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My blackly comic, sometimes satirical novel CHIPMAN'S AFRICAN ADVENTURE is now published. Valentine Press launched the book at 107RedfernProjects on Friday March 27th2015. It is a story loosely, very loosely, based upon some bizarre but life changing therapeutic experiments I was subjected to in Ghana in the mid seventies. See my PhotoJournal on this same website for the access link *
Captured as I am by my currently busy days on the entertaining FACEBOOK, it seems a long time since the retrospective of my art work at the Tin Sheds Gallery (associated with the University of Sydney's Faculty of Architecture) in February 2011. The exhibition travelled to South Hill Gallery in Goulburn later that same year. Both shows were successful financially and I also sold lots of my beautiful 70 page catalogue - LAMPOON an historical art trajectory 1970-2010. The show will travel further to Maitland Regional Gallery in 2016. Probably earlier if a space eventuates. Or never as the beings at Maitland now (as of April 2016) seem to be reluctant.
Since LAMPOON, I have exhibited in several group shows, including Eternity and Graceland at Damien Minton Gallery, both shows being inspired by the late Martin Sharp. Graceland travelled to South Hill (Yellow House West) in an expanded form. South Hill was also the venue for Wilde in the Country as part of the Mardi Gras Festival outreach program. My Billboard Marilyn was exhibited last year at the annual Marilyn Monroe Festival, and also last year at Contact Sheet Gallery I showed another Monroe themed piece, Martin/Marilyn- if lips could kill. Mardi Gras Festival 2016 saw a revealing of The Oil Burners, a collage extracted from the ruins of Paestum and a shattered window at Redfern Oval.
PARTIAL BIOGRAPHICAL NOTE
In 1971 as one of the editors of Oz Magazine in London, I was jailed (along with Richard Neville and Felix Dennis) for my part in the publication of the notorious OZ 28, the School Kids Issue. The one with the 'naked blue lesbians' artfully going at it on the cover and Rupert Bear fucking Gipsy Grannie (courtesy of Vivian Berger, one of the schoolkids), inside. We were charged with Conspiracy to Corrupt Public Morals an offence dredged up from the depths of English Common Law, which carried life imprisonment. International human rights jurist Geoff Robertson (at the beginning of his stellar career) and the late and legendary John Mortimer spearheaded our defence team. This was a political trial of course, designed to snuff out Oz for good, and to permanently damage the Underground Press generally. The English Establishment felt threatened. We beat back the Conspiracy rap, (a major triumph) but went down on the lesser charge of publishing obscene material. We were briefly imprisoned but four months later, on appeal, we were vindicated by the High Court and permitted to start publishing the magazine once more. The trial judge (Argyle) was castigated for his errors in law and fact and sent back to the country circuit. Oz continued but it was never the same. I mean, it came out on time, was full colour, and our printers were no longer harassed by the Porn Squad. I commuted 9-5 from Notting Hill Gate to offices off Charing Cross Road and my life became something like the one I ran away from as a lawyer for the Attorney General's Department back in Sydney. We published a splashy 5th Anniversary issue in 1972 but sheer boredom overwhelmed both Richard and me and in 1973 we brought the magazine to a shuddering halt. Felix soldiered on by himself and produced a single issue in late e1973, but then he too moved on - to life as a successful publisher. More than successful. Think tycoon, philanthropist, poet and creator of the magnificent and ever expanding public broad leaf Heart of England forest in Warwickshire. At the height of his creative and entrepreneurial abilities Felix died in June 2014. He will be forever missed and forever remembered. Richard returned to Australia and became a TV star and commentator, a writer of several books and much in demand as a speaker, calling himself a Futurist, working from his eyrie (Happy Daze) in the Blue Mountains. This is all not to mention his provocative and beautifully designed website. Recently he has withdrawn from public affairs and retired to Byron Bay. As for myself, something of a basket case (for reasons I won't go into here) but with a good publishing deal under my arm, (a non-fiction work based on my travels and travails in the 60's as an openly gay man) I fled to Africa and recuperated for six months mostly on an idyllic beach in Ghana and then wound up (it's a long and convoluted story) in Bolinas, the hippie haven in Northern California where I worked in Smileys, the local watering hole, edited and designed the Monday edition of the Bolinas Hearsay News, the more radical of the two local papers, also writing a weekly column on town affairs. I played a prominent part in the yearly Floating Sun Festival phenomenon, and (it was said) "grew a lot of marijuana." I collaborated on screenplays with writer Charles Fox, (The Noble Enemy, Portrait in Oil) a resident of the town and had many exhibitions of my collages and photographs. Back in Sydney since 1993, I have pursued a life of love and leisure not to mention that of cartoonist, sometime paparazzo, and sometime novelist (Billarooby, Chipman's African Adventure. I have exhibited in many group shows and have had a long association with Lesley Dimmick's TAP, the well known community gallery near Taylor Square, particularly with regard to their public interest exhibitions - Environment, Amnesty International, PRIDE Mardi Gras etc. It was not easy re-establishing myself in Sydney after an absence of 30 years and TAP seemed a natural extension of my community and bohemian life in alternative Bolinas.
CHINAWORKS, The Return of Fu Manchu, (2007) was my third solo show in Sydney. It evolved from a visit to China with sixties lighting guru Ellis D. Fogg (Roger Foley), a trip with an unusual trajectory – an International Lighting Fair in Beijing, a famous Restaurant on Shanghai's Bund, a Lighting Factory in Guandong, and (on the suggestion of Martin Sharp), a documentation of Ping Yao, a well preserved walled city known as "the birthplace of capitalism" and an ancient Han capital of China. Also the venue of a renowed International Photography Festival. Evil scientific genius, Dr. Fu Manchu, one of pulp fiction's first uber villains, appeared in the exhibition in several guises as an irreverent symbol for all that which might be going wrong in the world's most populous and polluting country. My old buddy from the days of London OZ, Richard Neville, opened the exhibition in his usual inimitable fashion, many jokes at my expense, based upon intimate information I should never have given him in the first place. But then, I never held back from candour in what I tell Richard, so my ROAST was richly deserved and my not necessarily simulated embarassment was enjoyed by all. Except, that is, by one of my sisters who said she would throw a pie at him if he ever so traduced me again.