Friday, March 28, 2014

My new studio and what it's reduced me to.

Hey high flyer,

In an attempt to create a buzz, I made a drawing of a fly caught in a spider web. 

Wouldn't hurt a fly, acrylic and pencil on 225gsm paper, 7.4 x 10.5cm, 2014.

After I drew the fly I released it from the web, now I feel bad for the spider.

Something I feel good about though is a tiny exhibition I'm in called Dummy. 

It opened the night after I saw the Eminem show that I talked about in the last post, it's at Mailbox Gallery and is curated by two artists who were in the year above me when I was at uni, Alice Mathieu and Madé Spencer-Castle. 

Here's two photo's from the opening.
The artists in Dummy were asked to recreate a specific work of theirs on a miniature scale, the work I was asked to recreate was my Australian flag thongs.
My original pair of thongs, currently on show in NEW14, (and also pretty amazingly as seen in The Age last Wednesday), are the size of a mens size ten,
whereas my dummy thongs, (as seen in the mailbox below), though still acrylic on kiln fired clay, are the size of my thumb.

Here's my thumb in front of the thongs.
And here I am giving a thumbs up to the work of another artist in the show, my buddy Jimmy Nuttall.
That's Jim's hand you can see pixelated in the bottom right, being a dummy and giving his work a thumbs down.

Dummy's on until April 13 and Mailbox is at 141 Flinders Lane, which is directly across the road from the Chanel shop, as seen here in this photo of Jim and I.
Here's another shot I took of some newly-weds the next day in front of the same Chanel shop.
I reckon if I ever get married then I really want to try and recreate this photo exactly.

Newly-weds tend to pose in front of just about everything in the city, so much so that it's actually a perfect segue into the other thing I wanted to mention in this blog post; which is that I got a new studio!

And so yeah, the reason it's a perfect segue is because here's some newly-weds shuffling about directly in front of the entrance to my new studio.
Ha, so exciting news, my new studio's in the Nicholas Building, which is on Swanson Street just near Flinders Street station and right next two of my most favourite shops; 7-11 and Subway. 

Subway has some exciting NEW news itself by the way; they now offer Fresh Baby Spinach as part of their salads menu. I had it today, it's great, you don't even taste the leaves amongst all the other junk in the sub but it just makes you feel that little bit healthier, ha, but I imagine this is all a lot more interesting for me than it is for you so I'll move on...
There's so many Fresh things about having a studio in the heart of the city, the only problem really is that sometimes it's tricky to transport stuff in and out. The main challenge was getting in my locker, I've had this locker since 2010 and it's traveled with me to every studio since.
The worst part about lugging the locker across the city wasn't even how heavy it is or how bulky it is, (although it is very heavy and bulky), but it was the fact that a couple of years ago during some late night in the studio I scrawled on it in paint LOOK WHAT I'VE BEEN REDUCED TO!!!
Ha, how pathetic, what a loser. The good thing about that moment though is I later turned it into this painting;

I guess the text sort of combines personal anxieties with the language of mass produced advertising, and that's fine, ha, but then when I needed to heave the statement down a crowded Swanson Street it became a bit more like one of those old fashioned forms of public humiliation. 

Like this guy I found on the internet.
If I weren't such a dummy I would've thought to just paint over the locker before moving it. 

It wasn't really bad at all though, it was just sort of silly and when people took photos that was kind of fun. All I was really worried about was making sure the locker didn't wobble off the trolley and hurt anyone.
And so now I have a locker in my studio. I'm good to go. Great. All that's left to do is just keep making art. But that's not what being an artist is about. Everybody knows that what separates the Picasso's from the Picass-no's is whether they've got a locker in their studio. Right?

Anyway, in conclusion, to tie together the two things I've talked about in this blog post here's a present given to me by my pals Isabelle and Heide of a small Australian flag thong magnet, which is currently stuck on to my locker. 
If you're ever in the area and feel like dropping by the studio just let me know, it's on the third floor of the building right near World Food Books. In fact here's a photo of me in World Food Books taken just today as I read a book with the word New on the cover, but I'll talk about NEW next time.
In the meantime though thongs heaps for reading, and after another fun filled week let's just thank our lockery southern crossed stars that it's the weekend.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Being NEW on The Scene (Feat. Eminem)


So I ended the last blog post just after mentioning the article in the news-paper that announced the new curator and new artists (including me!) of the NEW14 exhibition on now at the Australian Centre for Contemporary Art. 

Here it is again.
When I first read the above article and saw my drawings described as 'humorous' I got a bit nervous. I figured it meant that now whoever'd read it would walk into the show expecting the drawings to be humorous, when I'd much rather people just see the work and if they think they're funny then that's great, but if they don't think they're funny but maybe like it for a different reason then that's great too. 

I guess I was being a bit dumb to be nervous about that though, it's awesome that the paper said the drawings are humorous, ha, actually I should use it on my future exhibition invites, like how you see on posters for comedy festival shows, you know; "Humorous -The Age". Really I was just feeling nervous in general, but I'm always feeling nervous though so it's no big deal.

