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LOVE FROM THE STUDIO

A series of stories bringing you behind the scenes of Arts Project Australia. 

LATEST INTERVIEWS AND ARTICLES
Lisa Reid on the Value of Memory

Lisa Reid on the Value of Memory

"A lot of my artwork is about memory." Lisa Reid (b 1975, Melbourne) is an accomplished multidisciplinary artist working in ceramics, painting, drawing, printmaking and digital media and has worked at Arts Project since 2002. She has shown in major exhibitions nationally and internationally, including Painting More Painting at Australian Centre for Contemporary Art (ACCA) and her work is held by the National Gallery of Australia and National Gallery of Victoria. Often utilising preliminary workings of an image as a blueprint for her work, Lisa Reid's attention to detail is unparalleled.In this interview, Reid focusses on The Old Fashioned Cash Register with the Old Paper Dollar Notes and Coins 2018 which was a center-piece at the recent Leonard Joel auction The day we all went home.¹ Discussing this work, she also speaks on her other ceramics, which are often comprised of multiple components and meticulously constructed over a long period. While she talks on the value of memory in her process, she doesn’t shy away from the present as she also ponders on the pandemic’s disruption to her practice. Can you tell me a little bit about this artwork?  I got the image off the internet. I found it online, and I found the paper notes online too. The money used to look like that back in the early 1980s, when I was a child.Do you remember seeing cash registers like this in the 80s?I remember seeing them in op shops. I like going to op shops, but unfortunately, we can’t go to them much because of COVID. Can’t really go anywhere much because of COVID. I can’t even visit my family.You’re an artist that works with lots of different mediums, including printmaking, zines, ceramics, painting and drawing. Which of these do you think is your favourite?Well, I used to do printmaking until I got that part-time job at Foodworks. My favourite is ceramics and 2D. I like everything, making things, all different things. I like working in ceramics in 3D. I’m currently making a walkman. I had a few walkmans back in my past. I had a Discman too— I had a few of them because they wore out all the time because I listened to them so much. A lot of my artwork is about memory.How hard is it using a 2D image from the internet to make a 3D artwork?You just copy it from a template. You put it on pieces of paper first and then make it in the clay. You cut them out. And I just copied the coins out of clay from the real stuff.Can you remember how long it took to make the cash register ceramic?A bit over a year? It took a lot of concentration and a lot of work. A lot of detail. The numbers are a bit like a calculator too. I like how I did the in-tray with the bluey-grey- that’s something that I decided to do myself.  In choosing your reference material, do you prefer to work with images you find on the internet or your own personal photographs?Both— I like working with photos of my family and with the ones I find on the internet. Recently, I’ve been doing a zine, with my Grandmother’s face in the Red Riding Hood bed.What do you like about being an artist?I just like to be challenged and to keep myself busy. Making things. I just like using a lot of detail. I’ve been making art since primary school and started at Arts Project nearly 20 years ago… and now all this has happened.It is tough to know something so well and to be faced with a big change. We’ll get back to the Arts Project studio eventually though, won’t we?Yeah, it all takes time.Images | Lisa Reid, The Old Fashioned Cash Register with the Old Paper Dollar Notes and Coins, 2018, glazed earthenware, 12.5 x 25 x 32 cmLisa Reid, Self Portrait Of Me Wearing My Best Dress, 2017, pencil on paper, 56 x 38.5 cm¹The lot was passed in and the artwork remains for sale through the Arts Project Australia gallery.Love from the Studio is a series of interviews and articles bringing you behind the scenes of Arts Project Australia.  Interview by Margaret McIntosh, Gallery Technician. 

Sue Roff on the Past, Present and Future

Sue Roff on the Past, Present and Future

Over this unusual year, Arts Project Australia Director Sue Roff has taken running an arts organisation during a pandemic into her stride. In this Q & A, she articulates her approach to dealing with an unordinary set of circumstances and summarises APA's aim to confidently support its artists through virtual and flexible delivery modes. Roff reflects on the challenges and lessons of creatively negotiating changes to the studio and gallery to ensure their functionality, while also musing on the collective grit exhibited by the organisation that will be taken into the future, whatever it may hold.   How has Arts Project Australia responded to COVID-19, and what have been some of the lessons learned?  Sue Roff: Our closure started a week earlier than most as we waited for the results of one artist's COVID-19 test (it was negative). By then, restrictions were in place, and we began to implement a remote program to enable artists to develop their art practice at home. The gallery started presenting exhibitions online, together with artist stories and interviews.We have proudly kept all staff in work and continued to deliver services throughout the different stages of the pandemic. After developing a COVID-19 plan and instituting new hygiene and social distancing protocols, we slowly started to invite artists back to the studio – particularly those who were unable to join the remote program. Due to current restrictions, the number of artists attending the studio each day is capped at ten until further notice, and the gallery remains closed but operating at a high level online. Lessons learned along the way:Good communication is vital. The external environment is highly dynamic – sometimes changing every day. It has been crucial to keep staff and artists informed and how it may affect our work. Regular online staff meetings and written communications have been so important in keeping us together, and better understanding the pandemic's impact.There is always a way to do things better.  We are learning to change the way we do everything very quickly.The Arts Project team is extraordinary in the face of adversity. Our well-developed culture of support and care has been at the forefront of our ability to continue.   How has the studio adapted and continued to support its artists?  Sue Roff: Creative staff means creative solutions to problems.  The APA studio responded quickly by delivering art materials to artists' homes, helping artists and their families use Zoom, and then delivering group and individual art sessions online. Challenges included a lack of technology and WIFI access for some artists, and the disinclination of some carers and house staff to assist in this access. But there have been many more highlights: some incredible artwork created at home, artists gathering in small groups maintaining a sense of community and our staff getting to know the families and carers of our artists better.What are the benefits of moving the gallery online for the rest of the year?  Sue Roff: Recognising social distancing protocols will be in place for some time, bringing artists back to the studio is our top priority. We've resolved to turn our gallery space into a second studio, while the gallery will grow in its capacity for external opportunities and partnerships.COVID-19 has allowed us to grow our digital presence – something we didn't have time for in the past. The gallery team moved efficiently to present weekly online exhibitions, interviews and stories. Unable to hold our annual fundraising dinner, our long-term partner, Leonard Joel, conducted an online auction – which culminated in $47,000 of sales, of which 50% went to participating artists. We think this will become a new addition in our annual calendar! The past four months have shown that online infrastructure allows showcasing of more artists and more work- translating into excellent sales, opportunities for artists in Australia and overseas and the reaching of new audiences.   We don't have much insight into the future right now. Instead of asking about your hopes for the next 12 months, what is APA's mantra to approaching them?  Sue Roff: Whatever we do and however we do it, we will continue to remain true to our mission – to support artists with intellectual disabilities, promote their work and advocate for their inclusion in the broader contemporary art sector. We now know this can be done remotely, as well as in person. While we hope to be working with more of our artists face-to-face as time goes on, we will continue to do so safely and endeavour to manage health and safety risks in the best way possible. As our manifesto says – we march to the beat of our own drum and map our own future. And we are determined to have a future!

