Saturday, September 02, 2006
The French novelist, Gustave Flaubert, once wrote, "Be regular and orderly in your life like a bourgeois, so that you may be violent and original in your work."Now that my health is improving – I've been ill with a virus for nearly three weeks – I've decided to devote today and tomorrow to getting my shit together and start living and working like an adult.It's taken me a while to realise that, despite my increasing financial success, I still live like a struggling artist (I'm frequently mistaken for a university or art school student). I wear one jacket that I swapped for an artwork 10 years ago, and even when I buy something new, I feel more at ease if it appears frayed or faded.When I first moved into my current studio, I was so used to not owning anything that I furnished it with stacks of milk-crates as chairs (cushioned with painting drop-sheets) and makeshift tables instead of real furniture. I did buy a simple Balinese teak daybed, but I had become so used to moving constantly and sharing temporary spaces with other people that I've never set up a comfortable, functional space of my own. Such disarray is time-consuming – and no longer necessary.I want my lifestyle to catch up with my earnings so, this Summer, I'm renting a beach house owned by a well-known film director about an hour's drive north of Sydney. It has plenty of natural light, a huge table that will be perfect for drawing, and a big garage area underneath with lots of airflow. I'll use the garage to paint a couple of large, enamel-on-board works. There's a piano in a corner of the living room – its keys are loose and out of tune – as well as wicker armchairs and a big TV. Outside, a wide timber verandah runs the length of the house. Situated in a valley shaded by tall palm trees, about a minute's walk from a secluded beach (where I'm planning to surf every day), it's a peaceful, not-too-out-of-the-way retreat.I will still keep my studio, and I will make it feel a little more permanent and well-organised. I've already hung a few favourite pieces by other artists and displayed some ornaments, which are mostly fetish-like objects. I've unpacked books and crammed them onto shelves, though there are so many that I still have a few piles on the floor. I will create shelves and storage racks to replace the stacks of carboard boxes for my work materials.I'm not planning to stay in this space forever, but from now on I want to live in a more affluent and productive present – a present that is really fucking awesome – instead of a past that was, to put it mildly, impoverished, fractured, and not much fun at all.