Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Give it away give it away give it away now

Hi, how're you? Hope things are going good.

A little while ago I wrote a piece for the ACCA blog documenting the last day of the NEW14 exhibition where for a day I rode on every Melbourne train line, drawing passengers along the way and giving them the drawing. Click on this sentence if you'd like to see it.

The piece as a whole is made up of lots of little pieces and one of the ones from the day that I think about the most is this one, titled;

Here's a drawing I just did of a ripped train seat. I left the drawing there on the seat for the next passenger to look at, or for the cleaners to throw in the bin, whoever finds it first.
On the off chance you're interested, here's a photo of it taken before I started drawing the pattern.
And here's a photo from a second before the train took the drawing away, taken while standing on platform one of Sunbury station.
I struggled with this piece because I really liked the drawing and so it was hard to just leave it on the train. And as I stood on the platform and watched it pull away from the station I didn't feel comfortable. I wanted to keep it, or at least have the closure of knowing what happened next. But I guess that's the poetry of it. Or at least that's the point of it. Or something. I don't really know what I'm doing. I just do it. Like Nike tells me to.
Anyway for this blog post I thought maybe you might like to see three more drawings that I've given away.

This first one I did two days after the ACCA piece when amazingly I was on a plane and in my first ever time leaving Australia I flew to Italy for an exhibition. A couple of hours into the flight the woman next to me fell asleep and so I made this drawing.
During the drawing the same thing happened to me that happened the last time I did a drawing on the plane; my paint marker burst from the air pressure and dripped down the page.
But it's no use crying over spilt ink, a couple of hours later it'd dried up nicely and when the woman woke up I gave her the drawing. She was great, her name was Monique, she was going to Egypt for a week. The woman sitting next to Monique took this photo of us.
After that the woman who'd taken the photo told me she was an artist too and showed me a slideshow of images of her paintings on her phone. They were really impressive. Her name's Kerry Smith. Here's some photos of my favourite works she showed me.
On my second day of being in Italy I drew this woman on a bus, (and yes I know that in my ACCA piece I said I wouldn't do train drawing anymore, but this isn't train drawing, it's bus drawing). 
I don't know Italian and the woman couldn't speak English but I did understand grazie which she said many times and it was so amazing how by giving her the drawing we were able to share a wonderful little moment despite the language barrier.
The last drawing I'll mention I did in front of the Palazzo Barberini, (which is a palace in Rome that first opened in 1633 and houses a great art collection available to be viewed). 

As I was leaving the palazzo I came across someone sleeping in the grass at the entrance.
Unlike the woman next to me on the plane I unfortunately didn't have time to wait for this guy to wake up, so I figured I'd just leave the drawing there for him to look at when he does.
I found it so hard to just walk away from the scene.
I would've loved to watch him wake up and discover it, but I'll guess I'll never know what happened next. I imagine it'd be a little scary.
On a much less a whimsical note I read the news today oh boy and I saw the photo of the seven year old Australian boy holding a severed head. 

Here's a picture I drew of him.
I read the article and drew the picture while sitting in the Newport library. I had the train line directly in front of me and I was sharing a very small table with a nice old man who was breathing very loudly and reading the newspaper using Inspector Gadgets magnifying glass.
I don't have any comment to make on the story, I don't know anything, my only response was draw to a picture of the block head.
Actually one thought I did have about this image, and I'm not sure what to make of it, is that it reminds me of Donatello's statue of David. 

While Michelangelo's statue of David depicts David determined and on his way to face Goliath, Donatello's version (sculpted in 1460, a hundred years before Michelangelo's) shows David smiling and with his foot resting on Goliath's severed head.

Here's a drawing I did of Donatello's David when I recently saw it in Florence at the Bargello, (which is a former prison now art gallery that's construction began in 1215). 

In my drawing of Donatello's David I was focusing mainly on the strange long feather running up David's inner thigh.
At the time apparently this feather was extremely controversial because it implied homosexuality, either of David or of Donatello.
To get a better idea of what the bronze sculpture looks like, here's a photo of it I found on google.
The context is obviously completely different but Donatello's David and the seven year old in the newspaper are both images of a young boy with a severed head. 

It seems worth thinking about that one of which is celebrated as Donatello's greatest masterpiece and a triumph of creation and the other has been called by the U.S Secretary of State as "one of the worst images the world has ever seen".
Here's a drawing I just did of Donatello's David, I fixed it up so that it's appropriate for a contemporary newspaper.
I don't know, that's just what came to mind when I saw the newspaper. Is that worth mentioning? Am I being stupid and naive and offensive? I don't mean to be. What do you think?
In other sad news Robin Williams has died. 
Rest in peace to the brilliant man, he was a true artist of comedy. 

I've got a few good Robin Williams related memories but my most recent happened just three weeks ago on my last day of teaching art workshops with the VCA High School year elevens. 

As I was walking out the door from my last class one of the students asked if we could all have a photo and so I asked "Have you guys seen Dead Poets Society?" 
It was pretty awesome being the Captain in an Oh Captain, my Captain moment, especially since I was working with such an amazing crew. It made getting my boat license all worth while.
The last thing I should mention, only because I might not get a chance to mention it tomorrow, is that this Friday, 6-8pm, is the opening of the Substation Contemporary Art Prize, and I'm lucky enough to be a finalist. I'm pretty excited about my new piece in the show so hope you get a chance to check it out. Curated by Jessica Bridgfoot, it's on from this Friday until October 12.
This blog post has been a little all over the place and the only logical way I can think of finishing this off is to show you this drawing I just did.

