“Norfolk Plains DNA” 40 x 80 cms

Prismacolor pencils on Canson pastel board. Own reference.

Winner of the Norfolk Plains Art Prize 2013.


In the mid 1950s I was given a box of Australian made Builda Brix by my parents. My favourite objects to build were cargo boats that I’d ‘sail’ across the carpet of our lounge room. (I can still remember the sound that the boats made when I pushed them around). It was then that I fell in love with bricks and continue to do so until this day. I love bricks! They look so neat, come in so many colours (these days), sound wonderful when they knock against each other and look so good in a wall or surrounding a house. A also have great admiration for bricklayers, what clever craftsmen they are!

It wasn’t until 2011 that I took an ‘artistic’ liking to bricks. A couple of nights in a cottage at Avoca Beach in NSW confronted by a series of patterns on bricks inside our accommodation reveal ‘landscapes’ that I had to draw once I’d returned to Tasmania. I did. The result was a series of ‘Brickscapes’, some reminiscent of the style of the late Australian artist, Fred Williams. One of these drawings was awarded the Norfolk Plains Art Prize in 2013.

At that particular time I was involved with a Northern Tasmanian brick manufacturing company and was hoping for an exhibition in their (new) showroom in Hobart. Sadly, that never eventuated and my ‘brick’ theme went silent until a few weeks ago when during a stopover at Dorrigo in NSW, I noticed some interesting patterns on a brick wall. Here we go again!

“Dorrigo DNA”

This series of drawings is about the patterns I see on bricks and my interpretations. I see ‘landscapes’ from different parts of Australia. The marks and patterns remind me of DNA profiles, hence the titles. Some of the bricks I’ve seen contain strongly marked patterns, the result of crushed previously fired bricks being added to the clay mixture before it is formed, fired and stacked, ready for use.

“Outback DNA”

Future directions? I intend to photograph and catalogue as many interesting brick patterns as I can before returning to Tasmania next February. I may even return to the brick company and see what they’ve been up to since I left the state in 2016.


About artkleko

artist, art curator, art teacher, art judge, art critic
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2 Responses to LANDSCAPE DNA

  1. I love finding inspiration in odd places, and bricks are a really great source. Great stuff Richard!

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