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lessons learned, part 2.

participating in he said, she said has been a particularly successful experience for me. and i'm not just saying that because i happened to sell one of my (large) works. i mean it because i actually learnt a hell of a lot about myself and my practice through being part of this exhibition.

i'm always open to learning new things relating to my work. i'm often having to learn new techniques, but this time it was a little different. i learned the art equivalent of some more "adult" lessons that i think only really get learned on the job:

the devil is in the detail.
there has been a fair bit written in the kids' blogs lately about attention to detail. while i think i'm pretty good at it when it comes to conveying an idea, i'm pretty shit at it when it comes to the exhibition presentation of it. that kind of attention to detail requires a certain level of pedantry and neurosis that i just do not posess and i came to terms with it for the first time with this show.

i want to have that level of finesse. i really do. but it's just not in me. i'm the all-swearing, all-laughing, all-chattering, life-living, not-really-sweating-the-small-stuff kinda gal. all brain and mouth and not a lot of delicacy. and this is all fine and dandy when i'm painting red goop all over the place, or hanging up bags of blood on walls, or working digitally. but when it comes to exhibiting work and especially putting a price tag on it, expecting people to live with it in their living rooms, hallways or offices, i have to make something that is crisp and won't fall apart. something that reflects the price tag that's on it and the longevity which i'd like my work to have. i need to be particular.

while i was thinking about all of this during installation, i found myself getting a little stressed. i had no idea where the fuck i was going to find this particularity from. in fact, i've spent the last 10 years of my life getting rid of neurosis from my life so i could have some peace of mind, and now i need it back? oh dear. thankfully, my very intelligent and caring friend sarah, curator extraordinaire, reminded me that all i need to do is to get someone else to make it for me. someone who has exquisite attention to detail and who can help me take my work to that next level.

how much, love?
unlike so many other pursuits, the question of money/merit/value/worth is in your fucking face as an artist right from the word go. and for me, i sold out of an edition of 6 of my graduating works, all those years ago, so i had to deal with it pronto. my principle for putting a price tag on the work has always been about making it accessible and this was even more important in wollongong, as a regional area. unfortunately, it needs more than an affordable price on it to be accessible and i learned the hard way that some people just want pretty fucking pictures. anyway, i digress.

so initially, with the major work in this show, i was going to ask for a relatively small amount and leave it unframed so that someone could feel that 'even they' could buy it and own a rather large artwork.

what i hadn't realised is that there can be such a thing as underselling yourself.

when i price my work too low, i effectively say to the buying audience that i don't value my own output and don't expect you to. that's not what i mean to say, but that's the message that comes across and i can't tell you how much i squirmed when i was enlightened about that. i find it hard to place financial worth on myself as an artist as it is and i'm going to try to learn how to do it better in the next couple of years. i'm sure that in the past, this kind of 'market' analysis and pitching was done by dealers/gallery owners. but until i get to the stage where i'm there, i need to know this. i need to be confident in what i'm worth and what you need to pay in order to own my work. no room for martyrs here.

and having said all of that, it leads nicely into kind of responding to jade's question about whether selling work is bittersweet - in that i have to 'let it go'. years ago, i was attached to my work. but for me (others my disagree. vehemently even) if i put a price tag on it, if i'm exhibiting something with an intention to sell it, i can't afford to get attached (bad pun, kind of intended). if i really like the work and i don't want to part with it, i won't put a price on it. however, i'm not sure how much room everyone else has in their life, but i no longer have the room to get sentimental with my own artworks (i want others' works in my house, anyway), so i really don't get like that. perhaps it's another sign that i've taken my work up a notch.

popcorn, get your popcorn!
as a curator last year, i found it very easy to promote a well put-together show - to sell the works by artists, approach media and talk with gallery owners about the artists. i spent all of last year being paid to promote a large national arts organisation and encouraging artists to promote and market their work. and until this show, i did OK at doing it for myself. up to a point.

i'm OK at sending out the invites, press releases, text messages, updating news on the website (ooh, which reminds me..), etc. to a group of people who will be interested in my work, but they're ostensibly within my comfort zone and it's not necessarily about the hard sell. this time, i had to step up to the plate and think about inviting people who would come and look at the show with more of a critical and discerning eye (not that my friends, etc aren't...). i needed to invite gallery owners, more specific media, people who had collected my work before and people who weren't necessarily artists or in my myspace 'extended network'. it wasn't fucking easy, i tell you. and next time, i'll definitely do it very differently.

level 2. do you want to save this game?
while thinking about all of this stuff, it's becoming blatantly clear to my that i have progressed/stumbled on to level 2 of the 'how to be a living professional artist' game: i'm starting to consider things more deeply in a business/commodity/industry sense. and although some of this stuff was discussed in school and even at NAVA (as the professional organisation for the visual arts), i really don't think any of it sunk in until i got to this stage. until i had to frame my work properly, construct it so that it lasts and work on laying a better foundation from which my ideas and concepts can shine through. this was an important realisation: that buy cleaning up my presentation, it wouldn't flatten my ideas, but to actually highlight them. i know, it sounds like rocket science, but it only just really clicked.

