Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Swinners are grinners

Hellooooo internet, double you double you double you dot hi. 

Last week I went to the Swinburne Lecture Theatre in Hawthorn to speak at the Industry Design Forum.

It was the first time Swinburne's run an Industry Design Forum, which is really just a day of presentations delivered by past TAFE students to current TAFE students, talking about their experience at TAFE and how they've applied the skills they've learnt in the quote unquote REAL WORLD.

Probably the biggest skill I learnt at TAFE is how to pour the perfect ratio of soy sauce onto a potato cake, (for as I'm sure you already know, too much soy sauce is overpowering yet too little is disappointing).

I was thrilled to be asked to speak, although when I then looked at the list of other speakers I got a little nervous. I was the only visual artist and all the other speakers clearly have a hundred times more impressive credentials than I do, this meant that I definitely had to put extra effort into my presentation to try and make sure it didn't crash and (swin)burn.
We were asked to speak for 45 minutes, plus question time, which at first sounded like a lot but once I started figuring out a kind of arc to what I wanted to say I realised I actually had to be really selective with what I’d have time to talk about.

It was fun putting together the presentation, I treated it pretty similar to how I'd put together a blog post, (ha, one of my better blog posts that is, not this one). 

I think my powerpoint had something like 109 slides, which was a real strain on my trusty four year old laptop, which kept freezing up like Eminem at the start of 8 Mile.

Seeing images of my little sculptures on my trusty four year old laptop screen is one thing, seeing them projected onto two cinema sized screens was a whole other level. The lecture theatre was way bigger than I'd expected. 

Here I am standing nervously as I was being introduced, (the powerpoint slide in the below photo isn't from my slideshow, it's from Swinburne's).

Immediately after being introduced the man who introduced me, Glenn with two n's, showed me my microphone necklace. It was exactly the same as the microphone necklace that the singer Pink would wear if she were performing in a TAFE lecture theatre.

As Glenn attached the mic around my neck I mumbled something like “Ha, this feels just like when Dad does up my ties”, and although I’d only said that to Glenn the mic was loud and everyone in the theature heard it. Anyway so that's how it started, and from there I did the talk, and yeah, it went well I think... I hope. I'm pretty sure.

I'm not sure if I should keep writing this blog post, I should really be packing, but I guess I'll keep going as I suppose there's much worse ways to procrastinate than this...

Speaking of procrastination, the day before the Swinburne talks I decided that the best use of my time, rather than work on my powerpoint, was to go buy a new t-shirt. I got a blue one. It wasn't until I arrived at Swinburne that I realised the t-shirt made me look like one of the geniuses that work in the apple store.

And speaking of apples, there were so many apples provided on the day. Two huge wheelbarrows full, very ambitious of how healthy TAFE students are. No sign of any soy sauce, let alone potato cakes.

I figure the apples were there so the students would have something to throw at me. I thought you were meant to use tomato's, I'd much rather get hit with tomatos than with apples. 

I didn’t get a photo of the apple display but here’s a shot of a trolley full one of the other speakers took home.
If I were smarter I wouldn’t have dressed like someone who works for apple, I would’ve dressed like Steve Jobs, which is what my old TAFE teacher Larry unintentionally did.

Here's Larry with a pear and me with a pear of apples.
Oh hey did I mention that my first slide, which was also the title of my presentation, was "You've gotta be Swin(burne) it to Win(burne) it". Ha, which might officially be the worst pun of all time.

Although I should point out the fact that I acknowledge it’s the worst pun of all time is a secret just between us. One of the last questions at the end of my talk thing was a guy saying “Hey I really like your work and you have a lot of funny jokes, except for that first one, what was with that?”

Here I am talking about the book I wrote on the way the media dealt with the Bill Henson thing, as I was in second year TAFE at the time.And here I am talking about something equally as juicy; my sculpture of an orange.
Here I am listening to a question.
And here I am attempting to answer it.

The talk ran over time because people kept asking questions which was really cool, and yeah, it was just a really fun day. I also just loved getting to listen to all the other speakers, they were all really great. I wish there were more opportunities to do this kind of thing, it was so much fun. And yeah, I really wanna say a big thanks to Swinburne for having me, (not that I think anyone from Swinburne will be reading this, but like I always say, better to be TAFE than sorry).
I also wanna say a ginormous thank you to you if you happened to be in the audience. The responses I got were pretty incredible.

On top of all that I even got paid for the day, which was very much appreciated, although sadly three quarters of my cheque went towards a parking fine I received for being parked 2 hours and 4 minutes in an empty two hour car park.
Good thing Swinburne also gave me a bottle of wine to help drown my sorrows. Anyway my strategy with things like parking tickets is to try and just pay the fine immediately and never think of it again.

