You’re probably familiar with the work of Dan O’Toole, aka Ears, whose pieces have graced cafes, walls, laneways and galleries in Melbourne and Sydney. His upcoming exhibition, False Freedoms, opens at his new gallery/studio space, Soldiers Rd Gallery, in Surry Hills next week. We caught up with Dan to get the lowdown on the show and what went on behind-the-scenes…
My name is… Dan O’Toole
But I’m also known as… Ears
My latest exhibition is called… False Freedoms
And it is about… there are a few overlapping themes: freedom vs conformity, The Institution and Uniformity and the comfort zone.
Some things that influenced this series are… the work I see around me, music I listen to and just other artists who I am friends with. I have been working from a book I found a year ago called An Illustrated History of Uniforms; the drawings in it are amazing and it shows a vast array or colour combinations and bizarre uniforms from all different cultures, it seems a peculiar thing to be influenced by, but for some reason it has become a sort of Bible for this series.
An album I listened to a stack when making the works was… Jonti’s Twirligig and the new Dirty Three album.
The time of day I’m most likely to make art is… from mid morning to late at night..
The hardest part of putting this show together was… building the gallery space. I was showing with a gallery in Sydney but lost my show this year as the gallery is going through some changes, and having been given such late notice, I had to organise my own space to show the work in. Luckily I had already commenced renovations on a new space in the city for a studio collective/gallery setup called ‘Soldiers Rd’ with my partner Shari. So when I got the news about the cancelled show we made some changes to the plans and built a space that could house a larger show such as mine. I guess it’s a tough time for the art market, and a lot of galleries are closing lately so it’s odd timing to be opening a new space, but we are working on a fairly unique model to the traditional gallery setup, and its good to be self sufficient in times like this.
First thing I do when I get up in the morning is…kick off the day with an Earl Grey and some sunshine at my favourite magic cafe spot which is a secret!
Some other artists I have been enjoying the work of are… Marlene Dumas, Michael Borremans, Jenny Saville.
What I’m working on at the moment is… finishing off some small objects for the exhibition. Little sculptural soldiers and things.
My favourite colour is… too tough to answer that one! Big fan of yellow. And I like turquoise.
If I wasn’t doing what I’m doing, I’d be… meditating on a mountain somewhere…
The last website I visited was… fecal face dot com
Tomorrow I will be… one day older.
My favourite youtube vid is… Guy on a Buffalo
Soldiers Rd Gallery (Surry Hills NSW)
Opens July 26; until August 09