Thursday, December 18, 2014

A shrig day out

Hey internet friend, sorry I've neglected you for a couple of weeks; my laptop fell into a coma. I'm happy to report though that this afternoon I picked him up from computer hospital and he's much better now, unfortunately he's suffered a mild case of amnesia but other than that he's doing good and back where he belongs; sitting atop my lap. 

So alright, what should I write about first? Well ok, the other day someone named Billy bought a couple of my sculptures and just for fun I decided that as well as send Billy the sculptures I would also send him a drawing of someone else named Billy, I went with the actor Billy Zane.
A zany drawing for Billy of Billy Zane. 21 x 29cm. Acrylic on 225gsm paper. 2014.

The drawing makes Zane's bow-tie kind of look like mistletoe, I should've coloured it in green. Ha, actually maybe that could be a hot new festive fashion item; the mistletoe. Perfect for getting one of those Spiderman upside down kisses.

But anyway as you can see the drawing didn't turn out too crash hot, in fact the drawing was such an icy shipwreck that normally I would never show it to anyone; the reason I have shown it to you though is that making this drawing just happened to be what I was doing at the exact moment I was invited by the website Three Thousand to interview the artist David Shrigley, (to promote the lead up to Shrigley simultaneously releasing a new book and opening a solo exhibition at the National Gallery of Victoria)Amazing. 

I can't remember when I first got into David Shrigley, I don't think I knew about him when I was in high school so it must've been when I was in TAFE, maybe second year, probably first year, (which very scarily was seven years ago). I'm pretty sure the first time I heard of him was when one of my tutors described a drawing I'd done as Shrigley-esque. I didn't like that one bit; I didn't want to be anyone-esque. So much so that there was a time where for ages I went out of my way to deliberately not look at Shrigley's work because I didn't want any chance of being influenced by it, which in hind site is pretty silly but that's the kind of numbskull I was seven years ago. 

And of course I'm no Shrigley; he's good and I suck. 

Ha, also Shrigley's humour is mostly much darker, more absurdist and more detached than the kind of thing I do, and also I hate the way he writes the letter G. But still, there's obviously a little bit of him in me. There's a little bit of a lot of people in me. I think that's just how it works. I always remember hearing Bruce Springsteen say that he wanted to write like Dylan, sound like Orbison and move like Elvis. And obviously he could never do any of those things as well as those people, but in that pursuit he found his own voice and became his own thing. He became The Boss. But wait, hold on, I'm not sure what I'm even trying to say here; I'm Bruce Springsteen? Yeah I think that's it, I'm Bruce Springsteen. But also, I love Shrigley, for ages I even wanted to go to Glasgow just to meet him, and now here I was about to interview him.

I'd actually already met Shrigley once before, earlier this year back in March. It was the day of the preview opening to the NEW14 exhibition at ACCA. I'd just finished doing an interview thing on the excellent Triple R radio show Smart Arts and as I raced back into the gallery to do the final touches of my install I saw a sight that to me seemed as surreal as a melting clock; there was David Shrigley looking at my work and smiling. 

We only spoke for a few minutes, he told me about how he'd just won a 2016 commission to make a ten meter tall sculpture of a thumbs up on the Trafalgar Square plinth in London. I said "A ten meter tall thumbs up?! You wouldn't want to get in a thumb war with that!" After that we talked about my work for a bit, he said some nice things and finally as he was leaving he said "break a leg". I pretended to misstep and fell onto the ground and he sighed "I didn't mean literally." And that was it, I was nervous and dorkishly enthusastic and Shrigley was cool and perfectly deadpan. It was great. 

Here's a photo of us that was taken in front of my drawings by NEW14 curator Kyla McFarlane, as you can see he's larger than life both in his work and in his height.
The day I heard I was doing the interview was the same day Shrigley's new book came out, so I bought it and read it cover to cover. I was hoping to get Shrigley to sign the book but then I decided what might be even better is if I made a sculpture of it and asked him to sign that. 

I had a week to prepare for the interview and in that time I did write down a few questions I wanted to ask but mostly I spent my free time making the sculpture. It was the tightest of schedules though; sculpting it, drying it, getting it fired, glazing and painting it, if I'd had one day less I don't think it would've been possible. What I really need is my own TV show, that way I could just get a props department to make all my art for me.

