4 min read

 Q & A with Tim Fry 

How long have you lived in the Northern Rivers and what do you love about it?

I’ve pretty much grown up here. My parents moved to the Northern Rivers when I was 4.  I left for a period of time – travelled, lived overseas and interstate but I realised there is nowhere else I would rather live.  I love the landscape that surrounds us - the beaches and the mountains.  I know all the little towns and communities.  I love the range of people and the like mindedness that you don’t easily find in other parts of the country. There are so many things that I love about living here it’s hard to put into words - but when I return it feels like home.

How did you come to be an artist?

I realised quite early that I liked making things and expressing myself through visual art.  I always wanted to be an artist, but it took me years of unlearning and relearning to understand that being an artist could be a career.  I started studying art at Southbank TAFE in Brisbane after dropping out of an environmental science degree. That was really the beginning. I completed a bachelor of Visual Art through Southern Cross and Curtin Universities and began exhibiting in pop-up or DIY exhibitions in my 20’s. I also began teaching art in the adult education, which helps me analysis my own art practice.  Like most creatives, my journey to become an artist has been a slow one but it has given me time to develop and refine my style and I really appreciate the opportunities that are available to me.

What inspires you in the art world and creatively?

I’m inspired by the everyday and what some might term mundane objects. I tend to oscillate around the landscape, botanical and flora, still life objects, houses/architecture and vintage cars. Creatively I try to sustain a momentum with my art practice so I’m not ever waiting for ‘inspiration’ to strike.  Living in Lismore means that I tend to spend a lot of time driving and I find this quite meditative - it gives me the mental space for ideas to form and float up from my subconscious.  When working I listen to podcasts and music with lyrics, this often leads to ideas and expressions that float around in my head. I’ll mull over ideas for a while and finally come up with some phrases/text that I like and will test and try it out, seeing how it works on different pieces.

Pop artists like Roy Lichtenstein and the houses of the late Howard Arkley have influenced the way I play with colour, line and composition.


 What substrates and materials do you use in your art practice?

I’ve always felt my artwork lay in two streams, my drawing/two-dimensional pieces and my three dimensional or ceramic pieces. When drawing I use a range of mixed media, typically black biro for line work and paint pens to fill in colour on recycled cardboard or plywood. Larger scale pieces I tend to use acrylic or aerosol paint for backgrounds and layer with found objects to drawings as required. My sculptural /3D work is primarily done using a white bodied stoneware. I hand build sculptures, either with a slab roller or a rolling pin and finish them with various underglazes and oxides. When adding imagery, I hand-carve into the clay as freely as possible with immediacy – I always feel overthinking can get in the way of good mark making. 

Is a sustainable art practice important to you?

Yes, definitely. Personal narratives populate my work and sustainability is something that I celebrate and question in my daily life, not just in art.  Reoccurring themes in my work are environmental awareness, humanity’s connection to the earth, climate change and fossil fuel extraction and consumption. I try to live simply and be aware of the environmental impact of my lifestyle and the decisions I make. It’s difficult to be completely sustainable but I do my best to make ethical choices about materials and processes I use. I work with post-consumer cardboard for most of my drawing which is essentially upcycling, and I work with a sense of seasonality around using what I have and what materials turn up in my studio or life.

Tell us about this recent collection of ‘Azure Dreams’ at Elements I love?

Along with selected chosen works that are hanging at Elements I love I’ve recently enjoyed doing some limited edition/one off wall hanging plates using cobalt blue on white bodied stoneware clay.  ‘I love the tactile nature of clay, there is something innately human about working with it.’
Ceramics are technical and demanding in their own way and they challenge me. I approached making the plates almost playfully, without much premeditation and I think that's reflected in the freedom and freshness of the imagery.

Houses and trees are subjects that I return to with regularity – I enjoy them visually as well as symbolically. I’ve always drawn trees and plants and I find that people relate to them in a positive way .  These plates have been a lot of fun because they are new direction for me - they feel fresh and playful which is wonderful.  The perfect antidote to 2020.

Watch Tim in his creative element making Reflected Hope- this was made during our lockdown earlier this year. 

 See Tim & his processes at play here 



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