Australian Fine Artist

Archive for May, 2012

Change and The Abstract Impressionists

Art History May 22nd

Tutor: David Salter

Today’s session started off with a little help from Student Learning Skills Unit after which we got stuck into the sometimes tricky subject of CHANGE.

How do you facilitate it in your life and how do you experience and cope with it?

As we each drew up charts ranging areas of our lives from 1-10 I noticed a trend in my life. David gave us eight areas to rate and I quickly saw that as far as working and changing my art career and studies my life is worked out fairly well. My personal life with my spouse equally very good. I now have a handle on my health and recreation due to help by doctor and husband which left home environment (poor – living in a bungalow and no home of our own) and money (very poor – literally). It seems I am living on love of my art and a loving relationship. Oh well some people don’t even have that.

We broke up into groups and discussed our individual experiences in these areas and it was interesting that many common themes came out with people of different age groups.

David left us with a couple of good ideas to think about.

1. Set priorities, goals and action plans

2. Get started – use the 7 minute plan if necessary

He also noted how we can create career opportunities by creative letter writing and following up personally, to open doors career-wise.

Showing initiative and persistence is very important for creating new networks and opportunities.

We have been given a few questions to think about and answer as homework which I am going on to now.

  1. To what extent should your art reflect changes in the art world and or society?
    I don’t know if it does other than the fact that I am lucky to live in a time when women of any age can if they apply themselves, succeed and be recognised as professional artists. With this in mind, my art can be anything I want it to be. I can try any style and can aim my business in any direction that I think will be a success.
    My art sometimes calls on my graphics background, it sometimes uses materials that I was given from the sign company I worked for and the more modern “wall art” styles that are popular. I also use the computer and digital camera as aid to my art so they reflect the growth of technology. I blog and have a web site and use any method of advertising or producing artworks that is now available and will work in with my plans. I don’t tend to make my artworks based on social commentary or issues. They have more to do with bringing out positive emotions and taking people to a peaceful or beautiful place in their minds which they may not have in their lives. I hope they leave enough room for people to also create their own narrative or story.
  2. Where does your personal honesty/authenticity, your uniqueness as an individual come into this question?
    Technology has little to do with integrity or authenticity for me. They are merely aids to an end. I try to have my own way of running my art business which is being personable and having a consultative relationship with my clients. I like to think that I am building up a good reputation as an artist of integrity and talent who is working very hard to keep improving. I am very glad that I have the opportunities of living now. It leaves me free to experiment and to keep learning and get out to network and build up relationships with other artists and members of the arts community. I create artworks with my own story and hopefully leave enough room for people to either enjoy that or create their own story in them.
  3. To help you respond to these questions, what is your personal reason for making art?
    I am going to answer this question first.
    There are probably several reason why I create art. One is that I have been drawing since I can remember. I don’t recall ever not drawing. I sat with my neighbour (a commercial artist) watching him work when I was less than five years of age. He gave me some paints and a brush and I just started painting. I have loved doing it ever since.
    When I was at school I excelled at art. It was never considered that I would not be doing something in the arts for the rest of my life. My parents built me a little studio in which to study my art and produce artworks and my mother was always encouraging of my work.
    I drifted away from fine art to work in the graphic arts field for over thirty years due to the need to pay rent after moving out. I never seemed to have a space to set up to draw and paint in an area that would not interfere with flatmates. The advertising and print industry gradually wore me down as the business changed to one of a “sausage factory” where work was pushed out fast, cheap and under a lot of pressure. I had not been in touch with my fine art to a great degree other than doodling for many years and was miserable. My husband got me into an art guild and has built me a studio to work in, he is the rock behind me and I have never been more content than when I am in my studio creating artworks.
    I love researching material for artworks, I love planning them, I love producing them, I love exhibiting and selling. I really like meeting my new clients and sharing the experience of creating the work. I became qualified to teach last year and discovered to my surprise that I love teaching people to enjoy drawing and improving their skills! I love attending workshops, going to art demonstrations and networking with other artists. I also love learning.
    Over the years I have done several tests to see what type of employment I am suitable for (sales, technical, etc etc). Every time I got back the same result. You are 100% artist!
    Why fight fate and my nature, plus I LOVE IT and it makes me happy.

