Fred Fowler is a Melbourne based visual artist. His recent work has focused on re-imagining and subverting the colonial tradition of Australian landscape painting.
is In Wild Air
When I paint, I listen to a lot of experimental and ambient music. One album that has been on heavy rotation for the last couple of years is Max Richter’s SLEEP. Described by Richter as a "personal lullaby for a frenetic world. A manifesto for a slower pace of existence.", it’s an 8 hour concept album made with the assistance of neuroscientist David Eagleman, who specialises in human brain function during sleep. I find it great studio music that promotes stillness and calmness. There is also a shorter 1 hour version available.
I spend a lot of time alone in the studio, and when i’m not listening to music I like to have documentaries playing in the background while I work. Adam Curtis is an English documentary film-maker who makes fascinating films about power, politics, globalisation, and technology. I love his work because it has a real sense of perspective and is beautifully illustrated with footage from the BBC archives. It's sort of like reading a thoughtful essay. His latest film is called HyperNormalisation.
Whenever I get a chance I head up to Minjerribah (also known as Stradbroke Island), which is my favourite spot in Australia for surfing, fishing, and walking. There’s crystal clear aqua water, white sand, and incredible ecosystems. The history of the island is also quite interesting - the Quandamooka people lived on the island for at least 21,000 years prior to European settlement and apparently a Spanish ship made contact sometime in the 17th century. The island was also used as a quarantine station and leper colony in the past.
As someone who needs a lot of mental stimulus to feed my artistic output I churn through content pretty quickly and am always looking for new ideas to pique my interest. Launched in 2008, e-flux journal is a monthly art publication featuring essays and contributions by some of the most engaged artists and thinkers working today. It’s a great resource for anyone interested in contemporary art and ideas.
Zygmunt Bauman’s theory of liquid modernity really captured my imagination. In today's uncertain world you can flow between places, careers, and identities so quickly - a state of being that is both liberating and overwhelming. Thinking about our place in the world as fluid, intangible, and adaptable put things into perspective and it’s something that I often think about when I get overwhelmed or anxious.
Four years ago my partner and I decided it was time to get a dog. We looked into different breeds and decided on a whippet because of their placid nature. It’s so cool having a little companion to pal around and go exploring with. We take him for a walk every morning and apart from that he just hangs out at the studio and sleeps all day. I like to think of him as my little spirit protector.