Stephen Eastaugh Australian, b. 1960
Stephen Eastaugh (born 1960) is an Australian contemporary artist from Melbourne, Australia. He is known for producing semi-abstract, mixed-media art, and his work is often informed by his experiences traveling.Eastaugh studied at the Victorian College of the Arts from 1979 to 1981. After completing his Bachelors of Fine Art, he began to travel, first to New Zealand and Norway, and since then has not settled anywhere for more than a few months at a time. Since the early 1980s, he has participated in over 100 solo exhibitions and 100 group exhibitions in Australia and internationally. He is represented in many of Australia's state and national art collections including the National Gallery of Australia, the National Gallery of Victoria and Parliament House Canberra.
In 2012 Eastaugh self-published Unstill Life, a book with a limited-edition of 500 copies, documenting his 30 years of traveling which he wrote over the winter of 2009 at Mawson Station in Antarctica.
Artistic Style and Influences
Each of Eastaugh's semi-abstract, mixed-media artworks tells a story based on his travels, such as passing out after his drink was spiked in Peru (Drugs, 1990). Antarctichinoiserie-scape (2004), for example, was inspired by the rafting sea ice found in Antarctica while reminiscent of depictions of distance in Chinese landscape paintings.
Eastaugh calls his art of travel an 'Unstill Life'. He has made nine trips to Antarctica: three trips as the official Australian Artic Art Felloe (2000, 2002-3, 2009), and six times as an artist-in-residence on tourist ships. He travelled twice to the North Pole as part of a Polar art residency on Russian icebreakers. Ulan Bator (Mongolia), Nuuk (Greenland), Nufa Alofa (Tonga), Ushuaia (Argentina) are among the 80 plus countries Eastaugh has visited. His 2006 Summer studio at Australia's Davis Station in Antarctica was the subject of the ABC TV documentary AntarcticArt. On Eastaugh's third official trip to Antarctica he over-wintered at Mawson station.
The work Eastaugh produces in each country regularly uses materials that resonate with, or are particular to, the local culture. These materials have a strong textural quality: encaustic wax, oilsticks, medical bandages, rugs, fabric, embroidery, damaged paper and pearl shells. Rooted (Mongolia), 2004, for example, abstracts various Mongolian objects and views in 30 panels made from acrylic paint and embroidered medical bandages, wool and cotton thread.