Well, wouldn’t you know it … I’m about to leave the Big Prawn and head back to the Big Apple and its blazing art scene for some more edufucation.
One of the challenges of working alone from your own studio after four years at uni is in overcoming professional isolation. When that studio’s in the hinterland of Australia’s regional creative capital, it’s doubly difficult staying current, engaged and focussed. Byron Bay, Australia’s most easterly point, became a haven for surfers, hippies, backpackers and other work-shy dope-sucking folk in the 1970s. Now, every second person hereabouts is either an alternative therapist, or a ‘creative’, working on the World’s Best Ever Novel, Most Amazing Recording of All Time, Newest Art Movement or whatever. Despite the plethora of talent here, there’s a feeling that the area – like any place that is described as regional – is removed from the leading edge.
To address this, I’ve got together a support group of other artists who want to stay current, and I head off to the galleries in nearby major cities – Brisbane and Sydney – whenever I can. But being a visitor ain’t no substitute for being in a major centre, immersed in making, thinking about, talking about and looking at art, in the company of consenting adults. And when that major centre is Noo York, it is a major centre, not a wannabe. Yeah, I know, there’s as much crap art being made and shown in NYC as anywhere else on the planet, and there’s more art hype per square foot there than anywhere else on earth, but it is still a global art centre, and exerts a strong gravitational pull on us Hopefuls from the Colonies.
So, in just a few sleeps, I’ll be hopping on that intercontinental aerial transportation device, squashing my knees up to my chin and emerging through a wormhole in space-time somewhere in NYC. During June I’ll be doing a summer school in sculpture, installation and new media at the School of Visual Arts, right in the middle of Chelsea – and only minutes from where the NYPOP program I took last year is based.
And yes, this time I’m serious about keeping my blog up-to-date. If I start falling behind, I expect you, Dear Reader, to kick my ass somethin’ good. If you can’t locate aforementioned donkey, there’s an alpaca down our back paddock who would benefit from a light touch of the boot – he keeps trying to mount me, and I don’t mean on a plinth (sorry, old sculptor joke – been waiting’ years to set that one free).