Video: Robert Motherwell and the New York School “Storming the citadel”

Robert Motherwell and his colleagues making up a group of eighteen artists were the foundation of the Abstract Expressionist movement in the United States.  All based in the same small area of the city and working on a totally new style of art that they hoped would become uniquely American, these artists worked for over twenty years with little recognition and few sales before they were taken seriously by leading galleries and the public in general. Even though they worked on individual styles, the general theme of taking away the traditional approach to creating an artwork and representing emotion and truth with line, colour and stripping away form to it’s most basic representation was something worked on by these artists. Rather than working as a skilled craftsman they looked for a deeper meaning of truth in art and more creativity in their works.

Robert’s journey which was a long one of over forty years to be the successful artist seen in galleries around the world, has been one to inspire us to keep working. If you believe in what you are doing, keep refining your skills, keep networking and keep your passion.

Question: Identify the factors that contributed to New York becoming the major centre for the art world.

  1. The influx of European artist and immigrants
  2. The Work Progress Association (paid public works by artists set up by FDR)
  3. New Money. The growth of industrial wealth.

To a lesser extent: the depression, the psychological state of people living through the depression and the war, desire for a uniquely new art movement.

Art Workshop July 7th 2012

I am pleased to talk about my two hour art workshop sponsored by Casey Arts.

The workshop was on a Saturday morning and was free to Casey residents who booked with the Casey Arts Officer. It covered some of the basics of drawing.

The first part of the session introduced materials such as papers, pencils, charcoal and erasers. Later we went on to more hands on activities covering drawing techniques in line and tone as well as tips on how to demystify drawing objects.

All attendees received notes to take home with them, some samples of papers and pencils so they are encouraged to keep drawing. The training is based on the Australia wide recognised and accredited VET system.

I am a qualified trainer with a Certificate IV in Training and Assessment so sessions are as informative as I can make them, along with being relaxing and great fun.

I haven’t had a huge amount of time to give sessions since gaining my qualification so am looking forward to giving more of these in the future. This was an exciting offer from Casey Arts and I am very happy and honoured to have been chosen.

Here is a copy of the advertising in Casey’s Email newsletter:

Dear Arts Mailing List

The City of Casey presents free community arts workshops.

Introduction to Drawing

Learn the basics of drawing with award–winning Casey artist Janice Mills.  Bring your own sketch book and pencils if you have them

Date:          Saturday 7 July
Time:             10 am – 12 pm
Venue:          Balla Balla Community Centre

65 Berwick – Cranbourne Road, Cranbourne East

Melway ref: 134 B6

Follow Up on Workshop

The drawing workshop on Saturday was very successful and enjoyable both for me as the facilitator and those attending. I even roped in the attending Casey Arts ladies to not only watch but participate in the session. I have heard since that they very much enjoyed themselves!

I did start off a little nervous as I have given very few of these, but as time went on and people asked questions and we started to interact. When asked, nobody wanted coffee or toilet break at the halfway point as they said they were having too much fun!

The handouts and samples of quality papers, pencils and charcoal went over very well. The whiteboard to the venue was very helpful in demonstrating techniques to demystify drawing different objects, animals and people. The tables were set up in a good arrangement so I could easily give personal attention and instruction.

I’d be very happy to do lots more of these as I get the time as well as adding demonstrations at various art societies and giving my 9 week course as well as tutoring on an individual basis. I have the Cert.IV TNA so I want to use it along with my growing skills in my art practice.

I have asked Casey Arts for copies of photos from the session, so am going to post some more detailed feedback and photos in here in coming days. I have already had a fantastic email from them saying how everyone filled in their feedback forms with very good comments. They are also happy to work with me again in the near future.

More info to go in here soon so watch this space!

Self Portraits with a Twist

Drawing Class Friday 18th May

Drawing with Oil Pastels

OK, I think I was in primary school the last time I used any type of oil pastel! As a matter of fact, I still have some of them, just as keepsakes. They sit in the studio and I look at them occasionally and remember learning art at the tender age of around ten.