Sometimes that’s easier said than done I guess, I remember I struggled with it a couple of months ago when I lost twenty dollar
s. I wanted a schnitzel roll from this place near my studio, I didn’t have cash and they have a ten dollar eftpos minimum so I went to a nearby ATM. I asked it for twenty dollars and having lost all my cents I walked away without taking it.

When I realised I decided rather than use the ATM again I'd go to a newsagent, get the paper and get money out at the same time. While in there I was flipping through the latest issue of Australian Art Collectors, wondering how I could be so careless to lose my twenty dollars, and I found an article that briefly mentioned NEW14. It was pretty gnarly to see my name in bold. I had to buy it, if only to show Mum. 

When I looked at the cover I saw that it cost 20 dollars, so now I was down 40 bucks, and I still didn't have a schnitzel roll.

Oh and actually, hey, speaking of Australian art collecting, I have some pretty awesome news. Last week the City Of Melbourne bought nine of my drawings! How rad is that?! Crazy.

There's a chance you saw the City Of Melbourne's collection this past weekend, as this weekend Melbourne had their yearly open house. You wouldn’t have seen my drawings though, they’re currently being framed, but when they next get put on display or scrunched and thrown in a bin I’ll be sure to let you know.

I should finish up, this post is way too long. I'm also really worried it sounds to braggy. I should point out lots of pretty lousy stuff has been going on too of course, as always, but I haven't written here in a while and I'd much rather think and write about the good things.

Speaking of good things, the reason I need to go pack is that today I’m flying to Perth. With me I’m bringing two pieces that will be exhibited in the 2014 PICA Salon, held at PICA, (the Perth Institute of Contemporary Art).

One of the reasons I’m so excited to be in the 2014 PICA Salon is that amongst the 24 great artists in the show, (and also me), is one of my very favorite artists of all time, the South African born William Kentridge. I love Kentridge so much I like to pretend his last name is actually Kennytridge.

But so yeah, I'm rambling, are you hungry? If you're in Perth this week please send me an email and let’s get a hamburger.

Or if you’re in Perth and you don’t wanna see me but you wouldn’t mind seeing my work, then head to PICA between August 2nd and August 31st.

My work in the show is so brand new that I slept in the corner of my studio last night just trying to finish it. It was the first time I’d slept there, I wish I’d planned for it in advance so I could’ve brought better bedding than jumpers. 
But at least my breakfast wasn’t Sub par.
Anyway I’d better go. And hey, I usually finish blog posts by saying thank you for reading, and this morning is no exception. Thanks so much for reading, I really appreciate it. I promise the next one won't be 2000 words long.

And finally, so far one of the only things I’ve managed to pack for this trip is a little bit of plaster, and I've just realised there’s a chance this white bag of powder might get me in trouble. 

Ha, and I guess what troubles me the most about the possibility of things going wrong at the airport is that this might be the last photo ever taken of me.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Park raving mad

Hey! Hop in, let's get this show on the road. I have something terrific to tell you; are you ready? ok, here goes; the other day, while driving my car Rudolph, I did a really good parallel park.

I do a lot of parallel parking, and because Rudolph's a big car I had to get good at it or I'd never find a spot in the city, but this parallel park was parkticularly good, I wish you could've seen it. 

Actually, you can see it, look, I took a picture.
I did the park on the right side of the road, (a.k.a. the wrong side of the road), which feels backwards but means it was very cultured and European. What's more I pulled it off in one simple motion, perfectly leaving my car the perfect distance from the curb and also the perfect distance from the two luxury cars that were now perfectly spaced in front and behind me. It was perfect. 

Now before you tell me to quit going on about a boring park, hear me out, as I think it's justified if only because this is an artist blog and that park was certainly a work of art.

Actually come to think of it maybe what I like about doing a good park is I can pat myself on the back over it and have a happy feeling of pride that I don't really ever let myself experience with my art. It's a pure celebration, a bit like a Matisse painting.

Maybe one day for an exhibition I'll have a piece that just consists of me parking my car really well in front of the gallery. It'll be a performance and I'll do it at some point during the opening. It'll be the best thing I've ever done. Ha, but anyway this is an excellent example as to why I've listed "parallel parking" amongst my skills on my LinkedIn page, right there next to Video Editing and Taxidermy.
On a side note, I have LinkedIn, do you have LinkedIn? Should I delete LinkedIn? I thought having a LinkedIn would make me feel professional but it kind of makes me feel a tiny bit like a kid playing dress ups and pretending to a grown up. Having said that though if you are on LinkedIn though please "connect with me" so I don't feel quite as much like LinkedIn's weakest link.

Another skill I should add to my LinkedIn profile is "Changing flat tyres", here's a photo taken the day after my great parallel park where in the rain I rescued my pal Cherie's car.

