I remember painting with mum, sitting in our sun drenched lounge painting stick figures, hands with 15 fingers and red hair and a dog with at least 7 legs. I thought it was the closest thing to a photo of my mind, Mum told me I was an artist and pinned it to the fridge with an old bottle opener magnet.
I spent my first 5 years learning that art was about fun, expressing myself, anything goes aside from pictures of poop and also slopping paint on our cat "muffin" fur was considered not art. Scribbling on the dinning room wall before Dad did a reno was art but after the wall was lined with a faint pink wall paper it was no longer art, it was a fast track to time in your room. The driveway was art with chalk but not so much with paint, paint was again a fast track to the think tank, my room or that place you are sent to think about what you have done.
The next 10 years I learnt that art has no rules, its a chance to be creative, express your self but only using very specific techniques and staying within the lesson. In order to pass art I must learn to follow the rules and only learn about the rule breakers that changed art forever. I was terrible at drawing but loved to paint, love to create things that don’t exist, a shade or shadow of what I felt. I struggled with the rules and for me it made me feel like I couldn’t do art or perhaps it was just a skill I didn't have.
For a very long time I didn’t understand what art was, and perhaps I still don’t. Art was intimidating, it confused me and made me feel insignificant. I have never thought I was a good artist or a creative person and often felt lost in the world of art. A lot of art just made no sense to me and felt false or made me feel fake and silly. I wondered why am I meant to see a spiritual rainforest that takes me on a journey to the soul of the world when all I see is a squiggle of paint and two blobs?
I was 25 and living in a small village in France. It was minus 18 degrees, snowing out and I was on my second black coffee with a double shot of vodka. Dinner was on, a 7 course meal in the works, my cold numb hands doing the mahi while my mind wonders. I remember staring at the pan watching butter brown and begin to foam as I gently basted a duck breast. The smell instantly took me away. It reminded me of baking with mum, I was taken back to that sun drenched lounge, lined with pink wallpaper and the smell of butter burning in the pan as mum flipped pancakes, the squeal of me and my brother saying me first rang in my ear. I was lost in that smell, in that memory, for a second I was 5, warm and could taste the sweetness of icing sugar and lemon and see the glow in my mums eyes as she stressfully enjoyed the Sunday ritual. It was in that moment I thought, is this art? Is this what I have been missing?
For me, art is not the work, it is not the artist, it is the story. The story of the person who has battled drugs, fought to escape using words and a beat. It is the story of the time a little kid watched their mum work full time and paint all night to make her dreams come true. It is the story behind the artist that gives it soul and it's the story that happens next that makes that art last forever.
A story that is slowly created over time by the owner, a story of moving houses or birthday celebrations, the time it broke and grandad fixed it, the art comes from the home it lives in