As well as the book I decided I also wanted to make Shrigley a gift. I knew that he collects rulers so I made a sculpture of one of them. I figured he'd have lots of rulers that are 30cm so I made mine 31cm.
31cm ruler (A gift to David Shrigley). Acrylic on kiln fired ceramic. 2014.

And naturally on the back of the ruler I wrote the words "You rule".

And he did rule; like a boss, like a Bruce Springsteen. We talked for 35 minutes or so and it flew by. Amazingly he remembered me and my work and said nice things like "I don't usually tell journalists this but you're an artist and I think you get it..." He probably says that to everyone but I was still pretty chuffed about it.

Here's a couple of photos from the interview taken by my best bud Cherie.

And hooray, here he is signing my sculpture of his book.
He seemed to really like it and after signing it he was really funny and said "I feel really bad now, I think I've just ruined your sculpture". Shrigley's signature is just his name in capital letters, (for all you forgers out there), and so he wrote his name directly underneath where I'd already painted it. 
After that I offered Shrigley the ruler sculpture. He was probably just being nice but he was so generous with praise and said "Wow, this is definitely my favourite ruler in my collection!". Here he is posing with it.

And a couple of days later he even posted it on instagram. 

The other thing I showed Shrigley that he seemed to respond really well to was my alternate title for his new book. 

Sure his WEAK MESSAGES CREATE BAD SITUATIONS is a good title, but I think my suggestion better implies that his book might have a happy ending;
The next amazing thing that happened was that after my interview for Three Thousand I was asked if the next day I could do another interview with Shrigley for Vogue Living online. How incredible is that?! Ha, when you think of Vogue you think of me, right? 

Versace, Gucci, Prada, Pittock.

I mean after all, I did just invent the mistle-tie.

The Vogue Living interview was on the morning of the NGV opening. It's funny how it worked out; I'd first seen Shrigley on the morning of my ACCA opening and now I was seeing him again on the morning of his NGV one. I told him to break a leg, he didn't fall on the ground like I had. He did show me a secret little hand signal thing though and said "If you see me do this to you at the opening tonight it means I need rescuing", and later that night he actually did do the thing which was pretty great.

I've got dozens of high quality photos from the Vogue Living interview but I don't think I can legally put them on this blog, I think Vogue owns them, however here's some photos that my studio pal Alanna took for me on the day.

If you've read the interviews I should also point out that I did ask Shrigley slightly less frivolous questions that went into more detail about his practise and influences, (and also how he feels upon hearing other artists being referred to as Shrigley-esque), but the art questions were more for me and for the articles I used the more fun stuff that I hoped would better interest readers of Three Thousand or Vogue Living. If you're reading this though then you'd probably be interested in the other stuff too, so maybe sometime next year I'll post the unused David Shrigley interview questions and answers on this blog just for you.  

But yeah, interviewing David Shrigley, what a dream, let me take a second to say thanks so much to everyone who helped make it happen; Sarah Werkmeister, Annemarie Kiely, Abi Crompton, Sarah Hook, Cherie Peele, Alanna Lorenzon, Elizabeth Alexander, Three Thousand, Vogue Living, the NGV, and of course my new BFF David Shrigley. 

I could probably end todays blog post there but I haven't written here in a little while so I might mention a couple more things real quick. In non-Shrigley related news, a day or two after the Shrigley interviews my mate Alex and I ran the City2sea race. 

Here's a photo from 6.30am as we were on our way to the race, eating bacon and egg mcmuffin meals.
Despite the freezing winds and relentless rain here we are 15km's later running a muck and running across the finish line. 

Tramps like us, baby we were born to run.
You're probably thinking "So you ran 15km? Shrig deal, what do you want, a medal?" 

And if you are thinking that then thanks so much for your concern but please you really don't need to get me a medal; the race people already gave me one.

In addition to a medal the race people also gave me this big box of bananas.

And also the worlds tiniest jar of mustard, which when I got home from the race I realised was the perfect sized condiment for my sculptures of cocktail franks, (the worlds tiniest hot dogs), as seen here in this photo in which I felt a little too tired to be having my picture taken.
But this all getting a little too saucy so I'll move along to the last thing I wanted to talk about today which is a text message I got yesterday from my buddy Georgina. 

The message said "Dude! Did you do this or did someone steal your work?!" and it had this photo attached.
Ha, so yeah, obviously I very much appreciate my gal G looking out for me but thankfully the answer to her question is yes, I did do that. 