the other realisation i had about advancing to the next round is that actually, i'm a jack-of-all-trades and a master of none. well, that is assuming that by trades, you mean the craft of making things in a set fashion with set techniques and set tools. my mastery is actually in the concept area. the thinking and the construction of ideas and each time i convey a new idea in a new medium, i have to learn all the lessons from the beginning that someone who has, say, been working on watercolours for 10 years has already learnt. [reason again to get others to help me. dammit.]

doin' it for the kids
i also think because i've taken some of my work to this new level, my other stuff - some of the installations and guerilla works i do, the fun stuff, are even more important. they provide an outlet for me where i don't have to concern myself with the strategy of my career, or the commodity of the work but can still work on creating meaningful statements in a smaller sphere. i won't go so far as saying that they're "for myself" - i hate that kind of self-indulgent crap, but they're for others on a very playful and personal level. there's no requirement for engagement, no prerequisite and absolutely no particularity about them.

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a gallery per day: april week 4

i promised myself that i would start this, and like someone in the blogosphere said, if you say it online, you usually do it.
i think i've done pretty well so far. so, in the last week, here are the galleries i've managed to pop into:

kings ari, melbourne,david shrigley

i made a very special effort to get to the david shrigley show at kings. it finishes after i leave and i've fast become a huge fan of his work. i'm usually not into the naive/cutesy/fluffy/über cool trend that is sweeping (australian) contemporary art at the moment, but for some reason, david shrigley cuts through all of that patronising crap and makes some fantastic works. actually, they're not works. they're statments. they're heavy on the text, but the text is so beautifully chosen/written, that i mostly end up doubled over with laughter.

the show at kings was just a small poster show and the movie (with chris shephard) called who i am and what i want. think the lovechild of harvey crumpet mixed with william kentridge. it was great! other highlights from the show included posters with the following hilarious texts:


And is having a party.

(maybe the infamous ad agency mother?) and then these priceless ones:

1 soul. mostly transparent. does not answer to the name of jacob. expressed an interest in inhabiting an inanimate object rather than me.
last seen whilst kissing ass for recent promotion.
if found call 571274118


A messge to anyone who will listen:
Joanie Hardie
will leave her job
"because it is totally rubbish"
"leaving such an awful job will be a sweet release"
as of very soon she will not work at:
part of the media initiatives group
And her contact details will no longer be::
T. 0207436 4600
F. 020 7631 3122
(It will be some other poor fool who answers the phone)

* i think shrigley must hang out in marketing/advertising circles, 'cos there were heaps relating to the adverset.

sunday. in a band van on the way to sydney. no galleries to be seen.

this photo taken in euroa:

kudos gallery, sydney, he said, she said

OK, so this is a bit of a cheat ‘cos it’s my own show, but hey, it’s my blog.
I’ve written about Installation Week before and this was nothing like it. It was so damn easy. Becky from Kudos is ace – she helped us out so much. And Sarah Mosca is a fantastic curator and she had everything so damned organised – it was a breeze.
I arrived feeling a bit stressed, having been a gypsy for the last 3 weeks and it was starting to take a toll. Sarah put my mind at rest straight away without being patronising – a skill I’m grateful that she has. I was also a little anxious because my kinetic work was in a state of disrepair – the motor was falling off the casing, the casing had been bashed a little in transit and I had to do some open-heart surgery. However, after some food and some furtive concentration, I got it to work. Quite well I thought too.

The rest of the work went up pretty easily in the afternoon, with the most frustrating aspect being the mural on the feature wall and the OH&S elephants from UNSW that came traipsing through the place. That was until the rain came, then it was a frantic game of protecting works, finding buckets, trays, anything to catch the water in. it was coming down in sheets and there was no end in sight - rain predicted for 3 days. some of us panicked. some of us stayed calm.

Finished up at about 7pm, leaving Sarah, Dave and Tim finish up some of the finer points of installing.
I think i like being in a group show like this, minimum stress really.

UPDATE: to the person who bought White, Red: I hope you enjoy it. Thanks for supporting emerging contemporary art.

charles hewitt gallery, michael schlieper .

Checking out a gallery per day isn’t all about going to the cool and groovy ones. It’s about being fair. So in the interest of fairness, I popped into Charles Hewitt Gallery, in Paddington. The entrance to the gallery was an experience of itself, with a classy auto sliding glass panel, a beautiful chaise l’ounge and ambient classical music.Ick. The work they had exhibition could easily have been tarred with ‘shit’ and left it at that, but I actually had deeper thoughts and feelings about it. Fortunately or Unfortunately.
The paintings were detailed images of Australian landscape. I’m not sure where the artist is from, but a lot of the images reminded me of the rock ledges and cliff faces of the Royal National Park where I used to spend a lot of time on my mountainbike many moons ago. While I felt that some of the colour-work of the paintings could have been amped up and the details of the paintings strangled them a little, I did actually appreciate the works as a reminder of quintessentially Australian terrain. Usually the terrain here wouldn’t register on my ‘things to get excited about’ list, but because I’ve been in transit and about to head for Ol’ Blighty, I’m aware of the aspects of this country that I’m especially fond of, or are particularly unique to here. These works fulfilled that for a moment. While I wouldn’t buy one, I could see why someone might and it was nice to broaden my perspective about it for a moment, instead of casting immediate aspersions.

