Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Interview with artist Nic Dalton

Nic Dalton kicks off our exhibition season for 2014 
with his show opening 15th Feb until 11th March 2014.

Nic has worked in the music industry for many years. He's a musician with his own label and has played in numerous bands including the Lemonheads and Ratcat, he also DJ's regularly around Sydney. Something you might not know about Nic is that he is an artist at heart. In this interview Nic talks about returning to his first passion and working on his 'first ever' painting exhibition.

Tell us a bit about you and your background, you are not just an artist...
 When I left school in the early 80s, my parents wanted me to go to art school in Sydney like my eldest sister did.  I thought that if I went to art school, I’d start a band with fellow students and we’d all fight over who got to design the record covers.  So I went and started a band instead. When I would run into old school friends, they couldn’t believe I wasn’t doing art.  I did feel like I had left my true love (art) and taken up with that wild and crazy girl (music). But over the last thirty years of being a musician and songwriter, I have done so much art, not just for all the bands I’ve been in, but for my record label Half A Cow and the bookshop of the same name. I have sold paintings online to friends and fans over the years but this is my first exhibition of my artwork.

This is your first solo art exhibition though you've been creating art for many years, have you enjoyed putting the show together? What have been some of the challenges you have faced? 
 I started working on new work for this exhibition in the middle of 2012 and thought I’d be ready around six months ago. How wrong I was! Even though I pretty much had every day available to paint, life (in the form of two young children and late nights djing or playing shows) got in the way. Since this is my first public display, I really felt I had to lift my game and challenge myself with some new ideas. A local gypsy jazz band called the Spyglass Gypsies inspired me to do some paintings of them and I have found these to be a lot more work that I anticipated!


Can you tell us about the concept and ideas explored in your show, what can people expect to see? 
Most of the art is from the last year and a half but I have also included one or two older ones that I wanted to be a part of the exhibition. Like my music, there is a bit of variety but I have a few themes I have always liked to paint. These are homely tea pot scenes, my ‘alien’ characters (an indigenous tribe of world travelers) and pop art collage pieces that I have been refining since school days. Bright and poppy, just like a Monkees song.


Can you tell us a bit about your artistic processes?
I use acrylic paints (from years of touring, the paintings can be packed away in a jiffy as they dry so quickly!) and collage. I have a large supply of old magazines, record covers from the 50s and 60s and a huge box of those colour test strips from packaging that seems to make its way onto most of my artwork!

What inspires your work? 
Sport. No, only joking. As far as other artists go, I am inspired by so much great art of the Twentieth Century (Marc Chagall, Martin Sharp, Albert Tucker, Warhol, Sydney Long, Sonia Delaunay, Mondrian, Charles Blackman, the Art Deco movement and architecture of Charles Rennie Mackintosh) and the art and spirit of the original Australians. Music and books also inspire my subject matter as does a good cup of tea and a lie down.