Rowena Cory Daniells asked to interview me. This was the second time I’ve been interviewed with relation to Dark Matter. Rowena’s questions were thought-provoking and challenging. One of the avenues of questioning Rowena pursued was about my artwork. For the record I thought I’d share a little of my art in case anyone is interested.
Trash or treasure: disabled people, like seaweed, are treated like trash but there is inherent beauty for the observant beholder. This is one of a series of paintings of seaweed that was exhibited in the Fringe Factory as part of Adelaide’s Fringe Festival in 2008. I was selected to participate in the upstART artist mentoring program that year, a huge honour and wonderful experience.
acrylic on canvas, not part of the Trash or Treasure series but an attempt to get more abstract as that was the fashion in painting at UniSA.
Against the flow is a photogram that was scanned in and colour added. The photogram was one image in a set of four B&W photograms intended as part of an assignment to create self-portraits. I was awarded a distinction for that assignment. Later I had to create digitised artwork for a preliminary art course, using photoshop, hence the colour here.
Life and death was taken with a medium format TLR camera, and I developed the photograph myself. The edging around the image was deliberate and, I believe, helped me get a distinction for B&W photography B (I was awarded a High Distinction for B&W photography A). I was not allowed to use any form of auto-focus but I developed a technique whereby I could more or less focus on objects close to the camera. My lecturer couldn’t figure out how I’d done the edging.
The below two photographs were part of my exhibition in Awakenings 2007, a disability arts festival in Horsham, Victoria.
I couldn’t get enough contrast in the below three pencil drawings. If I did these again I’d either use charcoal/conte for the darker colours or try using comic-book-type pens. The images have not been helped by being photographed instead of scanned, and photographed with a compact camera, not an SLR.
If you go to the last column of the last page of the Place in the World 2006 exhibition catalogue here, you will see I was also selected for this exhibition run by the University of Adelaide. This was a huge honour which culminated in a formal dinner with a Nobel Prize winner and seeing one of the entrants, a PhD candidate, being awarded a prize. I was the only first-year art student selected for this exhibition.
I’ve made clay, metal and cloth sculptures and photographed them, done other paintings and drawings and so forth. Above is just a sample of what I’ve done. As I say in the interview with Rowena I’ve only finished two artworks since moving to Melbourne: the covers for the first and the third issues of Dark Matter (if you don’t count the photography). I painted Rygel a few years back, but he didn’t get seen by the general public until he was published as DMF’s cover for issue two.
I miss doing art but I stopped after getting the shit kicked out of me at uni. This is also explained briefly in my interview with Rowena Cory Daniells. I said the following as part of one of my answers to Rowena’s question:
“Being nominated for the Chronos Award for my painting was a huge honour and complete surprise. I did my impersonation of a fish, opening and closing my mouth, while I read the announcement page about three times, checked the url and so forth, until gradually it sank in that yes, I’d really been nominated for my artwork. I feel really self-conscious but also really encouraged by this nomination; I feel it’s a vote of confidence from others, encouraging me to take up paintbrush, charcoal and pastels once more.”