This exhibition focuses on maintenance workers why did you choose this subject matter?
Up to this point I have spent most my paid working days in hospitality. During this time I have met and befriended many maintenance workers fostering relationships that extend beyond the workplace. They share experiences that most of us do not.
In the statement for this show you say you want to remind others of the importance of these people and celebrate their duties why do you feel it’s important?
In the great hierarchy of socially acceptable jobs, that of maintenance workers, i.e. cleaners, is most often at the bottom. Cleaning is a low skilled job but one that is important and necessary to the efficient function of any face-to-face customer related business, especially hospitality. I have seen some maintenance workers ignored, shunned, bullied, avoided and disrespected simply because of the jobs they perform. This is why I want to focus my attention on these workers and praise their occupation without attention to any workplace hierarchy or social judgment.
Can you tell us more about your influences? What is it about Australian Indigenous works and Paleolithic cave painting that inspires you?
First and foremost are the visual aesthetics of Indigenous works. Secondly would be the treatment of paint and then thirdly, large scale works that encompass large physical movements, i.e large brush marks.
Any artists or works in particular that influenced this show or your practice in general?
No artists directly influenced this particular show. My practice in general has been influenced by various artworks that share a similar aesthetic and style of execution. This can be expressed by a rough and seemingly rushed application of paint that deals primarily with repetition of line and earthy colours.
I’ve seen your work on a few occasions most recently “The Lovers” at Eckersley art space and “The Family Bonds” at House Of Bricks, in both of these shows you painted quite large works sometimes covering entire walls. What was it like for you shifting from such large-scale works to making small works for this show? Have you ever made paintings at this scale? Will you do it again?
Size is very important in the overall aesthetics and physical expression that I aim to instill in my works. My brushstrokes try to embody large physical movements. These small works felt more method driven and less creatively quenching. This show was a challenge but something I wanted to do and in turn has given me a better understanding of my capabilities as a painter.
Can you talk a bit about your work process? Are you primarily a painter? Where did you pick up your painting skills?
My artworks end as paintings but the working process is executed as a drawing. I use paint and a brush but I do not generally mix paints on the canvas nor do I blend paint. I sketch all my works first on paper then move onto canvas.
I picked up my skills as a painter from watching YouTube videos and traveling to at least 5 galleries a week for over two years. On average I went to the NGV twice a week and spent hours in the library reading books on ‘How To Paint’. I have chosen to paint in a particular style because I feel its embodies best who I am.
Any upcoming projects that you’d like to share?
I’m off to Europe to seek some inspiration and see some sights. I have no solid idea’s to share at this point but when I do ill be sure to let you know.
You can see more of Christopher Jewitt's work here: