We had the good fortune of connecting with Peter Dingli and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Peter, we’d love to hear more about how you thought about starting your own business?
After graduating form Art School in Melbourne Australia, I was very optimistic about practicing Sculpture. This lasted for a few years. However, there came a time when I had to make a choice between securing a stable income for my then new family or pursue an unstable Art career. I chose to enter the teaching profession. I taught Art for many years but didn’t have the opportunity to also have an Art outlet. I have since stopped teaching, the children are now independent and moved to San Diego where I can now put all my efforts into my Sculpture.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
My creative life began after high school when I enrolled in a Photography course. This wasn’t very successful. In fact my professor suggested that I give up photography. However, he also suggested that my work showed I had innate knowledge of form. He suggested I enroll in a Fine Art course majoring in Sculpture. I did this and was accepted in a B.A. course at The University of Melbourne Australia. (previously Prahran College) I was very happy that I won an award in my third year. The piece I made was acquired by La Trobe University in Melbourne.
After college I joined a group of sculptors in a shared studio. This was a very creative part of my fledging career. However, this had to come to an end after a couple of years as I choose to have secure employment if I wanted to care for a family. I chose the teaching profession. It was difficult to give up my studio. Teaching Art did allow me to be kin touch with other artists. For a while I worked as a curator for an Australian indigenous art gallery where I was responsible for the purchase of paintings and sculpture from communities as diverse as the Western Desert Region, The Kimberley and other Northern Territory art collectives throughout Australia.
Fast forward a few years. I am now retired from teaching and I have rekindled my passion for sculpture. I now work as a figurative sculptor. For me, all great art contains contemplation at its center. The aim of my work is to show what this contemplation looks like. Art is also a public possession; it can be said to be a place where we learn about what it is like to “feel”. Because feeling is subjective, a viewer will bring to any artwork their range of emotions. My sculpture shows what the viewer is feeling in relation to the piece. In a sense my feelings become public, however, the viewer brings their own emotions to the artwork. I am currently working on reinterpreting some of the stories from Greek Mythology.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
This itinerary assumes that the pandemic is over Monday: I assume my friend is arriving from Australia. This would mean that they need to get over their jet lag . I suggest they rest a while. That evening we would have a meal at home and catch up of so much Tuesday: Seaport Village and The Embarcadero, Little Italy for Lunch. Dinner and wine at home. Wednesday: San Diego Zoo and La Jolla Shores for lunch and art gallery tour. Thursday: Balboa Park to visit the many galleries and gardens there. Lunch at the Prado or Panama 66. Friday: Harbour Cruise around Coronado Island and then Pacific Beach for a Margarita. Saturday: Safari Park and dinner at home to meet friends I have made since arriving in San Diego. Sunday Hike up Iron Mountain Evening at home Monday drive to the airport!
What book has had an influence on you?
A book that has had the greatest influence my choices is Hermann Hess – The Glassbead game. The story is set in a uneasy future and tells the life story of Joseph Knecht, who is a young initiate in a monastic order of scholars. The monks study various subjects, which are all linked to an activity known as the Glass Bead Game. This is never actually explained. We know that it combines various forms of knowledge. which they are all dedicated too. Throughout the story Knecht is in touch with a childhood friend, Designori, who is form a wealthy family and has succeeded in politics. Through a series of discussions, Knecht becomes disillusioned with his life and leaves his position to become a teacher to his friend’s son. The story is a parable for the search for self-knowledge. Should we pursue a life of total dedication to an ideal, isolated form the world of family, and live is a world where passions are controlled and where our sole focus is discipline? Or should we embrace the life with all its difficulties and contradictions. I have often wondered if I made the right decision in choosing a teaching career. But in moments of doubt, I remember Hesse, who seems to have some answers.
Photo credit for image 2, 3 and 4 – Mark Hillis http://www.hillisphotographic.com