There's no real reason to show you this accept that it makes me look like a wheely great guy.
Well actually maybe it doesn't, I did change the tyre but it turned out there was more wrong with the wheel than just that, so we called RACV and they were the wheel heroes. 

I was a little heroic too though, when I noticed everyone was hungry I rescued the group's blood sugar levels by going to the chemist and getting us all Vegie Chips. So maybe there's room in the story for more than one hero.
On a side note, have you ever had Vegie Chips? I hadn't. They're amazing. They're a bit like prawn crackers, except even better, and I didn't think that was possible.

Anyway at 6am the next morning I was heroically driving a friend to the airport when unheroically I was in a car accident. Nobody was hurt, and it wasn't me at fault, and everyone's insured, and my friend made the plane. So everything was fine. But my car was towed and I ended up freezing cold in a car impound somewhere near the airport, sitting by myself in a tea room at a table of mechanics.

As I flipped through a newspaper I landed on a page with an article about Rolf Harris. I really wanted to read it but out of shyness I kept on flipping because I didn't want the mechanics to think I was looking at the big photo of some pretty women that was also on the page.
I then realised how silly it was for me to be worried the mechanics would think I'm looking at a photo of women (that I'm not even looking at) when the people I'm worried would think that are the kind of people who decorate their kitchen with images of girls in bikinis.
(Ha, it's not what it looks like Mr. Mechanic, I wasn't looking at the beautiful women, I was looking at the alleged pedophile I swear. You gotta believe me!)
Despite their questionable calendars and framed posters the mechanics were great guys, and they said it'd take 3 to 5 days before they knew whether or not Rudolph was written off. In the meantime the insurance company gave me a rental car. A silver sedan Toyota Corolla. I didn't think to take a photo but here's an image I found of it on Google.
I didn't feel comfortable in the rental, I was too scared to even drink coffee in it in case I spilled any, let alone eat a sandwich. Plus it felt like Rudolph was in a coma and I should be respectful and not out in other cars.

Poor Rudolph, he's my brother, and he's been a beloved member of this blog since the early days, here's a photo of when he appeared in a post back in March, 2012, when I documented the first time I drove the him to Sydney, (click here for the link to that).
But so yeah, despite 3 to 5 days of successfully convincing myself that they'd fix Rudolph and everything would be ok eventually I was told the very sad news that he had gone to automobiley heaven, and that I needed to use the last week of my rental car to find a new car.

Trying to find a new car sucks, especially when you have to do it in a hurry. I had my Dad helping me though so I'm very fortunate for that. Even still I spent so much dead time looking on the internet and driving for hours to stand with strangers in their driveways and ask questions about their run down cars. It's really disheartening. Plus all I wanted to do was be in the studio, or see friends or go swimming, but instead I spent my whole life in peak hour traffic somewhere in Essendon, driving from one car I wasn't keen on to another and thinking "well I need a car, I'm gonna have to settle on something".

And then a hero came along, with the strength to carry on, and amazingly, I found something really special! No car will ever replace Rudolph. Of course not. Don't be crazy. But I tell you what, if I weren't so sentimental about Rudolph I'd tell you that this new car is even better. It's a little bit like how I thought nothing could improve on prawn crackers but then I tried Vegie chips. Or that episode of The Simpsons where Bart replaces Santas Little Helper with Laddie.

Anyway, let me introduce you to my new car, I think his name is Blitzen, either that or Donna. I'd name it Dasher but that sounds like a car that would run a red light and cleaned up. Either way though that's me sitting on the hood, looking like I'm straight out of the hood, with my cap backwards like Fred Durst and making the F symbol, (F for Fred, and F for Ford).
One of the perks of Blitzen is he has a real antenna, no more coat hanger for me. (Although now I have no idea where I'm supposed to store my jacket while I'm driving).

Another perk is Blitzen came with these stickers.

That's me playing golf, obviously. That's so me. And I already have chooks and a dog. Sure I could take off the other stickers, but I think the smarter thing to do is just hang out in front of the sticker at the petrol until destiny brings me a woman with a golf club and a young girl who lifts weights.
A keen observer to that last photo will have noticed that as well as a new car I also have a new coffee size. It was super, in every sense of the word.
Among the infinite reasons that it's sad to lose Rudolph, one is that I'd just gotten it a new CD player. I bought it myself on last years boxing day sales. In fact that CD player, as well a pair of Collingwood socks, were the only two things I got last year for Christmas.Fortunately I still have the socks.

