Photography: Dominic Loneragan
Spending an afternoon with Craig Waddell was like a shot in the arm.
A multi (multi!) awarded artist and part of the old guard of new Australian talent, he’s carved a niche from breaking the rules of classical training, making his work sought after not only for it’s beauty but also for its renegade spirit.
He’s the type who, when working, goes for 24 hours. Stopping only to grab a few mouthfuls of food and you can feel it in the texture of his paintings they almost pulse with fleshy human emotion.
It’s possible that his penchant for endurance is a hangover from his sporting background (he played 1st grade cricket). Although, in reality it’s more like a creative trance.
CRAIG: “My wife, she’s seen the horrible. The highs and the lows… You know I’m dyslexic and colourblind. But she’s also seen the beautiful side. I also speak fluent Thai. It all just comes with the territory.”
“When I have completed a work I’m on such a high I just want to launch into a fresh work and keep the rhythm going. I find that paintings start relating to one another and in some weird way speak to one another.
It is usually when I have completed a body of work that I say goodbye to the work and try and stand outside the whole thing.
It is a bit like coming up for air after being smashed by a huge wave!
A sudden relief that you are still alive but your heart is pounding outside your body.”
“Ultimately the idea is to create out of life, love and the opportunity to respond to the natural world.
I am often looking for something that I’m not even aware of yet until it emerges through the creative process.
I may have a loose idea that I would like to convey but more often than not something deeper within my sub conscious overrides the starting point.”
“I am a huge fan of the famous American artists Phillip Guston and Wilhelm De Kooning. With De Kooning and Guston it is the fine line that they tread between figuration and abstraction within their work.
I feel that their colors are sensual and fleshy and their subjects very personal, there is a real sexual quality to their work that I love.
Both these artist give me the strength to pursue my own language within my work and not to be fearful of the unknown.”
“I love that my studio is new and after six months is now starting to feel like the bedroom I grew up in.
My studio is located in Annandale and is surrounded by beautiful energy, almost like a little village feeling. I also have a studio on my family’s farm and it is where most of my work to date has been made.
The thing I love most about working out on the farm is the isolation and silence.
The mind can get on wonderful journeys when given the right space and my studio is where my mind gets to wander freely.”
What are 3 things you’ve learned and know to be true?
“1. Laughter keeps the gremlins away!
2. Love hard and true
3. Keep smiling it makes people happy.
(and one extra)
4. No one judges yourself harder than you do so be kind to yourself.”