Interview :: Beastman ‘Genesis’
July 30th 2013
“This ongoing body of work represents the different elements found in nature, the idea being that the lifeforms in my paintings are made up of all the different natural forms combined together…”
Beastman is a Sydney based mural artist whose large scale pieces have adorned walls throughout the world. His work is characterised by tightly detailed, highly colourful geometric arrangement depicting a unique menagerie of gods and beasts. Best known for his murals (like the one he did for us in the FBi Social stairwell – below), Beastman is increasingly focussing on gallery work and private commissions.
His upcoming Sydney exhibition ‘Genesis’ highlights new works on wood. Unlike Beastman’s mural work the pieces range in size from small to large and are described as reflecting themes of generation and growth in the natural world.
The Flog’s Madeleine Clarke had a chat to Beastman about collaborations, colour palettes and ‘Genesis’.
FBi :: Tell us a little about what we can expect from Genesis.
Beastman :: ‘Genesis’ is part of an ongoing series of work I have been creating and evolving over the last couple of years. You can expect to see a somewhat minimal and polished exhibition of new paintings ranging in size from small to large, the idea being you can see growth and generation through the pieces, represented by symbolism, patterns, forms and colours. The title of the exhibition refers to themes of origins and beginnings throughout the paintings, the idea of new lifeforms birthing from nature. You can also expect to see a short animated artwork, which is an experimental piece that takes elements from my paintings and portrays their possible movements.
Do all your characters and vibrant, mystic creatures come from your imagination alone? What inspires your work?
My work has been evolving for many years, the work definitely comes from within me and my imagination. I am very confident in the artwork, the processes and the style, I have a vision of where it’s heading and am always conscious of where it has come from too. I try not to be influenced by other artists work, I am always striving to create something new which is removed from everything else I see.
Previous series of your paintings have followed very distinct colour schemes. What’s involved in the selection of colours? Will we be seeing this again in Genesis?
The colour palette I have been and am still using in this ongoing body of work represents the different elements found in nature, the idea being that the lifeforms in my paintings are made up of all the different natural forms combined together.
Is the process behind creating solo exhibitions similar to how you produce street art, or do you think of them completely differently?
For me the difference between painting a mural and painting pieces for my exhibitions is the mediums used and the time-frames. I can paint a huge wall in one day using aerosol paint, but I take weeks to complete one painting with acrylics and inks. I feel that the mural work I do is often influenced heavily by its surroundings, location and also who I am painting with if it’s a collaboration, but when creating work for a gallery environment I have control over all aspects of the work and how it is received by the viewer. So they are quite different, at the end of the day I’m still just creating the work I want to create, and I enjoy using different mediums to create my work – digital, aerosol, acrylics, drawings and now animation too.
You’ve done a lot of collaborative murals with artists internationally. What brings you together? Do you run into much difficulty fusing other people’s visions and styles with your own?
Yeah I love creating mural work with friends and other artists I admire, it’s always a real challenge to merge my style with someone else’s, sometimes it works really well and other times it’s a bit of a mess. But it’s always good fun either way. Often these collaborations happen simply because there isn’t enough walls to paint, so you end up sharing walls with other people.
Your public work has taken you all around the world. Have you got a favourite place to create?
My favourite place to create is probably in my studio, or at the moment my temporary studio in my house. But I do love a nice sunny Sydney afternoon painting with TGS outside somewhere.
Will we be seeing any more of your stuff on the streets of Sydney anytime soon?
I actually don’t do many mural works on the street these days, I tend to spend most of my time painting for exhibitions, private commissions, working on Hours projects, replying to emails, life admin etc – But I’m sure an opportunity will present itself and you will see some new public works out there soon enough.
WHO :: Beastman
WHAT :: Genesis
WHERE :: Tate Gallery, 345 Glebe Point Road, Glebe
WHEN :: 31st of July until the 4th of August, open daily 9 – 5pm