My art school days were exciting right from the start. I met many amazing people, both students and lecturers. I created deep friendships and as fate would have it, I ended up in a five-year tumultuous relationship with the very same young woman that I met in the cafe the year before. Her name was Barbara and she was beautiful. Just what a young man fresh out of the confines of a four-year stint at an all boys boarding school needed.

It was also a time of much experimentation both artistically and personally for myself and for many of my contemporaries. In some ways I probably missed the full benefits of studying at this institution because of my desire to experiment in my personal life, but I was young and I think it was important to me to get all of that out of my system at an early age. So even though I saw other students developing ambition to go on to do postgraduate and masters degrees, that just wasn’t for me. It wasn’t until after I had returned from Europe following my art school days that I further developed my career options by doing a teacher training.

Exposure to international art in London and Europe, in the early eighties, encouraged me to pursue my career as an artist. One defining moment was experienced at the Tate Gallery in London, 1981. In a gallery space devoted to Mark Rothko, the American abstract expressionist, I experienced the depth of and commitment in his work. The exhibition moved me to tears, and provided a level of inspiration that I had not experienced until that point. Another Rothko piece (from a different period), seen several years later while visiting the National Gallery of Victoria, Australia, filled me with the same feeling of understanding.  Looking back, with the benefit of experience, I can say that it was the sincerity and purity from within his paintings that moved me.

Have I also explored other ways of artistic expression or other fields? My explorations in other areas were only really fleeting. For example I always liked music and acting. The issue for me was: do I have the time to learn complex chord arrangements on the guitar or piano or do the required years at acting school in order to learn how to become a good actor? The answer was no, I just wanted to make art and although these other two areas of the arts were very interesting for me I just decided not to go there. I did join a band as a singer in my early 20’s and I was in some child productions on stage as well as in my teens and in my 20’s. I also did some acting work as an extra in some TV dramas and advertisements, but it was really only so far that I ever went with it. In some ways I probably have some unfinished business there, particularly with the acting side of things, because I know I would have really enjoyed being an actor. This is most probably why I enjoy my public speaking engagements so much.

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