Friday, April 18, 2014

Once in a blood moon

Hey star gazer, three nights ago there was a "blood moon", did you hear about that? A blood moon is when the moon rises while already totally eclipsed, and it's called a blood moon because when this happens it makes the moon look red. I'd never heard of a blood moon before, it sounds a bit like it could be the name of the next twilight movie. 

But so maybe you saw Tuesdays blood moon by looking it up on the internet, (or maybe you saw it the old fashioned way, by just looking up), but if you happened to miss seeing the blood moon on Tuesday, worry not, for you can see it right here in my scientifically accurate drawing.
I could probably end this blog post right there, but what the heck, I'll keep going.

In the twenty minute lead up to the blood moon a couple of friends and I staked out a good spot to see it, just down on the St. Kilda road bridge that goes over the Yarra River. There was heaps of people with DSLR's, setting up tripods and attaching footlong fixed lens', and there was also heaps of people with iPhone 5's and outstretched arms. 
But the great Copernicus never needed a camera when he documented the moon back in the 1500's, and so if just a marker and paper were good enough for him, then I guess it's good enough for me as well.

Here's a drawing I made of the MCG while we all waited around for the blood moon to rise over it.
And here's the same drawing again, except that this time it has the blood moon in it.
The moon only stayed a blood moon for about an hour and a half before the eclipse ended and it turned back into it's regular bloodless self. I saw a thing on the ABC where an astrophysicist was saying that what he was most looking forward to seeing was the in-between period while the moon was midway through changing back and so half of it's red and half of it's bright yellow.

As you can see in this photo of me and my pal Alanna, my eyes were clearly getting into the spirit of the event and were also halfway between red and bright yellow.
(The other thing I like about that photo is how seamlessly my hair blends in with the trees.)

Once the moon returned to normal all of us on the bridge awoke from our cosmic wonder and snapped back to reality, just in time too as my friends and I had to run to go see the very funny Hannah Gadsby's comedy festival show up in Town Hall. 

Here's a drawing I scribbled in the dark, a few seconds before the show started.
And here's a photo of me and Hannah Gadsby after the show, a few seconds before I clumsily gave her the drawing and she said "Oh good, I see you haven't drawn my head".
When I tweeted a photo of it the next day a friend of mine tagged Hannah Gadsby into it, and pretty amazingly she tweeted back. 
Pretty funny, I guess making drawings instead of taking photos really tied into the theme of Hannah Gadsby's show, which is all about the selfie and how artists back in the Copernicus days of no iPhone 5's had to create their selfles using oil paint. 

But so yeah, Hannah Gadsby tweeting me was pretty huge, it doesn't get much bigger than that. Or does it...

Ha, so today is Good Friday, and in an attempt to try and turn Good Friday into Really Good Friday I tweeted this photo of a drawing I did ages ago of Jesus crucified on the cross of a hot bun. 
And who should I get a retweet from? None other than Jesus himself.
It's pretty nice of Jesus to retweet me, maybe I've misjudged him. And so yeah, I guess really the only thing bigger than this would be for The Beatles to retweet me, (because of course everybody knows The Beatles are bigger than Jesus).

To finish off this blog post here's a drawing of a guy that kind of looks like Jesus, maybe, not really actually but that's probably the best segue I'm gonna get, ha, here's a drawing I did of my buddy Dan.
And Danned if you do and Danned if you don't, here's a photo of my buddy Dan holding the drawing I did of him.
And so yeah, we won't get to see a blood moon again for another six months, and the Melbourne International Comedy Festival finishes on Sunday so we'll have to wait another year for that to roll round again, but in the meantime you can always go into the Malthouse Theatre and as Dan takes your lunch order you'll be able to see my drawing of him grinning away at you from behind the tea leaves.
Thanks heaps for reading, hope you're having a Great Friday.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

The Kennie Ellis Show

Last Friday afternoon I was driving past the Monash Gallery of Art and decided to drop what I was doing and finally check out the photography exhibition of works from the MGA collection curated by Bill Henson. I'd been meaning to see it for ages.

Unfortunately when I stepped foot into the gallery I realised that I'd been meaning to see it for so long that I'd missed the exhibition by a week. It sucks when you miss a show you were looking forward to, but I've been really busy and I guess you just can't see everything. Anyway I had to put my disappointment to the side for a second and instead I got really excited when I saw that the show that's replaced Henson's exhibition is a retrospective type thing of the Australian photographer Rennie Ellis.

Rennie Ellis was a photo journalist who during the 1970's, 80's and 90's photographed people at their wildest living it up in Melbourne and Sydney. There's something really special about the way Rennie captured freedom and excitement, he seemed to have a genuine love for his subject matter and it's hard to look at his photos without having a big smile on your face. 

