Friday, 8 November 2013

Q5 with Christopher Hardwick


This month our exhibition has been broght to us by The Pop Up Collective who are curating an International Men's Day themed exhibition called I am Man (official website here).  We're delighted to have such a diverse variety of styles of art from the 4 artists in the exhibiton and will be posting a Q5 for each of them.  We're starting with Christopher Hardwick who is from Imbil, Queensland.  Read about his art and inspiration below.


 
 Q1: Tell us about yourself as an artist?

At the risqué of sounding pretentious, I have difficulty identifying myself by what I do, namely an artist. This no doubt stems from my early years when name calling was where my primary identity came from. For nearly 40 years I was Chris who worked with hair, now it is Chris who works with a visual language.

This visual language seeks to create a dialogue in the public arena regarding the ‘unspeakable other’, domestic violence, child abuse and male suicide, particularly in adolescents.

Q2: Please describe the art you have in the exhibition?

The brooches in the exhibition use historical ‘masculine symbols’ such timber, and woodworking to create wearable’s that have been anathema to males since the start of the modern era. This era constructed a form of masculinity that stipulated certain criteria which was policed by itself. Brooches were definitely excluded from being worn by males.

Q3: What inspired you when creating it?

Unfortunately the criteria of masculinity did not cover any of my uniqueness and actually made it impossible for me in Australia to be recognised as ‘manly’, actually the reverse happened and I was identified as fe-male. My desire for males to stand up for themselves and not be victimised is what lays behind the making of these brooches. There is a principal in art theory, when you put something on the body ie. jewellery, it becomes political, so these works are political statements.

Q4: What is your favourite part of making art?

If I were to stand on a street corner shouting out the subjects that are in the art I make I would be arrested or bashed. My art gives me a voice that continues without me being present.

I also enjoy selecting raw materials such as silver and timber with the intention of making art that speaks with a new voice.

Q5: Who are your favourite artists?

Felix Gonzales-Torres, DavidWojnarowicz, Robert Mapplethorpe, Juan Davila, Edvard Munch, most contemporary jewellery artists especially Robert Baines, JuliaDeville and Elizabeth Shaw. There are so many talented, expressive people who have passed this way and a multitude of creators, who have and do continue to inspire me.

'I am Man' runs from November 2 - 30, 2013 at 109 Lake Street, Cairns.  As always Cell Art Space is open 24/7 and is still accessible to pedestrians during the City Place upgrade.  Closest parking is behind Canopy off Grafton Street.