Something I once heard that's always stuck with me, and I thought about it a lot when I was writing my honours thesis, is the old saying about how something isn't funny if you explain it, and that humour is like a frog in a science classroom; you can't dissect it without first killing it. 

And so that's the last thing I'll say about humour, because, as you can see in these next three photos, the only kind of frogs I plan on dissecting are the ones made of delicious dairy milk chocolate and named Freddo.
Being in NEW14 is pretty much a dream and once it was officially announced it suddenly became very real. It's been so exciting and I feel so grateful and lucky but the other thing is that it's pretty scary.

I guess my big fear was I'd stuff it up and everyone would say "That Kenny Pittock sucks, he's the worst NEW artist ever". Ha, fortunately no-one has said that yet, not to my face at least. And thanks so much to the people who've been sending me nice messages, or saying nice things in person, both when the show was announced and also after having seen it, you guys are the best and it really means a lot. 

But ok, where was I? Oh yeah, so in the new-spaper next to the little article announcing NEW14, (Circled below in red), was a humungous article about Geoff New-ton's next show at Gertrude Contemporary, (circled below in yellow). 
Geoff Newton's show was pretty great, it was called The Scene and was a series of big bright paintings showing the view from directly in front of each of the Australian state galleries.

Here's a photo of Geoff's painting of The Scene from The National Gallery of Victoria, as scene in the above newspaper article.
Here's an awful photo I took of the painting of the NGV scene at Gertrude on my phone.

And here's a photo I took of the actual NGV scene from earlier today.
I think the only thing that was missing from Geoff's paintings is a sprinkling of tourists having their photo taken, I'm not sure it's possible to walk into any state gallery without inadvertently ruining the photo of someone attempting to create a new facebook profile pic.

A week later I took the scenic route back to Gertrude to see The Scene for a second time, only because at the opening, like at all openings, you can never get a proper look at the work without all the good looking people stealing the scene and getting in the way. 

This time, after getting another look at all those state gallery scenes, I decided to make a drawing of The Scene in front of Gertrude, and so here's the result of that;
I left the drawing for Geoff Newton with the person at the gallery desk. 

Whether Geoff liked the drawing or hated it still remains to be scene, I don't even know if he got it. It's possible if Geoff did get it he just scrunched it up and threw it onto the actual ground that it's a drawing of. Ha, hopefully not, but that'd definitely make this a humorous drawing.
So ok, I'll skip forward a day or two. It's funny because even though it was just a few weeks ago this all feels a bit like a blur. I know technically February only has two or three days less than the other months but it went by so fast this year it felt like the whole month only had about ten days in it.

On Monday February 17 was the Rooftop Transmissions show at Rooftop Cinema that I talked about two blog posts ago. It was an evening of short video art screening as part of the NGV's Melbourne Now initiative and featured the song I made with musician Nelson Walkom.

Here's a photo taken by my pal Kiera of Alex, me, Nels and Anthony, on top of the roof, as we waited for the sun to go down so the movies could start.
And here's the video of Nel and my song playing on the big screen at rooftop bar.
So yeah that was really cool to see our work up on the big screen. It was really cool to technically be a part of Melbourne Now. And also it was just really cool to have a break from the studio and spend time with pals at Rooftop Bar. I'll always remember the first time I went there when I was in first year at uni, it's such a cool place I felt like I was in that show The O.C.

The night after Rooftop Transmissions I went to an open forum at West Space gallery hosted by some of the artists in this years Sydney Biennale. The forum was organised to discuss the Biennale's major sponsor, Transfield. Well, they were a sponsor at the time, not anymore. 

The talk explained the history of Transfield, their involvement with the Sydney Biennale and their involvement in Australian offshore detention centres. The talk also discussed the possibilities for potential methods of boycotting the Biennale in protest of it's relationship with Transfield.

Obviously if you want to know more about the issue then this blog is not the place to start, all I really have to say about it is that I think it's extremely complicated, I don't think there are any easy answers or perfect solutions, and I really, really respect all of the artists involved, as well as this years biennale artistic director Juliana Engberg, for the considered and individual ways that they've handled the situation.Also, ha, if I decide to do another Kenneth Biennale next year then I definitely will not be asking Transfield for sponsorship.

The night after the boycott forum I went to an Eminem concert at Etihad Stadium.

The only other time I've seen Eminem was in December of 2011. The show sold out in like six minutes so I hadn't been able to get a ticket, but because I'm a big fan I went along to the stadium with the intention of just listening from the outside. 

It's a long story but I ended up paying one of the sound guys $110 and amazingly he snuck me in to the front row, (or as it was called on the pass he gave me; the Lose Yourself Zone).

Most people would assume the crowd at an Eminem concert would be angry and violet but I don't think I've been to any concert with happier people who were just excited to be seeing their idol. I rapped along with so many strangers and in between doing that I made this drawing.

