Many artists understand the difficulty in this day and age to make time to create. With working to pay the bills, studies, being social, family and other responsibilities, many of us have forgotten how to be creative. But it’s time to get out and find our creative self!
David Bottrell, a self-taught Sydney artist, has combined two of his passions, landscapes and man-made structures to create pieces of art that allows the viewer to go on a journey. To journey back in time, through their memories, an escape of mundane day to day life.
Growing up in Albury Wodonga, David’s childhood was spent outdoors on a bike, going through the bush, going down to the river or fishing with his father and grandfather. His parents made sure to instil within him a sense of wonder and exploration.
‘I’ve been creating for the last 20 months. The inspiration actually started when I took a spontaneous trip for the first time, for a week. It freed up my mind and I came back feeling really inspired,’ David said.
‘It made me develop who I am as a person and really understand a few things about myself and learn new things. That got me into the whole art side of things. I started to really experiment with what worked for me and that turned out to be aerosol paint and salt crystals. Creating these really stylish and abstract feelings within my artworks.’
David is inspired by nature and landscapes. The deep greens and blues, the calmness and roughness of the ocean contrasting with the contemporary and minimalistic feel of man-made structures. Balancing out his work with the harshness of nature with the sleek, clean designs of modern contemporary architecture.
When out on a hike or a journey, or a ‘quest’ as David likes to call it, he focuses on the finer details, the different textures of a cliff face or the different tones of the ocean. While focusing on architecture that has a minimalist feel to them, that is evident within his work.
‘I find nature really inspiring. The deep oceans, the ripples that you see, the waves crashing, the way they unfold and the texture that you see within a wave crash, it’s amazing,’ David said.
‘As well as, within the cliff faces and the rocks, the grains and textures that are within it almost looks like dried up waves in a sense, that is my main focus when on a hike or a quest.’
Like many creatives, David creates to express himself and to allow the viewer to embark on their own journey through his artwork. Journeys that might bring about good or bad memories, this visualisation is entirely up to the viewer.
As an emerging artist, he is trying to get his work out there, while also establishing himself as a successful artist, who has the ability to get the viewer to escape and journey through memories and emotions.
‘What I’m expressing is the natural landscapes. The aerosol gives off the more man-made structure, however the salt crystals give it that balance of the natural landscape, mother earth in a sense,’ David said.
‘The main thing I’m expressing is the emotional claim within the journey that I have embarked on which would allow people to take their own journey.’
David enjoys a quiet space to get the creative juices flowing before he can put thought to canvas. A space with nice greenery helps him to be calm and put him in a better head space.
After going on hikes and getting inspired, his creative process begins by entering an almost subconscious state, where there is no thought and the creativity just flows.
‘I soak the canvas in water to allow the aerosol to not dry instantly. This gives me time to inject more of the harsh layering and then add the salt crystals to give it a more textured affect,’ David said.
‘Because the aerosol hasn’t set, the salt crystals actually cling to the aerosol as it dries slowly. After five layers of an aerosol paint, it sits on top of the salt forming a coating that hardens and sticks.’
David then takes a step back, walking away from the canvas and coming back to it in a few hours or the next day, with a fresh mind to figure out the next step in the creation of a piece.
Coastal Wanderings series is the first series that David presented at his first solo exhibition. The artworks were based on his hiking trips that he went on at the Royal National Park and Byron Bay.
‘I visited bush lands and coastal beaches, so it really focused on the deep oceans and the roughness within the ocean, but then the all of a sudden calmness of the ocean. It’s something really beautiful to look at,’ David said.
‘Every cliff has a different facade. They don’t all look the same. The formation created over time is quite magnificent, it almost creates their own story.’
There are 7 pieces in his Coastal Wanderings series that took about a year to complete. Many creatives can relate to the idea that sometimes life gets in the way and we face some hurdles that have to be dealt with.
‘Life throws things at you sometimes and you get a bit distracted. The artworks were a really good escape route for me, to really lose my head and be creative; to get lost within and feel that subconscious state,’ David said.
While Coastal Wanderings was David’s first major collection of work, there has been a couple of one-off pieces previous to the start of this collection.
‘I was coming back from a trip and I went into an area where there was a recent fire and everything was charcoal grey, but the trees were actually re-birthing. I saw the stems and branches re-growing, which was an amazing moment,’ David said.
‘There was a moment of realisation that something on that level of catastrophe, life comes back and it comes back stronger and better because it has learnt. It’s going to come back fuller and greener and more luscious, and that was a really big moment for me.’
David was approached by Timothy Stone, the owner of Shairspace, asking him if he would like to display his artworks on the walls within the space. With a nice open environment and it’s minimalist appeal, it felt natural for David to accept the offer.
Shairspace is a space where freelance artists within the hair and beauty industry share a space and the costs, allowing everyone to work creatively whilst running their own business under the canopy of something greater.
Bi-monthly, Shairspace lends their wall space out to emerging artists and photographers. This allows them to have an ever-changing environment which then allows artists to get their work out there, and celebrate through a party during opening night.
‘It was on for one month, the 25th of April to the 25th of May. It was exciting, my first exhibition. It was great to see a lot of love and support from family and friends and new people which allowed me to network. There was a lot of brilliant people in that room, which was great,’ David said.
Through his journeys and wanderings, David has connected a lot more with the landscapes, especially the Australian landscape and believes it is important if you live in this country to appreciate the beauty of it all and not become complacent.
‘You need to escape and really take in your surroundings and really learn who you are as a person. This helps you get into this open-mindedness,’ David said.
‘For me, when I go on these hikes, journeys, or quests, it really helps me to express who I am as a person and express that through art.’
David has a great year ahead of living in wonder and ceasing any opportunity that may arise and to continue on with the journey of life.
‘I would like to start another series and elaborate and go in depth, whether that is focusing just on the cliff faces or the ocean or the bush, who knows. I will go on a journey, be inspired and come back bigger and better with this next series,’ David said.
If you want to find out more about David and his work, you can visit him on his Instagram or Facebook page. Alternatively, you can check out his website, www.davidbottrell.com which should be launching real soon.
‘My goal is to be extremely happy with what I do, no matter what that may be. I think that’s really making sure that I stay true to myself, really stick to who I am as a person and who I am becoming. Learning and staying open-minded and to continue this journey.’