Thursday, April 02, 2015

PICA on someone your own size

Hey pal, good to see ya, you're looking great. Pardon? Oh, I've got some paint in my hair?... Is it out now? Cool, thanks. Yeah this past week I've been painting. Getting a little cash money for it too. It looks like my first class honours painting degree is finally paying off. Ha, well, sort of.

Back in December I mentioned that I was invited to paint my LOOK WHAT I'VE BEEN REDUCED TO! onto the shopfront window of the store Third Drawer Down in Prahran, (here it is again).
Well while I was doing that an elderly woman approached me and asked if I would paint her living room. "I don't mean like a mural" she said, "but I see you have good brush control and I want to hire you. We've bought all the paint but my husband is getting a bit old to be doing it himself".

I looked in my diary at the dates the woman wanted me to do the painting and the only thing I had on that week was "Take Chloe to puppy training class", so given that my schedule was so dog-gone spacious I told the woman that I'm the perfect man for the job and now look what I've been reduced to; I painted her living room pink, her bathroom white and I varnished her decking.

Here's a painting of me painting.
A painting of me painting. Acrylic on paper. 21 x 29.5cm. 2015.

So now when I meet someone and they ask "what do you do?" and I say "uh, I'm a painter" and they assume I mean house painter, which sounds a lot more grown up than saying "I'm an artist" so sometimes I just don't correct them, well now I'm actually telling the truth.

But ok, speaking of painting houses I should actually do a bit of housekeeping on this blog and quickly remind you once again that issue 3 of Sturgeon, the rad publication put out by Artbank that features a new text and image work by me called 'Total Eclipse of the Art', is still available in all your favourite newsagents and gallery gift shops. Here's a photo I took while reading it and filling my car up with gas.
Also, while I'm talking publications, I've got work in issue 1 of another magazine that launched just last week called Funny Ha-Ha. Here's the poster.
It's a real thrill for me to see my name on the poster as the other names on it are mostly all comedians, writers and actors. In particular Rebecca Shaw is one of my favourite short form writers at the moment, Becky Lucas is a really funny comedian from Brisbane and Chris Gethard was an actor in The Office.

Basically for Funny Ha-Ha I was asked by the editor if they could include a selection of photos from my instagram from back when I did my "You art what you eat" project, documenting everything I ate last October. It's funny (ha-ha) to see my photos away from their original context but I think it works, ha, as seen in this friendly review of Funny Ha-ha in The Thousands that simply says "Kenny Pittock's take on food photography is worth trying to get your head around."

Here I am trying to get my head around it while holding the publication and chilling with the wonderful Bec Varcoe, creator of Funny Ha-Ha.
And here we are again, (but this time Bec's being blocked out by a sculpture).

And here's some photos of my pages in Funny Ha-Ha taken at the book launch.

If you're interested in buying a copy of Funny Ha-haclick here

Oh also, while I'm doing housekeeping, a few months ago a person named Lily wrote me a nice letter and included a "supposed to be ironic" photo that she wanted me to do a quick drawing of. I did the drawing but unfortunately I think I've lost the address, so Lily if you're reading this write to me again and I'll be sure to post it your way.
Portrait of Lily. Acrylic on 225gsm paper. 21 x 29cm. 2015.

And the last thing I'll talk about today is that there's an interview with me in the latest issue of Colosoul, which is an online publication based in Perth. Click on this sentence to read it, I'm on page 29 and 30. 

You can tell the interview was done a little while ago because when I'm asked about any upcoming shows I mention the Art As A Verb exhibition at MUMA, but definitely still check it out if you're interested as I also talk a little bit about childhood as well as the recent Salon exhibition at the Perth Institute of Contemporary Art, awesomely curated by Nadia Johnson. 

One of my works in the PICA Salon was an expansion on this piece Golden Gaytime that I made in 2012, which measured 22 x 14.5 x 3cm.
Acrylic and ceramic on board.

Here's a photo from when I installed it onto the front of a train station kiosk, (up the top).
The more developed version of this painting that I made more recently for the PICA Salon measured 152 x 76 x 4cm. 

