Challenging Convention

Sean Cameron Collected views from dinner 2020 (detail)

Sean Cameron Collected views from dinner 2020 (detail). Pencil and ink on paper with mixed media, 90 x 197 cm (overall). Applecross Senior High School.

Published by Kim Coley    |   20 September 2021

The Pulse Perspectives exhibition is close to the heart of many of our AGWA Pulse Youth Advisory Panel (YAP) Members. The featured works are created by emerging young artists from Western Australia, passionate and keen to share narratives that are of shared interest, experience, and relevance.

YAP member Kim Coley has been a member of the AGWA Pulse advisory committee for two years. Actively involved in the Perth art scene, she spoke to this year's Pulse Perspectives artist Sean Cameron about his work Collected view from dinner. Read on to gather an incredible insight into his highly personal and powerful piece.

Sean Cameron is a young Perth creative whose work he describes as incredibly "existential" and "very gay". Art for Cameron is a "shield" and an outlet for his more emotional and vulnerable sides, which he often finds harder to express during his daily life. Join us as we sit down with Cameron and delve into the thought processes, journeys and experiences which led to his 2020 Pulse Perspectives piece Collected views from dinner.

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Sean Cameron with his work Collected views from dinner 2020

Pulse Perspectives AGWA installation view, August 2021. Sean Cameron with his work Collected views from dinner 2020. Pencil and ink on paper with mixed media, 90 x 197 cm (overall). Applecross Senior High School.

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Your piece is titled “Collected views from dinner”. Could you please expand more on how you came to this title and why?

Whenever I'm making artworks, I usually get a lot of inspiration for the name from a song title, particularly if I can't think of anything. I believe Collected views from dinner is a song on a kilo kish album. It's basically audio of a dinner party, and I thought it well encapsulated the piece's elements. It sounds good and explains it without being overly pretentious.

Your artist statement highlights the concept of family and the process of establishing a "chosen" family and community. Do you personally think these concepts are well represented within the art scene from a non-heteronormative standpoint?

Queer identity and family aren't talked about much in the art world, especially in Perth. At the start of the year, my school took us around to a lot of exhibitions. I never once saw a queer work discussing queer identity, which really inspired me to (talk about it). But it got better. My original artist statement mentioned how the art world is really heteronormative, particularly in Perth. However, my teacher drew my attention to an exhibition called here and now 20 by Brent Harrison. This was showing at the Lawrence Wilson Art Gallery later that year which was great to see.

Is there anything specific you would like people to know about your work?

My work is often very gay; that's the intention. It is often quite personal in a way because it's something I'm not good at talking about. So in a way, my work is vocalisation and a "shield".

Sean Cameron
Pulse Perspectives Artist

How has COVID-19 affected your creative process?

It's really made it more interpersonal, where I focus on my own feelings and my thoughts. It's really forced me to look at my own identity, thought processes and where I believe I fit in the world instead of looking outside at social issues. Before COVID-19, I remember the original idea for this work focused on how queer identity disrupts the "traditional family", especially with same-sex marriage. I think COVID really forced me to look at how I engage with family instead of how the world thinks I engage with family.

Sean Cameron Collected views from dinner 2020 (detail)
Sean Cameron Collected views from dinner 2020 (detail). Pencil and ink on paper with mixed media, 90 x 197 cm (overall). Applecross Senior High School.

Would you have displayed your piece within the Pulse Perspectives exhibition any differently?

I don't think so. I actually really like how it's been displayed. Whenever I've had queer works within a space, I've found that there tends to be a habit of it being placed within an "unconventional area". So having that piece be chosen to be put in the centre is great.

Considering what you've achieved so far, do you have any future plans, hopes, or projects concerning art that people should look out for?

I am studying graphic design, so my art practice is all over the place, but I really intend to make more art. I want to create a direct extension and discourse around these ideas, focusing on queer identity and expression; analysing different aspects. It's difficult when you're not being forced to do art at school.

Consider the use of an unconventional canvas within your piece and its installation aspect. Concerning COVID-19, how important is the experience of viewing art in person vs digitally?

I think it's really important to view art in person. Even if online the art is still presented in the same way as seeing it in person. However, it takes it to another level, mainly when they discuss something quite personal to people. It reminds people that there are others out there like them, as opposed to seeing art on a screen that is an "idea away".

What does having your piece in the 2020 Pulse Perspectives exhibition mean to you?

It means a lot, especially when it's a piece discussing queer identity and related areas that are often not spoken about in the art world. So it's great for me to talk about it without it being seen as "overbearing". I'll talk to myself and my friends about it, but having a way to talk about this to a broader audience and be welcomed in that environment is really powerful.

Sean Cameron
Pulse Perspectives Artist

Pulse Perspectives is on display at the Gallery until 27 September 2021.

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