AFTER a 30-year career in the steel industry, Andrew Styan is finding success as a multi-media artist focused on climate change.
The Redhead artist was presented last weekend with the Perth Institute of Contemporary Arts’ $35,000 Dr Harold Schenberg Art Prize.
There were 35 finalists for the prize, which recognises some of Australia’s most promising graduates.
He received the award for his projected dual-channel projected video The Bell Buoy in which a spinning lump of coal becomes a disaster-film asteroid.
‘‘It’s not a statement about industry,’’ he said. ‘‘It’s a statement about climate change.’’
Styan, 57, will graduate with a degree in fine art from the University of Newcastle later this year.
The late bloomer was always more interested in science, but a redundancy payout in 2007 at 50 prompted him to contemplate a new direction.
He pursued an interest in photography and joined a couple of photography clubs. A judge of a local prize encouraged him to take his photography further and he enrolled at the university in 2012.
‘‘It was scary,’’ Styan said. ‘‘I had always been more interested in being a scientist, but I found it [university] incredibly stimulating. I love technology and playing around with computers, and I realised two years in that this could be art.’’
Styan intends to use his prize money to connect with climate change artists overseas and expand his network.
‘‘There’s not many climate change artists in Newcastle and we don’t even discuss what the impact of climate change will be,’’ he said.
A new work, Party On, was at The Lock-Up on Friday night as part of its Art Bender weekend festival.
Styan’s installation, which was on display on Friday only, featured 40 bags of illuminated party ice, which suggest the melting of the world’s glaciers.
More artists are at The Lock-up on Saturday night between 6pm and 9.30pm.
For more information, see thelockup.org.au