In anticipation of our upcoming exhibition 'Alligator Angel' we interviewed Brad Teodoruk to get an insight into his art and practice.
1st August - 18th August 2019
PIERMARQ*: When/how did you get into painting?
BRAD TEODORUK: My Dad is actually an incredible draftsmen so I’ve been around drawing my whole life. Only recently did I find out that grandfather tried to get into art school when he young. But I gave up painting for 10 whole years after high school and pursued many other creatives avenues, including music and acting. It was only when my fiancée at the time and I separated after 12 years that I started to paint again (as a form of therapy). I was also bed ridden at that time for 3 months with major back problems so all I could do was draw and paint. I was only making self portraits at that time to rediscover who I was.
P*: Where did you study? How did studying art benefit your practice? Were there any cons?
BD: I studied at the National Art School in Sydney. A lot of my heroes went through that place and I felt really chuffed when I accepted. It’s a great place for learning art history but I’m not entirely convinced you can teach art. Art is the teacher. Whatever there is to learn technically I will learn in good time at my own accord. But as they say there “first you must learn the rules before you can break them”
P*: What exhibitions or artists have left a strong impression on you and your development as an artist?
BD: You know, I only have to walk around the Sidney Nolan and Arthur Boyd room at the AGNSW for 5 minutes before I want to run home to my studio and start painting. I’m obsessed with the Australian painters of the 60s. There are so many artists who inspire me though; everyone from David Hockney to Rose Wylie. If I were to write a list it would be far too long!
P*: What are the core concerns of your practice?
BD: To be unapologetically ME. To keep pushing, no matter what, even if the next painting is totally opposite to the last. I’m exploring a language here and there’s something to be said but I just can’t say it. But I try and I think my audience can see that. And I will keep trying and exploring and expressing myself for as long as live. I’m very passionate when it comes to these matters. How can paint change the way you feel inside? That is what I’m constantly trying to say and understand.
P*: What’s your jumping off point with a new painting?
BD: I always begin with a single colour across the entire surface then I start to feel it and what the painting wants to say to me. We are having a conversation and even sometimes an argument but we are always trying to arrive at the same point (the painting and me). There is a divine spirit in art that talks directly to me and I feel incredibly grateful for that.
P*: You seem to explore ideas of contrast and paradox in a variety of ways, both literal and conceptual – what are your thoughts behind this recurring theme?
BD: I am a contradictory mess. The devil and god are raging inside me. Ha! Because I am this way (given my Borderline Personality Disorder doesn’t help) I naturally work through art to understand it. It’s also fun and strange and wonderful. Again, I am very very grateful to have art in my life.
P*: Talk us through the conceptual focus of your work for the upcoming exhibition at PIERMARQ*, and what we can expect from the show?
BD: Originally, I wanted to call this show ‘Revelry In The Real’ which is a way of saying - enjoy what I have to offer, that which is real. Or at least, I enjoy what I have in art - that is reality. I am there, in the moment, painting. It is real.
Instead I went with Alligator Angel which is a theme around contrasts, opposites, black and white, ugly and beautiful. It’s a bold title fitting for the bold conflicting images I have made. It represents life, to be specific - my life.
P*: What gives you more satisfaction, the actual process of making the artwork, or what you take away from the resolved piece?
BD: Great question! It’s actually quite challenging going through the motions of creating an artwork. It’s like a game of chess even a war sometimes. It can drive me to ecstasy or madness in a single session. But having the work come together and displayed in a gallery setting for others to see is very exciting. I really cannot compare the two.
P*: You’ve been open about your struggles with mental health – How do you find art helps you cope with this?
BD: What you give is what you get. I look after the art and it looks after me, sometimes.. Depends what I’m painting.. Let me put it this way. I take what’s dark on inside and rebel against it mostly through the use of colour (I would consider myself a colourist). Then what I am looking at feeds back in to me and hopefully changes that darkness. We don’t realise that we can be selective with the input we choose. Painting in my studio is also a time for playfulness and to be child-like. It’s something I refuse to lose.
Alligator Angel Opens Thursday the 1st of August from 6-8pm.