Printmaker and Sculptor
Visiting Artist Talk at Chisholm TAFE
The trip to Chisholm for Geoff was a nostalgic one, as he attended here thirty years ago. It was a kind of anniversary trip to share what he has achieved. I think we were all very happy he made the trip!
I love it when a speaker has such an unassuming nature to them, they speak to the group and not at you, and share the journey like they would to a group of friends.
The huge body of his work was amazing. The folders on his computer were endless, each with heaps of photos of his work as it has evolved and grown over the years.
Geoff said he didn’t know what he wanted to do with his life, but he had always drawn. He eventually ended up in TAFE and he found a place to fit in and be with like-minded people (artists). He went on the tertiary studies and majored in printmaking. He likes the process. There are parts that are a bit out of your control and he likes the transferrance of the image from one surface to another.
His images makes statements about the world and humanity. Sometimes serious but often with a touch of humour, he has used the image of animals in particular to tell stories.
His works vary from the very small to the very large – both the prints and his sculptures.
Geoff admits that he uses deadlines for upcoming exhibitions and projects to make sure that he keeps producing and his mind on the job. It is easy to get “lost” in the studio.
Some of his prints are from single copper plates and others are from several as he builds up an image’s colours. He goes from dark to light in most prints which is different from how I have been taught so far, so that was interesting. It reminded me a bit of the newer method of scratchboard art which has similar finished looks.
The elephant has become Geoff’s signature look. He must have depicted them in nearly every contortion and direction over the years, as well as exaggerating many of their physical assets. He has also included the patterning of squares in with his elephants and gone on to make them an abstract feature on their own.
Geoff moved into sculpture as a way of using his copper plates, in a way, although I suspect he may have done it anyway as his work is so innovative and he seems to love it so much. He now has to use purchased material as he doesn’t have enough used plates to make some of the huge sculptures he completes.
Geoff also has a lot of sketch books. He is making sketches and plans all the time. The seeds of his projects can come from theses books so they are a good practice for any artist. He has also been artist in residence, which he says is a great way to extend yourself by trying new materials, styles or subject matter. He produced books of water colours, a series of imagined flags for pretend countries, been artist on a ship in the Antarctic and worked in a rural hospital as resident artist. All these gave him a new lease in creativity and ideas he may not have had otherwise.
He spoke of constantly being on the outlook for ways to increase his output, broaden his horizons and improve his art. After over thirty years practising as an artist, his enthusiasm was still obvious. He gave a friendly and informal talk which was still very informative.