Clockwise from Top Left Corner:
This guy sits and watches the traffic all day, oil on linen (Detail);
Family, gouache on paper;
Artist Rob McHaffie;
Casual Guy, oil on linen;
Reclining nude with Samsung Galaxy, oil on linen (Detail);
Touching Face, oil on linen;
Rihanna and Drake, oil on linen
I left a degree in engineering in 1998 to pursue a career in fine arts. I found I was mostly thinking about pictures and understanding people and relationships through art. I completed a degree in fine art at the Victorian College of Arts 2002, majoring in drawing. I came to oil painting in my final year as I love the quality and life-likeness you can get with oils. However I find other mediums such as clay, gouache and drawing bring out other more expressive parts of my personality.
More recently Thailand has been an influence as my wife is Thai. We met while I was on an Asialink Residency in 2011, at Rimbun Dahan in Malaysia. I then moved to Thailand for a while and started cut paper works influenced by shadow puppets and temple paintings. I would cut up Thai vogue magazines and recompose them to make pictures of people who struck me during our time in Bangkok. Now, the characters and scenes I paint have taken on a puppet kind of look and become more similar to people you see around where we live now in Brighton, Melbourne. Since having a child I'm also quite inspired by children's books and television shows. There's such a playful, colorful, life affirming exuberance in the entertainment that is made for children, and everything has a message or lesson. Color has been really important to my recent works in giving them pazazz. I hope the portraits say 'I'm here I'm a little shakey, and wild but you can't deny me'.
I've worked in studios all around Melbourne, Paris, Malaysia and Thailand, but am now working from the spare room in our apartment, so our little girl Larina, is a constant source of amusement and distraction.
At the moment I'm preparing paintings for an upcoming solo show with Darren Knight Gallery, Sydney and a group exhibition about sport for the Ian Potter Museum in Melbourne.