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Kristin Headlam with Chris Wallace-Crabbe

'Poetry, painting and princesses'

Artist Kristin Headlam and poet Chris Wallace-Crabbe discuss their art.

This video was produced with funds donated by Tim Fairfax AC.

- ♫ Wish me luck as you wave me goodbye ♫
 
- Chris is a very positive and public kind of person. He loves being out there. He loves being photographed. He's always been very happy to be in paintings. He's always wanted, you know, to offer himself as a model. So, I mean, you have to take these offers up.
 
- Above all, I'm a poet, and in the last 18 years, I've been virtually a full-time poet, but you don't make any money that way so for many decades, I was a university teacher as well, and before that, I had the usual array of jobs. I worked in a coal mine. I worked in a mill, all sorts of things like that, but I settled down teaching down teaching people, as I've become better known as a poet. Essentially, poetry has been the thing that I do. And I think..[dog barking] That's a dog.
 
- I guess with the portrait of Chris, the main symbols are that it's, you know, it's symbolic of our life. Books are symbolic of him, I guess, but the difficulty is that, painting Chris, at any rate, is that he has a tendency to go to sleep, which is why he's reading in that portrait, because I realised it was going to be the only way he would stay awake. Otherwise, he would be asleep in two minutes, probably.
 
- I do mull over a fair bit. I do walk a lot. A lot of poems begin when I'm walking through city scapes or suburb scapes or landscapes. I love looking at things. I love using my eyes, which is a link with painting, also, but sometimes I set myself deliberate tasks. Sometimes I feel I have to do this. Sometimes I'm commissioned. I just wrote a poem on the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare's death, with a wombat in it. Yes, well, I developed a sense, just like the history of art, the history of poetry was a gigantic paintbox in which all sorts of colours and all sorts of tones and depths could be found, and that you're able to range through all this. You're able to explore this, and come back with tones, perfumes, colours, shapes, figures, things like that. They're things that fill the world. I haven't been up yet with it on the walls, but I'm very pleased, very pleased. I believe I'm next to a princess.
 
- Even now.
 
- Touche!