This work takes its title from the 1925 essay by Sigmund Freud, ‘A note upon the mystic writing-pad’, in which he posits that the system of perception and consciousness appears to be strikingly similar to a graphic arts toy called a ‘mystic writing-pad’. The ongoing work exploits this metaphorical understanding of consciousness in a still-growing series of ‘drawings-as-writing’ or ‘writing-as-drawing’. The images reproduce key texts of personal writing, relevant influential authors and ‘voices’ from the past… diaries, biographical essays, Freud, James Baldwin and others. This work uses writing and imagery to interrogate ideas of a fictionalised self that is subject to the influence of culture. These are the first nine frames/images presented as a large drawing …
In the 1980s, at Meanjin, a literary magazine founded by Clem Christesen in the 1940s in Brisbane, Stephen was assistant editor for Jim Davidson—typing letters, sorting envelopes into postcode order, making tea, and playing Scrabble with A. A. Phillips. Much of Stephen’s writing in the 1980s and 1990s was published by the editor Barrett Reid ( »» 2 MB PDF).
In recent years Stephen’s artistic practice has sought to combine writing with visual arts, especially drawing.
Stephen has worked as a book designer, radio producer, and copywriter; and as a consultant, writer, publicist, and editor for
Stone inhumation [20170914 drawing, 1000x1000mm] The figure is a drawing of the Norwegian artist Christine Aspelund’s male nude ‘Lying low’, used as a model of European man laid to rest in the Australian landscape.
Memoir of my nervous illness [20170921 drawing, 1000x1000mm]