I've been working on so many projects that are -- at the moment -- being kept under wraps. I'm really stoked with how some of them have come out, and I can't wait to send them out into the world... but I do, actually, have to wait to send them out into the world.
So for now, it's little hints and warm-ups, cast-offs and seconds, and the little pieces I make whenever I get a sliver of free time.
Every now and then I walk Humble along a creek at the bottom of our street, then up some stairs through a new estate, which is generically named 'Valley Lakes' and is attempting to pass off a water-filled quarry pit as a water feature.
Just about every time I walk through Valley Lakes, another obese, boxy, concrete home has appeared, positively smothering the block its built on, and, at times -- so desperate for a bigger sprawl -- it shares an external wall with a neighbouring house. None of these houses have backyards, or if they do, they're the size of a hallway. The front gardens are pebbles and concrete, everything else is paved.
I feel like, looking at these marching rows of bleak status-houses, these people have consciously decided they don't ever want to come in contact with the natural world again. That they have decided it might be best to drive to work along sealed roads, sit in a sterile office all day, and then return home to a house full of manmade surfaces, and just stay there. Or maybe, feeling bold, they might go to the allocated strip of green down the road, to the park.
This all is, of course, not really a philosophy I can align myself with.
But last time I walked through Valley Lakes, I spotted something I really could subscribe to. Giant, prehistoric-looking clumps of thistles were sprouting all over the vacant lots. The slabs of land soon to host the sad piles of rendered brick and fake marble were raising one last act of defiance -- futile as it was.
I had a closer look at the thistles, because, like everything in the southern reaches of Australia, they seemed to be larger, wilder, more quintessentially Antipodean in their dinosaur proportions. And they were. Totally sculptural and violent, and larger than my fist. And realllllllly difficult to cut from the bush to take home as souvenirs.
But I did really want these thistles blooms in my home, because they are a hint at -- or a warning of -- the fact that everything has a method of defence, a way of protecting itself, a path to recourse. And for those who are willing to look hard enough, it's a reminder that the natural world, if we continue to force her hand, will one day show us the myriad ways she intends to defend herself, against us.
But unfortunately, I suspect no one in Valley Lakes is going to look too hard at those thistles. Or, if they do, they will see them simply as another nuisance, something to be uprooted and paved over before it rises up.
I talked to the lovely Beth from Southset -- fellow boxer-dog mama and curator of awesome goods from around the globe -- over at Apri Blog, about where I grew up, what I do, and the ever-raging battle for the identity of my spirit animal.
If you live in Melbourne, you really probably should get down to this gig or this gig, which are my housemate Ben Whiting's last Melbourne gigs for the year. He's heading off to our homeland (the beautiful northern stretches of the NSW coast), and you won't have a chance to check out his music again until 2014... Unless you live around the Byron Bay area, then you're in luck.
I've just posted off some artwork to Costa Mesa, to be included in Element's end-of-year show (December 5). I was runner-up in the illustration category of their artist search, along side some really talented creatives... So if you're in beautiful Costa Mesa with all it's cute prickly pears and dusty-blue wide desert skies, you should head along and check it out -- and let me live vicariously!
And other than all that, I'm working on a couple of exciting new things behind the scenes... waking up way too early, appreciating my beautiful life, buying loads of new and unusual cacti and just-getting-through these last few weeks at work.
I've noticed, over the past year, that I'm always starting email replies with: 'Sorry, things have just been so hectic...'
For a whole year I've been saying that -- as if, sometime soon things are going to be less hectic, and I'll start replying to emails, messages, phone calls and comments in a timely fashion. But I'm realising -- more and more -- that things just are hectic. We're always trying to jam more stuff into less time, never reaching the bottom of that to-do list.
And speaking of which, I've started viewing my to-do lists as aspirational compositions. As in, if I get about three things crossed off, that's a job well done.
But anyway, what I'm saying is that I seem to be less and less able to find time to post stuff here, so sorry if things are a bit quiet. I'm hoping to share a bit more in coming weeks, but that might be aspirational too... At any rate, I'm always posting sketchbook pics over on Instagram (@raychponygold)... And I'm always adding something new to that to-do list.
For those of you who can't get past my doctor's handwriting (and most days, I can't decipher it either), the handwritten passage is from Look Homeward, Angel, and reads:
The seed of our destruction will blossom in the desert, the alexin of our cure grows by a mountain rock, and our lives are haunted by a Georgia slattern, because a London cut-purse went unhung. Each moment is the fruit of forty thousand years. The minute-winning days, like flies, buzz home to death, and every moment is a window on all time.
This is summer sunshine warming your hands // this is the strongest whiskey raising your heart // this is humid nights under the stars // this is hypercolour hallucinations and cosmic storms in dreams // this is the next step //