Careers In Art: Peter Shipperheyn

Term: 3 Year: 2007


At what age did you decide to make a career from visual arts?
Right from a very early age (4 years old, ask my parents) I have always drawn, painted and made things. For me schooling was an incursion into what was for me my naturally expressed inner world. But to answer the question, I became aware in my teen years that there were people called “artists”, and it dawned on me one day that I was one of them! And after being advised by all and sundry that “art” should be your hobby, I went to Art School here in Melbourne. This for me was a frustrating and depressing experience. The level of teaching was very mediocre and it was only when I went to Italy on an Italian Government Scholarship that I became aware of how grand the Arts are!

Do you come from a creative family?
Not particularly

What is a day in the life of Peter Schipperheyn like?
I get up contemplate what I will do and rejoice in being alive, even when I am in the Shits!

What is your favourite medium to work with?
Sculpture in marble and bronze and drawing on paper

What effect has the computer age had on your work?
Profound, I made my first sculpture this year entirely digitally 3D program and rapid prototyping machine] and can see great possibility with this technology. I have always believed that you grab and use whatever tool you can lay your hands on if it helps you express your ideas and ambitions.

What are some of the negative aspects of your job?
None, this “job” is my own invention, if at times this activity is not always experienced as being wonderful, it is entirely a matter for my own perception, and nothing to do with the shear “fantasticness” of being an Artist, of being alive.

What is something you would love to do that you haven’t already done?
Learn how to Tango

How would you describe your first solo exhibition?
Very Successful!

Where do you get most of your inspiration?
Life is a profound mystery, at one moment full of beauty and fecundity at the next brutal and terrifying. Inspiration comes to those who are prepared to go look for it!

What fellow artist has most influenced you?
The French sculptor Jean Robert Ipousteguy, [recently deceased] after seeing his sculpture at the National Gallery of Victoria I decided to go to Carrara and carve myself. Latter on a trip to Paris I saw him in his studio and spent an exhilarating afternoon with him.

What’s your favourite piece of work to date?
“Paura del’ Intimita” sculpture in marble

What is your favourite piece of clothing in your wardrobe?
A silk Versace vest.

Who would you most like to sit next to on a flight to Europe?
My wife Cinzia.

If you were speaking to a secondary school student who was showing interest in following in your footsteps, what advice would you give them?
Assist me with my work, I would expect you to work hard, do not think to make any profit except to learn, and then I would take the person to Italy and show them the extraordinary Art Gallery of the World that Italy is and that  I have experienced. I would set them up for a period of time in a studio that I know and have worked in and enable the person to carve stone.