I created this image of ‘Egoity’, or the ‘self-aware’ individual, to illustrate a paper I wrote about the uniqueness of art knowledge and its importance in education when I was studying for my Masters in 1991. The paper delved into the difference between arts knowledge and other knowledge domains and posed the notion of a ‘genetic aesthetic’ or a pre-determined potential in all individuals for the development of imagination, creativity, perception and critical understanding.
I am inspired by Rosalie Gascoigne’s story—particularly because she had her first exhibition at 57—but also because she talked simply about her own practice and why she needed to work as an artist. Some of her quotes below confirm the idea of a genetic aesthetic, as she discusses her world and her inspiration in an ABC interview with Stephen Feneley in 1997 http://www.abc.net.au/arts/express/stories/rose.htm (sourced 24 February 2012)
Well, I used to walk out of the house and down the hill and round the place and I came to the conclusion that well nature was a friend anyway and something I knew about. As Picasso said once, you’ve got to start with what belongs to you, and that belonged to me because I knew about that. Nobody was going to tell me.
… your eye gets sharpened, you get an expanding universe which I think every artist is after, otherwise they dry up which is a bad word in artistic life.
[So you were very conscious of this idea of not being able to draw?]
Oh very very. I couldn’t do anything, that’s why I think you stand there, and there’s the empty space and whatever poor talents you’ve got, you put something in it. But you’ve got the need you see, you’ve got the need, you’re going to find a way.
[Did you become an artist or did it just take you a long time to realise you were one?]
I didn’t ever become one, I was one. I was that sort of animal, no credit to you. It’s just you’re that sort of animal and it takes you a long time to find out what you really are and if nothing else is really offering, that truth seeps in pretty rapidly.