Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Getting there is half the fon-zies


Often when you're transporting smallish art interstate it works out a lot cheaper to just fly to the place yourself and bring the work with you than it is to use a courier. It's often a lot funner too, and so last Friday night I flew to Sydney to deliver my work for a show at the Wollongong City Art Gallery that opens at the start of next month.

Held in conjunction with Illawarra Italian week, the show's called Che Cosa! (which is Italian for "What?") and features mostly artists who are Italian, or in cases like me, (to quote the curator), artists whose work plays with "the allure of national and cultural identification" and "examines ways in which traditions are maintained and communicated".

Che Cosa! is curated by the fantastic Sydney based artist David Capra. Here's an image for the show with a list of the exhibiting artists;
Because I only had carry-on luggage, and because clay is heavy, to keep my bags under 10kg I had to stuff as much as I could of what I was taking into the pockets of my shorts. One of my pieces that went to Sydney in my pocket was a ceramic sculpture of the Nintendo 64 game Mario Kart. Even though technically Mario is Japanese I still think he's probably the worlds most famous Italian.

Here's a picture of the sculpture when the painting was still in it's early stages, photographed on an especially dusty table. You'd have to blow pretty hard into the cartridge if you were hoping to get it to work.
I was glad I had the sculpture in my pocket on the flight as coincidentally the guy sitting next to me had a tattoo of Bullet Bill, one of the baddies from the game. 
The guy I sat next to's name was Andy, he was a soldier who drives army trucks in regional Victoria and was flying to Sydney to party in Kings Cross on his one weekend off. At the start of the flight Andy had tried to order two cans of Jim Beam but the flight attendant would only allow him one, so I jumped in and said that one of the cans was for me, and then after I handed it to Andy we ended up talking for the entire flight.

I asked Andy if his job had ever taken him overseas, he said no but that he'd soon be going to Iraq. I asked him how long he'd be there for, he said three months. I asked him if he was scared. He told me "It's just like any other job. You do your art yeah? Don't you get scared of people not liking your stuff?" I said "Well yeah sure but my worst case scenario doesn't result in me killing someone or someone killing me... you know, so long as I don't draw Muhammad."

Andy was a big tough man but also just a really nice guy, I think my favourite thing I heard him say was how addicted he is to playing the game Sim City. "It's like crack" he said. "I wish I could live in that game, just be a character in it." 

I said "But isn't that literally what life is?" He laughed and said "Oh yeah, you're right... except it's a lot easier in the game if you decide you want to start again".
Last time I stayed in Sydney, (only a few weeks ago), I stayed in a 12 bed dorm, this time I accepted my friends Marilyn and J.D's generous offer and crashed on the floor of their new furniture-less apartment. Their place is pretty friggin awesome, (thanks again Marilyn and J.D!), here's the floor I slept on.
 And if you look out that balcony window, here's the view of the bay.
Saturday morning I went around to an open studio with my buddy Heath, who's another artist in Che Cosa!, after that we delivered our work to David. We didn't take the work to Davids place though, instead we went to his Nonnas, who had invited us and the other artists in the show to her house for a traditional Italian feast. 

Before I get to that though, in related news, you may or probably may not remember that in a blog post I wrote back in October last year I talked about selling some Twisties sculptures to my friend the artist Tracey Lamb, I then talked about how in Italy Twisties are called Fonzies. Here's the drawing I did of Fonzie eating Fonzies.
Well it turns out Tracey's brother happens to live in Italy and after reading how much I'd love to try Fonzies Tracey asked him to send a pack over for me! And so, fantastically, here I am with Tracey and my very own multipack of Fonzies! (Thanks again Tracey!)
We opened one of the packets straight away in celebration. 
Just as wikipedia mentioned, Fonzies are much lighter in colour than Twisties. They actually look a lot like Chicken Twisties. To compare the colours, here's a Cheese Fonzie next to a Cheese Twistie.
After meeting up with Tracey and scoring the Fonzies we both then participated in a pretty special 'art therapy' performance piece at Blindside gallery by my friend Inez de Vega. Here's a photo from that.
And then a couple of hours later on the other side of that we got back to finishing off the bag of Fonzies. (Also pictured eating Fonzies are Georgie and Laura.)

I've still got like 6 bags of the Fonzies left, I'll put a bowl of them out at the opening of Che Cosa! so you can try them. I still can't decide what they taste like, I think I'll have to eat a few more before I will. One thing they don't taste like though is Tacos, unlike these new Taco flavoured Twisties, available for a limited time only, exclusively at 7-11.
Ha, that kinda sounded like I'm getting paid by 7-11 to say that. I wish. I love 7-11. My studio's right next door to one so I go there all the time. If you're reading this 7-11 give me a call, I'm not asking for much, maybe just a couple of $1 coffees. But what was I talking about? Oh right, Taco Twisties.
They really do taste like tacos.

But ok, getting back to lunch at David's Nonna's house. I ate sooo much food. Three full courses and then two courses of dessert, every bite was amazing. I didn't take any photos of the food because I was too busy eating it. All that delicious stuff, and being around so much Italian speaking, it took me back to the feeling of being in Italy. I love Italy.

Here's a photo David took of us at his Nonna's after we'd all eaten enough food to last us a week. (Thanks again David's Nonna!)
Here's a photo of Tom using an app to translate all the text on a Fonzi packet. "Fingers" and "Coat kisses", so that's what they taste like!
And here's me and Heath in David's Nonna's backyard looking at the towering cacti and abundant vegetable patch.
You can't see the cactus or the vegetables in that above photo but you can see that Heath is holding a wrapped up shirt. The shirt needed to be delivered to Heath's wonderful partner Jodie at the Museum of Contemporary Art and as Heath was busy I offered to deliver it for him. 

I didn't think to take a photo of me delivering the shirt but thanks to my mad photoshop skillz you wouldn't even know; here's a picture of Jodie and I in front of the MCA.
Ha, but ok, it's clearly time for me to wrap this up. In fact maybe I should just start again. I oughta download The Sims. But thanks very much for reading this and in conclusion; some work I made about Italy and some work I made in Italy is now safely in Sydney and the show opens in Wollongong on March the 6th. 

Oh also, the exhibition I'm in at Anna Pappas gallery (in Melbourne) finishes this Saturday so if you haven't seen it yet I'd love it if you can get there in one of these next few days. I'll write more about the show soon but for now here's a review of it in the Art Guide.

Oh and also, I'm in another upcoming exhibition that opens this Sunday evening at the Cowarra Art Centre in Gippsland, a two and a half hour drive out of Melbourne. The show's called Future Now and is curated by the brilliant Rosemary Forde. I'll talk more about that soon too but for now here's a little flyer with all the details, I'd love to see you there!
Oh and also, I'll talk more about this soon as well but while I'm loading you up with places to see my work I'm very excited to say that I've got a 1000 word text and image piece in Issue 3 of Sturgeon Magazine, out now in pretty much all good newsagents, delicately displayed between my two other favourite magazines; Art Collector and Flower Arranger.
And finally, while I was in the MCA on Saturday delivering Jodie's shirt I also had a chance to see the great retrospective exhibition of American painter and photographer Chuck Close. 

And so the last thing I'll chuck in this blog post, to bring it to a close; here's Close, but no cigar.

And here's Close, with a cigar. (A ceramic sculpture I made of one.)

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