Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Give it away give it away give it away now

Hi, how're you? Hope things are going good.

A little while ago I wrote a piece for the ACCA blog documenting the last day of the NEW14 exhibition where for a day I rode on every Melbourne train line, drawing passengers along the way and giving them the drawing. Click on this sentence if you'd like to see it.

The piece as a whole is made up of lots of little pieces and one of the ones from the day that I think about the most is this one, titled;

Here's a drawing I just did of a ripped train seat. I left the drawing there on the seat for the next passenger to look at, or for the cleaners to throw in the bin, whoever finds it first.
On the off chance you're interested, here's a photo of it taken before I started drawing the pattern.
And here's a photo from a second before the train took the drawing away, taken while standing on platform one of Sunbury station.
I struggled with this piece because I really liked the drawing and so it was hard to just leave it on the train. And as I stood on the platform and watched it pull away from the station I didn't feel comfortable. I wanted to keep it, or at least have the closure of knowing what happened next. But I guess that's the poetry of it. Or at least that's the point of it. Or something. I don't really know what I'm doing. I just do it. Like Nike tells me to.
Anyway for this blog post I thought maybe you might like to see three more drawings that I've given away.

This first one I did two days after the ACCA piece when amazingly I was on a plane and in my first ever time leaving Australia I flew to Italy for an exhibition. A couple of hours into the flight the woman next to me fell asleep and so I made this drawing.
During the drawing the same thing happened to me that happened the last time I did a drawing on the plane; my paint marker burst from the air pressure and dripped down the page.
But it's no use crying over spilt ink, a couple of hours later it'd dried up nicely and when the woman woke up I gave her the drawing. She was great, her name was Monique, she was going to Egypt for a week. The woman sitting next to Monique took this photo of us.
After that the woman who'd taken the photo told me she was an artist too and showed me a slideshow of images of her paintings on her phone. They were really impressive. Her name's Kerry Smith. Here's some photos of my favourite works she showed me.
On my second day of being in Italy I drew this woman on a bus, (and yes I know that in my ACCA piece I said I wouldn't do train drawing anymore, but this isn't train drawing, it's bus drawing). 
I don't know Italian and the woman couldn't speak English but I did understand grazie which she said many times and it was so amazing how by giving her the drawing we were able to share a wonderful little moment despite the language barrier.
The last drawing I'll mention I did in front of the Palazzo Barberini, (which is a palace in Rome that first opened in 1633 and houses a great art collection available to be viewed). 

As I was leaving the palazzo I came across someone sleeping in the grass at the entrance.
Unlike the woman next to me on the plane I unfortunately didn't have time to wait for this guy to wake up, so I figured I'd just leave the drawing there for him to look at when he does.
I found it so hard to just walk away from the scene.
I would've loved to watch him wake up and discover it, but I'll guess I'll never know what happened next. I imagine it'd be a little scary.
On a much less a whimsical note I read the news today oh boy and I saw the photo of the seven year old Australian boy holding a severed head. 

Here's a picture I drew of him.
I read the article and drew the picture while sitting in the Newport library. I had the train line directly in front of me and I was sharing a very small table with a nice old man who was breathing very loudly and reading the newspaper using Inspector Gadgets magnifying glass.
I don't have any comment to make on the story, I don't know anything, my only response was draw to a picture of the block head.
Actually one thought I did have about this image, and I'm not sure what to make of it, is that it reminds me of Donatello's statue of David. 

While Michelangelo's statue of David depicts David determined and on his way to face Goliath, Donatello's version (sculpted in 1460, a hundred years before Michelangelo's) shows David smiling and with his foot resting on Goliath's severed head.

Here's a drawing I did of Donatello's David when I recently saw it in Florence at the Bargello, (which is a former prison now art gallery that's construction began in 1215). 

In my drawing of Donatello's David I was focusing mainly on the strange long feather running up David's inner thigh.
At the time apparently this feather was extremely controversial because it implied homosexuality, either of David or of Donatello.
To get a better idea of what the bronze sculpture looks like, here's a photo of it I found on google.
The context is obviously completely different but Donatello's David and the seven year old in the newspaper are both images of a young boy with a severed head. 

It seems worth thinking about that one of which is celebrated as Donatello's greatest masterpiece and a triumph of creation and the other has been called by the U.S Secretary of State as "one of the worst images the world has ever seen".
Here's a drawing I just did of Donatello's David, I fixed it up so that it's appropriate for a contemporary newspaper.
I don't know, that's just what came to mind when I saw the newspaper. Is that worth mentioning? Am I being stupid and naive and offensive? I don't mean to be. What do you think?
In other sad news Robin Williams has died. 
Rest in peace to the brilliant man, he was a true artist of comedy. 

I've got a few good Robin Williams related memories but my most recent happened just three weeks ago on my last day of teaching art workshops with the VCA High School year elevens. 

As I was walking out the door from my last class one of the students asked if we could all have a photo and so I asked "Have you guys seen Dead Poets Society?" 
It was pretty awesome being the Captain in an Oh Captain, my Captain moment, especially since I was working with such an amazing crew. It made getting my boat license all worth while.
The last thing I should mention, only because I might not get a chance to mention it tomorrow, is that this Friday, 6-8pm, is the opening of the Substation Contemporary Art Prize, and I'm lucky enough to be a finalist. I'm pretty excited about my new piece in the show so hope you get a chance to check it out. Curated by Jessica Bridgfoot, it's on from this Friday until October 12.
This blog post has been a little all over the place and the only logical way I can think of finishing this off is to show you this drawing I just did.

