Now that my physical and psychological states were on the improve, I decided to return to the painting, but knew I would need a new style and technique. Having a love of words, I had been wanting to try to incorporate them into my visual art for quite some time, but just didn’t know how, or in what way.
I had seen the film “Basquiat” on the life and art of 1980s New York painter Jean Michel Basquiat, which opened my eyes up to styles like Neo-Expressionism, Art Brut, and even childrens’ art. I was also looking more at NZ artists Colin McCahon, Ralph Hotere, Phiip Trusttum, and James Robinson, who all had different ways of using words in their paintings.
I set out to imitate ways they were doing this, but had the idea to also bring in some mathematics and references to science.
Here are some of my first steps into that unfamiliar realm:
So, as you can see, two things are obvious: my intention to get away from detailed rendering, and the way that they all look quite different, and so I was having trouble thematically, technically, and stylistically.
I also had the urge to want to communicate my journey into Chigong:
These works were A2 size, and done with a big fat calligraphy brush, and the only thing that remotely links them to the other works was the addition of my own words, which were sometimes in the form of poetry.
A friend and I applied for and received a creative communities grant through the Christchurch city council to have a joint show, at Gallery O in the Arts Centre, which we called “Cultivation”. I didn’t sell any work, but the fact that it was a public gallery meant we manned it ourselves, and it was interesting talking to people about their perceptions of different works. There was enough encouragement to make me want to continue along this path, I was just foggy on how to go about it.