At University I studied Economics and Law and I hated it. I loved reading novels rather than studying but somehow I still managed to pass exams and I was encouraged to persevere as these degrees were wonderful meal tickets. I graduated in 1980 and then I quit. My confidence was at its lowest ebb. My family constantly told me that I’d thrown my life away. I was now unemployed with no idea what I would do with my life. During the day I used to look out the window of my parents’ North Balwyn home wondering when something exciting would ever happen in my life. Everything always seemed so static. I was stuck in a big hole and had no idea how to get myself out of it. Years passed and I started doing casual work like cleaning, gardening and childcare. Then I landed a job in the public service. I was a payments clerk in the Department of education. The work was very boring but provided me with some stability over the next five years. After I resigned from the public service I started doing personal development courses and realized that the blankness I felt was covering a whole world of deep emotion. I had been shut down emotionally for years and years. More years passed and I still didn’t know what I wanted to do with my life. Friends would say to me ”Gary, you are intelligent. What are you going to do?” And I would just shrug, still bewildered by that question.
One day I did a two hour art workshop where we were asked to draw what we felt while listening to some rhythmic music. I found this absolutely liberating. To draw what I felt was easy for me and I enjoyed it. I was going within and didn’t have to draw an object in the physical world but just my immediate response to the music. I now knew that I wanted to do art. I sold some shares and I bought some paintings that I thought revealed lost or hidden parts of myself. I met some artists and felt a connection with them. Then I started painting expressive abstract paintings where I connected with what I was feeling in my inner world. I organized a largescale exhibition in Ballarat of 24 artists’ work and from then on kept on the path of being an artist. I’ve been on that path now for 25 years. Art is what I love doing. Doing art is what makes me happy. All it asks of me is to be myself. To be authentic and to live and breathe art with passion and with love.