Monday, September 08, 2014

Getting the band back together

Hey pal, I haven't been on here in a little while so I figure it's hi time that I said hello.
About a week ago the bit on my watch broke that holds the band in against itself, you know, this bit.
It's just a tiny bit of rubber but it's really frustrating to not have it, every time I look at my watch I feel a bit out of sorts, like I'm wearing a nice shirt but it needs an iron and I haven't fixed the collar and the buttons are done up wrong and the sun is in my eyes, (as demonstrated in this photo my Mum took of me yesterday on Frankston pier).
If you're the kind of person who wears a watch then you'll know about how when you don't wear your watch you feel naked, however it's a different feeling altogether when you are wearing your watch but it's missing that bit of rubber, you don't quite feel naked, but you do feel like your fly's undone.
On a side note, does that bit of rubber have a name? Hang on a sec, I'll look it up...

...Watch band centre dot com calls it a "Folded loop".
All the other sites I looked at, including world of watches dot com, call it a "Strap keeper", so I'm gonna go with that.
Anyway so the day after my strap keeper broke I went to Mr. Watchworks in Knox City to get a replacement. 

When I asked Mr. Watchworks if I could buy a replacement strap keeper he picked one out of a big pile and said "fine, that'll be five dollars". I was very polite about it but I said "really, but it's just a tiny piece of rubber?" "It's five dollars" he said, "I'll think about it" I said.

I couldn't bring myself to pay Mr. Watchworks the five dollars. I might've paid him four dollars, maybe even four fifty, but not five, na uh, I mean my whole watch only cost 15 dollars and I'd be very surprised if a third of that went towards the strap keeper.

In hindsight though I should've just paid the five dollars and got the new strap keeper, that would've been the end of it, then I would've just gotten on with whatever I was doing. Instead though I've been thinking about it all week. It's taken over my whole brain. What I should've been thinking about this week is how increasingly unsatisfied I am with my art, or how I don't have a love life, or how I need to get back in to preparing my meals from home so I don't have to keep buying them, and how I should be doing more to help people less fortunate than me and I should be actively trying to get a better grasp on politics and societal issues and what the hell am I even doing, or how I should really change my phone plan, or how come there isn't any garlic bread flavour of flavoured milk? Maybe that last one isn't such a great idea but any of those other things could be worth thinking about, instead though I've spent the whole week thinking about how that Mr. Watchworks has a lot of nerve to try and charge me five bucks for a strap keeper.

For a while my plan was to go into one of the cheap shops near my studio and take a strap keeper off of one of their cheap watches. It'd be so easy to do but I just can't bring myself to do it. 

Here I am in one of the cheap shops contemplating it.
What made stealing a strap keeper from here especially tempting is that the name of the shop is "Gypsy's in the city", and as much as I looove howling along with Stevie Nicks when she sings about feeling like a gypsy there is of course a stereotype that gypsy's are known for stealing.
(Swanston Street, 5p.m.)

One time on a crowded train when I was in Rome I actually caught a Gypsy with her hand in my pocket. To avoid being being pick-pocketed I was holding onto my phone and wallet so I think the only thing to steal from my pocket was a Posca marker. When I caught her trying to do that I didn't really know how to react, I said "Hey, get outta there!" and I took this photo of her. 
After I'd taken the photo we stood next to each other awkwardly for a few a minutes until she got off at the next stop. Even though I wouldn't let this gypsy take my permanent marker I do know that they have it rough so I won't judge them too harshly and I won't steal a strap keeper from their shop on Swanson Street. I keep thinking about the unlucky person who would go into the cheap shop after me and buy a strap keeperless watch and have to deal with this awful burden of having no strap keeper. No, I won't let this situation sink that low, not on my watch.

But so I know what you're thinking, "just glue your broken strap keeper back together", but you see then I'd always be worried about it breaking again. Instead I settled on doing nothing and just adding this to the long list of things that are wrong with me. That was the stalemate up until yesterday, but things changed a bit yesterday because yesterday I lost my watch.

On the one hand when I realised I'd lost it I was really glad I hadn't bought a new strap keeper, that would've been like buying a full tank of petrol and then writing off your car, but on the other hand, the hand that usually tells me the time, I thought about how much I loved that watch and all the good times we could've had ahead of us.

When I lost my watch I thought about how if I could do it all over again I would've bought that strap keeper in an instant and who cares about five stinking dollars I just want my watch. In my head I had one of those moments like in the movies, you know when someone's on a plane that's going down and they promise to God that if by some miracle they survive this they will change their ways and donate all of their money to charity. 

A few minutes after that I found my watch, the plane didn't crash, and now I'm torn between whether I want to donate all my money and buy the strap keeper like in my panic I told myself I would.

Descions, desicions. I think I have to, the final clincher that made me make up my mind is that earlier today I visited Victor the goat.

Victor's a goat that used to belong to an 85 year old man. A couple of weeks ago the 85 year old man went to sleep with his electric blanket on and during the night his bed caught on fire and his house burnt to the ground and the 85 year old man burned to death. Now all that's left is charcoal sticks on an empty block of land and for the time being Victor the goat still lives there too. None of that unfortunate event is particularly relevant to this except to say that now lots of people in the community visit Victor daily and feed him and he's fatter than ever and today when I visited him after feeding him an apple I was giving him a pat and because my watch strap was unkept Victor had a good chew on it. 

I must admit I really did enjoy watching Victor munch away at my watch band like it was a Redskin, but still, that shouldn't be happening.
And so ok, I think I've come up with a way that I can pay the five dollars for a new strap keeper and still feel good about it, and so on the off chance that you happened to still be reading this then I'd like to make you an offer.

Earlier today I sculpted a strap keeper out of clay, unlike my real strap keeper this one is in perfect unbroken condition, and my offer to you, dear reader, is that you can acquire it for your art collection for the ridiculously low low price of six dollars and fifty cents, (the additional $1.50 will go towards the cost of the materials, the clay firing and the postage, so long as you live in Australia, otherwise postage'll be a little bit higher). As a result of this you will have a great timeless artwork that you can keep by your side throughout the ages and I will use the money to buy my watch a new strap keeper from the very strapping Mr. Watchworks.

So send me an email if you're interested, ( There's only one to give away so be quick, time is money. 
I just took this ceramic strap keeper on a tram to the kiln not one hour ago and I'll be sure to let you know once it's been fired and glazed. 
So yeah, there you go, thanks heaps for reading and I hope you're not too mad at me for writing 1500 words about my broken strap keeper but I guess that's just how I roll...ex. That's how I rollex. Good one Kenny. Alright already it's time for bed. First though I'm gonna end the day with some nutritious oven baked garlic bread dunked in a refreshing glass of goat milk.

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.