Cover Art: Social Policy Magazine, New Orleans, USA. 2007 (Education Reform). I really found this a challenge, as I worked with a great editor, Caitlin, who sent me the complex articles on the No Child Left Behind Act which was being reviewed by Congress during the publishing of this issue. In the end I think I got it right, the annual yearly progress (AYP) being highlighted in a scene reminiscent of a miltary rescue operation with the kids, paying the price for adult politics. The illustrations are done in pen and ink wash on paper.
Interview: Drum Media, Alphabet City coverage, Artrage Frestival, Perth, W.Australia, 2007. Thank you to DRUM Media's FrontPage Section for their interview with me for the festival.
Relocated: A Keith + Lottie Retrospective 2007
The real action is starting to unfold in Alphabet City over the next couple of weeks. We’re talking performances, exhibitions and whole bunch more. To help you keep on top of what you need to see, we’ve put together a little guide to some of the artists who will be taking part in some of the exhibitions during the Artrage Festival.
Most recent work before this?
American Caricature: An Exhibition of Political Cartoon-A world view of the United States by 34 political cartoonists. Three Rivers Arts Festival, Pittsburgh, PA, USA.
Theme of this work?
These are ink drawings in pen and brush on paper. They are from my 2006 exhibition at Keith + Lottie titled Sedition And Other Bedtime Stories and use a series of images based on the idea of a child waking up in today’s post-September 11 world. They were influenced by Australia’s ‘Anti-Terrorism’ legislation passed in 2005, and in particular Schedule 7 of this legislation which reinvented the concept of ‘treason’ and ‘sedition’ in a way that has been broadly criticized by civil rights activists, lawyers, and artists across Australia as damaging to free expression.
What do you hope people take from the work?
Obviously, a desire to read the image, to see all the symbols and stories in the picture. I guess I hope also a sense that Australians are slowly losing their rights by allowing their fears to tear down one safeguard after another. Because most people can’t understand the language of Government (Legislation and making laws), we allow others to deny us freedom of expression and free speech. Then we teach that to our kids and, over time, we forget what freedoms look and feel like.
What aspect are you most proud of?
I’m most proud of taking a stand about something I felt strongly about through my art after not exhibiting for nearly ten years. I knew the work would be a hard sell because of the political themes, but I went ahead and spent my own money. I took a stand and feel really proud that I could use my voice as an artist and discovering why I put myself through this shit to make art – because I believe in something. And I really needed that integrity back in my art after a long break from exhibiting.
What was the biggest challenge in creating it?
The biggest challenge for me was getting knocked back by most local galleries-even to view the work. Galleries generally frown on art with political or human rights themes. They get nervous. They don’t think people will buy it or appreciate it and it will open a can of worms. In some cases over East, people threatened artists and galleries to cut their government funding. That was the reason I did the show. I was also tough getting back into exhibiting after a long break, because in this business people forget you pretty fast unless you’re Damian Hirst and pickle sharks for $9 million. Most of us are holding the vinegar jars. My vinegar jar is even weirder that most, so I’d nearly given up when Keith+Lottie said they’d be happy to show my work.
When and Where: Friday 16 November to Saturday 8 December, The Breadbox Gallery at The Bakery, Northbridge.