Arts Project Australia artists have not paused during the ups and downs collectively experienced since March. Continuously developing their practice, they have avidly created art through their private practice, the Satellite Arts Program and at the Arts Project Australia studio. As an organisation, we are dedicated to supporting their practices, no matter the circumstances. With news of a second lockdown, we want to share some rare behind the scenes documentation and commentary of their work created since March. Taking you behind the scenes, we invite you to contemplate the commitment displayed by these artists during testing times.
Rebecca Vanston’s (born 1994) frequently features animals and heroic fantasy figures in dynamic poses. Usually focussing on printmaking, Vanston often draws from her work in other disciplines, such as digital animation, to build narratives around her characters. On these works created in the early stages of lockdown, she says, “Here’s my late cat Lily for a comic I’m about to work on. Right now, I’m thinking about the timeline to go with this story; I can’t wait to start it. I just wanted to get her design done first.”
Quirky narratives in which recurring characters engage in the eternal struggle between good and evil, and post-apocalyptic survival often accompany Gavin Porter’s complex graphic novel-like drawings. Porter’s works present a mixture of colourful drawings in fine liner and marker on paper, as well as black and white ink drawings, starkly rendered to depict a futuristic world inhabited by mission-driven characters.
A few months ago, Porter commented, “Due to getting used to a routine of drawing at Arts Project Australia for years, to the point that I hardly ever make time for drawing at home; I thought I might as well do a drawing to help maintain my skill as we wait out the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic.”
He has been busy within an imaginary haze; one work shows a ‘rough draft’ of a map of a fiction Australian town. Created in May, Porter reflects on his research processes for “Fictional Character Concept (Zoya), “I had to do a bit of Googling to make sure I got the Russian naming system right for this character, whilst also making sure to have her first name, patronymic name, and last name all begin with the letter. ”
Miles Howard-Wilks (b 1979, Melbourne) is a mid-career artist who specialises in painting, ceramics, photography, digital art and zines. His work features dynamic and surreal landscapes and seascapes with recurring motifs of iconic animals, landmarks and transport, with a particular penchant for magpies. Over the last few months, he has taken multitudes of photographs, further developing his keen eye for Australian fauna and wildlife. On this selection, he says, “Yes, magpies are represented, but there are other subjects too.”
Daniel Pace’s (born 1992) small works on paper are executed in pencil with blocks of solid colour and strong outlines, often on coloured surfaces. To view his work is to connect with a range of fantastical characters portrayed in much the same style as they were originally created, yet lovingly re-interpreted to reflect Pace’s unique perspective. Studio Manager James McDonald commented on this recent work by Pace, “The King and Queen have ditched the game to enjoy a jaunty skip along on the beach. Another beauty from the wonderful imagination of Daniel Pace.”
Please note these are works in progress and may not be for sale. Please contact Sim Luttin with any enquiries at [email protected].