Saturday, July 18, 2009

Inspiration: John Douglas

I received this photo today from the talented Australian artist John Douglas:


We've been chatting by e-mail a bit lately because we both explore some similar themes in our work, but I had no idea he ordered a copy of my book. Since he makes a very cute book model, I had to post this to my blog. (I hope you don't mind, John!)

I've been wanting to write about him anyway, so that provides a good lead-in...

John Douglas' art encompasses a wide range of techniques including photography, painting, film, and mixed-media, so it's no surprise that he has such a diverse list of international exhibitions and publications to his credit. So far this year, he has already shown his work at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Washington, Arthouse Gallery in Atlanta, Laconia Gallery in Boston, Antena Gallery in Chicago, and the Tap Gallery in Sydney (to name a few).

I particularly love a narrative series he's working on now that depict scenes from The Mahabharata (image to the left is "The Markendeya Story 5 of 13"). In general, I'm drawn to the adventurous spirit that comes through in his work -- I can almost sense the excitement that might sweep over him as he gets a new idea for a project. By contrast, sometimes I feel like there's quite a meandering path between my initial brainstorm for a piece and its end result, so I'm inspired by the freshness of John's approach. That "freshness" and "adventurous spirit" might have worked against him in his early days as an art student at Queensland College of Art though, from which he was expelled for being a "disruptive and disturbing influence" according to his website. True to his nature, John quickly follows by stating that this was when his career really took off. ;)

So thanks, John, for continuing to be a much-needed disruptive influence on the art world and a big inspiration to me! (Thanks too for sending the book photo!)

If you'd like to learn more about John and his work, here are some links:

John Douglas Art
John's Page on Redbubble
John's Page on ManArt (a site he developed for gay artists)

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