Perhaps it was because and not despite taking art in year 12 and studying art history at college that I never really loved art.
Sure I developed a student’s appreciation of art and could cite different movements and a few artists names, but not much more than that.
My education and career were firmly focussed on Graphic Design and I burned the candle at both ends to get a career and business off the ground so in early 1990 a weekend in Lorne was a welcome break.
There was a gallery in Lorne that I'd intended to visit last time I was passing through. At that time Qdos was operating out of some old squash courts behind the legendary Kosta’s restaurant and thought I’d venture in for a browse.
The gallery was surprisingly busy, I thought, and there turned out to be a reason for that.
An art auction was about to begin in an effort to raise funds artist and musician Monty Osewald whose studio had burned to the ground taking with it a full body of work that was just days away from being shipped off to be exhibited. Local artists donated their works to the auction to aid the devastated Monty.
One piece particularly appealed to me and looked like it could be affordable. I knew nothing of the artist or any of the art exhibited but I loved the colours and the movement in the unframed drawing and my $180 bid saw a red dot place next to it on the wall.
Now my emotions were astir with both excitement at just purchasing my first piece of art and ‘ok, what have I just done and what do I do now?’
What I had bought was a drawing of a cyclist. I wasn’t sure whether it was a he or a she and whether he/she was riding toward me or away but it stirred something in me.
What I had actually bought was a working drawing of 'Going away, Looking Back’ winner of the 1990 Art Gallery of NSW Sir John Sulman prize by artist and writer Robert Hollingsworth.
I’m not sure if it is worth any more now than when I bought it but I really don’t care because I still love it and telling the story behind it reignites in me the excitement of the auction, of supporting an artist and of purchasing my first piece of art.
The gallery QDOS Arts, along with a restaurant and treehouse accommodation, has since been rebuilt by its founder Graeme Wilke in a stunning bush setting / sculpture park on Allenvale Road in Lorne and is well worth a visit.
Unfortunately it appears that the Sulman prize winning painting has gone into a private collection and I’ve been unable to find an image. To see other entries and winners from other years Art Gallery of NSW