Artist Profile

REG MOMBASSA

“I’ve always had the two approaches – the sublime and the ridiculous or the ugly and beautiful.

YOU HAVE A BOOK COMING OUT WHICH CHRONICLES 50 years of your work, focusing particularly on your landscapes.

The first work in it, I did from my bedroom window when I was 16. It has been a fiddly process sorting images because I have thousands in my catalogue. The trick is to not be too repetitive. It is more or less in chronological order plus some sections with themed subjects, such as houses, charcoal drawings, trees and telegraph poles, etc – things that have interested me over the years. I have drawn assiduously since the age of three, like most children, but more keenly I guess than other kids did. My early subject matter was battleships, soldiers and slaves being tortured. So the subject matter has never really changed that much! (Laughs) I’ve always had the two approaches – the sublime and the ridiculous or the ugly and beautiful.

You were born in Auckland; can you tell me a little more about your early life and the move to Australia? Did that shift influence your artwork, particularly the landscape?

I didn’t particularly want to come to Australia; my parents came because my dad couldn’t get work because there was a recession on in New Zealand. I didn’t like it at first, I found it very foreign, incredibly hot, the cars were all big and driving very fast. I didn’t know anyone and was quite lonely for a while but then I went to art school and got to know some people.

Relocating definitely influenced my work. The New Zealand landscape was the only landscape I had seen before coming to Australia at the age of 17. The first

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