25.4.07 anzac day. public holiday.
slot gallery, sydney, philippine islander artists.

No main galleries open. although I did check out the windows of slot gallery, a window space gallery in redfern, sydney. they had two really beautiful painted catholic icons on tin panels from artists on an island in the phillipines (which i can't remember the name of, sorry).

there were also some pictures of the panels in situ and some small sculptures which belonged with them, but I was really taken by the panels. they’re reminiscent of historical religious tempera paintings - raphael and giotto came to mind. They were quite special and even taken out of context, still engaging objects.

no gallery today. mooched around at home.

made up for yesterday's slackness by checking out 4, yes 4 galleries.

NGV, flinders st, melbourne, joseph brown collection
with 20 minutes to spare and an unwillingness to pay $15 for the australian impressionism show, i popped into the gallery showing the dr joseph brown collection. this was a goldmine and i'm hoping i can squeeze in a chance to quickly check some more of it out down the track. brown recently donated 450 works to the gallery and the gallery will have it on permanent display. the collection includes works from the who's who of australian artists worth giving a shit about. names to drop: eugene von guerrard, conrad martens, e.phillips fox (my new fav aussie old school painter), mc cubbin, nolan, drysdale, streeton, miller, tucker.. and that was just the ones i saw.
i'm hoping that when i go back i see a few more of our stellar gals in there, like hester, beckett, black, preston, etc. but if you're in melbourne, you need to see this show. i know that europe has a depth of art history that we don't even come close to, but this collection gives you a good sense of what is our art history in this country and i have to say, i left with a bit of pride. (that i'm sure will be crushed the minute i walk into the tate)

citylights until never gallery, off hosier lane, melbourne, curvy artists
on the way to check out mike parr's exhibition (see below), i was snapping away in hosier lane, when i stumbled upon until never gallery. i had never heard of it before, so decided to check it out. it was up a couple of flights of rickety stairs and at one point i remember thinking that maybe it's some cruel ruse. anyway, got to the top and there was quite a large, open room with mounted prints on the wall of a range of fairly girly artworks. i recognised them from the new curvy mag that's out now. these, combined with the lightboxes in the lane were an added bonus to the publication of the artworks. seeing them brought up an interesting point about validation of artworks for me. i would have been quite happy to just be published, but i guess having a limited edition print produced, means you can sell it and someone can make some money somewhere along the line. while the prints left me a little 'meh', the customised adidas zip-up jackets did pique my interest. i thought they were a pretty cool idea! they were all on white jackets with gold stripe and i had the feeling that someone at adidas went - here's a dud line, here girls, paint on these! but it did remind me that customising sports wear with artists is cool. just check out the sneakerpimps for proof!

anna schwatrz gallery, flinders lane, melbourne, mike parr
i haven't been into anna schwartz before, but i've been keeping an eye on her stable for ages. i'm so glad i went in there. it was like no gallery i've ever, ever been in before! it is the most white cube gallery i've seen in australia and it's so severe it's awesome! i know it's not for some, but i totally loved it! it's a space where i felt that anything could happen there, but not in a homely way, but like an out-of-the way in the desert kind of way. the depth and hollowness of it is awesome.
and although mike parr is one of my favourite australian artists - i'm responsible for the 'better than sliced bread' quote that was kicking around about him a while ago - this work didn't grab me quite as much. it reminded me of a george gittoes/albert tucker love child (which is a very, very scary thing). but what i did like was that he was working with medium/substrate that i hadn't seen him work with before. and the shelving that he had cast was fantastic - a big, dirty, black, scuffy, ominous monolith sticking out from the wall. i heard the darth vader theme in my head as i looked at it.

platform2, degraves st subway, melbourne, making space [and book launch]
it was strange going to the opening at platform tonight. i only knew 2 people - din and anita from platform. and while that sounds pretensious, it probably is, but i've become accustomed to going to openings and knowing at least a couple of others there.
the opening was the launch of making spaces, a book and state-wide focus on artist-run-spaces in victoria. the victorian galleries have a far greater solidarity and community with each other than the NSW ones do, and it was nice to watch people from a variety of spaces working together for this event. the whole program has been made possible through federal and state funding and the big wigs were there - including the federal arts minister, the director of the visual arts board of ozco and a swag of others from arts victoria. read: big fucking deal. i didn't feel comfortable enough to stick around for the speeches, but i did sample the fine sushi, the real orange juice (are you reading people - orange juice is what i like to drink at openings! just 'cos i don't drink alcohol, doesn't mean i don't like flavour in my drinks too!) and checked out the great show of works in the cabinets. it gave me a few great ideas for next year too. i bought a book and then scooted off. knowing that i would gradually get to know people at a later date, hopefully.



