Saturday, July 25, 2015


As usual it is always much longer between posts here than I'd like it to be. Time to myself is a rarity lately and in some ways I find that hard. I get time to myself on public transport, mostly, which is why yesterday when I was about to board a tram my heart sunk when an acquaintance spotted me and sparked up conversation. As a terrific introvert I actually found it so hard in that moment to summon up an ounce of enthusiasm for small talk after having performed it all day at work, and most likely came across as rather standoffish. I've always thought it requires introverts twice the amount of energy to navigate through a life filled with social obligations than an extrovert, but true that I have never been on the other side.

Whining aside, I have a Saturday evening *hoorah* to myself tonight and I don't know if I've used it altogether wisely... some Simpsons watching, writing here, wading through phone photos to compile a good cross section from the past month-ish (sheesh!) to accompany this post...

A Sunday excursion with S to the NGV 
There were two of my books left in the NGV Store!
Unfinished painting detail
Finished small painting
A Wednesday morning in St Kilda 
Nothing but lipstick feels so brilliant
My new Verner blanket coat with Dress Up capri pants and cropped knit jumper

Cats on a late night walk down Lygon Street

New paints and brushes 
Just starting 
In progress painting
Two weeks ago, on a Tuesday, I received the first advance copy of my book 'Time After Time'. It was an overwhelming ending point to six months of literally non-stop back-hunching work and it's hard to believe now that it really is completely done and finished. I wrote a book. I wrote a book and illustrated a book and did some semblance of modelling in said book. This rather eccentric (generous terminology) lady who catches my train always talks to me (much to my delight, of course...) and the other day she asked me what I did and I just layed it on. I was like "I'm an artist and I'm also a writer, I just finished writing my first book and illustrating it. I'm also an illustrator, and I really like fashion - that's what the book's about, really, fashion, but like, interesting." and that actually shut her up. 

'Time After Time' is officially released in Australia, the UK, and America on September 1st 2015. I am literally busting to show you all what's inside. I think this book has a LOT to offer, and I hope it can be something that people keep going back to, something that people feel is a generous and exciting publication. I am doing an 'In Conversation' and kind of like a pre book launch event with the Melbourne Writer's Festival on the 26th of August. Lorelei Vashti is going to host the evening and interview me, which I am so stoked on. The event will be held at Alpha 60's Brunswick Street store, and you can buy tickets here:

Below is a picture of the advance copy of my book. I guess it's not much different to seeing a JPEG of the cover image, it will be much different however when you can hold it in real life. :)

The advance copy of my book, 'Time After Time'
To celebrate, Brodie invited me to the red carpet opening of the David Bowie exhibition at ACMI. Champagne was practically on tap, so it was an event worthy of honouring the single advance copy of my book that I carted around in my bag. I thought the exhibition was interesting, and very technologically sophisticated. It was a rather insular experience with the headphones you were instructed to wear, although I do admit that it was pretty nifty. My favourite was the last room, just after you've ditched the headphones and are able to have a more collective experience with whomever you've chosen to go along with. It's more replicating the vibe of a concert or live experience. It was fun.

David Bowie at ACMI red carpet opening with Brodie

Working on a *still life* photoshoot for Desktop Magazine, out in September
Stunned by sunshine

Pages from a new book I found about making your own soft toys

Donna Summer all day in the studio
Serendipitous details
Stickers in the sun
This afternoon

In progress in the studio on a Saturday 

I spent the day in my studio today. S had to get up early for work, so I was already up and thought it best to make the most of the hours. I was on fire and completed two paintings without so much as a break, thus feeling a little lightheaded afterwards. I'm working on a lot of new paintings for some exhibitions coming up in September and November. More details when more details are more relevant. But I've really really enjoyed getting back into the looseness of painting. This afternoon, my Mum came and met me in my studio so we could go to The Design Files fundraiser exhibition opening as I had a work in it. It was nice to hang out with Mum, and I think she enjoyed the fanciness of a sponsored exhibition opening. There was what they called a "grazing table" with some pretty impressive wheels of cheese on it. The funds raised from the exhibition were entirely going towards the Asylum Seekers Resource Centre which is a very important and generous organisation run by some pretty remarkable people, namingly Kon Karapanagiotidis who gave a really moving speech. A picture of the work I donated is below, and I'm happy to say it sold!

My small collage work in The Design Files fundraiser for the Asylum Seekers Resource Centre
My collage work in the Design Files fundraiser for the ASRC
The last thing is that I published on Rookie a reworked version of my talk on selfies for the Emerging Writer's Festival. It's called 'A Thousand Words' In defence of taking pictures of yourself and it was really fun. You can read the whole article here:

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Women of Letters

I presented this letter on the 28th of June 2015 as a part of the 52nd Women of Letters event at the Regal Ballroom in Northcote alongside Emma Alberici, Maureen Matthews, Corrie Chen and Bev Killick. It was an absolute pleasure to be included amongst such rich-thinking and talented women who generously shared intimate, funny and smart letters to the moments they wished they could take back. Thanks to those who were there who listened and sympathised, for those of you who weren't, I hope you enjoy reading it to yourself without my little jittery voice as a narrator! :)

28th June 2015

'A letter to the moment I wish I could take back.'

Dear self,

I’m writing this letter to confess that I was unable to think of a moment I wish I could take back to write a letter to. Perhaps it wasn’t so much as I was unable to think of a moment I’d rather take back, but that such a moment does not exist.

While I am aware of the perceived arrogance entwined in that statement, I wish to explore why that is not the case. In this letter I hope to recognize the real reason why it is impossible for me to identify something I wish I’d never said, or done, or made, or worn, and use this opportunity as a catalyst to make a shift, even ever so slightly – towards some semblance of spontaneity and a degree of unthinking honesty.