Here I am with it while buying a Gaytime at 7-11.
And here's my statement for the painting;
I love Perth, it’s hot and relaxed, which makes it the perthfect conditions for eating ice-cream. Aside from that though, probably the thing I associate most with Perth is mining; a lot of people I grew up with see it as a golden opportunity to go to Perth and work in the mines. The thought of me ever having to do that scares me out of my mined, instead whenever I’m in need of gold I just go to the milkbar.  
It’s like what Neil Young is always singing about, “I wanna live, I wanna give, I’ve been a miner for a heart of Golden Gaytime”. 
Going through some photos from the PICA Salon opening, here's one of my buddy Abdul Abdullah and I in front of our works that were hung next to each other.
While comparing the differences between our works I said "Abdul, if I'm ever gonna be an important artist big shot like you are then I'm probably gonna have to make start making stuff that's more political." and we decided the first step in this direction would be for me to try on his bling.
Here's the moment where it got caught on my big nose.
Ha, and here we are looking like a couple of very serious contemporary artists.
For a bit of extra fun on the opening night the amazing people at PICA also organised, as a companion to my Gaytime painting, a golden body builder to walk around with a golden esky and hand out actual Gaytime ice-creams. 
The shoulder of my t-shirt is now permanently golden as a result of that body builder putting his arm around me for a photo, but on the bright side at least now my t-shirt matches my painting.
And I know what you're thinking; "Oh no, now that the t-shirt is permanently stained how will you be able to show people that you heart Perth?!" No problemo, I can still wear it, all I gotta do is also wear an open shirt over the top... and sure, now it looks like I heart Erth, not Perth, but that's ok, cause I'm a pretty down to Erth kinda guy.
So yeah, here's a piece of insider advice, speaking as someone who once wrote an article for Vogue Living; if you ever rub up against a body builder and need to conceal the stains on the shoulders of your t-shirt, don't freak out, just wear your favourite open shirt over the top and nobody at the puppy pre-school will ever suspect a thing. It'll be our little secret.
And alright, it's always good to finish a blog post with a hot fashion tip like that so I'd better end this here, besides, we painters have to get up in the morning. But yeah, thanks so much for reading, I hope you have an eggcellent long weekend and to finish this thing off here's a little painting I did that expresses my love for the Perth Institute of Contemporary Art, it's called PICA-langelo's David.
Acrylic on paper. 21 x 29.5cm. 2015.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Home is Cowwarr the heart is

Hey pal, great to see you, how've you... hang on a sec, my phone's ringing. Sorry, I'd better take this. In the past I might've just kept writing the blog post and then rung the person back later, but not anymore; as you can see in the headline to this article in the Gippsland local paper, nowadays, I answer calls.
Ha, hi, I just thought I'd write a quick little blog post reminding you that Future Now, the group show I'm in at Cowwarr in Regional Victoria, curated by Rosemary Forde, is still on until April 27. Oh and also yeah, as seen in the above screenshot of my friend and fellow artist Isabelle's instagram, there's an article about the show published in the current LaTrobe Valley Express. Click on this sentence to read the it. 

I really like the article, I can't remember the last time I was referred to as 'Mr. Pittock'. Also, having lived my whole life in a forest, I don't think I've ever been called an "urban artist". So thank you to the writer Farah Plummer for providing me with some much needed street cred.

Another fun feature of the article is this photo of the other artists and I holding my portraits of them, and all of us wearing a very natural smile.
It's a fun upbeat photo, contrasting nicely with this much more moody, serious artist photo that was also taken of Isabelle and I beginning to install our work. 
Photos of me are usually a lot cooler if I don't know that they're being taken. For instance, if I'd known that the above photo was being taken it probably would've turned out like this.
While I'm going through photos from Cowwarr, here's Dan and I tending to the gallery garden. As you can see, Dan is praying that the plants will grow, meanwhile I'm trying to make the plants grow using a watering can. Which one of us has the better gardening technique? That's for you to decide.
(Given that there wasn't any water in the watering can, my guess is that both techniques are equally as effective.)
Cowwarr's a pretty funny place, it's about a three and a half hour drive from Melbourne; there's no phone reception or internet and it's a bit like going back in time. The gallery was created by the mayor of Wellington, Carolyn Crossley, that's her on the left. 
(She now runs the gallery with her wonderful partner Clive. That's his awesome sculpture whose nose I'm picking.)

Carolyn established the gallery back in 1992, before that the building was a butter factory. Don't worry, I made plenty of "I can't believe it's not butter factory" jokes.

Anyway so the four other artists and I all drove down to Cowwarr in my car, we were kind of like the Scooby Doo gang, except that the only mystery we had to solve is "What the heck are we doing with our lives?!" Which is a tough one to figure out in a weekend.

