Ten years ago, one of my lecturers at art school told me, in no uncertain terms, that I'd never make a living as an artist. He wrote to me just recently – seeking my advice on how to make a living from art. I didn't respond. He might well have forgotten the discouraging, depressing impact of his words but I haven't. Then again, a lot of people from my past have chosen to 'redact' their history with me since I became one of art's nano-celebrities. Strangers come up to me at shows or email my studio to remind me of some tenuous connection with them through people whose names I only half recognise. Old boyfriends whine to members of my family that I don't stay in touch or that I owe them some obscure emotional debt. A handful of art dealers, including some who have never represented my work, claim responsibility for my current success (none of them had anything to do with it).I've drawn a line somewhere around 2005 as the cut-off. That was the year I packed up my few possessions at my father's house in Melbourne, where I'd been living, threw them into the back of a rented station wagon and drove to Sydney intent on re-starting my life and my badly stalled career. My relationships since then, both personal and professional, have been chosen (and maintained) with much more care than any I had before.
Even better – and maybe for the first time in my life – that care has been returned.