Australian Fine Artist

Art History June 5th

Tutor: David Salter

Today we looked at what makes our Art and Design unique. What makes us different to anyone else?

David asked us to consider two items.

1. As today was the second last of the semester, we should look at our content with regard to our work, with particular attention to such distinctions as:

  • Aesthetics
  • Philosophical content
  • Sociological issues
  • Personal preoccupations/issues

In small groups we were asked to discuss how we feel about our work, and how we would describe it. As we are going to have six minutes to show what we have achieved for the first half of the year and have the opportunity to say something about why and how we do what we do, we need to have an idea as to what we will say.

We had a few different ages in our group and it was interesting that the foremost thing on everyone’s mind was aesthetics, followed by personal preoccupations and preferences. If social issues were addressed they as a bi-product of main concerns. Being happy in what we were doing came across as important.

For me personally – as this is my blog ;-), I think that as I am trying to build a successful business there is more to it but I still want to produce art that I consider to be aesthetically pleasing, it then has to be marketable. I am not interested in raising any social issues in particular. If any do come across in my work it hopefully is in a positive manner by for example showing the fantastic ocean beaches or wildlife we have in this country. By default it means that they are important and cared about.

I made a list of the thoughts that came to mind when we were discussing why we produce art and how we approach it.

  • Research
  • Plan
  • Design
  • Spontaneous ideas
  • Complete pictures in my head demanding to be painted
  • Is it good enough to sell?
  • Is it a marketable subject?
  • Where should I market it?
  • Put a price on it (materials, research, time to complete, size, type, commissions, tax, where it’s being displayed/sold, margin)

Apart from, but not totally disassociated, is what I do just for me. The fun art and the practice and learning. This is all just aesthetics and relaxing and learning to get into that zone for creativity and other side of the brain thinking. I find it healthy for me personally but also productive for me as an emerging artist.

2. Whilst still on an Australian theme from last week, we were asked to look at a video about three Australian photographers.

  • Max Dupain
  • David Moore
  • Wolfgang Sievers

These three men came from very different backgrounds but all ended up showing their own views of the works and of Australia from about the 1940s through to the 1980s.

Dupain: Formal set up, Simple images, Proudly Australian, Heroic images

Moore: Honesty, Revealed the truth, Told a story

Sievers: Influence of the Bauhaus, Strong sense of design, interest in the “perfect” image

Even when working on the same project, these photographers brought their own vision. One looked at the architectural and the other the human side of a scene as the major focal point. I particularly identified with Max Dupain, who stayed in Australia loving the curl of the ocean waves and the brilliant light and unique landscape we have. For similar reasons I have produced pastel paintings along the Victorian coastline. The colour of the sea and the power of the waves was something that I really enjoy depicting and seeing viewers of my work appreciate.

Another point of interest was the photography using the daily lives of the poorer people living in Sydney during the period after the second world war. The change of direction of the lens away from the glamorous to the simple and daily life reminded me of Vermeer who did similarly with his beautiful paintings of women doing their domestic tasks of the time. Not ugly at all, but in their own way, noble and beautiful.

The video helped remind me that the subject does not have to be “high and mighty”, sometimes the simplest subject can be the most charming and moving. You don’t have to travel far from home to find great subject matter. You can be different to “the other guy” doing the same subject if you use you own style and your own view as an artist. (I have seen this in life drawing class as we all work from the same model and also at paint outs and workshops where ten people can all be painting the same subject – and all produce a unique piece of art)

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