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Stan de Teliga

In their own words

Recorded 1965

Stan de Teliga
Audio: 2 minutes

The influences, of course, that keep me working are things that particularly interest me, things that I like doing myself. I like trout fishing, so occasionally I’ll paint a picture of a recalled thing, seen on a lake, you know, shimmering water and the misty sort of appearance of things, and the suggestion of an angler wandering through in deep water, and things like this.

Regarding what motivates me or makes me think in terms of paint, this is a very hard one. Generally it’s a feeling of wanting to associate man and his environment. This is the way I’m painting now and I’m feeling now. Quite often the association is something that I recall from personal experience, such as I enjoy surfing and when I get painting I feel in terms of the ambiguity of man and his environment, and this is why my paintings begin to suggest this.

I don’t class my paintings as being abstract, but I think of them in terms of real experience and real statements of observed and felt subjects, including man, and something of his surroundings. What happens as an end result of this is often that the personality involved in the landscape or something becomes almost completely lost, the same as the landscape not only swallows up any beings or people that are there, but it also sometimes takes on a character of the people. I don’t think this is sort of a major motivation, I think this is just some of the feelings I have when I’m doing a picture. My own paintings sometimes start off meaning one thing and quite often change through the processes of drawings to paintings to bigger paintings into something different.

I wish I knew why I painted. I couldn’t ever say why, and I think I’ll just probably go on painting even though at times I feel it’s a rather desperate thing and I’m getting nowhere.

Acknowledgements

This oral history of Stan de Teliga 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.

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Stan de Teliga

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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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