Ed Duncan is the creator of Metropolis – a stunning and vibrant collection of artwork currently on display at the Glasshouse Regional Gallery. The thought-provoking exhibition explores various themes, including human evolution, environmental destruction, history and human living conditions…
Hi Ed. Please tell us a bit about youreself …
I’m an artist/musician. I grew up in Kempsey with my family. I love the area; we have some of the best surroundings. I find it relaxing; I enjoy being surrounded by nature – it’s inspiration for me. I won the Gosford Regional Gallery – Emerging 2009 and have had solo and group shows in Sydney, Gosford, Port Macquarie and locally since 2008.
What first attracted you to art?
When I look back, I was always drawing or creating when I was kid. I had music and creativity all around me growing up – my parents gave me the freedom to express myself, and my love for art grew with age.
After I finished school, I worked in retail and hated it, so I would sit there and draw all day. A friend had seen my artwork while I was working and told me about the Fine Arts course at TAFE, so I left my job and started the course.
What art training/education have you received?
In 2008 I completed my Diploma of Fine Arts at Kempsey TAFE Campus, studying in drawing, painting, print making and sculpture.
What is/are your favourite medium/media to work with – and why?
I enjoy working in mixed media on the same ground – acrylic and drawing through and on with multiple materials. Using mixed media allows me to experiment and play with spontaneity, pushing techniques in different directions.
I also get a kick out of using recycled grounds to work on, like cardboard, doors, scrap fabrics and pages from old books. The body of work Tiny Animals -1-48 in the Metropolis exhibition is an example of how I use recycled material. I find the textbook pages add another depth to the artwork.
If you had to put a label on your style, what would it be … and why would you describe your work this way?
It’s hard to put yourself into a style, movement or to say you’re contemporary when you’re inspired by a 70 year old art movement. I find it egotistical to add or to compare yourself to artists in history. I just call myself an expressive artist; I express myself with the stories I tell and the marks I make.
What was the inspiration behind your current exhibition, Metropolis, at the Glasshouse?
I find my inspiration from many sources: artists, art movements, music, early cinema, old photography and my surroundings.
But the main inspirations for Metropolis are the themes I choose to explore in my artwork, from human evolution, primitive culture, environmental destruction, history and human living conditions, with Metropolis mainly focusing on man’s need to flock together and live on top of each other.
Describe the Metropolis exhibition for us. How many and what type of pieces are involved?
The exhibition consists of seven mixed media artworks on paper, cardboard and board. The Tiny Animals artwork contains 48 30 x 20 cm drawings/paintings to create a larger body. Each panel symbolises windows in a complex, leaving the viewer to become an unintentional voyeur. This imagery is used in other works in the exhibition.
What other projects are you working on at the moment?
I’m currently working on a major sound art piece – a collage of sounds focusing on life. The goal is to record sound each day for a year; I’m a couple months in at the moment. When I work with sound it’s normally spontaneous, so just the thought of waiting a year to hear the finished artwork is surreal for me. It’s a dedication piece for sure.
Where do you hope to see your artwork taking you over the next few years?
I hope that I can keep working with the freedom and time that I have been for the upcoming years; I would be happy with that. I also would like to get some of my sound and music projects off the ground and push them in some direction. Any exhibitions would be a bonus.
Interview by Jo Atkins.
Metropolis is on display at the Glasshouse Regional Gallery from February 24 to April 24.
This story was published in issue 77 of Port Macquarie Focus