No Holding Back Now

No Holding Back Now

Arts Project Australia artists have not paused during the ups and downs collectively experienced since March. Continuously developing their practice, they have avidly created art through their private practice, the Satellite Arts Program and at the Arts Project Australia studio. As an organisation, we are dedicated to supporting their practices, no matter the circumstances. With news of a second lockdown, we want to share some rare behind the scenes documentation and commentary of their work created since March. Taking you behind the scenes, we invite you to contemplate the commitment displayed by these artists during testing times.Rebecca Vanston Rebecca Vanston’s (born 1994) frequently features animals and heroic fantasy figures in dynamic poses. Usually focussing on printmaking, Vanston often draws from her work in other disciplines, such as digital animation, to build narratives around her characters. On these works created in the early stages of lockdown, she says, “Here’s my late cat Lily for a comic I’m about to work on. Right now, I’m thinking about the timeline to go with this story; I can’t wait to start it. I just wanted to get her design done first.” Gavin Porter Quirky narratives in which recurring characters engage in the eternal struggle between good and evil, and post-apocalyptic survival often accompany Gavin Porter’s complex graphic novel-like drawings. Porter’s works present a mixture of colourful drawings in fine liner and marker on paper, as well as black and white ink drawings, starkly rendered to depict a futuristic world inhabited by mission-driven characters.A few months ago, Porter commented, “Due to getting used to a routine of drawing at Arts Project Australia for years, to the point that I hardly ever make time for drawing at home; I thought I might as well do a drawing to help maintain my skill as we wait out the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic.”He has been busy within an imaginary haze; one work shows a 'rough draft' of a map of a fiction Australian town. Created in May, Porter reflects on his research processes for "Fictional Character Concept (Zoya), "I had to do a bit of Googling to make sure I got the Russian naming system right for this character, whilst also making sure to have her first name, patronymic name, and last name all begin with the letter. "Miles Howard-Wilks Miles Howard-Wilks (b 1979, Melbourne) is a mid-career artist who specialises in painting, ceramics, photography, digital art and zines. His work features dynamic and surreal landscapes and seascapes with recurring motifs of iconic animals, landmarks and transport, with a particular penchant for magpies. Over the last few months, he has taken multitudes of photographs, further developing his keen eye for Australian fauna and wildlife. On this selection, he says, "Yes, magpies are represented, but there are other subjects too.”Daniel Pace Daniel Pace’s (born 1992) small works on paper are executed in pencil with blocks of solid colour and strong outlines, often on coloured surfaces. To view his work is to connect with a range of fantastical characters portrayed in much the same style as they were originally created, yet lovingly re-interpreted to reflect Pace’s unique perspective. Studio Manager James McDonald commented on this recent work by Pace, “The King and Queen have ditched the game to enjoy a jaunty skip along on the beach. Another beauty from the wonderful imagination of Daniel Pace.”Please note these are works in progress and may not be for sale. Please contact Sim Luttin with any enquiries at [email protected]

John Albrecht on the Day We All Went Home

John Albrecht on the Day We All Went Home

John Albrecht is the Managing Director at Leonard Joel, Australia’s largest multi-department auction house and long-term supporter of Arts Project Australia. After ten years of partnership, the two organisations have joined forces to present The Day We All Went Home, an exclusive online fundraising auction of Arts Project Australia artworks hosted by Leonard Joel. Ahead of the Sunday 28 June auction, Albrecht reflects on Leonard Joel's relationship with Arts Project Australia as well as inspiration, hopes and tips for the upcoming fundraiser.John Albrecht, Managing Director, Leonard Joel The partnership between Leonard Joel and Arts Project Australia has endured for 10 years; can you talk about the values the two organisations share that strengthen this relationship?My immediate response is people, warmth and enthusiasm when I think about Arts Project Australia (APA). Both organisations care deeply about their teams and their communities and we recently found perfect expression for that in our agreement to provide one of their artists each year a paid internship. That simply wouldn’t have happened if both organisations weren’t aligned culturally and emotionally.Big personalities and warm ones are what I always take away from my meetings and moments with APA. From the first day I met their amazing leader Sue Roff, I connected with her sense of humour and equally purposeful approach to her important role and work. And enthusiasm has tended to infect all our work together. APA is so monumentally enthusiastic for their artists and their organisation's cause and we have, I believe, always responded with a similar level of enthusiasm founded in my belief that a commercial enterprise must have a soul, do good things and not just make money. This is why APA is so important to us as an organisation as we strive to be of broader community value.Arts Project Australia Director Sue Roff at the Leonard Joel auction podium IN 2011 Leonard Joel and Arts Project Australia have joined forces for fundraising events many times over the years. Can you share about the inspiration behind the upcoming auction hosted by Leonard Joel, The Day We All Went Home? Deep into the COVID-19 crisis (or storm as I describe it), I reached out to Sue Roff aware that APA had to shut down and that without a functioning studio that could sell art and generate ongoing income, like so many businesses, times would be challenging. Firmly wearing “my auctioneer’s hat”, I suggested to her that at no cost to APA Leonard Joel could provide her artists with an opportunity to curate a significant online art auction that spoke to all the artists of APA, promoted their wonderful work and just as importantly, generated income for them. We decided it would be more than poignant to title it as we have, given that all works have literally been selected from the artistic expression that lay completed there, the day before they had to close their doors.What are three of your highlights from the auction?Oh, this is so hard for me because I find APA’s artistic output across genre, medium and subject matter so completely compelling, but if I had to, my three highlights are: no forget it, it’s too hard! I’ll agree to keep it to eight works of art.Suzanne Barnes’ Not titled 2019, Michael Camakaris’ Not titled 2019, Valerio Ciccone’s Not titled 2017, Patrick Francis’ Not titled 2019, Julian Martin’s Not titled 2019, Warren O’Brien’s Windows 2016, Cathy Staughton’s Catherine Bell Jane Mum Bathroom 2019 and finally Terry Williams’ Not titled 2018.Patrick Francis, Untitled (Portrait of Henri Rochefort after Manet), 2019, acrylic on paper, 77.5 x 56cm What are your top tips for bidding at an online auction?Well, first and foremost, this is a not-for-profit all proceeds auction so bid with your heart in mind and not your wallet, with the knowledge that every dollar and cent of your successful bid will find its way to APA and its artists.Always make an effort to get a sense of scale for a work once its framed and where you might place is as that will help you select from this collection.Don’t be afraid to leave us with an Absentee Bid in the knowledge that as a matter of policy we always execute these as cheaply as possible.And finally, worry not about the investment-potential of the work or what your friends might think of it. Collect and decorate your world with things that speak to you and a work of art is no different.Leonard Joel is sponsoring the event and waiving their buyer’s premium, with 100% of proceeds going to participating artists and Arts Project Australia. Auction / Sunday 28 June 2020, 3pm Preview / Tuesday 16 June – Sun 28 June 2020Preview auction / Download catalogue Love from the Studio is a series of interviews and articles bringing you behind the scenes of Arts Project Australia. John Albrecht was interviewed by Tahney Fosdike, Marketing & Communications Coordinator at Arts Project Australia.

