With the information and insights gained from this, you can now confidently stand on the threshold of becoming visible as an artist, developing your capacity for a successful rewarding professional career.
Central concerns of my work now exemplify my commitment as an artist to express contemporary social and environmental concerns. At the same time, I’m sharing a positive message about beauty and the aesthetic experience. I am also offering examples of detritus re-cycle and re-use. I hope that this work encourages those who experience it to look at the environment in creative ways.
I find it incredulous to think how many times I have bent over to pick up the many thousands of pieces of plastic debris that made up that aspect of my art, each piece jostled around for an unknown duration by sand, sun and ocean, their form altered, faded and rounded by the elements.
It has led me to a deep sense of care and concern for our environment which is underpinned by an excitement of the creative possibilities of working with recycled materials and has had me over the years, offering to the viewing public original and unique works from my studio.
The culmination of this maturation and the epiphanies around my work in the form of dramatic re-assessments in my aesthetic vision sent me later looking for driftwood on a shoreline in Victoria, which then directed me to this exciting new medium of found objects. It’s not necessary for all artists to have to experience such a dramatic incident as having a fire in a studio to bring about a major change in their outlook on life. Some artists instinctively do this in the process of their work in the studio. This is how it happened for me and it left an indelible imprint, which has continued to this day.
A more complete list should also include American abstract expressionist Jackson Pollock and later Roy Lichtenstein and more recently Jeff Koons, Keith Haring and Jean-Michel Basquiat. I resonate particularly these days with Pat Stiers work, Lynda Benglis and Louise Bourgeois. I was influenced as well by the Australian artists Tony Tuckson, Brett Whiteley and Ian Fairweather, primarily due to the energy that their work conveys.
Exposure to international art in London and Europe, in the early eighties, encouraged me to pursue my career as a full time artist. One defining moment was experienced at the Tate Gallery in London, nineteen eighty-one. In a gallery space devoted to Mark Rothko, the American abstract expressionist, I experienced the depth of and commitment in his work.
This stylistic approach is best described as an offshoot of Surrealism. It was at this point that I visited the National Gallery of Victoria to see an exhibition of modern masters from Europe, which included Salvador Dali and other artists who I had never seen before. I was intending to write about this exhibition in my end of year exam.
From those early days of making these wall based assemblages, the whole process orientation took shape which was to guide me through many twists and turns in my creativity, which had me exploring many mediums in the found object genre including sculpture, installation, public art, digital printing and a return to painting.
At the same time, these occurrences can open doors for a new process of working. When you’re having an exhibition of new work and it doesn’t sell – that can be difficult. Again, I would have to talk about relativity. It’s tough if you don’t sell work at an exhibition, especially if you put a lot of time and money into the show. But that pales in significance when compared to being dealt a bad hand when you least expect it.
If you feel like your artist statement or your web copy is not ever done – it isn’t. Writing is a process and very rarely a product. Text can always be reworked and improved. Set goals, but be reasonable. Be fair to yourself and ask for help along the way.
The essay I wrote for the United Nations, The Future We Want is reproduced here with kind permission of the United Nations Organization, having first appeared on the UN website and the UN’s official social media outlets.
It’s great to not feel any restriction with what I create. I’m enjoying going with the flow with my creativity. I had quite a large amount of it in storage, and it’s been great to get it out and work it into some interesting sculptures – sculptures that I’ve not ever seen before.
People would tell me to look at this person’s work or that person’s work. At the time, I decided it was best for me just to continue making my body of work and going into various avenues that it took me and solidified what it was that I was doing with these new materials, instead of looking to other artists for inspiration. This enabled me to create work that was fresh and to make my own mistakes to learn from. My work was not derivative of anyone else’s work. This has always been important for me.
There existed in me a specifically defined sensibility about the environment, to want to pick up all this flotsam and jetsam. I’m glad to know that this response happened quite naturally within me.
This can help with future directions and can also act as a signpost for yourself about important and pivotal times in your career, times which you may want to elaborate about clearly in lectures or in your own writings about your work.
As a result of standing up for myself I set a precedent for other local artists but at some cost to my relationships. I am pleased to report that these relationships healed with time.
When you’re having an exhibition of new work and it doesn’t sell – that can be difficult. Again, I would have to talk about relativity. It’s tough if you don’t sell work at an exhibition, especially if you put a lot of time and money into the show. But that pales in significance when compared to being dealt a bad hand when you least expect it.
I am enjoying my role as a mediator between nature and humans, expressing universal truths in my work and inspiring viewers as much as I am able.
I’m passionate about the messages that the work conveys through the use of recycled material and I love without exception, the simple inspiration that it gives to people when they see this kind of work.