Photo by Maria Christou

Clyth Hoult

Australian, born 1950

I began painting in 2001 having had two previous lives, the first as a clinical and teaching audiologist and the second in business. After studying at The Sydney Gallery School at Meadowbank TAFE College I joined Lennox Street Studios in Newtown in 2006, and have exhibited in a number of locations since then including Seoul, Korea.  In 2012 I moved to Flourmill Studios in Newtown.

I work exclusively in oil. It can take a few days to dry between applications but this can be good thinking time – planning for the next stage in the painting. Oil is very forgiving: if something goes wrong, it is very easy to paint over the evidence.

In earlier work a simple exploration of the shadows cast by open doors gave rise to a surreal element. While working on the first painting, the shadows were overtaken by the endless possibilities lying outside the doors. My imagination took off and the more I did, the more ideas I had, always with humour in mind. The driving point was the unexpected: looking through a commonplace object and seeing something entirely unexpected. Doors were the starting point, but I moved on to shoes, earthmovers, and then appeared to take leave of my senses and went to toothpaste tubes and lipsticks. The main idea is for the viewer to see a “normal” image but then on closer inspection notice the unexpected element and hopefully be transported by it.

More recent work has been with chickens.  Not sure why but humour is still involved.  I have always loved Francis Bacon’s work and loved the big exhibition at the Art Gallery of NSW in 2013.  His influence is now showing up in my work.

There is always the temptation to assign meaning to the work of artists, but some, like me, resist this as much as possible. The real reason I paint lies in the love of putting colour onto canvas, and the smell of the paint. There is no hidden message, no need to change the world through my art. My work is lighthearted and designed to amuse. I leave angst to others.