Wednesday, August 26, 2015

What's good for the goose is good for the Ryan Gander

Hey pal, nice to see ya, I just figured I should write a blog post to let you know that today is your very last chance to see the exhibition Art As A Verb at Artspace. So if you're in Sydney then please hop, skip and jump your way in to the gallery.

Here's a photo I took of my piece in the show, installed in prime real estate between really great works by Ariel Orozco and David McDiarmid.
It still feels like a dream to be in this show exhibiting alongside so many of my favourites  including Martin Creed, Claes Oldenburg and Yoko Ono. Also on the list of great artists with me in the exhibition is the 2010 Turner Prize nominated artist Ryan Gander.

I didn't know much about Ryan Gander before this year when he had a solo show at ACCA, (the Australian Centre for Contemporary Art), but luckily for me the awesome people at ACCA must've known I would love Ganders work as amazingly they invited me to host a workshop day in response to it.

The workshop was for young kids and families and happened about three weeks ago, here's the flyer.
Learning about Ryan Gander's work was a real joy. The main piece in his exhibition was titled Ampersand, which consists of 66 items moving around a large conveyor belt inside a large room, the viewer can't enter the room and can only see the items scroll past in front of them one at a time behind a small window.  

Accompanying the work is a book that Gander wrote explaining the significance of each of the 66 items. I read the book front to back and then made a sculpture of it, and then later when I was lucky enough to meet Ryan Gander I took my sculpture along in the hopes that he might sign it. 

Here's a photo of Ryan Gander and I talking, (ha, I know it looks like I'm just staring into space but that's just my listening face).
Ryan was super friendly, I thought our interaction would just be a quick hello but he was really generous with his time and we started talking about the Art As A Verb exhibition that we're both in, then the ACCA workshops I'd be doing in response to his work and then we just talked about art in general for ages. 

And yeah, at some point during the conversation Ryan said some really nice things about my sculpture and here he is taking a photo of it.
And here he is signing it and saying something funny while I nervously scratch my head.
And hey presto, how cool is that, here's my copy of Ryan Ganders book alongside my signed ceramic sculpture of it.
But ok I should now start talking about the workshop I hosted. So my idea for it was for participants to create their own sculpture of an m&m. They sculpt it, then they paint it. I also made this drawing of an m&m's packet that the kids could colour in and then fold it together to store their new sculptures.
Mama always said life is like a box of chACCAlates.



The other fun thing about the ACCA workshop is that after enjoying Ryan Ganders Ampersand, the kids could also watch their own sculptures go around my ampersand. Or, if you will, my m&mpersand.
The best thing about the name m&mpersand is that it even has an ampersand in it, (you probably already know this but just incase; an 'ampersand is an '&' symbol).

I also made a mini m&mpersand for sculptures of m&m minis.
Long term readers of this blog might remember that the last time I made a sculpture of an m&m was at the beginning of last year during an Eminem concert. Here I am back in Feb 2014 painting an m&m on the floor of Rod Laver Arena;
And here's my sculpture of an m&m with Eminem.

Well since then I've made lots more m&m's. Here's a kiln fired ceramic sculpture of a bowl and inside of it is 60 kiln fired ceramic sculptures of m&m's, (ten of each colour).
And now the time has come to impart my m&m sculpting skills onto the newest generation of artists. 

To get into the spirit of the day here I am painting a m on a red tshirt for me to wear and a yellow t-shirt for my dearest friend Cherie Peele to wear while helping me out on the day.

Here's a little video that Cherie filmed in my studio the night before the workshop of me attempting to explain my m&mpersand.
The wall in that video was just for the test run, here I am on the morning of the activity day making the actual wall.
And yeah, after that I just crossed my fingers and hoped the kids would have fun. Fortunately for me the kids were amazing! Here's some shots of them getting into it.
Rather than just make a sculpture of an m&m, some of the kids preferred to just make a sculpture and then stick some m&m's into it. Here's an m&m person;
Here's an m&m pizza;
Here's an m&m crime scene;
Here's an m&m pushed into a lump of clay.

And here's a series of four big blue m&m's, (I made the one on the left while trying demonstrate for the three kids who made the others).
Rather than just paint it on, a couple of the kids used clay to do 'm' on the m&m, which I really liked.

Actually speaking of the 'm' on an m&m, maybe my favourite moment from the day was when one boy, (he might've been 5 or maybe he was 7, I'm no good at judging how old kids are), he asked me whether any of the m&m's had a different letter on them. I told him that most m&m's have m's but some of the rare ones have w's.

The boy then proceeded to tip his m&m packet onto the table and sort them out into groups of m's and w's, while his Dad laughed and gave me a wink.

Ha, but anyway so it was just a really fun day. Exhausting though, kids really wear you out (which I'm sure is news to no-one) and I got a very small insight into how hard primary school teachers must work, (and just parents in general).

But it was all very rewarding and definitely the best part of the workshop was seeing how excited the kids got watching their sculptures go round the m&mpersand.

This girl was a bit of a star, she was like a little production line pumping out the m&m's.
Here's some of her work.
And here's two brothers who came up to me and demanded I tell them whose m&m was better. And of course I told them the reason why both their sculptures were very good for very different reasons, (even though between you and me, I much preferred the older brothers m&m's.)
As well as kids and parents there was also a few people my age getting into it. Here's Georgie, who was also really helpful on the day, waiting for her sculpture.
You may or not have noticed in the above photo that Georgie has a third eye painted onto her forehead, heaps of the kids on the day did as well. And so it was pretty cute when at the end of the day I realised that above both of the m&mpersand viewing holes were these smudges from people looking a little too closely.

