Dubbo Rhino’s

We have been working hard on making our clays for Dubbo of their Rhino’s. There has been a lot of research involved to get them exactly perfect! Here are some gorgeous photographs of the rhino’s we are re-creating.




We spend a lot of time brain-storming together to work out the idea we want to paint and then we do rough sketches on paper until we are happy with the design. This is an extremely important step in the process, as this forms the base for the entire artwork. We like to have a very clear idea of what we are doing and even work out the colour scheme before we begin painting. Then we draw it up on the canvas. We do this with a charcoal pencil and we are precise so that we know exactly where we will be applying the modelling paste and after this has dried, the paint.


Next we apply the gesso modelling paste with a palette knife. We lay the paste down thickly to match the contours of the body and any form so that a 3D effect is created. We like to leave the background flat, so we do not apply any modelling paste in this area. The intention is to give the painting extra dimension and texture and make it jump out at you. We leave this to dry for 1-2 nights, so that it is completely set before we move onto the painting stage.


As we have already discussed and worked out the colours we will be using in the design phase, we are well prepared. We mix all the colours we need and stand on opposite sides of the canvas, Gillie on the left being left handed and right handed Marc on the right. As our styles are now identical, we can paint any part of the canvas and still the overall effect will be perfectly consistent. We apply the blocks of paint to the canvas using the Filbert #6-8 sizes and #3 for smaller areas. We blend the colours to give the characters shape and form. After we have filled in all the colour we then leave it to dry overnight.


Using a Round brush ranging in sizes from #0-3 we now outline everything with black paint to give definition and contrast to the painting. We also use a Filbert #3-5 with black paint to do shading for the darker areas. Adding the black to the painting gives it depth and punch. We use solid black in the darkest areas of shadow and with a dry brush a thinner layer of paint in the mid-tones.


When the black outline is complete, we begin spattering the painting with very watered down acrylic paints and a #6 Round brush to give the painting movement and looseness. This is done by holding the brush over certain areas and tapping lightly so the paint creates delicate spatters in the desired areas. Whilst holding the canvas at an angle a dripping effect can be created easily due to the watered down paint. The canvas is then laid flat when it is finished so that it can dry. The painting is now complete and all it requires is our signature bottom left hand corner. The last and probably most important step is thinking of a title. We always do this at the end, so we can really look at the painting and take in what we have created. We like our titles to really reflect the mood of the painting and to tell a bit of a story. We decided to call this after the song by Bread ‘Who draws the crowd and plays so loud, Baby it’s the guitar man..’ We just love this song and the lyrics are so meaningful.


Patination is the name for the process of coloring metals. These colors arise from chemical interaction between elements in the metals and various chemicals. A patina on bronze is the equivalent to rust on iron, only bronze is much more interesting than iron because the copper in the bronze reacts with different colors. The important thing to note is that the patina is not a paint but a very thin conversion coat on the surface of the bronze. Accordingly, as different chemicals are brought into contact with the surface of the metal, the color is liable to change. When leaving the foundry, the sculptures have a coating of paste wax. This paste wax helps prevent oxygen from getting to the bronze and oxidizing the surface. Over time, this barrier is worn off and water and oxygen work together to oxidize the surface, aging the patina. The best method for caring for patinas always includes regular cleaning and waxing, which is important to both the appearance and longevity of the bronze.

