Tuesday, October 06, 2015

Happy go souva-lucky

Hi pal, I hope you're having a super good day, or should I say, I hope you're having a souva good day.

Here's a drawing I did of a souvlaki.
But I'll get back to souva's in a second, first I'd like to quickly talk about how great it is to have a blog...

Now I think it's fair to say that people as a whole can't agree on much. Probably only two things actually; one, that souvlakis are delicious, and two; that having a blog is really, really cool. 

Having said that though, up until this point the only real benefit to me having this blog is that it's a great way to impress all the hip cats at house parties, as I wear my hat backwards like Snoop Bloggy Blogg while standing in line for the bathroom. 
But a few weeks ago, having this blog actually provided me with a benefit even greater than that; I was invited to attend a VIP blogger opening launch for a new restaurant in Richmond called Jimmy Grants.

I'd never been to a blogger event before, it was pretty fancy, they had a thick red rope at the front door and your name had to be on a list and everything. 
"Right this way, you beautiful bloggers!"
The first thing I did when I got in was go stand in line for the bathroom so I could impress people by having a blog, but then I remembered that everyone in the building had a blog, so instead I just made this drawing.
When you walk into Jimmy Grants you're genuinely taken aback by how beautiful the architecture is. In fact, I was so taken aback by the entrance that I had to sit down and make a quick drawing of a tempting bucket of free drinks.
The drinks were bottles of Redds Apple Ale, which is a cross between beer and cider. It's tasty, I really like it. (Ha, although about five years ago I spent a whole summer brewing my own cider and I really liked that too, so I'm happy to drink pretty much anything.)Jimmy Grants is a greek restaurant run by George Calombaris, you know, from Masterchef. The place has been designed in the theme of George's parents first home in Melbourne, although surely Georges parents never had big circular mirrors on their celling or wallpaper that looks this awesome; 
The name Jimmy Grants comes from the cockney slang for 'immigrants', which is such a great name, I wish there were more cockney slang around, it always makes me bubble bath, (which is cockney slang for laugh).

My favourite thing about a food blogger event is watching everyone in the restaurant photograph their food. Here's a drawing I did of five people photographing their dinner while having a great time and bubble bathing out loud.
After that I moved to the other side of the restaurant and returned to my comfy seat back in front of that bucket of apple ales.
While sitting there I made this drawing of three jimmie dimmys, (which are basically just delicious dim sim balls but with a much better name).
After that I made this drawing of five ice cream cones stacked on top of each other.
And after that I made this drawing of five people photographing a chocolate and salted caramel ice-cream. 
And then after that I had a chocolate and salted caramel ice-cream myself.
I don't think I'd ever been to a souvalaki shop that's also a bar, it's pretty rad, and so the last drawing I did at the blogger event was of these two women enjoying a glass of wine.
And before leaving I gave them the drawing.
It was a really fun night.

The next morning I went back to my studio and put the finishing touches on a ceramic sculpture I was making of George Calombaris' excellent kids cook book; 'Georgie Porgie'. 
And the day after that I went back to Jimmy Grants on the first day it officially opened to the public, and amazingly, George Calombaris dropped by and signed my sculpture. 
He wrote "To Kenny, cook in love". And so there you go, a masterpiece to inspire my master feasts, signed by a Masterchef. 
Best of all, after that George also signed my chef's hat.
After meeting George I was in the mood for cooking up some drawings. Here's one I did of a guy with his hair in a top knot.I gave him the drawing and he was super friendly. He told me all about the Melbourne folk punk band The Flying So High-O's, who were on his t-shirt I'd just drawn. But if music's not your thing maybe sport is, as also at Jimmy Grants was AFL football superstar, number 15 himself, captain of the Hawthorn Hawks, Luke Hodge, who was eating a souvalki with his Dad. (As you can tell from the photo Hodgey looks so much taller, and masculine, and with shorter hair, when you see him on TV.)At this point a couple of kids began watching me draw and pretty soon I was surrounded by a herd of them, one of the mum's asked if I could show them some of my drawings, so I did of course, and they were all nice enough to at least pretend to be interested.Unfortunately by the time I'd done show and tell with the kids Luke Hodge and his Dad had vanished before I could give them the drawing. He was so fast, which I guess is probably one of the reasons why his team won the Grand Final on the weekend. So after that I drew this family.
And here they are with the drawing.
They were so nice, and sent me a thank you email the next day. I asked them what their favourite thing on the menu is and they told me it was the shrimp souvlaki. I didn't even realise there was such a thing, I might have to try it next time. 

