A big thank you goes out to Marion Mikkelsen and everyone at Art at Work 2019. It was a well-run, well attended event and I look forward to appearing next year with the second and final instalment of the trilogy ‘A Step Ahead of the Fall’. I am delighted, for several reasons, that I chose her exhibition to be the venue for the launch.
It was fascinating talking to other artists and learning about their creative processes. This insight allowed me to have a more in-depth appreciation of their work and as a result my enjoyment of their displays was enhanced.
A quick shout out to Therese at https://theresegabrielwilkinsart.weebly.com/ She, after chatting to me about my work, funnelled visitors in my direction with a glowing reference. That was very kind.
What I also found noteworthy was how keen the other artists were in having philosophical discussions about the various topics layered underneath my adventure story. After I provided the distinction between the post-apocalyptic genre and the pre-apocalyptic universe in which my story is set, many conversations were sparked about what ideas and institutions they would wish to see carried forward into the new world. However, it was the topic of climate change that appeared to be foremost on people’s minds.
On reflection it’s hardly surprising that people wanted to air their thoughts on this matter. The subject is plastered across the mainstream media at the moment and everywhere you look there’s a political leader or celeb attempting to look saintly as they signal their virtue. What I was surprised about was the diversity of opinion within the community.
My own prejudices had me believing that the art community would be heavily populated by those on the left side of the false left/right political paradigm and consequentially there would be many people claiming that the ‘End was Nigh’ due to an impending climate catastrophe. And although that opinion was represented, a far greater number of people were keen to have a deeper conversation about the subject.
My belief, that the cure might well be more deadly than adapting to the disease, by which I mean empowering global governmental institutions with a thermostat for the world and handing them the power to regulate the air we breathe (out), was accepted as a valid concern.
My understanding is that politics is downstream from culture; and the divides in our society run deepest at a cultural level. Also, that it is ideas that form the bases of our culture and those ideas are often most effectively conveyed by our artists. I was forced to conclude, if this sample is typical of the wider Australian Artist Community, that the vocal metropolitan elite and Hollywood types are far less representative than I had originally thought. This gives me reason to be cheerful.
Several copies of the book were sold over the weekend. On Monday I received an email, through my website www.AStepAheadoftheFall.com, from one of those purchasers. It said, ‘I want to talk to you’.
The cynical part of me was fearful. I wondered if this was going to be the first time explaining my ‘no refunds policy’. It turned out to be far from the case. The reader was enjoying the book and it had resonated with him. He simply wanted to discuss some of the themes that had run alongside some of his own research as he looked into the nature of our reality. It was pleasing to hear it had that effect.
The final highlight and my most favourite interaction from the event was talking with a young, aspiring author. Like I had, she has a novel bubbling up inside her, and our chat seemed to give her inspiration. Truthfully, I don’t know what it was I said during the discussion that she appreciated. I suspect it helped to hear that someone else had struggled along the same, less trodden path, that see was now on. I hope to be present at her book launch sometime in the future.
Before the event I was apprehensive. It was difficult to step out from behind my desk and leave the comfortable solitude of my studio. I’m glad I did. It was a wonderful experience and I left invigorated by what I saw and heard. I was only expecting to flog a few books, I wasn’t expecting that.