Essay on Gillie and Marc by Jacqueline Kouper

An eight meter bright red enamel sculpture will photograph the guest as they enter the foyer of the soon be opened Four Seasons Hotel in Beijing. Paparazi Boy is a dogman hybrid cameraman with an impeccably sculptured body – boasting an enviable ‘six pack’ – and is the latest commissioned installation by award winning and internationally acclaimed artists, Gillie and Marc Schattner.
Fusing surrealism with a biographical narrative, and a splash of tragicomic controversy, their art truly captivates, pushing way beyond conventional thought and traditional paradigms. Their unique way of commenting on life, love and humankind has drawn praise and interest from around the globe.
For more than twenty years Gillie and Marc have been crafting their work in a way that truly reflects the uniqueness of their art. Gillie stands on the left and Marc on the right and together they paint and sculpt. It is an incredibly connected synergy producing art that transcends boundaries and challenges traditional protocols, and conservative thought.
Gillie and Marc’s unparalleled love is the cornerstone of what they are and of what they create. Meeting in Hong Kong, she was a nurse from England and he, a boy from the ‘burbs’ of Melbourne. Wanting only to find a soul-mate with which to share their passions for art, travel and adventure, seven days later they were married at the foothills of Mount Everest. They not only share an unsurpassed dedication to their art but also love for their two children, whom Gillie describes as their ‘best friends’ – along with their mutt, Moby, of course.
Studying art during their youths, Gillie and Marc were both profoundly influenced by famed French sculptor Rodin, whose work they considered to be avant-garde, as well as Picasso, Magritte, Dali and the Colombian sculptor Botero. In more recent years the works of British artist Damian Hirst, have fascinated and inspired them.
Initially, Gillie and Marc painted and designed, but have moved deeply into sculpture – giant gobsmacking sculpture, creating commissioned works for: Australia Zoo; Sydney Children’s Hospital; Australian Red Cross Blood Service; Hilton Hotel Singapore; and McDonald’s Corporate Headquarters in Singapore; and recently the Ying Ren Four Seasons Hotel in Beijing. They enjoy crafting in all sculpture mediums including bronze, brass, steel, wood, fibreglass and polyresin.
Awards and accolades are numerous for the Schattner’s. In 2006 they were Archibald Prize finalists. He’ll never be famous but he doesn’t give a damn, he’s a musician, a painting, earned them first prize at the 2009 Chianciano Biennale, set in Tuscany. This work features a Dalmatian dog/man hybrid, playing guitar. Their life-like fibreglass sculptural piece, Bondi Coffee Dog, appeared in the Florence Biennale in the same year.
Stretching controversy further is their work, If Jesus was alive today he would be a skateboarder, which featured in the inaugural 2009 Blake Prize Director’s Cut, an online exhibition. Gillie and Marc will also feature work in the 2012 public exhibition of Sculptures by the Sea at Bondi Beach.
But what does their post-modern blend of ‘tragicomic chic’ art mean?
In Gillie and Marc’s work we see a rare fusion of man and nature. Gillie and Marc emphatically believe that man has become disconnected from his environment, destroying it. They remain hopeful and dream of reconciliation. Man’s best friend is his dog, always has been and always will be and for Gillie and Marc, he is more than just a companion. Dog is a means to express, comment and explore life, man, what he was, what he has become, and what he can be. Creating a hybrid dogman, the head is the dog and the body the man – not surprising – Gillie and Marc share optimism that man and nature can live in the future, the way they were intended. Given the dog is an animal who is intimately involved in our world; he is an ideal “bridge” to nature.
But for Gillie and Marc, their dogman needed a companion and so he chose a rabbit-woman. In nature the dog is a predator of the rabbit, but in Gillie’s and Marc’s world they create a profound and harmonious relationship, to express that the impossible is possible – creating a language of hope and dreams. Animal Attraction has been a biographical collection of paintings and bronze sculptures that celebrates love, partnership and creativity, as the dog and rabbit continue their adventure into the imagination.
Gillie’s and Marc’s iconic and now infamous giant Good Boysculpture depicts a hybrid dogman crouched on all fours, holding a cup of coffee. It challenges us to enjoy the simple pleasures in life, to just enjoy what is right in front of us. For the Schattner’s, they believe that the dog brings out our humanity. Good Boy is a flawlessly created nude but despite the forty centimetre phallus, it is not gratuitous pornography but a celebration of nature and the human form drawn out from us by the dog.
If Jesus was alive today he would be a skateboarder, simply and intricately lifelike, recreates Jesus riding a skateboard. When Jesus walked the earth he was a youthful rebel. A simple carpenter, Jesus hung out with outcasts, and was seen by most of society, as a misfit. He spoke to small crowds and pushed his ideas principally through twelve young men. He had ideas of a better way of life and chose to demonstrate those ideas by living that life. So if he was around today, he would probably do the same. Jesus would be a skateboarder.
Riding a rhinoceros, their ‘dogman’ is the subject matter for another awesome sculpture, The journey of two minds. Only man is responsible for threatening this harmless herbivore, as in nature no animal hunts the rhino. Riding the rhino, dogman has united himself with nature and can now unite himself with the rhino.
Once again, in their statuesque six metre towering sculpture of a naked dogman kneeling down and eating an ice-cream, He didn’t know at the time, but years from now, he would look back and realise that this was the happiest day of his life, the Schattner’s beckon us to return to enjoying the simple pleasures in life.
Corporate Dog dresses their dogman in a business suit. Globally we tackle environmental issues and wrestle with corporations and countries to adopt better ideals to help save our planet. However, we can’t even pick up our own dog droppings, which in fact, cause more harm to the environment that we don’t even consider. By dressing their dogman in a business suit, Gillie and Marc challenge the corporate world to preserve our environment.
As contemporary artists, the Schattner’s believe it is the duty of an artist to push boundaries, to challenge the status quo and effect change. In 2005 these two delectable artists created the exhibition Life Can’t Wait, which featured twelve Australian’s whose lives could be saved or improved with an organ or tissue transplant. The exhibition toured Australia raising awareness.
Gillie believes that:
‘We, the contemporary artist pull apart the world, so it can be put back together as something different.’ Gillie maintains that they hope to encourage people to ‘‘start thinking more like a dog’’. ‘‘Turn off your phone, switch off Twitter, have a roll in the grass and honour the spirit of the dog to show us a better way of being a human.’’