John Bokor’s career as an artist has very definitely taken off in the last few years. His work spans different genres, from superb drawings, through still life, to landscape and ‘plein air’ painting.
In 2012 he was the winner of the NSW Parliament’s Plein Air Painting Prize with a work depicting a street in Bulli. It was a much respected accolade which he then backed up by having a suite of drawings acquired by the Art Gallery of NSW, then a sell-out show of his still life paintings at King Street Gallery in Sydney and another win in a major national still life painting prize, the EMSLA (Eutick Memorial Still Life Award at Coffs Harbour). It was this most recent prize that won him the opportunity of a solo show at the Coffs Harbour Regional Gallery; a show that includes all aspects of his work from the last few years.
Though a resident of Marrickville in Sydney for many years he and his family moved to Bulli on the south coast of NSW some years ago. And this move affected his work substantially.
“It probably took me from 2007 to 2010 to really get to grips with the huge amount of foliage around here. I’d been painting suburban scenes near where I lived in Marrickville – houses with concrete gardens, just one tree and maybe some pavement and a car. Then suddenly there was just this riot of greens around me – greens upon greens upon greens! And I had to learn how to paint it.”
There’s ample painted evidence to suggest that John has now adjusted to the new colours and tones and he’s got used to the extra space as well.
“In Marrickville I had a studio of about six square metres to work in – now I have a larger space so I can actually take seven paces backwards and look at the work. It’s a luxury to have the space that we have here because we couldn’t have that in Sydney. .
Having got to grips with painting the Bulli area, John has continued to challenge himself with new environments, recently spending time painting in the landscapes around Goulburn and out towards Cooma. One of these oil paintings was Highly Commended in the 2014 NSW Plein Air Painting Prize.
But John knows there will always be a “next challenge”.
“I was teaching today,” he says “and I told my students, you’ve always got to up-skill. It’s what you do all your life as a painter – always investigating new ways of doing things; you want to try everything because it’s exciting. It’s not just a job – it’s what you’re passionate about.”
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A version of this blog was published in South Coast Style Magazine in 2014
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As a painter I try to keep across at least some of the vast range of exhibitions that are happening in galleries and online in Australia. From time to time if I'm particularly moved to comment it will happen here. Sometimes with pictures.