Galerio Futurisma
     
 
 
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SUGAR MAPLE

1983? Alkyd on illustration board. SOLD.

The Artist - A brief autobiography

Born in Camden, NSW, Australia, 5 January 1961.

Lived in Campbelltown , NSW, until 1986, then various locations in the Blue Mountains and Central Tablelands of NSW before moving to Queenstown, New Zealand, in October 1991. Resident at Ferndale in rural Southland, New Zealand, since April 2001.

Educated at Hurlstone Agricultural Highschool in SW Sydney, commenced training in Landscape Architecture at the University of NSW but after 2 yrs decided to concentrate on art.

Subsequent work has involved both horticulture and art, including illustrations in the mid 1980’s for the Australian magazines “Omega”, “Simply Living”, “Woman’s Day”, “Imagine”, “The Mentor”, and “The Illustrated Macquarie Dictionary”.

I’ve held a lifelong interest in social comment science fiction (perhaps “speculative fiction” is the better term?). In my teen years I enjoyed reading many SF novels, with A.C.Clarke, R. Heinlein, Asimov, and Ursula Le Guin amongst my favourite writers. In film and TV the various “Star Trek” series, esp “Next Generation” and “Voyager”, have always been a pleasure for their transnational values and generally positive outlook on the universe. I certainly gravitate towards the imaginitive, the visually creative and spectacular - so although I loathe militarism and violence I must confess to having watched and found some virtue in the “Star Wars” movies and TV programs like “Babylon 5”, “Angel” and “Buffy the Vampire Slayer”. Some of my favourite films are pre 1960 - Joan Crawford and Bette Davis movies of the 1940’s and ‘50’s like “Johnny Guitar”, “Mildred Pierce”, and “All about Eve”. Others that come to mind of that period are “The Ghost and Mrs Muir”, “Notorious”, “Vertigo”, “The Day the Earth Stood Still” and “Forbidden Planet”. US sitcoms and serials have also captured my interest since the late ‘60’s, and the ones that come first to mind are “Seinfeld’, “MASH”, “Batman”, “Get Smart”, “Bewitched”, “Lost in Space”, “The Simpsons”, “Action”, “The Nanny”, “Duckman” and “Family Guy”. Probably the only things I haven’t bothered watching are flag waving war movies and seriously gore laden horror.

Also of interest to me over the last 25yrs has been the New Age movement, Buddhist philosophy, and the alternative rural lifestyle movement with its emphasis on self sufficiency and spiritual growth (which I explored in rural NSW, Australia).

Today I would call myself an aetheist - I see no evidence in the universe revealed to date that supports the belief in an all knowing, all powerful, immortal consciousness that created the universe, cares personally about each of us, and actively interfers in our lives to the advantage of those who believe in and support “Him” (or “Her” or “It”). The directions and the patterns we see in the universe are probably just patterns emerging from unconscious energies. The interactions between living things involve much cruelty with no sign of morality. Far from perfect, living things are full of errors, often crippling or fatal, as would be expected from random selection. However, I wouldn’t suggest the universe is totally the product of random events either - I speculate that there may be some kind of directive force within each living thing/species that nudges evolution along a path advantageous to that particular living organism/species. But far from being all knowing, all powerful etc I’d suggest it’s in a kind of infant state and rather clumsy in its efforts at directorship.

I love thunderstorms (particularly those that hose off a hot summer’s day), jagged glaciated mountains, winter snow, trees and birds. I’m passionate about autumn foliage and inspired by beauty in all things, but especially landscapes, plant life and some young men (perhaps because I was never granted physical beauty in myself). I think the metric system is one of the most sensible concepts to have emerged from a human brain in the last 300yrs and I endeavour to make good use of it. I also like the idea of Esperanto as everyone’s second language, but I struggle to find time to learn it and have to settle for using it in the titles of most of my paintings as a symbolic gesture of support for the idea. I hate wind, extreme heat, droughts, cold days in summer, competitive sport and nationalism. I have difficulty relating to people who eat the flesh of animals and I make every effort to avoid those who actually take pleasure in violence and killing, be it directed against other humans or other species with the capacity for consciousness and feeling (probably all “higher” animals).

