Why are you a painter and not another kind of artist?

Behind the scenes

'I just like the process of painting. I like remaking images in paint...'

Shane Cotton, detail from a work in progress, November 2012.

Shane Cotton, detail from a work in progress, November 2012.

'You could possibly do it with a computer but then you'd miss the physicality of it, the physicality of dipping the brush into the goo and trying to see how far it goes before it runs out, so you reload the brush and you're constantly adjusting. That's the process of painting and that's the thing I love. Sometimes when you're working on a big canvas you go into the studio and you've got all the energy in the world so you start down in the corner, and a few hours later you find yourself thinking: this ain't gonna work... But I like hanging in there and grafting and working it out. And as I start to get into the process and the density starts to build, it opens up a whole lot of other ways you can get into it. Will you take to it with a spray-can? What does the thing as a whole tell you about where you are going to place an image? You're working it out as you go, sniffing around to see if it's going to work... I like it when you get to the point of beginning to admire it, and then the next day you go in and you start wrecking it a bit. That takes the painting somewhere else and you try and deal with that and get through the problem you've created for yourself.'

Shane Cotton, whose exhibition The Hanging Sky opens at the Institute of Modern Art in Brisbane on December 8 and will eventually return to Christchurch Art Gallery, talks painting in an interview in the forthcoming Bulletin.