For the past 15 years Jack Cochrane has spent his time trawling around the NSW coastline taking a particular interest in small ocean rock pools. Hanging around his neck is special photography equipment, equipment that allows him to peer inside a colourful and vibrant world many never witness. No more than a foot underneath the surface of the sea is an environment that Jack describes as “self-contained nature” and it is this environment which Jack loves to capture. Jack Cochrane is one of this year’s artists in the Wollongong City Gallery’s Local: Current exhibition, a show which will be showcasing emerging local talent in a range of mediums. I caught up with Jack to find out a bit more about his work, what he has planned for the Local: Current exhibition and which local artists he is inspired by.
What is your medium of choice and what attracts you to that medium?
Photography. I find it provides a constant challenge. Most of my work is taken below water. I search for unusual subjects, and strange light effects due to the interaction of light through the water. Although I plan each trip I never really know if I have been successful until I get home and examine the images. Sometimes I am disappointed. Sometimes I get a real surprise! This is when I say, yes, this image is something special.
What themes do you explore in your art?
The interplay of light, movement, and colour underwater.
When did you first start to be artistic?
While at school. I used to paint watercolour landscapes. At 12 years of age I entered an adult art competition. Although I did not win anything I did sell my entry. I switched to photography at about 15 years of age.
Are you a self taught artist or have you studied?
Explain the works you will be showcasing in the Local: Current exhibition at Wollongong City Gallery:
These photographs are mostly taken at Coledale and Austinmer. They are all taken underwater in very shallow rock pools. I use an amphibious macro lens mounted on a digital camera. Most of my subjects are only a few centimetres in size. My aim is to show the unexpectedly vivid environment found just beneath the water along the rock platforms of the Illawarra. I am especially interested in the interaction of moving water and light on the creatures I photograph. To capture these effects all of my photographs are taken using natural light. The prints are a true representation of what you can see in Illawarra rock pools.
What was your reaction when asked to be one of the ten artists in the Local: Current exhibition for 2011?
Excited and surprised. I had hoped one day to exhibit at Wollongong (City Gallery) and now it is happening.
Who is your favourite local artist and why?
Paul Ryan. I like his bold use of paint and the way he works with light in landscapes. He is able to capture mood by the way he handles the interaction of sunlight through his brush strokes. His escarpment paintings are my favorite. In fact I have one on my wall.
How do you find the creative arts community in the Illawarra?
The people I know in Northern Wollongong are very active. It will be good to get to know more of them through the Local:Current exhibition.
Do you have any future plans for your art?
I would like to venture out of NSW to see what other coastlines have to offer. Are they as good, as beautiful as the Illawarra? Also, I have recently extended my work into HD video.
The opening for the Local: Current exhibition is on 11 November from 6.30pm at Wollongong City Gallery. Exhibiting artists are: Richard Batson, Jasmin Carter, Jack Cochrane, Poncho Army, Julie Donnelly, Tamara Elkins, Michele Elliot, Ashley Forbes, Alena Kennedy & Noel Lonesborough. Local: Current is curated by Louise Brand.