Thursday, 9 October 2008
I own a Mick Turner
But no, its not that one.
A couple of years ago i stumbled into Mario's Cafe on Brunswick Street for a coffee and landed head first in an exhibition by the Dirty Three's guitarist Mick Turner. Mick has been painting the beautiful cover art for their albums for many years, and I was a massive fan of their music, and also Mick's solo albums. For years I tried to emulate his lucid, flowing guitar playing, and often put their records on at night, as i drifted off to sleep.
Anyway, among the newer pieces on show in the cafe that day was a little painting, not yet sold, of a boat on a restless sea, with a wooden handmade frame. It was in the back corner of the room, and it immediately caught my eye. Where had i seen it before? I thought as called over the waiter and told him I'd like to buy it. Most of the others had already been sold. He took my details and put a little red sticker under the painting. I drank my coffee and left happy.
A few weeks later I got a call from Mick and we arranged a time for me to come and pick it up. When I turned up at his place there was another guy there to get his painting too. We waited for Mick in the kitchen. He'd given us beers. Soon he came back in with the other guy's painting. It was slightly bigger than mine, but not nearly as nice. Money changed hands, and then he fetched mine. The other guy sat looking at his painting, admiring it, until Mick came back with my little picture of the boat. "I recognise this" said Mick, "i think this was in one of the albums".
He left the room quickly and came back with a CD copy of Ocean Songs, my absolute favourite Dirty Three records. He took the sleeve out and opened it. Inside was my little boat painting, on its restless waves. "Hmm" said Mick, "didn't realise I'd put this out for sale! Nevermind, here you go" and he passed me the painting. The other guy just stared at us and finished his beer. I paid Mick, who then kept looking at the picture in the CD sleeve. Then, after a little banter about his upcoming solo shows, Mick showed us out and i drove home, with my original Mick Turner painting, for which i paid about 250 bucks, on the front seat.
If you're as mad a Dirty Three or Mick Turner fan as I am then get yourself down to his latest exhibition - Nudes, Beasts, Angels, Flowers, a Birth, a Death and Trips to the Ocean - happening in Sydney, from the 17th to 19th of October at Blank Space gallery in Surrey Hills. If you have a spare $2000 the painting above - "Great Ocean Road" - is still available.
He's also playing solo gigs that weekend, and full details of the shows are on the Drag City Mick Turner website, or on Remote Control's blog.
Checkout the full ABCTV Studio 22 live performance, filmed in 1998, of tracks from Ocean Songs. Incredible stuff.