Art has always been a catalyst for change throughout history. Each piece by an artist contains a piece of their soul. An artist who has poured his whole being into the creation of art is able to create an impact on its viewers through its authenticity—it carries the artist’s dreams, visions, hard work, experiences, and immediate environment. Being authentic is a true gift.
Derek Glaskin is an Australian contemporary oceanic aboriginal artist who has been in the industry for over 50 years. As an expert in indigenous visual art, he believes that it is about time for art other than the western visual art to be consumed by the public. The next big thing is an indigenous genre of visual art, and it is already staring at people in the face.
Having spent 30 years of his life in the Hawaiian Islands, his work is largely inspired by them. Through the appeal of ancient pearls of wisdom of tribal nature, his art serves as a catalyst for change. He considers himself most fortunate to have contributed to visual art in the Cosmopolynesian times—that is, in the time when humans are out conquering heavenly bodies, just as the Polynesians colonized islands in the past.
In his work, he believes that kū i ka māna, kūlia i ka nu’u—to be like the one from whom you have learned, strive to reach the summit. He has always held his mentor in high regard. George Voudouris taught commercial illustration to the evening part-time classes at the Perth Technical College from 1969 to 1981, and Derek had been in one of his classes during his college days.
Children are very easily impressionable, and art left a deep impression on him in his early childhood. Witnessing the interest that adults had for arts and the pleasure it brought them triggered a desire in him: to be a part of that, to be able to evoke such emotions in those who would view his work. He became involved in art, and art became ubiquitous in his life.
At ten years old, he experienced firsthand how it felt to be the direct cause of one’s awe. A tourist was upset that he could not take a photo because his camera broke down. Derek drew a quick sketch of the beach and gave it to the tourist, and the tourist was ecstatic with the gift he received and the quality of it. That event was as unforgettable for the tourist as it was for Derek.
An artist’s ability to see the beauty in everything is a thing of envy. Derek considers himself to be addicted to love, and painting made him fall in love with people. Looking at them, he sees the beauty in each of them and desires to capture that beauty through art.
While he was an exceptional artist with a depth of emotion in each work, things were not always smooth sailing for him. Life had brought him different challenges, but like in surfing, he says, the trick to pick the right wave to ride with the right people.
Presently, Derek is interested in producing and exhibiting original works for the corporate collection, with vertical marketing and production. Opportunity knocks on everyone’s doors, and all one has to do is grab it.