CRE­ATIVE TYPES

JONATHAN MCBURNIE ARTIST

Townsville Bulletin - Townsville Eye - - Fashion -

W O R D S : C H R I S S I L V I N I P H O T O : E V A N M O R G A N

Why do we still draw by hand when we have access to so much tech­nol­ogy that can do it all for us? That’s the ques­tion that in­spired Townsville artist Jonathan McBurnie’s lat­est ex­hi­bi­tion, which fea­tures a stag­ger­ing 2000 works.

It’s taken three years for McBurnie to com­plete all the pieces that make up Dread Sov­er­eign, which is now show­ing at Pin­na­cles Gallery. The sheer vol­ume of im­ages fea­tured may sound a bit over­whelm­ing, but that’s kind of the whole point.

“We live in such an im­age-based world now. The in­ter­net has re­ally changed the way we con­sume cul­ture and con­sume im­ages. So it’s sort of like an ana­log or hand­made re­sponse to that over­sat­u­ra­tion or over­stim­u­la­tion,” he says.

McBurnie’s abil­ity to pro­duce that amount of work over a rel­a­tively short pe­riod was born out of ne­ces­sity. H

e says his short at­ten­tion span means that the idea of work­ing on a piece for too long gets re­ally bor­ing re­ally quickly.

“Rather than work­ing on re­ally large, elab­o­rate works that take weeks or months, I try to work small and quickly with lots of draw­ing and lots of wa­ter­colour which are very im­me­di­ate and don’t re­quire much dry­ing time,” he says.

“I sus­pect that we may see more and more artists work­ing in that way in the fu­ture be­cause I think the way we pro­duce things and the way we think about things is chang­ing with such preva­lent use of dig­i­tal me­dia now.”

McBurnie says dig­i­tal me­dia and the over­sat­u­ra­tion of im­ages on things like so­cial me­dia mean there’s a lot more pres­sure on artists to pro­duce bet­ter qual­ity work in a shorter time than ever be­fore.

“There’s so much me­dia out there now, if you don’t have some­thing that’s re­ally punchy, and ac­ces­si­ble, and ex­plained re­ally quickly you can just get lost in the noise,” he says.

As for the big ques­tion about why we still draw, McBurnie says there’s some­thing about the act of draw­ing some­thing by hand that can never be truly repli­cated with dig­i­tal meth­ods.

“It’s some­thing that we’re very drawn to as hu­mans that’s very tac­tile and sort of sen­su­ous when we’re work­ing with ma­te­ri­als and work­ing with our hands and our senses in that way. The dig­i­tal can’t quite ac­com­mo­date in the same way,” he says.

“I think both have their own unique qual­i­ties which is won­der­ful be­cause you can push things a cer­tain way with one or the other and get very dif­fer­ent re­sults.

“I feel like now, 15 to 20 years into mak­ing comic books with dig­i­tal tools, there are some artists who are re­ally get­ting the hang of it and re­ally push­ing it into new ar­eas that peo­ple hadn’t pre­vi­ously gone, which is a won­der­ful thing.

“But at the same time there are some peo­ple who are do­ing ab­so­lutely amaz­ing things with tra­di­tional me­dia.

“We have kids that have been raised on iPads and they have a whole other un­der­stand­ing of the way that tech­nol­ogy works. So it’ll be in­ter­est­ing to see what art­work they’re mak­ing in 10 or 20 years’ time.”

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