Tag Archives: artist

Tiki bar wall mural for Streets of Perth

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Photo by Duncan Atack

 

Nikki and Duncan, from Streets of Perth, bought their amazing new home in November last year and asked me to come paint a custom mural to brighten up their outdoor tiki bar. We started stage one last year and on the weekend I came in and finished off stage two by adding Indi the cat and some wood paneling.

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Photo by Duncan Atack

The wall originally had a large mosaic on it, but when the house changed hands the old owners took it with them and left a large yellow space to be filled. Nikki and Duncan wanted a trompe l’oeil beach scene with tropical elements to brighten up the space. Inspiration for the beach scene comes from my all time favourite beach, Emily Bay, from Norfolk Island, where I grew up and spent many happy days swimming as a kid.

Cat mural for Streets of Perthsop4

Our model is the stunning Marina Martini and the cat is the princess of the house, Indi, the rag doll. If they had a pet Macaw it probably wouldn’t last long in a house with cats  Big thank you to Nikki and Duncan for being awesome hosts, Marina for being an awesome model and also to Mitch Low for being no. 1 best minion.

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Filed under mural, Norfolk Island, Street art, Uncategorized

The Great 2016 Studio Sale!

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I’m packing up and heading to South, Central and North America next year and I’m cleaning out my studio – now’s a great time to nab yourself, or a loved one, a Fieldey original for Christmas!

All prices are in Australian dollars. International postage can be arranged and payment for international (non-Australia) orders is via PayPal with a 10% surcharge. Contact me for more information or to purchase a work!

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The first step to becoming an artist


We all know that art is a crowded space – everyone wants to be an artist and make a living out of it. It can be hard to find your own space and style, but I reckon it’s the most important first step. You need to have something that you can show people that is genuinely yours – something that is a little different to everything else out there, that is a little piece of your soul.

I recently had an email from Kassy, an up-coming artist from the Sunshine Coast, who asked if I could help her on her journey to becoming an artist. We had a chat over the phone, and she told me that she was desperate to achieve her dream of being an artist and had tried a whole bunch of ideas… and when they didn’t work out she’d switch and try something else in the hopes that it would be successful. She’d become disillusioned and art wasn’t much fun for her anymore since she was always thinking about who would buy it or what would be popular. She’d imagined from watching my videos that I’d always known what I was doing and that I’d planned my whole career. The truth was her story was eerily similar to mine.

I’d wanted to be an artist my whole life and teenage me wanted to be an equine artist and paint horses, when I realised that wasn’t going to be a goer, I studied graphic design when I finished school. Five years later I was working as a designer in London and I had the idea of customising vintage clothing with hand painted patches and making my own jewellery… that never got off the ground so I went back to design.

A couple of years after that I decided I was going to make ink drawings of cows and chickens with funny sayings and I’d send them to greeting card companies… I sent them away to greeting card companies and they turned me down… I continued on with Graphic design.

Over time I gave up on my dream to become an artist because I couldn’t figure out what kind of artist I was going to be… What would sell? How would I make a living? With an infinite array of possibilities I was paralysed by indecision and no would take me seriously because all my stuff was all over the place so I just gave up.

Life can be funny sometimes though, after I had given up, I took up surfing for something to do and to offset some of the frustration I was feeling in my day job. About 6 months into it I bought myself a sexy new surfboard and decided to paint it, because, I was after all, someone who dabbled in art now and again. I researched the process, painted that board and put it on YouTube so that other people could paint their own boards… and that was the moment that Fieldey the artist was born!

 

 

I’ll go a bit deeper into how it all worked out in other episodes, but suffice to say I never in a million years thought I’d be a surfboard artist, but that was a magic element that I needed to craft my own style: the surfboards created a set of guidelines and limits for me to work within: long and skinny, I borrowed a genre that I liked: old school tattoo, that because I was new to acrylic painting would be easy for me to do (big bold outlines) and then I injected that magic ‘X’ element: my own weird self and punny sense of humour.  

Painted surfboards wasn’t a massively big scene, compared to say, hyper realistic pencil drawings, and people hadn’t seen many surfboards painted with old-school tattoo motifs like that. The canvas was unusual but the style was familiar… and that combination right there was my niche. I worked at this niche, developing my technique and style for another year until I felt I was good enough.

My advice to Kassy, was to dial it all right back to the beginning… to ignore thoughts about what was popular, or would sell, and go back to the kind of artmaking that bought her joy. To spend 6 months exploring, drawing every day and being open to things that interested and inspired her, working on and perfecting her technique. Once she found her own set of guidelines to follow, it would be time to develop her craft and style and try to be the best creator of that style around.

As an artist anything could be your inspiration – you have to open yourself right up to the world and sometimes what you are looking for will come at you from leftfield, so it’s your job to have your blinkers off so you’re open to it.

