I was always a tomboy growing up. Not even a tomboy, more of an extremely reckless and brattish punk. I was so naughty, the boys couldn’t even keep up. I used to smash caps for cap guns with a hammer underneath my desk just to make the teacher, who was on the brink of nervous breakdown, flip. I was sadistic, I loved watching my parents and teachers struggle to deal with me. They could make me sit in the corner all they wanted, they could force me into detention and even give me disciplinary spank on the bottom – but really, so what? I’d found the key to naughtiness – that there’s nothing they can do – and exploited it at a very young age.
You’d never have guessed that I’d end up going to study makeup courses. But somewhere along the line, I started to pour all of my childhood mischievousness and boisterous energy into art. I guess it was an underhanded method of disciplining me, cleverly disguised by my parents as “art therapy”, a new age remedy for wayward children. After that, I discovered that the body could be art. I got well into it during high school. I’d spend Friday nights doing my friends makeovers (I’d accrued more female friends by this stage), applying lipstick and eyeliner in ways they had never seen before. I was inspired by the likes of all the great make up artists out there. And when it came to graduating from high school going to study makeup courses around Melbourne seemed natural. I was lucky in that most people who get out of high school are still so uncertain as to how they want to spend their lives. For me the choice was enviably clear-cut. It also just goes to show that snotty, recalcitrant, knotty-haired girl-children can be rehabilitated. And it’s all in the power of visual art.