Toby Zoates’ book ‘Punk Outsider’ is a real gem, full of Sydney history and stories of this rebel artist’s journeys to get iconic works into public view. He pushed and shoved his way around many careerist artists, treading on toes, getting in trouble with the law and trying to make ends meet with only a few lucky breaks. I feel the problems he faced in some ways haven’t changed much for those that don’t toe the line or meet the current art agendas. He blazed his own trail and ran his own race, this is normally the slow road to recognition and the reality of self-serving types taking the limelight only made the job harder for him.
This book should be the right of passage for artists starting out so they can see some of the realities of a scene that even when quite leftist in the past was simply paying lip service to causes which is not much different to the conservative lean of some of the art establishments today. Art is always somewhat elite to keep its edge although there are some forays into the education sphere to stop art from imploding in its own vacuous trends of the moment.