I have been asking myself ‘how do I develop my art?’ Is it a conscious or subconscious thing? I suspect it is actually a mixture of both. ‘What should I be doing more of?’ is a question I frequently wonder about. I read, I study other people art, I try to visit the many wonderful art galleries and take myself to exhibitions that wouldn’t be my natural inclination in efforts to shake things up a bit. Perhaps more importantly is that I try to keep experimenting and making work.
One thing I have noticed is that recently I think and plan in series as opposed to just working on a singular piece. This allows me room to explore a range of things over several works rather than try to encompass everything in one piece. It helps me relax and open up the work as it allows opportunities to go into a myriad of directions in a loose and instinctive manner. It is never definitive but tends to be roughly bound by a group of ideas that I want to try. These ideas never appear in isolation – they are never new. Very often art I have developed previously has considerable input into my new work in terms of the ideas and practices that I used.
To elaborate on this, I am currently working on an ‘Abstract City’ series. This will play with the everyday gritty aspects of a city and urban environment using my photography as a starting point. This is not new to me. I have done this before in various ways – my ‘Graffiti’ series being an example of this. I will also create montages and collages as I have done many times before.
I am keen to encompass the idea of bold colour, patterns and movement that I used in my ‘Patterns of New Zealand landscape’ (painting only) series – but using painting and drawing more in combination with my photography and montages. Now whilst my art practice frequently explores the ebb and flow of the painted versus the digital mark, I really want to push the physical mark making further in terms of colour, movement, shape and rhythm.
I have to ask myself ‘why do I want to do this at all?’ What I can say is that much of it comes back to my initial wandering around taking the photographs. These images are being captured very quickly on a compact camera as I’m walking down the street. They are not posed but very quick shots of things that catch my eye. I’m like a visual kleptomaniac, collecting anything that attracts me – it could be a street sign, or a piece of brightly coloured rubbish on the ground as equally as a beautiful carved column or pretty flower garden. It could be a pattern, a shadow, a texture, or a reflection for example. I end up with a large repository of images that define my impressions of that particular environment which I then bring together in various montages.
As I physically paint, draw, scratch and smudge onto these works it will be as a personal response to this recorded environment. I am tactically interjecting myself into these pieces – making my physical presence apparent, feeling the pulse, conducting the orchestra.
The works I display here show some of my new montages prior to painting and drawing within them.