This most recent time I went to Eminem rather than going by myself I went with my pal Alex and so I wanted to enjoy the experience with him rather than make a drawing during the concert.

Having said that though I did paint a sculpture during the concert.

It's an acrylic on ceramic sculpture of an m&m. 

Here it is in a bowl of regular m&ms, (it's the red one).
We picked up the sculpture from the kiln on the way to the stadium and I took it into the concert, as well as my paint and brushes, making full use of the jumbo sized pockets of my cargo pants.

The sold out stadium was so loud, pretty bezerk conditions to be painting in, my mind was racing at 8mile a minute.
Getting in just before the moment Eminem asks me, (the real slim shady), to please stand up, here I am doing the finishing touches the my sculpture.
And here's my sculpture of an m&m, with Eminem.
And ok, to rap up this freestyle the result is that from now until May 18 you can go see that very sculpture, the m&m painted in front of Eminem, tucked away amongst my work in NEW14 at ACCA.
And so there you go, who needs a studio when you can just draw on the train and paint at an Eminem concert. Ha, but speaking of which, I got a new studio!

But ok, I'll save that and write about it later in the week. Sorry if I'm rambling too much, but thanks heaps for reading all the way to the end here. See you soon, and in the meantime try not to be too much of a new-sance, and I'll try to stop making anymore new puns as I'm sure they've already gotten old. 

Also, you should go dissect a Freddo, I'd forgotten how good they taste. Plus right now at Woolworths you can get two big bags for $6. So hop on over there... Get it, hop, like a frog... That's it I'm going to bed.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Like looking for a NEWdle in a haystack.

Hey, how've you been? What's New?

I haven't had the chance to write anything New on here for a couple of weeks, and I've missed it a lot, so I figure tonight's the night that I get back into it. I guess to begin with I wanna say a big thank you to everybody who came and saw my work in the Coming Soon exhibition in the first show for 2014 at West Space.

Here's an action shot of me installing my carrot on a stick sculpture up out of reach on the West Space ceiling.
Here's a less actiony shot of me eating a ham footlong sub out of the West Space window while taking a break from the install.
And here's an even less actiony shot of where I slept during the install, on the iconic West Space floor next to my sculptures of chips, sauce, an esky and the Australian flag thongs.
I was really happy with the show, definitely the most exciting part about it for me though was having the opportunity to exhibit Shape, my acrylic on ceramic Arnotts Biscuits Barbecue Shape sculpture, by itself on a 7 meter wall. 

There's no need to get bent out shape if you didn't get a chance to see the show though, as just for you I've made this excellent diagram demonstrating where on the wall I installed the sculpture.
I wish my pieces could always be shown on 7 meter walls, particularly the really small ones, and so hopefully that'll be the shape of things to come.

If you'd like to see a closer up shot of Shape, and if you'll allow me to name drop for a second, here's a photo taken by my bud the great Tom Polo of what appears to be the hand of somebody very hungry.
On the day of the West Space opening I went to visit another artist whose work I really love, my pal Anastasia Klose, at the hashtag Melbourne Now exhibition in the National Gallery of Victoria. 

I'm sure you know about it already but just incase you don't, for Melbourne Now Anastasia created the One Stop Knock-Off Shop. Essentially it's a retail store where she sells t-shirts under the label Anastasia Klothes. 

The t-shirts cleverly toy with the idea that artists and art galleries are sometimes seen just as status symbols and brands. At least that's the idea I think they're cleverly toying with.

Anyway here's a drawing I did of Anastasia Klose in her One Stop Knock-Off Shop last Wednesday while she was knocking-off a really funny artist talk.
I showed Anastasia the drawing and she very generously signed it for me. I realised afterwards that I should have given her the drawing but now that she'd written such a flattering message it seemed crazy not to keep it myself.
But so yeah, on the day of the West Space opening I made one stop at the knock-off shop and bought a West Space shirt.
The thing about Anastasia's WESTSPACE shirts is the dollar sign has a minus in front of it, but, being on team West Space, it seemed like the right thing to do that I should get some white acrylic paint and change that minus into a plus.
Here I am feeling very positive, eating dinner before the opening.
And here I am at the opening, being very impressed by the muscles of another artist in the show, Audrey Tan.
The last thing I wanna say before I move on from talking about the Coming Soon exhibition is just a quick thanks to Danny, Kelly, Liang, and all the amazing crew at West Space. 
And so yeah, the other thing that happened on the day of the West Space opening is that it was announced in a little article in the new-spaper the totally amazing news that I'm one of the seven artists in the NEW14 exhibition, on now at ACCA, (the Australian Centre for Contemporary Art). 
But so ok, wait a sec, I've just remembered it's my friend Ben's birthday and I really should go out into the rain and say to him "Hey happy birthday Ben", and buy him a beer maybe, or I don't know, some dumplings. 

Plus this seems like a pretty good point to take a pause, and I'll pick it up from here on a new blog post after the weekend. 

And so yeah, I better run, thank you so much for reading, I hope you've been having a great after-new-n and I'll talk to you again really, really soon!