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All posts by shamo

Colourful Journeys dvd release

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Shane’s new dvd production ‘Colourful Journeys’ is now avaiable on dvd and BluRay.

This hour and a half long feature, captures Shane’s 40 day journey across central Asia by train.

Each country visited, features a painting produced back in the studio…. filmed in timelapse and presented at the end.

A different slant on travel video, as seen through the eyes of an artist.

The show has recently debuted on Australian TV.

You can purchase the dvd from our website BlueDogFilms here

Why OutbackArt?

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It struck me today, in the midst of juggling the viral Alpaca gone mad video thing and emails, images, licencing etc….. that it seems odd that my website is called OutbackArt!

I mean, like, what the hell?  Chrome naked ladies against seascape backgrounds, with fish, monkeys, beachballs, Alpaca videos, travel videos………..hu?

I’d better start at the beginning I suppose.  You see life wasn’t always this complicated.

I once lived in a little mining town in the middle of the Australian outback, called Broken Hill.  Many of you would know Broken Hill, even if you’ve never been there.  Think of : Priscilla queen of the desert, wake in fright, razorback, town like Alice (yes Broken Hill was  used as a substitute in scenes for Alice Springs) Outback bound, Race the  sun etc and of course….Mad Max2.

Now of Mad Max… see when I was a teenager, we went to the movies and saw this cracker of a film with this bloke we’d never heard of called Mel Gibson. I think I saw him in a poncy film called ‘Tim’ but never took much notice.

Fast forward about 8 years and holy schmoly,  I find myself living in the same town Mad Max was filmed in. Not only that, a few years later, I found myself as the new tenant of the 110 year old, abandoned Catholic church high on the hill in sunny Silverton!  You can’t get closer to Mad Max than that!   Many of the car chase scenes, including the final chase with the tanker, were filmed just outside Silverton on the road to the Mund Mundi plains.

Anyhow, I digress.  So for the next 6 years, that dusty old church was my studio gallery. Here I produced hundreds of paintings, met hundreds of thousand of people (not exaggerating) and lived and breathed the ‘outback way of life’. Well, after a move into town to a ‘city’ gallery in the main street, a few more years passed and it became apparent that the time was upon us to leave the dustbowl of Broken Hill for greener climes. What more greener than God’s own country in sunny Queensland.

So we upped stumps and hauled ourselves 1800 kms to the Sunshine Coast, where we now reside on a few green leafy acres, with two mad dogs,  a heap of wildlife and 9 spoilt Alpacas.

In the midst of all this madness you call life, we would regularly travel overseas. Most often to places you’ve never heard of, nor would ever want to go!  Now I would always take a camera with me, then later a video camera too. After nearly two decades of travelling, we have enough photos to bore an entire generation shitless, let alone our poor earbashed photo inundated friends.  Hence the photo pages of the site. I can now bore a whole new generation of people in other countries too, completely shitless with my photos!!   🙂

Which brings me to closing….  Hence the photography/ film fetish and the inevitable boredom that sets in… between painting and travelling to places that are hard to find on a map. So…. film Alpacas!  I just happened to catch one of the babies (a Cria) napping and filmed it. This sat in the cupboard for 2 years before I dragged out the tape, transcoded it to the computer and last week, threw it together with some music and uploaded it to You Tube.

And here I am……..  better go do some real work now….   Shane

New website!

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Hi all,

After a week of square eyes, countless cups of tea and glaring looks for the missus, I have completed my epic migration form the old website to the new word press version.


The website is much the same, but there are heaps of cool features and many I cna’t even fathom. Best of all I feel, is the ability for anyone to post and leave comments on the site (hope this doesn’t come back to haunt me!

Also, I can type blogs in here of what is going on in my dreary life and update photos instantly.

Speaking of photos, please look through the photo galleries, there is more than enough there to send you to sleep.  The ‘media’ gallery contains travel photos news clippings , past exhibition invitations and more.

I have just added a ‘available paintings’ page and have listings there of all the works I have available. Some of these are in galleries on consignment, so email me first to so I can contact the gallery to confirm it’s still available.

Hope you enjoy the site, please let me know of any quirks or problems or even some suggestions for additional things!

Regards  Shane 😎

Help…..Technology is overwhelming me!

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This is an email I sent out to my mail list just the other day, just thought I would share it and one of the replies I received.

Help…..Technology is overwhelming me!

Like it or not, computers, technology and social media are all part of our everyday lives now. I have tried to resist for a long time taking this path but have relented!
I read an interesting article sent to me the other day, an interview between Michael short and artist Hazel Dooney.
In the article, Hazel quotes:
” The gallery system is ending. The gallery system is dying now. The gallery system has been dying for the last few years. You can see that in the number of closures of traditional galleries within Australia and internationally. You can see that in the huge success that I have had since going independent.”

I have to agree with this sentiment, it has been my own feeling for some time now.

