+1 ::: Why
are you an artist?
I love the act of creating something
from nothing really and for some reason
the world always seems a better place
afterwards. Why am I an artist? It really
isn't something I can try and explain
in just a few lines but I will say it
is an extremely intoxicating, passionate
and rewarding act for me which can be
both a frustrating and exhilarating
Brett Whiteley nailed it when he called
it "a difficult pleasure".
::: Could you tell me some more about
It seems to be evolving although I'm
not sure where it is all leading at
times. I like to move between various
mediums but have a fondness for oil.
I like to express parts of my own personality
or interests within my paintings and
generally avoid commissioned work that
I have no attachment to. I am fairly
isolated from metropolitan art circles
and am certainly not influenced by art
trends. I tend to lean towards a figurative
expression of some kind in my most recent
work and have a sort of 'to thine own
self be true' approach to what I do
::: You seem to enjoy working in different
mediums using such things as oils, pastels
and digital mediums. Do you just like
variety or are there other reasons for
the changes in medium?
I generally get a little stagnant or
bored with my own work if I stay in
the same (place) medium too long, so
I like to keep moving. Also, some of
my ideas simply call for a particular
medium. My love of illustration and
graphic art often draws me back to the
line orientated mediums such as charcoal,
pastel or the computer. Experiment I
The trick is being able to retain your
own style throughout the medium changes
and knowing the limitations. Like music,
I have a broad appreciation of many
different forms of art and thankfully
don't have that blinkered approach where
everything needs to be categorised,
or you must stick to what you do best.
I just let art lead me in all sorts
of interesting directions and get just
as much enjoyment out of looking at
stuff as I do Goya*
::: What Artists have influenced you
For showing me that less really is more.
He is able to say so much with so little
detail. Definitely an inspiration early
on and I'm a sucker for satirical cartoons!
His work helps remind me from time to
time to take more risks and think about
challenging or engaging the viewer.
There's also something about his paintings
and also Van Gogh's which makes me feel
like the familiarity
of meeting an old friend - I can't quite
work out why though. Also showed me
that great art can also have a sense
Definitely one of Australia's greatest
living artists and a little under appreciated.
His art workshops many years ago gave
me an introduction and insight into
art from both sides of the canvas and
inspired me to give the brush a more
prominent place in the arsenal. Yep,
It's all been said by too many others,
but you have to ignore or put to one
side the popularity and commercialism
to really appreciate his brushmanship.
Artists & Illustrators
The internet has opened my eyes to an
endless array of known and unknown artists
who now influence and excite me the
most. Some of these gems include Brad
and Sara Shamma*
to name a few..
::: What do you do for fun (apart from
Hey, isn't life serious and art fun?
No seriously, my other love is family
and music. I occasionally sit in on
electric blues harmonica with local
blues and boogie bands and have also
been learning to play tenor saxophone
for a few years now.
::: What inspires you to paint and how
do you keep motivated when things get
tough in the studio?
I'm inspired all the time and am always
filling up little art notebooks with
ideas for paintings. The inspiration
behind a lot of my work comes from wanting
to express something within myself and
usually associated with the things I
love (or dislike) about life or have
experienced. Some are metaphor, others
more obvious. Music is big influence
and of course emotion plays it's part.
I keep motivated by looking at other
people's art or by (as mentioned) changing
mediums. I just really love all aspects
of creating art so motivation isn't
too much of an issue.
::: How have you handled the business
side of being an artist?
I actually have a Diploma in Business
Management and don't have too many problems
keeping everything above board on that
I registered as a business several years
ago just to make sure the taxman is
satisfied. It's kind of a grey area
this art and tax business..
has a great title for one of his albums,
it's called "Talking to the taxman
about Poetry" which I'm sure most
artists can relate to.
::: Where do you see yourself in ten
In ten years I'll be looking back and
hopefully seeing a vast improvement
in my painting along with an extended
CV! My agent will be on the phone saying
"the Porche is waiting to take
you to the airport Mr. O'Malley".
::: How did you start with the jazz
series and where are you going with
The jazz series "Jazz is Art, Art
started with me painting a few jazz
inspired pieces just for pure pleasure.
This progressed to producing promotional
art for the Adelaide Jazz Festival and
eventually exhibiting the work on a
regular basis in an Adelaide restaurant/gallery
space. The owner is happy to let me
rotate the works through and there are
no constraints on what I present. I
decided last year to have the work exhibited
on line as well so its kind of neat
to have the series existing in both
a real and virtual space. The bonus
of course is that I have the opportunity
to sell both originals and limited edition
reproductions of any of the works.
I intend to continue producing jazz
orientated works but am taking a short
hiatus to explore a few other ideas
which have been brooding in the background.
::: What advice would you give to an
artist just starting out?
Don't try to be a famous artist. Just
focus on doing good work and building
up a body (or portfolio) of work you
can be proud of. Put it online!
Believe in yourself and trust your instincts.
Be critical of your own work and learn
how to take criticism from others.
There are not better artists, just better
Engulf yourself in art. Learn more about
it and don't have blinkers on. Study
traditional and contemporary art styles
Follow your heart and enjoy yourself,
but be prepared for some disappointment
along the way. Promote yourself.
Find like-minded souls to share your