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Pitok (John) is a visual artist based in Sydney’s inner west. Having graduated from UNSW Art & Design (formerly COFA), he has worked as a visual designer and art director commercially for the last 15 years. More recently he has been creating personal painted works using the medium gouache.
Pitok’s lurid still life scenes bring together disparate ideas of personal culture and identity. Drawing from the traditions of Australian modernist painters and Japanese wood block prints, his works explore the notions of ones personal connection to time and place and how this can be both constructed and lost.
Pitok utilises still life scenes, as a means of enshrining personal objects of devotion, focusing on items that reluctantly cannot be disposed of. These objects become totems that tie us to a time and place. A memory, a person, an experience, a gesture, often something we cannot return to that has passed. These still life scenes represent the spaces we construct around us to reinforce a sense of identity and belonging.
In the last few years, having packed up two set’s of grandparents homes, pitok has been on a personal journey processing these individual’s lifetime of collected totems. What wisdom can be passed down or observed from these curated spaces. While the world moves at a fast consumer pace, why do we still long to collect items that have connection beyond the quick lifecycle of production and disposal.
Pitok’s also looks at the construct of personal identity. Having lived in Japan and then returning to Australia, his works explore the masculine identity. How is it defined and how can it be expressed. Looking at it this intersection of cultural definition provides both a sense of conflict and insight.