Late last week I added 10 new prints into the Hottest Days of Summer Collection in the Print Store. I had found these in the depths of my hard drives, and they really spoke to me in a way that I felt they needed to be seen and enjoyed on a wider level. When I think about not only this collection, but every image that I have captured since I discovered photography as a 16 year old, I look at the storytelling aspect of the image. What is the story here? What are those proverbial ‘Thousand Words’ that this picture is telling? Do I feel an emotional connection? Can I imagine myself in that scene? What sounds and feels and smells and tastes are evoked when I look at this image?
For the images I choose to add to the Hottest Days of Summer print collection, I really do aim to evoke all those sensory feels of hot summer days on a packed beach. Living on the Mornington Peninsula, these genuinely are the scenes that happen quite literally the end of my street, where locals and visitors alike congregate with their floaties, their umbrellas, and their towels and eskies, their friends and their families for relief from the scorching summer heat. The scent of sunscreen fills the warm air, and the sensory contrast between that gorgeous clear water in different shades of aqua and turquoise splashing on your skin after laying on the hot, white sand feels glorious and refreshing. The tinkling sound of ‘Greensleeves’ as the ice-cream van pulls into the car park brings all those nostalgic Summer feelings of gelati cones melting down your hand in a sweet, sticky, colourful mess! These are all the places I want your imagination to travel to when you see one of my images from this collection, and based on your feedback it is exactly how you feel which is infinitely gratifying as an artist.
Two days ago I had a flashback to when I was an interior design student at RMIT in the mid-1990’s, and it lead to a realisation that hit me like a lightning bolt. I remembered a class where we had to choose a piece of work from a famous artist and write an essay about the artist, and why that piece of work spoke to us. While my peers chose their Monets and Dali’s and Picasso’s, I chose “Beach, 1985” by Ken Done. Ken was an former advertisting executive turned artist, whose work became huge in the 1980’s and was licenced to the hilt on homewares, clothing, and accessories. If you were alive in Australia in the 1980’s you absolutely knew the name (and art of) Ken Done! The elitists of the Art World looked down their noses at Ken for being a ‘sell out’, for unashamedly and unapologitically defying the ‘starving artist’ stereotype, and for his “child-like” drawings and paintings. Ken used his business and marketing sense to successfully bring his art to the masses, and I thought he was brilliant!
So back to that essay…Although it was 30 years ago, and I have literally not given it a thought of it since that time, I do remember now exactly what I wrote in that essay… and what I have just described as my inspiration for the Hottest Days of Summer collection is almost word-for-word what I wrote about Ken’s ‘Beach 1985’. It was not until I saw my words on the page while describing my own inspiration, did the feeling of deja vu come over me, thinking to myself, “I’m sure I’ve written these words before…”
The medium we use may be different, and some of my images B&W images obviously lack the colour and vibrancy of Ken’s work, but it is clear as (a bright Summer) day that this is the sentiment we share, and subconscious inspiration that I have carried with me for the last three decades, obviously never far from the surface. I think this is what they refer to as a ‘full circle moment’! Thanks for the inspiration Ken!