Thursday, February 21, 2013

The Kat's out of the bag

Hey kool kat, here's a piece I made in late 2012. 

It's akrylic on keramic. 18cm x 11cm x 2cm.
Here's the study I drew before I set about making it. It's a good thing I did the study too as I hadn't realised the word kitsch has an s in it.

I changed the logo of Nestle to Nuzzle, and the slogan on the top from HAVE A BREAK to GIVE ME A BREAK.
I also changed the amount of grams from 45 to 236, after weighing the skulpture on some supermarket skales.
Having recently parted with Kitsch Kat I miss it already, although I'm also very happy to know it's found a good home.
The piece is now owned by my friend and mentor Elizabeth Gower. Elizabeth often works with packaging and advertising in her art, and in the past has actually worked with Kit Kats herself.

Elizabeth told me that back when she worked with Kit Kats they were wrapped in paper packaging, instead of the foil they use today. 

I'm not sure if that's as interesting to you as it is to me, but I think it's pretty cool. I guess it doesn't matter too much what they wrap it in though, the important thing is that Kit Kat is delicious.

But so ok, that's enough, thanks for reading, time for a break.

The last thing though, I klimbed a ladder and documented the skulpture on top of my studio. 

The photo's called Kat on a hot tin roof.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Keep me posted

Hey pal, great to see you! Hope you're well, it's been a pretty crazy week.

Here's a painting I did in late 2012. It's acrylic on board, 29.5cm x 21.5cm. 
The painting was part of a little series I did called Clingy Ex-boyfriend

I entered the painting into the 2013 Linden Postcard Prize held at Linden Gallery and last Saturday I found out that it won. Amazing!

When they announced the award and I went up the front to accept it, artist Fergus Binns was already up there for having just won an award himself. I was stoked to meet him and get the chance to tell him I really like his paintings.

Not long after that we both had to sign a form, my Dad was with me and taking lots of photos on his phone. He was taking photos the way Dads do best; two hands on the phone, arms extended, and not knowing how to put it on silent so it was constantly making that cha-kink noise. 

It was pretty embarrassing having this going on with Fergus Binns next to me. I tried to make a joke to him, "So how come your Dad's not here taking photos?". "Pardon?" he said. I hadn't realised that he was on the phone. This only made me feel even more embarrassed. Hopefully Fergus was on the phone to his Dad.
Here's another photo my Dad took, while all the prize winners were having their photos taken.

The man in the blue shirt is Martin Foley, the State Labour member for the Albert Park district. Martin was an upbeat and friendly guy, he's in the photo because he sponsored one of the awards.

About an hour after that photo was taken he took a photo of my painting, (below), and put it on twitter.
Along with the picture Martin Foley tweeted;
"Slime balls misery guts : winner of 2013 #lindenpostcard prize. Proving that art really is a subjective field"

Ha, tough critic. 

I liked it a lot, pretty funny, I retweeted it.

But so ok, here's my statement about the work;

I guess Clingy Ex-boyfriend, like most of my work, is meant to be both funny and serious. At the time I painted it I figured there were basically two types of people; there’s slime balls and there’s misery guts. Every morning you wake up as one or the other. I’m usually misery guts, although I should probably work on that as I’m pretty sure being a slime ball is the better option. 

On Wednesday, February 6 they printed my painting, as well as some of my statement, on page 13 of The Age newspaper. So cool.

What an Age we live in.
The little article was placed next to a great big article about the funny and controversial Indigenous artist Richard Bell.
The Richard Bell article talks about his upcoming exhibition at MUMA, (Monash University Museum of Art). Yesterday I went to the opening of the show.

Richard Bell, along with the brilliant Aboriginal writer, actor and activist Gary Foley, gave an informal and incredibly articulate artist talk. The two bantered back and fourth like a comedy duo while remaining passionate and insightful. The talk took place within a Bell installation designed to replicate the original Aboriginal Embassy, and most of the artist talk explained the genuinely inspiring story of the Embassy's history.

(In year twelve english class we studied the lyrics to Paul Kellys hit single From Little Things Big Things Grow, so I'd already learnt a lot of what they were saying from that.)

Throughout the talk Richard Bell had two white, blonde haired models behind him. A guy and a girl. The guy opened everyones beers with his teeth.
After the talk I showed Richard that we'd had newspaper articles printed next to each other. Ha, I figured there was no way he wouldn't be impressed by that.

And so here I am next to Richard Bell, in print and in real life.
After this I unzipped my backpack. On the way to the Richard Bell artist talk I'd bought a "Paint your own boomerang" from a souvenir store, with the hope that he might sign it. 
I was a bit nervous about asking him, I didn't want to offend him, but when I showed him the boomerang he laughed real loudly, and said "Wow!!"

