When I first began working with found objects, I became fascinated by these plastics, and for me it was at first like an epiphany. Suddenly, I felt that I had this enormous meaning that I could express in my art, which included a social conscience, an environmental aspect, and still with a commitment to create objects of beauty. Over the years that followed, I deepened my concern for the environment and researched the extent of the issue as best I could. This helped me to develop a variety of visual art practices including sculpture, installation, assemblage, prints and a return after many years, to painting.
In more recent years it’s really developed into a three-fold concern in my work for me. It comes back to the thesis I did during my PhD, titled Environmental Art: Aesthetics, Activism, and Transformation. Aesthetics is all about beauty. Activism is about the environmental component and making a statement. And transformation is that which becomes possible when people really allow themselves to enter into the work. That’s the something of ‘beyond,’ in a sense a meeting of the two, and that’s something that I hope people get the opportunity to experience with this artwork.
The work and message in it is conditioned by the fact that the raw material I use is ocean litter. As part of my work process includes the raw plastic material, my work as a result, is largely created from these items. As a result, the environmental message is largely conditioned by the fact that the raw material I use is found on Australian beaches. I have seen over the years how marine waste has evolved on beaches and I have lived that process by combining the different disciplines I have available to myself as an artist. I am essentially evolving and creating new modes of expression as I go along.
I can explain my own journey clearly with how I see I have developed a kind of thermometer with which I can measure how marine waste has evolved on beaches. I have lived that process by noticing certain things develop over the years. I’m working on large scale paintings at the moment and when I say painting, I’m basically painting with very small micro pieces of plastic that I’ve been collecting off the beaches.
I would like to know that my message is shared on a broarder scale globally and that people really embrace what it is that essentially I’m wanting to share, which is that they basically engage in being as individually conscious as possible, as no one is going to do that for them. This begins with the most simple of things, like people being kind to themselves, being kind to others and being kind to our beautiful planet. How could people dispose of waste in a careless manner if they are being conscious?
I hope viewers get a sense of both beauty and an increased awareness with everything from the work I’m producing. Making this art is a way of sharing my messages about the need to care for our environment and about the aesthetic experience of appreciating artworks. I believe humanity is at a critical point, with the planet in a fragile ecological state and global warming hastening major changes.
I would like for people to enjoy my work on many levels and can identify with each piece in various ways. I also hope the viewing public can embrace messages in other artists’ work, particularly when they express strong environmental and social statements intelligently and with a high degree of aesthetic complexity.
I see that by making this art, it is a way of sharing my messages for the need to care for our environment with a broad audience. I feel that even if just a fraction of the viewing audience were to experience a shift in their awareness and consciousness about the environment and art, through being exposed to this artwork then it would be worth it. This stems from the fact that I believe presently humanity is at a critical point in time, with our planet currently existing in a fragile ecological state, with global warming hastening unheard of changes, all amplifying the fact that we need all the help we can get.
This is my way of making a difference, and at the same time I’m sharing a positive message about beauty that can be gained from the aesthetic experience of appreciating art, as well as giving examples of how we can recycle and reuse in creative ways.
These artworks exemplify my commitment as an artist to express contemporary social and environmental concerns. By presenting this art to the public, it will hopefully have people thinking about the deeper meaning of the work, in particular the environmental issues we currently face.
I hope these works will act as a constant reminder to people about awareness. I would like them to find enjoyment of the work on many levels and find themselves becoming identified in various ways with each of the artworks they see. I also look forward to the possible discussion that these works may generate. I say these things as being possibilities, bearing in mind as well, that comments are regularly made to me about people’s consciousness, while walking the beach, being awakened after seeing my found plastic object artworks, similarly with seeing my recycled plastic bag series, people have marveled at the creative way I am presenting the recycling theme in an aesthetic way, with this in mind, I have trusted leaving the final alchemy of the work to the viewer, with the possibility they may experience deep perceptual shifts and have a positive aesthetic experience as they interact with my art.