Ross Wilsmore's CV is not like most you'll find on this site. Don't be put off by the absence of dates and endless list of exhibitions - Ross is a true individualist and the way we present his biography reflects his attitudes to life ... so here is the 'Ross Wilsmore Story' so far:
ROSS WILSMORE is a perfectly ordinary bloke with extraordinary skills. You wouldn’t be blamed for thinking on first meeting that this genial, all-round nice bloke is a tradesman. A painter probably.
But the paint stains on his overalls provide an inkling to his true profession. The oranges, reds and blues are a little too bright for the more straight forward world of the house painter.
This man is going very far, very quickly, in the art world. Yet it is only in the last eight years that Ross has thrown his hat in the ring and been living off his paintings. Before that he spent a very successful career spanning 25 years as art director of his own graphics business- consulting, designing and creating layouts and illustrations for the advertising industry.
“In the early days there was much more art in graphics, but that is not the case today,” says Ross. “Graphics is now just an extension of computer technology and I wanted to get away from computers. They frustrate me.”
Ross points out that it is not a matter of being unable to operate a computer. “I can,” he says. “Quite well, in fact. I’m as good as anyone I know. But, in the end, I was finding that the young graphic artists just could not replicate the vision for a project. By the time we got to the finished result, we were so far away from the original concept as to be nothing like it. The artist in me hated it.”
A surfer from way back, Ross surfs all year round, and in some ways this was a precursor to his latter day art career. In summer, he rides the waves down on Victoria’s Mornington Peninsula and in winter turns his attention to the West Coast beaches.
“I have always liked to draw, but I first began to dabble in commercial art when I was sixteen years old,” he says. “There was a surf board manufacturer who employed me to paint his boards and in return, I got to use his equipment to make my own. It was like the panel van art that was so popular in the 1980s.
“I still do that now, spending a day a week doing surf board art. I love the culture and the company of the other blokes, although the art I do on the boards is now more stylized and funky.”
Ross is a family man with two grown up children. His studio is his shed in the suburbs “Every man needs a shed,” he confesses, “and when I am there painting, it is my own world. I like to put in eight hours a day and push my painting. Sometimes I will stay down there for sixteen hours if I am on a roll.”
Right now, he is busy positioning himself as an artist by ensuring that his work is instantly recognizable - that people will look at it and know straight away they are looking at a painting by Ross Wilsmore.
His speciality is landscapes. Using acrylics, he takes his colours and enhances the visual by accentuating the moody and compellingly surreal light effects.
The sky is a feature of his paintings and he always paints it first, adding layer on layer and moving forward. The sky seems to dictate the mood of the painting.
Although his style is distinct and instantly recognizable, he appreciates that he is often compared to Jeffrey Smart. While Ross accepts that this is a very flattering comparison and there may be some similarity in the ambience of both artists’ work, in his opinion, however, it ends there.
“I will accept that my paintings may evoke a similar emotion to those of Jeffrey Smart,” he says, “However, I believe, my technique and use of colour is far more sophisticated.”
Wilsmore's art is dramatic and often surreal. He explores the impact of man upon his landscape and how each affects and changes the other. So he might tease with a modern plane laying in an ancient and barren landscape, or confront with a barbed wire, locked gate to a port. The juxtaposition of all elements in the piece accentuates the unique character of each individual element.
The surfer in him appreciates nature and the environment, while his upbringing in the suburbs opened his eyes to imposed constructed beauty.
Wilsmore's background in graphics sees him exploring the angles and perspective, with the results startlingly stark, simple, beautiful, whimsical and thought provoking. Of his recurring theme of art in the landscape that, in turn, becomes another work, he says, “Often, in my paintings you find art within art. By saying that, I mean that the lines and signs on the road are art in themselves and the way they are incorporated into the landscape becomes the composition.”
Ross Wilsmore is the winner of two Melbourne Art Director’s Club Awards for Illustration and Design, and his art is already held in many corporate and private collections.
Ross rarely has the opportunity to interact with other artists and, by and large,between searching for that perfect wave and spending hours in his shed, is a solo being. “I’m just happy to be,” he says. “There are not many full time artists around here and, after painting eight hours a day, I lead a pretty full life with my family".
Exhibitions This Year
07 Jun - 23 Jun 2013
12 May - 12 May 2013
Tango goes Tropical
10 May - 02 Jun 2013
12 Apr - 05 May 2013
22 Mar - 07 Apr 2013
01 Mar - 17 Mar 2013
01 Mar - 17 Mar 2013
17 Feb - 17 Feb 2013
Tango at the Gadfly !
07 Feb - 30 Apr 2013
07 Feb - 17 Mar 2013