Monica Lazarri and the Integrity of Viewing

Monica Lazarri and the Integrity of Viewing

Monica Lazzari, a regular Arts Project Australia studio artist since 2006, creates complex abstract paintings and collage. Vibrant and multi-layered, Lazzari employs a vast colour palette with meticulous application of media. The works are active spaces, resonating with energy.In this interview, reflecting on two works on paper from 2017 and 2019, she contemplates striking a balance between impulsiveness and planned structure in her compositions. Following, she speaks passionately on the fluid language of art which, she believes, viewers should feel without interference.Lazzari (born 1985) has been included in numerous group exhibitions including Home (locations around Arts Centre Melbourne, the city and the surrounds), Now the heart is filled with gold as if it were a purse (curated by Glenn Barkley), Arts Project Australia Gallery, Melbourne; and each Annual Gala at Arts Project Australia since 2006.Monica Lazzari, Not titled, 2017, fine liner; pencil on paper, 28 x 38.5 cm, ML17-0004 Can you tell me more about the composition and colours you have selected in Not titled (2017)? I’ve always liked Autumn leaves. It’s a live drawing: I went out and picked the leaves and placed around the glasses around. It was a still life set up in the studio at Arts Project Australia.I like every single colour I used. I chose to use bright colours- they make me happy. I love all colours, and I find it hard to say no to one colour because I don’t want any to miss out- except this one time I challenged myself only to use four colours. I also used fine-pen to outline the cups and the leaves. I like to do a lot of pattern work. Sometimes, I want to make a pattern but not a pattern because my eyes play on me! There is kind of a pattern, but at the same time, it’s random.Can you also tell me about this other work- Snakes (2019)? There is a lot of spontaneity! It makes me thinks of snakes because of all the wavy lines made from acrylic paint. I kept free spaces to give it space to flow, although one side is busier than the other. This sort of composition was an accident. It wasn’t planned. There are also the patterns on the snakes, that was planned and really thought about. I love the pink background- it makes it look 3D, like the snakes are jumping out at you.Monica Lazzari, Snakes, 2019, acrylic on paper, 41 x 49.5 cm, ML19-0001 You told me before this interview that art is not meant for words, but to be looked at. Can you tell me more about that?They say a picture is worth a thousand words. But a picture doesn’t talk to you- it takes you places. It can make you feel happy, it can make you feel scared, it can make you feel lost. It has that power. Whatever the viewer wants to feel when they look, it is what’s true. There is no right or wrong. When you look at a picture, it’s how you feel.I don’t really like to give titles because when people look at a picture- you’re feeling what you’re feeling. If I give a title, I am telling someone they have to feel one way, or they have to try to see ‘this’ in my picture. I want people to look and think that they can see something – like a hand or an eye. I want them to be able to see whatever they want to see. The work belonged to me when I was working on it, but now it no longer belongs to me, it belongs to the world and the viewer who it is looking at it at this moment. I’ve done my bit. Now, the viewer can look at it and see what they want to see.   You also have told me before that art helps you cope. Can you talk on that?Ever since, maybe since I was two or four years old, I’ve always been into making stuff, creating things, putting colours together, playing around with materials. It’s the language of what I do. It helped me interact with life, but it’s also an escape route. It’s like how some people watch movies or read a book or write poetry or sing a song- everyone has their coping strategies.  Love from the Studio is a series of interviews and articles bringing you behind the scenes of Arts Project Australia.  Interview by Margaret McIntosh, Gallery Technician; article edited by Tahney Fosdike, Marketing & Communications Coordinator 

Mark Smith on Nature’s Details

Mark Smith on Nature’s Details

Mark Smith (born 1976) has worked in the Arts Project Australia studio since 2007, maintaining a prolific body of work across painting, ceramics, mixed media, video and soft sculpture. His figurative work often utilises ceramics, pertains to the human body and binds itself to his exploration of the human condition. While he is better known for his 3D work, his practise also extends to two-dimensional depictions of nature. In this interview, Mark Smith discusses his recent small-scale landscape work Not titled (2019), created in watercolour and ink on paper. An Autumn scene inspired by his daily bike-ride, his study of human nature is explored as he reinterprets scenes from everyday life. Smith discusses creating landscapes from his imagination, which allows details to flourish in a fluid and vibrant fashion. As he speaks on the individuality of each branch and leaf, we are reminded of his words from a few years ago. Talking about his interest in the imperfections of nature, Smith stated, “The thing I like about landscapes and nature, things like mountains, bark or even leaves, is that they’re often not structurally or graphically correct.”Smith and had his first solo exhibition ‘Words Are…’ at Jarmbi Gallery Upstairs, Upwey, Victoria. He has exhibited in multiple group exhibitions at Spring 1883, Robin Gibson Gallery, No Vacancy Gallery, c3 Contemporary and The Substation. In 2014 he self-published ‘Alive’, an autobiographical reflection of his life. Mark Smith, Not titled, 2019, watercolour and ink on paper, 56 x 38 cm, MASM19-0005 What can you tell me about this work?This is inspired by my ride most days on the way to the supermarket when I go through Queens Park in Moonee Ponds. I like the perspective view- how you see down the end and along the path. I made the love heart at the end, which I thought would make it more interesting. I like the Autumn colours of the leaves; it is done with watercolours and ink pen. It took a while to do the leaves individually. How long did the work take to complete?I would say, 7 or 8 hours. With a work like this, on paper with watercolour and ink, can you tell me a bit of the process? I did the trunk of the trees first, then the leaves and then the branches and then the leaves again. I didn't know there would be a heart shape until the end - it just happened. I worked from memory because I ride my bike through there most days (but with the coronavirus, only weekends). The leaves at the trunk of the trees are different colours from up high- that made a big difference. I like how the perspective points to the heart shape. You travel along to the love at the end. I know you often work with ceramics, in particular works relating to bodies. How often do you work with paper or landscapes, like this?I spend time on my 2-dimensional practice two days a week and I do ceramics one day a week. I like the tangibleness of clay objects; I have trouble controlling my hands with really intricate stuff and I find clay is more forgiving if you make a mistake. You can mould into something else. With 2-dimensional works, you can’t always rub it out and go over it. Can you tell me more about the details in this work and why they are important?I think the detail is what makes it more interesting. It makes it more attractive! I used different colours, which is the most appealing part of the work, to highlight the fact there are so many individual leaves. The details of the paint strokes make me think of the movement of my hand. You can tell I spent a lot of effort on the individual leaves and a lot of time into the differing types of strokes. Love from the Studio is a series of interviews and articles bringing you behind the scenes of Arts Project Australia. Mark Smith was interviewed by Tahney Fosdike, Marketing & Communications Coordinator at Arts Project Australia.

