The accidental seafaring of Willi Wolf.
Paintings of Willi Wolf and Coogee provide a good example of how a story embedded in a subject drives images.
Sometimes I write and paint because of lostness, I keep things in a box, feathers, shells , bones and stones, in order to keep track, to keep the thread.
My uncle Willi was a bus driver who could listen to Wagner’s Ring cycle with attention for many hours at a stretch. He was also the chess champion of the Randwick Bus Depot. I knew little about his past, just that he left Germany as a young man and he eventually died alone on a yacht in Southport. That he came to be a seafarer was in part my father’s doing, having convinced Willi that some gambling winnings would be better spent on something other than ‘the dogs’. He was no sailor, but regardless, my father built the yacht in the yard next to the Glebe dump. Willi Wolf had a home now, a mooring in Mortlake and a yacht called ‘Lupus’.
Apart from that, I never knew his story. To me he was man with no background, no outwardly discernible course as he drifted. He was good person who did not know his own story nor did he attend to himself.
So I tell all I know of him. It feels less lonely to think of him this way and in so doing he has taught me something.