A lot of time has passed since then and the pastels are a lot better, especially when you are learning at a college rather than a state primary school.

Our task today was to select a famous portrait painting from the past, going back to as early as the 16th Century I think, and to go through the process of reproducing the style of painting. The twist was that we had mirror as well and had to place our own faced into the portraits.

To be honest I would rather have just painted the early Renaissance monk I selected rather than putting my own face in to spoil such a beautiful painting. However, I didn’t have that choice so tried to make the best of it.

I heard a lot of people having fun as they portrayed themselves in various poses and all sorts of costumes from their prints. I think as drawing classes go, this was one of the most enjoyable for many attending this semester. For me I think I painted myself concentrating just as hard as I was at the time, which of course means I look downright depressed. Well, actually, there is a little truth in that, as I am still coming to grips with seeing this older person staring back at me in the mirror these days.

I was pleased that I seem to be getting some of the features of the human face better now than say, a year ago, so the lessons are definitely helping. I just feel better painting and drawing other people and not myself.

Before we left most of us put our pics on the wall to display for a while and I chose a few of my favourites and took a photo of mine as well. I hope readers will enjoy looking at the results from our hard work. See if you can tell which artist and style of painting is represented in each work!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Words of Wisdom

Perfection is achieved,
not when there is nothing more to add,
but when there is nothing left to take away.

Antoine de Saint-Exupery

Roy Lichtenstein

“Pop Remix”

Venue: Mornington Peninsula Regional Gallery (MPRG)

I knew about Andy Warhol before and could identify him with his work but not Roy Lichtenstein, even though when I started looking up his work I immediately recognised it. We had a digital art lesson just before attending the exhibition for Roy Lichtenstein so my head was in the right space. We had experimented with colours and creating the usual vivid colour blocks and strong lines associates with this style of art. Our difference was that it was all done on the computer.

After the exhibition I spent some time looking up Roy’s biography. It seems he had an interest in art from an early age, taking art classes as early as 14 years old. He went on after serving in the army to complete a Masters Degree and to teach on several universities as well as working in the graphic arts industry. This in addition to growing his own standing as one of the two most recognisable “Pop Artists” in the United States and overseas.

Roy had skills in painting and sculpture as well as various printing techniques so I liked doing some more research to have a look at what else he had done. Much of his fine art training comes through in his mix of commercial and traditional fine art from history. His prints are vivid and strong, they demanded my attention and were not just wall decorations.

I walked around the gallery taking in the various themes. The “Bulls” series inspired by Picasso where the theme of a recognisable bull is taken through a series of prints to the abstract expressionist style of simplifying the subject to a minimal amount of lines and colours. The various lithographs and works that combined several methods of traditional printing with collage and embossing were very striking especially where he had used metallic additions. I especially liked the “Entablatures Series” as they called on themes from ancient Greek and Roman architecture. I was reminded of the metopes of the Parthenon but with a modern twist with the inclusion of simplified images and metal surfaces.

I liked the “Brushstrokes” context which had lovely Asian influences and the prints were softened by the big splashes of colour looking like a huge brush had been played across the surface. Other works called on the cartooning style of the 1930s and later with a recognisable “Wonder Woman” in one work and “Sweet Pea” in another which was called “The Scream” harking back to the Bosch works of the same name.

The MPRG is a great gallery to visit, they have good lighting, the works are always easy to see and they have seating in the middle of the room so you can sit and enjoy the works for a while. They also had a video playing in the foyer with Roy (now deceased sadly) talking about his work and showing how some of it was done.

Personal Comment

I spent over thirty years in Graphic Arts for the printing and advertising industry. I spent a lot of time in dark rooms, cutting ruby lith, burning metal plates etc so much of the processes were very familiar. Given the toxic nature of the chemicals in these processes I am not sorry that a lot of this work is now obsolete. Many of the designs can be achieved with a good computer and software now and we have access to large format printers that are continually improving their output for artists and the materials they print on are improving and varieties increasing all the time. Embossing and collages can be worked into these as well to get even more interesting results without the risk to health.

