Wednesday, August 22, 2007
Posing As An Artist
This morning, I was photographed in my studio by a small team from a well-known fashion magazine. It was the first time I'd ever allowed anyone, other than a few close friends, to visit me there and it took a few minutes to get used to the normal curiosity of strangers scanning my bookshelves – "Oh, I love Clemente! Can I look at this?" – and the works by other artists hung on the walls. Thankfully, the view of the tree-shaded bay outside distracted them from the intimate sense of self that resides within what I'd chosen to share my most private space. When the novelty of that wore off, beautiful but raucous rainbow lorikeets flew down from the surrounding, high eucalypti and demanded to be hand-fed a snack. I posed in front of my current work-in-progress. A two metre high canvas being worked on with with various media, it's the first in my new series of paintings, tentatively titled Innocents And Demons. I was reticent about exposing its still-crude preparatory lines and colour tests, but the magazine's features editor and photographer insisted. Dressed all in black, with cropped black hair, I felt like a severe, dark-eyed widow about to profess at a Mexican convent. I swirled the ankle-length, ruffled flamenco skirt around my legs, then sat, legs apart, the fingers of both hands touching between my thighs (a sort of vulvic supplication, I realised later), and stared defiantly at the camera: "Very Frida, darling".