I’m a visual artist, currently researching the social life of collage. My work varies: I’ve made animations, books, a projection onto clouds over Sydney Harbour, stickers, banners, billboards… and a distributed dance work, a memorial. I often collaborate with other people. I love what I do as an artist, but I also have to work outside of art to support my practice.
I’ve been trying to remember how I became an artist. I started off as a law student, but I wandered off and became a political cartoonist. The part between cartooning and contemporary art making, how did that happen? It certainly wasn’t my plan, not that I had one.
In my final year of cartooning, the year my artwork was published the most widely, many people – supposedly my allies – photocopied my works out of magazines and republished them without credit or recompense. For an entire year, no-one commissioned a single new work or paid me a cent, and I gave up. That was pretty terrible, actually, to be so defeated. I became very keen on artists being paid for their labour as appropriate. Copyright is a complex issue and not applicable to my work in every instance, but I always appreciate being asked.
The Copyright Agency’s Cultural Fund supported my biggest project, The Miracles, with a research fellowship, and that gift of time allowed me to make what I think is my strongest work. Commissioned by QAGOMA, it toured to a dozen galleries around Australia and the UK. When government is starving culture and its producers, that support is crucial.
I’ve been a member of Viscopy for ages, and am grateful for the quarterly statements, however little they sometimes are. I appreciate the agency for its work defending the right of artists to be acknowledged and paid. And for sending money, of course. Thank you!