subject matter, but you have to limit yourself to certain things at certain times. So I paint portraits, then objects, then figures, depending on what really interests me right at that moment - I just don’t have time to paint everything! In particular I find myself regularly appreciating the way light falls on objects and wanting to depict the relationships between things. At the same time I’m always looking for interesting ways to depict everyday things, so there’s no shortage of inspiration.
What kind of work do you do?
I mostly work in oils these days, with the occasional drawing, in a contemporary realist style. I’m not photorealistic or hyperreal in my technique, but I do like to get a bit of detail, enough to make the subject believable. But I’m not interested in that smooth, hyperreal finish – I am a painter after all, and I like the look of paint.
Because of my job, I have limited time to work on my art, so preliminary sketches tend to be very quick and then I get straight into the actual painting. Lately I’ve been working on a series of simple still lifes. They mostly contain just a single object, which has been really fun. They are really just studies in light, form and texture, with an almost religious reverence for these chosen items.
Where can we find your work?
I post a lot to Instagram, including works in progress and sneak peeks, with finished pieces making their way eventually onto my website, which serves more as an archive. I exhibit regularly at Buratti Fine Art in Subiaco and have works in the stockroom.
Perth is seen as an emerging city, especially in creative industries – do you feel like there are more opportunities in WA right now?
There definitely seems to be an entrepreneurial spirit in WA at the moment, and people are out there creating their own opportunities, whether it’s small project spaces, online businesses, or shared studios. Paired with the increasing support and awareness from the general public of the benefits of arts and culture, there seems to be a real momentum, which is energizing.
How does local context affect your work?
All work is personal to an extent, and in that way my art is a product of my upbringing and my current circumstances (white, middle-class, male, etc). My works are often about art itself and modes of seeing, rather than broader societal issues. I don’t really have any conflict in my life and I suppose that is reflected in my work. It’s not making a statement. A good friend of mine used to joke that
Perth was too nice to generate or encourage great art. I think he’s wrong of course, but Perth is pretty nice.
What do you think makes Western Australia special?
The natural environment is probably WA’s most striking feature. As locals, we have to remind ourselves that this is a pretty amazing and unique place, and to really make the most of it.
Where is your favourite hometown spot?
As a local I have to say Leederville and the surrounding suburbs. Within walking distance of my house
I have great coffee, great food, boutique shops, I’m 5 mins from the beautiful Lake Monger, close to the city – I love it here. It has a good mix of people from all walks of life, and maybe even the dreaded v-word: vibrancy!
What are your favourite local buildings?
While I love architecture and design, I’m not very knowledgeable in that area. I am especially partial to a well-restored heritage building, especially when paired with or juxtaposed against something more hard edged and modern. The State Buildings/Cathedral Square/Perth Library area is pretty wonderful.
What should we expect to see from you in the future?
More work! I’ve just finished up a group exhibition in January at Kidogo Arts House in Fremantle that featured some of my portraits, and I’m close to finishing my current series of paintings, which I will exhibit later in the year. After that I have a stack of ideas for other portraits, still lifes, nudes, and other things I want to paint. It’s going to be a busy year…