I am an ethical vegetarian and have been since the age of 19 (commenced eliminating animal products from my diet at 15). I endeavour to be vegan. I used to call myself a pacifist and once said in a classroom debate that killing could never be justified. I didn’t actually believe it, but felt that to acknowledge exceptions to the noble law against killing would remove the incentive for people to look for nonviolent alternatives. I suspect my classmates and teacher thought me a fool or extremely naive. Certainly it was dishonest, and that is no virtue.

During my time at Ferndale I have been very reluctantly forced to accept the necessity for killing higher life forms in defence of the tree collection I’m attempting to nurture. Possums are highly destructive towards most woody plant species. Repellants either don’t work or contain ingredients derived from slaughtered animals. My efforts to protect trees using guards of various kinds have failed and I cannot afford to build a possum proof fence around the entire property, so I use the most humane kill traps on the market.

Still, I endeavour to live by the proclamation in my painting “Foundation Principles”: “Respect all Life: do what you must to survive, but do not seek to harm, exploit or control beyond your reasonable needs. Know that you share the Earth and the universe with countless other life forms and all have a right to exist”. I would like to communicate with people who share adherence to that principle and seek to improve themselves emotionally and intellectually. My greatest admiration is reserved for people who don’t settle for base level social conformity and who never utter excuses like “I can’t help it, I’m only human”. We can all improve upon the way we were born by gaining useful knowledge & wisdom and by minimizing the suffering and harm we inflict upon other beings.

I support technological innovation that can assist these goals - space exploration can free the Earth from our burdonsome numbers (so can reproductive self control!) and industry (mine the asteroids, not the Earth!). Technology could also eliminate the obscene need for vivisection in medicine. Synthetic food production would end the need to exploit other living things for food. Alternatively we might be able to redesign our bodies either as synthetic vehicles for our consciousness or as biological organisms that can thrive on sunlight, air, water and inorganic minerals. You won’t find me protesting against the IDEA of genetic engineering, and I will publicly support it when it is used to support these far reaching goals or the more immediate concerns of improving our health, or the nutritional value and health of agricultural crops. Technology is rarely a problem in itself - the issue is how people choose to use it.

I currently live alone, enjoy it, and expect to go on doing so as my physical decline accelerates! In my late 20’s I experienced a couple of relationships with men which taught me as much about myself as it did about them. I’ve never encountered another person I could connect with on all the levels necessary for a long term relationship (shared interests, goals, values, and mutual physical desire). I expect that’s true for a lot of people but most fear solitude and settle for a partner they can at least feel comfortable with. I haven’t even found that, but I don’t fear solitude. Thankfully I also have no desire to reproduce and am quite frankly mystfied by people who do.

Politically l’ve moved from a kind of Utopian socialism to individualism based on an acceptance of the extreme diversity of human individuals. A functional self sustaining society currently needs a fairly large population (at least many thousands of people) and the chances of creating such a society by bringing together enough people who share the same ethical values and goals is remote. So for the sake of personal comfort we must live amongst and cooperate with people whose values will be different from and may even conflict with our own. The more structured this kind a society becomes with rules and laws, and the more it seeks to impose a particular lifestyle morality upon its citizens, the more people it will alienate and anger, thus making its own destruction inevitable. So my current vision of “Utopia” requires a minimalist government that exists solely to maintain the essential physical infrastructure of the society and preserve a state of peace through enforcing only the most basic of laws against violence and theft. With a good communications infrastructure in place individuals and groups can potentially create global networks to satisfy their own specialist needs and desires. I hope to use my website to promote one such network: ACE - Advancing Consciousness and Ethics.

