I recently overheard a conversation between my youngest son and a stranger; that stranger was passing comment about our recent move from an intense, working orchard, to a lifestyle property. He made the suggestion that it was the right thing to do "as we were ageing".
This self-assured and self-important bloke didn't know me but was somehow entitled to pass a judgement on what was 'right' for me 'at my age' (disclaimer: I am not THAT old!). He had also written us off as no longer being able to 'contribute'. It reminded me of an image I had seen a few years ago of celebrated author, Margaret Atwood, wearing a t-shirt declaring "underestimate me, that'll be fun" - a slogan that I have turned into a personal mantra.
The Atwood t-shirt has previously featured in my drawings (not the actual t-shirt) but the idea that at some, unspecified age, women become invisible. While we have knowledge and wisdom we are not seen. It used to annoy me, now I see it as a sort of mature super-power. The number of (usually men) who have disclosed all sorts of business / trade secrets around me as they just don't recognise I am there (or perhaps underestimate me - another nod to that t-shirt) is amusing. It's actually brilliant. And, make no mistake, if you are unprofessional or indiscreet around me I do take note (one of my favourites was seeing a business competitor's financials because 1) they were silly enough to be discussing them in a public place; and 2) they mistakenly assumed I wouldn't be interested).
I have done many things in my life and had a few careers and I intend doing a lot more and perhaps squeezing one or two more careers in before I "slow down". My intention, sorry family, is to keep on evolving, keep on innovating, and keep on challenging, it's how I'm hard-wired. There is still work to be done.
And so, with all that in mind its' fun to report that I have a little exhibition in my local town; aptly titled "on the side" which not-so-subtly references the fact that there are many things going on in my life with art and photography being 'on the side'. However, on the side is no less important and, arguably, keeps me sane.
'On the side' is an exhibition of prints by Helen Darling and Amanda Griffin... Ask a busy person if you need something done. Helen and Amanda are. Both are managing complex roles with people and advocacy. And both find time for Art. Indeed it is their sanctuary, their place to work for themselves.
'On the side' shows prints that are a proof of production from activity, carving lino, traveling and catching photogs, collaging and posting. They show personal aesthetic and philosophical choices. Serious and with just a touch of the punk while having fun. Both prompt stories for the viewer.