"Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world"
I live in an inner city, Melbourne suburb with my partner, artist Demetrios Vakras.
Melbourne is a city of public gardens, tree lined boulevards and interesting industrial areas. If you have the chance to walk the city grid look up as you will spy an impressive array of architectural heritage from the mid-1800's to the present. Melbourne is cosmopolitan and vibrant but it is not as edgy, progressive, or liberal, as it may believe itself to be, particularly concerning the arts. Unless an artist is part of the inner commercial scene, or has emerged fit for purpose and connected out of an institution that confirms one as an artist they are persona non grata and their art relegated to the fringes. Artist run galleries or co-opts are where you will experience art beyond a generic, institutional, safe approach. The pity is one is dismissed for making such an assertion when they are not "recognised" artists (unrecognised equating with unworthy). Never-the-less it needs stating. It is in part for this reason that I and my artist partner suffered appalling treatment in the Australian courts over our Humanist Transhumanist exhibition of 2009.
The court mis-labelled us "part-time" artists because for them a "full-time" artist survives solely from the income derived from their art. A grotesque misunderstanding for how artists live and how art is realised. Vincent van Gogh generated one sale in his life-time, an experience not uncommon for many. To equate value with what sells demonstrates how farcically simplistic an understanding of what art is the court's have. That this was not even relevant is another matter. The point to make is that this is a fundamentally inane classification concluded from ignorance. And, it cost me my house, my studio and art practice. More can be read about what dragged myself and my partner into so a dire situation via this preserved account of what happened at a now defunct Gallery. Further information regarding the consequences and aftermath are covered in our protest site RedlegVArtists.com.
When I last edited this page (2011) Australia was emerging from drought, flood
and fire. At the verge of a new decade the cycle has repeated. Drought, floods and fire storms have caused much hardship and misery.
The climate change warnings have never been more clear.
Currently (March/April 2020) sees the world grappling with the realities of pandemic. Entire economies are being put into "hybernation" to weather the unfolding calamity. We live in strange
times, where panicked populations hoard toilet paper, dried pasta, hand santiser and toiletries but most disturbingly so, with a run on gun shops, ammunition and firearms.
Internet communication has exploded as workplaces mobilise to conduct business online and those who can utilise it seek to socialise virtually via Apps over WiFi. Scientists, Nurses, Doctors, Communications
and Grocery workers are the essential services "frontline" heroes of the time. Humanity, collectively, faces the effects of overwhelming and rapid change with economies driven potentially into collapse
as a direct result of the outbreak of the Covid-19 health disaster.
Nation States may fail, many will die, not just from this disease that has traversed the planet so rapidly but additionally from successive after-shocks and ill-effects of a potentially desperate social aftermath. Our world will not come to an end but it will emerge utterly transformed. Artists, as a source and form of record and memory, will be amongst those to help us in the present and the future to make sense of such times and events. (5 April 2020)
Inspirations And Technique
I work in oils on canvas and I am largely self-taught with a some formal technical training. Along the way I have greatly benefited from the generous advice and experience of artist friends and been inspired by many influences. Those influences are varied and are ones I am drawn to for their skill, imagination and the execution of an idea or a concept. To list a few in no particular order or preference; Remedios Varo, Toyen, Leonora Carrington, Dorothea Tanning, Kaye Sage, Jacques Louis David, Eugene Delacroix, Jean-Auguste-Dominque Ingre, Sandro Botticelli, Albrecht Dürer, Salvador Dalí, Max Ernst, Magritte, Yves Tanguy. The list could go on. I am continually inspired by past and contemporary artists of the imagination and past and contemporary free thinkers.
The ideas behind the art are an expression of how I view and make sense of humanity. In paint and pen and in digital 0s and 1s I explore ideas that range from the political to the philosophical and psychological. My works are variously surrealist or symbolist in intent whilst being critical of that which is antithetic to human rights, equality and fraternity. Religious, political, social and cultural systems are therefore subjects upon which I will comment with a critical eye. Aesthetics are a consideration in terms of balance of composition, and of light and dark. Idealist art forms, techniques or inspirations are not my concern.
In terms of method, in oils I combine a kind of fresco technique with tonal
realism. I use my own photography; of artist models, objects or scenes in order to create a compelling composition. I utilise several
forms of reference to collage an idea together and often precede finished works
with a finely detailed drawing as this can assist to resolve complex compositions.
Artist self published catalogues can be viewed and purchased here - Humanist Transhumanist Catalogues