Steve Munro is a Melbourne based visual artist working with both pigment and pixels; his recent series’ of tangible work explore the ordinary and everyday in bold, solid colors and, by contrast, his digital work is darker and explores themes of identity and persecution using portraiture. Steve’s art on The Other Avatars was all hand-drawn using digital tools. We were glad to have him participate!
Welcome Steve! How are you today? Can you tell us a bit about these pieces?
Thanks for having me! The last few years my paintings have been about the ordinary and everyday; first on what that means to me, personally, and as of last year, what that means for others. I got some truly humbling stories from other people that wished to share their story.
And this year I’m playing again – focussing on some work for next month’s TOAF – which literally is just abut coffee! Obviously, Melbourne is the coffee capital of the planet!
I didn’t know that! What was the artistic process involved to create this series?
For the first series, I would photograph them from various angles, then draw and paint on the surface. For last year’s, I was relying on people sending me their story and image so i had to navigate my way around their image and, again, I’d loosely draw the piece before painting it.
The first 20 i used acrylics for the first time which was a learning experience ’cause oil paint tends to not dry in 30 seconds…
Last year was a mix of oil or acrylic and this year is all oils.
I’ve only been painting properly like this for the last couple of years and I’m trying to make the transition from my career as a cinematographer into a full-time artist.
When did you decide to switch your focus to fine art and how does your background in cinematography influences your art? In a way, the presence of NFTs makes it a great time to transition into an art career!
Absolutely, yes it does! Cinematography helps with composition, colour, light etc. and I draw on that to translate to my art practice.
I’ve drawn for a very long time in my life and naturally they came together. When I had surgery that went wrong 3 years ago, it left me with multiple points of nerve trauma and neuropathic pain that is utterly disabling and can cause me to scream out at times, which is not good when it’s “all quiet on set”.
That as good as ended my career for me – plus the mess of pain-reducing drugs I have to take can at times cause my brain to be cloudy. So drawing has always been my happy space and I had to figure a new career for myself and I like that I can now do this successfully and on my own time.
I’m sorry that you had to undergo such a traumatic surgery. It does seem like you’ve managed to find a passion through the darkness though.
I have a saying from my childhood that is “mutate to survive” and that carries me through most setbacks.
I’m not fearful of fear or change and that also helps!
What is your favorite part about creating digital art?
I’ve been fortunate in that I’ve had computers in my life since i was taking them apart as a child and writing games to play with my friends. My favourite part is that it is out of the sidelines and is now accepted as formal art I know there’s still a ways to go but the gate is open and the new work I see on a daily basis is just gobsmacking!
I’m a natural creative with a strong work ethic (camera department is always first on set and last to leave) so I almost have a deep need to be creating on a daily basis
and I struggle with my psyche if I’m not doing something (aside from reading).
I think the most important lessons to be learned in creating NFTs aside from how to use the tools are to get to know the platforms you’ll be working with and how to navigate your new path. And don’t be fearful – just learn, learn, and learn, and you’ll be fine!
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