Colouring Within / by Glenn Dixon

When I was in grade two I entered a colouring competition. We were all issued an identical piece of photocopied paper with a drawing on one side. Though I cannot recall what the exact subject of the illustration was, I will always remember the precision by which I applied my pencils to that paper. Each block of colour was evenly shaded in a harmonious compliment to it’s neighbour. There was not a single stray stoke that escaped the confides of the black faded outline. I won a prize in that competition, a pair of sunglasses signed by a famous Australian cricketer.

On a subtle yet profound level, this validation seemed to nurture the notion of colouring within the lines and being rewarded for diligently playing by the rules. Never questioning, straying too far from the pack or testing your personal boundaries. Even now I see remnants of that piece of work in my photographs. I do not think this is all negative, there is no lingering bitterness or resentment, even though it did take me nearly twenty five years to begin to unlearn these unintended principals. After all, my original drawing nurtured a lifelong obsession with wanting to arrange, co-ordinate and represent the world through colour, line and shape.

Photographs: Lamp and Cushion - Anglesea VIC

February 2012

Is there some of that residual influence staining the subconcious of each and every artist as they create? I wonder if the judges are conscious of the enormous power they have to influence a young child’s aesthetic. Would they realise what the repercussions of there actions are as they flippantly chose a winner at random to beat the traffic home one evening after school? Are these “judges” in part responsible for shaping and influencing the artistic and aesthetic cultures of future generations?