in conversation with jack Macrae
we caught up with the man behind this year’s festival look, jack macrae.
It’s been a couple of year’s since we last spoke. What’s been happening?
Hey legends! I have been super busy! I have been working heaps, surfing not enough, and painting as much as I can!
The thing we love most about your artwork is how unique it is to you — it feels like we haven’t seen anything else like it. How did you find your style?
I hadn’t really painted, collaged or done much art previously. Really, it clicked and came from my architectural studies and work. I had been studying the Modern Architecture Philosophy of Peter Eisenman and the Autonomy of Architecture. This is a huge worm hole to go down. But I applied his theory of autonomy to making collages. And how the varying elements could come together to make a picture, whilst using the least amount of colours and elements; and then being able reproduce the artwork again and again and again. Cutting paper and using coloured paper really dictated my style early on, and I was able to transfer that over to painting. It is a bit of an oxymoron to my style but I hate that there is too much choice out there. So if I can limit myself to a place and a few colour selections then life is easy.
Can you see your style changing now? Where is your art heading?
Good Question! I haven’t been taking on many commissions lately and I’ve just been working on a few different things. I really like applying the same principles of hard edge and colourfeild and applying new techniques. I have been working on big circle paintings, which I have been loving — I am showcasing them in Melbourne in a couple of weeks. And then the landscape stuff, I am working on at the moment, is more compositional and not as directly representative of a place. I have been throwing in clouds and shadows; building up more depth in my work. Progression is everything. I don’t want to be stuck doing the same thing.
Clearly your surroundings influence you. But is there something else, a little deeper, that influences your work?
I guess my studies and work within Architecture and Modern Architecture — the theories, styles and techniques have driven my style. I love brutalism — the hard lines and rawness. I am also a huge lover of cartoons; the colours and hard edges are so good in these imaginary worlds. Also techno music and raves are unreal. The sound engineering and music being put out is so good. And the contemporary art and set-ups of these festivals is wild. They are a good place/way to let it all go and get inspired.
We’re not sure what we prefer more — your paper collages, or your paintings. What do you prefer to create?
I love the limitations and simplicity of colour with paper but, right now, the weather has been killing me with the paper collages. But, I love to paint. Sitting down with a huge canvas is slow — you’re up close and it’s really personal. Trying to get your lines tight and clean. There is something about it. Throwing headphones on, blocking out the outside world, and just painting away. It is like yoga for the mind.
You work full-time and create art in your spare time. Is the end goal to pack-in the 9–5?
Well the 9–5 feeds my art financially and mentally. I have self-funded my art from the get-go. I get home and paint all night and on the weekends to switch off. I might not get all the time in the world to paint, but it is more about doing it for myself. I’ve packed-in the 9–5 a couple of times already, but I keep coming back to it. I love architecture and I’m so passionate about it. So, as long as I am still learning and working creatively, I am happy at the end of the day.
What’s the end goal?
Once I get registered, hopefully, I can pick up a few more of my own projects or developments. The end goal is to do my art and have a few of my own projects. Architecture has the ability to change the world so I have so many huge ideas that I would love to do and work on. And to be able to work on it as if it was my art — i.e. this is how it is done, and this is how it will be done. None of this Pinterest-board-outside influence. Design is so important. I didn’t study to be dictated by what other people want. I have my own philosophies and ideas, I really want to make that work in my architecture.
Now, onto your work for the festival. We were over the moon when you agreed to help us with this year’s festival branding. Was it a hard decision?
Not at all a hard decision! I love getting involved in an epic project and Horizon is such a sick festival for home. I know my work is strong, so doing the branding for it was always going to be easy. The hardest part was deciding when to stop making little Sunshine Coast collages to show you guys!
We obviously spoke about what we were after with the works, but — for the most — this was all you. Can you talk us through how you landed on the pieces and the creative process you went through?
Working with paper is such a quick and easy process for me. It is how I test ideas and compositions. The limitations of the coloured card and choice made my life even easier, having to stick to 4-5 colours. I live near Coolum, so doing one of Mt. Coolum was always on the cards. I also recently surfed out at Mudjimba Island and was blown away looking back to land — how these formations are so significant. I am always inspired by home and with all the epic sunsets and sunrises of late, that just filled my cup up. So, just being able to take these mental snapshots and sketches — whilst being out exploring — and then get into the studio and go for it was all I needed.
Are you happy with how they turned out?
Yeah, absolutely stoked!
What 5 events are you most looking forward to?
Hmmmm, all of it looks really good to be honest. So I don’t think 5 events is going to cut it. But, since you did ask: Risofest, Songs of Gaia, Dawn Awakening, Electrotropism, Kabi Kabi Connections.
Who, or what, do you want to see at next year’s festival?
Possibly a food element or hall. The Sunshine Coast has some great regional restaurants + chefs and wonderful fresh produce at our disposal. So bringing that skill and taste sense in could be wild.