some things to look forward to.

for some reason, i feel the need to let you all know what my plans are over the next little while. maybe it's just in case we have an opportunity to catch up along the line. or maybe you'll wanna tune out once this little baby gets on the road and i need to give you forewarning. maybe i just need to clarify it for myself - who knows, but here's my plan, which may or may not go awry in the next 6 months:

next week - jump on a plane, arrive in dubai on thursday - at 5:40 am!! stretch the friendship of one of my bestest buddies by having her pick me up from the airport on her day off. she has an itinerary planned which includes checking out the sharjah biennale, gasbagging over cups of tea, checking out the blue souk, dancing at the palm ethiopian nightclub, more of the biennale, a bit of the desert, more gasbagging and then i'll be spent.

next sunday - arrive at heathrow at a very sensible 2pm and do my best to go through customs unflustered. apparently the heathrow express now has wi-fi! i'll be trying it just for the novelty.
staying in finsbury park with my friends matt and mariella.

that week - spend time job hunting, opening a bank account, buying oyster cards and mobile sim cards. checking out the sights and sounds. maybe drop into coffee morning and resist the urge to currency convert. use as much australian slang as i can possibly squeeze in - just for fun.

the week after that sometime - jump on the train to paris for a night (hopefully). my friend russell is in paris on holidays before he heads of to Cannes to review the film festival.
send my shirt to TDC for offical interesting 2007 conference wear (see below).

rest of may - try to get work in london/working in london, trying to find a place to stay. checking out bands, start some guerilla works, go to loads of galleries. adjust to the climate (i don't care if you think it's spring, it will still be fucking cold) and hopefully catch up with loads of friends i have there.

june - interesting 2007. i have my ticket and my blue badge waiting. i'll get to catch up with NP, marcus, rob m (i think?) gemma and a swag of other new kids on the blog (NKOTB).

july - well i was going to head to madchester for the weekend. i have a guilty love for the arctic monkeys and they'll be playing there, but tickets are all sold out already. i'll have to go to cardiff instead. hmm. wales.

august - spend time enjoying the summer sun. work, do more guerilla stuff. document and do research. the street art and renegade artists should be out in force in summer. resist homesickness and the urge to boast about australian summers.

september - whirlwind going east: trying to catch a bunch of art festivals on the continent:

venice, italy for a few days while the biennale is on. try not to blow my mind.
munich for a couple of days (catching up with marcus, saying hello to gilbert & george),
then to linz, austria for ars electronica.
back to munich to fly to athens for the inaugural athens biennale for a couple of days. interview a few artists/curators there too.
then back to london.

late september - catch up with my very good friend jem, who will be in the south of france for his sister's wedding. i might just have to head over there again. or we'll meet up in london.

october - recover from all that galivanting and then head back to melbourne via dubai (and maybe singapore) at the end of the month.

so - if you're in any of those places, let me know - would love to catch up. if not, well, sucked in. i'll be posting as regularly as i can and i might even send you a postcard if i'm feeling chipper.

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A bedtime story for Jet (who is 4)

Lauren: Once upon a time there were 4 sisters - Suzie, Julie, Annie and Tinkerbell

Jet: Tinkerbell? You mean, like the classic furry?

L: Yes, just like the classic fairy.
This is the story of How Tinkerbell Became a Fairy.

Once upon a time, there were 4 sisters - Suzie, Julie, Annie and Tinkerbell.
Every Saturday they would go to their local park for a picnic, while Mummy and Daddy had a sleep. They would have a roll with lettuce, tomato, cheese and avocado. They would also have a banana and some juice for a healthy lunch. As a treat, if they had been good, they would each have a yummy biscuit afterward that would have cream in the middle. They would open up the biscuit, lick out the cream and eat the biscuit afterwards. Yum!

Now, on this one Saturday, Tinkerbell had been especially naughty. She had fought with her sisters, not cleaned her room, she hadn't gone to sleep when Daddy had told her to and she even made her Mum cry.
Because she had been naughty, she didn't get her lunchtime treat and there were only 3 biscuits in the picnic basket. This made Tinkerbell upset because she knew she had been naughty and didn't like it. She didn't mean to hurt anyone and she felt sorry that she had been like that.

In the park, there was a children's playground, with a cubbyhouse and slide. While her sisters ate their biscuits, Tinkerbell ran to the cubby house and cried, upset that she had been so naughty. In the cubbyhouse, she saw a shiny silver coin. While she was sobbing, she cried to the coin, "i wish i could hide from everyone. i want to be small and i want to be good all the time" and then POOOFF!!.

Her sisters had finished their biscuits and went looking for their little sister Tinkerbell. They went towards the playground, but couldn't find her anywhere!

"Tinkerbell! Where are you? We still love you, come out now!", they called.

But there was nothing. They went to the slide and the cubbyhouse and saw the shiny coin sitting on the floor. And there, on the coin, was their sister, Tinkerbell, curled up tight. She was tiny!

