Mitchell Crawley From:
The Courier-Mail June 20, 2011 8:25PM

Cr David Hinchliffe with art he is donating for the Cerebral Palsy League auction. Picture: Bruce Long Source: The Courier-Mail

FOR an artist who recently held his first sold-out exhibition in New York’s SoHo district, the foyer of a Brisbane office might be the last place you would expect to see him.

As a Brisbane councillor, however, David Hinchliffe can think of no better place to be than where his heart has always been.

For the past three years, Hinchliffe has donated his time and his art to the Cerebral Palsy League’s Art for Art’s Sake exhibition.

Held annually, the event is now in its seventh year and raises funds for people in need through donations provided by artists.

Donating art is not something new to Hinchliffe, with the sales from his SoHo exhibition going straight to the Premier’s Flood Relief Appeal.

The inspiration behind those pieces came from Queensland’s recent summer of disaster. On display were what Hinchliffe referred to as “floodscape portraits”, a term he says he invented. They were paintings that would have shocked viewers in SoHo, a collection of portraits from places where destruction reigned supreme.

Places such as the Lockyer Valley, north Queensland after Cyclone Yasi and Brisbane when inundated with floods. The exhibition was called “Deluge” and Hinchliffe says it was well received.

“The ‘floodscapes’ sold really well but the ‘streetscapes’ did well too,” he says. One of the difficult things Hinchliffe found when creating the works was finding a balance between the destruction and presenting it in an attractive way.

“It was hard to make an exhibition based on a disaster and still create paintings people wanted,” he says. Before the next council election, Hinchliffe will step down from politics and become a full-time artist. It will signal the end of a 24-year journey.

“I was an artist before I became a politician,” he says. “When I cease being a politician in nine months, I’ll go back to being an artist. It’s my passion. Politics has a lot of criticism associated with it but with art, it’s all upside. I’m enjoying where my painting is at the moment.”

Brisbane-based artists John Rigby and William Robinson were great influences early in his career. Hinchliffe recalls doing life sketches with Rigby of beautiful naked women, which he says is one of the benefits of being an artist.

These days inspiration comes from different places, with his local community providing great subject matter. He is a firm believer in working with what he knows.

“Like all artists I think we discover our own mojo and we discover our own style,” Hinchliffe says. “I’m pleased, at last in my 50s, I have found something that works for me and people are happy with it.”

The Art for Art’s Sake exhibit will be open until July 1 at the Riverside Centre Foyer at 123 Eagle St and is free. Other artists exhibiting include Mike Banx, Michael Larsen, Mel Brigg, Chris Postle and Kendall Perkins.