The limitless nature of creation can be exciting yet paralysing. Sometimes, the most inspiring and incredible creations are born from ingenuity in the face of scarcity.
Liam Murphy understands this better than most. Leaning into the skills and resources he has in the moment, Liam embraces the journey and the outcome with aplomb resulting in works that are uniquely him.
We speak to Liam about the evolution of his style and what makes the perfect Sunday roast.
Your collection has come together beautifully. Is there one piece in particular that stands out to you and why?
They’re all beautiful (in my humble opinion!) however, Down On Freestreet was one that came out very nicely. I never really know how they’ll turn out, usually they go to plan, but sometimes they need reworking or scrapping altogether. Thankfully that rarely happens!
Down on Freestreet
94.5cm x 124.5cm
Acrylic on Canvas – Flooded Gum Frame
With this painting, and most of them in this collection, I made a real effort to limit my palette for each piece. Usually just white and three or four other colours. It was a challenge, but it’s surprising how much variation you can squeeze out of just a few colours and a big scoop of white!
What do you hope people will feel or take away when experiencing your work, particularly this exhibition?
I really hope people will feel happy, even serene, when they view my work. I love when people tell me they’ve owned one for years and still enjoy looking at them all day and can still find new things within them. That’s pretty cool.
You’ve been creating and doodling since you were a child. How did you develop your distinctive style and how has it evolved throughout your life?
It hasn’t evolved that much - I still can’t draw! But I guess for a while now I’ve learnt to roll with my lack of traditional drawing skill and enjoy what I can do. I think the style came about because I had to use whatever was at hand to draw with - a scratchy old pen or blunt carpenter’s pencil or a dried-up texta.
Art supplies were hot property amongst me and my five siblings! As a result, the strokes were always scratchy and irregular, which I have come to love.
I also really loved the drawings in old comics, Tintin, Asterix but mainly The Phantom, particularly those drawn by Wilson McCoy. They’re so simple but so good!
Sunday Roast is all about remembering and celebrating the simple things in life - in particular for you, the unifying and ritualistic Sunday roast. What do you think makes the perfect roast?
Ha ha! You’ve got to attack it like a Boy Scout - Be Prepared! Get all your prep work done early, keep it simple, just a couple of things done really well is better than lots of mediocre things. Also serving lots of wine helps!
What's next for you?
I’m about to head to footy training. I’ve put my hand up to be a runner, so if you’re ever at the Garden’s Oval in Port Fairy and you see an old bald guy wearing fluoro trying to run, be ready to do some CPR.
Longer term, I’d like to make some more masks and also do some hand painted signs. I hand painted the shopfront in my last exhibition and loved the process, so I‘m thinking I’ll do some signs to hang.
About Sunday Roast
Liam Murphy’s latest exhibition, Sunday Roast, is a remembrance of times gone by and a reminder that the simple things in life are all we really need. What Murphy creates is meticulous, unpretentious and honest, while exploring the themes of nostalgia and simplicity.
Sunday Roast will be exhibited at the Fenton & Fenton Gallery from Thursday 16 March to Saturday 25 March 2023.
About Liam Murphy
Liam Murphy is an artist, dad and sick charger owner based in Port Fairy, Victoria. Liam’s work is the evolution of his lifelong habit of doodling. Vast repetition and an innate understanding of colour create a sense of oddity which is both sophisticated and childlike.
View the exhibition here
View the collection here