The floodwaters have receded but the clean-up continues. In suburban streets close to the Brisbane River, sodden, muddy refuse and ruined furnishings are piled high on the sidewalks, awaiting collection by city workers. Far to the north, Hurricane Yasi is wreaking havoc on tropical coastal townships. Although its effects are less apparent here, the air is hot and humid. There's still too much moisture to work on enamel paintings. In any case, the temperature inside the windowless studio, even with a high-powered fan blowing, is around 35ºC. I've sat at home in my air-conditioned office, drawing with an antique dip pen and black ink.I'd intended to work on studies for the final six of my twelve Big Pin-Ups but the first couple of sketches took me somewhere different. I filled a sketchbook with spidery outlines of entangled limbs, splayed genitalia and stringy hair, diaristic fragments of my own sexual history traced from the surface of my skin. Most were small, no more than a few square inches in the middle of a a 12" x 16.5" sheet of textured cold-pressed paper. A few can be viewed here.
A week has passed. I'm still drawing. Scores of images carpet the varnished timber floor: engorged cocks, fleshy labia, curling tongues and scratched or blotted ink interpretations of ejaculates, spittle, sweat and smeared make-up. In most, the faces are obscured – except, in a handful, my own. It isn't always easy to tell whether the writhing, contorted bodies are in ecstasy or pain. I'm not sure I know. When my sexuality was still shrouded in uncertainty, inchoate, intimacy, like desire, was sometimes fleeting and not every penetration wanted; sometimes, too, freedom was found in breathless constriction and a mind-numbing orgasm brought on with violence.