2020. LOL. I don’t need to go into details about what a roller-coaster it’s been, because we’ve all been on it, though in different carriages.
Lockdown was definitely nightmarish to begin with – my sobriety was seriously challenged, the solitude I’ve always avoided became compulsory, I lost my paid job in a really cruel way. A year of not finding paid work became relentlessly disheartening.
My studio became my sanctuary, and resulted in a year of being a full-time artist. Creatively, it’s been a goldmine, so it would be wildly inaccurate to describe myself as being unemployed nor dissatisfied.
In an attempt to make sense of a turbulent world - inside and out - my paintings became vast and potent. They filled my time and my space, and became my guardians. Check out these two. Collectively they would have taken well over five hundred hours over nine months, but they came to fruition in the same week.
My diagnosis of bipolar is clearly justified.
Getting free chocolate!
I had a few quirky highlights. I volunteered to be interrogated by Jennifer Byrne about Willem De Kooning on Mastermind on SBS.
I love De Kooning. In 2017, I went on a pilgrimage to New York and Chicago to look at some of my all time favourite paintings of his:
To look smart on the telly, I wore my reading glasses unnecessarily. I left with my reputation mostly intact and with a renewed passion for abstract expressionism. It ended up being quite a delightful experience. See:
Jennifer gave me a Freddo Frog at the end. It felt like a standing ovation.
If you want to watch the whole episode, click here:
My mate Rhys built a multi-storey shelving system to accommodate my big paintings with a cosy cubby-nook below to accommodate my fragile psyche. You have to come see it.
Eventually, solitude became a really good friend, and sobriety became much less of an effort. The year ended really well. I even got on telly again to mention it!
Link: ABC Australia
Q + A
"The Age of Loneliness"
The toughest year to sell art became the BEST year to make art, and with great delight, I’m in THREE exhibitions I’d love you to know about!
1. LENNOX STREET STUDIOS ARE OPEN AGAIN!
The Lennox Street Open Studio weekend is usually held in November, and has been my favourite weekend of the year for a while now. Then 2020 happened, so the Open Studios didn’t.
Now it’s a new year: our public health systems have done a sweet job in flattening the curve, and our studios can re-open (we’ve mastered covid-safe practices!). Bring anyone – kids welcome. We have thirty-five artists, and each studio is really different and a bit magical. It’s like walking through IKEA and seeing all the different rooms on display, except – unlike IKEA - our studios are interesting, filled with good art, and not awful. I’ll have a variety of my recent works on display and for sale if any take your fancy. Everything is discounted because frankly I really need the money. Plus you can nestle in my cubby-nook. Here are some of the works I'll be exhibiting:
2. LANDSCAPES: A show with April White
I got a job. I’m now the curator of ESD Gallery, Darlinghurst. Currently I have a joint exhibition with my exceptionally talented friend and masterful paint-whisperer, April White. We’ve been making small landscapes – hers in paint, mine in thread. I’m exhibiting a selection of small embroidered landscapes that have been in the works for a few years now. Check them out!
3. THE 66TH BLAKE PRIZE!
In a surreal twist, I am a finalist in the Blake Prize. This is really big for me and means a lot. The Blake Prize is Australia's most significant religious art prize, representing faith, spirituality, religion, hope, humanity, social justice, belief and non – belief. My sacrilegious portrayal of Krishna with a meth pipe outside a gay bar got in. Read what I have to say about that here.
There are a variety of really good artworks being exhibited representing a variety of takes on what is religious art. Here are some of my favourites:
Krishna in Erskineville 2.0
Finalist in the 66th Blake Prize exhibition
1 Powerhouse Road, Casula
13 February - 11 April 2021
Just quietly, if you’ve gotten to the end of this blog and come see me at our Summer Show, I’ll give you a Freddo Frog. Promise. Just ask me.