Why The Art Train?


Why The Art Train?

There is a much longer story of how I started The Art Train, here is the shorter version.

We moved to South East Queensland form Bermuda in 2008. In 2010 we bought a block of land and late that year we moved a house onto the land. After renovating we moved in in 2011 and late that year we built a shed, just for me.

I taught in the shed for a few months. Then a gallery opened in Samford. I’m am hopeless at asking to have my work in galleries or ask for a job. Too terrifying. But I went in and talked to the owner who looked about 12. She was just lovely, with so much energy. She mentioned they would be starting kids’ classes and I asked could I do them. Sure, she says. Not so scary after all.

For the first 6 months the classes were in an outdoor covered space next to the gallery. It was a challenge. Then the gallery moved to a smaller space as the rent had been prohibitive. The new landlord had a train carriage next door to the new gallery space and the idea was I would teach in the train and the gallery would go into the space which had been a furniture store. However, the landlord was reluctant to allow an art business into the train carriage. It had a beautiful polished floor and he didn’t want paint on it. So, I taught in the space at the back of the gallery which again was a special challenge.

After the Christmas break 2014 I went down to the gallery to check in only to find that the owner had turned it into a second-hand clothes store … it was still a gallery. Go figure.

Now I have a weird thing about second hand clothes. It’s not a snob thing… I don’t think. They make my skin crawl. I hate the smell too. I worked out what the problem was a few years ago. I was at a lecture about the artist Christian Boltanski and he had made a huge installation with second hand clothes. He had talked about people still occupying the clothes. I had an ah ha moment. Second hand clothes retain a vestige of the owner. I stuck it out with the clothes and the art for a few more months and then the owner suggested that she couldn’t keep paying me to teach. Which was fair enough. Selling art is a tough road. So, I approached the landlord and he was just about to rent the train carriage to a gluten free bakery. Alas I was disappointed. Two days later he said the ladies had irritated him and I could have the train. I ordered a roll of 240 gsm brown paper to put down on the floor and moved in. The gallery sublet one end for a few more months as storage and I was in there for 5 years.

It had to be called The Art Train, and I have kept the name despite the train being sold at the end of 2018. It is now in the middle of a paddock and I am teaching my classes back in my shed, in my paddock. I now have  amazing views, it’s bigger and is so much cooler.