I didn’t realise just how much my work really is a part of me until the day a piece I was working on got damaged.
With each piece I work on I strive to refine my style and improve my technique and I see significant changes in my work when I look back over them. Each time my mind conjures a new drawing it is always filled with touches of personal significance – I not only hope to offer a beautiful still-life, I hope every viewer can find their own meaning and story within.
As soon as I saw T42 in my mind I was even more keen than usual to give it a life on paper. Like my other pieces, it was filled with items of great personal meaning – though not usually obvious to others. The COCK, the Magnolia, the blue and white china, the eggs.
T42 – 2010
I find myself getting bored with a drawing if I spend too many weeks on it – with about 200 hours from start to finish it can mean long days of being lost in my work in a blissful state of hypnotic and meditative flow. The down-side of this is, after intently studying the work for so long I get to a point where I can no longer see it. I no longer know if it’s even good because all I see is a mess and jumble of lines. When the doubts begin they don’t trickle in, they appear suddenly.
I was about three days away from finishing T42 and spending more and more time looking at it from different angles and using the trick of viewing it in a mirror – the mirrored image allows you to see your artwork from a whole different perspective and the areas that need work tend to jump out. I had a framed artwork displayed on a heavy wooden easel set up by the window so I leant the paper against this and stepped back to critique it. Just as I was too far away a gust of wind blew through the open window, picked up the paper and slammed it into the tall bank of drawers nearby. All I could see was a 6cm long tear down the top of the paper – dead centre. After the shock subsided and I calmed down, the devastation I felt surprised me – I’d reacted like someone I loved dearly had been mortally wounded.
I really loved this piece and I needed to finish it – so while I worked away I covered the tear with a piece of paper so it wasn’t glaring back at me. Once completed I focused on finding the best art restorer available. The injured artwork went off to The Centre for Cultural Materials Conservation (CCMC) at The University of Melbourne. They explained the tear would still be visible but they could restore the paper as well as was possible. They treated T42 like a priceless artwork and hopefully I’ll never need their services again – if I do, I’ll go right back.
T42 is now on permanent display on my wall and with a sexy scar and a story to tell it’s far too valuable to go anywhere else.
A large part of who I am is the animal lover part.
As a child, I don’t think anyone has ever pestered their parents for anything as much as I pestered mine for a pet. It didn’t even matter what animal it was! I tried for the usual dogs and cats – and because my grandparents had a farm where I spent much of my childhood, I was forever trying to foster a little lamb. I tried for mice, and I even tried for crabs once when I school friend brought some back from her holiday at the beach – each of these animals have stories of their own that help explain the lengths I would go to. After years of pleading I found out I had parents that couldn’t be broken – though it never stopped my attempts. I won’t even go into how much I wanted the holy grail of pets – the horse!
the beetles – 2008
Insects became my compromise. I began by sneaking bugs into my room and treating them as surrogate pets – creating little landscapes for them and using them as models for my drawings. With an exhaustive supply outside my house I eventually became more open about keeping them. The Praying Mantis was the jewel in my entomology crown.
And so the foundation was born to eventually become one of my signature touches. At least one insect – or sometimes mollusc – is found in all my drawings – with the exception of earlier work. At times the title suggests there are many and therefore becomes a popular challenge for the observer to find them all.
Fact: There are only ever an odd number of insects in each drawing.
In the early stages of creating a composition I rarely build the work around a bird, or even include a bird – yet they regularly appear and often end up being the focus because they naturally flow with my style and content.
I’m also a collector of tattoos and my first piece was an eagle when I was 15. I chose the tattoo to represent my freedom – the freedom that birds represent is still very relevant to my life. It upsets me to see caged birds.
No matter where I live I need nature around me, and soil to get my hands in. My home and studio is in the centre of the city and the long and wide window ledges jammed with plants has become my garden. It’s reassuring to sit at my worktable and see the garden has become a sanctuary for several birds.
I’ve always been a passionate animal lover and it’s only natural for me to include them in my art.
i use at least two nibs for each artwork to achieve the finest detail possible. constantly moving the nib across the page dulls the needle-sharp point. some drawings require many. due to a new style i’m refining i’ve used five nibs for my latest work, Enter at own risk! my new technique not only means i use more nibs – it takes a lot longer to finish
i’m careful not to load the nib with too much ink—my greatest fears are an ink blotch or dragging my hand across wet ink. nibs are split down the middle, limiting the direction it can move across the page. if half the nib catches it will flick the ink and splatter across the page. nearing the end of an artwork—often with over 200 hours invested—i’m particularly conscious of these fears as i’m down to the final hours working on Enter at own risk! ink is an unforgiving medium: once on the page, it’s there to stay. there’s an element of danger in all my work!
stay tuned for – Enter at own risk!…
you can also follow me on instagram - http://instagram.com/patrickchristieink
Gavin Brown would have to be the most prolific artist i know. Not only that – it’s consistently good work and his trademark of colour and abundance never fails to grab and hold my attention. Brown’s latest show, Running with Scissors, has done it again!
With a distinguished career spanning 30 years, Running with Scissors adds collage to Brown’s eclectic mix of painting, film, design and fashion. This exhibition sees the artist use paint, paste and paper to reflect on advertising and popular culture.
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