Q & A
Q: Tell us about yourself.
A: Except for a couple of stints as Creative Artist working for the South Australian government’s Department for Special Events, I have been working in my studio at Sellicks Beach, South Australia for the past 30 odd years. In the early morning when the air is still, I can hear the sea and can catch glimpses of it from my studio window despite an ever-encroaching suburbia.
Before that, I did a 4-year degree in Visual Art at the South Australian School of Art.
Before that, I air brushed murals on surf boards, motor bike tanks, custom vans, speed boats and prime movers.
Before that, I did a very short stretch of factory work.
Before that, I worked as an assistant illustrator in the illustration studio of the Australian Department of Defence where I learned to draw a straight line. I quit after four years for obvious reasons.
Before that, I started as a junior in the display department of a department store where, after a couple of years, I was fired because I did not have the right attitude.
I have a real weakness for American muscle cars; my pride and joy is a 500hp red Corvette.
Pictured: Paul Greenaway (left), Kit Chambers (right), at the opening of Kits exhibition, Signal Point Gallery, Goolwa, SA, 2013.
Q: At what point in your life would say you began being ‘a creative’ ?
A: Very young. It was when I told my first lie. “It wasn’t me! It was Johnny who peed in the pool”.
Q: Tell us about the style of your work.
A: In my dreams, I see myself as a Modernist. I try not to be disheartened by the fact that I was born a century too late into an era that has whole heartedly adopted the Postmodern cry that ‘the author is dead.’ The author is not dead and I’m here to prove it.
Q: Can you tell us about some of the challenges you face as an artist/creative ?
A: Loneliness is a real challenge. I cope by talking to myself.
Q: What thoughts and methods go into your work ?
A: At the very beginning, I stretch a square canvas that is devisable by 3 (120cm square works well for me). I’ve chosen this format because it leaves the decision of up or down; leaving or entering to sometime in the future when the game has truly begun. A third into a third horizontally and vertically creates a structure that can be dissected in the same proportions to infinity. This is the structure that underlies the compositions.
Organisation; chaos; organisation is the rhythm I work to.
The actual painting works on two fronts. Firstly, a water colour/acrylic wash (mixing my colours optically) moves from the lightest to darkest points, then back in oils from the darkest point to the lightest. The second prong of the movement is paint application; thin to thick, remembering that you can’t paint thin over thick because the paint will probably crack. Some marks can only be made once; playing with them may weaken their power.
Q: If time, money, and materials weren’t limiting factors…?
A: I would scale up and up and up and up!
Q: Who is your biggest influence ?
A: My father is undoubtedly my biggest influence. He was born in 1918 into another world. He was a British pilot in the Second World War. His marks were as sharp and accurate as a razor blade. I’ve tried to emulate them but have always fallen short.
Some Windmills Are Real But Most Aren’t
“…he donned his armour, mounted Rocinante, with his ill-devised visor in place, took up his leather shield, seized his lance and rode into the fields through the side door in a yard wall, in raptures of joy
1 On seeing how easy it had been to embark upon his noble enterprise.”
An unfettered imagination in full flight. Empty field, blank page and a virgin canvas. No need for a consensus. Take the field and do as you will.
Even though I reckon Don is a metaphor, and I reckon I’m not, it’s clear we have things in common. We are both very good looking, philosophically we lean towards Solipsism
2 We are avid readers who identify with the hero, and we maintain private rituals.
Did you see that or was I imagining it?
To the victor, the spoils; faint heart never made a pretty picture.
If I’m looking for a label for my work, Metaphysical
3 is as good a fit as any.
I am not offering an intentional critic of the wider world. Political, religious or sociological symbolism is coincidental.
If it looks good, it probably is good.
If it’s not Art, I’d still do it anyway.
The author is not dead. Just sleeping it off on the back seat.
Michel Foucault says, “…there’s power in the economy of discourse.”
1. A vivid emotion of pleasure, extreme bliss.
2. An individual can verify little except their own experience of the world.
3. Based on abstract general reasoning, excessively subtle or theoretical, incorporeal; super natural, visionary.
de Cervantes Saavedra, M. (2000) Don Quixote. Translated by J. Rutherford. London: Penguin.
Foucault, M. (1970) The Order of Things. New York: Pantheon Books.