Profile: Harry Thring

February 2013

  • Jane Llewellyn

Art and sport are often worlds apart but in artist Harry Thring’s world they combine to create a fine balance.

“I have always loved sport and I have always loved art and I don’t see why they have to be mutually exclusive,” he says. “I’m not sure if I had all of one thing I would be happy. I need a bit of both.”

Thring has a dual career as both a sports journalist, currently working as an AFL reporter, and as a practicing artist just about to embark on his second solo exhibition with Peter Walker Fine Art. Even though the artist/sports journo combo is an unusual mix he says, “I like the contrast and conflict between it. It gives you inspiration to draw on. I like that ebb and flow.”

Without any formal training Thring has developed his own style. “I work in acrylic on canvas. The way I paint is a lot of trial and error. I slop the paint on and take it off. It’s a bit like journalism – I put this down, edit it back, put something else on, if I like it I keep it.”

In his first solo exhibition with Peter Walker Fine Art in 2011 Thring was reflecting on his childhood, looking back to simpler times. “I was obsessed with superheroes. Cartoons like Tintin, Batman, Superman and Spider-Man, all that stuff. So that was my focus and the works include images of that,” he says. His second solo exhibition follows on from this and explores similar themes but delves deeper into Thring’s own personal growth. “I am at that stage in my life where lots of things are starting to change and you’ve entered the workforce and you are struggling to come to terms with where things are going personally with your relationships and family members. The dynamic changes a little bit.”

Much of Thring’s work comes from a very personal perspective. “Some of the works I have produced are very raw and I am almost a little embarrassed to explain the meaning of them because they are so personal.”

In his latest exhibition Thring has introduced some larger canvases allowing him to explore his technique with greater freedom. “My style is of big slabs of colour on the canvas and then I write and draw into it and then I might stick some things on and then paint over it again. So it’s great to have a big space to do this in.”

Working full time as a sports journo takes some of the pressure off Thring allowing him to be creative without having to think about sales. He doesn’t see art and sport as worlds apart with both areas of his life reflecting the fast pace of today’s society. “I love the immediacy of sports journalism at the moment and that’s very similar to my art. I’m not a patient person. I can barely wait for the paint to dry. Sometimes I make the mistake of not waiting quite long enough.”

Harry Thring
Peter Walker Fine Art
Thursday, February 21 to Saturday, March 9

Captions: A Swollen Sun (edit), acrylic, oil, charcoal, ink and collage on canvas, 182x136cm

An Awkward Philosophy (edit), acrylic, ink, pencil and aollage on canvas, 50x61cm

 

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