Projects > EARLY WORK

Painting by Julie McNiel
South East Asian Express
acrylic, xerox, collage, on found wood panel.

At the time, it was possible to get very cheap flights to Singapore by being a courier, which is what I did. This painting is essentially a collage on wood that I made upon my return.

Traveling from S'pore by train, up through Malaysia and into Thailand, I drew in my journal and took photos with my 35mm Nikon, which I carried in my backpack. My husband and I perhaps spent 5 -10 US dollars each per day, which tells you how inexpensive things were back then. Of course, we weren't tourists, but travelers, so conditions were rough. At night, lying on a mat on a dirt floor, large cockroaches in the hundreds ran repeatedly over our bodies, in the intense heat. These insects were so big, I could hear them knocking things off of shelves. Nevertheless, the experiences of traveling in this region in those years gave me plenty of material for my art. From Bangkok we flew to Borneo, traveling through the Malaysian state of Sabah. Few foreigners were to be seen. I enjoyed listening to the call to prayer from the nearby mosque, as I awoke each morning. This was also broadcast five times per day from the TV, as well.

This painting includes xeroxes made from sketchbook drawings, cigarette boxes, currency, train ticket stubs, etc... collaged on to a piece of found wood. At it's center floats the mighty Durian, banned from airline transport because of it's legendary pungency.