The eminent face: Portraiture of Arts Project Australia 

The eminent face: Portraiture of Arts Project Australia 

Portraiture can't be neatly defined. Capturing the face, the human body's centric feature, extends back millennia; the oldest known representation of a human face heralds from the ice age (and lives on in the Burrup Peninsula rock library in Western Australia). Yet, portraiture's breadth doesn't discount us from considering artists' capacity to continuously interpret and depict human emotion and experience within this medium.Traversing history, it is evident that the portrait remains an eminent fixture of artistic practice. At Arts Project Australia, artists continue to ingeniously portray the human face and its infinite multitudes. By connecting with work made in the studio, three of Arts Project's team explore both the intimate nuances and expansive complexity of portraiture.Mandy Hall / Vice PresidentThe eyes have it. Throughout time, the ability of a portrait to provide not only a window to the soul but to be able to reflect back to the viewer a snapshot of the human condition is unparalleled. Amani Tia and Adrian Lazzaro have both managed to encapsulate and at the same time, bookend this extraordinary period of COVID-19 isolation. Amani's portrait, with its strict monochrome and inward intensity of expression, senses our unease as we slid into lockdown unknown. This new existence promised to be muted and subdued. His work senses our foreboding and heightens our disquiet.Six weeks on and I'm drawn to Adrian Lazzaro. Fear, grief and resignation are replaced by a flattened curve and a new set of anxieties. The wildly discordant colour of this portrait is reflective of growing agitation. This guy looks ready to burst his real or imaginary shackles of restraint. His deeply furrowed brow evokes an impatience to resume our regular lives and reconnect with one another again.   These works aptly chart the great psychological adventure of isolation. Rob McHaffie / Staff Artist Elvis's enduring stardom is something modern pop singers could only dream of in our current consumer culture that disposes of a singer after only a few hit singles. One Melbournite keeping Elvis's fame alive and well in our collective conscious is Dionne Canzano, with her life long devotion to the beauty and music of the king.Elvis here is drawn with a massive head reflecting the size of his ego and holy pop status. His neck is beautifully decorated in sparkly jewels and signature huge shirt collar framing his head. He towers above the angelic Lisa Marie's small stature leaving her chuffed to be in his presence. Dionne slowly builds these scenes adding layers of dry pastel, smudged with her fingers and then overlays shapes with line and coloured details. The effect is that Dionne can reveal the complexity of human themes such as love and devotion. I completely relate to Brendan. The absurdity of humanising animals with familiar names and producing their portraits questions how we relate to species other our own and our very need to produce and keep portraits. This awkward relationship is beautifully captured in Michael Licenblat's energetic depiction of 'Brendan the Baboon. It the first of a series of animal studies including 'Penny the penguin', Leon the Lemur' and 'Pricilla the Poodle'. With all of his frenetic energy and skill for comic character drawing, Michael captures the baboons stunned expression and attempted smile as he freezes in time for his portrait. Jo Salt / Gallery Administrator As we are all painfully aware, COVID-19 has had an enormous impact on the relationships that form in many parts of our lives. At Arts Project Australia, the studio and gallery have closed, and while the remote delivery program is wonderful, the distance felt between friends and colleagues remains. While reflecting on Will Murray's exhibition Portraits of Will, held in the gallery before the closure, and the current virtual exhibition by Bronwyn Hack, I found myself drawn to the wonderful way in which the two artists tenderly portray their APA contemporaries. The pieces capture a moment in time in an environment for which access has been temporarily suspended and serve as a reminder to value and appreciate meaningful connections and moments as they play out before us. They overwhelmingly demonstrate the extraordinary bond that exists between all involved at Arts Project Australia and serve as a source of stories, thoughts, feelings and moments which coalesce and collectively define the organisation. Love from the Studio is a series of interviews and articles bringing you behind the scenes of Arts Project Australia. Edited by Tahney Fosdike, Marketing & Communications Coordinator at Arts Project Australia.

Seen but safe: Chris O’Brien and the Domestic

Seen but safe: Chris O’Brien and the Domestic

Chris O'Brien, Chris in the chair, he’s asleep, 2019, calico; foam; stuffing; wire; wool, 22 x 16.5 x 20 cm This week, Arts Project Australia Gallery Technician Margaret McIntosh spoke with studio artist Chris O’Brien about Chris in the chair, he’s asleep (2019), reflecting on the work’s relationship to his practice at large.Chris O’Brien is a multi-disciplinary artist who works in painting, printmaking, artist zines, video, and sculpture. He has been a studio artist at Arts Project Australia since 2002, and his work is exhibited extensively and held in private collections throughout Australia and overseas.O’Brien’s work often focusses on domestic dwellings - houses, streetscapes, building interiors – and playfully straddles the line between memoir and fiction. Within his domestic spheres, he is a repetitive character – this personified, plural motif affectionally termed ‘the Chrises’ – interacting with figures from his everyday life.Chris in the chair, he’s asleep reveals a photographic image of Chris on a soft sculpture, the figure sitting on a fabric brown armchair with multi-colour details. Despite the title, he doesn’t appear asleep as ‘the Chris’ makes eye contact with the viewer, his expression neutral while suggestive of his characteristic humour. Compared to his larger-scaled artworks and complex-narrative zines and films, this work offers a more minutely detailed insight into his personal fascination and connection with home.“It’s me watching Rush on the TV,” says Chris. When asked if the armchair is one from his home, he bemuses, “Sort of,” reflecting that while he incorporates elements of his life into his works, distinctions between fact and fiction remain ambiguous.Chris O'Brien, Under Pressure Opening Arts Project Australia, February 2018Nonetheless, this paradox is not to decrease his presence in his work, but rather accentuate it. He possesses strong ownership over his style, “They are just my idea, and I like doing it.”Chris explains the sculpture was created with his photo ironed onto fabric and the body and armchair structured with interior cotton wool and wire. On his choice of outfit, Chris comments, “I like the pink!” Margaret asks, “Why do you often choose loud and flamboyant colours for your soft sculptures?” Chris responds, “So people can see me.” The work tangibly embodies Chris’ internal world at this present time. While not attending Arts Project Australia due to COVID-19, he has been spending time in his armchair.  “I have been making art in front of the telly and trying not to cut myself,” he laughs. “It’s nice and comfortable.”Margaret enquires, “So the work is about being seen but also about being comfortable?”“Yeah,” says Chris, summarising, “When I can hear strange things outside, it’s where I go to sleep like an old Grandpa and smell like old mothballs.”  Browse a selection of O'Brien's work and watch Louis Le Vaillant, Director of The Johnston Collection, talk about the narratives and adventures threaded in O’Brien below.  Interview by Margaret McIntosh, Gallery Technician; article edited and written by Tahney Fosdike, Marketing & Communications Coordinator Love from the Studio is a series of interviews and articles bringing you behind the scenes of Arts Project Australia. 

