Australian Fine Artist

Richard Stringer

Visiting Artist Talk
Chisholm TAFE Frankston

Sculptor, Painter, Archeologist

Richard has a huge string of accomplishments, so big in fact that I suggest you go to his web site to see his achievements (link at the bottom of this editorial). I will just say here that he has been a 2012 PhD candidate at Monash University, studied Middle Eastern Studies at Melbourne University in 1989 and received his Degree in Fine Art (sculpture) at Victorian College of the Arts in 1981. He has also taught at Frankston Chisholm in the past so was able to catch up with colleagues during his visit.

Richard has artworks in major collections around Australia including the outside of St Kilda Town Hall and at the Eureka Tower, Melbourne. During his career he has been able to acquire grants and funding to travel overseas to many places that I have long wanted to see, his interest in archeology is something that I share with him. For Richard, the travel meant being able to not only see and be inspired by things he expected, but also to be exposed to the surprises and unexpected that can come when you are willing to explore and be open minded about learning.

Travel through Italy meant that he was close to many other places of interest such as Egypt, Cyprus, Turkey etc. Working with local artists and archeologists showed him new and old methods that he hadn’t tried before, expanding his practice and giving him creative new ideas.

Incorporating the symbolism, writing and architectural elements of the Middle East and Africa gave Richard’s work a new direction, and led to some innovative new work when back in Australia.

Richard talked about how sculptures can be made up of found material when you are on a budget, some beautiful pieces were made up from materials that were discarded by manufacturing and industry. He has also used foam, paper maché, cardboard and house paint to complete works. The movement and flow he was looking to create in his sculptures didn’t rely on expensive materials, just to be creative, so even when on a budget he was able to keep producing.

Further travels to Singapore and India gave Richard more material to incorporate into his themes. He also starting using human figures and animal representations into his more architectural creations. Sometimes they weren’t the whole of a figure, but enough to give life and movement. Some of his more recent work is on the theme of bees. His work outside the Eureka Tower is along this line and fits in with the building as well as giving it a lovely artistic quality.

Travelling to Berlin last year and working in a studio space there introduced the idea of smaller versions of his large sculptures, not unlike souvenirs we collect when exploring over seas. He has done a small amount of research into how this could be done and is excited to see where it could lead. We saw how he had lined up some of his initial works with local souvenirs of classical statues that we often bring home.They seem to fit in nicely even though they are more contemporary in looks.

Another adjunct to his work has been creating short videos to accompany artworks. The creation of paintings, painted and small sculptures  and video to the same space yet again adds breadth to his repertoire.

A typical workflow Richard explained for a sculpture was as follows:

  1. Do the Drawings
  2. Manipulate and design in Photoshop
  3. Create working paintings
  4. Create first mock-ups
  5. Create more developed mock-ups
  6. Create refined “proof” work
  7. Create the finished piece

As you can see, a lot of planning and refining before the finished work is completed.

Richard’s life as a practising artist is an exciting mix of travel to archeological digs, work in overseas studio spaces, teaching and creation of work for commissions and exhibitions. His wide range of interests means that he can mix up a multitude of ideas from various cultures for innovative and unique ideas that are truly his own.

To see examples of Richard’s work go to his web site at: http://www.richardstringer.com.au

Yet again Chisholm provided an interesting and engaging speaker who inspired me to revisit my love of history and archeology for my own artworks in the future. My thanks to the teachers.

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