about me;

 

 

me at Dicko on a winters day.

 

I grew up in the Newcastle beachside suburb of Merewether, NSW, Australia.

My first true passion in life was surfing and it served me well as I surfed my way through university and still somehow managed to complete a Degree in Applied Arts and a Degree in Education.

I taught Visual Arts in Secondary schools for a short time while freelancing as a graphic designer. I then moved to Adelaide, and lectured in Visual Communications in Tertiary Institutes; teaching Design Principles, Design Thinking, Creative Process and software fundamentals for Applied Design. 

 

In 1999 I co-established an Ad and Design Agency in North Adelaide < www.thestudio.net.au > During that time (as Creative Director) I was nationally awarded for Brand Creative. I also have a Linkedin profile with details regarding The Studio.

 

In 2019… for the first time, I started invested a lot of time in developing my personal artwork which had previously taken a back seat to demanding clients and deadlines.

 

It’s nice to spend time developing visual arts concepts and images for a change. I like to diversify a bit with my artwork. I guess that's a consequence of spending decades having to create unique outcomes for every new commercial / advertising project that came in the door.

The practice of having to re-invent / create fresh for every project has carried over into my approach to the development of my personal artwork. I try not to rely on the same idea by producing multiple variations with minor differences..I find that a little boring :-)

 

I predominantly create digital artwork as limited editioned (archival) giclee works on paper and canvas. I started by producing a series called "Living Wallpaper" involving wildlife and camouflage as a theme which now shares artistic space with more general surreal creations that don't fit the wallpaper theme or any other theme for that matter.

about the backstory that kicked things off;

While surfing around New Zealand we stayed at a place on the Mahia Peninsula. We had a fantastic room with a large balcony looking towards Blacks Reef. An amazing but fickle Right Hand break . Cloudless skies, 27 degrees, perfect. The only problem was trying to get a peaceful nights sleep. Every night at lights-out we were attacked furiously by blood seeking little black marauders. 

The numbers of mosquitos was ridiculous. Lights on... and they instantly vanished. Where did they go ? It took us ages flicking the lights on and off to eventually think to look (at an acute angle) across the main wall of our quite large room. The entire length of the wall was decorated with black and white flock / felt wallpaper. And there they were. Hiding, camouflaged on all the black felt bits. 

So then we spent 20 minutes slapping all the black pieces of wallpaper to exterminate them. The experience just stuck in my head and eventually found its way to being the theme of this series of works… based on camouflage and deliberate interactions between living bugs, using man made decorative patterns as a form of disguise. Over time,

the theme has now expanded to include less probable relationships between organic and inanimate objects but the discovery of that behaviour - by those mosquitos, left a lasting impression. 

about the work and process;

I describe my work as "contemporary surrealism" but It's also been described by others as "Australian Baroque" and this describes some of the pieces very aptly but the range of exploration is really much broader than that now.

All compositions are built on a square format. And it doesn't have anything to do with social media such as instagram :-)  I just like order, uniformity and balance.

Placing a format constraint on my work gives the collection a visual continuity and it also forces me to work within a consistent format.

 

All pieces are compiled from a large variety of resources.

Personal photographs such as plumbing, wall vents, lamps, power points, window frames etc, plus wildlife, landscape & environment shots taken by my son, as well as purchased stock library resource images and Public Domain historical photos like thylacine images.

 

I modify, manipulate, merge and often completely rebuild or invent objects (Bee Steamer), human bodies and elements in Photoshop or Poser, combining them with manufactured seamless textures and patterns. The Anglerfish (Goldfish) and “thylacine purse” are examples of items created entirely in Photoshop.

I also use Photoshop to animate artwork before compiling it in "Apple Motion" or "Final Cut" for export.

Occasionally, I'll import 3D mesh objects and rotate /position /colour them as props within the composition. The female in "Harbinger" is a merge of 3 different women, one piece of her is a 3d render in Poser.

Some artworks are over 200 layers deep inclusive of lighting and shadow effects in order to create the final version. It can take a long time to complete a piece and a lot of concepts never make it :-(  but they are held over as future resources.

about the media;

 

Each image becomes a Limited edition Giclee.

I print them myself to ensure rich vibrant colour using K3 Ultrachrome archival inks and "signature" series fine art archival paper stock with an 80 years colour stability.

I build all my images in high resolution.

Due to mailing costs, only giclees produced on paper are available for sale on my website although the artwork is produced at very high resolution and looks spectacular on 1 meter square canvas.

The canvases I produce to 1.2m square use the same archival inks on pre-coated gallery canvas and have a separate UV clear top-coat lacquer applied for extra scuff and light proof protection.

Having said that, as with any artwork, be it in a museum, a gallery or in your home, all paintings, ink illustrations or water colours, should be treated with care and kept away from direct sunlight.

Thanks for being interested in my artwork :-)

Please visit my Instagram page which includes additional artworks  from the "Amalgam Series" and may include other canvas acrylic abstracts in the future.

www.instagram.com/stephencornwellart

All images are © protected and owned by Stephen Cornwell.  Please email for further clarification