At this point George Calombaris was just about to leave so I quickly had a go at drawing him. 
I nervously gave George his portrait and fortunately for me he was souva into it. He asked me to sign it and he was generally just a great and souva generous guy.
And after that, to wrap this thing up, I went out to the seats in the sun and drew a souvalaki, (my drawing of the souvlaki is the first image you saw way back at the top of this blog post). 
And so yeah this was a fun one, eating good food and giving out drawings, thanks so much to Danielle Poulos, George Calombaris, Cherie Peele for taking all the photos and just a big thanks to everyone at Jimmy Grants Richmond. I'm by no means a 'food blogger' so when I first got contacted about attending the launch I thought it must be spam, fortunately for me though it was something much, much more delicious than spam. 

Jimmy Grants is located at 427 Church Street in Richmond. There's also a Jimmy's in Fitzroy, in Ormond, and one on Lonsdale Street in the city. It's easily one of the best souvalakis I've had; give it a go!

But ok, really quick before I finish this blog post there's a couple of other things on at the moment, unrelated to souvlaki's, that I'd also love to tell you about.

The first is that if you head to Kings Artist Run gallery on Kings Street in Melbourne between now and October 24, then you'll get to see the exhibition that's just opened by Sydney artist David Greenhalgh, but also you'll get to pick up a free copy of the exhibition essay I was invited to write to accompany the show as part of the Kings Emerging Writers Program.
The next thing I wanna mention is that if you happen to be out in Regional Victoria Gippsland over the next couple of months, I'm in an exhibition there that opens this Sunday and goes until November 30. The show's at Cowwarr Art Space, which is where I did a two week residency back in May. I've got five new sculptures in the show that I've never shown before, and yeah, it's basically just a group show featuring all the Cowwarr Art Space resident artists of 2015.

And speaking of artists in residence, the last thing I'm super excited to invite you to is that every Friday night for the next five weeks, (October 2nd, 9th, 16th, 23rd, 30th and the 6th of November), I'm extremely honoured and thrilled to be the 'resident artist' at the National Gallery of Victoria! Crazy right?!

Basically what that means is I'll be standing in a room full of works from Catherine The Great's Hermitage exhibition talking about drawing and giving out a free little drawing book I was invited to make in response to the show. Come say hi! For more info on all that please click here!

Ha, and so yeah, what better way to prepare for being a resident artist at the NGV than to be the resident artist at a souvlaki shop.

Speaking of which, after drawing a souvlaki in the sun here's the last drawing I did at Jimmy Grants. It's of a Mum and daughter eating souvlaki's and salad while the Dad sips lemonade through a straw.
When I gave them the drawing the Dad said "You were drawing us?! That's so funny cause we were watching you as well! I was just saying how bad I felt for you for being a Collingwood supporter!" 

I asked "Well, who do you go for?" and he put his head down and said "...St Kilda". I told him "I should be the one feeling sorry for you!" 
And then as I walked out the door here's a nice photo of the family looking at their drawing while the sun sets over beautiful Richmond.
And so in conclusion, not much has changed; we can all still agree that souvlaki's are delicious, (particularly the ones at Jimmie Grants!), and we can all also still agree that blogs are still very, very cool. 

The only thing that actually has changed is that now when I'm in bathroom lines at parties and I'm trying to impress people by having a blog I can seem even more impressive than wearing a backwards cap by instead wearing my autographed chefs hat.
Ha, and the other thing thats new is since getting George Calombaris's wonderful wishes of "cook in love", now every time I cook jam toast it pops out of the toaster in an extra lovely heart shape.
Anyway hope this post wasn't too jam packed, thanks so much for eating. uh, I mean reading. See you again really spoon and hope you're having an awesome chews day.
Do you believe in love at first bite?

The simple joys in life. 
Or should I say, the dim simple joys in life.
Or should I say, the dim simple soys of life.
Ha, ok, sorry, I'll stop kebabbling on.

