I taught myself to draw from copying all my childhood comic books from Peanuts and Archie to the Fantastic Four, and in high school my teachers introduced me to artists like Toulouse-Lautrec, Degas and Brett Whiteley. Then one summer at a student art “camp” I got my first taste of life drawing which became a life-changing moment with regards to my creative development.
After working on my school’s magazine I decided I wanted to be a graphic designer, well, specifically I wanted to be a record cover designer – which shows my age! Though once I started my course I realised how many more areas a designer could work in. Once I joined the big bad world of industry my career had me working for international finance firms, publishing houses, packagings specialists, various design agencies, I’ve directed photo shoots and freelanced for twelve years (and counting!).
Although the majority of my work is computer-based every place I’ve worked at has utilised my drawing skills. So if you’re a young student out there who is interested in graphic design but also loves to draw – don’t let your drawing skills go on the wane, keep developing them. They will be an asset in more ways than you can imagine.
I also love to travel (who doesn’t?) although there hasn’t been much of that lately. In my 20s like all good Australians (at the time) worked their arses off, quit their job and backpacked around the UK and Europe for several months. At various times in my life I’ve been to the US and some parts of Asia and South America. I have been given work opportunities that have sent me to New Zealand and Israel. One of the more surreal experiences was joining a drumming group to perform in Abu Dhabi. Plus not forgetting travelling around my own backyard Australia.
However, the most indelible experiences was visiting Antarctica. It was a wishlist destination of mine especially after reading many books on the Polar explorers. It was one of the most amazing adventures of my life, and worth every penny I saved. On board this trip I took a watercolour set and sketchpad to see how I would go with landscapes, which up until that point I avoided all my life. Everyone on board saw my work, and as a consequence, the tour company offered me an opportunity to come back as an artist-in-residence aboard their ships. Thus making me one of the luckiest people in the world! And at a much later date the co-ordinators offered me a similar experience in Norway.
Despite being totally out of my league (I was barely painting or drawing for my own leisure by then) I did my best to encourage travellers to create their own art and hopefully get them to see this mesmerising environment in a different way. Personally it made me come around to appreciating landscape art and drawing nature.
Almost reaching my 50s, I’ve had several changes in my life and the biggest focus has been on lessening my load, trying to live an uncomplicated, quieter life so that it frees up more time to create art that appeals to me, ideas that are of my choosing. Over the years to keep me sane and get me away from the computer I would create little painting and drawing projects to work on. Now its time to release a lot of these illustrations and designs, happy that they’ll see the light of day!
Whether I’m financially successful or not… I can’t think about that for now. Trying to understand and estimate the who, what, why and how of a billion or more online shoppers would do my head in. I’m prepared that it could take some time and my commitment to this endeavour has to be 100%, but it’s exciting. Whatever the outcome, or however much I have to give, it all has to be enjoyable otherwise it’s called work, and work is hard.