January 30, 2019
I believe that everyone is creative and my role as a tutor is to help my students release their creativity, not to follow mine. Most of my students became much better artists than me. Many went on to exhibit in other galleries, some became art tutors, and several opened their own galleries. That is my legacy. I never aspired to be a great artist, rather, to be a great tutor.
I thought, I didn’t want to retire to nothing, as I saw a lot of people did. They have nothing to do when they retire, so I studied music and art. When I did retire, I opened an art centre and gallery in Murphy’s Creek at the base of the Toowoomba range with my wife where I taught many people with physical and intellectual disabilities, such as autism, CP, sight impairment and others. I tutored in drawing, painting and sculpture. The gallery was a wonderful success and we received a small grant from the regional arts development fund to increase accessibility to art in our community
My training in accounting was very important for my running a business out of a gallery. I undertook marketing and designing classes. My art classes were more than some could afford, so I would always try to waive the fee, so no one was excluded. Some of my students would say, ‘Geoff’, you’re the worst businessman I’ve ever seen.’ I’d say but look at it this way. I’ve never made a profit, but I never made a loss. I don’t have to pay any tax and I’ve gained a lot of happiness.
After ten years of the gallery I suffered a stroke and sold the six-acre property and now live with my family in Brisbane. I’ve been with several service providers but recently moved to ComLink and have never been happier.
I conducted fortnightly art classes at their North Brisbane office for other clients like me. Even after a decade my students still say to me, ‘Geoff! For heaven’s sake, stop being so bloody positive’.