Hut Gully, Great Ocean Road- Luke Hallam

As a people, we are drawn to coast, I get a cold shiver when someone suggests spending an extended period of time away from the ocean. I’m a better person when I spend time in the ocean, for many reasons, but I think the defining point is the perspective it gives me. Constantly reinforcing that we are a very small piece in a complex puzzle and keeping an eye on the big picture is crucial to our enduring happiness and satisfaction in life.

I avoided the ocean as a subject matter in my work in early stages of my art practice. Aside, from a few naive, Rick Griffin style paintings that included stylised waves and suspended eyeballs – quickly denounced by my painting lecturer as “a little high school”. A stint in a surf industry design department helped to prolong this distance between my creative output and the ocean as a subject. Fortifying a certain level of dissolution with the surfing image that was projected by the corporate machine to sell product rather than celebrate or investigate the sea – I searched for a way to portray the place that I love in a truthful and cringe free way.

I know that a surfer sees the ocean differently than one that does not surf. As a surfer you cannot help but look at waves and ocean conditions without projecting yourself into the environment – ‘mind surfing’ the smallest, or largest, or most un-surf-able ocean upwellings. Imagining the physical sensations of being out amongst  the continuously changing fluid, exposed to the elements and adrift from our most natural place of terra firma. It’s a drug and an addiction that not many people, once given a taste, can easily leave behind forever. At the same time, completely unique to anything else you can do on this planet.

I love to paint the ocean that people don’t often see, reserved for those that spend time at sea – and may prefer not to see the ocean like this too often – wild and unruly, unkempt in a chaotic thrash, brought about by restless weather, expending energy against environment. The odd winter beach walker that braves the cold and wet with the reward of absolute solitude and exposure to the full force of natures unrestrained energy.