Some time ago, in the late afternoon on a wintery Friday, Troy and I met in a bustling cafe/restaurant that one of his best mates owned. It was in the heart of Brisbane’s CBD, and as I approached, Troy was sitting on a table in the french style, facing out towards the street. We encountered one another in the modern way. Tinder was a sparkling new platform to meet those you desired, but couldn’t otherwise find, and Troy and I hit it off immediately on the messaging platform, swapping one travel adventure story after another. After a few hours we decided it was time to meet in person the following week.
As I approached the table, I wasn’t sure if I’d find a cross-eyed man, as each and every one of his profile photo’s he was wearing sunglasses. It’s funny how such a thought can turn into an intimate discovery about someone. I later learnt that his eyes are sensitive to glare, and his sunglasses accompany each and every morning walk we now take together with our little tribe. I also discovered that he isn’t cross eyed. Not that it would have mattered...
There was an instant connection, and the conversation cascaded with ease. It felt as if we had been life long friends in another life. Our night flowed effortlessly, as we strolled from the CBD to the valley’s fringe, where I had been attempting life drawing sessions. I need not put in a disclaimer, my Brisbane patients can attest to my basic stick figure drawings of stretches and exercises, evidence of my remarkably talentless drawing skills. But I am not disheartened, I have many other talents, drawing just isn’t one.
I first attended life drawing sessions years ago when I was based in Canberra, prior to Brisbane. The juxtaposition of the two gallery sessions was out loud laughable. In Canberra, classical music played softly in the background, as you took up an easel, where you’d cast your eyes upon a model delicately placed into a corner of the room, where extreme care was always taken to ensure you as the drawer were never exposed to any confronting angles or model positions. Enter Nic Plowman. In a Brisbane gallery named Jugglers, this exceptional artist had hard core punk music playing loud as I entered for my first session. The tattoo clad model was in the centre of a packed room, artists circled around her, as she was in the midst of a pose that one may experience in a Cirque du Soleil performance. Running late from clinic, I slid myself along a bench-seat, squeezing alongside three other artists, and sketched on my lap. My first viewpoint left nothing to the imagination. Nothing. To make things even more tops, Nic sold bottled brew to enjoy whilst attempting to capture her everything.
I loved my Wednesday evenings at Jugglers. So I felt the gallery was a great location to bring along my date. Not the life drawing session. But a one off exhibition of an extremely talented artist, Gregg Greinke (below). He was the inaugural winner of the Marie Ellis Prize for drawing in 2010 with this amazing submission…
“ The drawing is done using white pencil on blue paper and resembles the ‘blueprint’ plan. The bodies in the drawing appear to be unravelling and falling to pieces; loose threads drift in a gentle current… life is a race to get to know one self. But life will end with that race never finished. Sound depressing? Not so. I once heard a German photographer say, “Travelling is the Midwife of deeper thought”. Drawing in particular is the ‘Midwife’ for me, and deeper thought strengthens my relationship to drawing…”
Sadly, Gregg wasn’t well enough to attend his only exhibition and he passed a short time later. I was utterly captivated by his work. I stood enchanted before each and every piece that night, mesmerised by not knowing whether they were unravelling or ravelling before my eyes. Gregg captured with drawing the* feeling that I experience when I place my osteopathic hands on a patient. I was moved. Beyond moved. So there and then I made my first ever grown up investment. This piece was pride of place in The BFC’s waiting room, and today is hung over our dining table. The very table that I’m typing this from.
Glowing from my artistic purchase, we later ventured to a Spanish tapas restaurant and talked for hours upon hours. So engrossed in each others company and conversation, we never realised that our meals never arrived because the kitchen right in front of us caught on fire. We didn’t even notice that all the other patrons left, or that when we finally emerged from our bubble, we were the only diners amongst the staff sitting at the bar sipping their knock-offs, with chairs all upended onto nearby tables.
The rest as they say is history. But it’s our history. Not one of those places exists now; Ben and Taz have since moved on to another successful bar, selling their CBD café; Nic has relocated to Melbourne and Jugglers later closed. The fire wasn’t the cause of the Spanish restaurant’s demise, but an influx of development contributed to it’s closure a few years later. It’s interesting how the venues never stood the test of time… but we have.