Tell me a bit about your early, defining years? I was born in Wollongong Hospital. Later I spent my time playing in creeks and trying to provoke bulls to charge at me, and rustling up other kids to join me in explorations down drain pipes. My dad had a funny name and spoke with a funny accent. For a while he was a coal miner. He hated that, with a passion and one night he collapsed in the mines. They said he had a brain tumor (he didn't) but within weeks I found myself living in Rome. I was eight years old and my world changed. Polar opposites.

I went from a kid running around housing commision burbsville in the Gong - to a kid prancing (Romans prance) around Garbatella in a housing estate built in the 1920's (where my father was born) - smack in the centre of Rome. About this time I used to pray in churches and I used to lay my hands on sick people, believing I could heal them. I wanted to be a nun for a while, but I actually ended up being something completely different. I became very street savvy and was besotted with the Red Brigade. I thought they were good looking. Their jeans were so tight. They used to put them on wet and let them dry on. Both genders. I used to hang out the apartment windows to watch them rallying on the streets. Then I started secretly leaving the house to go and hang with them. Their headquarters, just down the road. Maybe this was my way of infiltrating the - cool factor.

We were raised fearful but I was kind of excited about the potential of being kidnapped and having an ear cut off, then mailed to mum and dad for ransom money. They didn't have any money...so I knew they wouldn't get me back. We were forbidden to speak English in public. We might have been perceived as 'rich foreigners'. Likely the children of embassy staff. Which is what my father actually aspired for me - a future as diplomat.

Anyway shortly after displaying concerning behavior (blinking eyes and a desire to infiltrate radical meetings) my parents brought me back to live in Wollongong. They were worried I would grow up to be an extremist or a kidnapping terrorist. For a while, I made them proud. Especially when Al Grasby gave me a prize (an Italian-English dictionary) and said on the microphone - who said there was no such thing as brains and beauty. I think that statement affected me. A year or so later...they were devastated when I shaved and spray painted my head - red and declared I was an Anarchist. My catholic ladies college barred me from the school. There was 500m radius. I guess they found me provocative...blairing a ghetto blaster..of the Sex Pistols – I am an anti-Christ, I am an anarchist, Don't know what I want, But I know how to get it (I didn't know how to get it, by the way).

Where do you live and practice now? I am in Wollongong now and I go to Rome, Italy as aften as I can. I still think I am on a loop...between these two worlds..lives. If another alternative presented itself...I'd consider taking it.

What is your earliest memory of you and your art? Always loved making stuff. I'd write and recite dramatic metaphorical poetry about flowers and the four seasons. When I was about three or four, I'd fashion outfits from my mother's silk scarves and gyrate on tables to Hey Big Spender for adults who visited the family home. It meant something different pre - Spears and The Pussy Cat Dolls (well I hope). Maybe it was a past life loop. A debauched dancer in Weimer Berlin (laughs). There was also a time, I was really into breeding silk worms. Boiling them in hot water and trying to unravel their cocoons to make my own silk thread. I was never successful, incidentally...and was likely bad karma [laughs].

Were you formally trained? Yes, the National Arts School, TAFE, Wollongong University and Sydney College of the Arts. I trained in painting and printmaking and then, sculpture, performance and installation art.

What are your influences? Actually my answer is - 'no comment' [giggles]. But to be fair my influences...well a lot of things...churches in Italy are an aspect; so Catholicism. Sex and death. Experientials. Energy. My sensitivity. Gnosticism and mysticism and esoterics. Catacombs. The Madonna, especially the Madonna of Loreto and the Madonna of Divino Amore. Popular culture and fashion. Burlesque and Baroque. Channeled information. Watered down Quantum Theories. NDE's. The body. Street savvy stuff. That's what I love about Italy..life spills out onto the streets. It's going on - in a public arena. But it's all a performance. A fire some years back, in which I lost all my work...is an influence too. It reinforces my lack of regard for the material (while longing to have a piece of the cake) and continuing questions about impermanence and belonging. Essentially I am a conceptial artist. Ideas..concepts are always core to my work. I also love text. Words, language, communication...but I don't neccesarily like text in my art. But I can't help myself. Go figure.

