Incredibly grounded and frank, contemporary artist Sonny Dalimore is certain of his craft, yet open to the changing world, and those he encounters whilst navigating it. From June 22nd to 28th, the Northcote-based artist will be hosting an open studio exhibition. The showcase will bring together works inspired by his extensive travels across Australia – references that return him happily to those immersive landscapes.
Sonny’s passion for art has been unwavering and life long. In 1973 he was a a wide-eyed art student at RMIT. ‘I believed then, and now, that an artist needs to understand and practice in all different mediums. Practicing across painting, printmaking, and sometimes ceramics gave me a sense of completion,’ he explains.
By the time he’d graduated from his degree in sculpture, painting had emerged as his favoured discipline. Sonny’s teachers at RMIT recognised his aptitude, offering him direct entry in to the third year of a painting degree and additional post graduate courses, as well as a scholarship to study in Paris. This residency enabled the keen young creative to spend many inspiring days absorbing the art of the Louvre, and other museums.
‘Ever since those student days, I’ve been enjoying painting and making sculptures,’ tells Sonny. From 2008 through to 2014, he travelled across Australia, producing hundreds of small gouache works on paper. ‘For me, it was back to basics… Perhaps the Red Centre of Australian was the most inspiring, quiet, and hot place I’d ever been, and its vast space and colours continue to be driving forces of my creativity,’ he says. ‘It was an experience of a lifetime.’
Working industriously from his home studio in Northcote, Sonny approaches art as ‘total freedom of imagination’. He ventures out for new inspiration as often as possible, returning to experiment with an array of media and techniques. ‘It all depends on the subject matter and material… anything can instantly become my tool,’ he explains, deflecting that ‘good recipes for creativity are personal, and not many artists give them away!’
Sonny shares his residence with his daughter Claudia, who is one of his biggest fans, and kindly put Sonny on our radar. ‘She is a very creative person with fantastic sense of aesthetics, and I value her opinion as a critic,’ say Sonny. ‘She’s also very enthusiastic in helping to get my work out to larger audiences, making it her priority to keep my online presence up to date!’
For the 71-year-old artist there are many more works to be made in the coming years, and he hopes to hold a retrospective exhibition next year. ‘I am only just getting started now,’ Sonny announces. ‘My motivation is not about merely making art, but exercising my imagination.’
Open Studio Exhibition by Sonny Dalimore
Opening night June 22nd June, 6 to 9pm
June 23rd to 28th (weekdays 12 to 8pm and weekends 9am to 6pm)
159 Westbourne Grove, Northcote