Steve took up art on a whim one day in Geelong while having a cup of coffee. He saw art classes being advertised and he had some spare time on his hands. This was 2005 and Steve was winding his way out of a successful retail career, wondering what to do next.

Steve had been involved in the supermarket industry, owning and operating stores around Melbourne and country Victoria. Steve had been a director of the Master Grocer’s Association and of the FoodWorks Supermarket Group as well as an industry trainer.

After a few short courses he commenced full time study and in 2008 graduated with a Diploma of Visual Art majoring in painting and printmaking.

Whilst studying he attended a five week live-in art group in Italy and took a two week art education tour of London.
As a student Steve exhibited work in the organized exhibitions of the school as well as being a regular contributor at the Geelong Art Society.

Steve talks about his art…

I took interest in the concepts of chance, coincidence and circumstance. In most mediums, the end result of the artist’s actions is never predictable. The artist, as much as the observer, must wait to see the results of a brushstroke, a wiping or a press-run before reflecting on the meaning of the mark(s) created. Even then, the interpretation of the image, unlike the intention, is a random result depending upon the experiences of each observer leading up to the moment of the viewing.

Towards the end of the Cold War, before Reagan and Gorbachev released the tension, Western comedians portrayed Reagan as a forgetful bumbling old man who often asked the question, “what does this button do?” when pointing to the nuclear rocket launcher.
This, in some way, describes the approach I’ve taken. What does this action bring about? What happens if I mix this image with that?

In art school we studied Australian artist Howard Arkley. In his painting Primitive, he adopted a type of automatic drawing technique where over a twenty-four hour period he painted a narrative of what was happening around him. If the telephone rang, he painted the image, if someone knocked on the door, then this image appeared. I have used this same method of circumstance. Whatever the subject suggested, I go along with; if a song is playing, I choose the subject of the words to kick start the process; if a mark looks like a building or a banana to me, then that is what it becomes. I open my journal at previous scribbling and use this on the paper and with the medium before me. If someone suggests charcoal, I’ll use it until someone else suggests collage, then I’ll add this to the mix, then maybe acrylic paint, ink, graphite, watercolour… whatever I can get my hands on.

The biggest decision is when to stop. One may be at the mercy of whim and whimsy, but you need to jump off the roundabout at the right time.

I think this is my contribution (copied from others in the best tradition of art!) to postmodernism. I’m constantly using secondary sources, sometimes by appropriation; and ambiguity falls into my many laps in multi-meta-narrative.
This dangerous and exciting method creates more failures than success’s but each failure becomes a new jumping-off point for the next attempt.

In my business life, the greatest influence on my thinking process, in a conscious state, was Edward De Bono whose books I devoured at a rapid rate in the 1990’s developing a sense of erratic humour. It also developed my trust in the subconsciousness, intuition and dream interpretation.
Now it all collides in my images.

And that is the point. They are my images… ones from within me, around me and channelled through the filter of my mind, heart and soul. They cannot be copied.

Who would want to? Who would ever want to be me? Only me.

These images are what I’ve become.


Steve Parkhill
2006 Commenced Art Studies
2007 Artist’s Study Tour Italy (Rome and Olevano Romano)
2008 Art Education Tour London
2008 Completed Diploma of Visual Arts (Majoring in Painting and Printmaking)
2010 Contemporary Art Tutor at Geelong Art Society

2006 Finalist Bellarine Show
2008 Judges Commendation Geelong Art Society Annual Bequest
2009 Finalist BSG ‘Works on Paper’

2006-9 Various Exhibitions Shearer’s Arms Gallery
2007 Commotion, Brougham Gallery, Geelong
2007 Expressions, Brougham Gallery, Geelong
2008 Graduates Exhibition, Cavalier Gallery, Geelong
2008 Artists in Residence, Art Is Gallery, Geelong
2009 Brunswick Street Gallery Works on Paper
2009 Barwon Heads Community Arts Project
2010 Friday Printmaker’s Project Wintergarden Gallery
2010 Men in Suits MAS Gallery, Malvern

Steve Parkhill
P: 0438 402 394
E: [email protected]