We were immediately struck by the sensitive and delicate nature of Iro’s work when he applied for our residency program. Blending impressionist watercolour flourishes with precise detailing and illustrative design, Iro’s work draws inspiration from nature, Wabi-Sabi, the sky and his friend the zenning cat.

“There is so much art. I fight myself sometimes to make it original, which is hard because there is so much great art out there already”

Can you describe your practice?
I started drawing tattoos for my practice with pencil by myself for few years while at the same time I saw alot of the fine art history artist pictures at the Museum and started studying history, reading books about the artist’s backgrounds and where their passion came from and this really impressed me. I especially enjoyed the 19 century art scene which changed the art scene more from public people to making paintings. They didn’t have to be clean of the pictures and this started to be an evolution of the history of art. I really loved this art movement so I thought I wanted to make my own style from my emotion and living now in this century. I use mixed media in my works, including watercolour, acrylic, pen and pencil.
First of all I go out and take the time for the sketches, sometimes doing just sketches or take photos, spending lots and lots of time for the next process which mixes with my imagination and my emotion coming from my abstract feeling and texture.

What medium I use, depends on how I am feeling. I am always changing what mediums I use to match with the idea.

What inspires you?
Seeing the street, architecture, fashion, people, nature, Sky, texture, Wabisabi space, the feel of the colours.

What is the reason you continue with your practice?

Because I wake up and get started with the day and in my mind there is always something being made; this is my life. I am always creating in my mind. I am not good at talking or singing and I’m not very good at presenting, so…I think I can give messages to people and this is the best way I’ve found; by creating something. If I don’t have that, then I get really bored because I can’t express myself.
What revives your creative spirit?
When I see something that is really good; other people’s artworks, when I’m listening to music, when I get positive energy from other people, family or friends and loved ones. Something comes from my memory that inspires me to make a picture.

What is the hardest thing about your practice?
When I’m making art, I want to make sure always that it’s my own style. When I see something that inspires me, I don’t want to copy anything like that. There is so much art. I fight myself sometimes to make it original, which is hard because there is so much great art out there already . And when the life getting stuck with many bad going on and became slower for making art and getting some stress.

What has been one of the most significant moments for you creatively in your life so far?
First of all I’m living in Australia not my country. I feel so clear to look around and see the different cultures that form the whole world, the people, foods, also to be art. Different inspiration, buildings, history etc … So even I can have look and think about Japan again what I can push more for my creating.
This is where my roots come from and at the same time that I thought more have a space for me to keep studying to make a good art.
And here in Australia I think it’s very open for the street art scene which has been very positive for me.

What do you see yourself doing when you are 50?
Want to living a countryside maybe making some ceramics and farming organic vegetables in my back yard .

What are you most excited about for the future?
Traveling other countries.
And one day maybe wanna get married and have kids.
Doing some collabs, and projects with people I respect and admire.

What does the term “Create or Die” mean to you?
It actually like my creating of my life which if I’m not creating will mean i’m waiting for the death of the my life so I won’t stop …
Also I really love to stay and work here at the create or die studio here. I have a peaceful mind in this studio to work with.

Do you have any rituals?
I walk every day to see the sunlight and get myself woken up. It kinda feeling meditate and will find something of the idea coming up with and get ready to start the day also. And sometimes I’m a being a cat haha .

~ Conversation with Deb Morgan ~