On My Mind: Artists With Us in Isolation

On My Mind: Artists With Us in Isolation

If you miss connecting with us in person, you are not alone. Working from home, the team here sorely misses being amongst the creative inner workings of Arts Project Australia. It’s no secret, however, that art’s power traverses time and space, carrying on in our consciousness at a distance during trying times. Three of Arts Project Australia’s own reflected on artists and art that are on their mind in isolation, inspiring them to relish connection until it becomes physical once again.    Sarah Wood  /  Gallery AdministratorHunched over at my desk, I draw my eyes away from my screen for a little reprieve. From the corner of my eye, I glimpse a pop of colour brightening my now familiar and quiet workspace. I’m constantly drawn to my Emily Dober work that adorns my white wall. It has a mesmerising effect making one move to the electric pencil markings scrolled across the page. Like the elegantly frocked dancer in Dober’s collage I have to throw on some tunes and kick up my heels. Her vibrant and playful work reminds me to take a break from the constant news cycle and connect to positive things happening in the world and right here at APA.Emily Dober, Not titled, 2017, collage; ink; pastel; pencil on paper, 28 x 38 cmMichael Schwarz  /  Board MemberWhen I could go to Arts Project Australia, I would catch up with Michael Camakaris and Mark Smith. Both have been making art for a long time and are creative, enthusiastic and versatile artists. I would also often bump into them at the National Gallery of Victoria or at the theatre. Now that we can’t meet, I look around my home and have conversations with them through their artworks.I hadn’t realised how prescient Michael’s practice is. The first works I acquired from Michael were etchings from his ‘Nuclear Family’ series in 2017. Each work depicts a family member wearing a gas mask whereby Michael wryly comments on issues of climate change. Looking at these works today, he could be describing the dangerous world of COVID-19 with the need for self-protection and social distancing to combat an invisible enemy.I also enjoy daily Mark’s extraordinary ceramic works. One work depicts two people sitting together, back to back with legs and arms outstretched. Neither can see the other but they are clearly supporting each other. Another of Mark’s works has a woman doing the splits, chest thrust out, head thrown back and arms in a triumphant gesture –she is celebrating ‘the moment’. Another work spells out ‘IMPROVABLE,’ Mark affirming that however difficult or challenging life can be, it is always ‘improvable’.Michael and Mark’s art is a constant reminder that we are still connected until we catch up again – hopefully soon!James McDonald  /  Studio ManagerOne of the many things I miss most while we’re all working remotely is the warm greetings I receive each morning as the artists make their way into the Studio. I miss Chris Mason asking after my wife and cats, before reeling off some new and interesting facts regarding Balinese Green Tree Pythons. Kate Knight sharing news of a new addition to her family, increasing the pressure on her to maintain ‘best aunt’ status.  Jordan Dymke telling me about a big family event where he D.J’d, danced and drank one too many. Cathy Staughton calling in to check that my tech is up to date and working. Michael Licenblat explaining the reasons for his uniform choice for the day. By the time everyone has said hello and settled in, I turn back to my computer, knowing all the while how lucky I am to work where I do.Love from the Studio is a series of interviews and articles bringing you behind the scenes of Arts Project Australia. Edited by Tahney Fosdike, Marketing & Communications Coordinator at Arts Project Australia.ImagesMichael Camakaris slideshow:  Series Nuclear Familiar, 2017, drypoint on paper, 15 x 10 cm  Mark Smith slideshow: Improvable, 2019, earthenware and glaze, 14 x 95 x 6 cm; Not titled, 2019, earthenware and glaze, 14.5 x 14.5 x 31.5 cm; Not titled, 2015, earthenware and glaze, 19 x 30 x 25 cm. Final slideshow: Chris Mason, Sorong Green Tree Python (Manisnya Hujan) (female) means sweet the rain in Indonesian, 2018, mixed media, 35 x 30 x 25 cm; Cathy Staughton, Cathy big green Apple fun play IPhone kiss eat me Justin, 2008, 70 x 50 cm;  Michael Licenblat, Uniform Colour Change, 2018, greylead pencil on paper, 25 x 32.5 cm

Jordan Dymke on ‘Sensitive Touch’

Jordan Dymke on ‘Sensitive Touch’

I think they are quite beautiful. Hands show people. A person’s hands show how much trauma they have been through.Jordan Dymke (1990) is an emerging multidisciplinary artist who has been practising in the Arts Project Australia studio since 2012 and undertaking a traineeship in the studio and gallery since July 2019. Primarily, he has a figurative-based practice that focuses on painting and drawing from life, as well as being motivated by imagery and photographs he collects from magazines and online resources.In this interview, Dymke discusses Sensitive Touch, a ceramic sculpture of two expressive, nonuniform hands with iridescent glazing highlighting ‘volcanic dust’ tones. He reflects on the study of hands in his practice as a catalyst for exploring, realising and rectifying personal experience.Jordan Dymke, Not titled, 2019, earthenware and glaze, 21.5 x 19 x 10 cm What can you tell me about this work?This has been untitled but I have a title for it now. It is called Sensitive Touch. I based it on a Rodin ceramic. I have done a lot of ceramics of my left hand. Rodin did two hands, they were intertwined with one another. I kept on doing one hand but, I thought, why shouldn’t I do two hands in one piece? So, I started doing it.What is your experience with ceramics and why did you use these colours, the dark blue, grey and amber?I have been doing ceramics for a couple of years now, but I don’t feel like I have much experience, but others would say I do. I was lucky enough to go to Vanuatu and walk up a volcano. I thought I am going to see the colours of the volcano and put that in my work, like someone has volcano dust on their hands. I also really like the glaze I used on it.Jordan Dymke at Arts Project Australia Studio What other aspects do you like about this work?I found with one of the hands, I spent a lot of time working on it, sculpting it, and the other hand, I became fed up with it. They took around the same time but the first one I did was very sculptural. But I think they represent my hands because they don’t look the same- it happened to be a coincidence on how the work turned out.Can you tell me more about your recurrent depiction of hands?In 2D, I have done a couple of portraits of my left hand which has a scar. I think they are quite beautiful. Hands show people. A person’s hands show how much trauma they have been through. Your hands show, more or less, what you have you been going through. Doing my hands series, it was like coming to a realisation; it was a freak accident that I had to have an operation on my hand, which gave me a scar. It was a grief process, which got better. My hands series helped me be ok with it. Love from the Studio is a series of interviews and articles bringing you behind the scenes of Arts Project Australia. Jordan Dymke was interviewed by Tahney Fosdike, Marketing & Communications Coordinator at Arts Project Australia.