I changed the word NIKE to NICE and the tagline of JUST DO IT to JUST BE IT. 

This officially proves once and for all that I'm the lamest person ever. 
Nice, just be it. I should turn it into a bad t-shirt, that's where it belongs. But I don't know, sometimes it's important not to dismiss cheesy messages like this one.

Speaking of cheesy I'm gonna go to the fridge and eat the last of the lasagne. Thanks so much for reading I really appreciate it, and yeah, don't put too much pressure on yourself and remember you are loved. Have a great day and try not to lose your head.


  1. Wow, that was a big post with lots of different content.

    It is awesome that you left those drawings, especially the guy on the lawn. But yeah, his reaction would have been priceless. He may have even been looking around for the candid camera to capture his reaction. His hunt for the camera may have been even more interesting that his reaction to the picture. Do you ever write your name on them? You should; at least to give them the smallest chance of tracking you down. You might even start a thing…. I think the thing would be called “being Pittocked”. Or not. I have no idea. Anyway, it would also be interesting to know what he has done with it; but we never will so instead I think imagine it is framed and hanging the wall in a study or office. That is what I would have done anyway.

    So the kid with the head. Yeah, I saw that in the newspaper here and also online. I could not bring myself to read the article; but I think Kerry’s reaction was right. I just cannot imagine any circumstance where a child should hate so much or feel such less compassion to another person that it would be ok to hold a head like that. It is too unbelievable and worse, terrifying to think that perhaps the picture is representative of the widespread feeling. I just cannot imagine it.

    As for the David statute…. first there was bearded men touching tongues and now feathers up the leg. Is this building to something? I have given this a lot of thought and my brain can’t link a feather on the leg to anything gay. A couch surfer that I hosted recently mentioned that gay people in night clubs (in Germany) have some sort of colour code to let others know what they are after. I found that hard to believe, but no, it is true because Wikipedia said so. Perhaps the feather was the genesis of all of that. Actually probably not. A feather on leg just looks like decoration to me. What animal did the feather belong to? Are there feathers in any of Donatello’s other work?

    Robin Williams death is a tough subject to because his artistic genius is beyond doubt and a loss, but the depression and suicide angles are more troubling. For me the depression makes the event much sadder because it must have been terrible in the days, weeks and months before. But then suicide is also a selfish act; it is complicated though. I don’t know. Someone asked me a couple of months ago, “so why do you get out of bed in the morning”. It shocked me that there was not an urgent compelling answer to that question at the tip of my tongue. That question has troubled me ever since. Surely the answer can’t be because the bus comes at 7.10am, or because emails arrive and who would answer them…. the scary proposition for me was the inverse, what would happen if I didn’t get out of bed in the morning. No blog comments probably 

    And you’re up for another prize. Awesome. I would vote for you. Even though I do not have a clue what you have done to deserve this nomination I would also vote for you. Maybe you could make some buttons to wear which say I vote for Kenny.

    And the marine thing. Cool. I have noticed that you are very careful with deleting identifying characteristics. Whether that is a car registration number, date of birth or whatever. Why is that? Do you think people will really track you down? And if they did, I’m sure the only reason would be to give you a hug. And the deletions just make the secret of what is deleted even more delectable. In the marine licence you have a middle initial. I predict it’s a Matthew or a Michael?

    I vote for you…. It doesn’t matter I don’t have a clue what you’ve done; I’d always vote for you.

    1. Hey Paul, thanks heaps for the comment! You already had the record for the longest comment left on this blog and with this one you've must've just set the bar even higher.
      In answer to your question sometimes I don't write my name on the back of the drawings I leave but yeah usually I do, and I definitely did with the guy asleep on the grass, ha, so he was certainly Pittocked. I'll be sure to let you know if he ever gets in contact with me although with every passing day that I haven't heard from him I can't help but feel the chances are shrinking smaller and smaller.
      I don't know a great deal of Donatello's stuff so I'm not sure if he has feathers in his other work, but given that he works on a large scale and mainly in bronze I can say with confidence that his work definitely isn't light as a feather. I can also tell you that the skills he developed are stunning and so when it comes to craftsmanship he absolutely has a feather in his cap. Oh and also, by creating a sculpture of David for Florence, a city not then known as the home of David, Donatello was certainly ruffling a few feathers, (I heard that apparently this is also why Donatello's David is wearing a hat, so that if questioned by outside cities the sculpture can be explained to be that of just a boy and not specifically David.)
      I didn't win the prize but the winner was deserving and thank you so much for your support, really appreciate it, maybe next time. (Also the "vote for me" badge idea wouldn't work as the prize wasn't judged by everybody, instead just two very respectable judges. There is a "peoples choice" award but I never have a chance with those things, ha, especially since I never even got around to voting in it myself.)
      But ok, thank you so much again for your thoughtful and kind response, hope all's well, please be sure to get out of bed every morning and continue catching that 7.10am bus, replying to your emails and most importantly, keeping up with your blog commenting. Hope to hear from you again sometime soon, Kenny.