Ha, but ok this wasn't meant to be a Rennie Ellis review or anything like that, the reason I've brought it up is because I'd actually seen a lot of the work already back in 2009 at a show in the National Gallery of Victoria, back then I loved the photos so much that I made a couple of little drawings of them, and so 5 years later I figured what might be a fun thing to do would be to draw those same photos again.

And so yeah, here's a drawing I did on the 21st of January, 2009, of a photograph Rennie Ellis took in 1971 of a woman with a tattoo on her arm that says "PROPERTY OF SYDNEY HELL'S ANGELS".
And here's a drawing I did of it on Friday. 
It's cool to be able to compare the two drawings, hopefully I'll be able to see Rennie's photograph in another five years and draw it again.

In the meantime here's another drawing I did in January 2009, this time of a photo Rennie Ellis took backstage at an AC-DC concert capturing some hottie canoodling with AC-DC lead singer Bon Scott, (I bet she shook him all night long).
And here's a drawing I did on Friday of the same photo, this time focusing a bit more on the guy who's watching the pair from the background.
After having another look at the photo of Bon Scott on Friday I dug up my old T.N.T cd and have been listening to it all week since, I'd forgotten how much AC-DC are dynamite.

While I'm talking about music, the other thing I really like about the Rennie Ellis show is that it's called The Rennie Ellis Show, (who knows, maybe one day I'll get to have The Kenny Pittock Show). The first thing the title makes me think of is Eminem's The Eminem Show, which is an album I actually have on record.

It's kind of funny that I've got AC-DC's album from 1975 on a burnt CD and Eminem's album from 2002 on vinyl.
Another thing that's kind of funny is that even though I missed the previous exhibition that Bill Henson had curated, I'm 95% sure Bill Henson himself was in the gallery. 
The only reason I'm slightly doubtful whether it was actually Bill Henson is because he was talking on the phone in a foreign language. Is Bill Henson bilingual? My guess is he probably is, he's a really smart guy, I wouldn't be surprised if he's fluent in a dozen languages.

On the subject of learning other languages I'm currently trying to teach myself Italian. So far all that's really sunk in is that 'louie' means 'boy'. Well, that's what the app I've got tells me, but then I googled it and the internet says that boy is 'ragazzo', so I don't know who to believe. I guess I should've asked Bill Henson, he would've known.

But so anyway after seeing The Rennie Ellis Show on Friday I decided to go back to the MGA on Saturday for another look at the show and to hear the opening speeches. I think the last time I made it to a talk at the MGA was in October, 2011, when I saw Bill Henson speaking, (I'm 100% sure it was Bill Henson that time), and I made this drawing, 
So yeah, after seeing the show a day before it officially opened I was back for the opening speeches. I sat down early so I wouldn't miss out on a seat and as I waited for the speeches to start I made a drawing of the man sitting next to me's foot.
After I'd drawn the mans foot I gave him the drawing, here's a video of that.
The man was really great, he was friendly and funny and after the speeches we ended up talking for ages about a trip he took to Germany and the art he saw over there. 

The speeches were great too, one quote I wrote down was "Rennie was a great photographer, but more than that he was a warm human, and his humanity is clear in the work. And though this is not necessarily rare, it is a wonderful thing".

Another thing I liked is that apparently Rennie used to say "My photographs legitimise my voyeristic tendencies", which I thought was pretty funny and I guess is something I could try and say about my own stuff. 

Rennie Ellis died in 2003 of a cerebral hemorrhage, or as it was said that he referred to it, he had "a tractor in the field", and so more than just a retrospective the speeches and the massive crowd made this exhibition feel like the celebration of a great life.

And I guess the highlight of the speeches was Michael Caton talking about how he first became aware of Rennie Ellis when he hooked up with one of Rennie's ex-girlfriends and had to hear about how "Rennie did this and Rennie did that". Caton paused and then very endearingly finished the anecdote by saying "Well fuck you Rennie Ellis". 

I think that's the only swear word I've written on this blog, I nearly didn't write it but I felt like it was important for the story. But so yeah, pardon my French. Ha, maybe I am bilingual after all. 

As I was leaving the gallery I ran into Michael Caton out the front, and so ok, to wrap this up, here's a photo of Michael Caton, Australia's most beloved actor; standing next to me, Australia's biggest dork.
And so yeah, thanks heaps for reading this, and go check out The Rennie Ellis Show at the Monash Gallery of Art. 

Also, while you're at the MGA be sure to check out their bookstore and pick up a copy of Sturgeon, which has in it a big photo/writing artwork type thing that I was lucky enough to be commissioned to do. (It starts on page 80.)
Oh and also, most important of all, remember to go see my stuff in NEW14 at ACCA! NEW14's on until the 18th of May, which sounds like you've got plenty of time but be careful you don't do what I did with the Henson show and walk into ACCA a week too late!

