Creative People

Interview - Dane Lovett

Lucy Feagins
Lucy Feagins
28th of January 2011
Still Life 2010. 56 x 41.5 cm.  Acrylic on aluminium composite panel by Dane Lovett.
Last Days, 2010. 152 x 152 cm. Acrylic and marker on canvas by Dane Lovett.
Last Days finds a home in the stunning warehouse apartment of Dane's neighbour Katie Marx! (it is SOLD!)
Recent paintings - top pic is Still Life and Double Feature, bottom pic is Twelve Years which won Dane the  2010 RBS Emerging Artist Award last year!
Left Something for Nothing, right Double Feature again!

I must admit, I cannot really profess to know much about the world of fine art.  I really just know what I LIKE... and these stunning paintings by Melbourne artist Dane Lovett certainly fall into that category!  Aggh aren't they beautiful?!

If you're a regular reader of TDF, Dane's incredible work may seem familiar...  That's because his amazing (pink!) Last Days painting featured heavily in the SUPER popular home of Katie Marx (posted here in October last year -  pic above).  In actual fact - Katie (who is Dane's nextdoor neighbour) had sneakily 'borrowed' the artwork from Dane to beautify her loungeroom for the shoot!  Of course,  Dane received a few enquiries about the piece, but Katie just couldn't part with the painting by then!  Needless to say she is now it's proud owner!  Ha ha perhaps I should feel a little responsible! Although I must say it really looks so perfect in her loungeroom I am very glad she found a way to keep it! :)

ANYWAY. I digress.

I am so so so in love with Dane's painterly splodgy watercolours and robust acrylic panels!  I LOVE the muted colours, the photo realism, the juxtaposition of fresh cut flowers / pot plants and piles of redundant electronic technology!  Seriously sriking work.

Other things to love about Dane Lovett :

- He goes out with amazing artist (and TDF fave!) Kirra Jamison!  Aghh There is some serious talent under that roof! Can you imagine the combined genepool of their future children?! It shouldn't be allowed.

- He is just RIDICULOUSLY modest - He was a good 10 questions into this interview before briefly mentioning  that he has an exhibition AT COLETTE IN PARIS in May this year!  O.M.G!  Dane also picked up a slew of fine art awards towards the end of last year... and is heading to Tokyo on an Australia Council funded residency in July!  Jeepers creepers. Talk about one to watch!  Snap up your watercolours now, people!

I especially love Dane's response when asked to describe his work - ie 'mumbling something about washy still-lifes and technology and wait for someone else to come in with a more elegant description.'.  HA!  I know that feeling...!

Huge thanks to Dane for his interview and all these stunning pics - DO pop over and visit Dane's excellent website which shows many more examples of his work...!

Tell me a little about your background – what path has led you to what you are doing now?

Well I always liked to paint things as a kid, but during high school I started to fall in love with technology, I got my hands on Photoshop 4 and it dragged me into it’s drop-shadow vortex and led me to study graphic design and animation.  I continued to paint while I was studying and eventually it took over. I moved from Brisbane to Melbourne in 2007 and completed my honours in painting at the VCA and I've been here since. Where might we have seen your work?

I have shown my work mainly in Sydney and Melbourne. My most recent shows were Paintingss at Westspace (Melbourne), Dedication at Chalk Horse (Sydney) and Blow Out at Linden in St Kilda. Russh did a nice article on my work last year also.

Paintingss exhibition last year at Westspace
Linden Gallery exhibition, and finished paintings in Dane's studio!

What challenges have you faced since finishing your studies, and what advice would you have for young artists hoping to find representation and exhibit their work in Melbourne and beyond?

I think the challenges that I faced when I came out of art school are quite universal - all of the sudden the support group of tutors and peers is dispersed and you have to start making work on your own. I remember one lecturer saying that you have to make sure that your work is actually interesting because after uni no one is paid to be interested in what you do - I’d never really thought about it like that. My advice to would be to to stick by your buddies cause they'll be the ones that stay around in the long run, and to just keep making stuff and checking out what others are up to. There are lot of artist-run spaces in Melbourne, so there is no shortage of places to show what you make, and there are so many people creating work around town that the idea of spending ridiculous hours in the studio is not so strange. How do you describe your work to random strangers / long lost family members if they ask?

I would mumble something about washy still-lifes and technology and wait for someone else to come in with a more elegant description. What is one of your favourite pieces?

I really don't have a favorite piece, I'm always trying to make a better painting and hoping to make a perfect painting but it hasn't happened yet.

Both Ends of the Rainbow 2011.  214 x 183 cm.  Acrylic on canvas by Dane Lovett.

What does a typical day at work involve for you?

Last year I moved from a studio in the city to a warehouse Northcote where I live and work. This has changed they way my day runs quite a bit and I think I'm only just getting used to it now. In the beginning I would feel guilty if I was just hanging out, I'd feel like I should be being productive - in the studio all the time and never watching Masterchef. Now things are under control - my day in the studio usually begins around nine, I get up fairly early, play around on the net, check emails and the weather many times, and then head downstairs to start painting. My day is broken up according to my dog's needs (walks and toilet breaks) and heading out for a coffee. This routine often goes out the window if I have a show coming up and then I'm really grateful I don't have ride to the studio in the winter.

Dane's workspace in Northcote

Where do you turn for creative inspiration when beginning a new piece or new series – nature, travel, books, the web etc?

The web has always been a major source for material, I find things to paint all over the place on blogs or sites like Flickr and eBay. The past year or so I have also been making still lifes made out of things like CD's, old synthesisers and plant clippings from around the neighborhood. Which artists / designers / creative people do you admire? These are some artist that have been on my brain lately.... Sally Ross, Kim Dorland, Ryan Mosley, Bryan Spier, Tomory Dodge, Jake Walker, Nick van Woert. I've been looking at Margaret Olley's paintings a lot too. My friend Andre Piguet has been making some very lovely shiny paintings lately. I'm also looking forward to Jackson Slattery's show at Sutton in February. My old studio buddy Laith Mc Gregor. My GF Kirra Jamison. My Neighbor Katie Marx. My brother Tim always inspires me too.

Movement, 2010, 183 x 152 cm. Acrylic on canvas by Dane Lovett.
What would be your dream creative project or collaboration? To actually make some kind of film with my brother. What are you looking forward to? I'm looking forward to some aero-plane fun this year - In May I have a show at Colette in Paris and then in July it's off to Tokyo for three months for an Australia Council residency.
Portrait of Rick Rubin, 76 x 56 cm. Watercolour and acrylic on paper by Dane Lovett.

Melbourne Questions

Your favourite art galleries to visit in Melbourne?

Last year my favorite shows were at Sarah Scout and Utopian Slumps. I always like to visit Heide too. Where do you shop in Melbourne for the tools of your trade?

Melbourne Artist Supplies in the city, St Luke's in Collingwood, and Fitzroy Stretches in Brunswick

What/where was the last great meal you ate in Melbourne?

There is this great butcher in Thornbury - called Belmore. The last great meal was made with a butterflied chicken from them cooked on the barbeque on the road outside my studio.

Where would we find you on a typical Saturday morning?

It's always different but at some point I'm always walking behind my dog around Northcote. Melbourne’s best kept secret?

The Yarra Bend Park in Fairfield. There is a place by the Yarra where the bats nest, it's great it feels like you are way out of town.

Oasis, 2010, was acquired by the Gold Coast City Art Gallery at the 2010 Stan and Maureen Duke Prize. (Can be viewed until Feb 6th at the Gold Coast City Art Gallery, 135 Bundall Road, Surfers Paradise.)

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