The day after I won the running race I was invited to paint onto the front window of one of my very favourite shops in the world; Third Drawer Down. The image they specifically asked for was this painting I did last year at a time when I was feeling particularly like a sook.

Acrylic on 225gsm paper. 21 x 29cm. 2013.

Painting a window is fun, it's a bigger scale than I'm used to; you get to use your whole arm and shoulder instead of just your wrist and elbow. Also, I painted it from the inside which meant I had to paint everything backwards, which is why when I did the backwards painting I made sure to wear my cap backwards, (as seen here in this photo of me about to tongue kiss a giant duck).
Even my little signature was painted backwards.

Afterwards I turned the cap around and here I am in front of the finished window, eating delicious cantaloupe with a tiny plastic fork.

And here I am with the wonderful Abi, who made the whole thing possible!

The window (and the brilliant shop attached to it) can be found at 155 Greville Street in Prahran, so if you're in the area please visit Third Drawer Down for some Christmas shopping and while you're there maybe take a moment to reflect in my window.

And so yeah, it was a pretty action packed week, in the space of like five days I was introduced to people as a "freelance reporter", an "athlete" and a "window painter". I laughed when I heard each of them but now that I think about it they're all much cooler titles than "artist".

Anyway I think I've bored you long enough for today, thank you so much for reading, I really appreciate it. See you soon and in the meantime and I ho-ho-hope your December is full of family, friends, happiness, kindness, Bruce Springsteen and bow-ties that look mistletoe.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

This is where I draw the line


Last night I was talking on the phone with a friend and at some point in the conversation I said something along the lines of "I'm feeling a little uncontent with my work". 

"Discontent" she corrected me. 

"Ha, yeah, you know what I mean" I said, "I was thinking of the words 'unsatisfied' and 'discontent' and so that's just what came out."

"Are you feeling like that because you think that you're on repeat?" she asked, quickly and confidently.

"Woah" I laughed, "that's not what I meant at all, but ouch, it seems pretty clear that you think I'm in reruns."

Eventually my friend and I moved on to talking about something else, soft shell crab I think, and how she likes it and I've never tried it, (apparently it's sort of similar to prawns just not as chewy), but so the whole time we were discussing the chewiness of various crustaceans I just kept thinking about that line she'd said earlier and how there's absolutely no way that she's right.

No sir ee. Not a chance. On repeat?! Of course not. She must be out of her lined. Anyway thanks heaps for reading, hope you're going really good (and not at all uncontent), and here's ten brand new drawings.

If you're lost you can look and you will find me, line after line.
If you fall I will catch you, I'll be waiting, line after line.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

A simple Twistie of fate

Hey pal, thanks for stopping by. Here's a ceramic sculpture I made of half a bag of Twisties, it's photographed next to a ceramic sculpture I made of half a bowl of Twisties.
Here's the same set of sculptures but this time I've twisted it around and taken the photo from the opposite side.
And here's the same photo again, but this time I twisted it around just a little bit more.
And so alright, that was the introduction, now it's time for a little story with a little twist, and it goes a little something, like this; recently my friend Tracey purchased six of my Twisties' sculptures. (Thanks heaps Tracey, very much appreciated!) At the time Tracey was doing a residency in Berlin but we decided I should send them now anyway and that way they'd be waiting for her when she got back.

I figured the best way to package the Twisties was to put them into an actual Twisties packet. I then wrote a little note and sent it all off in an envelope.
About a week later I received a very nice email from Tracey's husband saying that he'd received the letter and he'd kept the note but that he'd accidentally thrown away the packet of Twisties thinking it was rubbish and so could he please have some more.

On the one hand it was a little sad because I had picked out my very favourite sculptures to send and now they've completely vanished without a Tracey, but on the other hand, the much bigger hand with orange cheesy fingertips, it's not that sad at all, I think it's pretty darn funny. 

What I like about it is it puts this image in my head of me eating Twisties while in line at the post office. I can picture it now, I'm there waiting to send Tracey a letter and by the time I get to the front of the line I've finished with the Twisties, so rather than bother trying to find a bin to put them in instead I just scrunch them into the envelope up against the letter. I figure Tracey'll probably be near a bin, she can just throw it out for me.