While some of my paintings have been private or commercial commissions, and there are a handful of “bread and butter” earning landscapes, the majority are the product of pure self expression, commenting on various social issues and exploring future lifestyle possibilities. These are the ones I consider my best and most unique. Any artist can paint The Remarkables, or a Victorian house in Dunedin, but “Foundation Principles” and “Wakatipu Dreams” are uniquely my creations. Humour, sometimes light hearted, sometimes darker, has a place in many, but does not negate serious underlying messages. Most of my work reflects the search for a consistent and practical approach to reality based on truth, cooperation, reason, creativity, and respect for all life. The objective is to inspire at least some people to seek a path that will lead them and their descendents to enjoy a kinder, more fulfilling world.

Here at Ferndale, on a 25.7ha block of land I’ve called “Autumn Woods”, I work as an artist and plant trees amidst hilly windswept grassland. Approximately 530 of the world’s most economically important tree and shrub species now grow on this property. The neighbours are all sheep and cattle farms. I hope “Autumn Woods” will become a forest/park and bird sanctuary. My income level from painting is rarely better than subsistence so I have to do casual paid work for others at times - the kind of tedious menial labour that too many people in the world are very familiar with. I’m having to concede the workload is beyond the capacity of a single person on low income and the cool maritime climate is making it difficult to get the kind of foliage display I dreamed of.

Still, the birds are thriving in the environment I’m creating here and a few NZ tree and shrub species, together with most conifers, are doing satisfactorily and will eventually create a forest fufilling the bird sanctuary goal. With the shelter provided by such trees some of the colourful deciduous types will perform well enough to justify their presence, and the rhododendrons should be a spectacular feature. There may also be some success with a couple of tree crops: hazelnuts and gevuina nuts.

For my first 2 years here I lived without mains power - a $6,000 solar energy system provided a frustratingly limited yet better than nothing electricity supply that was usually satisfactory for small energy users such as a 20W light, radio, word processor, hair trimmer, and battery chargers. A $2,400 generator backed the system up at times in winter and permitted access to TV and toasted sandwiches. Heating and cooking courtesy of gas. No plumbing - just a rainwater tank. I use a “Separette” composting toilet system (environmentally better than septic but its odour free claims are questionable and cleaning it requires a strong stomach) and a camping style “solar” hot water shower in a greenhouse.

In August this year I decided it was time to connect mains power to my art studio and I now once again enjoy refrigeration, unrestricted TV, and most importantly, use of a computer that will hopefully advance my artistic ambitions.

My greatest challenge of the moment is to earn a better than subsistence living from the combined on site efforts of my art studio and park. I have just one month to make it happen before my financial resources run dry. If I don’t succeed I’ll have to look for another of those “real jobs” that destroy souls and will take me away from the property, and probably the district. That’ll make property maintenance here difficult and serious neglect inevitable. I’ve contemplated a multiple occupancy subdivision bound by a protective covenant to reduce my workload and secure a long term future for the property as a forest and bird sanctuary. But this may be difficult in the social and climatic context of Southland so I may have to settle for trying to just sell the whole property to someone with a love for birds and all manner of trees, as well as the income to manage it. If I do have to leave this place I have enough potted tree stock to move on to and plant out another considerably smaller site (4ha max) - if I can find such a block within the mountain spine of the South Island between Garston and Hanmer Springs. It must be on an international tourist route and have good sunshine hours, a permanent water supply for irrigation and ornamental water features (yet be flood free), warm summers, good winter snowfalls, and protection from destructive winds. If I can’t locate this ideal block, or can’t afford it, it may be time to pursue a different dream - better to do that than struggle with another compromise. The alternative dream most prominent in my mind at present involves a year long N.American experience visiting such places as Los Angeles, Lake Mead, Grand Canyon, Yosemite National Park, Monteray, San Francisco, Redwood National Park, Crater Lake National Park, and Portland. Then into Canada: Vancouver, Victoria, Glacier National Park, Lake Louise, Banff, Calgary, Regina, Winnepeg , Thunder Bay, Sault, Algonquin National Park, Toronto, Niagara Falls, Montreal, Quebec City, and Magog. Back into the US: Vermont: Newport, Montpelier, Burlington. On to New York City after some time in the Adirondack Mountains. Hopefully it would then be possible to return to LA via W. Virginia, Tennessee, and Colorado. Alternatively, a return journey through Europe taking in Bavaria (Neuschwanstein) Switzerland and N. Italy would be highly desirable.

