Across Europe there are artist resources in each country, probably such an exhaustive number exist in each country and each major city, that it is pointless to list them all here. Look them up on a need to know basis when you are there and reap the benefits of the insider knowledge you gain and the networking opportunities found. They are priceless.
Career challenges will be things that you begin to look forward to instead of things you dread and avoid. No longer will you undermine your success. The art revelations and insights will naturally bring success, where your own personal reflections and vision will clear obstacles & provide direction. You will most importantly remember to breathe as you have your own unique personal experience & insights and develop your central artistic concerns with the confidence you always wanted and somewhere know you always had.
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.
There were of course, myriad plastics that were chipped and broken. Sometimes these found objects were unrecognizable as the consumer items they once were. There were also buoys and thongs (flip-flops) in dozens of colors.
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.
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.
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.
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.
It never ceases to amaze me how many ways that we can recycle and it’s a great thing that recycling has become so topical nowadays. I remember when I first started working with the found plastics that I discovered when I was walking the beaches collecting driftwood, to make my furniture. Given the fact that I wanted to use recycled driftwood to make my furniture, it was indicative that I had it in my system to want to reuse objects. It began for me with driftwood, well before it became fashionable to make furniture from this material.
I have often been asked what my definition of success is and whether or not I consider myself successful. The parameters by which I define success are particularly wide. I don’t feel that it’s confined to financial success or necessarily aligned to fame, though it may be the case that someone is financially rewarded for what they do or receive generous accolades along the way.