It is interesting to see someone who has combined both their graphic and fine art skills to come up with their own unique and lasting artworks. It makes the past years of my life feel even more worthwhile for my future endeavours.

A final Note:

One big thing as well, which was notable in the video, was the collaboration between the artist and a VERY GOOD Graphics/Print Company. As a final point I know from experience the importance of making sure that if you are collaborating in a project as Roy did, that you make sure that the company is up to the task and willing to work with you to achieve the best results. Not everyone is willing to take the time to do this and it can be very expensive so that needs to be worked into your plans.

By the way I made use of the visit to Mornington and dropped into the Oakhill Gallery near MPRG. The had a very nice photographic exhibition on which I recommend for both artists and photographers. I have also now joined the gallery as a member so that I can participate in future art exhibitions in the premises!

Pop Art In Photoshop

Digital Studies Class 16th May

Tutor: Troy (Sessional Trainer in Digital Studies)

I had a very relaxing and fun morning today in Digital Studies. We were doing similar to what I used to do during my lunch break at various jobs to try to give myself a creative break from the “sausage factory” that can be display advertising and graphic art for the print industry.

The theme was “Pop Art” similar to that of Roy Lichtenstein who was very famous for his prints and collages of pop art style art from the 1960s to the 1990s and that of Andy Warhol whose work has become iconic around the world.

I have a lot of years experience using Photoshop and the Mac so it was fun and relaxing. As it is with Photoshop though, there are a multitude of ways to do things and there is always something else you can learn. Everyone “won” today. I learned a few new tricks, I was able to help a few people who were struggling and take the pressure of the tutor who helped someone who was really feeling out of their depth – and it was fun. It was also a bit of experience for me as a tutor since I have my Certificate IV in Training and Assessment!

Methods used to produce my images include: create layers, colour adjustment (saturation, replace colour, alter colour), adjust layers (transparency, make a darken layer etc), name layers, emboss, bevel, patterns, clone, create mask, add noise, posterise, crop file size for A4, save file as PSD, save file as JPG – amongst others – sorry I got excited and didn’t write them all down.

Have a look below, I have included the three images I produced today. I have done two variations on the third design to show how the colour changes change the look of the art.

As it is just for study and NOT for sale I chose a famous face to do my first work and did 2 variations of the same photo for the next couple of designs. As I said these are purely for study purposes and not for sale or anything to do with my art business so I hope viewers will take this into consideration.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

My Five Top Priorities as an Artist

We had this topic raised in class today. What are your top five priorities and is the time allocated to each of them reflective of the importance of respective priorities?

That made me create a list immediately. Something I don’t seem to have problems with after several years as 2IC in art departments and being in charge of projects for employers which required weekly meetings to report on progress. It is the only way I have been able to get things done in a timely manner in the past few years for not only my personal life but also for any contracting or fine art business.

So what are my priorities?