Speaking of CD's, the CD player in this car came free with a burnt copy of Mumford & Sons second album Babel. So if anyone wants to play frisbee... Ha, no just joking, I'm sure I'll get around to listening to it sons time soon in the next mumf or so.
But ok, enough about cars, it's way past my bed time so I need to wrap this up, before I do though I wanted to quickly mention that this week and last week I've been running ceramic and painting workshops at the VCA high school. I'll talk about it more another time but yeah, I'm so grateful to have been asked to do it, they're a really great bunch of people and I'm really loving working with them.

The main thing this means though is move over drivers license, because I've got a new ID to get me into the clubs. 
As an experiment I tried to use the ID to get into the Irish bar at Knox last night and sadly they would not accept it.
Oh and hey the last thing I'll say tonight is that I'm going to be in Perth for a few days next week, (the hometown of Rolf Harris, someone who has certainly been revoked of his working with children license), and so if you're in Perth around then send me an email and let's get a coffee. We can get it anywhere you like, it doesn't even have to be from 7-11!

But ok, thanks heaps for reading, be safe on them roads, see you soon, and to nicely bookend this blogpost my pal Cherie got another flat tyre last night, fortunately this time it was just the tyre, and I got to be a hero after all. No RACV or Vegie Chips were required.
When you have a car accident, or any kind of accident, it can be enough to drive you crazy, but if I've learnt one thing from all this it's that sometimes the only way to deal with things is to parallel park your cap on backwards and take some advice from your main man Fred Durst, and just keep rollin' rollin' rollin' rollin' what? keep rollin' rollin' rollin' rollin' yeah. 
In loving memory of Rudolph. 2000-2014.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Every blog has its day

Hey pal, here's some very exciting news; today I published a new blog post!

"Well der..." I hear you saying, "I'm reading it right now".

Oh yeah, good point. So ok, hey pal, here's some very exciting news; today I published TWO new blog posts!

And by that I mean, today I published this post that you're reading right now, but also I'm incredibly thrilled to announce that I was invited to write a guest post for the ACCA blog!

(Pssst.. Just in case you're an overseas reader, ACCA is the Australian Centre for Contemporary Art.)

And so yeah, here's a photo of me giving my ACCA blog piece one last quick edit, sitting with the wonderful Ali, while deep inside the heart of ACCA Headquarters.
As a fun-fact side-note: To get inside of ACCA Headquarters you have to pull down on a mystery book that's hidden amidst all the other books within the ACCA bookstand. Once the mystery book is pulled from the shelf a pretend wall will spin around and at this point you'll have exactly two seconds to duck in through the secret entrance.

Please don't bother asking me which book is the mystery book, as I'm not at liberty to say. One hint I will give you though is that the mystery book may or may not be the NEW14 exhibition catalogue, but I guess if you want to find out for sure you'll need to head into the ACCA bookstand and pick up a copy.

Anyway, what was I talking about? Oh right, so here's Ali and I going over my ACCA post one last time, just checking to see if we've missed any grammatical errors, clunky sentences or any other general sloppiness that I might be allowed to get away with on my own blog but is certainly not acceptable when writing for someone else's.
Miraculously my writing somehow passed the ACCA test, and so the only thing that was left for me to do was close my eyes, hope I hadn't acca-cidentally written anything too dumb, and click "publish".
The 2200 word writing/image thing that I just published on the ACCA blog is titled New sen-station; A drawn out day on the train, and is the resulting work from about a month ago, on the day before I turned 26, which was also the day before the NEW14 exhibition finished.

For the day I stayed on the train from the first train in the morning until the last train that night, travelling on every line and drawing people along the way. 

I'll write more about the piece soon but for now I just kind of wanted to tell you about it, so that you can go and have a look, if you'd like to, and hopefully it can speak for itself. 

To find the piece go to www.accaartblog.com, or even easier just google "ACCA blog", or, easiest of all, just click on any part of the second half of this sentence!

So yeah, I'd love it if you'd have a look!

In the meantime though you've already at least read this blog post, and so thanks heaps for that, I really appreciate it. Hi.

Before I finish up I also want to say a ginormous thank you to ACCA for giving me the tremendous joy of publishing on their blog, it's such an honour, and in particular a huge thank you to Alison Lasek, Kyla McFarlane, Jane Rhodes and Cherie Peele. 

And ok great, I think that's it. All I really wanted to say here tonight was to please have a look at the ACCA blog, and so now that I've said that I guess it's time for me to click "publish" on this post. 

Clicking "Publish" on my own blog is just slightly less scary than clicking it on ACCA's, so rather than cover my eyes for this one I've decided to instead click "Publish" while enjoying a delicious, nutritious dinner courtesy of the sandwich artists down at Subway.
Getting into the spirit of NEW the sandwich artist even insisted that we bust open a brand NEW bag of fresh lettuce.
and so lettuce all be grateful for that. (You know, grate-full, because the lettuce is grated...Goodnight everybody, I'll be here all week, try the subs!)