That's actually a pretty great idea, I should mail all my rubbish out to people. Imagine how much easier it would be to take the bins out on bin night if the bin was completely empty. And sure, if the bin was empty I wouldn't even need to take the bin out on bin night, but I still would anyway just to see the smile on the garbage mans face. And so you know what, yes, I now have a new business venture; Kenny Bintock's Junk Mail.

If you would like to sign up to receive Kenny Bintock's Junk Mail then all you have to do is send a self addressed stamped envelope to
Kenny Bintock. P.O Box 7127. Upper Ferntree Gully. Victoria. Australia. 3156.

And so in edition to a handwritten note you might also receive a banana peel, a bad drawing I scrunched up, a parking ticket, the lid to a yogurt... who knows what junk you'll get, that's the fun!

Ha, wait, this is terrible idea actually, I'm having second thoughts, it's possible that no-one is going to want my rubbish and by suggesting that you might it's probably only going to encourage you to send me yours. It's so rare that I receive mail, ha, so imagine how disappointing it would be if one of the few exciting times I did it was a lid to someones yogurt.

What's the opposite to junk? Whatever that is, let's send that to each other.

Anyway so the end of the story is that of course I sent Tracey some more Twisties, they came out of the kiln earlier in the week and I glazed them up good and first thing tomorrow morning I'll post them.

This time though rather than put the Twistie sculptures into a real Twisties packet I decided to make my own painting/sculpture of a Twisties packet specifically for Tracey's husband, I changed the words in a few places though, and so where the real packet normally says Twisties Cheese on my packet it says Tracey's squeeze.
Here's a shot of it twisting about in a little alley falling in with a bad crowd and making friends with an empty packet of smokes and a crushed bottle of iced tea.
And here it is again, this time in my favourite supermarket, amongst much more suitable companions;
While I was at the supermarket I couldn't help noticing that for a limited time only they're now selling Hot Dog flavoured Twisties. Did you know about this? Then why didn't you tell me?! 

I know they always say that ignorance is twist but I just had to know whether these Hotdog twisties really tasted like hot dogs, so I bought a pack.

Today is exactly 25 days from the City2Sea race that my buddy Alex and I are running in, and so in a last minute attempt at training for that on Sunday night Al and I went on a 4km hike up a mountain. When we finally reached the peak it was hotdog time.

And so here they are, hot dog flavoured Twisties in hotdog buns with mustard.
At this point a big boxing kangaroo hopped out from behind a tree so we asked her to please take a photo for us.
And here's another photo taken by her joey.
It kind of looks like we're about to be crushed by that falling tree behind us, but tree or no tree the hotdog flavoured Twisties were great. I think they actually do taste like hotdogs, ha, but maybe it's just all my head. They're very reddish in colour, at the very least I know that much isn't in my head.

After trying Hotdog flavoured Twisties in hot dog rolls with mustard it was only natural that earlier tonight when out to dinner with my pal Cherie I decided we ought to try Cheese flavoured Twisties on crackers.

And finally, the inevitable next step, a Chicken Twisties parmagiana.

One final note note about Twisties, because I am currently learning Italian, did you know that in Italy Twisties are called Fonzies? 

Apparently, (according to wikipedia), the Italian Fonzies are lighter in colour than Australian Twisties because "they do not use the bright orange food colouring", and also, unlike Australian Twisties, Fonzies are baked not fried. 

(I would amore to try them, so salve to any italiano readers out there, and if possible, per favore?)

Here's a photo that I found online of some guy holding a packet of Fonzies. 
And to finish it off, eeeeeeeeeeeeeey presto, here's a drawing I just did of Fonzie eating Fonzies.
And so yeah, thanks heaps for reading, ciao (that means cya), arrivederci (that means bye), and in conclusion (that's in english), I hope you've had a great day and that the week ahead is even greater, be sure to shake it up baby now, (shake it baby now), twistie and shout, (twistie and shout), c'mon c'mon c'mon c'mon now baby now, (come on baby), c'mon and work it on out, (work it on out). 

You know you twistie little girl, (twistie little girl), you know you twistie so fine, (twistie so fine), c'mon and twistie little closer now, (twistie little closer), and let me know that you're mine, (twistie you're so sublime).

PS. For a second there I was considering throwing out my drawing of Fonzie eating Fonzies but I don't think I will, I think instead I'll keep it around just on the off chance that maybe you feel like signing up to Kenny Bintock's Junk Mail.
Acrylic and 225gsm paper. 21 x 29cm. 18.10.14