Social media has unfurled it’s tendrils into all aspects of western society and like it or loathe it, it’s here to stay.
Thus, I am now the proud owner of: 2 websites, a blog, a you tube page, an ipone application and a facebook site!

Whilst I feel that an online presence can never truly show an artwork to anywhere near it’s true beauty, it is by far becoming the better medium to show art than the traditional gallery system.
Sure there is nothing like seeing the artwork in the flesh, feeling the texture of the canvas and taking in the colours and mood of the work, but it is problematic in getting the artwork in front of a broad range of people. The traditional galleries have fallen down on the past by ‘excluding’ many people by social attitudes. Conversely, people have felt intimidated by the traditional gallery system. Many people I’ve met and talked with have never felt inclined to visit a gallery because of this real or perceived ‘snobbery’ that exists.

Having said that, I still feel that traditional (privately run selling) galleries are important to the artist and the public. I still have many galleries that represent my work, run by wonderful hard working people. But as the social norm evolves, so to must business practices and those that don’t adapt tend to get left behind.

I had this great email sent in reply to this and with permission, thought I would share it:

Hi Shane, Thank you for sending prints to (my son) and I – He was really ecstatic to receive his own piece of your artwork and has been drumming up plenty of interest in your work as he is showing anyone that has a spare 10 seconds (If they have 10 minutes to spare, he takes them on a tour of your website! Not bad marketing for an 11 year old!) I am impressed at the way you have embraced social media – This is also a part of my job and has endless possibilities; Good on you for realising that this is a necessary step for longevity and success of your business. I am sure that this will pay off in the long term. I am one of those people who refused to embrace digital camera technology and was still paying to have rolls of film developed (and the irony is that I was working in a digital processing lab at the time and just did not find the images as aesthetically pleasing, although I could see that this was far more cost effective) but have since taken the plunge, invested in the technology and can honestly say that my digital snobbery was all in vain… I am just a creature of habit and was too stubborn to move forward! The moral of the story is that embracing change is necessary on many levels as holding onto dated ideologies can cost us a lot more in the long term! Have a great day. Kind regards, N.

The economic effect on art

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As I sit here, trading a few stocks and contemplating the future of the western market driven economies, I wonder what is the future of art in our society.
Will we value the creative process in years to come? Will traditional forms of art go extinct? Will people see art as a valuable medium or just another part of a technical app like a phone, computer or movie scene?
I truly don’t know and I tend to shake my head in disbelief at the complete apathy of people towards the path I believe we are now taking.
Our society is filled with quick fixes” fast food, tweeting, instant internet transactions, high-speed super fast broadband etc. A friend who trades the market was telling me of a service he just subscribed to at $200 a month just to hear the market news 5 seconds before his competitors, so he can effect an early trade! Amazing!

There is talk of ‘slow food’ : a movement towards supporting good quality, equitable low cost food, sourced from local farmers and chefs. Perhaps we need to take a ‘slow art’ approach to the artistic side of things too!

The artistic process is definitely a slow one, whether it be painting, sculpture, photography(the setup up not the instant result) and so on. Taking the time to appreciate the skills involved, the work and time involved and the effort and sometimes considerable hardship encountered by the artisan is something we should all do more often.

I’m not that old (in my mind anyway!) that I can’t remember when furniture came from a workshop, not Ikea. When jewellery was made by a jeweller, not a factory in Guangzhou. When having a record released meant you had made it in the music industry, not some kid in his room recording onto a PC and uploading it to cd baby or iTunes!

You know what I’m getting at here? I know it’s easy to pass over the expensive high quality well made item and get the one made in the PRC for half the cost, I do it myself. But we need to consider our fellow creative people and support their efforts, before they go the way of the typewriter mechanic!

I did a search on Google today and came up with the following graphs. they are from the Google Insights page.  They give a representation of web search interest from 2004 to the present.

The figures say it all!   All images courtesy of Google insight.



The ‘GFC’ and art

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It’s been a while since I’ve posted, apologies all round.

There’s barely anyone in the developed world who has not been affected in some way by the so called ‘GFC’ or global financial crisis.

Australia seems to have weathered the storm better than most countries, particularly the US and Europe. Many industries and sectors of commerce are particularly hard hit in recessionary times, one of those is almost always the art market. This is to be expected, as art is not only an intrinsic item, it is also a commodity which has value both in terms of investment and of social importance.

As with all commodities, prices of art and the social standing of works rise and fall. Not unlike equity markets, certain artists and artworks have ‘runs’ on their prices. Alternately some also fall out of favour and demand. But almost all the art world is affected by recessionary forces. I guess this all boils down to the fact that art is ultimately a ‘luxury’ item, ie something which is superfluous to ones everyday needs. You can’t eat a painting, it won’t put your kids through college, it won’t pay the electricity bill!

