How to be a Successful Artist
If you live in a town or suburb where there are only two or three newspapers or magazines, pitch to your favourite one or at least to the newspaper and the magazine which you feel will best suit your ends. Make a connection with the editor if possible and let them know that you won’t be sending the same information out to their competition. If you do this you’re more likely to have a published verbatim alongside the excellent quality photograph you submit along with the media release.
My entrée into environmental artwork was not my first shift in media and style. I began my artistic life as a figurative painter, attracted to that form of expression for its narrative qualities. During art school I had moved from figurative paintings to more abstract work.
Although one of my favourite places to exhibit is in New York, I also love to show in many places on the international stage. I’ve been accustomed to exhibiting my art in many places other than my home country Australia, because of a number of reasons. I believe the primary reason is because of my work being different from standard practice.
My work with driftwood assemblages and sculptures began in 1998 and has continues to be a major part of my creative output. An article described these driftwood assemblages, which I exhibited in a solo show in Australia in early 2004, as having been created with: “A sheer depth and determination…Including, death-defying moments grabbing the perfect piece of wood.”
The ‘Absolut Dahlsen’ commission was a really wonderful experience, mainly due to the team I was working with throughout the whole project. This included the executives from Absolut who worked with me most surprisingly, in a very lateral manner. This really helped keep an exciting flavour from the beginning through to its completion.
I’ve always loved the ocean since I was a boy. My mum and dad used to take us kids to the beach each weekend to enjoy swimming in the ocean walking along the beach and just generally exploring. We used to go to very remote locations because my dad is a bit of an adventurer, and later in my life this became something that was very inherent in my system.
I have often been asked, “What is environmental art?” and “Why are there so many different approaches to environmental art?” I am able provide answers to these questions by going into depth about my own specific approach to the subject and mention a few other artists who I am aware of that have also had the environment feature strongly in their work. I largely came into making this type of art by accident.
Read through the entry form and conditions thoroughly and ask around to see if the particular prize is reputable and recognized.
If the prize is an international one, check the details very clearly. Many young artists have fallen prey to paying large fees and attending exhibitions and competitions internationally because of the perceived boost for their career and recognition, only to later discover that the particular exhibition was not what they expected.
Whatever it is you do, you need to discover the inner nourishment that brings fulfilment to your life.
One time an interviewer asked the Australian painter Brett Whiteley, “What is more important for you art or life?” He responded by saying: “Life is”. I couldn’t agree more.
Dahlsen, by comparison, is an optimist. To begin with, he’s already made a positive statement by clearing off the unsightly stuff that is lethal to fish and fowl. (Australia’s wildlife conservancies adore Dahlsen’s work, which was hardly his intention, but so be it.)
He wanted to impart a kind of Minimalist stability to his jumbles of deep true colours. One early assemblage of coffee lids, cooler fragments and bottle tops shared the ethereal white-on-white aura of a Robert Ryman abstraction or a William Bailey still life—only much more energetically. Piling up black combs, disposable razors and pieces of rope yielded a Louise Nevelson-like sculpture with attitude.