Forgive me if I've told you this before but I have a fetish for panties. When I was 15, I blew my first paycheck on a pair of hand-sewn black silk french knickers. At the time, I was practically living in a pair of recycled men's 501 Levis and I didn't yet date, let alone have a boyfriend. So buying the knickers was a purely selfish extravagance. I loved the slightly lurid sensation of soft silk against my skin, so unlike the coarse chafe of denim that I was used to.
In my late teens and early 20s, I discovered the provocative anticipation of putting on panties only to have someone else take them off again. I preferred the plain fabrics, in fine mesh – just sheer enough to enable another to trace the undulating topography of the anatomy beneath. My favourite colour, even then, was pink. In many of my paintings, I 'd use hot pink combined with camel and the candy-like hue worked just a well against my own skin. Hot pink was as seductive – it could conjure up anything from reluctant, shy sensuality to crotch-rubbing randiness. My bought my first pair of pink panties in a set with a pale, metallic pink Calvin Klein bra. I wore both the bra and panties a lot for my boyfriend at the time but they found their way into my art by chance when I photographed myself wearing them for a number of of Polaroid studies I did for a new series of paintingsMy favourite pair of panties were hot pink mesh with orange trim. They were a forgettable brand. I don't even remember where I found them. I bought several pairs. When I went to Lake Eyre as the only female member of a highly publicised artists' expedition, I threw a few of them into my bag. I intended to wear them only under my dusty jeans but I ended up donning them for a bit of 'spot colour', first in the series of 35mm study photographs then in the large, high gloss enamel paintings inspired by the journey.The same panties became somewhat notorious – and inextricable linked to my public image – when a photograph of me wearing them with only a dusty white wife-beater, Aviator shades, and a pair of high, leather boots (oh, and a 12-gauge shotgun and leather bandoliers) was chosen as the cover image for a national weekend newspaper lift-out. You could just make out the dark shadow of my pubic hair beneath the sheer mesh bunched slightly around my crotch.Getting me out of my pink knickers isn't as easy as it might have been when I was in my twenties. Getting them out of my work is proving even harder. It's as if, somewhere beneath their flimsy fabric and thin, elasticised waist bands is the sweet, sticky secret of a girlhood fantasy I'm reluctant to leave behind. The expression 'pink bits' still means a lot of different things to me – and not just as an artist.