Yesterday I visited an exhilarating exhibition called Traces by Louise Rippert whom I knew from Monash University days. She was already then doing brilliant work with a highly spiritual aspect and connection. Deakin University Art Gallery in the city of Melbourne hosted a retrospective collection, which is her (?!) first solo show. It is a fluttering of delicate paperish treasures, time capsules of fragmented debris and other sensuous yet serious frivolities.
I realized I dare not purchase her catalogue…as I might be unduly influenced by her discoveries to the detriment of my own art. I want to remember them as the mist of argument – nothing more. I know my outcomes would be dissimilar because I am, after all, a different person. Yet in the presence of true creativity, I can not be certain.
Rippert’s work seems pure and unsullied by the life they honour and document…. as traces remaining in a hallowed framed silence. My art offerings are troubled by their unsettled beginnings and traumatic births. By comparison, I think mine are noisy and demanding like the relentless children I rear, offering tireless challenge rather than peace.
Strangely, I have felt the same attraction yet resistance to the art of Gosia Wlodarcsak and formerly, to the art of Louise Nevelson and Ben Nicholson and Mary Kelly – drawn to them mutually by respect and apprehension.
You might think I am being amusing here but the answer to this witticism is of very real concern for me. Once upon a time I thought that if I was a really good artist and worked diligently day and night, I would be rewarded with fame or fortune or quite possibly, both. But I was wrong! So wrong.
Neither ‘talent’ nor ‘hard work’ in themselves produce the necessary kudos or shall I say, validation needed for becoming an artist. At least, one who considers oneself ‘viable’. I now think the main quality needed is simply the ability to NOT know when to say ‘Enough of this foolhardy life’ and then quit.
I have worked my alleged 10,000 hours required to become a genius in my area
I have spared no faithfulness to the practice of art – apart from not sleeping with the right people. I have kept up with contemporary art practices – traveling to Documenta 12 in Kassel, Germany, The International Melbourne Arts Festival, Sydney’s Primavera 2008, Canberra’s exhibition by Bill Viola and others. I have up-graded my academics – MFA from Monash University in 2002 and a creative PhD from Victoria University in 2007; articles to peer assessed journals, international speaking engagements and more. I work in the latest media – digital production and installation with maximum material application, having once been solely a watercolourist. Still, have I made it as an artist?
Having completed my PhD with flying colours, I decided to take my ten years of art production ‘out for a spin’ in 2006. I was so successful at applying for the best in prizes and awards and grants that I received a rejection letter at least once or twice a week, sometimes on the same day, until Christmas. Within a few months, I was completely disheartened – the equivalent of an artistic grease spot. Where was the reward for believing in all I did for art? It was only vapor.
I wanted to give up. I wished for any excuse to stop arting. I asked the heavens, ‘Why am I doing this?
And another day goes by…
I always get a buzz when I’ve finished an art project.
So many people get a buzz from creating an art piece together that is not just ‘community art’ but strays into the area of ‘fine art’ and all the respect that caliber of art brings.
This project saw me creatively guide the staff and friends of MacKillop Family Services to create an art mural entitled “Journey”.
And now the fun part, we’re having a launch of this mural at Mackillop Family Services on 118 Commercial Road Footscray on Wednesday 26th November.
I’m an artist. Not a teacher who does art in my spare time, nor a person who discovered they were good at drawing and decided to pursue a lifetime of Art. No, I have sweated and strained for many many years to investigate life’s journeys and struggles through art.
Many times I wonder, with little or no money nor recognition of success whether anybody cares what I, or indeed, other artists have to offer to a world that is more interested in covering it’s backside then considering life and the meanings contained within it.
Still, I realise that it is not success that drives me to do what I do. Rather it is the realisation of how important what I have discovered is, and how little others can realise and grasp the impact of the questions artists raise about life and living -about our place and space.
Still, I continue forward -not for myself but for all those who i am yet to meet or talk to about the incredible ideas I’ve discovered.