Interview with Dion Horstmans
1. When did your passion for sculpting start and how has that evolved over time to the style you have now?
I was around 8 years old when I first saw Michelangelo’s “David” in a book. I remember the moment distinctly.
I started working three-dimensionally in 1996. Before this I was drawing, although very much with a sculptural context. At first I worked with soapstone, carving away at soapstone blocks. I then moved onto wood and my first public works were from drawings that were made out of clay and plaster. At this point my work was very organic in shape and bodily in form.
The transition from these figurative works to my present geometric works was a matter of necessity. I started creating geometric panels in response to an internal dialogue I had going on referencing tribal motifs. Somehow I got lost in the world of geometry, things got drawn out, pulled and folded. Now I’m working on these abstract geometric forms referencing tribal patterns, street graffiti and flight, as well as figurative pieces.
2. Where do you mainly source your inspiration from and tell us your design process…
My practise is forever evolving. We’re generally pretty visual creatures. I draw my inspiration from everything around me, but to be honest I generally don’t think about inspiration too deeply - I work really hard at what I do. I’m extremely focused. I get up really early at 5am each morning and am disciplined in my work.
I have a million ideas all the time. I try and realise one idea at a time. It’s forever evolving.
3. From an environmental standpoint, do you recycle pieces? How so and what has that enabled you to create?
I work with recycled steel wherever possible. I’m churning through energy to create works, and it takes a lot of energy to produce the raw materials I work with. I reuse pieces. I keep all sorts things - I have containers full of pencil shavings and keep all my grinder disks - who knows when I could use them and what I could use them for!
Steel is pretty forgiving. Cut, weld, grind…again and again. I keep all of the off-cuts, and make smaller works out of them. I have a show coming up in November at China Heights Gallery called ‘metal heads’, where I’m making steel masks inspired by tribal imagery, animism, Japanese animation and Star Wars. These pieces have all been made from the offcuts from my folded steel works.
4. Why is creativity important to you and how do you share this with your children?
Creativity is what I breath every day. My mind is working constantly. For me, being able to create is being able to express myself. I don't have an agenda - I’m not trying to express myself for a reason, it’s just what I do.
I have two daughters. These girls are my best creations. I don’t think I have ever consciously encouraged creativity with them but being around my studios has been constant exposure for them. It’s such a fleeting thing parenting young kids, they grow so quick, and there’s no instruction book we are issued with. When I’m creating I’m most at peace. It’s quiet time for me. What I’ve shared with my children most is giving them time.
5. A lot of people say creativity and art is a perfect way to break-free from stress. How do you feel about this in your experience as a full-time artist?
A full time practicing artist is a constant juggling act. The creative side is incredibly satisfying. However the reality as an artist of paying for studio space, materials and finishes and coming out ahead each month can be stressful. If I’m not creating, I’m working on the business side of my art - following up inquiries, getting ready for shows and thinking about new projects.
The act of making my art is as close as I get to meditation on a daily basis.
6. How do you maintain a healthy lifestyle, both personally and with your family?
I start really early in the morning at the studio, doing 9 solid hours, 6 days a week. I also train at Bondi Icebergs most afternoons. My wife and I prepare and eat dinner together most nights.
We spend Sundays together and we generally work towards a 4-5 week holiday each year… with a spattering of long weekend’s away whenever we can with my girls, Juna and Zaza.
1. You’ll always find in my fridge…
Cheese, organic butter, sambal from Holland, wasabi, heaps of greens. You’ll never find any meat in my fridge unless it’s Christmas. We buy fresh every day.
2. If I could have dinner with one inspirational person it would be…
Michael Parkinson. I want to be told funny stories. Or David Attenborough.
3. My favourite quote is…
“If my mind can conceive it, and my heart can believe it - then I can achieve it.” Muhammad Ali
4. My non-negotiable self-care practice…
I train 6 days a week at the gym - it’s tough, brutal training.
5. My number one wellness tip…
Drink lots and lots of alkaline water