ABOUT

I have now created art professionally for almost exactly half of my life (since 1995). I have won awards for my art, avoided awards for much more of my time, and largely ignored what anyone else does, aside from a few influences.  I had options, and I chose to make art.  I've worked with some top clients, and I value where that has got me. You won't find me making prints of my art, or creating what I think you might like.  There are plenty of other sources of those sort of art products, and I prefer to strive for originality in what I do.  Here is a bit of my story and how it relates to what you are looking at.   ​ The value of art is determined by, amongst other factors, its presence (how it commands attention right now) and its provenance (how it came to achieve that). With artwork valued at thousands of dollars, I had better have some good reasons.  It isn't underpinned by a story borne out of traumatic experiences, but rather out of a positive approach and some inspired choices.  Although I am moving towards my art being less safe (appearing more 'traumatized' itself) it's no surprise that my style is one of simplicity, earthiness and organic in nature, and with positive messages, albeit from the point of view of an introvert often seeking solitude and then shouting their message loudly from there.   Perhaps a unique aspect of art, and artists, is that you cannot separate everyday life, or accumulated skills and experience, from the process of producing your product.  For expression to take place, inspiration must occur, and this inspiration can be derived from any number of places, but most effectively from within.  With this this mind, and cursed with a need to constantly learn new skills, the type that money can't buy, I have applied my passion across many subjects, and these all come together in every piece of art.  It is perhaps a precursor to my art's point of difference, and instrumental in establishing the value of what I do. I believe there are two inherent qualities that have helped me forge my way in the art world, a career I have had since 1995. Firstly, I have the aforementioned thirst for learning, and I learn very quickly if something sparks my interest.  So my list of relevant "outside interests", as they would be described on most careers'' CV's, may seem long, but they have been gained over many years of not sitting particularly still. Secondly, I am profoundly ambidextrous.  I have favored hands for certain tasks, but I perceive no difference in the strength or ability of each.  I use either hand for actual painting or drawing, but the benefit is more in how this derives from a brain that is balanced between the scientific and the creative.  I am emotional and vulnerable when I create, but I switch easily to being confident, professional and unattached to results when I am lucky enough to show someone my creation and even luckier to garner their attention, their criticism or their passionate following. ​ I have always gravitated towards landscape art, and I understand my subject through having a first class degree in Geology, a career I worked in for about 5 years, firstly in university-level teaching and then in the mining industry before going out on my own.  No-one can ever take away from me the fact that I chose art because I was driven to do so, and not for any other reason.  I could have happily remained a geologist, and it would have been quite lucrative. ​ (2) I am not short of creativity or creative ideas. I struggle to remain original, but the ideas do flow. I love music, and apart from listening to an eclectic and wide, but still quite specific range of material, I have played the Soprano Saxophone for about 25 years.  I am working on material to be released in some form or another, but there is no urgency.  I'm lucky to be able to hold some sort of tune on any instrument I pick up, but the soprano has always been my favorite.  I'm keen to learn to play the kora if I can get my hands on one. I believe the understanding of rhythm and pattern transfers to art well, as does the inherent 'in the moment' nature of playing or listening to music, which is a good aspect to attempt to incorporate into an artwork.  I believe that being 'in the moment'  is part of its presence. ​ (3) When I left geology I became a successful fine art landscape photographer.  I sold mostly large scale photographic prints hand-printed in a traditional darkroom. I've always built everything I've ever needed myself, including darkrooms, enlarging equipment, and specialist processing trays for large scale works. The influence of photography is obvious in my photorealism work, but extends well into my other mediums which rely heavily on design concepts and strong but simple compositions.  For nearly a decade I only photographed in black and white, which perhaps taught me simplicity.  I need to remind myself of that from time to time, being a bit over-multi-facetted. I made that term up now. ​ (4) As suggested by my building darkrooms, I am very hands-on, very practical with my hands, innovative and a quick-thinking solver of practical problems.  I have rebuilt numerous engines and some gearboxes, and fixed my vehicles in remote places.  Going remote for inspiration is a strong aspect of my art, which has recurring themes of solitude and space.  I have built kitchens from scratch, furniture, and loudspeaker enclosures.  It doesn't take too much to apply those skills to creating large mixed media abstract works of art. ​ (5) I write, but not in quite as passionate way as some other pursuits, but it has led to the accompanying text in a photography book that I had published in 2007, and some smaller contributions. I have composed poetry, and songs, but I keep those hidden for now.  Writing helps me to articulate meaning in my art, although you'll find me scripting very little about it as I generally wish the art to speak for itself visually. ​ (6) Sometimes my interests change emphasis and become something else. It only takes a spark.  This happens with my art too, and I will quickly move from one series to another, without any prior planning. My interest in photography suddenly became an interest in cinematography, and I have since devised and built a particular type of anamorphic lens, performed professional filming services, and I am a competent editor of material.  These sort of skills accompany me on my remote adventures, and I frequently have quite holistic experiences because of the way they interact with each other and with me. ​ (7) Perhaps less obviously applicable to my art, I have a deep interest in language.  I guess it helps to be both right and left brained here.  The benefit, apart from the love I have for learning language, is that it promotes an understanding of cultures besides my own, and this creates a tolerance which I don't deserve to have as a fairly critical thinker.  I feel aligned with other cultures and momentarily part of them.  This influences my art, makes me more diverse and more generically appealing.  I'm less susceptible to cultural appropriation, or maybe more so but having gained my right to appropriate since it is part of me. My work is not predominantly Kiwiana (a name for New Zealand inspired material) and as such has a cross cultural feel. A quantification of my language interest might go something like this: My mother tongue is English, but as a young boy I spoke fluent (age appropriate) Dutch.  I am professionally fluent in Afrikaans, and functionally fluent in Spanish.  I speak both Afrikaans and Spanish competently with very little accent (I think having a musical ear helps), and I understand Afrikaans at native level, and enough Spanish as if it is practically my own language I am listening to. I taught myself the latter, as I do with virtually all of my acquired skills, but I have lost the ability to speak Dutch (wouldn't be hard to get that back though).  I've forgotten the French I learned at school but I understand a fair amount of Portuguese and Italian without having the ability to speak them, but that's not surprising given the similarity to Spanish.  I'm currently learning Mandarin, having a growing understanding of the Chinese writing system and specific recognition well up the HSK levels and a feel for tonal speech.  I can read some Chinese in context, such as in news articles, but my listening skills are currently very poor, although I know how this gig works by now and it just takes time.  All of this does. ​ To undertake remote adventures requires a degree of fitness.  At 54 I'm still young, but I try to keep it that way with regular activity, bordering on competitiveness.  I'm a currently-off-peak-form ultramarathoner, and regular runner of shorter distances.  With a bit of training I can still go sub 20 minutes for 5km, so that's pretty good for age and my body holds up well and recovers quickly from niggles.  A competent surfer in my youth, I rarely do that now in the cold waters of the deep South Pacific, and I haven't sport-climbed for a while, although as with all my interests I'm sure that'll resurface.  Just writing about it inspires me.  That's a long explanation, but if you didn't want to read it you wouldn't have and so I don't mind imposing it on you. I'd like to believe it all melts away in the presence of one of the artworks anyway, and with a lot of my interests being conceptual I hopefully keep my impact very low, whilst not minding creating a widening circle of influence via my art.

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4bstract / Bruce Mortimer is best known as an award-winning pencil photorealist using charcoal and graphite and creating artworks of true value in their uniqueness and exquisite technique...