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This Is Northern New South Wales

Georgie Maddox’s way with paint

A colourful interview with local artist Georgie Maddox….

Q- When did you begin painting and did you always know you wanted to be an artist?

I started painting at a very young age around 7 or 8. It took me about 20 years to learn the rules and then learn how to break them. I must have always known I wanted to be an artist because I remember a few years ago unpacking my boxes in the move to Byron and discovering my junior school report. Each year the teacher would ask us what we wanted to be when we grew up. My answer in 1989 was “Artist!”


Q- How long have you lived in Byron Bay?

I moved to Byron a few years ago and I plan to stay. I have just re-signed another 12 months on my lease, there is nowhere in the world I would rather be.

Q-Does your artwork reflect your environment?

Definitely. I look back at my previous series of art works and note the dull tones, serious expressions and moods, particularly in my ‘Cellar Door’ series. Now when viewing my Byron Bay series, I note the vibrancy, the colour, the abstract nature of my subjects and the confidence and freedom of my brush strokes.

Q-How would you describe your paintings and style to someone who hadn’t had the chance to see them?

I always tell people I paint abstract figurative oil paintings, it seems the simplest way to convey my work, but honestly if  “a picture paints a thousand words” I would need to at least double that word count in a discussion of my art and style.


Q-You work in oils, did you have formal training in painting or was your passion something that evolved organically?

Working in oils was a progression that happened organically. Originally I painted in acrylics, mainly due to my fathers influence. As a young child he would constantly be frustrated by my impatience when painting, my lack of care for cleaning up after myself and so he warned me never to attempt oils! I would get them everywhere and they take time to dry. In the end my eye and passion for colour won me over and I began to play with oil paints. There is no comparison for the vibrancy of colour they can give you in the finished product.

 In terms of formal training, I have never really had any. I studied art through school and did a brief stint at the Adelaide Central School of Art, but I was always encourage by the idea that if you wanted to be an actor or an artist you should not commit yourself to study for years. Either you had the talent and would be discovered or you wouldn’t. Hence studying these disciplines would make no difference to your future prospects.

Honestly I do regret not having studied my passion, instead pursuing a degree in areas that would (or should) set you up for the money making corporate world. The art world is a very exclusive and cliquey place and not many look favourably on an artist without formal training.

 I was lucky enough to meet John Darlhsen a few days ago at his “pop up gallery”, he asked me if I had formal training, to my surprise he is one of the first people I have ever encountered of that calibre in the art world who did not flicker at all when my answer was “no”. His response having looked at my art was “your work is too cheap, put your prices up, you are under selling yourself!”. He filled me with confidence in my passion again.


Q-Which other artists, periods or movements influence your work – if any?

 Most people when they view my art can pick the Picasso influence immediately, so yes, Picasso was and still is a major influence to my style, along with Mattisse, Modigliani, Klein, Miro, Francis Bacon, Charles Blackman and Peter Maddox (my father). The period that influences me most would be 1920, when many of these artists rivalled, influenced and encouraged each other, breaking new ground in visual arts, politics and the world. I would give anything to be in the equivalent of the Salon des Artists in a place like Byron!

Q-If you were asked to paint a portrait for say – the Archibald, who would you choose to portray?

 Honestly, I would have to say Thomas Franklin (that dancing guy) he has been a huge support of my visual art. Many of my pieces include the movement of people, in my artwork Wategos, I capture the various movements of a beautiful women sun-baking and posing on the beach, like a time lapse. To be able to recreate that type of time lapse with simple, colours, shapes and lines when it came to the subject of Tommy dancing would make an incredible work of art!


Q-If someone was interested in viewing your pieces in person how should they go about checking them out?

They can go to my website to view my pieces. I currently have two of my older ‘cellar door’ series on display at Mokha Café on Lawson Street and will hopefully soon have a few on display at Barebones Gallery in Bangalow. Until then, I am always happy to show people through my home studio in Byron Bay by appointment. 0417866983.