He then wrote 'Wow!!' on the boomerang, and signed and dated it.
When I asked if we could have a photo with it he called over for his cronies to join us.  When they came over I told Richard, "Well I guess if I have to pick which side to go on then I'll stand next to her", as I swapped sides with him to stand beside the woman, "Bloody oath you will!" he growled and wrestled me back to where I was standing, next to the guy.
To make this moment even more ridiculous, at this point the great artist Gareth Samson crept into the background, doing his angry old man face and frowning over Richards shoulder.



It was a pretty surreal situation, my only regret is that I didn't think to take my top off and show the guy with the six pack how much better my body is than his.

As a last little fun fact to finish this blog post off, Slime Balls and Misery Guts is actually a painting I did on the back of another painting that I was less happy with, called Please don't hang up on me.

I've used the green paintbrush tool on Paint to remove my phone number, but so if you ever get a chance to see Slime balls and Misery Guts here's the painting you'll find on the back of it.
Again it's acrylic on board, and obviously again it's 29.5cm x 21.5cm. I had this painting floating around my studio for a couple of days until eventually I ran out of boards to paint on and decided that I didn't like it enough to not paint on the back of it. 

Ha, a painting of a noose with the words "HANG IN THERE", I was certainly being a misery guts that day.

Ok, I think that's pretty much everything. I guess the last thing I want to say in regards to the Linden thing is that I'm really proud and thrilled for my painting to have even been noticed in such an elaborate show full of so much great work, let alone to have won the thing is just incredible.

I'd really like to thank the people at Linden and of course the three judges, but also, you know, I wanna thank you as well, one of the few readers of this blog, so thanks, I really appreciate it. 

Anyway, maybe I'm being a misery guts here but as things seem to be going weirdly ok for me at the moment it feels pretty unavoidable that it's all about to come crashing downhill really fast. The old 'what goes up, must come down' is a scary little thought, in the meantime though I'm off to go buy $5000 worth of gold plated jet ski's and Richard Bell bikini models.

Monday, February 04, 2013

Put yourself in my shoes

Hey big foot, how's it going?

So basically I'm writing this blog post because I need your help. It's shoe related.

But first, did you manage to get a look at the VCA Masters graduate exhibition last December?

If you were paying very, very close attention to the show you might've seen that I was represented in it, and I'm not even talking about my Melbourne Shared Bike sculpture that I had locked up to the bike rack.
One of the new works on display by art megastar Charlie Sofo was a video titled Cracks and Flaws. The piece featured several 4 second clips of different peoples feet, rocking back and fourth on various mundane surfaces creating various subtle squeaks and groans. The third set of feet in the video were mine.

It's a really cool piece. In fact, because Charlie has just graduated from Masters, it's technically a masterpiece.

So it's official, my feet are in a masterpiece. 

Here I am infront of it.
I know what you're thinking; 'Drats, I missed the Masters show, now I'll never get a chance to see Kennys feet in Charlie Sofos masterpiece'.

But no, don't think that, there's still plenty of time to see the work because Cracks and Flaws, as well as half a dozen new and past works of Charlies, are featured in the current exhibition, Desire Lines, on at ACCA, (the Australian Centre for Contemporary Art), until March 3rd.

So yeah, go see my feet in ACCA.
But that's enough talk about my famous feet from the video, I wanna talk about my famous shoes from the video. 

They're Reebok Pumps.

I got them from Rebel. Originally they were priced at 280 dollars marked down to a hundred, and then because my friend Hesda works at Rebel I ended up only having to pay 80. But this isn't about the money at all, these shoes are priceless.

They're my moon boots. My pumped up kicks. I could outrun any gun in them. When I pump them up not only can I slam dunk basketballs with my eyes closed, but I can jump on top of basketball stadiums with my eyes not even in their sockets. 

I love these shoes more than I've ever loved any pair of shoes, although that isn't really saying a whole lot as I don't really care that much about shoes, but still, these are definitely the greatest shoes in the world. They're my old friends, my comrades, my side kicks.

Here's a lousy drawing that I did of them of the 30th of June, 2010. It's marker on 225gsm paper, 42cm x 30cm.
And here's the Pumps next to the shoes of Charlie Sofo himself, taken just last week when we went to Jeremy Eaton and Elizabeth Pedlers awesome show currently on at TCB, Smokescreen. 
As you can see, my rock and roll lifestyle has aged my poor shoes quite quickly. They used to be like Bob Dylan in the mid sixties, but sadly now the times they have a changed and they're looking a lot more like contemporary Bob Dylan. Still amazing, sure, but mostly because they remind me of when they were younger.

They've actually been worn out for ages. My mum even threw them out once, about a year ago, luckily I spotted them in the bin when I was taking out the rubbish.

