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July 11, 2023 – Published in Design & Decor Spring-Summer 2023 issue

What is it all about?

Why an artist’s past is so important! Henry Falzon glances back at his journey, from origin to where it might take us next.

Art is all about communicating alternative views of life, especially ordinary mundane life. It is an optical drug, and a necessity because life is not enough. 

Growing up in the austere 1980s was a sufficient catapult to send me into the art orbit, at first starting with sketches and doodles. I created my own fantasy mini universes on paper where I had a solution for every detail in my primitive honest manner. Often goofy sketches, but good enough to instil a discipline in creativity. 

And then the 90’s came, loud, brash, oozing youth and technology – what a time! I took a liking to photography – one of the most difficult and yet misunderstood forms of art that exist. Fine art photography (not to be confused with snapshot taking) is the art of seeing. Honing composition skills and colour observation, I shot Black and White film. Black and white has a big advantage over colour imagery. It holds a substantial level of abstraction, elevating an ordinary view to something else just by removing colour. If life is a riot of colours like a hastily made fruit salad, black and white photography is just neat scotch in a glass full of ice. 

I kept shooting film till the turn of the millennium. I developed my own film and printed my own photographs in my darkroom. 

It was from me to me and I needed to prove nothing to no one. 

It could not have been purer and more soulful than that.

Then came the year 2000 and with it the relentless march of technology. Film became projected as grandpa’s hobby, passé, and looked-down. I ditched film and took up a digital camera, then still infantile with pixilated images. It was horrible! I disliked colour and it worked some much against my credo that had I built in the previous decade. Disillusioned, I quit photography and entered a suspended state of mind – artistically. 

Roll on a few more years, my artistic calling was still beating a rhythm inside me. I decided to take up oil painting and soft pastels, all self-thought and made painfully slow progress in the next ten years. A major boost came with myself joining a local en plein air art group in 2014. Plen air is a tough discipline in art – going out on location and painting the view in front of you in real-time, that is, in just two hours maximum before the scene changes too much in terms of lighting. 

From that point on, my artistic career took off in a serious manner and I expanded my mediums to include oils, pastels, printmaking and charcoal drawings. I also re-equipped to shoot medium format black and white film and restocked a darkroom. 

My work has always been and will remain, photography-initiated because these are my roots in art. 

For the future, I have some wonderful ideas that I’m exploring. 

My landscapes are now becoming more populated with characters, as opposed to not-a-person-in-sight compositions. 

My photography is stoked with abstracted figures. I intend to do some deeper work that is more interpretable rather than forceful on the viewer. Portraits are getting my attention, as is figurative work. There is never a dull moment in my studio. 

A full-bodied solo art exhibition is in planning for mid-next year, so keep an eye on my socials.

­Instagram: @henryfalzon

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