Interview with SIMON ATTWOOLL in D SCENE UNEDITED VERSION by Gavin Bertram 14/09/11

SUBHEAD – Simon Attwooll: Ex-Dunedin artist’s show part of White Night gallery crawl


Gavin Bertram


Former Dunedin artist Simon Attwooll had a difficult time when he first moved to Melbourne three years ago.

But the Otago Polytechnic School of Art graduate says he feels more settled now, and has a good balance of working in framing factory and creating art. The fruits of this can be seen in the Not Afraid exhibition at A Gallery.

Attwooll creates the multimedia explosions of colour and image using a combination of paint and screen-printing, drawing, and collage.

“I like working with loaded images but I also like particularly insignificant images and then seeing how they read when put side by side,” he explains. “Unfortunately for anyone who has lived with me I am a hoarder and collect anything. I really like collecting images and objects. I enjoy finding similarities or discordant matches when you put one thing alongside another.”

The artist says he finds beginning with a plain white surface daunting, so he messes it up a little first. From there it’s a matter of adding visual elements and editing them so they work in either harmony or discord.

It’s a complex process with print making at its centre, as layers are built up and diminished so they work together as a whole.

Although there are digital processes involved in creating screens for printing, Attwooll says the hands on techniques he uses are vital to the way his works emerge.

“I think I like using computers as a tool rather than relying on them for a finished piece,” he considers. “I think the process helps me work through the original ideas I had when I started making the work and that informs the end product. It’s thinking about what you are making and being open for it to evolve so then you naturally approach the final outcome.”

Attwooll’s work is clearly a by-product of the highly charged visual world of the 21st Century. But the artist doesn’t have any particular issue with the constant bombardment of the eyes, instead choosing to feed on it through his art.

“I think we are at a really exciting time at the moment,” he reflects. “Almost anyone can have access to what they want to use and that makes it exciting because it opens up a greater collective creative potential. But I think the space where you aren’t doing anything is important too because you have to come up with your own ideas instead of being constantly entertained.”

Along with Not Afraid, Attwooll has been busy working on ideas for big Paper Mache sculptures, and on putting proposals together for exhibitions in 2012.

“You have to do it a year in advance,” he says. “And I have to do my tax and those other boring things you try to avoid for as long as possible.”



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Conceived as a two-year project, ‘a gallery’ opened in February 2011 at 393 Princes Street, Dunedin and closed in September 2012. Strategically placed south of the center of town nestled between tattoo studios, sex shops and a needle exchange. What was integral in the selection of the gallery space was that it would be able to be viewed from the street through the street level floor to ceiling windows. This would allow the artists showing to be exposed not only to viewers visiting the gallery, but also those walking past, as a gallery was to represent artists that did not fit within the commercial gallery context or the so called experimental project space’s, this would be the best way to expose a particular group of artists selected by gallery curator/manager Jay Hutchinson, artists he respected and admired and felt were not being represented in the gallery scene at the time.

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