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Eric Thake

In their own words

Recorded 1961

Eric Thake
Audio: 2 minutes

The type of painting I enjoy doing is when things are in strange surroundings, or, I suppose, it could be termed a type of surrealism. For instance, the one I did of, the painting called The Wide Boys – it was several old second-hand suits of clothes in a Russell St shop, which, even though they were lifeless things, they looked like, well, they looked like a lot of tough characters standing there in the window with their hats pulled well down over their eyes. But it’s when I see something that suggests something else to me, that’s as near as I can put it now.

Probably these things look spontaneous, but I can assure you that in nine cases out of ten that is by no means the case, but I think from the first impression you get then it takes – or it takes me – a lot of sifting out and refining and rearranging, until I come right down a simplified form as possible.

It’s not always easy to say what starts your interest in a subject, but I think it’s the sort of arrangement, the decorative quality, but I seem to be attracted to.

Most of my pictures, I think, have got a sort of humorous or some witty comment, as I like to feel they’ve got in it, about something – what this something is I don’t know. But there’s this one, I say, of The Wide Boys that I painted with the old second-hand suits in the shop. Another painting I did from sketches I did out at the Royal Show called ‘Indifference to Fame’. It was the big draught horse standing in his stall eating, with all his ribbons and prize sashes hanging around in the stall but yet, he was indifferent to all this; he was concerned only on his lunch.

Acknowledgements

This oral history of Eric Thake is from the De Berg Collection in the National Library of Australia. For more information, or to hear full versions of the recordings, visit the National Library of Australia website.

Audio source

National Library of Australia, Hazel de Berg collection

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Eric Thake

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The National Portrait Gallery acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of Country throughout Australia and recognises the continuing connection to lands, waters and communities. We pay our respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and to Elders past and present. We respectfully advise that this site includes works by, images of, names of, voices of and references to deceased people.

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