Q + A: Blak Douglas

THE WORK OF BLAK DOUGLAS IS POWERFULLY POLITICAL AND DRENCHED IN PARODY.

How would you describe your work?

Parody, irony and truth [which] equates to twisting the dagger into the spine of overt nationalism, conservatism and denialism with the colony. That’s what I try to achieve through my art and people should know that.

Where are you based?

I’ve just moved to a large studio space in Marrickville, a thriving hub for artists who’ve typically felt the wrath of gentrification within the inner-city suburbs.

How did you first fall in love with art?

When I met the delightful Wollongong based Aboriginal artist Kevin Butler who was on a paid residency creating work in the basement of the Australian Museum. I was immediately captivated by such a life. I’ve been practicing commercially for two decades now.

What is your process?

I use predominantly synthetic polymer paints and lots of 3M tape on canvas. I begin by prepping background skies using masking tape. A lot of my relief is created by dolloping on liters of paint, whilst the canvas is horizontal. My signature cracked effect cures best under a slow moving ceiling fan overnight. I return in the morning and VOILA!!! Time to add the key lines… I feel my most creative after my second cup of coffee and before the first phone call. I typically spend seven to 10 hours in the studio each day and I always listen to the radio which I oscillate between FBI and 2SER.

What have you been working on recently?

I’m mid-way through the Archibald, Wynne & Sulman entries for this year. I’m also illustrating a children’s book titled Finding our Heart authored by the great Thomas Mayor about the 2017 Uluru Statement.

What themes are evident in your work?

Social justice commentary and a poignant stance on challenging the paternalistic status quo regarding the gross negligent historic treatment of First Nations Peoples. My subject matter is a mash up of ’Strayan iconology, colloquialisms and factual imagery. I find my inspiration in  far right, obscene media shock jocks, police brutality and any time I see an Aussie flag hanging in the window of a suburban abode.

Where can people find your work?

Boomalli Aboriginal Artists [Sydney], Aboriginal Art Directory [online], Art Atrium [Sydney], JEFA Gallery [Byron Bay] and Nanda Hobbs [Sydney].

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