Australian artist Jac Fear transforms the beauty around him into surreal and symbolic imagery. He paints as a tribute to the raw power of the Australian landscape as well as its people, exposing both beauty and fragility.
Using a non-conventional blend of oil paints and spray paints, and making the most of the quality of paint to crack under sunlight, Fear creates the most lively and breathtaking landscapes. He often references moments from his own life—which he terms “lived events”—in his work. Fear hopes to convey a form of emotional blueprint for the viewer to connect with.
How do you choose your subjects? Are these real locations? Do you choose only locations that you have a personal connection with?
Each painting that I paint is an expression of me in some way or the other.
The location and subject of my paintings reflect my personal life experiences. In saying this, I embellish and distort real landscapes to create an emotive and suggestive view of how I perceive the landscape through symbolism, texture, technique and style.
Some locations I have painted, for example, In the deep, portray a real location while implementing surrealist elements and symbols that create a landscape unlike any other, giving the audience a new and unseen vision that they can explore in their own way.
I love how many different reactions, perceptions, and views are created through my work. You can get to know someone very quickly by asking them about their art. Art is a forum that connects or disconnects people very quickly.
You use oil paints with spray paints. What inspired that unusual combination of media?
I have always experimented with different media. The unusual combination of spray paints and oils came about when I started experimenting with stencil art. I draw my symbols, cut out a stencil and then repeat them over and over again in order to form a connection between my paintings. The contrast between the consistency that is obtained with a stencil as juxtaposed to my liquid and expressive style of painting is striking!
Are there any underlying social or political messages in your art?
Not always. However, I have done a few works where I used my art as a medium to present a political and social perspective of society at the time.
In 2008, a piece titled Convict to Convict depicts the perspective that over time Australia has become a disturbed place with two different societies. The figures in my painting represent the dark side of Aboriginal history. They have become convicts in their own country. Constricted by white society and culture, they have become second class citizens. The reference to time shows what has happened but leaves it open for the viewer to decide what is going to happen in the future.
What do you want to convey to your audience? What role do you want symbolism to play in this experience?
I want to convey through my works the vast, harsh, ever-changing, unforgivable, yet intricate, subtle and breathtakingly beautiful elements of the Australian landscape and the different ways humans interacts with it. I like to evoke emotions and feelings that people did not know they had and create a platform for discussion through the use of symbolism and medium.
Symbolism is to be interpreted and engaged with by the viewer, bringing their life experiences to each work and coming to their own conclusion of what it means to them.
I am always surprised with how much can be conveyed in one piece of canvas.
Do you have a personal favorite among your works?
I do not have a personal favorite. With each painting I work on, I am at a different time and space in my life. Life is all about a journey and every time I look back on a piece of art I have created, it reflects where I was at that moment. I am proud of every piece that I display for its unique qualities and feel that each painting connects and relates to not just me, but also all my viewers in ways that I am yet to discover myself.