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About Cam Knuckey
Cam Knuckey, Illustrator and Printmaker. Grew up in Heidelberg, along the Yarra, just north of Melbourne in the 60’s. Studied Graphic Design at Swinburne, then Drawing and Printmaking at Prahran College in the 70’s.. Apart from solo and mixed exhibitions he worked as an Illustrator for a range of newspapers, and magazines also doing Childrens’, Cookery and Gardening Books. But is still best known for his regular black and white Illustrations for the Gardening Supplement in The Age, during the 80’s and 90’s. Japanese asymmetry and Edwardian Childrens’ Book Illustrators like Rackham, Outhwaite and Dulac were all part of my childhood. Then Art Nouveau curves, (my etching teacher studied under Alphonse Mucha) Art Deco lines, Arts and Crafts techniques, Tribal Textiles and Ceramics all became lifelong influences. (In his day job he’s working with Central Asian Tribal Jewellery, Textiles and Artifacts.) Now lives in the foothills of the Dandenongs, where he can enjoy the mountain views from within the exotic garden he has been planting over the last 16 years. Cam doesn’t drive and walks his Jack Russells all over the area scanning the gardens and local bush for suitable subjects, to be stalked again when they’re in bloom. Visiting friends who live further up the mountain bring seasonal bouquets, which are eagerly drawn. Note books and sketchpads are filled with immediate ink sketches done on the spot and it is these that are usually developed up into the finished designs, however, numerous reference photos are taken, mainly as colour fades with memory. Hand drawn from life either in the wild (subject of course to both weather and temperature affecting the subject and its viewer (a vase of flowers can often move reacting to the temperature and light source as you observe them for 3 or more hours, something the casual viewer doesn’t notice.) Usually defined with a single clean ink line (how they hated such accuracy at Art school, they wanted construction lines) these are then thickened and adjusted by hand to accentuate movement and flow (not using Photoshop which is too mechanical and lacks any spirit.) The final designs are printed onto watercolour papers either by Silk Screen or Lino Cut. Silkcreen utilizes hand cut stencils delicately sliced with a sinuous scalpel gliding over the film. The resultant image being crisply sensuous, quicker to produce and more uniform for editioning. Lino blocks are also hand cut and printed, producing a more rustic, Arts and Craft image with individual inking imperfections adding to their charm. The finished prints are then stretched wet and quickly handcoloured using translucent Artists’ Watercolour washes and opaque Gouaches. These are applied quickly, before the paper dries out, trying to capture an immediacy that absorbs the joy of bleeds and colour runs, rather than aiming at a laboured or stifling perfection. This fast colour application is part of the deliberate process of loosening up and aiming at releasing an unrestrained energy, as opposed to tight orthodox Botanical Illustrations. Some of these finished handcoloured “prints” may be taken to the next level and have their backgrounds gold leafed, which results in something which can be likened to an Illuminated Manuscript or a Japanese screen. His works are often on display in "Palm Beads", Greville St Prahran, "Artemis Framing Gallery", Malvern Rd Sth Yarra and "Seven Pages" Sassafras. Currently showing in "Seasons" Restaurant, at "Cloudehill" Olinda. Up to date details may be found on facebook: "Cam Knuckey Illustrator"