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The Natural Way Interview #3 – Daniel Richardson

The Natural Way Interview #3 – Daniel Richardson

For the exhibition The Natural Way — a show which focuses on the individual practices and thoughts of art creation — curator Elyss McCleary spoke with each artist about their process and practice. The following interview is with Daniel Richardson who creates collage works, replicating various images as well as his own image. Elyss and Daniel talked together during the installation of The Natural Way. -Elyss McCleary: I'd like to ask you about some of the selected works from your practice in this show. We are currently installing it still, what do you think? - Daniel Richardson: I like it cause I'm going forward in the future. -- EM: Can we talk about these framed works on the back wall, featuring a variety of different personalities, overlaid with your drawings? -- DR: That's showing before the 1950s. Victoria Allen Richardson fell in love with Dr. David Thomas Richardson. She is a timelord. This is other one is Matt Smith's wife. -- EM: How about this one here? -- DR: That's Dr. Daniel Johnno Richardson - he' s really me in 2049, it's the new future! -- EM: What materials do you like using in the studio? = DR: The paint texta is my favourite. I like collage and I start early in the day. = EM: I noticed in the studio you like to set up your work space in a certain way with research materials, do you enjoy starting like that? = DR: I like images a lot. I like a lot of new piles of work - it is good for some reason for me. I do everything, that's right. = The Natural Way ends 23 November.

The Natural Way Interview #1 and #2 – Robin Warren & Danny Lyons

The Natural Way Interview #1 and #2 – Robin Warren & Danny Lyons

For the exhibition The Natural Way — a show which focusses on the individual practices and thoughts of art creation — curator Elyss McCleary spoke with each artist about their process and practice. The following interviews are with Robin Warren – whose gentle yet assured abstract works conjure explorations into colour and layered compositions — and Danny Lyons, who continuously inserts himself into various pop culture scenes in digital works that draw upon internet culture. Interview #1 - Robin Warren - Elyss McCleary: Im going to start of the interview as I have with all the artists involved in this exhibition with a question about you and an action. Was there a time you remember that you first thought I want to make an image of what I see?Robin Warren: I've done representational things, but have sometimes explored an idea just to see what happens. I was pretty good at art in high school, and have been layering things recently.EM: What was it like in the studio in Perth where you made your formative body of work?RW: I went to TAFE and made a lot of work. I heard about Arts project in Melbourne and moved here, first to Preston to be near the studio, then house sitting Hampton, and then finally back near Arts Project.EM: Did you always have a close understanding of colour?RW: My favourite colours are blue and orange, but I use all the colours.EM: How do you like to begin a work?RW: I start in the centre and then work outwards.EM: Has moving to Melbourne and being part of a large collective of artists here at Arts Project influenced or changed the way you work?RW: The textas and materials have made a change in my work — it's where the blending happens.EM: Is there anyone or a few artists that you admire or have had a strong positive impact on your practice?RW: I've always thought music had an influence more than visual arts, in particular the band CREAM. But if I did have to choose an artist of influence it would be Salvador Dali.Interview #2 - Danny Lyons - Elyss McCleary: The works featured in The Natural Way are photos you have made with collage that have yourself pictured performing in them. When did you start making this series?Danny Lyons: I started in 2017. James got me interested in the idea through my I love music. I love music, I love movies and the idea of doing photography has given me the opportunity to express my ideas and about how I feel about it.EM: I'm interested in how you set up these scenarios for the photoshoot?DL: I come to Penny with the ideas in my head, I tell her what the ideas is, and we find ways to transfer it into an image. We put it up and we show everyone. I'm still in the process of evening things out.EM: Do you prepare your set and outfits?DL: Some costumes I've got at home, and some I had to photoshop off the computer with the help of Eden Menta — one of the artists that works here. She helped me paint my face like Robbie Williams from the Let Me Entertain you clips, which was one one of the first ones I did two years ago.EM: Great! Is it fun to do that?DL: I get a lot of enjoyment out of it. Some of the things are funny and happy, like pretending to be Rocky Balboa boxing and Rambo cause I'm a fan of Sylvester Stallone. I find a picture I really like and interests me, and I try to do the poses to match the picture.EM: Tell me about these footy photographs.DL: I'm a big fan of Essendon. I have been since I was little. I always want to see them playing well either in person or on TV. And we came close to the season just gone. It's been almost 20 years since we won a premiership and I'd love to see that happen one day. The picture of Joe Danahoe and me in the coaches box and the press conference — it captures where they go and talk about the game, their thoughts on how well they played what they did right and what they did wrong, and what they hope to improve and make it better, and the steps it takes to win the grand final.EM: How about the image of you and ET, what brought you to create this?DL: Well, I just love the ET movie and I've loved it for so many years. It was the first movie I ever saw growing up and I reckon it's the best work Steven Spielberg has ever done. It was a beautiful friendship, and there were so many people that wanted to be in the picture with ET. I put myself in the picture so now I can be part of the picture too with ET. I really enjoyed doing that.