"Tinkerbell! they gasped:"

Tinkerbell woke up from her sleep to see her sister Annie's very large face peering down at her.

"What has happened?" she asked, a little frightened.

"I don't know! I'm going to get Mum", said Annie.

Mum came back and peered into the cubbyhouse and saw the coin, on which her tiny, tiny daughter was standing. She was only about > < this big!

"Oh dear!" said Mummy. Tinkerbell told her everything that happened and wise Mummy nodded her head and said

"I think i know what has happened. That coin must be magic!" So Mummy picked up the coin, carefully and carried Tinkerbell and the coin down to the bottom of the playground, looking for something.

"Here it is!" she said. "They'll know what happened"

Mummy had taken Tinkerbell and the magic coin to the Fairy Circle. Have you ever seen a Fairy Circle before? Sometimes you'll see a bunch of flowers, all in a circle. That's a Fairy Circle, where the fairies live.

When they got there, Mummy put the coin and Tinkerbell down and sat to wait. After a few seconds, a fairy peeked out from behind the flower stem and came over to the Tinkerbell. Mummy blew here a kiss goodbye and left the fairy to explain what had happened.

"You wished on a Magic Coin, Tinkerbell!", said the fairy. "And you are becoming a fairy! Now you can join us, and you can be good all the time. You can help us do good things for people and nobody will be able to see you!"

Just as she said this, Tinkerbell's back became really itchy. She couldn't reach it to scratch and she was becoming annoyed.

"My back is really itchy and i'm scared"

"Yes, they're your special fairy wings growing, Tinkerbell. Everything will be OK", said the fairy.

Lauren: And that, Jet, is how Tinkerbell became a fairy.
And guess what i've got here, which I found on the floor near your bed..

Jet: A magic coin?!

Lauren: Yes! And if you go to sleep now, in the morning, when you wake up, it will be under your pillow, a present from Tinkerbell the fairy.



hippo, birdy, two ewe.

after joining in the cheer of celebrating lifeinthemiddle's first birthday, it occured to me that she sees red turned one the other day too!

i know i recently had a bit of a 'ain't i'm great' kind of post when i had my 100th post, so i'm not going to make a big deal about it. and in the whole scheme of blogs, i'm just heading into puberty. so brace yourself kids - it's gonna be a rough ride.

here's to a few more years of seeing red.

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A good cup of tea.

This one's for you NP. Despite the accident.

my great-nanna's teapot

I really appreciate things that are well designed. And i don't just mean that they look great, but they function intelligently too. I'm sure there's loads of design theory and discussion about form/function, etc. out there and I'll leave that for you to research later.

But i just wanted to say what i'll be voting for in this year's Australian Design Awards: http://www.designawards.com.au/application_detail.jsp?status=4&applicationID=664.

For those who can't be bothered following the link, it's a ceramic kettle by Sunbeam (scroll down a little - there's a picture).
It sounds lame, but it has been developed with consultancy from ceramic artist David Edmonds. It's focus is on sustainability and intelligent resource usage. And it looks great! Not as nice as my great-grandmother's tea pot, but still pretty schmick for a cup of tea.

The design awards are specifically for product design, but i'm surprised that there isn't more graphic/visual design featuring in this year's awards. Surely well-designed books and websites have a product functionality as well. In fact the whole field of finalists seems to be a little 'light on' for really exciting creative innovation. Don't get me wrong - some great and important ideas, but they're all a little, well, safe.

I don't know if it's always like this and that they're like the equivalent of the oscars for film (great for entertainment, but a little light on in the true credibility department). The awards are set up by Standards Australia - not necessarily know for their creative flair, but I'd like to see a bit more spunk into the awards in the future and elevate true creative design and innovative thinking to a level which really deserves some merit.



a gallery per day: april

ok, so regular readers of this blog will know that i regularly talk about the exhibitions i've seen, but it's a little random (in keeping with the nature of this blog in general). well, now that my life is full of unstructured time and plenty of time to see exhibitions and write about them, i've had fuck-all opportunity to do so.

one of my plans once i get to london, is to visit a gallery per day and write about it. maybe not just here, maybe also in my journal/sketchbook/letters to mum. but that's the plan.

so far, i've failed miserably this month to achieve anything close to that, but i'm going to get the ball rolling and write about what i have seen so far. i'm hoping to keep these things more snippety (new word!) so that they're easy to digest. and 'cos i won't have time/can't be arsed downloading/uploading too many pics on my travels either.

here are the galleries I've managed so far.

First Draft.
In my last week in Sydney, i hoped to squeeze in visits to 2 of my favourite artist-run-spaces and check out the shows. The First Draft show (which is probably over by now, so go to the opening of the next one, will you!), was another full house. There was Group Show, a 4-artist group show in the main gallery and back room, and Zombie, by Emma Ramsey & Anna John.

