||Wood and mixed media
Art Dept Interview
As the winner of
your category in the 2002 International Art Contest, being selected by
such a diverse group of artists from all around the world, how do you
been impressed by the standard of works selected in previous years so
it's an honour to be in such company. It's also immensely gratifying
in light of the fact that the award is juried by an international
audience which includes many fellow artists.
Please describe your current works and any plans for forthcoming exhibits.
increasingly absorbed by the idea of art as transcending culture and
fashion, and so I have been seeking out timeless and universal
perceptions. This has led me towards works which encapsulate ideas
about consciousness and energy and humanity in a way which I hope
moves beyond local and current trends. Room for Dreaming was one of
the first of a series of works I'm developing which are reflections on
aspects of the experience of being human.
I am working
towards the development of a body of works which bring together
elements of the built environment and human anatomy - the 'human
architecture' series - with a view to a major thematic exhibition.
If any, in what
ways have you seen changes in attitudes towards "art"?
One aspect of the
changing of attitudes is that I think that, whereas at one time art
was the province of the elite, there is an increasing acceptance of
the notion that art is a desirable and even necessary part of human
experience throughout society. Public art and gallery art in my home
country and in many others is part of the lives of folks from all
walks in a way that has not always been the case.
world art has increasing acceptance as a medium through which people's
lives and experience are given meaning and depth of reflection. This
is a change in the way art is perceived, and one which gives art a new
role. Whereas once, art served to document and promulgate existing
belief systems (eg in religious iconography), now it has, at its best,
a role in the formation and adaptation of our values and beliefs.
Do you think that
the fine artist will survive as technology replaces our skills?
Without doubt. The
real substance of Art is message and content not medium or method.
Technology provides the means but not the content. What matters in art
is the human input and the human exchange (ideas, emotions,
sensations, insights) and these can only be helped by new
In a sense, art
has been adapting to new technologies for many centuries and has been
strengthened at each turn. Technological developments such as the
printing press and the camera did as much to enrich art and art
appreciation as did the development of the paintbrush. More recent
advances which are leading us into the digital age offer even greater
promise. Greater diversity and richness and quality of art can be made
available and experienced by more people and across more boundaries
than ever before, and this will only increase.
What advice could
you give to those embarking upon a career as an artist?
Well, first and
foremost, I'd say that you need to figure out what is art and what is
fashion, and to decide which it is you want to be involved with. Then I'd say be
prepared to pursue a vision with or without recognition or reward,
because art that is worth doing - and worth seeing - rarely seems to
result from the pursuit of either.
Why did you enter
the Art Dept contest and what decided your selection for entry?
I wanted to test
the direction I'm currently heading on as diverse an 'audience' as
possible - to help me gauge the extent to which the ideas and approach
may 'resonate' for others. I also hoped that broad exposure for one of
my pieces might help me to locate new avenues for exhibition and/or
sale of my work. I chose 'Room for
Dreaming', because it provides a good indication of the directions in
which my work has been developing and evolving.
Is there anything
about being an artist that you do not like?
I have to admit
that the 'business' of art is tedious, as is the unpredictability of
one's income. The necessity to
depend on the sale of one work to be able to afford materials and
equipment for the next is an unfortunate reality for many artists.
Would you sell your most favourite artwork, or keep it?
Sell it. Once a
work is complete, I am ready to move on, and so is it. Art is for
sharing and its purpose is to communicate and to enrich and to reach
out - and it can't do any of those things if it is stacked in a corner
of a studio or locked in a darkened storeroom.
How important was education and training to you?
In a sense,
education was more important than training. Skills can be acquired in
a number of ways (and new technologies always require new skills), but
the perceptions and ideas that come from education are very valuable. Attending art
school can be valuable for a number of reasons, not least being the
social experience and the confidence it can give you - plus the
ability to see yourself and your work in a clearer perspective. The
skill acquisition, though useful, is somewhat incidental.
Is there anything
in your art career that you would have changed?
Well, it would have been great to be
able to focus on art and ideas without the ever present problem of
generating an income. But there are few artists who won't say the
If you were invited overseas to exhibit your works, where would you like that to be?
I'm open to any
opportunities, however I've been looking for openings in the USA
because there is an exciting opening up of art utilising the medium of
wood - a material which I've long been drawn to (despite its poor
acceptance historically as a fine art medium) and I'd like to be able
to be part of that in some way.
Are you looking
forward to entering the contest for next year?
Yes. It will of course depend on the
point my work is at and the suitability of current works for the
contest format, but I would like to continue to participate.
Do you recommend use of the Internet for an artist's publicity?
Since art is
inherently visual and is concerned with communication, it is hard to
imagine a more suitable medium. Despite the
haphazard nature of the internet and issues of quality and copyright,
I nevertheless believe that a presence on the internet is a good idea
for any serious artist.
Would you change
anything about how the contest is organised?
The contest is
well conceived and the organisation and presentation are very
professional. Perhaps the inclusion of additional
information and the option for inclusion of multiple photos of each piece
would be worth considering - particularly for the mixed media section. One of the issues
is that sculpture - an inherently three dimensional medium - is not
always shown to best advantage by a photo. But nonetheless, the
contest provides a valuable way of presenting work to a wide audience.
How can the
Internet be made better for working artists?
although the Internet is an excellent vehicle, the absence of filters
makes it difficult for art to be differentiated. This has both a good
and a bad side, however sites such as Art Dept help to provide a focus
so that over time users will find appropriate 'roadmaps'.
is the reluctance of buyers to make substantial purchases via the
internet. This too is likely to change as Internet commerce generally
gains greater acceptance. It may also be aided by the various escrow
and dealer services which are emerging.
A third area of
limitation is the image quality and (as noted before) the limitations
of the two-dimensional format. However these issues too, will be
reduced as bandwidth increases.
the meantime, it is nonetheless an exciting place to exhibit.