St. Martin’s School of Art with Anthony Caro was a rich environment for making sculpture.

 I took to the cut and welded steel mediums of St. Martins and my first show was a response to waves, waterfalls and clouds in the Kentish countryside where I grew up.  

Two years later an exhibition at The National Gallery, Southbank entitled “Roads” comprised assemblages of road detritus scavenged from the City’s asphalt.  

In 1982 Australia was a revelation. I was instantly inspired by the light and scale, the ubiquitous use of corrugated-iron and the regularity of submarines traversing Bondi’s pacific horizons.  

An ambitious, international laser-project planned in the mid-80’s culminated in a lot of publicity and an appetite for making intricate lightboxes. The Artangel Trust worked on a proposal to light up London with my laser-blue submarine outline.  

Returning to Australia via Perth, I lectured in sculpture at Curtin University and thrived on the opportunities for showing and the vast studio spaces of the empty warehouses of Fremantle. The Goldfields around Kalgoorlie were littered with remnants of past-toil, strewn across an indigenous landscape, half-buried in ochre-coloured topsoils.  

Back to Melbourne and St. Kilda in ’91 to the home of my great-grandparents. Enrolling to do an M.A. at the Victorian College of the Arts led to exhibitions at the Australian Centre for Contemporary Art (ACCA) and participating in a sculpture retrospective at Heide Museum of Modern Art.  

Two remarkable Melbourne studios provided inspiration, Baymour Court behind the Esplanade Hotel in St. Kilda and a glass penthouse above the old St. Vincent’s Hospital overlooking the The Royal Exhibition Building.  

At the start of the millennium we built the Mia Mia studio, inspired by Alexander Calder’s. This provided an opportunity for working in larger scale with re-enforcement steel (reo) and wire mesh. These heavy industrial materials enabled a subtle interplay between internal and external form.  

Covid lockdown was an opportunity for uninterrupted focus and maximising resources. A small and dark space facilitated working with l.e.d. lighting, acrylics and an assortment of the materials at hand.  

Five Walls Gallery in Footscray with its five spaces is always worth a visit. One Star Gallery in North Melbourne combines eclectic, quality art with excellent coffee and the “Big Sculpture St.Kilda” show has become an important stage for contemporary Melbourne artists.

Studio at Mia Mia
© 2022 Jason Hartcup