I guess if we were looking for enlightenment though then this was the place to find it. We stayed in an old Church convent stuffed full of huge Jeff Koonsy sculptures like this.
Given that the view from my studio looks out onto a Church, and is around the corner from a bottle shop, I'm used to working near spirits. On Saturday morning I woke up early and began sculpting a Frosty Fruit, while drinking coffee with weird milk and reading Jesus.
Later in the morning I continued sculpting a Frosty Fruit I was joined by the others, who all did what you're supposed to do with Frosty Fruits, which is eat them. As seen here in the worlds blurriest photo. 
After that we went to the gallery and finalised the install, we then went to the pub and played a few games of pool, and after that we went to a quarry where we swam out across a lake and jumped off an eight meter rock into the water, and then that night we drove to Sale and went to a rodeo.
The rodeo crowd was pretty amazing. You know how when someone takes a baby to one of those professional photography places and they dress the baby up as a cowboy? Well everybody looked just like that, except they actually were cowboys. And cowgirls. Cow people. Cowwarr people. Not just people though, at one point we saw a dog riding a horse. That was a real highlight. I wasn't quick enough to get a photo of that but I did take a photo of this lady who rode a horse whilst singing. I wrote down the lyrics to one of her songs; "His fists are big but my guns are bigger, he'll find out when I pull the trigger..." 
The rodeo wrapped up when we saw a nine year old cowboy get bucked really hard in the face then stomped into the ground. He didn't get up and was carried off on a stretcher while the man on the megaphone told us what a true blue champion the kid is.
I've just realised I should probably be talking about the actual exhibition, but I might do that another time, for now I'm just trying to give you an idea of the exciting place that the show's in. Also, I'll be driving back down to Cowwarr by myself next month and doing a two week residency at the Cowwarr Art Space, so I'll be sure to take some good documentation and say more about the show then.
And so yeah, Future Now, Cowwarr Art Space until April 27, I know you probably won't be able to drive out that far and see it but I figure you might be interested in hearing about it anyway. Thanks heaps for reading, I hope you're going really good, and if anyone is giving you any grief with their big fists then try not to put yourself in a position where you might find yourself on the receiving end of a cowwarrds punch, instead my advice is to climb on your horse and go buy the biggest guns you can afford. That's what I would do, but I am after all, an urban artist.
Opp shop opening hours.

Check(ers) mate. 
Re-enacting that photo of The Beatles in a pool.
At the rodeo.

Friday, February 27, 2015

Catch me if you Canberra

Hey cool guy, welcome, yesterdays blog post was about me flying to Sydney on Friday to deliver some work for an exhibition, and so I guess the second part of the story is that when I left Sydney on Saturday night I took a bus to Canberra. 

I hadn't been to Canberra since 2011 when I saw the Paris exhibition at the National Gallery of Australia, this time I was there to see a different show at the NGA; a retrospective of Californian artist James Turrell. I was pretty excited about the show; every bus stop in Sydney is lit up with posters advertising it using the quote 'ONE OF THE GREATEST ARTISTS OF OUR TIME'.
What I like most about the quote on the poster is that it doesn't actually tell you who it's quoting. So who said that Turrell is 'ONE OF THE GREATEST ARTISTS OF OUR TIME'? Was it the curator? His mum? It could be anyone!

Anyone except for the BBC that is, or the National Gallery of Victoria, who when sharing a link on their facebook page about the greatest artist of our time have ignored James Turrell entirely and instead suggested it's a pufferfish.
At first I thought they were referring to the rapper Sean Pufferfish Diddy Combs. That would've made sense to me, I've always said that Combs is the greatest artist of our time, but they weren't talking about Combs at all, it turns out they mean an actual fish.

And the BBC does present a convincing argument. I mean, I could never make an artwork like this pufferfish, there's just absolutely no way I could hold my breath that long.
When I got to Canberra, about 10pm on Saturday night, I went straight to Parliament House. I sat on the front lawn and started drawing the building, but I only got as far as the flag on the top before police cars began circling me and the sprinklers turned on.
At first I thought I was in the one lucky spot where none of the sprinklers could reach, but after 20 seconds of feeling invincible all the sprinklers began to rotate towards me and I knew that the time had come for me to resign from my post at Parliament House.
So I walked across the field to Old Parliament House, which although was equally as dark, it's a much drier building to draw.
It was getting late. My very best pal Cherie had just arrived in Canberra too so we went halves in a mystery room. A mystery room is this thing you do through a website where you book last minute accommodation for dirt cheap but they don't tell you anything about the place until you've paid, and luckily we scored the jackpot. As much as I loved sleeping on the floor the night before, this room was pretty great.
It didn't have a view of a bay but it did have a second door that opened into an enchanted forest courtyard. 
Here's a photo of me Sunday morning. (How come I'm always so lonely, who wouldn't wanna wake up next to this?)
The thing I was most excited about with this hotel was the pool, here I am at 7am Sunday morning crushing a little boy in a 50 meter freestyle race. 

