My drive to create comes from my instinctive curiosity, my eagerness to explore and my desire to express. It could be an inquiry into how light and colour drape across a tree, leading me to translate it into paint; or the challenge of telling a story visually, in whatever format necessary.
The best thing about being a creator is the licence you are given to wander around in your own mind and push the boundaries challenging the norms.
Sometimes clients don’t understand that, although a commission might only take a day or so to create (or in some cases a few hours), it has taken many thousands of hours of dedicated study, observation and application over many years to have been able to achieve that outcome. Billing accordingly can sometimes be a challenge. Other clients might question why they should pay for something you obviously have so much joy in producing. They might also have no understanding of the hard work involved, regardless of the enjoyment acquired from creating.
Copyright is the tangible asset that protects my creative assets. It adds a commercial and moral value to my work that an otherwise less scrupulous second party might exploit, were stringent copyright rules not set in place. My images were recently used by a wealthy businessman to promote his political and business interests. I was able to counter this by pointing out his infringement. Though we are still working towards a complete resolution, I am confident that one will be reached with the aid of copyright restrictions. It’s the prop that I can lean on to protect my work.
THIS BOOK CHANGED MY LIFE
The single book that changed my life by far was Ray Bradbury’s The Illustrated Man. This collection of short stories about the tattoos that come to life on a stranger’s body carried the right mix of fantasy and realism, and left a deep impression on me as a 12-year-old. The images came vividly to life in my mind. Bradbury became my hero and I read all his books many times over.
I was so obsessed with his work that I wrote him a letter. I addressed it to the publisher’s imprint somewhere in the US. In the letter I told him that his work was a great inspiration and that I wanted to be an artist to carry on in his grand tradition of fantasy and realism.
To my surprise, quite a while afterwards, Bradbury wrote back to me at my home address in Adelaide. Just one glimpse of the correspondence sent shudders of excitement through my body – and that was before I even opened up the envelope, which was covered in his drawings.
The content of the letter was a mixture of magic and encouragement. Magic, because it was from a hero – a true twentieth century literary legend, his own spidery handwriting and more of his drawings covering the sheets of paper. Encouragement, because he inspired me to pursue my dream to become an artist.
I still have that letter, and from time to time I pull it out to inspire me to push further the boundaries in my creative endeavours. Bradbury wrote that if he ever came to Australia he would want to meet me. We never crossed paths, but the life changing experience of reading his novel and receiving his letter was enough for me to believe in the power and possibilities of the creative mind.
Bradbury is now long deceased. I recently Googled his address and was pleasantly surprised by how discreet and understated his home was – a reminder, perhaps, that a truly great artist is always a humble one.