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Jakes Story

My journey to becoming an artist hasn’t always been straightforward, and perhaps was a surprise to my family. I was allways a creative kid, but until I was a teenager, I gravitated more towards sports and science subjects, my first career dream was to become a marine biologist. I enjoyed art more and more as I grew older, mostly from spending time with my old man tinkering away in the shed, however it never occurred to me at this point that art could be a proper profession. When I finished high school, I decided to complete my carpentry aprentiship with Dad. It was during this period that I began to experiment with making sculptures, mostly because of his encouragment during downtime or quite periods at work. We were drawn to using metal, propably just to do something different after working with timber all day. The first artwork I ever made was a fish cut out of stainless steel, which I still proudly display in the garden today. It was a little wonky, and I didn’t have the metalworking skills I have today, but it was the start of my journey to becoming an artist.

After I finished my apprenticeship, I decided to travel overseas for a few years, living in Cornwall, England for a period, and making my way through Europe. This trip was life changing, as travel often is, as it exposed me to different cultures, different ways of thinking, and different ways of living. It was over this few years that I decided I wanted to pursue art as a career, or at least learn more about art, and shortly after I came home to Australia, I enrolled in a Bachelor of Fine Arts. In order to focus my study on Sculpture, I moved to Melbourne in my second year and enrolled at RMIT, which has a more specialised course. I spent this few years at uni experimenting with different mediums such as installation, video and found object, and honing in on conceptual ideas such as the Fibonacci sequence and ideas of Australian Identity.

After finishing my Bachelors, I began my Masters Degree in ‘Art in Public Space’. I chose this masters because I realised that art shouldn’t be contained just in gallery spaces or private collections. Art belongs to people, and communities should have access to art no matter what their socio economic status. There is a perception amongst non arty people that you have to have a high level of education in order to understand or appreciate art, an idea that is definitely pushed by the arts industry itself. However this is a myth. Art that can be appreciated by a diverse range of people is the best and most powerful kind.

After finishing my Masters Degree in 2017, I struggled to produce a lot of work, as I was working full time in construction, and didn’t really have access to a proper workshop. It wasn’t until the end of 2018, when I decided to move back home to WA with my partner Aimee, that I was able to get back into the studio. I found I really hit the ground running, as I had a lot of ideas in the back of my head waiting to be manifested, and began rapidly making a lot of large scale sculptures, inspired by the WA culture and landscape.

Whilst there are a lot of conceptual ideas running through my work, I think the culture and environment of growing up in Western Australia is the common thread that connects it all. I am constantly inspired by the wildlife that I see everyday around our home, like the dolphins hunting in the Eustry, the banksias and the honkey nut trees, and by the eccentric characters i’ve grown up with, that turn every project into an artwork without realising it and inspire me constantly. Its this culture that is woven into the fabric of who I am, both as an artist, and as a man.

‘Turtle’, Stainless Steel, 2015. This piece is part of a series of sculptures made for the RMIT Graduating Exhibition in 2015.
‘Learning Curve’, 2014, vine Trimmings, an installation made for Sculpture in the Vineyard’s located in the Hunter Valley, 2014.
‘Emergence’, 2015, Cast polished Bronze. Made for the 2015 RMIT Graduate Exhibition.
‘Humpback Jumping’, 2012, Stainless Steel. This is one of the first large scale sculptures I ever made, and is now on display at Jahroc Gallery in Margaret River.

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