I’m very honoured to have Rhys Muldoon guest-posting today. Rhys plays a stay-at-home-Dad on the Channel 9 series House Husbands and is currently a stay-at-home-Dad in real life!
This warm post gives us an insight into his life as Dad and artist.
Life As Art
Yeah so, I’m writing a book with my daughter, funded by The National Gallery of Australia. It goes like this:
Lotte and I do drawings based on the drawings of Henri Toulouse-Lautrec. The book will show the artist’s original, followed by my version, followed by Lotte’s. Lotte and I will comment on each other’s work and this will be included with the drawings. The book will come with a box of pastels which – if the book buyer understands – says, “Get To Work”.
So now Lotte and I are not just father and daughter, we are collaborators, art critics and muses to each other. (Because there’s just not enough going on in the father-daughter dynamic already.)
Lotte is 4. She is (and I presume a few fathers say this about their daughters) a stone cold genius and as beautiful as winter’s breath.
I’ve always loved women, and not in a mere “they’re so hot” way. A daughter, a great daughter, takes a man’s love of women to a level that is above levels. Smart, tough, vulnerable and beautiful from day one. I’m in awe. But back to the book –
We’ve been drawing for a few days. The house looks like an art bomb hit it. Lotte and I are covered in the poetic dust of too many coloured pastel chalks.
“Dadda! I have dirt all over me!” she cries.
“But isn’t it fun to get messy? Drawing?”
And she stomps off to le toilette to remove the offence.
I think the stomping was my favourite part. Sometimes an artist has to stomp.
Lotte’s style changes depending on the subject (for art buffs, she’s a bit Gerhard Richter, a German artist who won’t be constrained). If she thinks the puppy deserves more attention, the puppy is moved to the foreground. If she likes the colours she stays with them, if not; new palette. If the drawing is “too hard”, or she doesn’t like it, she will stay “on subject” but will draw it how she thinks it should be. Is that post-modernism?? Post-post modernism? Deconstructionist? Noble savage? Basqiuat?
Whatever it is, it’s a privilege to be a part of.
I realise this makes me sound a bit BF Skinner who was notoriously, and incorrectly, accused of putting his children into a “Skinner box” so that he could study them in a scientific way, but I am not doing that. I’m studying her in an artistic way. (If only there was an “I’m joking” font).
What I’m really doing is Making Stuff With My Daughter.
In 40 minutes I have to go and pick her up from pre-school (which she, until recently, referred to as “little uni”). She just recently had her school photo taken. I’m going to suggest we draw it, to see what we come up with. (A minefield for me more than her.)
The house is, while a bit messy, a healthy messy. Creative, lived in and a testament to yesterday and tomorrow. I’m ok with that. We two disparate artists have a deadline. Tomorrow. There is much work to be done. But, in the words of Thomas Edison`, “work is more fun than fun”.
There will be “pink milk”, Lotte’s favourite, which she picked up from “Charlie and Lola” – a favourite of ours – and there will be drawing and dress-ups and mess and love.
All hail daughters.
Rhys Muldoon’s varied career encompasses film, television, theatre, radio, comedy and journalism.
Rhys’ extensive television credits include roles in Bastard Boys, City Homicide, Valentines Day, Grass Roots, McLeod’s Daughters, BlackJack: Ghosts, The Secret Life of Us, Blue Heelers, Farscape and Big Sky.
Most recently he was seen in Rake, children’s drama Lockie Leonard and Play School. Rhys has been twice nominated for AFI Awards for his work in Grass Roots and more recently Lockie Leonard.
Film roles include 33 Postcards, Bitter and Twisted, The Extra, Danny Deckchair and most recently box office smash The Sapphires.
He will next be seen in the Jack Irish telemovies Bad Debts and Black Tide and the second season of Rake.