‘Ideas are like rabbits. You get a couple and learn how to handle them, and pretty soon you have a dozen.’
– John Steinbeck (1902-1968)
‘In times of joy, all of us wished we possessed a tail we could wag.’
– W. H. Auden (1907-1973)
‘The artist is nothing without the gift, but the gift is nothing without the work.’
– Émile Zola (1840-1902)
Previously I have posted about my studio in the Mercator Building at the Abbotsford Convent.
In this post I thought I would give you a glimpse inside the studios of my talented and industrious neighbours.
Studio MG1 is the workshop of Phoebe Porter, a creator of stylish contemporary jewellery.
When I dropped in to see Phoebe she was completing work on a pair of commissioned wedding rings.
You can see the finished result on Phoebe’s facebook page.
Studio MG5a is the workspace of Pip Davey, who creates evocative pictures in oil paint and encaustic.
When I visited Pip she was working on a series of encaustic paintings inspired by recent travels.
Pip is also organising a group exhibition that will take place during August and September 2012 at the Abbotsford Convent. The show will include paintings by Pip, jewellery by Phoebe and prints by myself, as well as work by other artists from the Mercator Studios. I will let you know more about the event in future.
To finish here is what was happening in my studio on this day.
I spent the day hand colouring a linocut edition for an Australian + USA print exchange folio and exhibition project organised by artists and lecturers, Melanie Yazzie (University of Colorado, USA) and Rodney Forbes (Monash University, AUS).
If you have a particular interest in artists studios and listening to artists talk about their work I highly recommend the PBS documentary series Art21.
‘For me the subject of a picture is always more important than the picture. And more complicated.’
– Diane Arbus (1923-1971)
All kinds of images fire up my imagination.
One photo in particular has intrigued me so much that I have created three different interpretations – it is a snapshot of my guy’s birthday party, illustrated above.
The first incarnation, party, was highly influenced by my love of Jean Dubuffet’s art.
Then there was Birthday Boogies, a mixed media piece including soft sculptural objects that I call poppets.
The poppets were born from a fondness for dolls, puppets and masks. As a kid I adored The Muppet Show produced by Jim Henson, and the colourful characters of Warner Brothers and Hanna Barbera cartoons.
After Birthday Boogies came Secret Robot Society, which incorporated my fancy of the Dutch Golden Age of painting.
After making Secret Robot Society I produced two more prints – Treacherous Boys With Charisma and The Ventriloquist – to form a trio of group portraits.
My creative process is very much about collaging together an eclectic range of source material to invent something otherworldly and somewhat absurd.
In the case of these prints I have referenced the Dutch painters along with TV shows, horror movie stars, dolls and puppets, as well as ideas about social hierarchy and esotericism.
And finally I should make mention of the beloved Women’s Weekly Children’s Birthday Cake Book!
PS: From now on I will be posting every Tuesday – until then, have a good week!
‘The fame of heroes owes little to the extent of their conquests and all to the success of the tributes paid to them.’
– Jean Genet (1910-1986)
I have a bit of a soft spot for sailors.
Several of my pictures salute the sailor man including Greasy Rhys, as well as his mates Rusty Steel and Topsy Turner.
Part of the inspiration for these works is the flash of master tattoo artist, Norman ‘Sailor Jerry’ Collins.
I am certainly not alone in my admiration of the sailor – other fans include:
Herman Melville, author.
Jean Genet, novelist, playwright, poet, essayist and political activist.
Otto Griebel, artist.
Paul Klee, artist and musician.
David Bowie, renaissance man.
Tom of Finland, artist.
Jean Paul Gaultier, fashion designer.
One of the things that particularly tickles my fancy about Navy culture is sailors nicknames.
Crew mates are given monikers such as ‘Chalky’ White, ‘Nosey’ Parker and ‘Smokey’ Cole.
The following print is a tribute to my great uncle, John ‘Dusty’ Rhodes (and it’s a tip of the hat to Bindie as well!).
You may have noticed the 8 balls on Dusty’s hands – these are a reference to the character Bean, in the movie Cadence.
It’s time for me to sail away so i’ll leave you in the capable hands of Turbonegro, performing their song Sailor Man…
And here’s a bonus sailor: