Ø Where do the majority of your paid jobs come?
It was storyboard art but at the moment it's mural commissions and I also teach in the design department at Holmesglen Tafe
Ø If you loved everything about your job, and were being paid well for it, what kind of offer would make you consider changing careers?
It's really hard to see a creative career change because I'm really trying to develop a personal aesthetic and artistic vision that I would love to have the opportunity to apply to a range of platforms: Murals, books, film/animation, concept art for film. But in terms of changing from being a visual creative to another creative field I think if someone gave me complete creative freedom and a bunch of money to either write a book or write and direct a film I would take it, but not if it meant I could never go back to drawing. I can't really think of a non creative career change that I would be happy in, I love cooking but doing that for a living seems too stressful. I love making salsa, so maybe if someone offered me a lot of money to develop my own range of salsas I'd do it!
Ø When have you been most satisfied in your career?
I can't pin-point a particular job or moment but over the past two years I've gotten mural commissions with creative freedom. These have lead to other commissions where clients ask for the kind of imagery that I love to create. I heard someone say on the Bench Talk podcast that it's really important to always create the kind of work you want to be hired for, and while I've only really done this consistently in the past few years, it's really paid off and resulted in a lot of creative satisfaction.
Ø What are your thoughts on the Australian Industry?
I haven't worked overseas and don't have a good comparison to make between Australia and elsewhere. But I think in terms of opportunities on offer it's smaller than other major economies (America, U.K., Europe), then again I don't know the numbers on how this evens out per capita. Still I think it's small enough here for talented motivated people to make a real mark and big enough for a large amount of the population to pursue a creative career path. There is a lot of government funding for murals at the moment and also a lot of public acceptance of the art-form that results in private commissions. This probably has an expiry date but it's great at the moment. In terms of the decline of illustration and graphics in print media it seems like there still isn't a clear equivalent way of how to monetise that in the digital world. As a parent I see first hand every night how many quality Australian illustrated picture books there are out there so it's good to see that there is a visual genre of the print medium that is still healthy (even if there isn't much money in it!). In terms of other areas, as a teacher I know that in Australia there are roughly 50% more design graduates than what the industry can absorb. I think the design industry is very healthy and has a lot of jobs but the amount of design courses offered by institutions trying get as many tuition dollars as possible is a bit questionable.
Ø What are you addicted to?
I quit cigarettes almost ten years ago and I don't even drink much these days. I think I've replaced those two things with Podcasts and Coffee! Love a good podcast (The best show, How did this get made, Hollywood Handbook, Crimetown, Invisibilia, WTF and Bench Talk are recent bingeworthy faves). But lately I think my stomach is telling me it's time to switch from Coffee to Tea!
Allow me a moment to introduce myself…
My name is: Hayden Dewar
What is your artistic discipline? Muralist/Illustrator/Visual artist
Ø What was your first job?
My first creative paid job of any significance was a large commemorative mural for Dimmeys Stores 150th anniversary. It’s a 50 meter long mural filled with iconic Australian people, places and events. I got the job by luck while canvassing my neighbourhood for walls. I happened to ask about this very large wall on the side of the old Dimmeys building in Richmond. I was speaking to the store manager in his office who seemed to have no interest in what I was proposing but he stopped to take a phone call from a colleague at the head office and told him in passing he had an artist in his office wanting to paint the side-wall. The guy on the other end of the phone happened to be looking for someone to paint a large mural in commemoration of Dimmey’s upcoming 150th anniversary - I got the gig but quickly discovered I’d bitten off more than I could chew. The job took about ten times longer than predicted and I pretty much had to teach myself how to paint portraits with a brush on the job!
Ø Who, or what, was your biggest teacher?
A combination of things. I learnt a massive amount from doing graffiti - just painting things large and quickly and also learning how to give things a 3-dimensional form whether letters or characters. I think people who do graffiti have an innate grasp of perspective just from years of giving their letters 3D form. I also learnt a massive amount from copying comic books as a kid, it taught me a lot about depicting the figure and illustrating environments. In terms of actual teachers who have really helped me there have been a handful of people throughout my life who have simply demonstrated a belief in me and that has made me listen closely to what they have to say. For me that approach has made me value what they have to offer and put it into practice. One of these was a primary school teacher (shout out to Mrs Bereen) who just unconditionally encouraged creativity in general. She wasn’t even an art-teacher but her approach really ignited a some self belief in terms of pursuing art. Another great teacher was urban landscape painter Tony Irving I met him while painting the Dimmeys mural and he really encouraged me in a time where I wasn’t feeling so great about my creative future. A few visits to his studio and just a handful of tips and advice from him taught me a lot and meant the world to me at the time. Lastly Film director Alan Nguyen who was a teacher I had whilst doing my Bachelor of Illustration commissioned me to do some concept art on a few film projects. His faith in me as a student was a great confidence boost. He really helped to broaden my outlook on possible creatively fulfilling avenues and showed me that the collaborative process can be really energising and fun.
Ø What are some of your technical/artistic/personal “rules” that you never break?
I wouldn’t say I have strict rules that I never break and I’m always leaving a little bit of flexibility in my process, but there’s a few things I need to do to be efficient and happy with my work: No music or podcasts while doing written work (emails, proposals, teaching docs etc) or while forming concepts, I just can’t concentrate and work well with the extra noise. After all the groundwork is laid the headphones go on though! In terms of process I always build form the ground up from small thumbnail sketches to finished work. I work in layers of rendering until a mural or painting is finished and I don’t do much off the cuff - I usually follow a design pretty faithfully making only a few small changes when I really feel confident in a better direction. When forming a concept I try really hard not to look at other people’s work so that the concept is as original as possible. Sometimes if the idea I have seems too obvious to have not been done before I will google it and check!
Ø What things do you not like to do in your art?
Too many to mention! But it’s always frustrating when you get a brief that either conflicts with your personal taste or is so prescribed that there is no room for personal creativity. On the other hand it’s always satisfying when you can find a way to sneakily make such briefs creatively satisfying - sometimes you can do that by showing a sketched concept that a client hadn’t thought of but is too strong an idea for them to ignore. I really don’t like doing stuff that is overly sentimental, which is funny because there are elements of that in my work but I like to balance that with dark slightly creepy elements. I think certain clients see the more sentimental elements of my work and just want that, so it’s hard to sell them on my overall personal aesthetic of sentimental, colourful, weird, dark and creepy!
Ø Where is your happy place?
Hard to narrow down but here’s three contenders.. 1: Movie and homemade pizza night with my kids and partner 2: The final few minutes of finishing a creative undertaking 3: Playing table tennis