Wild Wanderer Art Journey
As a young grommet, I kept myself entertained in rock & tidal pools around False Bay. I would dive for an entire day, playing with fish & sandsharks, starfish & urchins, sticking my fingers into anemones, but the creature that grabbed my full attention was the octopus. Attention initially out of fear, but once I learnt how to handle them, it was playtime.
Today I’m still fascinated with the octopus & will disappear for hours getting lost in my childhood. My Italian connection has exposed me to the value they contribute to the kitchen, feeding friends & family! People give me gas for eating Octopus, but I take great pleasure in the hunt for them which is a skill honed over many years. They are a food source & my policy is we eat from the sea what she offers us on the day! I don’t always win! I only take what I need, give back to the ocean what I don’t use. Nothing is wasted!
One day during a dive I was thinking about the ink of the octopus. What else could I do with it instead of adding it to Risotto or making Pasta Nero? I started to think about using the ink to make images.
I ran the idea of making prints using octopus ink past my mate Prof Inggs from Michaelis School of Fine Arts. He was stoked with the idea & invited me to come & play at Michaelis which was an absolute blessing. We made screenprints using octopus ink, but the technique which I fell in love with was the ancient form of printing called Gyotaku. The Japanese Fisherman would record their catch by making an ink print on rice paper! An idea sparked!
Today, I make fishprints from the fish I catch using the ink from the octopus, which I catch. I pay homage to the octopus for giving me immense satisfaction through the hunt, the culinary experience & the creative twist!
As I prefer to follow a natural way in my printing process, from subject, to paper, to ink, I started thinking about different objects to print. My life revolves around the sea & the outdoors, guided by tides, swell, wind: my daily routine, checking to see when all of these elements align for a perfect day of surfing & diving. This doesn’t happen often, so I have to have land-based options to print.
I live in the countryside where we have many forests & I was drawn to trees. Big, gnarly, textured trees. I started researching tree printing techniques, inks, how to cut wood, what to look for. I bought a chainsaw! Boys love new toys! Then the Corona Pandemic hit & I was forced into “lockdown” for months!!! I would run my dogs through the back roads through the woods not far from my house. I would spot a fallen tree, look at the texture, rub my hands over the bark, study the intricacies of it, decide where I would cut it, then I’d plan my strike mission to cut tree rings, keeping the interesting pieces that “talk” to me, & the pieces that don’t, get used for my firewood! It’s a Win Win formula! It’s physical & it’s exciting in a weird way as you start off running your dogs in the woods, then a tree captures your eye, you explore it, plan how to cut it & transport it back home, prepare it for printing, which is a whole other story, then finally you pull your first print from that tree & it’s perfect, a solid, crisp, defined print on beautiful paper ! That makes me feel Alive!
So as my journey started with fish that keeps me connected to the sea, I now print trees which keeps me connected to the land! Once again my heart is full! #neverstopexploring