The last year has seen some long standing Australian galleries fold up and close. A couple of these were galleries I dealt with and will be sadly missed. Almost all the gallery directors I have spoken with are doing it tough, but there is definitely a light at the end of the tunnel. Inquiries have picked up and sales once again coming through. Tough times create tough people and I believe the galleries that survive and thrive will be all the better for it. Perhaps the ones that  were ‘weeded’ out along the way is a good thing of sorts, the wheat and the chaff thing!

I firmly believe that the days of the warehouse sized gallery spaces, with 6 feet between each hanging work and a dour looking managers sitting behind a computer intently ignoring all that walk through the door, are numbered.  These will go the way of the Dinosaurs, making way for a new generation of private galleries. The future in my opinion, is of greater importance placed on information technology, web based promotions and social networking between galleries and clients and clients and artists. Those who actively seek new mediums of promotion and exhibition will prosper in my opinion, so viva the revolution!

Thoughts on a burning issue

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At this time, I guess all Australian people are reflecting on the tragic events that unfolded in the state of Victoria the past few weeks.

The devastating bush fires that scorched their way through towns and communities, razing many of them to the ground. 189 dead and rising, approx. 1800 houses destroyed, the devastation must be surreal and unbelievable to those affected. Only someone who has experienced such a traumatic event can truly appreciate what those people went through.

Which brings me to that burning issue.  To burn or not to burn?

When the earliest explorers arrived in Australia, they remarked that the country was a land of burning.   Abel Tasman, Leichart and Gilbert all commented on the burning practices of the Aboriginal people. Joesph banks was quoted in 1770 ” ..fires which we saw so frequently as we passed along the shore extending over a large tract of country and by which we could constantly trace the passage of the Aborigines…”

Professor Tim Flannery offers his account and personal theories of Terra Australis, pre white settlement, in his book  ‘The future eaters’

Here Flannery espouses his theory on the 40,000 years of Aboriginal settlement. How the first people arrived to Australia from the northern Islands, Indonesia, PNG and so on. They bought their agriculture and domestic livestock with them, but those practices soon failed with the poor soil, the arid dry deserts and the humid wet tropics.

Now at this time, Australia was populated by the megafauna. Giant marsupials and huge monitor lizards roamed the lands. Animals like the Diprotodon, a 2 ton giant the size of a Rhino, but more like a wombat in physiology and nature. These beast would have been sitting ducks for the Aboriginal people. Veritable feasts on 4 legs and with no hard wired natural fear of humans (Australia had no large predators other than the giant Varanids (Goannas) the hunters could literally walk up to them and poke them in the eye!

Now where am I going with this?  Well see, the megafauna were the equivalent of Africa’s large savannah grazers. Giant lawn mowers that kept the country devoid of thick vegetation and undergrowth.  After a few hundred years, the Aboriginal folk may have punched a large hole in the megafauna population and eventually driven them to extinction. Gradually the larger animals were hunted out, down to the smaller harder to catch game, wallabies, wombats and the like.

Of course you know what happens when your trusty Victa mower breaks down? The grass goes ballistic!  There would have been a huge rapid  change in the amount of vegetation regrowth thus an exponential increase in the fuel load come the dry season. Bush fires of an unseen scale would have raged across  the land.  The indigenous people would have quickly learnt that this had to be controlled. Not only from a point of self preservation, but also to make it easier to hunt the smaller more agile game.

See there are two types of burn, a ‘cool burn and a ‘hot’ burn. A cool burn is where the fire is effected in a cooler weather period or perhaps when there is not much fuel load around. A ‘hot’ burn is when fire rages in elevated climatic temperatures with a high fuel load, burning with such intensity that all but the hardiest of vegetation is destroyed.

The Indiginous Australian’s became masters of the controlled burn and over time, the vegetation would have adapted to the point that only fire resistant species flourished. Thus I come back to my point.When the first explorers cast their eyes across our wide brown land, it was covered in a haze of smoke.  And the arrival of the first fleet, heralded the beginning of the end of the fire stick custodians of Terra Australis.

Since that time, our ever dwindling patches of uncleared bushland and national parks, have gone from sparsely treed grassy savannah land, to thick scrub laden bushland with an enormous fuel load build up.

This is Flannery’s theory, one that I much agree with and have some relatively small experience ourselves.  On our Small patch of acreage bushland, we have many tall euclaypts, bloodwoods, ash, tallowoods and so on. These are surrounded by masses of understory regrowth in the undisturbed areas and masses of Lantana (don;t get me started on Lantana!) and other noxious weeds in the disturbed areas. We try our best to preserve and regenerate the bushland and it’s vast myriad of critters that live there.  But there is always that concern of fire. Thus this burning issue!

As more and more  people make a ‘tree change’ this problem is exacerbated. How to do controlled burns with residential property build up?  This is a dilemma that must be addressed to help prevent another repeat of the tragic fires that recently affected southern Victoria occurring there or in other parts of the country.

What’s been you experience or do you have a different point of view?