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Thursday, November 29, 2012

Stephen Oatway




While working in the Department of Defence I was asked to attend night school for an arc-welding course. It was here while welding test pieces together I discovered the Artist within. Adding this piece to that piece I began to see images appear in the metal shapes. Small creatures, faces and body parts began morphing out of these mechanical , organic shapes. As I progressed through the course and worked on larger projects I discovered the world of Junk Art. 

From then on I was obsessed with collecting discarded, abandoned, so called useless pieces of junk and I wondered about the history of the pieces I found that I had dug out the earth or picked up off the streets, paddocks and back waters of the rivers and lakes. My first completed artwork was a full size self-portrait, created from farming equipment found on a disused farm in Broken Hill. At this moment in time I realised I had just reincarnated Junk into Art and given the abandoned forgotten objects that had been used for a purpose back in its day a new life. In doing so I was also cleaning up the Environment. 

Wasn’t long after this revelation I quit Defence after 23 years and dedicated my life to all things art and sharing all of what I know with the world. 
I have exhibited extensively throughout South Australia, Northern Territory, had Exhibitions in New York City at Monkdogz Gallery and in Texas. 

I also have had an eighteen year association with amateur boxing in South Australia where I have a passion for troubled youth from broken homes and an empathy for street people where over the years I have taught the discipline of boxing and the creative world of art to enable them to have a better life.

I recently lived and worked for two years on the Imanpa Aboriginal Community in the Northern Territory teaching Junk Art, Boxing and Pathways to better Employment to the youth. During my cross cultural journey I was bestowed the honour of becoming (Bumble) Cultural Father to one of the youth who had gone through initiation from boy to man.

Currently residing at Cockatoo Valley in the Barossa Valley where I have an open studio/gallery called the “Shearer’s Gallery” it used to be an active shearing shed and I have converted it to an active creative space. Iam also mentoring a young up-coming artist Guy Cornelia who is exhibiting his work in this years International the outsider festival all the while I am continuing to live my dream as an Artist.