The Emerging Artist’s work is showcased through a large stall at Venue 5 in the Community Complex, and is promoted through our marketing programs.
image1 - Snake Artist at work
image2 - Copper sketch
image3 - Bill Flowers Snake book
The Emerging Artist for TCF2013 is Bill Flowers, better known as the “Snake Artist”. Having grown up around wildlife and art, combining these two passions was a natural progression for Bill.
“I can’t remember not being an artist, I've always drawn and painted,” he said. “I have some drawings of animals I did when I was six, so there has always been an interest.”
Bill has worked with animals for most of his adult life, being a snake handler, wildlife rescuer and zoo keeper at Devils @ Cradle and Trowunna Wildlife Park.
“I started printing wildlife t-shirts in 1992 when I saw that there was a gap in the market. I created ‘Creature T-shirts’ and ended up supplying my designs Australia-wide,” he said.
“I would screen-print late into the night to keep up with the orders, while orphan wombats and wallabies would play at my feet. The animals ended up taking over my studio."
“Ten years later this interest led me to work at Trowunna Wildlife Park where I was involved in a lot of wildlife rehabilitation. I got to know and understand Tasmanian devils, while continuing to paint, draw and print wildlife.”
In the early 1990s Bill began rescuing snakes and performing snake-handling shows.
“I would often draw these and some people joked that I was a snake artist,” he said.
“Years later in 2007 I was working with Tasmanian devils at Cradle Mountain. In the isolation I had time to think about what I want to do in the next chapter of my life. I realised that my two best skills were snake handling and drawing. So I became the ‘Snake Artist’!
“I went out and sketched snakes ‘face-to-face’ in their natural habitat, in the hope to portray some of the excitement and sense of danger into my art.”
Bill’s philosophy of always drawing from real life has gotten him into some sticky situations at times.
“I think a lot of my models have struck out at me when I got too close,” he said. “I respect the animals and give them a bit of space.
“If I have removed a snake from someone’s backyard I will look the snake over to see if it is healthy, often that’s when I get out the sketch book."
“A page in my sketch book has Tasmanian devil fang marks in it, and not to mention the tiger snake that squirted venom right onto another page of the same book. I know there’s even a bit of my own blood among those pages somewhere."
“But it is all part of life’s great adventure!”
Bill will exhibit a range of his work at TCF2013, including his new series of hand-made artist books with a printed snake that folds out, featuring an image that is a screen-print, linocut, collagraph or etching.
“I can’t wait to see people’s reaction to my artist books, paintings and prints,” he said.
“This will be the biggest art event I've ever been a part of. I’m not sure what to expect, but I’m always willing to dive in a take a risk.
“I was a bit surprised (to be named the Emerging Artist), but then again, 2013 is the year of the snake!”
For further information on Bill’s work, visit www.snakeartist.com