dion horstmans loves a challenge. cutting his teeth building props and models for film sets, the new zealand-born artist now boasts an impressive collection of commissioned and public works as a solo maker. with a distinctive proclivity for steel constructions and geometric shapes, horstmans has mastered the art of capturing fluidity through static formations.
we chat with the bondi local about life as a maker, the discipline of a daily routine and his upcoming melbourne exhibition.
did you always know you were going to be a creator?
i sure did. as a kid it was a safe place to hide - in my fantasy world of drawing and making… it was a language i felt comfortable with, something that came naturally.
you’ve often cited your culture as an artistic influence - can you tell us a bit about how this shapes your work?
the bold geometric patterns within tribal, primitive art really resonate with me. it’s humanity and nature, stripped back. i love the simplicity of it.
how do you think your aesthetic has evolved over the years? do you think you’ve mastered your signature style or is there always room for reinvention?
i’m constantly trying to evolve. i think you have a responsibility as an artist to be progressively pushing boundaries and developing both your practice and your style.
i personally don’t want to be pigeon-holed as an artist who only works with angles and steel… hence, i’m always up for a collaboration.
how did you go about getting your artworks noticed in a commercial sense? was this always a goal for you?
to be honest, i just love making. it’s this ongoing problem-solving thought process. the fact that i’m able to monetise it is a bonus… it’s a privilege to be able to do what i do.
as far as getting my works noticed, it would be a combination of really hard consistent work and being aware of an ever-growing network of contacts and friends.
what’s your preferred medium to work with?
i love steel, it’s a very forgiving material. i assemble, so it’s cut, weld and grind. if i make a mistake… i cut it off and do it again.
what does a typical day in your life look like?
5am up, head to the gym….30-40 minutes of intense cardio. jump in the ocean. drive to my studio…. i’m on the tools by 6.30. work till about 2.30-3pm…. back to bondi. catch up on some emails, maybe squeeze a 15-minute nana nap in, then hit the gym again at 5pm…the life of an artist is a pretty solitary one. especially working with steel, it’s noisy and aggressive. the afternoon session at the gym is for some human contact. then home for some dinner and an early night with a book. i don’t own a tv, but don’t mind watching a series in bed on my laptop.
on your bookshelf?
my bookshelves are mostly filled with art and design books, with a few american muscle car books as well. on the bedside table….'barefoot investor’, by scott pape. 'follow your gut’ by rob knight and 'the remains of the day’ by kazuo ishiguro.
for inspiration, the art gallery of nsw and the museum of contemporary art, the cactus gardens in the sydney botanical gardens…
what’s next on the agenda for you?
i have a solo show called ‘full circle’ opening at flinders lane gallery in melbourne on the 16th of june.
i just signed with olsen gallery here in sydney, pretty excited about working with tim, who’s always pushing me to get my work out there. i’d love to collaborate with some architects and create some amazing sculptural structures.
this interview was conducted before the escalation of the current situation unfolding in australia. whether taking a break from the news cycle or spending time at home, enjoy this moment of creative escape.