Allan Baptist has been painting and drawing since the age of three. Born in Sydney in 1950 he began studying art seriously as part of his teaching degree at the Riverina College of Advanced Education and the Wagga Wagga Technical College. In 1995 he left the reasonably secure life of a primary school principal to pursue a rest-of-life involvement in and self-study of art. Early influences included Roberts Picasso Whitely Williams and Lloyd Rees and his first foray into the life of a full-time artist came with a three month painting excursion to a small village in the south of France. Refusing to be categorised Allan Baptist continues to cross visual art genre borders working in many mediums on paper canvas and board developing an eclectic range of artworks that includes and transcends the figurative through the abstractions in nature and the people who inhabit it.
Baptist began exhibiting in 1977 as part of the Mildura Art Group in Victoria and boasts a long list of individual and group exhibitions particularly in central and southern NSW including Sydney the Blue Mountains Canberra and on the South Coast. In 1982 he was part of Eight Australian Artists at the Bolitho Gallery in Canberra and in the same year one of the group exhibiting in Contemporary Riverina Artists at the Wagga Wagga Regional Gallery. This was followed by numerous solo and group exhibitions. In 1995 he was commissioned by the Holy Spirit Hospital in Brisbane to produce a series of 40 seascapes featuring yachts skies birds and reflections. Confessing to be captivated by the exotic other he finds himself drawn back to places like Samoa Tonga Bali Africa and Brazil painting the people he encounters in combinations of pencil charcoal watercolour and even utilising fabric at times.
While at home he approaches the landscape in a more abstracted way using traditional media such as oil acrylic gouache and pastel. He produces bold at times dark and foreboding yet always alive visions of nature resplendent in movement and colour. On occasions he breaks down the elements of nature with fractals of colour and geometry sometimes ripping the landscape to reveal human figures behind it. Now living on the NSW South Coast Baptist has been the Arts Development Manager for the Shoalhaven City Council since 1997 and was the Chairman of Arts Shoalhaven from 1996-99. He was instrumental in the establishment of the very busy Shoalhaven Arts Centre in Nowra. His latest project is the overseeing of the design and development of a multi-million dollar Entertainment Centre to be built in Nowra near the Shoalhaven Council Chambers.
Allan Baptist has in turn worked as an illustrator wine label designer author arts advisor administrator and arts educator. He has continued a long association with Qantas and his works have graced airport lounges and galleries throughout Australia. On the subject of art and his work Allan says We need to study art to question visually and intellectually to look at a work and ask why? and how? . . . the work is a language which you become comfortable with until suddenly theres a feel and a touch which is your own. It doesnt require thinking it just happens because you know its part of your knowledge and your wisdom.