David Hinchliffe: From Running a City to Painting Them.

by Roselea Fitzpatrick, Mar 13, 2019

   Ancient Trees
   Oil and Acrylic on Canavas
   Bill on His Bike
Oil and Acrylic on Canvas

DavidHinchliffe is a globe-trotting painter who has gone from running a city, as politician and former Deputy Mayor of Brisbane, to painting cities the world over.  He travels the great cities of the world, finding in footpaths and lane ways of cities like New York, Paris, Venice and Hong Kong, inspiration for his big, blurred, beautiful contemporary impressionist artworks.

He has travelled and painted widely in the United States and UK and is represented extensively in collections both in Australia and overseas. While his work is principally oils on canvas or linen, he has also produced many gouache works and sculpture as well as holding two exhibitions of his photographs (“Two to the Valley, 1992, and “Detours”, 2010).

David has been painting, exhibiting and selling his work in galleries since the age of 12. Training under Brisbane artist, John Rigby, he painted as a teenager with contemporaries Tom McAulay and Rex Backhaus Smith and also studied under premier Australian landscape artist and Archibald prize-winner, William Robinson at the University of Southern Queensland. 

David furthered his practical artistic study in both New York, Paris and Londonin the 70s while working his way around the world painting portrait commissionsuntil he returned home to pursue a career in politics. He has painted portraits of former Premier Campbell Newman, Poet Bruce Dawe, Prime Minister Malcolm Fraser, actor Bryan Nason and businessman, Sir Alex McKay.

Described by the late Australian Artist James Gleeson as having an "exceptional talent", he has emerged from 3 decades of work in the public domain as a politician to return with renewed passion to his career as a painter. He has won the Sunday Mail Colour Magazine Award; Atlantic City Sculpture Award; Gemini Art Award (judged by James Gleason); ABC Argonauts Award; and has been a regular finalist in the Tattersall'sLandscape Prize. 

David's works have been exhibited at galleries in Brisbane and the Gold Coast as well as at Harrods in London and at Village Art gallery in Greenwich Village 1996, at the Australian Consulate, New York and at Michael Ingbar Gallery on Broadwayin Soho, New York and Paris. 


Hinchliffe's subjects are, quite fittingly, cities - in particular, the street scenes, skylines, and architectural nuances that characterise urban life. Following on from an earlier love of landscapes, he realised, after two and a half decades representing and running a city, that cities were part of his DNA.


"As a councillor your environment are streets and footpaths and parks. I understand that after two-and-a-half decades in the job. I understand... the nuts of bolts of what makes cities," he said.


"So now instead of tightening those nuts and bolts, I simply paint them"


Summer on the Grand Canal in Venice, autumn in Paris, walking in the Rain at Chelsea, London or on Park Avenue, New York, and the bustle of the streets of downtown Manhattan appear alongside wonderful views of his hometown, Brisbane.


There is a lot of energy in the New York City paintings, he says, a natural result of the city's personality. "London is much more of a focus on architecture. The Paris stuff is very romantic - I do think I want to be careful that it's not too cheesy. Every time you turn acorner there is another painting asking to be painted," he said. "There is a chaos to the painting of Havana that probably reflects the chaos of that city." As for Brisbane, it’s a little bit of energy, some nice old buildings ("ones that managed to escape the destruction of the 60s and70s") and a lot of sunlight.


On his own contemporary impressionist style of art, Hinchliffe says there are two main appeals which see people the world over cite impressionism as their favourite style.

“Firstly, it’s a representational form of painting, so people can actually see what it is, as opposed to expressionist abstraction or conceptual art,” he said. “It’s also evokes an emotion, and the reason for that is that it’s dedicated to the proposition that less is more. You don’t fill in every detail. By giving an impression of the subject, you’re allowing people the opportunity to use their ‘third eye’, the eye of imagination.” Hinchliffe’s approach to art as well as politics seems to come from the same space… the artist (or politician’s) ego on the back-burner with the power going to the viewer. Power to the people!


For more of David Hinchliffe’s cityscapes head to artmarketspace.com and soak in or purchase a piece of his beautiful world for yourself.