Still life with excursion note and utility bills.
Oils on canvas, October 2020
77cms x 77cms
This painting is a reflection on an un-still life, lived at home. Like many people I am currently working from home. Unlike most, I’ve done this for the past 16 years. What started with the birth of our first child, continued as our family and the bike business grew, from home.
From time to time I’ve sought to change things, and everyday life has changed quite a lot over the course of time, but here I am, 16 years later still at home.
The painting is a snapshot of our kitchen bench. Evidence of the ephemeral, the daily, constant movement of stuff: food, tools, kid’s crud, magazines and paperwork. It’s where work and home intersects before being moved on when it all gets overwhelming. My tolerance for both order and disorder is quite remarkable. A tide of stuff in constant flux that flows and edies before coming to rest in the corners, like the dog hair.
Customers and others ask from time to time what else I do, as though it’s all a hobby. As though ‘it’ being at home, working, is not enough. I bristle at that, and reply that each year I draw more than $150k out of our bank account to pay for stock that I need to sell for double that in order to make a profit, so it’s not ‘just a hobby’ and I do have ‘a job’ that I’ve made for myself.
I actually bristle because I’m always asking myself the same question, aware of my internal voice suggesting that who I am and what I do, is not enough.
It’s not enough that running the business like this, has meant that I’m here for the kids (and for other people’s kids on occasions ), for family more broadly. That Kim can work as he does, without hesitation and I can also do additional community projects like helping to set up the ACT Government’s ebike library. (When we had young kids, Kim also ran his business from home and we got to bumble around the house attempting to work and look after children together, in parallel, to each other. The flexibility has been, and still is, crucial to the juggernaut of our collective lives and keeping ourselves, myself, afloat.
And then there’s the occasions like now, where it rains for days, stock sells out, the customers dry up and I get to paint. And that’s about as still as life gets.