Brian Pool has always been artistic.
As a young boy he was a prolific drawer. At 10, his mother enrolled him in oil painting lessons. When he left school at 15, he landed a sign-writing apprenticeship.
Unfortunately, that apprenticeship fell through, and Brian was side-tracked for 31 years as an electrician instead. But fate intervened in 2014, when a back injury saw Brian bedridden for 18 months.
“My trade life came to an end,” said Brian. “The art had always been there underneath the surface … but I’d never done anything other than what that old lady taught me all those years ago.
“So I enrolled in Tafe thinking ‘oh well, I’ll go see if I can learn some more painting skills’ and stumbled into printmaking from there. Up until last year, I’d never printed anything in my life.”
But the manual skill required of printmakers spoke directly to Brian’s tradie background, and he’s quickly proven to be adept at the craft. While Brian is still completing his Advanced Diploma of Visual Art, several of his prints have been selected for display at prestigious events and locations, including one in the International Media Room at the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games and another to be exhibited in a new Gallery in Coomera this September.
“It’s pretty mind-blowing,” said Brian “especially when my own mindset is still in that place of finding my calling.
“I think that’s the hardest part of being an artist: trying to find that direction, trying to find that thing that underlies a whole body of work that you can produce for the rest of your life. That is the big $64 million question. I feel I might have to wander off into the wilderness and have one of those ah-ha moments and come back.”
Brian is currently working on pieces for what he hopes will be his first solo exhibition.
“This [series] is called Carbon Age. It’s a sort of roll on from the car theme I did last year. With all the research I did it sort of became obvious to me that we’re in a transition period now where renewable energies are on the way in and fossil fuel is slowly becoming a sunset industry. So [the work] sort of hinges on what’s happening in that transition.”