Q + A: JACK TAR & Co

JACK TAR & Co celebrate the great narratives of life.

In a nutshell, what is JACK TAR & Co?

JACK TAR & Co. is a contemporary art collective established in 2020, where individual artists, like myself, can come together with a common purpose. Jack Tar is a colloquial term for a sailor. I served with many Jack Tars, men and women, during my service in the Australian Defence Force, some of whom have unfortunately succumbed to suicide due to ill-health caused by their service. I now work with some of the family members of these victims, in an attempt to highlight the darker side of military culture. Ultimately, I believe we are one people with a diversity that should be celebrated.

What are the aims of JACK TAR & Co?

Our primary goal is to monetise the artistic achievements of ex-serving navy veterans. Where individuals have turned to art as a means of therapeutic or dissociative healing from the daily grind, our art collective provides a platform for artists to promote themselves to a wider audience.

What compelled you to start this creative platform?

Many veterans are scrutinised financially, socially and spiritually when transitioning from military life to civilian life. Being displaced from belonging can make one feel like one is behind the game of life. Our platform promotes resilience and a community engagement, and at some point in the future will allow for the employment of veterans who may not be able to return to work at a capacity in which they previously had before enlisting.

In your own art, you photograph water as a prominent part of your practice. How did you create water works through the Covid-19 lockdown period?

When Covid-19 dawned on us in Australia, I was in my graduating semester of a Master of Photography program at RMIT University in Melbourne. Where I once relied on the natural world for my work, I had to reorient my focus to artificial constructions of water pools. My garage at home fit the bill and I experimented more freely with photography using flash, filters, submerged torchlight and mirrors. The series Atmosphere Absolute was hence brought to life from spacial constraint.

What does water represent and reflect in your photographic artwork?

Water is a duality. It is the bringer of both life and death. Water is omnipresent. Sharing water-based work becomes a greater life narrative that is like a river delta, bringing many pasts, presents and futures together in a harmonious unification.

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