Jai Darby Walker | Artist
Jai is a self-taught artist from the Bundjalung Nation in the Northern Rivers. He works in many different mediums including painting, drawing, and pyrography.
Jai has been featured in many group exhibitions in locations ranging from Coffs Harbour, Casino, and the Gold Coast. Jai is also a member of the Boomalli co-op in Leichhardt, Sydney, who regularly invite him to produce new works for upcoming exhibitions.
You can check out Jai on Instagram here: @darbwalkz_80
Scratch card. Scratch tool/pin.
The men are holding council. The eldest and highest elder addresses the others.
How would you describe your style?
I used to try describing my style as portrayals of aspects of traditional culture; daily life and protocols in a contemporary style. I still do a bit of that. My style nearly always includes people or figures. I feature people a lot because the people aren't just part of the culture, they are also the culture itself. I believe they create themselves to life, through me.
Acrylics. Charcoal/charcoal pencil on canvas.
The man on the right has one green eye. He's caught the affection of the married woman in the middle. The husband on the left eyes him off.
Are you self-taught?
I would say yes, as would others who know me. I pretty much picked up what I could from school. Practice, boredom, and life were great teachers. I took a couple of TAFE courses that expanded my creativity a little and brought out what was already there. I took what sang to me and have been that way ever since.
Acrylics on canvas.
The young man stares longingly at the young women he is forbidden to have. His tribal sister.
What are your preferred mediums for making art?
I began with paint, mainly acrylics, but also coloured pencils/charcoal. I gradually leaned back towards drawing after my painting style began to mirror it. I then realised I could have just been drawing on canvas the whole time. These days, I tend to combine the two mediums and use what suits the piece, or what the piece determines it should be. I have an attraction towards pyrography, or wood burning as we call it. I also like traditional styles of carving and "artefact" making.
These were my first exercises in oil painting and learning. Purely painted from the spirit.
Where do you draw inspiration from?
Inspiration comes from many sources. Comes in many forms. Sometimes it isn't inspiration, it's something that has to be done. It’s the culture that lies within my blood. That is my blood. The spirit that exists under my skin. The instinct that comes from thousands of years of grandfathers before me. The memories of our people that live behind my eyes. To tell the stories of the people who couldn't tell them.
Acrylics on canvas.
A family wanders up high looking which way they'll be headed for food.