it would have to be through the Art. Actually. I will choose something a little abstract.. & that would be.. The evolving of my multicoloured painted shorts or overalls. I have a knack as most painters do of just wiping it on the clothes.. Yeah? So I have a collection of these shorts that become fashionable items. They are really quite lovely framed. I guess a very familiar instance for me is just wiping the brush on this material. Be it my overalls or shorts or a rag & it is kind of a habitual ceremonial thing like picking your nose. But it just feels right. It feels quick & convenient to just do the brush on your leg rather then pick up a rag. It takes the motions out of it. It is just much easier to take the hand down & wipe & then back to your thing. The fact is it is something that is not celebrated. You know? It needs to be acknowledged. A lot of people do it on shirts. It is kinda nice sort of ceremonial thing. In fact if someone made an artwork of the medley of the artists wiping that on their material it would be an interesting morphing piece. They get a point where they get so layered that you can’t really bend them. So then it is time for a new pair. It’s that first one you have to take a breath & just go. Like ripping a bandaid off. Actually I gave a couple pairs away but I do have a succession of shorts that have gotten me through & one set of overalls that have just about expired. It is time for a new pair. When you wear those in public you get the looks & the comments. If I had a dollar for every time someone said you must be a painter & do you actually get any on the canvas? In a sense it is tribal. You’ve got your markings. You know? Are you from the oil tribe or are you from the acrylic tribe? In the beginning & I think it needs to be celebrated more. Of course most often the comments are you should sell those you should market these or I even had requests to do them for people. But I have to be able to wear them. Realistically. So unless you are my size.. But generally people love them. The patterns. It is like a natural formation in the landscape you can’t make it up. It is a course of evolution. They develop a weathered fasade throughout that course. It began as a hobby amongst a collective of Aborginal Artists who were kind of like myself finding our identity. In a repressed demographic being Western Sydney Penrith & I cottoned on to this savvy British Ukranian fella who was making didgeridoos & employing Aboriginal Artists to paint them & I was just starting to paint at the time so I went & checked his operation out & that is when I started to meet some of the other mob & hang out with them. We just used to hang out Wednesday nights & paint at night. Then that fella gave me a lot of big MDF boards at the back of the factory.. About ten of them & said I’m not using these boards if you want to paint something on them.. It was all commemorative of the area that I grew up. There was language in there.. & that fella helped me set up my first exhibition within that factory unit & we had an exhibition opening. It was famous. Stacks of people turned up. All family & friends supported & a lot of the work sold & that gave me an indicator that this could be something that I might pursue & it was really kind of cute beginning. Lot of support. It has been about fifteen years now since I’ve been in Redfern. So by two thousand & four I had begun painting more seriously & got my first show at a gallery called Moree Gallery in Darling Harbour. That’s when I realised that I was going to need to live & breathe this as much as possible. You could probably carbon date those periods.. But to look at it with the naked eye you’re not going to really see that. But there have been periods where.. For example I am about to go into a body of work that is just using the ochre colours. Black white red oxide & yellow oxide. I certainly do not set out to achieve that. It just ends up all over.. But I do consciously try to mark where there are gaps. So it ultimately fills the whole walking canvas.. Yeah. I have a jacket here. What is a really cool thing I think.. Like where your hand is right there.. Those white lines there. Like when we put Ochre on for performing often it is a striped application. You reach behind your back. So this becomes like totally a ceremonial process.
Adam is an Indigenous artist who works under the name Blak Douglas. His studio is currently in Redfern.