An interview with Drew Abrahamson

· Wednesday November 2, 2016

Drew Abrahamson is a visual artist. I myself only found this out about six months ago when I saw he’d done something very funny and clever by printing Pauline Hanson’s face onto loo paper. Creatively, he is riding on one of those glitter trailed upward trajectories, consistently trumping his last move with something bolder, cheekier and more sure-footed.

Drew followed up on his Pauline TP foray, Project Wipeout, with a very sassy and beautiful comic zine titled 'Attack of the intergalactic vagina with fangs.' (Think alien pinups beaming broadly astride their testicle rocket ships.) Now he’s looking forward to his upcoming exhibition “Three Some”. Its both his first ever solo show, and his first ever exhibition.

When I visited Drew in his art home of the past eight months, Tooth & Nail Studios, he invited me into an alcove filled with bright oil paintings: he’s been adventuring out of his usual method of screen-printing lately. I spoke with him about his projects, processes and the necessity of kindly saying “get fucked” to any lingering feels of ol’ fashioned Aussie conservatism.

Elena: Your entry into the ‘artsphere’ came about pretty recently with some poop-politics, followed shortly by a really rad comic book about intergalactic vaginas. Do you wanna tell us a bit about these projects?

Drew: Um, yeah. It all happened pretty quickly… even though they’re very different projects they both kind of came at the same time.

So, Project Wipeout is a politically driven campaign slash charity fundraiser that uses the face of Pauline Hanson printed on toilet paper. The initiative is that it’s a reward system for donations. All proceeds go to an organisation that helps asylum seekers integrating into Australia and in detention.

E: Where did you get the idea for putting Hanson to loo-paper?

D: I was in bed actually. I couldn’t sleep, probably due to the frustration of this woman, and then I just kind of sprung out of bed with the idea to print her face on to toilet paper but I just wanted to do it as a funny for myself, and then once I started doing that I thought… [this] might appeal to some people and be a good little project.

E: And the space women? Are they as political?

D: Nah, not at all really. I guess that was a little bit self indulgent. I’ve always had kind of a fascination with sci-fi and I’d certainly say I use my art practice to explore my sexuality.

E: Your output so far has been really varied, is that exploration going to result in even more diverse work?

D: Just through making work for the show I’ve definitely discovered a bit more of a direction and I’m feeling my personal style sort of… unravel a little bit, which is nice. I’ve never really felt that before.

I’ve always worked kind of, very black and white, and I’ve definitely just recently dived into this world of colour and I love it. And I’ve started going big. I’ve always worked very small and very detailed and I’ve started just blowing things up and putting them in colour. And yeah, I’m just frothin'. (chuckles)

E: Is this bigger and brighter due to that unravelling, do you think?

D: Well yeah I was having a conversation about this the other day. It’s kind of an exploration of colour but beyond just a visual thing. You can get the vibe from [comparing] my previous work to more recent stuff. Its a lot more open. I guess it came maybe a little bit with some inner happiness… as cheesy as it sounds.

It’s a bit of a mix between living in Berlin and everything being so open and the city teaching me not to give fuck about anything, basically. Also coming back here and it sort of being the opposite. Everything being a bit more oppressed and that encouraging me to say “fuck it” even more.

E: Is the exhibition name 'Threesome' a sort of “fuck it” too?

D: Originally it was kind of a spoof in the face to Australia’s kind of tabooist society, but I guess there is a bit of story within the body of work. There are some old original drawings that almost kind of portray a twisted kind of mind in a way, and and then within the same kind of work you can kind of see it progress a little bit.

E: Like…untwist itself?

D: Yeah…yeah. Yeah.

E: I get it. Like the insertion of colour?

D: Yeah. Basically the oldest pieces in this body of work are the smallest pieces. And then it just gets bigger, and brighter. Bigger and brighter! (Laughs)