Monday, October 13, 2008

Thinking about Australian art.

Hello peoples.

I thought I'd post a couple of sketches for something I'm working on. Not sure if this project will go very far, but I'm having fun with it. And I'm enjoying drawing Australian animals.

We have some of the most bizarre and beautiful animals in the world here in Australia, and I often feel like we're not using them enough in our local artworks. There seems to be a strange neglect and sometimes embarrassment in Australia of our own culture in Graphic arts and cartooning which I've always found rather troubling. Young Australian artists are more and more copying art from Europe, USA and Japan, in not only style, but subject. So we end up with very American Graffiti art, Manga or other imported styles that reflect very little of Australian culture. I think the backlash may be over the misconception that all Australiana cartooning and commercial art has to look like Ken Done paintings, with their garish colours and weak stereotypes, or like a bland Yoram Gross cartoon (look these guys up to check out what I mean).

As a culturally young and eclectic country (European Australia that is), we as Australian artists are still looking for our own styles, and voices, which is not a bad thing at all. Of course I'm greatly influenced by overseas art(mainly 1940s-50s American Cartoons), but it would be great if we try to take those influences and reflect the culture we grew up amongst and create art that is of a great standard and proudly Australian. I don't mean we have to draw only Kangaroos and Koalas saying G'day, drinking tinnies, there is so much more to our culture and wildlife.

We have some great subject matter to draw from as cartoonists, great animals, great landscape, great humour, but we always seem to revert back to stereotypes and bland soft art.

I might do some more posts on this subject to talk further about Australian cartooning and other artforms. For now I'll leave you with some sketches. And in my next post I'll show some examples of my favourite Australian cartoonists and illustrators.

Until then look up Pamela Lofts (Wombat Stew), Norman Lindsay (Magic Pudding), and Eric Jolliffe (one example below), heaps more to come…..

See yas all.


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