Saturday, February 10, 2007

Better Than Buying A House

Last week, at the respected local auction house of Lawson-Menzies, one of my earliest enamel on canvas paintings, Death Angel, became the first of my works ever to go under the hammer. The final bid was $A12,000! Painted in 1998, Death Angel originally sold for $A1,200 at my first exhibition at a commercial gallery in Queensland.
Death Angel was one of my my first and simplest paintings. I was into graffiti then, and signed my paintings HAZED as a nod to what I regarded as my 'roots'. I'd also been reading texts on semiotics which I'd discovered at art school, particularly those by Roland Barthes. His best known essay, Death of the Author, written in 1967, was an essential postmodernist reference at art school. In all my paintings from this period, I tried to appropriate not just images but an entire visual language from popular culture and advertising and reconfigure it's content and meaning. I wasn't that good at it and Death Angel was probably one of my least meaningful works.
According to the catalogue published by Lawson-Menzies, the anticipated price range was very close to my current, much more sophisticated works – and 30 per cent more than the last enamel series I exhibited in 2004. That it achieved a price within this range was a huge surprise (at least, to me) and I am still absorbing the implications. My prices for new work have been rising as the demand for it continues to increase but I hadn't expected an increase of this much for my earliest, least accomplished work.
Ah well, it's good to know that it's turned out to be as solid an investment as beachfront real estate in Sydney.


sue beyer said...

Hope you don't mind me asking but did you do fine art at uni in Brisbane? and how long after you finished uni did you have your first commercial gallery exhibition?

Hazel Dooney said...

Hi Sue,

I began a B.A. in Visual Arts at Qld University of Technology. I dropped out after 6 months, and organised my own (solo) exhibition two years later. I was then approached by a commercial gallery, and exhibited with them the following year.

You can read more about my experience in my essay, Life Study, published Griffith Review's Spring 2006 issue, The Next Big Thing ( I think you can order it directly from GR.

Hope this helps :-)