Rough Trip….

This image was created back in about 1996 and was an early attempt at large acrylic works with eroded surfaces. This particular work is based on an image by Picasso. (The Acrobat) but the shape is actually  Chinese Cloud calligraphy for female.

Although the image is simple and naive it was intended to be an entry point into a line of works using similar structures and distressed surfaces. The paint and materials were cheap at the time but supply dried up and I was never able to continue with works of the size and density. I regret that. I prefer working large and with generous paint surfaces. The canvas was lost during the last move and I feel like expanding on that.

This work was left behind during the last move. It had been removed from the stretcher and flattened for storage.

Female image Acrylic on canvas approx 2m tall

Female image Acrylic on canvas approx 2m tall

Also left behind was all of the seasoned timber for carving and all of the collected industrial items planned for various sculptures. Most of the image resources were also lost there.They consisted of a lifetime’s National Geographic. Hundreds of comics and other magazines. Several tonnes of stuff in boxes beneath all the other materials

At the time my health had deteriorated to the point where I had rang Life without Borders and begged for someone to help me. The house I was living in was about to be demolished and I was living in it well beyond the date I had been given to leave. I was so ill I was unable to shop for myself or clean house or get to a doctor. Mum flew down from Queensland when the time came to pack but none of the others who had offered to help turned up. We both worked until we were too ill to even talk without slurring our speech.

I didnt have any money so I had to get a mover on the cheap. The furniture and bed and things we were able to pack took up a whole truck and there were easily two more loads of things I needed to move to get my materials safe. No one would help us. The movers were probably doing the job on the sly and would not even look at coming back and moving the garaged stuff even had we been able to get it packed for the move.

After getting the stuff into the new house Mum was very ill, white! I was ill for months and often could not even get over the hob that surrounds the shower to have a shower. I had dislocated my left arm in an accident just before the move and with all the effort it made it worse and I could only feed myself with one hand for over a year.

This type of loss seems to be consistent with renting, being disabled and unable to ensure a safe harbor for things. Way back I was renting a house and had just lost the businesses I had in Sydney. That was really tough but then someone found out I had an insurance payout and there was a home invasion in which I was badly injured. I locked up the house and headed north to spend a few weeks with my dog and 4wd in the bush.

I lost track of time and arrived back at the house owing a little money on the rent. The real estate agent who had rented me the house was standing in the back yard warming his hands at a bonfire consisting of hundreds of my drawings. I should have hacked his black heart out but I was hurt to my soul and just grabbed what I could save and left.

After graduating in 1998 i discovered the push to get my busted body through University left me almost crippled with exhaustion. I had taken several part time jobs, running art classes for disadvantaged kids, cover photographer for a magazine and cartoonist. I noticed that very suddenly I was unable to focus on work, remember things and the cartoons were suddenly awful. One day I was driving home and had to pull over because nothing made any sense. I could not remember who I was or where I was. I knew I was collapsing mentally and emotionally and would be unable to function.  Remembering the time the agent had burnt a large part of my early body of work I closed down the house I was renting and put everything into storage with mum getting my cheques so I would not forget what bank I was with.

After months on the street and suicide attempts plus several months recovering at Mum’s place I got another rental and went to pull everything out of storage. There had been a fire in the sheds belonging to another company directly behind mine and all the things I had been so careful to line along the back wall were water damaged. Irreplacable books and really almost the last of my body of work worth keeping. They offered insurance but how could I price that stuff?

Now I am in a tiny little place with nowhere to work or store things. Every time I go to do a piece of work I find something I thought I had saved was gone. In between are long periods of illness that break the chain of thought and emotion in the works I am managing to get to. It is not a dead loss. It is a beautiful town and I have help and a big yard that helps soothe the soul.

Time will tell. I have planned works and am desperately trying to get over the last of illness and put some effort into ways of working the limits here. I would be lying if I didn’t say there are times I cannot avoid despair and I hate making these dark little entries but its my blog. It is not really self-pity that brings this out now. People wander through life as though everything is fine. They see happy little histories of happy artists working hard and getting through life. Tough but do-able. They do not see how much real desperation there is for some people and it needs to be written up. This is history as much as the sufferings of little Toulouse Lautrec or the mental illness and drunkenness of Jackson Pollock or that guy who wandered all over Sydney chalking the word Eternity all over the sidewalks for years.

I can so imagine myself in the mind of Lautrec, Jackson or Vincent. Not the “now” as we see them through the eyes of people recognizing the greatness of their efforts but the “then”. Through the eyes of people struggling with life itself and filled with doubt and pain. Unable to see that anything they do has any relevance and wondering why that should matter. Being outcasts in their society as they lurch like drunken lepers from vision to vision rather than bringing up kids and joining the community.¬† having the heart and soul dragged to making some indefinable thing by a relentless muse. And all the ones whom fate made invisible…ouch… I am on my way to join you and it slows my passion for the work not at all. If I could just get a little better health..or no worse maybe

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