Navigation has never been my forte, and when it comes to directions I’m heavily dependent on my phone, which has 1% right now. Fortunately, I came to my destination, Brad Teodoruk’s rad pad. After a bit of a chinwag, we sat on the floor, sipping our Southern Comfort and well, continued chatting.
Raised in the Blue Mountains, this cool cat is celebrating death with colourful cowboys, drunken horses and their trusty pistols at his upcoming show, Pushin Up the Daisies. So do yourself a favour and trek on down to the Glebe gallery on December the 12th to swoon over some good ol’ art, inspired by the wild wild west. Oh, you don’t like art? Well, word on the street is they’ll be free booze. It’s a win-win. You alcoholic.
What goes on a normal day for Brad Teodoruk.
When I wake up, I start off with 10 minutes of meditation just to bring myself to the present. Mindfulness is something that I’m trying to work on a bit lately. And then I will probably run around the house like a maniac cause I’m most likely late for something. But, if I’ve got a free day, I’ll plan to stay in here and paint. I’ll normally look at my sketchbooks and see what works, take myself down to the art shop and bring back what I need. I set all the canvas’s up myself, so I put the stretcher bars together and buy the big rolls of canvas and walk them back haha. It can be quite costly as well.
Yeah, I can imagine.
Big ones cost around $200 each and I work with oil paint so that’s kinda expensive too. It takes quite a while to stretch these big ones up. But with my process. I like layering and painting over things so I mean a lot of my artworks you’ll see have been painting over at least four times. Like that big one right there, I would paint over that now.
Would a lot of inspiration be what was previously painted on the canvas?
This big one was originally a soldier riding a horse but I wasn’t happy with it so I painted over it but left the horse’s face and tail. It generates abstraction that you can’t really plan for.
Your artwork has recently taken a western feel to it.
Yeah, this is for a show that’s coming up, called Pushin Up the Daisies. And it revolves around death but I mean there’s a tongue n cheek to it, it’s not so morbid and cliché. The colours I use are bold, bright colours because I’m interested in colour, especially how they work together.
Do you prefer working on larger pieces?
Yeah, I do. I’m exploring composition, there’s just more room to breathe with larger pieces. I dunno, it just makes more of an impact, like when you walk into the room, you’re gonna be drawn to it, hopefully.
Do you have a message you like to convey through your pieces?
I’m interested in storytelling and I guess this is my way to tell stories. I’ve always felt really awkward telling stories, I feel a bit uncomfortable ha. I have a piece called Barking Irons, which is old slang for pistols or revolvers, it depicts a sheriff being robbed at gun point by an outlaw. Another piece I’m working on at the moment is called 20 Day of June Took the Cow Away. It tells the story of how a farmer sold his cow to a slaughterhouse and how he regrets it.
Are any of your pieces self-portraits?
Do they have many stories behind, or journeys? Kinda like an emotional attitude you’ve put into it.
All of the above. Haha. I mean last year, I spent a solid two months only doing self-portraits as way of rediscovering who I was or am. I have recently been diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder combine that with a 12 year relationship breakdown last year with my fiancée and out comes Pushin Up the Daisies. So a lot of characters represent me one way or another.
So what does Brad Teodoruk get up to on a seedy night out.
Look, I’m pretty old, haha. I’m a bit of hermit lately, only because I am so involved with my craft. I go to a lot of artshows, it’s so important to support other artists aswell, it’s a great way of networking aswell.
So you said you use to play music, did you ever play in a band back in the day?
Yeah, I played in a band for five years.
It was a hardcore band and I’m not really into that anymore. But we were fortunate enough tour Australia a couple of times with some American bands.
Do you find the lifestyle of a musician and artist quite different?
Again, coming back to the idea of storytelling, all of this is just trying to convey or express a story. I mean, if can’t do that in a song, then I’ll do it in a painting. Yeah, I have this guitar from 1966, Elvis use to play with the same style of guitar. It’s my baby, pride and joy.
So all the colours you’ve used with your upcoming show, they’re pretty bold, do you normally work with these colour palette?
For this show, I was really interested in working with bold, bright colours, you know? I’ve gone through many, many styles to get to here. Last year, I was experimenting with different colour palettes not to mention mediums and you can see that the colours are bit different to what I’m doing now. Back then it was a lot darker. Now, it’s more about the colour combinations to me. I am, however, trying to work with more of a reduced palette otherwise it just gets really sloppy y’know?
Yeah, gets a bit here and there.
So do you prefer to work in a one area or do you like branch out and explore other fields?
I often have a number of things going on at once. I mean, you can see a lot of them are mostly paintings but i’ve got a few woodblock prints, etchings and ceramics.. Yeah, I don’t really know if that answers you’re question, haha.
Yeah, no. It’s good, it’s good, haha.
Do you feel comfortable with showcasing your work?
With most of my work I feel somewhat anxious, naturally. There are a few pieces that I’m really excited about and want to show people. Sometimes I feel like I’ve hit the mark. . But I mean, I feel like there is an energy that channels through me, I am but a vessel. I can’t help but create no matter what, so if I look at it in that perspective, its not so personal because it’s this energy that flows through me. It’s just what do I do really.
Do you enjoy the process?
From start to finish, I love preparing a canvas. I love staring at a blank canvas, you know, that old cliché of being intimidated by that and then just getting this confidence and charging at it.
