Jordan Debney – Artist

by the partae

Where are you currently based and what is the art scene like there?

I’m currently living and working in Brunswick. The art scene here is pretty tight but talented, I even ran into one of my Wellington art homies the other day walking down Sydney road. Fitzroy/Brunswick feels like that place artist are able to freely be themselves and express themselves as they wish without judgement, which creates better work from said artists as a bi-product of that freedom. It’s great, I landed just in the right spot.

Where were you born?

I was born in Palmerston North, New Zealand, which is about a 2 hour drive north from Wellington which is at the bottom of the North Island. It’s quite a small town with not a lot happening, also a lacking of a creative scene. Let’s just say I out grew it pretty quick which is when I moved to Wellington, where creativity is obligational you want to fit in.

Why did you decide to move to Melbourne?

I ended up outgrowing Wellington fairly fast as well, I had done all I wanted to do in the space of 4-5 years and I became repeating myself a bit too much, so I came here in hope for more, more opportunities to learn new things and experience. I’ve been here just over a year and it’s definitely paid off, it successfully reignited that spark which drives me to do what I love doing.

How did you first start drawing/painting?

I was in college and I didn’t have much interest in anything, I didn’t have any skills and I wasn’t at all good at school or being told what to do. I always drew as a hobby during classes and after school, I tried for an arts degree after college but I again refused to listen to what I was being told how and what to do. So I quit that pretty quick and just began drawing in my own time, eventually it grew bigger and got the attention of a clothing brand which blew me up in little New Zealand. The work has been pretty consistently flowing since and I’ve never looked back. Everything I know is self taught so I have a lot of insecurities when it comes to being called a “professional”, I just know what I know and try to figure out how to do more, my way.

What or who inspires/influences your style?

I have never really been heavily influenced by other artists, I thrive more from this self driven feeling. Nature and plants fascinate me, I take a trip to the Melbourne botanic gardens every season to see how the plants have changed and thrived over time, I’ll find that after those trips I’ll be straight back into prioritising my own creative time ahead of other jobs. I’m heavily influenced by music and colour, the weather also has a huge impact on my creative ability. So my creative streak is an unusual combinations of all of those things. I love things that contradict one another, usually a good balance of good and bad connotations subtly complimenting each other, hence my yin yang skull as a symbol I use to represent my work/brand.


You have a new painting in the Terra Oztralis exhibition opening 6 October at the Outre Gallery in Melbourne. Please tell us about this painting and how you came to be involved in the exhibition:

Well the theme of the show is “Looking above and beyond the Australian frontier”, With this I had the idea of this evolved moth which resembles closely with the human skull, like a fusion of DNA over time. I challenged myself by using a colour pallet which is entirely new to me and didn’t hold back any ideas I didn’t think were possible, there’s always a way when you think hard enough. I have been stocking my fine art Giclee prints at Outre for a couple of months and they seem to do well there, I’m benefitting from this new Australian audience of mine as are they, I guess they wanted to see what else I could do outside the realm of fine art Giclee prints. I am excited to be showing one of my woodcut paintings for the first time in Australia at a gallery I am very fond of, and also honoured to be apart of the amazing line up I will be gracing the walls with.

Please tell us about your wood cut paintings, the process and how and why you became involved in this technique/style:

I went off painting for a good few years because I was never satisfied with painting on canvas like I saw everyone else was doing, the colours become desaturated and the frustration with painting on a porous surface that moves when you press on it is unreal. One day I was just walking through an art supply shop and I saw these circular wooden boards, so I got a couple and give them a hoon with some acrylics. Straight away I loved it, over time I pushed myself further with it to see how far I could take it, cutting out my own custom shapes and using different materials as well as paint, even using different boards and levels that rise out of one another. It took this life of its own and I had complete freedom with it. In the past when creating a piece on canvas I never knew what to do as a background, using this disadvantage to my advantage, with woodcuts you can remove that silly background mess entirely and focus on the content itself. Something you can hang in any spare wall space you may have in the room, which becomes the background.

You’ve got new merch on the way for your online store, please tell us what you have coming:

I have recently sold out of a ton of Giclee prints and pins so I will be doing a refresh of all of that, including some long awaited clothing merchandise which I am very excited to announce soon. My stockists love to get their hands on my prints so once they’re released there will be a limited amount I will be holding stock of for my online shop, so you gotta be fast!

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