Aside from my Mum though, probably my buddy Fat Dan is the most against me wearing the shoes in the state they're in.

While Dan and I were in Brisbane a month ago we went into a record store looking for advice on where to find a cheap place to eat. The woman behind the counter squealed a little as soon as we walked in, she followed the squeal with "Aw Reebok Pumps! Those shoes are the coolest!", to which I said "See Dan, See!"  I was pretty excited for Dan to have heard that. Dan groaned like one of the surfaces from Charlie Sofos masterpiece.

Later that night though the shoe was on the other foot when somebody sided with Dan. Unfortunately, it was the bouncer at the door of some bar we were trying to get in. "Not in those shoes mate" he said. 

He explained to me that because you can see the tops of my socks through the holes in the shoes he was positive I would cut my feet on all of the broken glass in there.

My first thought was that somebody should clean up all that broken glass, my second was, well, why can't I come in but they let in girls wearing shoes like these. 
Surely her feet are more vulnerable to being cut than mine.                                                         Fat Dan and I spent the next twenty minutes wandering the streets of Brisbane trying to find anywhere open that sold shoes. In the end we realised that the bar was actually joint to another bar, and I managed to sneak in to the good one through the kitchen of the other one.

Fortunately I managed to defy all odds and last the whole night without cutting my feet on broken glass, but so I guess it was at this point of not being allowed into places that I started to doubt myself in whether I should be wearing these shoes.

After I left Brisbane I went to Sydney by myself, wandering about on my way to find a backpackers I stumbled across the opening night of Les Miserables.

Unlike everybody I know, I love Les Miserables.
Here's the back of Hugh Jackmans head. Knowing the end was near for my shoes, once all the celebrities had left and it was just me and the pack up crew I took the Pumps for a quick walk along the red carpet to thank them for all their hard work.
I managed to get my hands on one of the big posters and took it to some near by park with a couple of friends I'd made.
Here I am feeding a banana to a possum.
Rather than pay for a backpackers that night I slept on Coogee beach. Here's a photo of my fingers, with the 5am sunrise in the background.
But anyway, again, I've drifted away from the topic of my shoes, that's really what all this is about.

So what I've been trying to tell you is that yes, Mum and Fat Dan are right; I need new shoes.

I've looked in ten thousand shoe stores and I hate everything. All I really want is just a new pair of my old shoes. 

This is where I need your help.


After doing a bit of research I've discovered the shoes are called Court Victory. Obviously they're the re-issue of the original Reebok Pumps from 1989, I think mine were made in 2008. I'm size 10 and a half. The colour's called white/mint/purple.

Here's a photo I found on Google images.

I can't seem to find them anywhere. The closest I got was finding this pair. I would've got them but the shop only stocks size nine.

I did find one website that claimed to have them in stock and in my size. 

In fact the website claimed to have a huge range of stock, all sizes from 5 to 15.

Not just that but they're only 70 dollars.

Something about it didn't feel right though. These were pretty much the only two sentences on the page where you put in your credit card details;


Do you be aware of how cheap Reebok Shoes Shoes Cheap Deals costs? Your eyes don't any problems.

Please don't be afraid of purchase it. We can ensure the quality.


Despite their warnings, I did be afraid of purchase it. 

What a dangerous website, scamming people by preying on their love for Reebok Pumps.

Actually, I thought maybe no one shared my love of Reebok Pumps, until the other day when I was messing around on the internet and got pretty excited when I stumbled across this work by New York artist Gary Simmons.
I don't know if Gary Simmons has done his masters or not, but this is definitely a masterpiece. 

But so ok, you're probably losing interest, here's a nice story to finally wrap up this long blog post. 

While I was waiting around at the Brisbane airport with Fat Dan I dragged him into a shoe repair store. I figured I'd see if maybe there was hope for my Reebok Pumps yet.
When I put my shoes on the counter, the shoe repair man took one look at them and told me quite solemnly "Ok, you've got two options...". 

I was sure he was about to enter into an extensive (and expensive) explanation of how he could fix the shoes, but he continued, "Kerosene or petrol... and I'll throw in the match for free". 

I fell in love with this guy and asked if I could have my photo taken with him. He agreed and while Fat Dan and I yabbered back and forth about how long until our plane left we had no idea that the shoe repair guy was drawing me a picture.
His drawing summarised his feelings towards my shoes.
Ha, what a guy.
So there you go, I don't have new shoes yet. 

If you get a chance to surf around the web sometime, please let me know if you manage to hunt down any hot leads as to where I might be able to find a pair. Maybe you're better at it than me. Also, there's a prize in it for you. 

Reebok Pumps. Court Victory. White/mint/purple. Size ten or eleven, either of those.

In the meantime I'm wearing thongs. They have the Australian flag on them, so please hurry.