Shane Devries (Artist)
Surreal Fantasy Paintings
About the Artist –
I really enjoy experimenting with each painting and try and make each new piece more challenging for myself as I go along – mostly so I don’t get bored, really, and so that I learn new things and move on from ideas that I feel I’ve explored enough. I think the stuff I’m working on recently is a lot more interesting and complex than the earlier stuff. I deeply admire realism and representational art, so the contrast between the simple characters and the more detailed and realistic surroundings are my way of creating flippant versions of traditional or representational art from my own world. It’s really fun because I get the thrill of learning from age old oil painting techniques, but I get to inhabit it all with bizarre mind-wandering ideas.
The floating idea was more of a discipline really. Last year I was putting together a group of paintings and made a decision early on that every one would have a floating element to it. I find it helps with creativity to set some boundaries so that I get to explore different ideas rather than faff around with heaps of different ones. More often they are better this way too. I think there is something about floating and flying that’s appealing to everyone. I mean, I really wish I could fly, and I always have flying or falling dreams as most people I know do. So I think for those pieces the floating is almost like an emotion we can identify with somehow.
I think the landscapes are places I’d love to view from that perspective myself and they are inspired from everywhere – my family’s holiday pictures, places I’ve been, etc. The lonely creatures are just stragglers and oddballs that have been left behind. I like to imagine that there were once huge migrations of these weirdos and these are just the ones that couldn’t keep up and wander about on their own.
I think it’s fun to let people add their own explanations and interpretations. For a recent exhibition I wrote a poem about most of the pieces and published them in a book. They never expound too much, but add a few questions and add to the fun of the art. I have my own stories, but I like to keep them to myself and let the viewer’s imagination kick in. For some of the characters I like to imagine that they sat with me for a formal portrait. I can’t think of anything more fun than getting to have a line-up of strange individuals to do formal portraits of.
Artist Shane Devries’s Website
Article by James Day
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