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.

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