Have you done a solo show before?
Not yet, haha.
What was the last show you’ve showcased in?
I’ve just curated a group show actually a few months ago. It was a charity event, I put in about six pieces of my own, I managed to get around 20 artists on board who generously donated their work which was then silently auctioned off with all the profit going to Beyond Blue.
So sick man, how’d you go?
I managed to raise $4000, I couldn’t believe it!. The amount of support from family and friends and even the public was inredible. I didn’t expect anything like it at all and it was so generous for all the artists to donate there work. So I think that was quite a success. I think I’d like to make it an annual thing and do different charities each year. That’d be cool.
Seems like a win-win.
Yeah, for everyone. I mean the artists get exposure, someone gets to take home an original piece of art and all the money gets donated to a charity. Plus, it’s a fun night, have a few drinks.
Yeah, nice. Do you find it difficult with organising a group of artists?
Yeah so I had to meet up with every artist to collect their work and store them at my place, it can take a lot of time but this is something I had planned a year in advance so I had that time. I mean if you left it to the last minute, you’d be pulling your hair out that’s for sure. I don’t have a car at the moment, so it was a bit challenging getting on the bus with these massive artworks, haha. It was a bit awkward.
Was there any significant milestone where you were like ‘yep this is what I’m gonna do’?
I arrived at that time around last year when I realised this is all I did with my time. This is what I do and like to do, if I’m going to do it, I may as well charge at it with all I have and make it work.
Go at it.
Yeah, that charity event was also a huge milestone. That was the first thing I’ve ever done. I’ve got Pushin Up the Daisies next month so I think that’ll be another milestone.
Tell us more about Pushin Up the Daisies.
It’s in December on the 12th. It goes for 3 days, the cost of the gallery comes out of my pocket, I’m the stereotypical struggling artist haha. But opening night will be where most of your friends and family will come out and check it out, I hope.
Do you think Glebe has a good creative community?
I think if you’re in the art scene or creative industry you wanna try and support the local artists. The gallery where I’m putting my show on, everytime there’s a show, I stop in to every single one to say g’day to the artist.
Who would be one of your ultimate idol?
I have quite a few. Sidney Nolan is one. I’m really interested in Australian artists and painters, as well as Australian music.
We’re starting to finally get our own feel I think.
Brett Whitely, Arthur Boyd, Philip Guston, Picasso, Basquiat are also some favourites.
Do you ever use their work to draw inspiration or a base for you own work?
I mean I definitely take inspiration from those artists but I don’t think any of my work is like their work. I mean, all I have to do is go to the Brett Whitely studio in Surry, walk around for 10 minutes then I’d wanna run home and instantly start making something.
How long does it take for you to finish a piece?
I like to knock em out in a couple of hours. Though they may take months to complete with the layering aspect. I certainly don’t like to labour over work. I don’t have the patience.
Have you ever gotten into a creative rut?
I haven’t hit that part yet. I’ve never been in a rut or had a creative block before which is lucky. Actually, except for this fucker. That’s the one. I just can’t get it to work.
Not feeling it?
Give me a big square shape and I can easily find my composition. But this rectangular shape, oh man. And I even did it to myself, I told myself lets try something new and now here I am.
Have you heard that song called Pushin Up the Daisies by Colourfield?
No I haven’t haha.
It’s actually not a bad song.
I’ll have to check it out. Maybe play it at the opening.
How did you get to here?
Well, I went through a bit of shit last year, and it’s sort been my way of rediscovering. I don’t wanna say being born again or anything like that. More a reinvention.
Had like a kind of shift in life?
My whole world was turned upside down. I had two options. The option I chose was to work.
I think everyone hits that point eventually.
Such is life. Thanks Ned Kelly for that quote. Maybe I’ll get it tattooed on me. I’m sure that hasn’t been done before.
Any bands you interested in right now? Do you listen to music whilst painting?
Oh yeah, big time. I chuck on Katy Perry and instantly get in the zone. To be honest, I do listen to the Meat Puppets a lot lately. But I’ll always put on Neutral Milk Hotel, Nick Cave or Cohen. Their lyrics inspire me the most to pursue my own visions. Then I’ll put the Rolling Stones on and have fun with it, you gotta have that balance. I hope you can see there’s a sense of play in my work.
I think with the colours you’ve chosen it definitely makes death a more open topic.
Yeah, that’s that tongue in cheek thing I was talking about.
Where do you find all the ideas for your characters?
They’re kinda based on old western films. My mate Henry gave me this incredible book of Cowboy Movies. I also bought and Australian True Crime book that I draw a lot of inspiration from.
I thought you’d be a little bit of a western fan with all the horses, pistols and cowboys haha.
Yes. Haha, there is a sense of naivety in my work but everything you see I have done exactly how I’ve wanted it to look.
Do you surround yourself with other artists?
I think it’s important to have a balance. I’ve got friends that I specifically go swimming with and won’t talk about art whatsoever. We talk about anything but art. But then I’ve got other friends who are artists and we’ll talk about art till we go blue in the face
Will there be drinks at your show?
Yeah, so they’ll be drinks on the house.
I’ll be there.
Haha, yeah that normally draws people in.
Need I say more? Free art, free booze and a hell-of-a-night.
Click here for further details on next week’s event.