'There are many lessons from nature we can heed'

'There are many lessons from nature we can heed'

Interview by Tom Livingstone
Artist: David Chan
Series Title: ‘nine dot one’
Photography Courses completed: 12-Month Mentorship Program

Before David Chan started his mentorship with Contact Sheet last year, his anxiety and self-doubt had him convinced that he wasn’t ready to take the next step.

“I was too focused on the technicality of photography and kept telling myself I wasn’t ready artistically,” he says.

“I had created a large body of research into the esoteric over the past few years and was struggling to express it in an artistic way – I felt limited in my vocabulary.

“I wanted to take the next step, so I signed up with Contact Sheet.”

Studio founder, Paul McDonald and his team of mentors helped David dig deeper into the chasm of ideas he had and one theme that kept igniting a spark in him was the relationship we have with our natural surroundings.

Rather than just taking photographs of the trees, mountains and terrain around him, David chose to explore the natural patterns in his surroundings with a Rorschach theme in his photobook which captures the geometry and symmetry of the land.

“The inkblot-like images may help you see a familiar shape or pattern, kind of like what we used to see in clouds as a kid - hopefully allowing an opportunity to seek and explore the patterns of nature,” David says.

“There are many lessons from nature that we can heed - nature is resilient.”

Through taking an imaginative approach to viewing David’s work – he hopes that child like curiosity will make you ask “Why does it look that way”, then it will perhaps broaden that inquisitiveness and help you meditate on the bigger picture that we are part of the planet biome.

One thing David realised throughout his time with Contact Sheet, was that he had too many ideas and at times struggled to stay on course.

“I tend to like variety and can get bored quite quickly,” he says.

“My ideas kept evolving so I would struggle to actually start the body of work.”

The team of mentors helped David hone on his main idea and develop it into nine dot one, but also document his other ideas so he can develop them later.

“The mentors set exercises that helped me push my artistic boundaries and ongoing feedback throughout the course really helped,” he says.

Through completing the 12-month mentorship program, David says it’s expanded his understanding the business side of art and delivering the work and he is grateful to have taken that first step in establishing himself as a serious artist.

“I've come a long way since the start of this journey - it's confirmed my artistic practice and what I create,” he says.

“If you want to figure out who you are as an artist, join Contact Sheet.”

To read David's full interview, click here

Enrolments are now open for all 2021 Mentorship Programs and Photography Courses at Contact Sheet.

If you would like further information contact one of our team at contact@contactsheet.com.au or call 0410 315 865