Recently an old high school teacher of mine came out of the woodwork to congratulate me on my alleged “success”. He was “surprised” he stated, as I was always so “quiet” in class. A tutor in first year at university expressed similar “surprise” as he read and assessed the journal we’d been required to write in privately all semester. “I’m surprised” he wrote, “You don’t speak up much in class”. I hotly resented these assessments. They’d followed me for my entire schooling life. It was assumed that because I didn’t speak up, I had nothing to say at all.

I wouldn’t describe my shyness as painful. I didn’t and don’t suffer from any severe social anxiety outside the normal nervousness around new people or in situations alone in crowds. There’s just always been a peculiar kind of pull to remain on the outer, to let situations, conversations and exchanges unfold before me rather than actively participate in them. Particularly when I was younger, I took on the role of observer because there already seemed to be so many participants. I wasn’t one who would bother fighting for position I suppose because there was the possibility I would get that position and be lost for words.

As I’ve grown up into some semblance of an adult, through pure necessity I’ve somewhat overcome this role of eternal observer. However now, I would say that my contributions – words, actions and opinions that I let out into the world – are at best tightly curated, and at their worst – stilted and censored.

I can see that this strategy is rooted in self-preservation. I don’t want anything I utter to trigger a reaction that may cause me harm. I have written scripts for phone conversations. I have put aside time to rehearse back and forth banter for a date. I’ve held back opinion after opinion in favor of something less controversial. I’ve bitten my tongue on so many occasions that I truly could commission someone to make a feature length film titled: ‘Things Minna Gilligan Never Said’ and I might be flattering myself but ideally I’d like a young Shelley Duvall to play me.

I can say I’ve never done anything I wish I could take back with such startling confidence because my thought processes before I do anything are so intense that it’s impossible for anything that could be construed as unsavory to glide past the guards.

I’ve never yelled at anyone. I’ve never told someone what I really think of them. I’ve never slipped-up to an unrecoverable degree, I’ve never confessed my undying love to an unknowing recipient, or told off particular boys for their heart wrenching behavior. I’ve never really put anything out there that in turn could cause me to suffer any pain, hurt, embarrassment or unnecessary complications. It’s exhausting to play out all possible outcomes and assess all possible risks before acting, if I eventually act at all.

There’s a stodgy old quote by Abraham Lincoln that I want to insert here:

“It’s better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak and to remove all doubt.”

As I sit writing this with not a single hilarious anecdote to relay about some ridiculous yet soul-confirming instance I wish I could take back, I’m not so sure that it is. In the rather dire circumstances of this quote, I’m a fool either way, confirmed or unconfirmed, which really makes no difference - so I certainly don’t blame my spontaneity for shrinking away to greener pastures.

My spontaneity thrives within the limitless realms of my artwork but is silenced in earthly practice. In my mark making exercises I accept every line that flows unthinking from my pen. Here I embrace wonkiness and inconsistences, I embrace the instinctive immediacy of what courses from my brain to the paper in front of me. Here there are no consequences and I have nothing to protect because the unknown factor of the retorting outside world has been removed, thus, I have no fear.

I am equally curious and terrified of what it would be like to be completely, or near completely, uninhibited within my every day, mortal interactions. To perhaps not take consequence as seriously as I tend to, to live not navigating potentials but embracing them as curbs merely needing to be traversed and learned from.

Perhaps the moment I’m looking for that I wish I could take back are all those instances where I held my tongue, or didn’t say quite what I meant, or was silenced out of fear. Fear of a possibility.

This starts to get complicated, and my earlier claims are now unraveling, but what I’m trying to articulate is that I do to some degree wish I could take back all those moments where I didn’t do or say something just because I could potentially wish to take it back.

I wish I could take back those pauses in which I edited my words, moments spent calmly suppressing valid feelings, and that surprise articulated by my high school teacher. Perhaps it’s better to speak with the possibility of being thought a fool, than to remain silent, giving your audience no evidence otherwise.

Photographs by Sarah Walker

Among other things

I'm actually about to post my Women of Letters piece on here but wanted to firstly post some photos from the past week or two. Have been working in the studio a fair bit, on Rookie commissions and on a collaboration with Romance was Born and Colab Eyewear where I made some collages for a lookbook. They're really fun, and I think I can share them all soon.

Been a little up and down the past week, had some pretty overwhelmingly good news regarding my book 'Time After Time' being released also by Rizzoli in New York and Hardie Grant UK, so that means it will be stocked in America and England as well as Australia which is pretty flooring to say the least. I feel scared at how fast time is passing, maybe I won't have enough time to do all I want to do this year, maybe I've left it too late to order my canvases... I keep making pacts to dedicate the last half of this year to painting, but *things keep coming up* and at this rate I'll have to go into hiding in order to produce even half of what I plan to produce...! (Exaggeration, but you get the picture) I have an exhibition in November at Gertrude Contemporary that I am meant to have started working towards but am yet to. I will, I promise!

Pictures below... very liquorice all sorts tonight... I am posting my Women of Letters talk after this.

Beautiful monstrosity at Savers
Painting in the studio
A gift from my boss
Saturday morning studio rainbow
Going through so many of my old clothes to sell
Also finding old clothes to wear again

Drawing away last Tuesday
Blue for Rookie in July
Romance was Born outfit
My friend and I got cocktails "on the house"
Strawberry snack on Saturday
My love wins contribution
Bought a disco ball at Savers on Monday and installed it on Tuesday

Also scored a free chair