Collector’s Corner #6 – Charlotte Day and Kirrily Hammond

Collector’s Corner #6 – Charlotte Day and Kirrily Hammond

-Collector’s Corner presents a series of conversations with avid art collectors, searching for the rich stories and ideas that are woven into their incredible (and enviable!) collections. The collectors we chat with show a boundless support of contemporary art, with their ever-growing enthusiasm entwined with the story and artists of Arts Project Australia.For Collector's Corner #6 we caught up Charlotte Day, Director of Monash University Museum of Art (MUMA). Charlotte was previously an Associate Curator at the Australian Centre for Contemporary Art and part of the curatorium who worked on the Michael Buxton Collection of Australian Art. She's a passionate supporter of the speculative and experimental in art and sees her role as being to bring people, art and ideas together. Charlotte interested in ways art collections can be activated and shared and how we can work with art in the public realm. Not to mention she also curated the group exhibition Let's Dance at Arts Project in 2017.We also talk with Kirrily Hammond who works alongside Charlotte as the Collection Manager at MUMA, as well as being a practicing artist. She was previously employed at Canberra Museum and Gallery, Megalo Print Workshop, Canberra, and the National Gallery of Victoria. She has a Curatorial Masters Degree at the University of Melbourne and a Diploma of Law through the Institute of Art & Law, UK. As Collection Manager at MUMA, Kirrily oversees the installation of art across the various Monash University campuses.Together, the pair have an incredible amount of collecting and artistic wisdom, both from their professional perspectives, as well as acute personal insights. Have a read as they discuss their art epiphanies, working with artists from Callum Morton to Bianca Hester, and the importance of story-telling and personality when collecting artwork."I WAS VERY EXCITED THAT WORKS BY FULLI ANDRINOPOULOS WERE RECENTLY ACQUIRED FOR THE MONASH UNIVERSITY COLLECTION. I’VE BEEN A FAN OF HER RICHLY COLOURFUL DRAWINGS FOR QUITE A FEW YEARS..." FULLI ANDRINOPOULOS, NOT TITLED, 2015, INK ON PAPER, 11 X 14 CM.- We're curious as to how you first became interested in art? Did you have an art epiphany for instance?Charlotte: I grew up going to galleries but my first love was the old Melbourne Museum’s dioramas which I thought were absolutely magical. When I was ten my family went on a whirlwind tour of Europe and we visited a lot of museums. After university, I went again and I think it was these trips that really cemented my love of museums. I came back and enrolled in the Post Graduate Diploma in Art Curating, as it was then called at the University of Melbourne. This was a new course, and at the time I was unaware that it was actually one of the first of its kind in the world. It provided a broad overview of the museum profession but through it I interned at 200 Gertrude Street where I got to meet artists and get closer to contemporary practice. It wasn’t until I worked on the Michael Buxton Collection, in the late 2000s, that I became involved in an art collection.Kirrily: I guess it’s apt that a very early art epiphany happened while I attended a catholic primary school in New South Wales, where the other kids always asked me to draw Jesus for them! It made me realise not everyone had a natural predilection for drawing. Throughout my career working in museums and galleries, I’ve always gravitated towards caring for collections – I love working with objects and I feel pretty lucky to see how a wide range of artists approach their practice.Monash University Museum of Art Collection contains an incredible selection of works. How would you describe your approach to collecting art for MUMA? What decisions and processes come into play when selecting work on behalf of an institution?Charlotte: When I first came to MUMA I undertook a review of the collection to test the assumptions made about it. We looked at the collection from many different angles: gender, generational, media, subject, topicality etc, and made decisions on what to prioritise accordingly to build up representations and fill certain gaps. This makes the process sound scientific and I do like to have a collecting plan! That being said it is also important to allow for spontaneity and to be able to be responsive to what artists make and in doing that you may not be able to predict.Kirrily: First and foremost, I think the work has to be compelling, and it should be an excellent example of the artist’s practice. In terms of the Monash University Collection, the focus is on Australian contemporary art, so it’s important to be aware of what artists are doing – from studios, artist run spaces, commercial spaces to larger institutions and everything in between!CATHY STAUGHTON, LADY ARTS PAINT PAGE, 2017, WORK ON PAPER, 50 X 49.5 CM.- You both collect art in your personal lives, as well as in your roles at MUMA. What do you love about collecting art and what compels you to collect and keep collecting?  Charlotte: I think Kirrily might be more of a collector than I am! The artworks I do have are mostly connected to exhibitions or projects that I have been involved in. When I was an undergraduate student I did acquire two postcard sized artworks by Tony Clark that I am still very fond of. Most recently I acquired a 2D work by Alex Martinis Roe for my daughter.Kirrily: The works that I own were mostly collected due to a personal connection to the artist - whether it’s a swap, or I’ve purchased a friend’s work, or the artist is pursuing similar interests to my own through their practice. Surrounding myself with these works is rejuvenating and inspiring.Is there a particular artwork or artist that you’ve been most excited to collect? Whether in your roles at MUMA or personally?  Kirrily: Late last year I oversaw the installation of Kulata Tjuta (2012-14), a significant installation of 277 spears suspended from the ceiling in the university’s main library at the Clayton campus. This is a compelling work that was created by artists from the Tjala Arts centre in the community of Amata in South Australia.Charlotte: A number of years ago I was involved in the collecting of Simryn Gill’s Throwback - Remade internal systems from a model 1313 Tata truck, circa 1985. (2007) for the Michael Buxton Collection. It's an ambitious work that is also rife with inherent vice. So when it was acquired, it was a real sign of the Collections' support for challenging work. At MUMA, in recent years we have focused on work by Indigenous artists with the Kulata - that Kirrily has mentioned - as being one of our most significant acquisitions. We are currently working on a public art project with artist Megan Cope that incorporates languages and sharing of knowledge that we are excited about. A few years back we acquired an instructional performative work by George Egerton Warburton that heralded a new collecting direction for the Monash University Collection.Do you have a memorable art-related experience or moment? Either as a curator, artist or collector?Charlotte: I have so many! Setting up Callum Morton’s three-quarter scale version of his family home as a ruin at the Venice Biennale was thrilling. Working with Bianca Hester on her installation at ACCA, which changed every day across the course of the exhibition, was challenging and liberating. When I first came to MUMA I invited Fiona Connor to make a responsive work to the university context and she made a great project that connected the museum to the collection, the architecture of Monash and the history of display. I have to mention too, Stuart Ringholt’s nude disco which had a profound effect on the museum and its audiences. These are just a few…What I like about MUMA is that it's a museum space with climate control etc, so we are able to loan really significant works to exhibit but it also has the quality of a project space in which we can commission new work and build in situ – hopefully we can maintain a useful tension between these two approaches.Kirrily: In 2005 I undertook an extended period of research in the British Museum’s prints and drawings study room, with open access to a mind-boggling collection, there were many amazing things to study. Leafing through Bellini’s sketch book from the mid-1400s was one highlight. At MUMA we have many school groups visit behind-the-scenes: to be able to facilitate viewing works from the collection and see the looks of wonder on students’ faces is pretty special.What was your first encounter with Arts Project and when did you first start to become interested in artwork by our artists?Charlotte: I think it was Ricky Swallow's involvement with Arts Project, as well as my own interest in a number of the artists that drew me to visit the first time. Arts Project does such a great job of promoting artists and creating opportunities for them to connect with other artists.Kirrily: I was very aware of Arts Project for some time before I had the opportunity to delve deeper into the archive whilst curating an exhibition for them in 2013. It was such an inspiring experience to be surrounded by such a rich collection of work and be in the vicinity of some truly prolific artists."CHRIS MASON’S NUDE YOGA CERAMICS ARE PRETTY SPECIAL..." CHRIS MASON, RECLINING NUDE, 2015, CERAMIC, 19.5 X 35.5 X 42 CM.- Can you talk about the artworks you have collected from Arts Project? We know you’ve collected works personally, but there was also an exciting recent addition to MUMA’s collection…Kirrily: I was very excited that works by Fulli Andrinopoulos were recently acquired for the Monash University Collection. I’ve been a fan of her richly colourful drawings for quite a few years and being able to acquire a significant group and then immediately put them on display at the university was immensely satisfying.If you were to purchase another Arts Project artwork right now, which artist would you look at and why?Charlotte: A number of Art Project artists’ work is inspired by science fiction and outer space – I’m drawn to those subjects and imaginative spaces! I really like Cathy Staughton’s work, also Chris Mason’s nude yoga ceramics are pretty special too.Kirrily: The drawings and paintings of Warren O’Brien and Rebecca Scibilia are wonderful.WARREN O’BRIEN, NOT TITLED, 2018, WORK ON PAPER, 38 X 56 CM.- And finally, what pearls of wisdom have you learnt about collecting – both from a gallery perspective and as a personal collector?Charlotte: The collections I like the best have personality and stories that connect to them. They follow particular passions or threads and go deep into practice.Kirrily: Avoid collector’s regret – if it’s possible to acquire a work that you are particularly drawn to, go for it - the opportunity doesn’t usually happen twice!This is Arts Project Australia’s fifth edition of Collector’s Corner. Have a read of Collector’s Corner #1 with Clive Scott, Manager of Sofitel Melbourne; Collector’s Corner #2 with Abi Crompton, founder and director of Third Drawer Down; Collector's Corner #3 with Kim Butterworth and Graham Meadowcroft, publishers of Art Guide Australia; Collector's Corner #4 with artist Ricky Swallow; and Collector's Corner #5 with artist Sassy Park. Stay tuned for further editions and feel free to gander through our art collections, as well as find out more about Arts Project Australia’s artists and art. "THE DRAWINGS AND PAINTINGS OF WARREN O’BRIEN AND REBECCA SCIBILIA ARE WONDERFUL." REBECCA SCIBILIA, THE ROYAL WEDDING, 2018, TEXTA ON PAPER, 35 X 50 CM.

