Warren Lane has had a passion for art and painting since he was a child and despite working full-time as a fireman, decided to enrol in Melbourne Polytechnic's Diploma of Visual Arts as a mature-age student. He completed his studies in 2007, on a part-time basis, over three years. Since then, he has continued his shift work and secured a national Arts prize win. He plans to exhibit his work in cooperation with the Darebin City Council next year.
I couldn’t speak highly enough of the Melbourne Polytechnic staff, they were extremely supportive. As I work full-time in the fire brigade, I thought I might struggle with the time needed to study, so the flexibility offered was very important – Warren Lane.
After pursuing a full-time career in the fire brigade, Warren Lane decided a qualification in visual arts was important in order to build his profile in the art world.
A full-time career as a fireman and a young family didn’t stop mature-aged student Warren Lane from pursuing further study at Melbourne Polytechnic.
As a child Warren always showed an interest in art, but started painting more seriously in his teens.
Fast-forward a decade or more later and Warren found many people in the art world placed importance on formal qualifications.
“I was mostly self-taught, but as I shared my art with people in the industry, the subject seemed to come up more and more.”
Warren then realised he may need to study art in an education setting to build his profile in the industry and learn new techniques.
Living locally in the Northern suburbs, Warren’s initial investigations for arts courses focused on proximity to home. He had to find a course that he could attend whilst continuing his working life as a fireman and supporting his family.
“I did look at a city university, but when I spoke with a faculty member at Melbourne Polytechnic, I found they were incredibly flexible regarding my need to balance studies with my full-time job. ”
Going back to study did bring with it some surprises. As well as enhancing his painting techniques, the Diploma of Visual Arts introduced to him to a range of other complimentary disciplines including photography and print making.
“I didn’t realise the overlaps between painting, drawing, printing and photography to begin with.
It really helped to learn more about layout and composition and it has improved my technique as a painter.”
Warren also found the Diploma of Arts course helped improve his computer skills and introduced him to working on an Apple Mac.
“I have to make special mention of the teaching staff at Melbourne Polytechnic. They were incredibly supportive. I couldn’t speak highly enough of them.
I gained new techniques and approaches, and the course helped me to confirm what I was doing right, or what I needed to change in order to improve as an artist. It gives you confidence.”
Since completing his studies, Warren has dabbled in painting adapted re-creations of many of the old masters, including a Caravaggio-inspired spoof in 2011 of former Australian Greens leader, Bob Brown and the Federal Opposition Leader, Tony Abbott.
His efforts won him a prize on ABC radio and a trip to Canberra to see the Impressionists exhibition.
The prize win was enough to motivate him even further to win a slew of industry awards and add a national arts prize to his name this year.
The Bald Archy Prize is an annual award for satirical portraiture that was developed in the 1990s by Peter Batey, in response to the Archibald Portrait Prize. Over the years the competition, once considered light-hearted and satirical, has developed its own following and prestige for comic portraiture with a hard-edged twist.
Warren’s painting of mining magnate, Gina Rinehart, in 'The Banquet of Gina and Ginia' won the main prize of $7,500 and will be on exhibit in parts of NSW and the ACT until November 2013. (See News story: Visual Arts graduate wins 2013 Bald Archy Prize)
"For the rest of the year, I hope to springboard off the Bald Archie win and enter four or five other competitions.
“I also look forward to another solo exhibition this time at the Bundoora Homestead next year.”
Diploma of Visual Arts