When did you first decide you wanted to be an artist? Being a 'real' artist? About fourteen. It was this really intense, calmly dramatic, defining moment. When I decided I would launch myself on a life trajectory. Where I would arc...span over from the 'dark to the light', from hell to heaven. From total despair to complete elation and bad to good. etc. etc. This was all so I might know what it really was to be human. I thought I had to do that to be an artist with any real credibility. With having anything of 'real' worth to say. All I can say now is - “Wow”. “How Dante”. “What an intense kid”. When I think about it...maybe not that long after the Al Grasby incident.

Was there an artistic tradition in your family? Well, I think my mother is a frustrated sculptor - earth works even. She's a diva trapped in the burbs. At Christmas time she lets loose. Be-jeweled cascading extravaganzas on the screen door. She fostered my creativity when I was a child.

I also had an uncle on my father's side. An eccentric wealthy miser who was a very prolific 'naive' painter, and an extra in epic period films made at Cinecitta' in Rome in the 1950's. When he died I found all these copies he had done of my work. I should take it as a complement, but in life he was actually competative with me. He used to boast about how much work he sold (and I didn't). My father was an excellent cook. That is artistic. He had a stint at doing leather work at the WEA. He made me a green belt that had acorns and my name on it in decorative, medieval script. He was always obsessed with my learning to paint on black velvet. I'm not sure where this came from, but I feel it was something...to do with some beautiful object (or woman) he remembered from his childhood.

What were some of your earliest experiences as an artist? When I was in kindergarten I won every category in the school art prize. With paintings titled “And The Dish Run Away With The Spoon' and 'My Teddy”. They consecutively called me up to collect the awards. Then they decided someone else should get a mention. I was appalled, affronted and incensed I didn't get all the credit I was due [laughs].

My first oil painting on canvas ended up in a local gallery. I was sixteen. It was in some respects, a self portrait. It had been stolen by some guy and put in the show. One of my friends saw him at the gallery, standing in front of my painting giving a formal speech about 'his' work. There were pictures of me in the background of the painting, floating through the air and other 'mes' sitting on fluoro orange spheres. I was a New Waver then. The painting was my 'surrealist' right of passage. The one most adolescent artist's go through [sniggering]. Anyway, he told the gallery audience I was his muse. He spun a story about how he loved the girl in the painting. I can't clearly remember what I did, but I think the friend who told me about it ended up 'with' him. Weird. Again I was appalled, affronted and incensed.

Where are you at now in your development as an artist? After an artistic pause, a pause - period...maybe I've come full circle. Back to working in a framed space, but it is always in view of the works potential as installation. I've been using fluoro paint again [laughs]. There's still some sphere's and winged creatures, other universes. The works are in a sense, still psychological landscapes. Esoteric anatomy, stuff like that. They are fleeting and not really well considered. I think I've lost some of the elements of pretension I had in my earlier work. Grace of the - arch trajectory. Less focus on the conceptual, but I'm never too far away from it. The recent body of work developed from the idea of producing ex-voto to place in churches in Italy. I wanted to document them as installation pieces, but galleries are churches too.

Have you found it easy to be an artist? Easy...peasy. No that's me being sarcastic again. No, it isn't easy being an artist. It's a Catch 22 and it's a snake eating it's own tail. In some respects a hard road to travel. In other ways it is a complete luxury. It assures 'knowing thy self', well better than most. You get to go where other's fear to tread. I think artists are essentially trying to undertstand the world, to make sense of it...through a desire to understand themselves first. Virtues here and pitfalls....like introspection. Making art is only an aspect of who I am, be it an important one. And I must have realised in my youth, that it was and will always be about transcending...whatever.

What drives you artistically? It's a doodle, really. So the need to doodle. A spontaneous gratification. A 'mirror mirror on the wall' and a bit of a wank, even. The need to make something pretty [laughs]. I can really say - expression. Self probing and lulling. Making the best of a fuck up or shitty situation. Having a platform to say what ever I want to say. Having it under my control, my dominian. [laughs]. Being driven to understand myself; my intensity. I am a deep, relentless thinker. Making art gets me somewhere else. It's a spiritual plastic fantastic place. And yes after all, it's not unlike saying something as profound and as banal as art = meeting the need to understand what it is to be human. Now. Before we potentially annihilate ourselves or get hit by a meteorite. Or before I get bored. What would the extra terrestial archaeologists conclude on discovering my work? See...I just want to live for ever. Not really. [laughs again].

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