This week, Rockhampton Region artist Dr. Andrew Chiou shares his journey in science and art. This is an emerging theme for CQ Shopfront with Artisans in Residence Adele Outteridge and Jeanette Stok also blending these two practices. Looking forward to seeing Andrew's work online!
How did you get started in your art practice?
I was trained as a scientist and am currently a senior university academic. A few years ago, while attempting to write a report explaining a technical process using more words than necessary, I instead resorted to sketching pictures in a comic strip style to describe the same thing. From these initial sketching, I began to draw as a hobby and tried my hands in capturing everything I saw. I always had a pen and art journal in easy reach wherever I went. By the year’s end, I had about a thousand drawings in dozens of little sketchbooks. Just for a lark, I submitted a few of these sketches to a competition. It was no surprise that I did not win, but about thirty of these drawings were sold. This was quite an eye-opener and tremendous encouragement as I came to the realisation that there are art aficionados that appreciate my pieces as collectibles. Gradually throughout the years, I had my works on private display and sales, and has also been acquired by CQUniversity Art Collection. I currently divide my time between my two passions – that as a scientist from nine to five during weekdays and as an artist at any other time ;-)
What are the key inspirations behind your work?
My art pieces are completed in a style that is best described as emergent-in-the-moment. That is, I don’t have a particular prefixed approach or idea on how or what techniques or medium I would apply to the proposed piece. The particular style or approach emerging only in the midst of rendering the actual piece. Sometimes, I hit the ah-ha moment only after I have completed the art piece. My style and the way I render these into finished pieces are different from subject to subject. I get my inspiration from mainstream pop artists. In particular by Andy Warhol and Banksy. However, my inspiration doesn’t come from their actual works, but rather from their attitude towards their calling as artists. Warhol worked hard at being an artist. It is difficult to ignore him or his works - the sheer volume of his output ensures its pervasiveness in every art scene. As for Banksy, every known art piece by him (or her) has a strong message. My aspiration is to merge both of these qualities, and re-present these in my own approach in creating my own art pieces.
What is the business model and products that you are aiming to develop through participating in the CQ Shopfront project?
It is inevitable that at some point, most businesses need to have an online presence. Likewise, I am planning to adopt a similar approach. And this is where CQ Shopfront project comes in. After participating in the project I have now a clearer understanding for the necessity to gain specific business acumen in the area of the art market and how best to penetrate it effectively. I shall retain my current business model in creating original art, but with the addition of diversifying into prints and printmaking like posters, postcards, bookmarks, playing cards etc via online sales. In this way, the more affordable products will provide better exposure and perhaps build upon a wider fan base, leading to better access to my larger and more exclusive works.
What dreams do you have for the future of your practice?
I would like to transition to a fulltime artist, where I can spend my daily waking hours capturing slices of time, nature around me and my culture; and eventually expressing them into meaningful art pieces.