Pufferfish aren't the only artists who can swim.
Checking out of the hotel Cherie and I went to the supermarket for breakfast, where I discovered the only flavour of Chupa Chup you can get in Canberra is caramel. 

Do you think it's because people really love caramel so they buy it in bulk or do you think it's the only flavour left cause everyone thinks it sucks?
One things for sure though; the James Turrell exhibition doesn't suck. I loved it. 
I started to do a drawing in my favourite room, although there wasn't much to draw. I got a fair bit into it before a security guard told me that I was not allowed to use a marker in the gallery.
So I put away the marker and got out some whiteout. I was hoping if I used it to colour in the bright light bit that maybe it might make my drawing glow, but it didn't really work.
Taking the drawing out of the gallery it instantly looked a lot less vibrant.
So I've since gotten a bit of paint and tickled the drawing pink, and now when I look at it I feel like I'm right back there in the room.
I love the National Gallery of Australia, and I thought that I was having the best time possible in the NGA until I spotted Brett and Wendy clearly having an even better time than me.
Now that the day had climaxed, Cherie and I began the drive home from Canberra to Melbourne, stopping only at a McDonalds for a couple of very affordable large waters when the heat made us thirsty.

 (Hume highway? More like Humid Highway. Am I right?!... Yes, good one Kenny.)
The other place we stopped at was the iconic place of 'Dog on the Tuckerbox', sculpted by stonemason Frank Rosconi in 1932. According to wikipedia, the work was inspired by a drovers poem that celebrates a drovers dog who loyally guards it's owners tuckerbox by sitting on top of it. I used my very last piece of paper to do a drawing of it.
While exiting the area via the 'Dog on the Tuckerbox' gift shop I spent a few minutes looking at this sign. Do you think it's intentional that there's no space between the words 'more' and 'space'? Surely it has to be. I also like how OUTSIDE is in capitals to really drive home the joke.
I didn't buy the sign but I did buy an icy pole, and as I did the woman at the register said "I noticed you were sketching out there, you have very good line control". I thanked the woman, (Tess, her name was), and I told her she was very kind and more than welcome to keep the little drawing. 

She very happily asked me to sign the back, I very happily did, and then we had this picture taken.
And the rest is history, here I am eating cheese and crackers at 110 k's an hour for the next 6 hours.
And so yeah, I'm back in Melbourne now, very happily so, and when I walked into my kitchen I was very surprised to have a puppy run towards me. Ha, and so little did I know, but we've got a puppy.

Meet Chloe. She's about the size of my foot. Which is perfect because I like my dogs how I like my subs; footlong.
Here I am holding Chloe in one arm, and holding Cherie's bag in the other. They both look so similar I can't remember which one's which.
I've never had a girl dog before, I keep calling her boy. I thought that all cats were girls and all dogs were boys. This changes everything. Weird right, just thinking about it I can feel my mind expanding outwards like some kind of puffed up fish.
But ok that's enough out of me, the last thing I'll say is a quick reminder that there's only two days left to see the show I'm in at Anna Pappas, and also that on this Sunday is the opening of the show I'm in at the Cowwarr Art Space in Gippsland, Victoria, and also that on March 6th is the opening of a show I'm in at the Wollongong Art Gallery, in Wollongong, (obviously), in Regional NSW. 

And even though my work couldn't possibly compete with that of James Turrell or a sand manipulating fish I'd still love for you to come by to one or all of these shows, join me for a drink and check out some of the stuff I've been up to. 

But even if you can't make it to the shows thanks heaps for reading this, I hope everything with you is going swimmingly, and remember to keep your eye out for Chloe Pittock, she's my tip for the next greatest artist of our time.

And so yeah, that's pretty much it, Chloe's picking this whole art thing up pretty quickly for a two month old, today while trying to learn from the masters she had a go at replicating Dog on the Tuckerbox, here's Chloe's version, Dog in the Tuckerbox.