Monday, 22 August 2011

goodbye, boy with the heart balloons

Hullo everyone! It is Monday, which as it turns out lately, is my new Saturday. As you all know, I've been all-systems-a-go-go on the market circuit, meeting loads of lovely new people as well as all the new discoveries of creative folk and their doings in my own backyard. Sunday nights are my favourite at Mindil Beach I think; everybody is in such good spirits, things are a bit more relaxed than the madness of Thursday nights, and everybody is keen to start a new week off right by sharing their smiles and stories with me. This is my favourite part of my job; being an artist so often means working in isolation, so market days are kind of like having mini art-openings but without all the anxiety, formality, wanky philosophical musings and vinegar masquerading as alcohol. Yes, I have the best job ever!

I am very excited and a mite sad to tell you I have sold my edition of ten that was 'The Boy with the Heart Balloons'. If you missed out, you might be interested to know the original is as yet unspoken for and you're very welcome to send me an email should you want to give him a nice home!

Sitting on my market stall four times a week has certainly been a learning curve; with my lovely Dave's help, we improve part of our set-up a little bit more each week. I have to say again how overwhelmingly positive and supportive people have been in these first few months of business, and I am never not grateful or unaware that this has been one of the biggest factors in our success so far. Your comments and stories always buoy me up and inspire me to improve my painting, thank-you!

Happily, so many of the people who have bought artwork off me these past few months are parents, buying work expressly for their children to grow up with, appreciate and love forever. I am always so happy to talk to Mums and Dads who take the time to explain the editioning process to their children who ask what those funny numbers are at the bottom left of all my work, and who nurture their children's imagination. These children will much more easily accept creativity into their lives as young adults, and their journey will be the richer for it. Through artwork we become more accepting of ourselves and others, and increasingly are able to respect and embrace the things that make us different. As I often say to people when they ask me why I do what I do: art isn't one of those essential things for our survival like air or water. But it makes life so much the more enjoyable, and by that measure, it is absolutely necessary.

The other day, a woman pushing a pram walked past and noticed our hero of the heart balloons.  "Oh. He's a boy. So why is he wearing pink?". She didn't address this to me, and didn't linger long in any case: she had already dismissed the work, I am convinced, because it didn't fit into her understanding of 'male' or 'masculinity' (honestly, hasn't she seen 'Alfie' and Jude Law's famous proclamation that men need not fear pink when masculinity oozes from their very pores? Or, more to the point, if said sebaceous secretion does not occur, is a man or boy favouring a pink shirt really anybody's business anyway?). I thought gender-stereotyping was on the out, but clearly sheer ignorance keeps this sort of close-mindedness alive and kicking. Perhaps she was related to the dolt who told me I was 'un-Australian' because I buy my paints from Italy and paper from Germany. And perhaps they will have xenophobic little children who will wear pink and blue accordingly and never challenge anything because they weren't encouraged to. Is it just me, or does this smack of Stepford?

If we build boxes so small and tight about our understandings of the world, we leave no room for new discoveries and the potential to experience something wonderful and inspiring: we leave no room to grow. I was having a conversation with a young friend of mine this weekend, who, being still in her teens, commented that there's a scary sort of norm in adults doing menial jobs they hate and subsequently moan about, and all the while push their dreams further down into that box marked 'forgotten'. 

This is what the heart balloons represent: those lost and forgotten things that we once wanted, those hopes we had that eventually deflated because we listened too closely to those who said we couldn't or shouldn't. This is what the boy is sorry for, and why he tries to give new hope to punctured dreams that otherwise might not ever see light again. 

Will the boy hold a balloon for you?

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