Bruce's Golden Brush

by Donna Killeen

In the seventeenth century you had the Baroque period of Velasquez, Rembrandt and Rubens. In the eighteenth century you had Neo-Classicism and Romanticism with Ingres, Blake and Turner. In the twentieth century, Modern Art appeared, with all its "isms": Picasso, Dali, Warhol etc. In the twenty-first century you have Bruce Plant, and it's a style, or combination of styles, all on its own.

He even admits that! Although Bruce's painting shows influences from various periods and many different artists, his work is based in his individuality, his faith and his creative open-mindedness.

His path into the art world has been unusual. He never attended art school, instead choosing to study fine arts at Melbourne University in 1972. Painting was not part of the degree, so he decided to teach himself. His natural direction was towards abstraction.

He calls his early work naive abstract. His art dealer calls it primitive abstract, similar to folk art, or even children's art, which is always self-taught.

Call it what you will, Bruce paints intuitively and consistently. The years between 2005 and 2018 represent around three quarters of his 600 pieces which were done after he retired from his work driving taxis in Melbourne and set up a studio in rural Victoria.

It's an obvious question Bruce, why do you paint so prolifically and how do you maintain your motivation?

Motivation is only inspiration. My motivation comes from a positive spiritual attitude, from people and from other art and artists. I paint almost every day. Some paintings do need a day or two to get over but the bug always bites back again - soon. If I am really fired up about a painting I will get up at any hour and work. I like to think creativity works in God's time, not my own. Every painting is a product of the totality of your experience - everything you do, say, feel, are, goes into a painting and creates its aura.

Additionally, "my art connects me to people and they often remain strong relationships. I measure success not by money but by the contacts I make".

Bruce recently bought back 5 of the 27 pieces of his early art that he sold in 1982, citing that his paintings are like his children, you can't have favourites and you remain attached to them, even when they leave you.

The earlier years of his work supported his long recovery after being diagnosed with schizophrenia in 1976. The style has evolved since then through many phases, from a simple colour and compositional format to a more complex, spontaneous and expressionistic manner. There is always a delicate balance between joyful self-expression and careful attention to craft.

To view Bruce's full CV in PDF format please click the link below:

   Bruce Plant - CV