About the Artist – Al Mason 10/5/54 – 7/9/12.
Being a Kiwi, Al lived in N.Z. until he was 19 when he came to Australia to work and travel. He gravitated to the building industry and used this to fund his frequent world travels. He came to Kununurra for a weekend in 1980, drank water from the Ord and stayed here until he passed away in 2012.
He married Sharon in 1989 and together they bought a farm property in Packsaddle and commenced farming Bananas (now Mangoes and Sandalwood) and producing children. With children came the necessity to build a ‘proper’ house and vacate the old shed they started married life in. Even this was a creative process; sections of the old shed were replaced bit by bit with new rooms which eventually morphed into a complete new home.
Al waking one morning rolled over to Sharon and said “We’ve been in the Kimberley this long and I just love the place with a passion – I want to be an artist and paint it”; Sharon’s pragmatic comment was “Well, go and get some lessons then” – and he did. Al studied under Nadeen Lovell at the Kimberley School of Art for 5 years, graduating in 2005.
He always had a fascination with the beauty and the variability of the iconic Boab tree and his well known quirky ‘characterisations’ of these stately trees led to many private commissions, wearable art and a number of murals around the townscape of Kununurra.
Competent painting in a number of mediums, including wood burning, Al was always keen to experiment and push the boundaries of his creative nature. He admitted that his talent was ‘the owner of an imaginative mind’. After designing the Ord Valley Muster Logo, Al recreated it onto a sheet of mini orb which was the start of his moving into working with rusted corrugated iron sheeting and the heavily corroded tops of old ’44 gallon drums. Sounds bizarre but properly treated, they reproduce the colours of the Kimberley.
Enjoy the art, have a laugh every day, and remember that life was never meant to be serious.