I FEEL BLESSED TO BE BORN NAIVE
The rock, a million years old, that I sometimes sit on in Bundeena to review my life can be full of surprises. It sometimes tells me I have learned very little in my life. Aged 79 I am still as naïve as the day I was born!
Of the primitive artists I have admired all my life it was Henri Rousseau, the French naïve artist, I chose to be my mentor at the age of 40, the beginning of my art career. I grew to love his art at an early age. It was for me probably because his paintings depicted his own imagination, his dreams, his fantasies, his unreal world, where there were no problems only hope for the future.. I chose Rousseau because from the age of 19 I decided when I visited the great, great art galleries of the world I always asked myself when I left the gallery what painting I would like to have under my arm on the way out. In the Louvre, in Paris, it was never The Mona Lisa, or a Picasso, Matisse, Cezanne or Monet. No it was always one of dear old Henri Rousseau’s paintings.
The way to select my favourite artists has become a habit I have kept all throughout my life, it tells me where my heart lives. It’s the reason I never walk out of a gallery without taking my favourite painting in the gallery under my arm and in my head as I leave.
Over the years in my imagination I have stolen all my favourites from the Tate in London, The Louvre in Paris, The Museum of Modern Art in New York. No gallery is safe when I walk inside.
At the age of 21 I left Australia and landed in London in the early 60’s. As soon as I arrived I was fortunate to be introduced to and shake hands and have a glass of Champaign with Salvador Dali while on a holiday in Spain. At that stage of my life I didn’t realize how important in the art world he was.
At the age of 22 I got lucky and was introduced to Brett Whiteley by another Australian artist in London Tony McGillick. In the next decade Whiteley became Australia’s greatest artist, at that time we were both in London and the same age. He remains today the youngest artist selected by the Tate to purchase one of his paintings. Visits to his studio in Kensington during the 60’s were a rare and unique privilege for me to experience. Then a few years later meeting David Hockney through an Irish dear friend the famous restaurateur Peter Langan was a turning point in my life. In London in the 70s Peter Langan started me thinking of a life after advertising. A few years later a painting Peter purchased of mine was hung in his famous Langan’s Brasserie next to a Hockney, what a thrill that was for the boy born in Dimboola Australia.
Today in 2018 Hockney has become Englands most famous living artist. In 2016 we flew to Melbourne to see his latest exhibition. It was amazing!
During my 20 years in London I had surrounded myself with some of the most creative people in the world and they all taught me something. As an art director I only chose the best writers and photographers to work with. The writers were Leonard Weinreich and Tony Brignull. The photographers were Bailey, Duffy and Donavan. They were my favourite’s in London. In Paris Helmet Newton, John Lou Seif became my hero’s. Then in the USA, Avendon was the photographer I wanted to work with. None of them ever let me down. Several became lifelong friends.
What more can you ask for?
Thinking Rock keeps the knowledge. .Me, I just live the life I’m handed.
So far, so good......