On the eve of one of the most significant events in my year, I’m sitting in my motel room in Kandos contemplating the self-indulgence of being here – missing half the school holidays with my family, taking a week or two away from paid work and spending more money and time on my art, for which there is no monetary return.
I’ve spent the past 24 hours plus installing my new installation, documenting it and helping a few others around town install their works. I’ve spent two nights now sharing a wine or two with other artists at low-key events leading up to the first day of Cementa15 – four days of celebrating the diversity of contemporary art in a regional context. A rare event indeed.
So, why do I have this feeling that what I’m doing isn’t part of the ‘real world’?
I’ve been leading a double life for some years now. In some circles I’m known for my work as a journalist and communications consultant (some might say this is something quite tangible or credible); in other circles, I’m Kim V. Goldsmith – artist. Few know me in both capacities.
I’ve been a creative for as long as I can remember – as a writer, visual artist, digital media artist and more recently as an installation artist and social media content developer. Growing up, my family only ever considered this creativity to be a hobby, an interest – certainly nothing worth bothering to ask about or to support. Even some of my closest friends don’t really show any interest in my artistic life short of polite enquiry, if that.
So, despite a small part of me feeling this week at Cementa15 is an indulgence, there’s another part of me arguing loudly that it’s amongst some of the artists here that I feel most at home. In less than two days, I’ve connected with people I’ve spoken to only briefly before or who I’ve never previously met, but who I feel instinctively understand me and where I’m coming from – no explanation required (except for the painter who thought I was did restorations instead of installations). There’s a real curiosity about my work for the festival, the logistics, the issues I may be having, and a genuine interest in helping – and knowing the importance of getting it right.
We don’t always ‘get’ each other’s work – a misconception about art in general. Hey, we don’t always like each other’s work. But we care about the creation, sharing, discussion about and presentation of that work and engage with each other at that level.
So put simply, if you don’t get my creativity, you don’t get me. If you can’t be bothered to ask about my creative endeavours, you don’t really care about what’s important to me. It’s not something I choose to do, it’s something I have to do to make sense of my world.
It isn’t an indulgence, it’s my oxygen.