Australian Fine Artist

Video: Ian Fairweather

With our regular tutor away again today, we had a stand in tutor who presented a video that we had seen last year, but as with most things, especially when learning, a repeat visit is not a bad thing.

I want to cover a few other issues that I have thought about concerning this artist’s life and art.

One is his inability or lack of desire to have a plan for his work or indeed his life. A lonely childhood led to a life of not fitting in with structure of most types. His travels in search of that life and ability to produce to art he was wanting to produce was aimless to the viewer and I wonder if at least a loosely constructed plan would have at least led him to his best work earlier or not.

Some things that did stand out were that his family’s money had to come to his aid when his adventures led him back to the UK, where he didn’t want to live after being shipped back their by Indonesia. The money of the tax payer had to save him from his raft trip in the Timor Sea. A trip that nearly killed him. Money from well meaning friends and their time and effort had to be brought in to give him a home that would protect him as age and ill health took over, as well as making sure he could stay on Bribie Island and not be evicted by the Council.

Fairweather’s story has me at odds, as I understand the desire to opt out of the rat race that can be modern life that can overtake a creative mind. On the other hand my practical side says that for every decision we make, someone has to pay or be responsible. My business mind says that an arts practice needs to support itself, we need to work within the environment and the society we live in to make a living. Also, that if you fail to plan you plan to fail. Ian may be an exception, having been picked up by prestigious galleries and having successful sales even if he didn’t keep track of the income and paperwork involved in running a business. I think that this would be more difficult now that twenty years ago.

For me, I feel that a practice based on this type of lifestyle would be an exception rather than a good rule to base my practice on.

A Few Words About Ian Fairweather:


“Ian Fairweather was an Australian painter. Fairweather was born in Scotland in 1891 and arrived in Melbourne in February 1934. He is considered one of the greatest Australian painters of all time, combining western and Asian influences in his work.” He died in May 1974 on Bribie Island, Queensland, Australia.

Ian seems to have been a lone soul for most of his life, starting with is childhood in the care of aunts then in the Jersey Islands wandering around teaching himself to draw and paint.

A solitary man with a devine spark in his eyes and a wonder about the natural world around him, I can understand his inability to cope with humanity and his desire to paint in peace. The main message I took from his words were from a question he was asked.

“How do you live your life?”

“I paint, dammit!”

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