Saturday, April 12, 2014

Being fed

There is much discussion about the meagre incomes that we earn in the arts sector. Whether you are a musician, performer or manager, it is often difficult to scrape together a decent annual income. A couple of years ago I was speaking with a friend and mentor about this and conveying my frustration at just how challenging it was. Not just the money, but managing how I think as someone who stands with a foot in each camp; the creative maker and the manager/producer.
Dale Williams, a painter

In response she calming stated...‘Well I guess it is challenging when you decide to live a creative life.’

In that moment my mind exploded with the realization that that is exactly what I was doing…choosing to live a creative life. You might be reading this and smacking your forehead with a doh! But so often when we are in the thick of projects, management, media and people, it is difficult to have the space and luxury to enjoy and acknowledge what is going on and how amazing it truly is. The forest for the trees scenario.

In a world that often diminishes the importance of creative thought and expression, it can be difficult to stay steadfast in your resolve to…Just do it! It’s what you do. Now can we just get on with it ….

My work connects me to some of the most extraordinarily humble and astoundingly talented people I have ever met. I have the privilege of hearing their stories, seeing their work and having them open up to talk about the inspiration behind what they make whether it be film, paintings, sculpture, books or music. They invite me into their worlds that are full of beauty, pain and narrative. What an immense privilege!
I have not been long home from a week on Flinders Island where I spent a great deal of time – one on one – with 9 artists working in film, textiles, oil, water colour, photography, sculpture, jewelry, pastel and ceramic. 

This was the 2nd trip and was focused on spending time to hear from the artists what they wanted to do with their medium, where they wanted to go and how we could collectively pull together a group show for the end of the year.
Jaga Lipska, a painter/photographer who played
an impromptu Moonlight Sonata and made me cry.x

Luckily Rachel Dallas, one of the 9 – an assemblage artist who makes work from litter and debris found on the beaches, lent me her car and I got to look around the island. This meant that I was late for most meetings because the views were so spectacular that I kept stopping to take a photo or just breathe it in.

I will be writing about each artist soon, but every encounter, every conversation left me knowing and feeling more about these individuals who have chosen to live in a beautiful and isolated place. To live partly subsistent, sustainably, isolated; but within a strong community who accept difference, who support each other but allow space for individuals to be different, unique…creative.

Judy Jacques, a F.I. artist/performer
On leaving the homes of each artist I would use the drive and walk along an empty beach to contemplate what had just transpired; the story, the art, the feeling. I had been fed with sumptuous food (mutton bird, samphire, wallaby), watered with home brew stout, wine or tank water and invited into the personal and private world of extraordinary people.
Jon Hizzard, painter & collector
And then I am returning home; to Hobart. A brief flight in a small plane, a 2 hour drive South on a busy highway and I am in a city of 200 000+ people. How surreal? Just hours before I was on an island surrounded by stunning empty beaches and reefs, with a population of around 600 who all know each other.
Rachel Dallas, assemblage artist on Cave Beach

So how do you calculate the value of such experiences and interactions? You can’t! 
But what you can do is never assume, take time and pause to feel them, to hear them and to be open to the idea of anything.  

For in the smallest moments we can experience the best there is; the sweetest, the most succulent and the richest. 

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