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Y O R K
Which of your works stands out as a highlight, favorite, or significant point in your creative growth and development? And why was it most significant to you as an artist? A difficult answer as I believe my next work will be my best. Right now, I am most proud of my ‘Leonard Cohen’ piece. I hope that through painting what I love within my style, that my passion and personality show through and people will be attracted to it. A significant point in my creative journey is the help of an ex-colleague who has supported my new path and remains vigilant to my progress as an avant garde portrait painter. I started my style of painting in 2013, moving from pastel portraits and I have become quite prodigious in my painting. Many of my pieces are sold at online auction and I have developed a small loyal following, yet I am looking for gallery representation.
Artists always vary in the importance placed on communicating their own vision without question or limitation, and the emphasis and importance placed on the audience, and how it can and will relate to them. How do you feel when people interpret your artwork inversely, or is there one primary thing you hope to have the viewer experience? I want the viewer to look at my portraits and sense the energy in their creation. Hopefully they will resonate with the person if they are well-known (or not). I want the piece to intrigue the viewer, or the viewer to ‘feel’ something from the image on the canvas. I want to make comment on our contemporary life and try to create a mirror reaction.
What are the principle themes and focus of your work? Principle themes and focus of my work are the elements of the portrait. My work into more serious portraiture although still maintaining an element of caricature. This may be through appropriation and meshing with an iconic image to counter balance pop culture with fine art. It’s important to develop and continually hone your own style. That way someone looks at that work and instantly recognises its creator. Think about the work of Picasso or Warhol for instance or modern day Australian portrait painters: Maetsri, Wendy Sharpe and Jasper Knight. Themes in my work are full-framed faces without distractive elements. My theme in expressing my portraits is to play on their character and try and interpret their mood through colour and expression of stroke.
THE ARTIST SPEAKS: Mark Tippett
Your aesthetic; while routed in fundamental art historical themes, is also very distinctive. I’m very interested in are artist with a unique vision places themselves within the art context; which other art and artists they are inspired and influenced by. Within the evolution of your artistic journey, have you found a specific affinity to certain artists, and if so, why? I admire many forms of art, specifically drawn to the renaissance period through to modern and contemporary art styles. I am inspired by artists and diarists of the past, Hogarth’s Gin Lane for instance. Their images and treatment – or style – is indicative of the time. Among my influences are German / English artists Frank Auerbach, Lucian Freud, French artist André Derain, who once said, ‘he used colour as a means of expressing his emotion and not as a transcription of nature’. I am most aligned to Australian painters Ben Quilty and Adam Cullen. I enjoy the practice of their art making, their ability to make their marks on the supports with definition and purpose and not be afraid of being bold in their strokes and colours. Even more so in the self portraits they have produced offers a window, such as Cullen’s Autoportrait which was the title of an exhibition at Gallery Ecosse in southern New South Wales in 2013.
With each work, or as an artist as a whole, what do you wish to communicate to the audience, and how does this specifically effects the final work? Does this change with different works, or series, or does it remain the same with all of your creations? My current work is bold and figurative. I want to create awareness to the viewer of complexities of personality and colourful deftness of character. Themes in my work are full-framed faces without distractive elements. My theme in expressing my portraits is to play on their character and try and interpret their mood through colour and expression of stroke. A mood – a moment of introspection. A recent gallery owner with whom I showed my work commented that he thought I brought out personality with colours and gesture and that he, ‘liked where I’d captured guilt and introspective persona.’
Redefining how art is seen and experienced ™
In a wider context, why do you think art is imperative for the world, and why is it important for you personally as artist? As an artist, I need to continually grow and learn and improve, experimenting with technique, with an ability to explore and create one’s own path. As an art educator, understanding of art elements and principles help to underpin and set you on your own creative journey. But I think individuality and unique styles of art continue to tell a story unique to our time/s as I use oil paint as a visual language to make connection with that in contrast to its traditional use of being used slowly and deliberately.
In your evolution as an artist, (both creatively, conceptually and pragmatically), what has been the biggest frustration or obstacle? As I continue to work hard at my craft, I look for influences, yet ensuring my current work remains fresh. It also needs to find its place and acceptance into the fine art fraternity. Moving from caricatures (which I still do to help pay the bills) to more serious work has its pitfalls into persuading current followers of your creative path. This is a frustration, and I’m hoping social media helps me break through that glass ceiling. The advent of social media has led to the popularisation of an artform and its acceptance or critics..
The creative approach is a very personal methodology, and every artist differs when it comes to their artistic process. How do you approach creation – can you elaborate on your working process? I began in commercial art, working in advertising layout and design before graphic design and art direction. My path to portraiture came through caricature. Consider Australian artist William Dobell's painting of fellow artist Joshua Smith for the 1943 Archibald Prize* winning entry. After much debate and subsequent court debate, the work was allowed as a true depiction of the subject. To me it is just about style. My work sets to capture someone’s personality, their mood and expression. Each work offers a contemporary bold style and is painted expressively using oils, pastels or mixed media. The heavy bodied texture and thick application of paint lends a weight to the personality of each painting in colour and gesture using a loaded brush and limited palette straight from the tube with a fauvist-style to emphasise an emotional relationship and raw emotion. I also experiment with built up oil glazes.
My current work is bold and figurative. I work quickly, laying the canvas on the floor, normally completing a work in half a day. It is about releasing a raw energy onto the canvas, working to capture that moment. Of course, plenty of pre-planning is taken in considering lighting, pose and ‘message’. For me, there is an energy created in painting and I like to work quickly to capture it. Use of quick, spontaneous brushstrokes adds to the mood and character of the work. My paintings are often seen to capture a moment of introspection. It is my hope that I try and capture the subject and portray the subject’s personality and rawness.