Aside from the landscapes and seasonal wonders I’d like to find a market place that understands, enjoys, and can buy my artwork, thus paying for the trip and setting me up with an ongoing income source that rewards what I can do best.


12 October 2003

2014 Update

Completed a relaxation massage course in 2004 at Southland Institute of Technology, sold the Ferndale property in 2007 due to financial pressures, bought a smaller 0.5ha block in Lawrence in 2008, sold that, again mostly for financial reasons, after completing the tree planting in February 2014, bought a gay sauna business in 2012 to preserve employment while hoping to transform it into a social and art space. Still painting, still hoping to find a rural home, still planning a visit to N. America, still hoping for a committed loving partnership with a like minded man.

10 August 2014.



MAGNOLIA

1983? Alkyd on illustration board. SOLD (Bathurst)

HIPPEASTRUM

1983? Alkyd on illustration board. SOLD (Bathurst).

DREAMSCAPE

1983. Alkyd on masonite, 70 x 50cm. SOLD (Sydney).

THE QUIET PLACE.

1986. 43 x 31cm. Acrylic on canvas.

A commissioned painting. SOLD (Sydney).

LEGACY OF THE DREAM.

1985. Acrylic on masonite panel, 122 x 92cm.

A depiction of the results of relentless consumerism, nationalism and the eternal growth seeking economy. SOLD (Sydney).

PATRIOTISM

1987 Acrylic on illusration board, 43 x 32cm.

A comment on the global effects of nationalistic impulses inspired by political and media hype over the America’s cup.

SOLD (Sydney).

THE PHARAOH'S AIRSHIP
1986 Acrylic on illustration board, 73 x 51cm

Artwork commissioned by “Omega” magazine for a short story by Sean McMullen appearing July 1986.

SOLD (Australia).

STORM

Sept 1983 Alkyd on hardboard, 41 x 31cm.


Grassland reclaims the road of a long vanished human city

SOLD (Australia)

PAIN

August 1987 Acrylic on illustration board, 41 x 31cm.

Illustration commissioned in Sydney for the short lived “Illustrated Macquarie Dictionary”.

A MARTIAN ROMANCE

1987 Acrylic on canvas, 91 x 61cm.

A gay romantic fantasy set on a terraformed Mars.
ECODEFENCE

May 1986 Acrylic on paper, 41 x 33cm

Illustration commissioned by “Simply Living” magazine for a report by Simon Balderstone appearing in Volume 2, Number 12.

FOREST WALK

1987 Acrylic on hardboard, 61 x 41cm.

The worlds of city and forest are one. The acceptance of our place within Nature - not separate from it - is complete. No more repressed feelings and no more need to conceal the evidence of our biological reality - nudity and intimacy are no causes for shame.

SOLD (Sydney)

HIGH COURT CANBERRA

1987? Acrylic on canvas. SOLD (Sydney).

VENGEANCE.

1983. Alkyd on masonite panel.

A comment on the visible expressions of vengeance in human society - the prison system, shark killing, capital punishment, individual murder and war. SOLD (Sydney).

COMET 1

1986 Acrylic on illustration board, 62 x 42cm.

A fantasy inspired by the promise of Halley’s comet. SOLD (Bathurst, Australia)

COSMIC BONDING

24 Oct 1986 Ink and acrylic on illustration board

A romantic fantasy commissioned by a rural gay collective near Uki in northern NSW to promote a 1986/87 Christmas/new Year gathering.


SOLD (Australia).

WHEN THE MIND IS THE FOCUS OF PROGRESS.

April 1984. Alkyd on masonite, 91 x 60cm. SOLD (Sydney).

A Utopian fantasy inspired by Buddhism.

MOUNTAIN COMMUNITY

1985. Acrylic on masonite panel, 92 x 61cm.

A Utopian fantasy.SOLD (Bathurst, NSW)

CITYSCAPE

1981. Alkyd on masonite, 122 x 92cm. (destroyed).

CITYSCAPE

1983? Alkyd on masonite panel. SOLD (Sydney).

