I started painting faeries in year at uni. This was partly because I LIKED faeries and also… as it was I had had enough of the contemporary art bullshit that the lecturers were shovelling. I thought faeries were about as far from that as anything could be. Let me explain a little before you think it is just bitterness…
In mid third year, I had a review – this is the practice of the whole division of painting students – about 70 people stand around making comments with the lecturers. Which I have no problem with. I did nowhere near as well as people who did minimalist stuff. The painting award was given to a woman who had done big canvases covered in pink paint – flat pink with no variation – with little green dots – about four of them – in a line across the middle.
Anyhoo, I was running really late for my review and you are supposed to be there for everyone’s – from, the beginning of the day. I had a commission to paint a little delhi… I had walked into it and criticised the awful painting they had on the wall of their last business. I didn’t say anything NASTY, I just said the brushwork looked like it had been done too quickly. So the owners said they would pay me if they thought could do something better. Which I DID. I only asked for $100 or something equally small. I finished it in time before I left for Queensland the next day, but that was the same day as my review. So I was late. Also the bastards… um the people – at the deli – told me they didn’t want the piece. This despite the fact that the piece was very realistic, and I sold it far later on to someone who had nothing to do with the deli, for much more. I was late to my review and the third years were last. So the lecturers were exhausted. It takes a long time to do the marking of so many people. I was getting marked by a guy who I knew to dismiss anything that wasn’t minimalism – seriously! – doing his doctorate, and by a guy I didn’t know and by the fibre and textiles lecturer. She was, I believe, not interested in anything that was not basically what I would call contemporary CRAFT. Though some of the work done by the students in her classes was extraordinary. I had 40 pieces of work. 40. More than any of the other students in the whole damned uni. They gave me a FLAT PASS. That means I got 50%. So for a couple of months I painted faeries. I had the mark reviewed by the dean and got a distinction eventually.
But it REALLY PISSED ME OFF.