The Wandering Palate is delighted to share this brilliant caricature of ‘Marsh Mellow” drawn by the hugely talented and humorous cartoonist and artist, George Aldridge. I am sure you will agree that Aldridge has captured the essence of my obsession and patriotism in this vivid drawing although has kindly managed to lose one of my chins.
You can view more of Aldridge’s work on Philip White’s blog, Drinkster, http://drinkster.blogspot.com/ in this writers opinion the best wine scribe in Australia and an awesome combination of talent and hilarity.
I have quoted the ABC – Nexus programme at the bottom of this post to give you some background on George Alderidge.
Cheers! The Wandering Palate
George Aldridge is a bushie, artist, cartoonist, publican and loves to tell a yarn. We went to his studio to talk to him about his life and work.
“Hello, I’m George Aldridge. I’m artist, cartoonist, illustrator. And I’m currently sitting up in my favourite workplace – my loft in Gawler.
Firstly, it was from high school to a men’s clothing store, and fortunately I had a dear friend who saw me spending most of my time ticket-writing those days, and dressing dummies, and got an application for the South Australian School of Art, so I was fortunate enough to get in. So I spent a four-year course, coming out with a diploma in fine art painting. I think I’d learnt the skills and techniques in painting and drawing, but really, it was certainly a different sort of social scene. It was a grand gathering of the sort of ’70s and ’80s bohemians which I was never aware of until then. That took me to interesting places…and headspaces.
Yeah, I took up the museum work in the early ’80s as a designer-illustrator. You had to be a bit of everything in the museum. It was also called the ‘Dead Zoo’, because we worked with a lot of dead animals. It was a fascinating place. It still is. I think it’s one of the great cultural institutions in Adelaide. There was a chance then also to try some different… ..work in some different areas of scientific illustration and taxidermy… ..which I found just absolutely fascinating, and still do. I still go off on digs. It’s one of my great loves.
I’m very much an… And I don’t like the term ‘outback’. I’m really a landscape painter. Well, it really goes back to high school. We travelled through the Flinders. It was just one of those breathtaking landscapes that I just immediately fell in love with, and I went back. It was sort of really a yearly sort of pilgrimage, and have ever since then. And then, having moved to the Flinders in the early ’90s, full-time, it allowed me to virtually paint full-time. I just find the landscape just overwhelming, breathtaking, colourful. I love the texture of it. It’s something that will never leave me, I don’t think. It’s stunning stuff.
This is my sanctuary. This is my hidey-hole. I could be up here fairly early. I will work…often work right through the day… ..into the night… ..and just do that over and over and over again. That’s really the way I get through the work. There’s really some days where I actually can’t draw. Actually, I was trying to figure out the other day… I couldn’t lift a pencil. There’s just days when it just doesn’t happen. So I then… I don’t know. I just go walkabout then.
My wife Kate runs a little restaurant out of Gawler, which is actually housed in the oldest building in Gawler. It’s the Wheatsheaf Inn, which was the… It’s a grand, grand little place. It’s the old inn. It’s haunted. I spent bits of time up there working, helping her out in the bar and serving behind the bar, and serving tables occasionally . I can do it for a limited amount of time, but then, when I get a bit grumpy, Kate sends me… sends me north.
The cartooning for me was really… I was just an insatiable scribbler as a kid, and much to the annoyance of, I think, probably school teachers, and my history at schools, I never really got any bloody work done – I was too busy scribbling. And as I sort of progressed into the working world, the cartoon became a way of me really stating what I thought needed to be stated, and antagonise management in the public service and antagonise politicians, and really to, as I’ve said before, get this shit off my liver about certain things that concern me.
And I just…I sit and draw. I draw as I… That just happens naturally. I never just… Well, sometimes, I sit and think, and sometimes I just sit, but the drawing is something I will do as a way of just getting me motivated, getting me moving. So I don’t necessarily look for a theme. Sometimes, I work on images that somehow develop into a theme, or find their way into one other aspect of my thinking. I’m a bushie, I love my music… I love the medium, I love painting, I love being a creative person. I can’t see that I would be anything else. I love that headspace, and it’s not a complex place for me to be. It’s just a… It’s a very safe and comfortable place to be.”