I've always produced a lot of visual material, from photographs and rough sketches to digital illustrations, collages and small paintings. Very little of it goes further than the floor under my desk. Occasionally, an assistant, worn down by my repeated requests to find a particular image from the myriad scraps of paper and photographic proofs I discard during the course of figuring out a new work, will take it upon themselves to organise this material into meticulously indexed files. It still ends up strewn around the studio.
For many years, I cared little for what I regarded as valueless by-product. Then, in 2006, a friend came across a plastic garbage bag filled with Polaroids I had taken (as references for my enamel paintings) stuffed at the back of a cabinet beneath my kitchen sink. He sifted through them to select the handful that were exhibited as part of my Venus In Hell solo exhibition at MARS Gallery, in Port Melbourne. Two years later, I assembled a collection of sexually explicit study photographs I had taken of myself – and which others had taken – to create another exhibition at MARS Gallery, called PORNO.Since then, there has been a small but not insignificant market for my study drawings and photographs in Australia. Encouraged, I began uploading excerpts from my sketchbooks to the visual archives on my web site. But most of the hundreds, possibly thousands, of photographs I've taken over the years, using Polaroid 600 and 35mm negative film, as well as an assortment of digital cameras, remain hidden away in filing cabinets, drawers and hard drives. Many of the images are of nude women or sex acts. In a reckless moment, last year, I published a few on my Facebook page and within a couple of hours, the faceless, middle-American censors there had erased my presence. Several have also been published on this blog but I am conscious of dulling the attention of my readers with too much distracting tits 'n' ass. While I made an exception for a few of my favorite monochrome images from PORNO, I'm hesitant to include photography in the substantial body of artwork currently archived on my web site.That might change. In the meantime, a visual 'notebook' on Tumblr, with no words other than captions, focussing on my 35mm and digital photography – no Polaroids, sketches or paintings – felt like a better option. Reassured that the platform tolerated images that many others wouldn't and that I had more than enough material to sustain it for a couple of months, I devised a stripped-to-the-bone slate grey on white design, a simple title – An Artist's Notebook – and a week ago, started uploading images. Take a look sometime.