I just wanna say a huge thank you to ACCA for inviting me to participate in the day, and in particular thanks to Helen Berkemeier, Ali Lasek, Brian Scales, Juliana Engberg, Georgina Glanville and Nick Chilvers. 

And a ginormous extra special thank you to my yellow m&m Cherie Peele for being amazing and helping me out so much throughout the whole workshop. 

Also a massive thanks to all the families who came and shared the afternoon with us, and thank you as well to Ryan Gander for creating the great art that inspired the day.

And so here I am at the end of the day wearing my M shirt in front of acca.
And what do you get if you cross an M with an accaYou get a cheeseburger and a fitty cent cone.
And speaking of fitty cent, this leads me nicely into the last thing I'll mention today, which is that back on that day when I was lucky enough to meet Ryan Gander I actually ran into him a second time as we were both heading outside together to get some fresh air. While we were talking we were asked if we wanted our photo taken, and so I suggested we pose smiling and giving a thumbs up, as seen here;
Ryan then said "let's do another but this time let's look a bit tougher", and we laughed and I said "Oh yeah, I forgot who I was having my photo taken with, aren't you the guy who made that classic rap album, "Get Rich or Die Ryan'?"
But so yeah, in conclusion, a couple of weeks ago Ryan Gander's ACCA exhibition sadly came to a close, (and has been replaced with an exhibition by TV Moore that's well worth checking out), and I can barely believe it but now Art As A Verb at Artspace, featuring work by both Ryan Gander and myself, is in it's final hours as well. I guess, like ampersand through the hourglass, so are the days of our lives.

Thanks heaps for reading, hope you're going good and I hope to see you soon. Speaking of which I'll actually be back at Artspace next month as incredibly I was accepted to have a stall at the VOLUME art book fair from Sep 11-13, it should be heaps of fun so if you're in Sydney please come say hi! (Click on this sentence for more info on that.)

In the meantime though if you can't get to Artspace by the end of today then I guess the only place you'll find me and Ryan Gander is in da club, bottle full of bub, partying like it's our birthday.

Saturday, August 22, 2015

A gallery worth its weight in Gold Class

Hey pal, tonight the Melbourne gallery TCB are having a fundraiser exhibition and you're invited!

Here's an image of the flyer so you can see the list of all your favourite artists who are in the show.
Here I am with the flyer which is currently pasted onto the front of TCB.
Here's the flyer for the show as seen on TCB's instagram.
My buddy Dan wanted to see the image of the flyer but he's deleted his instagram, so here he is holding an actual flyer instead.
And here's Dan and I eating ramen.
Everybody loves ramen.
Ha, but so yeah, I'm in the TCB fundraiser. And very proud to be, I love TCB, it's one of those galleries that always feels like home. And not just because when I co-curated a show at TCB back in 2013 I sneakily slept there a bunch of times.
All of the work in the TCB fundraiser is selling for cheap, with all of the funds raised going towards TCB keeping their 2016 exhibiting fees at the same price they are now despite the increase in rent. 

So if you have a show at TCB in 2016, then please feel free to take me out for ramen to say thanks.

But even if you can't afford to buy me ramen, let alone buy any art from the fundraiser, you should definitely still come to TCB tonight anyway for a good time and to check out a great show.

The piece I've made for the show is titled "Two Gold Class Movie Tickets". It's a set of two paintings, both are acrylic on board, and 15 x 7cm. Here's a photo of them.
Here's another photo of the paintings but this time in the background there's four guys watching two girls play air hockey.
The paintings are based on two Gold Class tickets I got for my birthday two years ago. Unfortunately I never used the tickets and they expired back in June 2014. I guess I should've tried harder to find a hot date to take to the movies, (or I should've even just gone to the movies twice by myself).

I've never actually seen a movie in Gold Class, which makes it extra frustrating that the vouchers have expired. Maybe I'll call up Village and see how lenient they are on the whole expiration date thing, although I suspect I'd have a better chance at getting in to see a movie by using my new paintings of tickets.

Speaking of which, here I am about to give the paintings a try. 
The ticket man was great, he laughed and said he really wanted to let me through but he'd better not.Even though the ticket man didn't technically let me pass he did leave his post unattended for a bit so it would've been pretty easy to get in for free. But I didn't want to sneak in, that's not what this was about; I wanted to get in with my paintings. Here I am trying to use the scanner on them but the stubborn computer refused to pick up the painted barcodes.
After that I went and got popcorn and bought a real movie ticket cause by now I'd decided I wanted to actually see a movie, not gold class off course, just regular old riffraff class. 

When I came back to the ticket post there was now a new ticket person there, so before giving her my real ticket I figured I'd try the painting one more time.
This ticket person was really awesome as well, and this time she actually asked me if we could have our photo taken.
Now what you may or may not have noticed about that above photo is if you look closely you'll see that while it was being taken a man came out from a cinema and photobombed us.

Ha, look how pleased the photobomber was as he cruised past us.
But don't worry, I wasn't about to let him get away with that, as amazingly only moments later this same guy was having his photo taken with his family and I was able to duck into the background and photobomb him. 

The photobomber becomes the photobombee.
Ha, but ok, putting aside my killer phombombing win, all I really want to say in this blog post is please come to the TCB fundraiser tonight. TCB is at 12 Waratah Place in Melbourne CBD. It goes from 4-8pm, and then after that there's an after party at Hells Kitchen bar from 9pm onwards. Come say hi! 

If you cant make the opening though the show runs for a week and is up until August 29.

And if my paintings haven't already been snatched up by a powerful and influential art collector by the time you arrive then please buy my two gold class movie tickets; here's an add for them that they played during the trailers at the movies.
Thanks so much for reading and hope to see you tonight. TCB there or TCB square!