Ephemeral artist calls Mystery Bay home

ARTIST Dean Ware is living in his element at Mystery Bay because his subjects, being found objects and the natural world, are all around him.

Going by the name of “driftfoot”, his work has attracted a following around Australia and the world.

He classes himself as an ephemeral artist that specialises in creating unique artworks out of what he finds and gathers.

Sometimes it is a simple matter of photographing the creation and then letting it go back to nature, while other times he will make a more permanent sculpture.

A classic example of this is all the pumice that recently washed up on Far South Coast beaches after spending two years drifting over from an undersea volcano north of New Zealand

“Being an artist who works with the tide line, I too noticed the great amount of pumice stone recently washed upon the local beaches,” Dean said.

“Mostly found much smaller it was interesting to see the size and shapes and in this amount. It’s a perfect medium for me as it is natural, a bit unique when finished.

“I collected a couple of bags and also one larger piece, ideas forming as I picked and examined each piece.”

He managed to chisel down the largest piece into a perfect and brilliant white sphere, he calls a pumice ball.

Not that making a perfect sphere is easy, but it is a shape that he admits he has become “slightly addicted” to, also making other balls out of ochre-coloured clay he sourced at Mystery Bay.

Dean said most of his art and sculpture was made in and around the tide line, using natural items that over time without his intervention would get absorbed back into the environment.

“I enjoy discovering these unique things made by nature and then turning them into art that will go into someone’s home, either as a photograph or a sculpture.”

Materials such as stone, driftwood, ochre, marram grass, burrawang palm fronds and seeds, vine, bark, sand, feathers and cuttlefish have all been used.

“The place I find them often inspires the works created,” he said.

“Some sculptures are what I call `lasting ephemeral`, where the work will last many years after being completed and ideal for the home.

Photographs are taken as the works progress and then disappear back to nature, often becoming the only proof that the art or sculpture was there at all.”

He also uses driftwood frames he makes to compliment the images and it was these frames that were his first bread and butter as an artist.

Born and raised in Canberra, his calling to the ocean came early and ever since his late teens he was down surfing and wandering the beaches at every opportunity.

In his early 20s, he moved to Burrill Lake near Ulladulla where he set up his “Lakewood” business recycling driftwood and even old jetties and piers into picture frames.

This has now evolved into his new business “driftfoot” where he is focussing on the ephemeral art that is now for sale online.

Dean said he was in his element living at Mystery Bay giving him access to his favourite wandering and collecting spots from Durras north of Batemans Bay to the Narooma area to the Mimosa Rocks National Park south of Bermagui.

To check out any of his work, simply type in “driftfoot” into your internet search engine and numerous examples of his fantastic, ephemeral works should show up.

Dean also hopes to exhibit a couple of pieces in the Sculpture on the Edge exhibition held in Bermagui from March 1 to March 10.

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