Don Whytes Off Cuts
Last night’s show was the usual chaos of a room crammed with hundreds of people, all standing up close to the walls where the paintings hung, jostling and craning to look over each others’ shoulders at the 100+ works.

By the time Kris and I got there, our four paintings had sold. Goodbye, my bland, strangely asexual “Dresden Doll”. Go and spread naughty magic, “Priestess of Cernunnos”.

I don’t know that the world is any better for those two being in it…two more mediocre things to add to the Taoist pool of “ten thousand things”. Sometimes I think that 95% of all making, of all our creations, all our so-called ‘works of art’ or design or craft, are just tarted-up, respectable versions of grafitti. Another big scrawly tag on the wall, another pathetic “I was here! Remember me!”

To what end? Most people cannot, off the bat, name their 8 great-grandparents. One really wonders, sometimes, what it’s all about…this compulsion to leave marks behind, to lodge some part of ourselves in someone else’s memory of the past. Which doesn’t actually exist, except in our unreliable minds.

Dresden Doll, as she was sent off

I took one photo, after half the crowd had left and more of the wall could be seen from across the room. There were only three ‘nudes’ in the show. Two of which were mine. Someone said to me, “That one (The Priestess of Cernunnos) might be a little too risqué for Darwin…” The hypocrisy of Western society never fails to stump me. It thinks about sex all the time, uses it to sell anything and everything, leads the way in sexually-charged fashion, film, publications, is obsessed with it, but pretends to be squeamish at the same time. Much is made of the Priestess’ pubic hair, which I painted as the face of a satyr. A conversation follows about salons that now offer pubic styling, including one style where they remove all hair, and stick sparkling diamanté patterns on the skin.

I ducked outside to have a smoke in the parking lot. There were some men from the show there, and a young girl in a tiny little party dress sitting on the ground. Too much to drink, and she wore a pair of ridiculously high-heeled, diamanté shoes. She nearly fell over trying to stand up, and someone asked if she was okay. Thrilled, I suppose, to be at one of her first “art gigs”, and surrounded by some older men, she explained that she was just sitting down because her shoes were killing her, but “weren’t they fabulous? They were hard to wear, but gorgeous shoes, and super blingy.” Fashion victim…guess she got tired of waiting for someone to compliment her on her shoes, she decided to initiate the discussion. She went on to talk about her shoes, modelling them for us at the same time.

Attention from the others shut down with almost audible snaps, like a row of deadbolts on a shed door. I turned to the guy next to me and asked him if he had any work in the show. Yeah, he had a couple. “Oh, did you paint the naked women?” says Miss Bling, who tries to segue into talking art when her shoe talk falls on deaf ears.

“I did those,” I say. “Oh, really? WOW! Do you want a NUDE MODEL?” I try not to look at her shoes and think of her pubic region covered in the same bling, while the men around me make strangled noises in their throats. A friend, who doesn’t paint, murmurs that he should take up painting. I imagine her, young and silly as she is, pulling a series of hackneyed, unimaginative boudoir or celebrity poses that she’s seen in magazines or porn flicks, making smouldering hot “fuck me” looks to go with them, and become depressed. “You’re talking to the wrong person,” I smile, “I’m really not very good at life drawing…” and tell her that there’s a place on the other side of town that does live drawing sessions, she should go and see them, they probably pay quite well for a couple of hours of modelling.

She excuses herself after a while (probably decided we were a boring bunch of old farts, which we were) and someone says, “She’ll get better. She’s just really young.” I shake my head and look up at the night sky, suddenly wanting to go home, to sit in the dark and watch the lights dance on the waters of the harbour.

I don’t think I have ever been that young.


8 thoughts on “Constellations

  1. Hi I think your work is lovely but I think you were a bit hard on the young girl. People do stuff for different reasons people have issues with themselves. You need to take this on board maybe a little bit. Maybe take a look at yourself re-read what you have just written and ask yourself if you are still quite young.


    1. 🙂 I wasn’t hard ON her, she wasn’t treated badly or spoken harshly to, but I’m allowed to think my thoughts, I’m allowed to be cynical, and to ridicule, because I’m a writer; the only reason you came across my thoughts at all is that I write them…wearing my mind on the outside. This is not a support group, this is my blog…I don’t roam the internet looking for people to preach to. Why do you?


  2. Nat, after I write this comment I will seek out the images of your other pieces. Nakedness in Darwin is risque?? I didn’t quite expect that from a place with crocs and, well, Natalie. hehe.. It feels like the exact opposite here where people seem almost sexless looking lightly at clearly sexual paintings – well, there is a wealth of that not just on canvas but on walls, ceilings, and statues. Bernini’s rape of Persephone and that hand grabbing that fleshy naked leg – oooh, that is absolutley HOT. I miss you Nat. Happy I can “listen” to you through these posts. Love, Kat


  3. Was I that self centred and obnoxious when you first met me? Surely not…

    Judging by yours and Ailsa’s photos, I think that next year, I definitely should plan my trip back to coincide with one of these openings…


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s