Brakes screeching, cars skidding, cars piling-up—because: I just pressed LAUNCH for ‘Studio: Key’ on the crowdfunding platform—Pozible. Well, that’s how it felt as my mouse clicked and before the realisation dawned that I could hear no traffic incident on the road outside as a result, at all.

To launch I had to climb what felt like Mt Everest only to discover, upon launch, that I wasn’t at the mountain’s peak but at its base, having to start again. As everyone tells you, now the real work begins: that of inspiring pledges.

It sounds counter intuitive, but I began by contacting public collectors of my art with whom I had either lost or had no connection.

Although a public collection will keep a work of art out of harm’s way and preserve its physical integrity, unwittingly the art can be disconnected from its meaning due to a lack of open avenues through which up-to-date information can be maintained.

A contributing factor, it would seem, is that the person responsible for the initial acquisition has most likely long gone and, along with them, all memory of any specifics surrounding the acquisition.

My first stop, then, was to try and open an avenue of information with lost connections. To this extent, I was greatly encouraged when I telephoned Michael Barnett, the Art Collection Manager at Griffith University, Queensland.

Michael Barnett seized the moment, grabbed an image of my work in their collection along the way and, very gently, insightfully questioned me about it. Michael’s investigative engagement was heartening.

This is not to say the work of art, when exhibited, cannot do this for itself. This is the other great experience I have had with my work in the Griffith University’s collection. I was standing in a queue at a conference some years back when an architect in front who taught, I think, at Griffith at the time, turned to me to discuss in depth this work of mine, having regularly encountered it while, I think, standing in queue (!). This would have to be the best thing about a public collection. You get to hear from friends your art makes all on its own.

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green-grey-green, 1995, David Pestorius Gallery, Fortitude Valley, Brisbane; photo, Richard Stinger (though this is a poor reproduction of the original image)

My work in the Griffith University’s collection is green-grey-green, 1995, from the limited edition of five entitled Rule c: Remember. Although the edition’s title is taken from a much longer sentence in the work, in its shortened form it perhaps reminds us that to see, one has first to remember.