Most of the work on display was really engaging, although i had to move past the flickering fluorescent work in the front to get to it. I wanted to shatter that fucking thing. Maybe that's the expected response, but i really don't like art that annoys the fuck out of me on a basic level. If i want to be annoyed like that, i'll hang out with a 2-year old. However, Aaron Seeto's work was really great - much more interesting than his eggs. I really liked the presentation of the oxidises metal sheets, including how they were glued onto the shelf. I know, I'm a geek.
The other work i really liked in the show was the video work in the end room, by Huseyin Sami, documenting the artist painting with his feet. It highlighted how much i take my dexterity for granted. I was amazed at the brush he was using, developed specifically for the purpose (and marvelled at how i could possibly think about using a shit $2 brush ever again!) and also at the significance of being bound in the way he was - not just about function, but also a reminder at how our able-bodied advantages can also trap us into a well-worn way of thinking/looking/doing.

Helena Leslie, who does the most amazing paper works, was exhibiting in the Project room at MOP. The execution of her work is so fucking far from mine ('cos i'm ostensibly a lazy person, although i like to say i'm efficient) but i completely love it, because of that reason. The works, which are pinhole pricked 'lace' patterns into paper are exquisite, in every sense of the word.
I brought my mum to the opening and she also loved it. That's usually a reason to run a mile, but my mum has good taste, i promise. I sadly said 'cheerio' to a Ron and George and i look forward to popping into the space on my travels in the future.

I'm hoping to pop into other Sydney galleries when i'm there next week, but unfortunately, I don't think I'll get the chance. So, farewell Sydney and all the nice people who are part of the scene there.

69 Smith St
According to the 69 Smith St website, "Clive Stratford’s recent paintings stem from reflections on having lived half of one’s life-as Dante said: “Nel mezzo del cammin di nostra vita mi ritrovai per ona selva oscura…”
“In the middle of our life I found myself in a dark wilderness…” These reflections concern loss, regret, betrayal, love and faith.

Although this 'gallery visit' was a bit of a cheat, i only had a chance to look through the very large front window/door, I'm glad i stopped and gazed. The works, for me, also reflected loss, regret, betrayal, etc in masculinity. A lot of the icons, symbols and models used in the paintings were poignant in their masculinity (like a todd mcmillan photo, rather than a chippendales calendar).

I'm off to see David Shrigley at Kings ARI later today and hopefully I'll be able to check out the Australian Impressionism show at NGV before i leave. You will hear about them.

PS - Don't forget, if you're in Sydney next Tuesday night and not sure what to do with yourself the night before a public holiday, come to Kudos Gallery, the opening of He Said, She Said.



keeping an open mind.

a few years ago, i spent Christmas/New Year public holidays working my arse off 12 hours a day dyeing 30,000 leaves of paper, finishing off an artwork for an Australia Day exhibition [i'd had a meltdown and had left it too late before starting the work].

after the stress of that experience, i made a decision that i was never going to do that to myself or my work again: i didn't enjoy the experience of the exhibition, couldn't really detach from the work enough to talk about it to people and then i got really sick straight afterwards - not even close to being worth it!

having said all that, i can acknowledge that, every now and again, creating something at the last minute can work a treat! there's something about the adrenaline, the focus, the singularity of purpose which can reveal a streak of genius that would be unachievable with proper planning. some of my best written work has come from the late night, last minute flurry of words.

so, despite/because of my better judgment (possibly thanks to a crazy lifestyle at the moment), i'm currently riding the wave of the last minute artwork and i know it will all come together right at the eleventh hour!

working in this way takes blind faith, schutzpah and just the right amount of stupidity, so that you're open to it all falling into place. and today, i had a small victory which was exciting in a very geeky way, and proved to me that i need to follow my whims more often. age mentioned my turntable hunt (for my work) and it was quickly descending into a shambolic merry-go-round (pun intended) when i decided to just pop into one of those 'value'/$2 shops in footscray just to see if there was anything that would work just as well. in the 5th aisle i stumbled upon something that is going to work even better, for about $5 and i don't have to pull apart a record player (which is tantamount to a form of sacrilege for me)!

infernal, baby. infernal.

this is the stuff which keeps me going with creating work in the way i do. it affirms my need to be resourceful in a way that is sometimes inexplicable and a reminder that the answer will often come in a form that i don't expect, if i let it.



the red and black

being back in melbourne (even if it's only for a few weeks), i've needed to reclaim some important cultural experiences that my life in NSW lacked. one of them has been to go to the footy again. (that's the aussie rules football for those who need a translation)

i've barracked for essendon since i was 6 years old, when i found out that brad from next door went for essendon. brad was 16, hung with the tough kids on the street, and he did up my dragster for me so i could ride with them. some things never change.

anyway, today i went to the game with some of my family (carlton supporters). and i went beserk. i yelled out all kinds of abuse at the umpires (yellow maggots), told the dons players to 'man up' [cunt] (i didn't actually drop the c-word 'cos i was trying to be good around kids) and to 'just kick the fucking football!' i cheered when a free pass went our way and whooped when we scored goals. it was ace!!

and part of me wonders if all the yelling and the screaming and the whooping and the jumping that you do at a football match actually affords you the means, the rest of the time, to be pretty chilled out, enjoy life, have some style and some substance, like most melbournians seem to. almost like an opportunity to let off some socially acceptable steam and then carry on, sir.

or maybe it's got nothing to do with it, and i'm just a tom-boy who swears like a fucking trooper.




