The James Gleeson oral history collection
James Gleeson interviews Australia's major artists
A gardener's de flower dream 1975
13.2 x 8.2 cm
1 January 1979
James Gleeson: Now, about the graphics. You say you’re very interested in graphics. Where did you learn about–they’re screen prints mostly, aren’t they?
Tony Coleing: The ones that you have, you’ve got a number of lithographs and a number of screen prints. I also do etching and photography. I like the whole idea of mass production. I mean, that’s part of the thing. I like the idea of technology. It really doesn’t bother me, I don’t think, a great deal to be trying to get as much of my work out to the mass of people, because I know the mass of people don’t care anyway, nor do they buy. I like the activity of printing as much as creating the image. Well, silkscreen printing is quite restrictive. There’s only a certain amount of things you can do with it. You don’t have the freedom in silkscreen that you do, for instance, in lithography where you can put down washers or you can reproduce lines pretty near exact as you draw them. Certain printing methods have certain things, advantages over each other. I don’t think anyone is better than another, they’re just different.
James Gleeson: Where did you study these techniques?
Tony Coleing: I never studied them, I just picked them up myself.
James Gleeson: Did you? Where did you work, where did you get the presses?
Tony Coleing: I made all me own gear for silk-screening.
James Gleeson: Did you?
Tony Coleing: And printed them all on my own, apart from the ones where I’ve worked with people. Again, that’s always been at my place when they’ve visited me. Apart from the gallery shed one where I was just down from the country at that stage and we borrowed someone’s place to do that. The etching, I don’t own an etching press. You don’t own any etchings, I don’t think, anyway of mine.
James Gleeson: No, no, we don’t.
Tony Coleing: But because of the equipment I do them external with people that I know who own presses. The lithography was when Max Hutchison had Gallery A print shop set up. I was about the last person through there. Bobby Brown was the master printer at that stage. I went through with Bruce Petty, I think. I think we were the last two through that place before it closed down. I think the economics of running it were just too much for Gallery A.