DOUG Heslop’s art practice has taken him to Sydney, Melbourne and London.
He studied at the National Art School, completed an honours year on a scholarship at Byam Shaw School of Art, London; and holds a Masters degree from the Victorian College of Art.
Eight years ago the Wollombi-raised artist made his home in Newcastle.
Heslop’s practice has spanned sculpture, performance, installation and video and sound art. He is currently working on a series of large scale paintings.
“They are a kind of lyrical abstraction,” Heslop said. “One of my main driving thoughts about making work is the sort of feeling it is going to give people.
“I make art about emotions. With abstracted work, what I am really trying to convey is a sense or a feeling that is really hard to define by language.
“When I think about making work, I try to map out the concept, what I am trying to get across, then go about trying to convey that in a universal language.
“As it nears completion, I’m aware that I’m almost erasing or brushing myself out of the painting. I don’t want it to be too much about me. I want other people to be able to access it from many angles.”
In this series he tried to create works that bring pleasure to the viewer.
“Having big, beautiful, almost spiritual kind of abstract works in a living space can add a lot of quality to your life and help you relax,” he said.
“You’ve got a work of art that has a freedom to it, but also a level of depth and detail so you can discover new passages and paths. A work of constant intrigue. I think that provides something that is really pleasurable as a human.
“That’s the sort of bent I am on at the moment, making this series of works that for me really push me as a painter, but are also very giving to the audience.”
Heslop’s works relate to feelings rather than themes; many of his works draw on his love of the ocean.
“I went to Tasmania last year on a sailing trip, we did a lot of scuba diving,” he said. “I just loved that out of body experience you can get down below the water, swimming through kelp and poking into sea caves.
“It gives you a feeling of miraculous wonder and endless discovery. The ocean is a fairly constant theme in my work. I love to go snorkelling and I surf a lot.
“If you dive down and swim along the bottom whilst looking up at the roof of the water, you get a strange sensation, almost like your body is being pulled in two directions at once. It’s sublime. That’s the kind of feeling I am trying to evoke with this work.”