From artdaily.org:

PHILADELPHIA, PA.- The Fabric Workshop and Museum presents Simply Red, on view through April 28, 2007. The exhibition explores the expressive effects a single design element—color—can have in contemporary art and design. Simply Red draws from the collections of the Philadelphia Museum of Art (PMA) and The Fabric Workshop and Museum, and is curated by Donna Corbin, Associate Curator, PMA, in consultation with Marion Boulton Stroud, Founding/Artistic Director, FWM, and Kathy Hiesinger, Curator, PMA.

Red is a color with strong and varied cultural associations and design implications. In Simply Red, the work on view shares a color, but otherwise represents a full spectrum of artistic and design choices. It includes work by key contemporary artists and designers such as Dale Chihuly, Joe Colombo, Renée Green, Anish Kapoor, Glenn Ligon, Donald Lipski, Jorge Pardo, Gaetano Pesce, Ettore Sottsass, Robert Venturi, and Yukinori Yanagi. Red is typically very visually potent, however, amassing so many red objects in one space can, after a while, cause the color to recede from the eye and let other design elements, which it would normally overshadow, emerge. Simply Red, which takes place in conjunction with DesignPhiladelphia, an annual Philadelphia design festival, allows the viewer to focus on these visual differences and see more than just red.

of course, the calibre of artists participating in Simply Red are equivalent being in year 10 to my year 7, but a girl can dream can't she..

PS: i stumbled upon this great site by Miranda July (Me, You and Everyone We Know). You should all check it out.



Sol long, farewell

OK, so that pun is straight out of the ad-pit's book of goofy puns, but i'm sick, so don't hassle me.

I found out by reading sublime-ation that Sol Le Witt died! Shit! I'm not really a minimalist, or a non-objective artist, but when i saw his work at the MCA years ago, it broke the frame for me. no longer was i bound to a 'format' or 'frame', i could paint shit on the walls, and then clean it up afterwards! i could make bold statements quietly and people would listen, without having to slather goop all over the place. not that i have that level of grace, subtlety or precision in my work, but by seeing Sol Le Witt's work, all these things were suddenlty afforded me.

I know that Le Witt has influenced a tonne of great artists and it's weird when an iconic artist, or even someone that you look up to, dies. Suddenly the pool of talent gets a little shallower and the distance to the end of the line gets a little shorter.

May the guy rest in peace.

UPDATE:: And then i read on stan's blog that Kurt Vonnegut has died too!! he started off in PR, realised that it was rubbish and decided to write fantastic and whacky novels instead. May that guy rest in a crazy three piece suit.


he said, she said

here's blatant plug for my next exhibition: he said, she said.

the theme of the exhibition is about dialogue and there are a really cool bunch of artists involved! paul turner's paintings are great and i know that david wills' installation on family life will be ace. nana ohnesorge's paintings are so lurid and in-your-face - they're fucking fantastic!

i'll be doing 2 works: white, red and hello, daniel which are based on artists' dialogue with other artists. one of them is one of the largest single works i've done - thank goodness for rad framers!

the opening is at 6pm on 24th April, which is the night before Anzac Day, so there's no need for me any 'i have to go to work/uni' bollocks. if you're in sydney, it would be great to see you there!


whoa, mama.

on my last night in sydney, i went out to dinner with a lovely mix of 'family' - my mum and a bunch of other (mostly) women i call my family - friends of mine and mum's who have been like extended family to me.

we ended up at wagamama on the wharf and i wanted to tell you all about it for a couple of reasons. firstly because it's such a great place to eat, and i put it up there with the new style of companies with real principles.

secondly because their menu design reminded me of my blog! (self-absorbed? me? never!)

positive eating + positive living
being foodies, mum and i wanted to take the opportunity of being in sydney to go to billy kwong for dinner, but that meant having to leave behind those whose financial priorities didn't center around food :) so, trying to accomodate as many of us as possible, i decided that wagamama was the best choice and it turned out to be absolutely perfect! it was accessible for all of us in various ways: we had gluten free kids, vegetarian kids, kids watching their calory intake, those with big budgets, those with small budgets, kids in wheelchairs and all of us who love a pretty view.

wagamama's principle is positive eating + positive living, and while some places may boast a similar idea, the experience is usually far from it. what could have been a real disappointment with our booking not being sorted (we asked for a window table so that jenny in the wheelchair could actually move around easily), ended up being handled excellently by the team leader.

once we got our fantastic table, it was all so easy - we had side dishes all round, all kinds of different mains with a real sense of sharing and discovery. all of us felt nourished and treated, without having to go posh.

the menu explicitly explained the the food comes out in the order as it's cooked (as opposed to waiting for everyone's to be ready before they serve), but that they encourage sharing and tasting, so that nobody goes hungry!

what a fucking awesome principle. not just in a restaurant, but life in general.



straight outta compton vogue living

this last week has been pretty hectic. i seemed to spend all week saying goodbye to people - at work, at openings, at gigs and a semi-official farewell shindig

then yesterday i jumped in my car, with my boot full of bits and pieces and my back seat taken up with an old-school hoover vacuum and my twin towers of 'monopolye' artwork and headed out for the last time.

