When I’m happy I notice things around me.
I like the boring as it’s only when you are bored that you can see.
—Julian Opie in a Q&A and The Guardian. I always think it’s interesting when artists acknowledge mood (or mental health, or period pain) and the way it affects their practice. I feel we don’t do this much, maybe because of romantic “muse descending” clichés?
That old question ‘must I always know nothing?’ no longer haunts, but consoles. Because the day I stop feeling like a beginner might be the day I know it’s time to put down the pen.
—Novelist Charlotte Wood in SMH. I had the luck of hearing her speak at an event for AGNSW’s The Lady & The Unicorn exhibition (one of her books mentions the tapestries) and I remember thinking she had a really interesting take on doubt and the importance of making peace with it. I’m sure a lot of visual artists face this too.
I had the chance to travel to Shepparton for the opening of Raquel Ormella’s major touring survey exhibition, and got to spend time with the artist for an Ocula Conversation.
My hands are like my heart and head all in one.
—Sarah Contos on figuring it out as you go along, in Artist Profile.
Yes, now I think I am an artist. Perhaps. But I don’t really know where it’s going.
—Hiromi Tango in a lovely NAVA video.
Most of my writing usually feels to me like a bad idea, which makes it hard for me to know which ideas feel bad because they have merit, and which ones feel bad because they don’t.
—Maggie Nelson in The Argonauts, a book that pushed at all kinds of boundaries with a raw, searching honesty. This line made me see doubt as something to aspire to.
I’ve been shortlisted for the 2018 Newcastle Short Story Award. My story Red Belly will be published in the award anthology later in the year.
If you want to know something funny, a few days before I found out I was a finalist, I filed a magazine story on art prizes and the role they play in the art world. The basic point was not to take them too seriously, but I’m still going to take Michael Zavros’ advice to NAVA members to heart:
Peer assessment is really valuable in my opinion. Prizes where the work is considered by a curator or guest judge for pre-selection before the final means that a) someone has actually seen it and b) thought it worthy or interesting.
So my sincerest thanks to the Hunter Writers Centre and judges Ryan O’Neill and Isabelle Li.