I draw very regularly, as well as working at painting, printmaking, sculpture and photography.

I find myself returning again and again to the portrait, the figure and the built environment – who we are and where we find ourselves.

They say that bad painting is ‘in’ at the moment and there is certainly a studied nonchalance, out and about, when it comes “correct” observational drawing. Observational drawing is often condemned these days as lacking in imagination. I’m deeply aware of how the West adopted Eastern perspective a century ago and vice-versa. As an Australian, physically located halfway between the two, I find myself naturally veering between the two.

As an outsider, I often despair at the bizarre notions of normality which the larger society imposes on me. My work has often been described as “sensitive” and I think that’s all about turning a rough world into a smooth one, taming it as well as demonstrating the struggle inherent in that taming. I’ve despaired at having to follow the traditions of the men in my family of always having to be the Hard Man. Over the years, I’ve developed observation skills to survive as a person in a very hostile world, so sketching helps put that close observation to good use. At its worst, observation can border on hyper-vigilance, a condition to which gays and other marginalised are particularly prone, spending inordinate amounts of energy watching and analysing opportunities for communication, if not contact, while  straights and those in power constantly patrol the borders of their gender/sexuality/territory. At best, it can point up that most precious of commodities, a very personal interpretation of the world.

Contemporary gay artists are not traditionally crash-hot on draughtsmanship – any gay community art show will demonstrate that. Which is not special or unique in this day and age when Post Modernism tells us that ideas, not observed reality or experience, have to dominate content. I’m concerned not to retreat into a pompier world, of drawing for its own sake, or pushing Western naturalistic representation as the pre-eminent way of seeing the world (especially in the ‘Asian’ century)’, or merely seeing sketching as ephemera sitting behind a Major Work in another medium, or resorting to illustration as Charm School.

Treating the weblog as a process diary, I have no shame. I post my work on this weblog, good or bad.


2 Responses to “About”

  1. This is about the third (maybe fourth) time I’ve come back to read your ‘about’ page. So it really IS about the good, the bad, and…the ugly? Your observations give me the courage and strength to carry on…
    I’ll be back here for another (fifth? sixth?) reminder….

    • rodbyatt Says:

      Thanks again for your feedback and encouraging words. I’m reminded to return to it more often and tweak it since my world view keeps shifting subtlely. I suppose it’s the equivalent of an artist’s statement, without all the usual post-modernist jargon.

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