  1. Health
    I have put health in first because without health you can’t achieve anything in the list below it. I can’t function as a wife, artist or anything else if I can’t do the things required because of ill health. Creativity is much harder if you can’t think straight and if you become physically disabled it is only going to make everything you do harder (not impossible – just harder). So ever since being made redundant three years ago I have been under the watchful care of a great GP and try to keep healthy. This includes us having regular vitamins, regular sleep, trying to reduce stress, a healthy diet and trying to fit in a moderate amount of activity. ( I overdid it during summer and paid with tendonitis so moderation is now the key)
  2. Husband
    I would not be practising as an artist today if it were not for my husband. He encouraged me to get going, he helped me become a member of the first art guild I joined, he has made sure I have a comfortable studio to work in, he helps me research reference material, has backed me going back to study, he even delivers paintings to the courier and to exhibitions. I have a division of the business set up by him and he handles all the accounting and my web site. We work as a team and I make sure I set aside time for him and make sure he knows how much our relationship means to me. I know I can do things alone, as I have done it in the past, but having a partner to take this journey with me is so much better.
  3. Career
    Even though this is my main objective at the moment I have put it as number three. This is because I feel that without the two things above this the career would not work as well anyway. My common sense side would probably say that financially going back to school with a mortgage, other debts, no house of our own and cars that are falling to bits is not the smart thing but my gut instinct is leading me the other way. I feel very strongly that this is exactly what I should be doing. It’s now or never so I am giving this course and building my art business my best shot. This sometimes means going to a meeting after school until 10pm or later when I may not feel like it, volunteering to gain experience or working over weekends to get ready for an exhibition or complete homework. Stephen understands this and he is often in the studio catching up on things as I work or takes the time to watch one of his personal favourite movies that I don’t particularly want to watch (his “me time”). It is all a matter of communicating and agreeing on what we are doing.
  4. Home
    We don’t have a house to call home, we live in a bungalow on my mother in law’s property. That doesn’t mean that I don’t have duties. I do most of the property maintenance and gardening as well as helping to clean her house, our bungalow and the studio. I also have animals to tend to. This is also where I get a lot of my exercise.
    We are planning on getting a house on to our property in the next couple of years by getting a house removed from another block to ours and refitting it to comply with permits. It has to wait on superannuation to become available so is on hold. I am currently keeping an eye on the market for when we can go ahead.
  5. Social/Recreation Life
    Socially our needs are simple. Most of our relatives live too far away to see often and we only have a few friends. One has only just moved back to Melbourne from Sydney. We try to catch up a few times a year as we are all very busy and they also live in distant parts of Melbourne. A part of my social life are the art guild meetings I attend as I have built up some casual friendships there. We also get along with our neighbours very well and sometimes arrange dropping in for coffee and a chat. Stephen and I go for a drive every now and then and these can also be used for researching photos for art references as Stephen has shown an interest in photography. We also go out for the occasional afternoon tea or discount dinner at a local cafe. The rest of our recreation time is catching up on recorded favourite TV programs or watching a favourite movie as a “movie night at home”.

Average Weekly Activities (these vary but give an indication of how much time we allocate to various activities and prioritise them)

Whilst I am at school or doing homework etc from 9am to roughly 6.30/7pm Monday to Friday Stephen is working on building our business infrastructure, doing work for IT clients of the business or doing work for his casual IT job for Monash Uni. He also does some errands for my part of the business such as delivering/picking up paintings, photographing artworks for the web, working on my web site or handling accounts.

Monday through Wednesday and Friday

  1. 7-7.30am Make bed, dress, have breakfast leave for TAFE
  2. 8-9/10am prepare items for school, sort lockers. Catch up with other students and network/chat
  3. 9/10am-4pm Classes
  4. 4.30pm Afternoon tea with Husband
  5. 4.45pm Check livestock and feed if required
  6. 5-6.30pm Email, work on any current art projects, homework for TAFE
  7. 6.30-6.50pm Exercise bike as per GPs instructions (3 to 4 sessions a week x 20 minutes)
  8. 7-7.30pm Dinner (once a month Monday and/or Wednesday includes an Art Guild at 7pm so we eat earlier so I can attend)
  9. 7.30-8.30/9pm Dishes, put away any washing etc, general household duties, prepare for breakfast next day
  10. 9/9.30-10.30pm TV Programs and relax (sometimes checking social networking sites on iPhone at same time)
  11. 10.30pm Retire for the evening


  1. 7.30am Make bed, dress, have breakfast
  2. 8-9am Dishes, put away any washing etc, general household duties
  3. 9am-to around midday Groceries, PO boxes, any other shopping or things that need to be done whilst out in the car as a round trip (once a month at 11am I attend the McClelland Gallery for an artists talk and presentation, this pushes other activities for the day back or they have to be done earlier)
  4. 1-1.30pm Lunch with Husband and Director’s Meeting for our business
  5. 1.30-6.30/7pm Homework and any art projects that are in progress and email
  6. 7-7.30pm Dinner
  7. 7.30-8.30/9pm Dishes, put away any washing etc, general household duties, prepare for breakfast next day
  8. 9/9.30-10.30pm TV Programs and relax (sometimes checking social networking sites on iPhone at same time)
  9. 10.30pm Retire for the evening


