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Diary of the crazy week before installing

It's only been days, but it feels like weeks that i've been away from my blog! It has been the craziest of weeks and I thought I might make a little diary of it. A little for my own benefit to have the insanity written down and a little for your benefit or disdain - depending on your take on it.

Friday 21st April
Did an artist talk at Project. It was the first one that Project have organised in conjunction with ican and it was, shall we say, an 'intimate' affair - 6 people that rocked up and I knew all of them. I was the 'support act' for Deborah Redwood, a sculptor and installation artist who has just completed a residency at the Studio Barracks and has been a resident and intern for a few places in the states. Most of my images are documented digitally and we only had a slide projector, so i decided to get up there and just tell my story. Kind of an insight into my ideas and a bit about my artistic background. I got pretty good feedback, which was nice. Most people listened intently, although i lost a bit of confidence when Deborah was kind of looking at the ceiling and the ground when i was talking. I realised later that she was probably just checking out the texture of the floor :) Deborah's talk was pretty good - found out some great stuff about residencies in the US and inspired me to get overseas as soon as I can - I've got lots to learn for sure!

Saturday 22nd April
Although i felt quite shit from getting a cold, I drove up to Sydney with Jade Pegler (a fucking great artist from Wollongong) to see Peter Fay, the contemporary art collector and artist. He was having an open house for people to be able to see his own work and to check out his collection. It was amazing! He has some really great work in his place and i fell in love with his book collection. His place felt like a grandmother's place, minus the complete tack. His taste is very specific and I totally admire his committment to his particular tastes, and not necessarily the 'big names'. Most of the work on the walls were small works, but he has a few large pieces floating around and taking up space in his loungeroom. It was also great to meet other artists, some of whom are participating in a show with Jade at Silvershot in Melbourne next month. Peter is going to pop in and see my show too! My work isn't to his taste, so i'm not expecting him to buy anything, but it's still great exposure.

Sunday 23rd April
Slept in and tried to at least recoup from the cold. I realised that although it felt like shit timing, the cold was actually great timing. I couldn't push myself as hard as I ordinarily would have and it forced me to really just chill the fuck out. Started installing at about 6pm and left at 10:30. Thankfully moving the walls at the gallery wasn't as much of a drama as last time (there are moveable walls in the gallery). We started with gridding up the first room to stencil and the first coat for the red wall. It was a slow and boring process, but at least we got it done. We? Jade offered to help install and I don't know if I could have done it without her!

Monday 24th April - The day of disaster
After an attack of perfectionism at 7:30am about the state of my house and car, I picked my mum up from the airport. She came up to cater for the exhibition. She's an awesome chef and she has made the best food! I ran late for her plane and this was the beginning of the day where I came >< this close to subscribing to Murphy's Law... By the time I picked her up, I had to go to Blackbutt Youth Centre to pick up the projector which was expertly wrangled by Josh Wiffen (another top artist and graf guy). The guy who was supposed to let us in to get it didn't turn up and I had to try and sort out how else to get the thing, when the boss rocked up and Josh had to work his magic. After about 5 minutes, he came out with the projector and I swear I saw angels! lol! From Blackbutt, to Gwynneville to borrow theatre blacks from Workshop Theatre - thanks Louis!! A fucking heavy bunch of black material to make up the projection room and hoping that there was enough there. Mum and I then hit the fruit market and Woollies to shop up a storm for the food shopping - out to Unanderra to pick up the chicken from Brashy's work (thanks dude) and then to town to find a cookie cutter. Went to start the car and it wasn't going anywhere. It just grunted at me and sat there. Fuck! Flat battery. My charge light had been on, but i was pushing it until i could get to the mechanics.. shit! Got a jump from Beaurepairs so i could get home with the food and back to the mechanics, only to stall it in my driveway and it was all over! Stressed? Not much!! Fuck, I almost threw a microwave, blender and toasted cheese sandwich maker across the kitchen. And then i burst into tears. Somewhere in the way, I had to foresight to ring my friend Faith, also an artist, who came right over and told me about Battery World doing mobile battery changes! Yay! Called them and then Faith drove me round to do the rest of the things I needed to before the shops shut on the eve of a public holiday: get speakers from Salvos, RCA and SVHS cords from Dick Smith and to Bunnings for gaffa tape and wood for the frame in the projection room..phew! And then back to the gallery for more installation...Worked for about an hour and then took my mum out to dinner (thanks Stackers for the top meal) and then yet again, back to the gallery. I spent about 5 hours constructing a dark room out of 2 walls and curtains. Talk about exercise - I think I got up and down the ladder about 500 times and if i haven't lost my easter pudge by now, it ain't going anywhere... By the time we finished up, more stencilling had been done, 1st coat of the red wall almost done and the projection room happening with the projector tested and working. Finished at 12:30am.

Tuesday 25th April
Anzac Day. Had a cry after walking through the end of the parade in town. It was strangely emotional out there and mum and I found ourselves in tears. We had a great discussion about the futility and generational destruction of war and then went for coffee. Back into the gallery at 1pm and thankfully asked Faith and her partner Damian Bancks (both artists in Wollongong) to give me a hand. Faith stencilled up a demon and Damian helped me build a shelf for the projector after the 'roof' of the projection room blocked out the image where I had it. Jade kept on the red wall. I hung the drawings and a couple of the paintings and by 10pm, when Damian was doing the lights, the show was almost done. Technically it had to be finished by then, but I was so over getting stressed about it, that I just left it and went home to spend half an hour with mum before she went home in the morning. I still had heaps to do, but I figured that no one would come in on the first morning, so i left it.

Wednesday 26th April
Supposedly the first day of the exhibition and at 9am when I snuck into the gallery after going to Bunnings again and before opening time of 10am, i had a list of stuff to do: finish stencilling, finish the 2nd coat of the red wall, wrestle with the hanging system to fix the drawings, hang the last 2 paintings, set up the 'living room' diorama, sweep the floor, print a room list, number the works, put signs up that warn of the 'offensive nature' of the work and get the speakers happening. By 8pm last night i finally got it all done. So what if the 10 people who came in had to deal with a slightly unfinished exhibition. It was finished enough. So now it's done, time for the project meeting! Bloody hell - I'm starting to get sick of this space by now, and i've still got another 8 days to mind it :) Yay for artist-run spaces!!!

Thursday 27th April
Yet another day of running around, although today I've literally been running around, having dropped my car of at the mechanics to fix the fucked alternator. Thank goodness for the mechanics next to the gallery - they love me there and I trust them to look after me. Photocopied a bunch of room lists, started sourcing alcohol. I still don't know where I'm gonna get it - beer is fucking expensive! Then I had an interview on the radio at 2Vox - it was great fun! Sara has a regular guest spot on the Arts Grapevine and I was her guest today! It was so easy to just chat to Steen and although I was a little nervous beforehand, it was a breeze once I was in there. Makes it easier when you know the announcer. We chatted about all kinds of things, I discussed the nature of my work and plugged the opening as well as the trivia night coming up (watch this space). I could do that more often :) Then off to negotiate a sponsorship deal with a liquor supplier for the gallery, worry about my finances, buy some extra platters for the opening and some glasses for the gallery. Thank goodness for donations 'cos it saved me a bunch of headaches. I forget how everything works out exactly as it was meant to. And now I've got 48 wine glasses to wash before tomorrow morning :) Yay!

And who said being an artist was all about getting your hands dirty... thank goodness I love it.

see you at the opening tomorrow night 7pm at Project: 255 Keira St Wollongong!


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