MIND TRAVEL

1988. Acrylic on illust. board, 70 x 50cm. SOLD (Sydney).

HAVE YOU LIVED BEFORE?

1984. Alkyd on illustration board.

Commissioned for an article by Heather Kennedy, appearing in "Omega" magazine, Nov 1984. SOLD (Sydney).

MOMENT BY MOMENT

1989. Acrylic on canvas. 101 x 76cm.

A comment on an individual's relationship to the universe, as a solid observer Travelling through an ever changing landscape. Heartache is inevitable as we develop attachments to fleeting phenomena around us. This painting was inspired by my only drug experience (ecstasy) during an emotionally difficult period (my second close human relationship). If everyone took ecstasy just once & under medical supervision I'm confident the world would be a much better place.

THE NEXT STEP (Detail)

Acrylic on canvas. SOLD (Sydney).

WARHEAD

Dec 1985. Acrylic on illustration board, 73 x 51cm.

Commissioned illustration for "Omega" magazine for a short story by Josie Flett appearing March 1986.

EARTH CONSCIOUS LIVING

Feb 1987. Acrylic on canvas, 101 x 76cm.

Another Utopian fantasy: a world where life is in accordance with the principles and ambitions of high civilisation, including vegetarianism, high technology (permitting detachment from the Earth allowing forests to reclaim much of the land surface), and advanced psychic development (meditation and levitation). (Destroyed - painted over, awaiting a new version).

UNCHAINED HYDROID

1984. Alkyd on illust. board. SOLD.

Commissioned illustration for "Omega" magazine

IMAGES AND DREAMS

1989. Acrylic on canvas. 150 x 91cm.

Commissioned painting. SOLD (Sydney).

WORLD GATHERING

1988. Acrylic on canvas, 150 x 91cm.

A commissioned painting based on a similar, smaller painting created by me around 1985 (in the Campbelltown Art Gallery collection). SOLD (Sydney).

THE UFO CONNECTION

Dec 1984 Acrylic on illustration board, 73 x 51cm.

Illustration commissioned by “Omega” magazine for a report by Bill Chalker dealing with UFO sitings over NW Cape in Western Australia. It appeared in the March 1985 issue.




COMET 2.

1986. Acrylic on illust. board, 62 x 42cm.

THE IMMORTAL ONE.

Oct 1987. Ink and charcoal on paper.

A satirical comment on the quest for immortality. SOLD (Sydney).

NUCLEAR FALLOUT SHELTER

1985. Acrtylic on illustration board, approx 64 x 42cm. Commissioned by "Omega" magazine for the "Omega/Beyond 2000 Nuclear Survival Handbook".

LUNAR SEA

1989? Acrylic on canvas.

Paintinng commissioned by a woman with a great interest in the planet Saturn and astronomy in general. SOLD (Sydney)

JURONKA CHAMBER

1986. Ink & pencil on illust. board, 57 x 47cm. SOLD.

VILLAGE LIFE.

c1989. Acrylic on canvas, 150 x 91cm. SOLD (Sydney).

A future city on the shores of Sydney harbour.

THE RETURN

1989. Acrylic on illust. board, 67 x 51cm.

A tongue in cheek tribute to classic SF movies and stars of the 1950's (esp "Forbidden Planet" and Joan Crawford.

EILENE CADDY'S VISION

1987. Acrylic on canvas. 73 x 60cm.

Based on a vision described by Eilene Caddy - a dove carrrying light (peace) to the four corners of the Earth. SOLD (Australia).

THE SIREN

c1985. Acrylic on illustration board, approx 41 x 31cm.

Illustration commissioned by "People" magazine. SOLD (Sydney).

IS THE EARTH DYING?

1986. Acrylic on paper, approx 63 x 43cm.

Illustration commissioned by "Simply Living" magazine for a report on the Ozone Hole by Richard Jones appearing in issue 13, vol 2. SOLD (Arrowtown - to an American buyer).