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Scott Thomlinson: “My favourite painting of mine is always the one that I sold last”

Who is Scott Thomlinson? 

Mr Thomlinson’s website says it best… “Born in 1971 in Shepparton, Victoria. Scott’s art career started at a very early age, drawing reproductions of Sydney Nolan’s Ned Kelly on the living room floor. 

At primary school, he continued to refine his artistic skills, drawing dinosaurs and Daleks on the classroom blackboard during lunchtime (much to the delight of fellow students and the displeasure of his teachers). 

In high school, Scott chose fine art, photography and design as his elective subjects, a happy by-product of which was the need to discontinue his study of maths and science. 

After Year 12, he moved to Sydney, however, unfortunately not in sufficient time to enrol in his preferred tertiary art course. 

Not to be deterred, Scott pursued a career in advertising, where he spent the next thirty years as a finished artist, illustrator, designer, art director, copywriter, creative director and agency owner. 

After achieving all he had set out to achieve in advertising, it was time for a change. 

Then, Scott Thomlinson turned his hand to the one thing that had preoccupied his mind for most of his life in one form or another – “creating the art he wanted to create.”

And so, intrigued, we thought we’d ask Scott Thomlinson some questions as part of our continuing interviews with Australian artists. Here are his enlightening answers:

Scott Thomlinson This Magnificent Life
Scream Wall ©ScottThomlinson
What are your influences? Artists, nature, the immediate world around you? 

I could say that I’m influenced by nature, my inner thoughts or some other thing that makes a lot of artists say make them tick, but in reality, I’m mostly influenced by other artists/painters. I have an endless fascination with other people’s art, both from the past and now, how they created their work, what they were trying to achieve, the colours they use, the composition, and the application of the paint. Their work doesn’t have to be anything like my art, I just find there’s always something to steal… I mean, get inspiration from. 

Scott Thomlinson This Magnificent Life
Jump Wall ©ScottThomlinson
What drives you to create? 

The fear of not being an artist. I love it. Coming up with an idea, stretching a canvas, painting it, framing it and selling it. I love every bit of the hands-on nature of it. I really can’t see myself doing anything else, and I really don’t want to do anything else, so the fear of not being able to do it full-time drives me.
I’m also never completely happy with what I’ve produced, so I feel compelled to keep trying to do something new and better the next time I paint. 

If you could change anything about The Australian Art scene, what would it be? 

My position in it! Any emerging artist would like to be more widely known, and I’m no exception. Unfortunately, it doesn’t work like that, so it looks like I’ll have to work hard at it like everyone else. 

Smoke Wall ©ScottThomlinson
Who were (are) your mentors? And why? 

My father was an art teacher, principal and painter, and my mother was an illustrator, so I was surrounded by art and people creating art. So I guess my parents are my greatest mentors. 

Which is your favourite piece of art:- of yours – or another artist’s? 

My favourite painting of mine is always the one that I sold last. Simply because it’s the one that allows me to keep going. 

My favourite painting of someone else’s is ‘Boy and the Moon’ by Sidney Nolan. It’s essentially a yellow/ mustard circle on a black background with a neck. It is so simple, yet the nuances of the shape and how it sits within the space is perfect. 

How would you describe your style in a 60-second elevator pitch to the director of the National Gallery? 

“Hi, look, we don’t have long, so here it is. My name is Scott, I’m a painter, I don’t have any particular style, but as you can see, my paintings look bloody great on a white wall (iPhone thrust in the direction of his/her face). For you, they’re only $20,000 apiece. I can let you have five of them. Come on… In 30 years time, you don’t want to be known as the guy who passed on five Thomlinsons for a measly 100 grand.” 

Scott Thomlinson This Magnificent Life
Let Wall ©ScottThomlinson
What makes you happy? 

Swimming in the ocean, making love to my wife, having a laugh with my kids and finishing that bloody painting that’s been bugging me, unfinished in the studio. 

What do you think of the emergence of so-called ‘Ai-Art’? 

While, like anything new, it scares the people whose space is being encroached. So artists will say that it doesn’t have a soul or the years of practice that are required to produce ‘real’ art, and people want art made by people, not machines. I think, in reality, it’s just a new art form that people will either embrace or reject. In saying that, if it ever starts spitting out minimalist abstract paintings that are actually pretty good, I will be dead against it and will be calling for it to be banned. 

To see more of Scott Thomlinson’s magnificent abstract art or to purchase your own piece, visit here.

And you can find out more about his practice on Instagram @scottthomlinson_art

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