Tuesday, September 08, 2015

Classy drawings

Good morning students, I just thought I'd write a quick blog post to let you know if you happen to be around Melbourne Uni during the next couple of days you can see eight big drawings of mine hanging in the window space in front of George Paton Gallery in Union House. 

Also around Union House is work by Melbourne artists Sean Peoples and Georgina Lee. The show is curated by Catherine Reid, it's titled "So... about that brief", and basically for it Catherine asked each of us to respond to the university. 

With this in mind I included eight drawings, blown up in scale to fit the unique space, that I drew back when I was at uni where I probably should've been paying more attention during classes, lectures and artist talks. 

Here's one of the drawings in the show, titled "If the smartest person at uni wears sandals to class then maybe I should wear sandals to class as well".
The exhibition "So... about that brief" is open only briefly, so briefly in fact that there's only a few days left, but there's a closing celebration with free drinks and snacks tomorrow night between 5 and 7pm, come say hi!

This sentence is a link to the facebook event thing.

And to give you a brief look at the show, here's some guys checking it out while a woman in the background charges her phone.
Here's another photo of the show, the two people on the right leaning against the window were very publicly breaking up which was pretty sad, although they were doing it in front of my drawing titled "Girlfriend and boyfriend and lecturer" which made it just a tiny bit funny.And really shaking things up, here's my pal Hanann enjoying four green shakes while looking at my drawing of a Paul Yore artist talk.
I would've loved for Paul Yore to see the show but unfortunately he's currently on a research based trip in Europe. I was feeling pretty good about my life until he told me that, now I'm just super jealous of him.

Ha, no, I guess cruising around Europe for the next few months would be ok, if you're into that kind of thing, but beautiful Melbourne is still the worlds most liveable city, and so I actually kind of feel sorry for Paul, after all, he didn't get to experience the thrill of standing in the freezing cold today and missing a train because he had to wait in line for twenty minutes to top up his myki at the Melbourne Uni tram stop.
Ha, but aside from Paul Yore another person who appears in one of the drawings in the show is the brilliant writer Justin Clemens, featured in this drawing titled "The Justin Clemens lecture was packed. I got a pretty good spot up the back although I couldn't see his head because it was blocked by a TV".
Click on this sentence to read the blog post "When life gives you Clemens", where I talk about the time I made this drawing. 

Here's a photo of the drawing of Clemens head being blocked getting blocked itself by two people by eating lunch in front of it.

And here's a photo my buddy Christina sent me of the Justin Clemens drawing being blocked by someone holding balloons.
Amazingly, Justin Clemens actually saw the show, (so cool!), and here we are hanging out in front of my drawing of him.
But you probably don't recognise him in that photo of us because in it you can see his face, so here I am using my laptop to block our faces.
(Big thanks to Hanann for taking the photo and Justin for being in it.)

Ha, but yeah, "So... about that brief" is on for just a few more days, it's open 8am to 9pm so hopefully you're able to get there Justin the nick of time and have a look. The show came about very last minute but I'm really happy with it. I think one day I might even like to turn this series of drawings into a little book or something.

Speaking of which, immediately after I deinstall the drawings I'm heading to Sydney for the weekend as I have a stall at the VOLUME Art Book Fair at Artspace. VOLUME is being presented in partnership by two the publishers Perimeter Books (from Melbourne) and Printed Matter (from New York, New York, it's a hell of a town), and there's heaps of my favourite galleries and publications involved, click here for a full list of all the stall holders.

It's gonna be heaps of fun so if you're around Sydney for the Art Fair and Spring 1883 then don't forget to please turn up the volume, turn up to VOLUME and come visit me! 

VOLUME opens this Friday night from 5-9pm, then is open Saturday from 11am-7pm and Sunday from 11am-6pm. This sentence is a link to the facebook event for that.

In the meantime though school's out for ever and so's this blog post, thanks so much for reading, hopefully see you at George Paton this week or at Artspace this weekend, and to finish up for today here's one more of my drawings that's currently on show at Melbourne Uni, it's acrylic on paper and is titled "The mature aged students arrived at the classroom forty minutes early".
(Ha, what's not mentioned in the title of course is that for me to make the drawing I clearly arrived at the classroom forty minutes early as well.)