If you do miss it though and walk into ACCA a week late be sure to keep an eye out for me, I'll no doubt be in there too walking around and speaking on the phone in fluent Italian. Or if I'm not fluent yet I'm sure by then I'll at least be able to tell you if boy is louie or ragazzo. Or at the very least, if you ask me nicely, I might draw your foot.

Saturday, April 05, 2014

Letter-Man Vs. Wild

Hey so this morning I was in the post office reading twitter and I saw that David Letterman, host of The Tonight Show, has announced that after 31 years of tonight show hosting he's gonna be retiring at the end of 2014.

As a way of giving him a little send off, and since David is a Letter-man, I decided to draw a picture of him on an envelope.
Even though he's a bit of a jerk I think I'll always have a soft spot for Letterman because of the way I looked forward to and loved watching his show every night when I was recovering from spine surgery. 

(I think I've only mentioned the surgery on this blog once before, click here if you want to read that post.) 

And so yeah, here's three drawings I made on the 23rd of March, 2009. 

Along with the fifty thousand other drawings from that time these were made when I was fatigued from being unable to move and completely in agony and I was a bit woozy from the oxycontin I was on and I was watching The Tonight Show with David Letterman at one in the morning.

I'd love to do something with all the drawings I made while recovering from spine surgery but I still can't really look at them without getting shivers down the very spine that was operated on, so I reckon for now I'll just leave those drawings alone.

But so back to what I was saying, here's today's post office drawing of David Letter-man on an envelope. 

The only trouble with doing the drawing is that I was then obligated to buy the envelope. I don't send letters very often but hopefully whoever I send one to next is a fan of the Tonight Show.

Anyway so the reason I was in the post office is because, at the ripe old age of 25, I was finally submitting an application for a passport. What that means is that one day, if I'm lucky, I might go overseas. 

What it also means is that I had to get a passport photo. Here it is repeated in a grid like a little Warhol screen print.
Getting your passport photo taken is tricky because it's really funny how much of a big deal the post office people make out of telling you that you're not allowed to smile, and so even though I usually suck at smiling for photos this time it was a real effort for me to try and look serious.

The other thing is that the post office makes you buy eight copies of the photo even though to get a passport you only need two, and so if you're reading this and you think you might like one of my leftover photos to pin on your voodoo doll or keep in your wallet, then hey, just let me know. 

In fact if you have a spare passport photo of yourself lying around maybe we can swap? That could be fun, who knows, I might even send you my one in the Letter-man envelope.

Speaking of which, and to wrap up this blog post, here's a self portrait of me as a late night talk show host.
Self portrait as a late night talk show host. Acrylic and passport photo on envelope. 2014.

That collage is almost definitely my Nostradamus moment at predicting the future; once the television executives hear that I'm getting a passport I'm pretty confident my phone won't stop ringing with people offering to fly me out to the States to do Letterman's old job.

In the meantime thanks heaps for reading and I hope you and every Letter-man and his dog are having a rocking Saturday night.

Tuesday, April 01, 2014

Talk the talk

Hey, how're you? I just wanted to write a quick something to officially invite you to attend a free artist talk at ACCA tomorrow night, (Wednesday, April 2nd.)

It starts at 6pm and will probably go for about an hour or so.

The talk will basically just be a conversation between Kyla McFarlane, (the curator of the current exhibition at ACCA; NEW14), with three of the artists in NEW14; Taree McKenzie, Danae Valenza, and also me.

This is the second of the two NEW14 artist talks, last week Kyla was speaking with three of the other artists in the show; Andrew Hazelwinkel, Charlie Dennington and Jelena Tolecki. Here's a drawing I did during the talk from where I was sitting up the back.
If you're not in the mood for listening tomorrow then feel free to just come along and draw a picture of me, but otherwise Taree and Danae's works are both absolutely amazing and these talks are usually pretty interesting, so yeah, it'd be great if you can make it.

On a side note, yesterday was the birthday of one of my very best buds, who also happens to be one of my favourite musicians, Nelson Walkom, and so to celebrate that I just put on youtube this video that I made for fun one day all the way back in 2010. The music on it is off Nelson's first EP.

The video's called YOU ANT SEEN NOTHING YET, and basically it's just about some ants that get cross while they're crossing an ant crossing.
And so there you go, ha, not to say that Ant crossing/Cross Ants isn't a great gag, (and sure, maybe the video would've been better if it only went for ten seconds and I'd had a better camera), but who'd have thought that just four years after making that video I'd be inviting you to my artist talk at ACCA. Ant life grand?

Antyway thanks heaps for reading and hopefully see you soon.