I changed the word NIKE to NICE and the tagline of JUST DO IT to JUST BE IT. 

This officially proves once and for all that I'm the lamest person ever. 
Nice, just be it. I should turn it into a bad t-shirt, that's where it belongs. But I don't know, sometimes it's important not to dismiss cheesy messages like this one.

Speaking of cheesy I'm gonna go to the fridge and eat the last of the lasagne. Thanks so much for reading I really appreciate it, and yeah, don't put too much pressure on yourself and remember you are loved. Have a great day and try not to lose your head.

Tuesday, August 05, 2014

All's fair in love and Warrnambool

Hi, how're you? I'm just writing a quick hello to let you know that tomorrow night is the opening of the Future Now travelling exhibition at The Artery, in Warrnambool, Regional Victoria.

Here's the flyer thing for it.
My work in The Artery version of Future Now is the Friends show that I had in the original Substation version of Future Now, plus a couple of additional works as well, including my sculpture Esky, chips and sauce.
Esky, chips and sauce. Acrylic on wood, paper and ceramic. 2013. 

I chose this piece mainly because the gallery that this show's at is called the Artery, and what better way to clog an Artery.
Chips and sauce. Acrylic on ceramic. 2013.

It's a little exciting travelling with a show, me and the 6 other artists in the exhibition, we're just like Jack Kerouac, going On The Road. 

Ha, or maybe more accurately we're circus folk.

Pretty crazy really, only yesterday I arrived back from a week working and exhibiting in Perth and now tomorrow morning I'm driving to Warrnambool for the night. It's gonna take me about four hours to get there, which coincidentally is actually about the same amount of time it took to get to Perth. 

Anyway as it says on the flyer the Future Now opening is tomorrow from 6 to 8pm, but if you can't make it to that I'll also be around the day after as well, (Thursday August 7), as from 11.15am to 12.15pm myself and fellow Future Now artist Sarah Duyshart will be in the gallery presenting a floor talk. It's primarily for the Warrnambool year 11 and 12 art students, but all are welcome.

And if you can't make it to that then the exhibition' will remain open until August 24. 

And if you can't make it at all, ha, well, I still very much appreciate you reading this, and of course I completely understand, because unless you live in Warrnambool then Warrnambool is very far away. 

But so yeah, really looking forward to hitting the road and hopefully I'll see you tomorrow night as we clog up the The Artery. And after all this talk of clogging arteries here's a photo of todays lunch, a steak and bacon pie, eaten with the sun in my eye.
And now, having finished this blog post, here I am about to have literally my favourite midnight dinner ever; vegetables, chicken kiev and sausages.
(And finally, not that she'll ever read this, but thank you to my mum for getting out of bed to take that last photo. xo)

Monday, August 04, 2014

A slip of the tounge

Hi, here's a photo by American photographer Richard Avedon that was taken in New York on December 30, 1963. 

It's of the poets and long time partners Allen Ginsberg and Peter Orlovsky. 

They're licking each other's tongues.
The photo is included in a great Richard Avedon exhibition that opened two days ago at the Art Gallery of Western Australia. 

I was standing in front of it yesterday and a little boy came up next to me, he took one look and said "gross!" then ran off to find his mum. 

So I figured I should draw it.
(I don't know how obvious it is but I tried to make my drawing in the shape of a love heart.)
I'd also just been reading about Michelangelo's painting The Creation of Adam, and in the book it at had this really cool passage describing the energy in the little space between Adam and God's fingers.
So I had a go at trying to get a similar kind of energy in the space between Ginsberg and Orlovsky's tongues.
Drawing of a photograph by Richard Avedon. Acrylic on 225gsm paper. 21 x 29.5cm. 2014.

While at the Art Gallery of Western Australia I also drew this security guard
who was standing next to a bronze sculpture by William Kentridge.Here's maybe a better angle of the Kentridge sculpture.
(Also, amazingly, as I mentioned in the last post and as a quick little plug, remember that you can see my new painting and new sculpture exhibited alongside William Kentridge in the PICA Salon at the Perth Institute for Contemporary Art, on until August 31.)Anyway after that I had time to do one more little drawing, this time of a crayon work by Australian artist Charles Blackman. The work was done in 1967 and titled "Grooming the dog".
Because Blackman's piece was done in crayon I decided to take my drawing of it next door to the children's room of the exhibition. 
And using a magnet I installed my piece
,just below a drawing by Starr Henderson, who at 5 years old is 21 years my junior.

And Starr by my name, Starr by nature, it's clear Starr Henderson is the next big thing, just look how perfectly she's captured the Giraffe Duck.
So there you go, not only is my work at PICA exhibited alongside William Kentridge, it's also at AGWA exhibited alongside Starr Henderson. 

And I don't mind one bit if I'll never be a big Starr like Henderson, that's all water off a giraffe ducks back, because at the end of the day I'm just happy to know I've had something I've done hung on the wall of the Art Gallery of Western Australia, and best of all I didn't even have to lick anyones tongue for it to get there.