I spent 12 hours on the road, driving from sydney to tyabb: including a nice/sensible kip in holbrook (the inland town with its own submarine) and an hour of bumper-to-bumper traffic about 40kms out from town, thanks to the end of easter. i've never seen so many cars with roofracks, towing boats, trailers, bikes, etc all in one go before!

so, now i'm at my parents' house, just coming down and about to start trying to find some shit-kicking jobs.

and until then, here's how i spent my lunchtime:

tough life hey...



100 club

the 100 club is an historic music venue in london. i'm looking forward to popping in there in a few weeks' time. however, this post has nothing to do with that. well, not directly, although i am going to rant about music later on.

congratulations! you are all now part of the 100 club.

that's right kids, she sees red turns 100 with this post and for those of you who have stuck around all that time, i'm sorry 'cos you will never get those hours back. but hopefully at least a couple of them were worth it.

i started this blog as a way to have a bit of online space and exposure for my work until i got my shit together to get a website. then somewhere along the way i got up on my high horse, started reviewing shows, talked about magazines and the state of the world. and occasionally plugged my own exhibitions. i'm glad that deviation happened because i've somehow evolved through it too. and i'm grateful for the people that visit me on a daily basis. nothing earth-shattering, but still kinda cool.

and now i have a website, so i can justify my random ramblings a lot easier too!

when my myspace blog turned 100, i created a big long list of 100 things that pissed me off. it was very satisfying, if not altogether a great piece of literary masterpiece. this time, i'll try to be a little more mature and just focus on one: MTV.

'what does mtv have to do with art?' i can hear you asking. absolutely fuck-all. the long-term bee in my bonnet about it got aggravated on a blog the other day and rather than slag off rob's client on his blog, i thought i would spew about it here.

i've been into art and music for ages. art is my first love thanks to my primary school teacher's attention to my 'skills' [more about art education another day] but music is more my passionate lover to my committed art love. i can have vicious arguments with friends about whether the sex pistols are a crock of manufactured shit like N*Sync which almost come to blows (especially 'cos i'm obviously right).

so, when the topic of MTV came up, i saw red. because in my not-so-humble opinion, MTV is responsible for the worst bands in history and a generation of self-centered arseholes with no concept of anyone further than their myspace friends list.

MTV's mantra in the 80s was "I want my MTV". it's pretty catchy, targets youth with a voracious appetite and certainly reflected the need for something with a bit of spunk.

But that's where my respect for them ends. The 80s was all about gimme. gimme a fast car, a hot girl, nice clothes, a blow job and music to fuck to. now. profits soared, CEOs became the new spiritual leaders, coke became socially acceptable and so did cocaine. AIDS blossomed and New York was the centre of the fucking universe. What better climate than to launch a cable channel that took popular music, used the instantaneous nature of the television and pumped it into homes across the world.

Music became a commodity based on external and ego-driven factors, like everything else. Musicians with 1 hit single became instant celebrities without having to work for it, music became about brand recognition and unit shifting, rather than something that inspired passion. I know that age and probably rob will argue against me on this one. so be it. i'm pig-headed about this. almost as much as i am about woody allen.

So music 'stars' are suddenly celebrities, the pressure to 'perform' in an accessible way is now ridiculous. Record companies and publicists have worked out the film clip before the last verse has been recorded and thanks to MTV, beating consumers over the head with a product has become standard. Ever notice how many times the latest Beyonce film clip gets played around the time of release? A brazilian, that's how many!

And thanks to MTV, instead of music being judged on its ability to make you feel something, what it may be saying, the skill and craft of the musician or the relevance to the world at large, music is being 'charted' based on album sales, single sales and awarded on these ideas as a result. No other creative industry has been economically rationalised in the way (popular) music has and i believe MTV has played a huge part in that.

The other thing that fucks me off about MTV is that the core, the very seed of the idea behind the channel is actually not that bad. The idea that music moves people and that people want to have access to that often. What MTV could have done is to actually really support musicians over a really diverse range of styles, countries, languages and intentions. MTV could have actually unified so many people, despite their difference in taste. All it has managed to do is to alienate people in creating a greedy, superficial, territorial ideal about music that can be manipulated at the drop of a hat.

OK. so. some of that may not make much sense. that happens when i get angry. i hope it made you think though. if not about MTV, maybe about the greedy rationalisation of art or film or theatre or stamp collecting.

or maybe you'll just have to come back in a couple of days. i'm reviewing the first draft and MOP show and everything should be back to normal :)