Original Article by Matthew Crichton-Smith.
Earlier this week I spoke with Chris Duffy (a.k.a. Hackney Hockney), a contemporary artist of whom has many impressive works including a pop culture-themed mural on the wall of Bendigo’s Chancery Lane, and he had some good advice for anyone looking into furthering their own artistic endeavours.
M – I understand you recently finished a mural in Bendigo’s Chancery Lane, last April. Do you have any further projects currently in the works concerning the Greater Bendigo area that you could share details of?
CD – “I’m gonna do another mural at Boris Murgers, did one there before [the Chancery Lane mural], and I’ll open an exhibition at Exhibit B which is part of the Bendigo Bank complex, so we’ve got free space there; it’s like a large window display. So I’ll put an installation into that in January. It’s not a sales-type thing; it’s just a piece of art for people to look at and enjoy.”
M – In what ways do you believe Bendigo could encourage and help boost the artistic talent who live within our city? We have art galleries and street art locations, and La Trobe has the La Trobe Art Institute, but do you believe Bendigo could be doing more? Perhaps more to encourage newer artists to build upon and develop their skills further, for example?
CD – “That’s a tough one. Of course it could improve, but uhh, funding; more funding available for not so much just younger people but for less-established artists. Like for more public street art, or maybe a ‘free-for-all’ where anyone can go and post up their stuff. And more murals, lots more street murals.”
M – For many artists, they may either find their passion for an art style to begin with, or they could try many different styles and processes before they find what is most comfortable for them. As a contemporary artist, do you feel as though you’ve found your particular ‘passion’ with what you do now, or do you experiment with different art styles as often as you can?
CD – “I’ve found my passion, but I’m consistently learning, constantly learning, and I like that. I’m always trying to improve every single day, just to paint that ‘wow’ picture, and I always start off like ‘yeah this is it, this is gonna be the greatest painting in the world’, but they always kinda end up a little bit disappointing, so I’m onto the next one, and then the next one. But for young artists I reckon a really good way to start is to look at other artists and study them and copy them, because you develop your own voice, you know? It doesn’t just come by magic. I found a really good way when I was at Uni was to find two old artists, combine their styles, and then with your own individuality you’ll create something quite unique. From there the more and more you do, the more and more you learn, the more and more you understand, and it all becomes apparent.”
M – From what I know you underwent tertiary education, specifically a Fine Arts TAFE Diploma leading into University, and graduated with honours. How big a part do you believe your education has played in getting to where you are now?
CD – “TAFE was brilliant, because TAFE was hands-on. Uni was a struggle for me, it was more academic with ‘We don’t care how you paint, we just want to know why, and to write that down please’. And I’m much more a visual person, I’m not much of a writer at all. So I did struggle, but I did get through.”
M – So then would you recommend that young artists look into further tertiary study?
CD – “TAFE any day of the week, yeah. And then if you want to develop and learn how to be an Art Speaker or things like that then yeah, do Uni. Because not that many people can afford more of a private school sort of thing anymore, so I would recommend hands-on TAFE because it’s all about experimenting with materials and that’s how you’re going to find out which one you like.”
M – Any additional words for aspiring artists out there who may be reading this?
CD – “There’s three ‘P’s’. Practice, Practice, Practice. And Perseverance, so there’s four ‘P’s’. The trick is not to give up, because it’s too easy to give up; you’ve got to keep working at it.”