Which new trends or Australian artists do you find inspiring at the moment? I look for beauty, the sweetness of the sublime, simile without pretence. As an artist I am highly tuned to pretence, and therefore suffer hugely from collisions with contraptions. Much new art is a reassertion of the old in new forms. Forms that have served their purpose in liberating new latitudes of sensibility will continue as echoes and echoes of echoes but in this scenario I do not hear the first voice. Since a trend is collective simulation, and an original mind does not engage in mimicry, nothing original is forthcoming from trends. Breaking from trends there are a few good artists. One has trouble locating them in history. Karla Dickens is an interesting artist.
Which Australian deceased artist do you most admire and why? Ian Fairweather, for his honesty and resourcefulness and his playful unhindered lyricism.
Which exhibition that you have visited made the greatest impact on you and why? ‘Picasso, Masterpieces from the Musée National Picasso’ at the Art Gallery of NSW in 2012 - especially the chair sculpture which explained Cubism’s hallucinogenic premises better than any 2D image.
Where do you get your inspiration for your work? Nature is my inspiration and my reason for painting. Nature takes away the penchant for self-consciousness. It is easy to forget the residue of preconceptions housed in the mind when at ease in the house of the creator. From a point of ecstatic emptiness, the breath of the wind, the song of bird and river, the sunlight filtered by leaf and cloud, the graceful eloquence of tree limb and rounded stone become an integrated whole, an interlaced totality - and that is what I paint.
Do you have any rituals or habits involving your art-making that you can tell us about? Of course. The state of mind needs to be lucid and focused. The painting apparatus, carefully arranged, becomes the array of ritual implements, the paint the oblation, the hand the vehicle of offering. The act of putting down paint (I do not say ‘marks’ because that implies deliberation) is simply an applied gesture of reverence.
What do you like most about being an artist? Like the ‘Little Prince’ an artist lives a precarious, threadbare existence in a garden of love and hope. When art is worship there is no better life.
How do you handle bad days when you experience artist's block? It's easy to succumb to despair, either from failed effort or the utter dejection of not being understood. I find the best way to get a fresh idea started is to take a small sketchbook and a gel biro and copy what I see, preferably far from human habitation. From those quick scribbles new tangents emerge.
What is your greatest achievement as an artist to date? Spending an afternoon alone with Brett Whiteley after tricking my way into his Surry Hills fortress. His affirmations confirmed the conviction that I am an artist.
Do you feel that you want to make a difference to the world or in people's lives? If yes, how? I would very much like to awaken awareness of the invisible lines and flows that connect things. If I can speak honestly and without adherence to a code, and moreover speak in a language of affection that all understand I will have spoken well.
What are your plans for the coming year? I do not aspire to anything but the achievement of a sublimated practice – I know beauty and therefore she is my muse. Practically, I plan to create themed series of largish paintings rather than singular works for sale. I must try to keep these series intact. If the project succeeds, I will arrange an exhibition someplace, possibly in Prague.