  1. 8.30am Make bed, dress, have breakfast (I make it on the weekend)
  2. 9am-1pm Catch up with recorded TV programs with Husband whilst getting clothes washing out on the line.
  3. 1-2pm Lunch
  4. 2-6pm Some Saturday include me going to a Guild Meeting from 1-4pm others we do some work on the property or on the studio, if I have a lot to do Stephen will work on the studio and I will do my artwork or homework and we help each other.
  5. 7-11pm Relaxation time to catch up on a movie on DVD, more recorded programs etc together
  6. 11pm Retire for the evening


  1. 9am Make bed, dress, have breakfast (I make pancakes every Sunday as they are a special treat for us – mostly for Stephen)
  2. 9am-1pm Watch The Bolt Report, Behind Business etc, check for Arts Programs that are often on during Sundays, catch up with any left over recorded TV programs with Husband, put away washing from Saturday.
  3. 1-2pm Lunch
  4. 2-6pm Do some work on the property or on the studio, spend some time with my horse, if I have a lot to do Stephen will work on the Studio and I will do my Artwork or Homework and we help each other. Prepare requirements for TAFE the next day. If we are up to date on things or feeling a bit tired we may take Sunday off and go for a drive to get out of the house etc.
  5. 7pm-11pm Relaxation time to catch up on a movie on DVD, more recorded programs etc together
  6. 11pm Retire for the evening

A couple of things we have been neglecting lately are going for walks and I have encouraged Stephen to go for a walk in the morning just after I leave for school as this is when he has the time to fit it in.

As I have managed to wreck my Achilles tendons, I haven’t walked as much as I’d like I have moved my exercise bike into the reading room in the studio to use whilst catching up with the news at 6.30-7pm a few times a week before making dinner. I hope to start walking with Stephen again a bit later in the year before dinner. That will give him two walks a day which is what has been recommended by our doctor.

Stephen and I both keep diaries and an iPhone calendar to try to make sure we meet our commitments and they are linked so we can see what each of us is doing. That helps a lot. I also keep a whiteboard in the studio for projects such as exhibitions during the year.

My First Ever Bronze!

I am so happy that my little bronze dog has worked!

There is always a risk when pouring bronze that there may be a hiccup somewhere. You can get bubbles, or the cast may crack allowing bronze to go where you don’t want it. I really was so nervous as I cracked off the mould today and washed off my little piece.

This is the first bronze I have ever done so it was exciting and more than a little nerve wracking. I have no problem creating little pieces with clay, wood or even softer stones, or moulding in wax but this was all new and waiting is not something I do well – so the four days my piece was in the kiln were spent wondering and worrying.

Anyway here it is for all to see! The good news is we will be doing another cast next semester so I get another go at it! Let’s see if I can come up with another artwork that I am as happy with as this little guy!

Bronze cast from original wood and wax sculpture.

Bronze Pour

I have never seen bronze being poured for sculptures before so this was very interesting!

The teachers doing the pour are Jon and Nathan. We were told to keep a decent distance from them for safely reasons as a pour can go wrong with bronze “exploding” or spattering a good distance as it goes into the moulds, hence the reason for all the safety gear.

The little moulds which they are pouring into are made up of a plaster mix that was previously poured into plastic piping. The piping was in two sections and held together by strong tape to allow it to be pulled off the plaster before the bronze pour. Inside the plaster moulds were our sculptures. Mine was made up of a little wax component sitting on a box made of bark with small gum nuts as an addition. The little sculpture was constructed using hot glue.

When the sculpture was ready it was glued to a stand made of foam and a plastic cup with a straw on it to be used as an air line to help prevent an air bubble occurring when the bronze was poured. The sculpture was then placed into the plastic piping and the plaster mix poured in around it. When the mix was air dried for a couple of weeks, the plastic cup was removed and it was placed into a kiln for all the original sculpture to be burned out leaving the moulded shape created by the plaster mix. The process of burning out all the original sculpture was one of over four days in the kiln. They were then then taken out and allowed to slowly cool off in the open air. As you can see by the multiple moulds on the ground, the kiln was stacked up with quite a few works for this pour.

