Local Artist Series // Keith Hamlyn
Who are you and what do you create?
My name is Keith Hamlyn and I’m a multidimensional being of light who uses two dimensions of the same form to stop moments for eternity and prosperity, whatever that might be.
Have you always lived on the coast?
No. I grew up in Yatala (famous for their meat pies) near the Goldy but my family would always do camping trips to K’gari (previously know as Fraser Island). I knew from an early age I wanted to move to the Sunny Coast, which finally happened when I was 20. About 24 years ago. Ouch.
What materials and techniques do you use?
I combine fragments of light, salty water, and the human form. I then mix them through a glass sieve, let them simmer in a black box, before adding them to a digital oven. Where I then cook them, until they are sharp and crispy, and serve them onto a wall for you to eat.
What does a typical day look like for you?
Hopefully not anxiety ridden. It has been a very hectic couple of years. I try to start with a bush walk and some meditation, then my day is normally divided between my photography, my vegetable oil business, and I’ll normally throw a bit of mulching in there as well.
In what space do you like to create most?
Being in nature has always been my safe space, but I would like to bring some more studio work into my life. It’s getting to bloody hot outside!
Outside of photography, what keeps you busy?
I own a vegetable oil business supplying kitchens with fresh oils and collecting the waste, which will be then converted into Bio Diesel. Also, over the past 12-months I have been building a studio and rehabilitating my property that I live on.
What Inspirations go into your work?
Immersing myself in nature (surfing is good for that) and observing our kind.
Was there a defining moment in your life that made you think that you were on the right path?
To be sincere, yes there was. But to say I’ve walked that path since, would be untrue. I was very sick as a teenager and the doorway back to health allowed for some lightbulb moments that definitely set me on a path. But in recent years — well, too many actually — I’ve really struggled with anxiety and depression. I actually had to step away from photography because of it. I did so to work on myself, and my mental health, and amazingly when the fog started to abate I was approached by Horizon Festival to continue I Sea U and now I’m showing at the Caloundra Regional Gallery. So, for me it confirmed what I already knew: the path was always under my feet. I just needed to find my grounding to walk it again.
What makes you happy?
Being in the presence of sincere humans.
Tell us about your upcoming exhibition ‘I Sea U’?
It’s beautiful, I can tell you that. I’m so grateful to these strangers who gave themselves up to my vision. I feel we all have a deep evolutionary relationship to water, and for me immersing ourselves in the sea is a trigger for that connection. I want to create portraits that allow the viewer to wonder on what the connection and space it takes the subject to. Having the gallery, where a lot of the prints are life-size, will be such a great experience compared to looking at the images on a phone. I’m a combo of excitement and anxiety, but I’m going to make sure excitement wins.
Got some books to read this year?
Toa Te Ching by Lao Tzu. It’s a book of wisdom via 81 poems written 2500 years ago.
The Alchemist by Paulo Coehlo. It’s always a nice reminder to an underlying beauty in our world.
Dark Emu by Bruce Pascoe. I’d highly recommend this and think that everyone should read it. We have been raised on a lot of lies in this country and it can’t hurt to be open to other possibilities rather than just our colonial ideas of what we call Australia.
What are your favourite 3 albums?
Anything by Tool.
Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots by Flaming Lips.
Innervisions by Stevie Wonder.
But really 3 ain’t fair.
Favourite water person?
What three artists are exciting you most on the Sunshine Coast?
Hard question because there is amazing depth on the coast.
I love Ruby Donohoe’s art as it’s completely embodied in her. So grateful that Horizon made me aware of her.
Big love for Alison Mooney. Her work just makes me smile and I love that I know it’s her, before I know it’s her work, if you know what I mean?
I also love Georgina Hooper. She’s extremely talented. Georgina’s very focused on her Doctorate of Philosophy presently but can’t wait to see what she produces in the future.
It’s not great for me but I bloody love Lasagne.
Ok then. First date: what you cooking?
Going tacos. Simple, you have dietary options and if it tastes bad it’s not really your fault.
Finally, what’s next for Keith Hamlyn?
I have a few projects I’d like to embark on, but I’d most like to pick up a series I began, before my mental health holiday, which I call, Bloodlines. It’s a combo of an interview and a photoshoot with fathers of fathers. I want to know about the experience of fatherhood and how that changes them as a man and as a son or a father. I then pair images together where the father and son have similar expressions. I’m pretty excited by it.
To see more of Keith’s work, head across to his Instagram, website, or check out his exhibition as part of Horizon Festival.
Image credits in order of appearance:
Portrait of Keith Hamlyn
I Sea U — Stephen
Keith sat down reading
I Sea U — Mullets
I Sea U — Alana
I Sea U — Gurdeep
I Sea U — Shaun
Bloodlines by Keith Hamlyn