I loved drawing as a kid. I loved painting. My grandparents and my parents were always supportive of me from an early age. I was about twelve years old when my grandparents, who were friends of the NGV, took me to art classes there. You’d just go around the gallery, look at different things, draw the paintings, make work; I did that for years. So from the age of ten or twelve, I knew that was one way I wanted to go.
Australia is so far away from everything else. We’ve got a lot of great stuff here, but you have to travel, you have to go elsewhere, you have to go to the big museums. To go overseas and see these things for the first time in the flesh is really important.
My last exhibition was based on Grimms’ fairy tales: I grew up with them and always enjoyed how dark they are. A few years ago, my mother and I went to Marburg in Germany – that’s where the Grimm brothers went to university. It was such a fairy tale town, just beautiful. You could picture every one of those fairy tales being set there.
Last year I had the Australia Council Barcelona Studio, and so my next show is going to be based on everything I saw and did in Spain.
I have two jobs that I have to work just to pay the rent. Trying to make an income from your practice can be tough at times. You never know what the market’s going to be like. You’re still going to paint and produce because that’s what you do, that’s what you love to do, but it’s also nice if you get some benefits from it. That doesn’t always happen – but I’d be doing this no matter where I was.