This Vlog is part of my new series of videos; Artist Insider. Through this series I’ll be telling my own story about how I became a full time artist, as well as sharing what I’ve learnt on my journey and tips for up and coming and emerging artists.

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Filed under Artist Insider, Movie, Tutorials

The best street art mural I’ve painted

“Paint the best wall mural you’ve ever painted…” This was my brief from Andrew and Sue at Santa Fe Restaurant in Subiaco, Perth. After 8 days of painting and pushing myself to the max, I managed to produce the best mural I’ve painted to date… but not without some hiccups along the way which you can hear more about in this vlog! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oIOcl…

Frida Kahlo street art Mural

Frida Kahlo was a Mexican artist who had a famously tragic life – from having Polio as a child, to being impaled by a tram in an accident when she was 18, which led to multiple spinal operations. She is one of my favourite artists and when Sue and Andrew asked me to paint the inside of iconic Santa Fe restaurant, I jumped at the chance to paint a tribute to Frida and her relationship with her on-and-off-again husband, Diego Rivera whom she affectionately called her “toad-frog”.

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Apart from being a famous muralist, Diego was a well known womaniser and their relationship was famously tumultuous; a thrilling story of adultery, bisexuality and general disfunction. They divorced in 1939 and then remarried again the next year.

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The structure of the mural is loosely based on one of my favourite paintings of hers, Las Dos Fridas (The Two Fridas) which shows two “Fridas” sitting side by side, with exposed hearts linked together with blood vessels. She painted it shortly after her divorce from Diego in 1939 and it records her emotions surrounding the crisis.

In Santa Fe, Frida is in the main room, with her beloved, ‘toad-frog’, Diego, in the next room. Though they aren’t looking directly at each other, they’re linked by their hearts which are each looking for the other. It’s both a tribute to their own relationship, but also more generally, a comment about the bonds of love and relationships.

Thank you to:

Andrew and Sue from Santa Fe Perth, Olivia for her awesome filming and painting, Mitch and Matt for being my most excellent minions and photographers!

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Filed under Art, Commission, Finished Art, mural, Street art

New Bohemian Sky Burial Mural for Fez Cafe!

It is with great pleasure that I present the final pictures of the interior wall mural I was painting last week!

Fez Cafe, Mt Lawley decided they were going to change their look and they asked me to paint a mural in the cafe. They have pretty much been the perfect hosts, from giving me a open brief (bohemian) that I could interpret however I liked, and trusting me when I decided to paint a massive vulture on the wall, that it was going to be “very tasteful”. They also kept me going with wicked coffees and lots of lunches. Dream gig!

Originally, I was just going to paint a girl on the wall since I’ve been working on my portrait skills recently and I wanted to roll with that, but after I thought about it for a bit it just seemed kinda… empty… like it was missing something and there was no narrative to the concept. I’m also not a fan of painting pretty things for the sake of being pretty, I like to mix it with something a little bit darker. After mulling over it for a few days the medieval sport of falconry popped into my head along with the idea of her having a giant pet vulture. It’s funny, but the more you work on a concept the more associations tend to pop up and I was reminded of the practice of Tibetan Sky Burial… which if you don’t know what that is, google it carefully and not with image search. So in the end the concept is a kind of goddess of sky burial.

Another point to make about the artwork is that instead of using some vague internet lady to paint from, I actually photographed my friend Monday (Check out her stuff on Facebook: Monday Art) who kindly stood in my studio looking ‘mystical’ while I photographed her holding an invisible bird. I really think it makes all the difference to paint using your own reference and also people you know… it seems to give the work more life.

Big thanks also to Matt Fieldes Photography for taking the awesome photos!

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Filed under Commission, mural

On becoming a surf artist and a short PSA about bullying

Fieldey painting a longboard skatedeck

Painting a digestive tract onto a skateboard… dream job!

Everyone’s got a story and this one’s mine. I’m posting this today in the hopes of showing people that there is no ‘right’ path to pursuing an art career and living life on your own terms… it’s never to late to try.

I’d also like to shout-out to anyone else who was bullied, and if you’re being bullied now, I just want to give you a hug and tell you that you’re going to get through this. You don’t choose to be bullied, but you have a choice about how you react to it, and you can choose to be a better person. When you come out the other side you’ve got an advantage over the non-bullied… you’re made of steel now and you have a sense of determination and something to prove to the world. I wouldn’t be who I am today without that experience – so thank you bullies, you’ve given me the resilience I need to do what I love.

The following is a longer version of an interview published in the April edition of White Horses magazine.

Your art background and development: tell us about how you came to surfboards as your canvas?

Like many artists I’ve been painting and drawing ever since I can remember… the feeling when your immersed in a creative project is just the best, you feel like everything is in-tune, and that you are doing exactly what you were meant to be doing – what you were designed to do. From an early age art was my escape and my solace.

