At the beginning of the current lockdown in Melbourne I gave myself an assignment: to create an animated artwork reflecting the strange times we’re in – days of walking from room to room, the transition from day to night, the leisurewear…Now that we are on the eve of easement, my deadline has arrived – I share with you the results of my rather ‘experimental’ piece, entitled “There’s a Ghost in my House’ (and I think it’s me)”. I ran out of time for a soundtrack, but hopefully you get the picture 🙂
Recently I was commissioned by The Criterion Collection to create a new cover for a re-release of a classic 1930’s ‘pre-code’ drama starring Sylvia Sidney and Frederic March. I hadn’t been aware of the film, but it’s well known for featuring one of Cary Grant’s earliest celluloid appearances as well as being directed by one of the few female directors of the time, Dorothy Arzner.
It’s also an interesting glimpse into a more permissive society that of course was rarely, if ever, seen in American film after the introduction of the Hays Code in 1934.
The cover image hangs on a pivotal moment when Jerry and Joan, after a somewhat flawed and whirlwind ‘romance’ head to the altar. Jerry, portrayed as an alcoholic reporter, misplaces the ring and has to make do with something ‘handy’.
The artwork itself is a multilayered digital file, interpreting details from the scene, using a combination of linework and painterly techniques. Freeze framng the film allowed me to pinpoint the perfect expressions of the characters to capture a sense of their unease with inevitability of the consequences of their decision.
Here we are, freshly into spring and still in the midst of the second wave of Covid-19 here in Melbourne, Australia. A couple of months back I resurrected an idea I originally had back in March when our lives first changed for the foreseeable future. So I have created a series of themed images based on the age old ‘language of flowers’ and producing them as affordable prints for people to send to loved ones in lieu of their presence (now that contact and travel has been limited somewhat). I anticipate there will be at least five in the series, with a new design unleashed as it is ready, available as A4 archival prints on 310gsm Hahnemuhle German Etching paper.
The first design features Hydrangeas, which are a symbol of thanking others for understanding.
The second design in the series features ‘Bird of Paradise’, which are a symbol of anticipation.
The third design features Asters – a symbol of patience.
The fourth design features the Australian native Waratah – a symbol of remembrance in absence.
Check back for updates or join my newsletter list – prints in the series can be purchased for AUD40.00 each (including postage) here – I’m also happy to include a handwritten note!
Even though I am in Melbourne, I have just completed this artwork whilst breathing the terrible smoke from the bushfires that have plagued the New Year. Most of us feel powerless in the face of such disaster, but I think there is a fundamental change in public sentiment – things cannot go on the way they are, and the government needs to realise that the environment is just as important, if not more so, than economics. If you would like to join ‘the revolution’ I have uploaded this artwork to redbubble – check out the range of products here. All profits to SAVEM – South Australian Veterinary Emergency Management / https://www.savem.org.au/ to hopefully help the koala population on Kangaroo Island after the devastating fires of January 2020.
Recently, Illustrators Australia held its 30th anniversary / 9×5 exhibition in the beautiful surrounds of the Victorian Artists Society in East Melbourne, which I would like to believe was the venue for the original Victorian Impressionists 9×5 exhibition in the 1890s. The theme of the exhibition was ‘Grow’ – an interesting topic in that it usually suggests an abundance of good, beautiful things; a mark of modern times is also (what seems to be) the unfettered growth of industry at all costs as a marker of prosperity. Which is why I love Greta Thunberg and her speech at the U.N earlier in the year – a sober reminder that growth can strangle us as well.
The piece for the exhibition was a digital painting printed on ply – thank you to the person that purchased the piece at the show 🙂 For those who are keen, there is a possibility of a limited number of additional ply prints available – please message me and I will add to my online shop x
I was quite happy with my most recent portrait commission, which is a painting of artist, collector and gallerist Neil McLeod. I guess having a potentially controversial subject matter meant the chances of being selected for the Archibald would be fairly slim (mind you, second guessing the selection criteria is somewhat of a crap shot – after all, in a competition that is “supposed” to be about ‘Australians of note’, a portrait of Kid Congo Powers is eligible?!).
My chances were even slimmer given the recent bombings of Christian churches in Sri Lanka. I would like to clarify, that the explosion in the background is meant to represent nuclear testing at Maralinga in the 50’s; I essentially wanted to make an image that questioned the follies of authority, as well as weave in elements of Neil’s life and work.
For those of you in Melbourne – the bi-semi-annual Illustrators Australia 9×5 exhibition is currently on at the Collingwood Gallery in Smith Street until July 26, 2018. There was a great turn out for the opening night last Friday, and a record breaking 120 entries as well! For the first time, works presented were not only “traditional” paint on wood (all of the pieces are presented on 9×5 inch sized pieces of wood, reflecting the Heidelberg School artists of yore who used to paint ‘en plein air’ onto cigar box lids), contributing artists were also able to submit their pieces digitally, to be printed on the wood instead. I was amazed by the quality of the detail and colour – and, yes, that is my piece above: ‘Shout Back’.
Inspired by this new direction in gallery presentation, I wanted to push the medium a little further and decided to experiment with my first piece of ‘augmented reality’ artwork. I really had no idea how to go about this – I knew about the principle, of course, but not about which software or apps would be suitable. After a few dead ends, I came across a group of app developers in Vienna who have developed an app specialising in AR for artists – Artivive . I did a short animation in Photoshop and After Effects to expand on the ideas of the still image (you can download the app for Apple or Android and check out the results by viewing the image above through the app). I was pretty happy with the result!
I was also happy that the piece won ‘Best Digital’ piece on the night. Managed to score a pass to attend ‘Looking Glass’ digital drawing sessions at Jacky Winter, so I’m rapt! Thank you to generous sponsors Procreate (which I already use on my iPad Pro and am keen to learn more about). I’ll let you know how I go!
A sneak preview of one of my portraits featured in the upcoming ‘Shout Out to the Girls: A Celebration of Awesome Australian Women’ to be published by Penguin early next year! This one, of course, is of Vali Myers, who I would see occasionally when I had my studio in Carlow House and she had her studio in the Nicholas Building (a block away from each other on Flinders Lane, Melbourne). Unfortunately I was always too scared to actually ‘meet’ her :0
This is my second contribution to the upcoming ‘Shout Out to the Girls: A Celebration of Awesome Australian Women’ to be published by Penguin early next year… a portrait of Alice Anderson, a pioneering car mechanic who worked as a ‘chauffeur to the stars’ of Melbourne in the 1920’s, as well as establishing her own garage in Kew.
From the Penguin Australia website:
Recently did this for a new ABC / Radio National podcast called ‘The History Listen’ – looking forward to checking it out!
I always have a bit of fun with the trivia nights that Melbourne Cat rescue group Maneki Neko put together – here’s the latest, for their upcoming ‘Star Wars’ inspired event 🙂 https://www.facebook.com/