The James Gleeson oral history collection

James Gleeson interviews Australia's major artists

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A suspicious self-portrait 1976
Print, intaglio, etching, printed in black ink, from one plate; hand-coloured
plate-mark 45.0 h x 39.8 w cm
sheet 59.6 h x 46.0 w cm
Gordon Darling Australasian Print Fund 1996
© Tim Storrier
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Tim Storrier

1 January 1970

James Gleeson: You mentioned that you’re working on a new idea now for a sequence of graphics.

Tim Storrier: Yes. Well, it’s sort of in a way a continuation of this, but it’s all still life and it will all be done either in lithography with Fred Jenness, the new lithographer that’s come out from Holland, or with Larry Rawlins in silk-screen. But I think I’ll probably do most of it silk-screen. But there’s a big difficulty with silk-screen if you want to do some very subtle gradation. If you want to, well, for instance, say make a sphere look round. It’s very very difficult in silk-screen unless you want to start using screens, mechanical screens. You know, you can do it, of course, but it always tends to look very very stilted. As I say, lithography suits it much, much better; where you can, you know, just grade areas off as subtly as you want.

James Gleeson: To go back to the first painting. I didn’t check on, is it oil or acrylic?

Tim Storrier: Acrylic.

James Gleeson: You work normally in acrylic, do you?

Tim Storrier: Yes, or oil. I prefer acrylics though.

James Gleeson: Do you?

Tim Storrier: Mainly because they dry quicker. It’s almost as simple as that. I’ve always felt more comfortable in acrylics. But I don’t know whether I’ll use acrylics on this new series of self-portraits. I mean, they’re going to be life size sort of clothed or naked self-portraits. I don’t know. Painting flesh, you can do it with acrylics but I think in many ways you get a translucency possibly with oils that may be difficult in acrylics. I’m not too sure.

James Gleeson: Well, of course, oil has been the great traditional medium for the nude.

Tim Storrier: Absolutely, yes.

James Gleeson: It’s pretty hard to get away from that.

Tim Storrier: Yes. Well, except of course, you know, it’s been traditional to expect it because they didn’t have acrylics maybe, you know. But I’ve seen some paintings in acrylics, you know, paintings of flesh that have worked very successfully.

James Gleeson: Oh yes, yes.

Tim Storrier: But I don’t know. I think probably I’ll end up with oil.

James Gleeson: Well, oil you can get those marvellous glazes.

Tim Storrier: Absolutely, absolutely. Also the other thing about it is that it doesn’t dry immediately.

James Gleeson: No, no.

Tim Storrier: So you can re-work and without getting just, you know, an ugly surface of lumps of acrylic building up.


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