When I was young I was obsessed with horses and hated school, so I spent all of my maths classes looking out the window daydreaming and drawing horses in the exercise books pretending I was somewhere else. To this day I am excellent at drawing horses and rubbish at maths. Kids used to pay me $5 to draw ‘portraits’ of their horses…which was pretty much whatever type of horse I felt like drawing except in the correct colour.

Horse drawings

16 year old horse-dork me

In secondary school I was bullied pretty intensively so art became even more important to me, becoming something of an obsession and a way to escape the miserable realities of school life. Everybody thought I’d become an artist, but in year 10, I had a careers advisor who ‘advised’ me that I’d die poor and alone if I pursued that particular career. When I finished school I studied graphic design in Sydney and took off to London for a year or so to hone my craft. I liked graphic design well enough but as the years passed I felt that the dream of becoming an artist was slipping further away… I didn’t have an artistic direction, I had stopped drawing and creating and felt like I had lost a part of myself.

In 2007 I washed up on Western Australia’s sunny shores right before the GFC when business was booming and they couldn’t pay designers enough money to come and design annual reports for mining companies. I got my first well paying job in a design company in Perth and spent the next three years or so detesting the place and the eventually the work. I took some time off to travel to South America, and that was a wakeup call for me to change some things in my life, I took on a freelance job that allowed me more time to pursue my own interests and also took up surfing.

Taking up surfing in Perth was pretty much the best idea ever – everything started to make sense and I enjoyed the beautiful beaches, the laid-back lifestyle and the crappy surf. About 6 months into my ‘learning to surf’ I mistakenly decided it was time to upgrade to a short board and got myself a 6’7″ Superfish. Couldn’t ride it worth a damn, but I had an idea that it would be fun to paint it. I dusted off my art supplies and got hold of Josh from Oceanline surfboards who very sportingly spent some time on the phone patiently instructing me how to prepare my board for painting. So, I painted my board with a fish headed woman and a banner calling it “The Fish Wife” and purposely used a kind of bastardised old-school tattoo style which was easy to paint with my limited spray paint skills… my brother filmed it for me and we chucked it up on YouTube as a tutorial and “Fieldey” was born.

Your relationship with surfing/the ocean… how has that developed?

I was born in New Zealand, but when I was 8 my parents moved to Norfolk Island, a tiny tiny speck in the South Pacific – about halfway between New Zealand and Australia. From the highest point on the island you have a 360º view of nothing but ocean – the nearest landmass being about 1500km away. The island is surrounded by huge cliffs and we routinely got hit by cyclones and wild storms that would lash the seas up to huge peaks and batter the cliffs… when I was a kid I used to go fishing off the rocks with my dad, and I was always on the lookout for the legendary “Seventh Wave” that according to local legend, could spring up unawares out of a calm ocean and sweep you off the rocks to your doom. People had been washed off the rocks whilst fishing or swimming in rock pools and I used to have continual nightmares of it.

Cyclone waves on Norfolk Island

Scary cyclone waves – bad day for fishing

Growing up like this, surrounded by an unpredictable and huge ocean as well as seeing the size of the sharks that would cruise past when we were fishing, I was scared of waves and swimming in deep water. When I was about 26 I did my PADI Open Water diver course as a way to help conquer my fears of the water and developed a love for scuba diving.

I took up surfing both for something to do, and also as a way of getting over my fear of waves… in the early stages of kookhood I went out in stupid conditions at Trigg beach in Perth and got washed back up on the beach in a tangle of bruises and surfboard after being mauled in the dumpers, but I started to learn about the right conditions and as I got the hang of things I realised that surfing is super addictive. Mostly I just love to be out on the water, it seems to induce a meditative state and that’s where most of my best ideas come from. Nowdays being on, in or near the ocean is something I regard is being necessary for a healthy and happy life… I don’t think I’ll ever live away from it.

Where’s it all heading for you

The last few years have been a crazy ride – if you had of told me five years ago that I would be painting surfboards professionally, I wouldn’t have believed it!

In the last three years I’ve painted dozens of surfboards, bowling pins, a giant remote controlled jet boat, designs for Iron Fist Clothing and heaps of skate decks.

I’ve recently opening an online store of board art decals and inlays, and I’m in the midst of filming more YouTube tutorials with sponsorship by Molotow paints, The Butcher Shop and Star Skate and Surf. I’d also like to have a fine art exhibition of painted wooden alaias that I’ve been working on.

Most of all I’m achieving my dream of being an artist and doing the things I love, and it’s a big adventure. Life doesn’t get much better!

Surfing at Trigg beach

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Filed under Art, Inspiration, Interview, Norfolk Island

The amazing art of Sylvia Ji

I just wanted to take a moment on the beauteous Friday to ask: how freakin amazing is Sylvia Ji’s work? Stylish, simple and powerful no?

Visit her website to check out more: www.sylviaji.com

 

 

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Filed under Artists, Dia de los Muertos, Inspiration