Sunday, 8th June 2014


I did this painting “The Orphan” (below) at age 16, during the year of one of my first jobs, as postage clerk in Australia’s Commonwealth Bank, Maryborough, Queensland. I was a shy, na├»ve teenager, unlike the new breed of them today. I didn’t realise it at the time, but the manager was probably a sociopathic bully. I was his main target, as I was young and green, and made a lot of mistakes due to my callow nervousness.

With hindsight I was maybe clinically depressed at the time, as I hated to get up in the mornings to go to work. Hated the job. And the bullying. But I thought this was normal. Work, however horrible, was normal. Normal to constantly be verbally abused. I spent long hours at night, painting with enamels on particle board. My bedroom was consumed with the smell of paint fumes and turps. Especially in winter when the window had to be closed (Australia had cold winters then).

I didn’t know it at the time, but “The Orphan” is really me, in foetal position. This was my way to cope with the pain of work: to paint. Pain, and paint. After I painted The Orphan, I had it framed for $20, and hung it on the wall opposite the end of my bed. It gave me comfort each morning I woke up.

A friend of my mother’s saw it and asked if I could do some religious paintings for his church. Christian church, but I don’t know which denomination. Anyway, it never happened, despite all his talk. In the end I realised he was only wanting to get my mum into his bed (but I don’t think he did).

Painting at night relieved my pain, was my solace. But also added to the pain. I would paint until about 2 in the morning, then have to get up next day, to go to work at the bank. Needed pegs on the eye-lids to stay awake. Made many mistakes with the money, as I was half asleep. So the abuse escalated. “The Orphan” helped get me through it all though I feel. He is still in my possession – he went through the Bundaberg flood last year, 2013 (was sitting on the floor at the time), and not a mark on him after a good clean. Ah, the good ol’ days, when men were men, and bullies were bastards (as they are today).


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