Interview: John Dobson
Luca Curci talks with John Dobson during the 11th Edition of CONTEMPORARY VENICE 2022, at Palazzo Bembo.
Born in Melbourne, Australia, after graduating from Frankfurt International School in Germany, I studied Graphic Design at Maidstone College of Art in the UK, where I first began taking photographs seriously, and then at the Royal College of Art in London. After spending most of the 1980s working as an art director in the advertising industry, then drifting off to pursue various other creative endeavours, I decided the spontaneity of photography and designing within the context of a photographic frame more suited to my temperament. Studying Graphic Design at Art College taught me conceptual thinking, a Diploma in Photography from the Sydney Institute of TAFE Ultimo taught me the photographic technique I needed to execute my concepts successfully.
Luca Curci – What is art for you?
John Dobson – For me art is expressing an idea, a point of view or observation in an aesthetically pleasing or unique way. It is an understanding of colour theory, the rules of composition and design and then choosing to follow or ignore them. It is a balance of creativity and technical skill. The technique can be taught but creativity is innate. Good art looks effortless. It is an understanding of technique without drawing attention to it.
LC – What are you currently working on?
JB – During lockdown last year I spent time working on a number of still life photographs inspired by Dutch Golden Age still life paintings. I’m reflecting and editing at the moment.
LC – According to you, what makes a good photo? Which details do you focus on?
JD – A good photograph is an observation or a point of view based on an individual’s unique perception. A good photograph has a pleasing colour palette and an awareness of composition. I have a background in graphic design so I look for clean, uncluttered compositions with one central point of focus.
LC – How is being an artist nowadays?
JD – I believe being an artist is being compelled to create and express one’s voice and ideas, without any obvious reward or benefit. Being a successful artist is having an understanding of marketing, self-promotion, schmoozing with all the right people and having a head for business, which I don’t…
LC – What is the most challenging part about creating your artworks?
JD – The most challenging part of creating artwork for me is getting started. I have lists of ideas and concepts I have never got around to executing. Once I do have momentum, I keep going. There are always obstacles in getting the initial concept off the ground when you have to wear many hats, like sourcing models, costumes, props, locations, etc.
LC – In which way the artwork presented in our exhibition is connected with the exhibition’s theme?
JD – Without clothes we are vulnerable. These images are about a vulnerable body in a dreamlike space.
LC – Can you explain something about the artworks you have in our exhibition?
JD – The photographs exhibited are part of a series with a surrealist theme, based on a recurring dream I have where I‘m in a public space and feeling anxious or uneasy and yet strangely unaware that I have forgotten to put clothes on.
LC – Do you think ITSLIQUID GROUP can represent an opportunity for artists?
JD – I think any exhibition like ITSLIQUID that gives both local and international emerging and established artists the chance to exhibit is a wonderful opportunity.
LC – Would you suggest collaboration with us? What do you think about our services?
JD – I am open to collaborating with ITSLIQUID. As an Australian, I am happy to have my work seen by an international audience. I am happy that my website has generated enough interest to be invited to exhibit my work.