The harsh Australian bushland and jarring, rocky coastlines are Baden Croft's bread and butter. The knots and twists of a gumtree, the textured fur of a koala and the waves crashing against cliffs; the desolation and poetry of the rugged landscape, put to canvas in acute detail.
The Mornington Peninsula-based painter brings classic Australian flora and fauna to life in his textured, impasto-style artworks. Listing Australian artists Ben Quilty and Brett Whiteley as inspiration, the landscapes brought to life by Baden echo such artists in a way that is uniquely his own.
A morning in the surf and an afternoon in the studio is a ritual for Baden, who works out of Southern Buoys Studio in Mornington. His “desire to make” is a driving force for the 20-something painter, and the artist community of Southern Buoys meant that working in the space felt “natural.”
Capturing familiar imagery and recreating the Australian landscape is something of a tradition. An avid surfer, the east coast is a favourite, and Baden is often captured by the "evident change" that is occurring to the landscapes surrounding his favourite surf spots.
“Being immersed in less frequented parts of Australia makes it easy to find inspiration to draw on," Baden says. His focus on nature and the impact humans are having on the environment in his artwork, is something brought about by his own experiences.
His organic process typically involves a trip away and a collection of sketches and moments from the landscape surrounding him. A chaotic approach to the blank canvas means finished pieces seldom turn out the way they’re planned, but for Baden, “that's part of the fun.”
For his latest expedition he's found himself shacked up (and free from Victoria's prolonged lockdown) in the NSW surf coast suburb of Broken Head. Living, working and surfing with friends inside the ‘Byron bubble’, there’s been no shortage of inspiration, surrounded by the lush and beautiful landscapes of the Northern Rivers region.
While creating big, bold paintings that challenge him is something Baden wants to continue to do, the three-dimensional and highly textural quality of his work lends itself and reflects an interest in sculpting, a medium Baden hopes to “dabble in” when he returns to the Ninch. For now, he's putting pen-and-ink to paper in Broken Head.