The now empty area left by the sculpture being burned off was ready for the bronze to be poured into. Most of the pouring for our sculptures was done on the one day which was a lot of physical work done by our teachers in addition to their normal teaching and administration duties. (thank you Jon and Nathan)

I am now looking forward to the plaster being broken off the bronze when it is set to reveal my little bronze sculpture all ready for me to tidy up and clean.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Viktor Cebergs

Context and Culture
May 9th, 2012

Site Specific Art

Viktor Cebergs is what he calls a public sculptor. He says that many of his jobs begin as one thing and end up as something different. This is mainly because he does consultative works for councils, governments, large corporations and educational groups where there are usually OHS, permit and committee issues.

Viktor studied at RMIT and began as a painter drifting into sculpture with some simple pieces at the end of his course. This has led to a good career that brings in a decent income for him and his family.

Viktor calls his artworks site responsive, he likes to match his pieces to the surroundings often using materials that are from the site or close by. Many of his pieces use Cyprus pine as there is a lot of it around having been used in the past by farmers for windbreaks. He also uses left over pylons as these also have wood that takes weathering well. For a couple of pieces Viktor found the ideal metal at a local business and was able to mould them to the perfect shape for the project.

For much of his work he applies for tenders or applies for works that are advertised for submissions. He does some performance or ephemeral works, one of which was set alight as part of the “performance” part because everything was to be cleared up and removed when finished. For this piece and for quite a few others Viktor enjoys collaborating with other artists. Many of these are larger jobs and he calls in the expertise of people in various fields that he feels he can not complete himself.

He uses such things as powder coated stool piping and laser cut metal sheeting especially for his weather vanes. For several years he has been involved with the ice motel in Sweden. This unique idea has been copied in other places in the world since it first took off. It involves several artists, electricians, engineers and others getting together every year during the coldest part of the year to cut blocks of ice from the frozen river, create blocks of snow and then built rooms, furniture and fittings for motels rooms and foyer and bar out of nothing but ice and snow with some spectacular lighting effects using LED lights of all colours. The creativity in these rooms has to be seen to be believed. There are pictures on the web and I really recommend that they should be given a look. These projects are paid for by the government who see them as good investments for creating interest and tourism to their countries.

Viktor has also, through travelling and constant networking, worked on jobs in Japan, The USA, Canada and all over Australia. The larger site works have provided an opportunity to travel and meet people as well as creating some amazing large artworks for everyone to see.

As he runs a business (the name of this story is in fact the name of his business) Viktor came across as a savvy but creative artist and businessman. He said that no matter what type of work it is he tries to accept a contract. He has spent a lot of his time and money setting up tools and materials to ensure that he is equipped for most jobs and knows how and where to hire anything else he may need.

He has accepted jobs for things he was not specifically trained for but his university degree gave him a great basis to build on and he keeps learning, networking and going to symposiums to keep fresh and find out new trends. As he knows a lot about the legal issues involved with public art pieces and any engineering that has to be done in a public space this has opened doors for him as well. Even if it was just designing some fairly simple signage and getting the lettering done, Viktor’s training and experience have enabled him to do the job extremely well, still obeying OHS and other legal requirements – and with a happy client.

Personal Comment

I really enjoyed listening to Viktor. He had great business savvy and didn’t have his head in the clouds. His business is built up by training, networking and learning how to use the established tendering system as well as create contacts and getting his name known. I understood the processes he talked about for public art as I worked for a sign company for over three years and we had to prepare all the paperwork and drawings for permits etc for government and councils. I know it can take months before work begins and the initial design may go through several revisions so you can’t be precious about your work. You also have to learn to work with lots of very different sorts of people and know when to outsource.

This isn’t the “warm and fuzzy” or very “out there” side of art, it may not be breaking any new horizons in the art world in a great degree that will end up in fine art books for the next hundred years but it is creative and it is a good business. It is also information that I am keen to learn about.