Collector’s Corner #5 – Sassy Park

Collector’s Corner #5 – Sassy Park

SASSY PARK IN HER SYDNEY HOME. PHOTO BY OTTO SCHWERDTFEGER.--Collector’s Corner presents a series of conversations with avid art collectors, searching for the rich stories and ideas that are woven into their incredible (and enviable!) collections. The collectors we chat with show a boundless support of contemporary art, with their ever-growing enthusiasm entwined with the story and artists of Arts Project Australia.For Collector's Corner #5 we caught up with artist Sassy Park. Based in Sydney, Park is currently completing a Masters in ceramics at the National Art School, having previously studied painting at Sydney College of the Arts. Between working at various galleries in Australia and overseas before starting her Masters, she eventually found herself at Darren Knight Gallery in Sydney, where she first became acquainted with Arts Project Australia.Through Darren Knight's philosophy and approach to art and artists, Park found a great match to her own ideas. Her time at the gallery allowed her to meet and find out about a wide range of art practices and practitioners. Arts Project became one of these areas of interest, with new artists to follow and new artwork to engage with. Nowadays, When she's not creating or studying, Sassy spends time with her partner Karl and their three children (not to mention the chickens and cats!).Have a read of our interview with Sassy, where she delves into the intuition behind collecting, how her daughter inspires her practice and why "looking at art is like falling in love.""A life-size ceramic typewriter and script describing a ‘harrowing disaster at Summer Bay’ from the TV soap. It is a masterpiece..." Lisa Reid, TA Adler Contessa 2, 2016, ceramic, 14 x 33 x 33 cm.-We're curious as to how you first became interested in art? Did you have an art epiphany for instance? I grew up in a regional town in Queensland, a bit bereft of cultural pursuits, but perhaps that made it all the more exciting to seek out and buy my first artwork at about 16 years of age from the only commercial gallery in town. My parents, unconventionally for the times, encouraged me to go on to art school, although my father warned me about the boys, having briefly been an art student himself in London. From this background I’ve always loved all aspects of art; the making, thinking, looking, curating, collecting, caring for art and advocating for artists.How would you describe your approach to collecting art? Do you think being an artist yourself influences the pieces you collect? Collecting art is a compulsive pursuit, like any other form of collecting. However, I have always thought that it is far more enriching buying an artwork than say, a pair of shoes. I still use this judgement when I think of spending on something—what would I rather have? This is much easier now as I've taken to wearing Birkenstocks, which leaves even more in the art budget. I am constantly amazed when I walk into people’s houses with barren walls lacking any form of visual stimulus. I suppose I have a need to be surrounded by all the things I love, which includes art. Being an artist maybe makes me more confident about what I think is great and rewarding. I’m also interested in what other artists buy and collect as a reflection and insight into their own work.What do you love about collecting art and what compels you to collect and keep collecting? Being surrounded by and living with art keeps me collecting. Obviously this can become problematic with diminishing wall and shelf space. I do rehang and rearrange occasionally, which is like having a mini curatorial project in your own home. Looking at art is like falling in love. When an artwork hits you, there is a rush of excitement and an impulse to keep it near to you. You keep them in your heart and head as well as on the wall. It’s a continuous dialogue. You think about the beauty and the ideas that arise out of the work, the ideas of the artist, what were they thinking about, how did they go about making it."More pieces by Ruth Howard would be a goal..." Ruth Howard, Not titled, 2011. ceramic, 14.5 x 9.5 x 9.5 cm.-Generally speaking, which contemporary artist do you most admire and why? Visiting museums and galleries wherever I go has excited and inspired me, but then I am equally in awe of my own children’s artwork: seeing what comes from their imaginations. I was profoundly impressed when my daughter, Lotte, first started making ceramics at the age of eight; how had she combined the two-dimensional painting with the three-dimensional form? She really started me on my pathway in ceramics. Also, artists that show some vulnerability in their work, or come from a personal place, further interest me. Noel McKenna is one such artist, as well as a friend. I continue to admire and fall for his work: the artist and the work are mutually exclusive but also bound up in one another.Do you have a memorable art-related experience or moment? Either as an artist or a collector? After working in galleries, I now really enjoy putting people in touch with pieces that they end up loving and buying. This reinforces my convictions about the meaning and purpose of art as an integral part of life. In recent years, I have had the experience of people responding to my own work. It feels like the tables have turned when I am on the receiving end. It’s a wonderful feeling to receive feedback because as an artist you are embedded in the relationship with the art object. To see them out in the world and having a life of their own is quite strange. Maybe they take a little part of me with them.What was your first encounter with Arts Project and when did you first start to become interested in artwork by our artists? I think I first saw Arts Project artists at Peter Fay’s travelling exhibition Home Sweet Home in 2007, as well as encountering the ceramics of Alan Constable. The work was immediately intriguing and compelling to me. Then it was exciting to following up the artists, visiting Melbourne, and seeing Arts Project exhibitions, as well as representation at art fairs and wider group shows. I try and visit when I come to Melbourne and have curated a show in Sydney with Arts Project artists, Lisa Reid and Alan Constable. I’ve always come away from my contact with Arts Project deeply impressed with their philosophy and passion."Alan Constable’s cameras work grouped or solo, and I like the connection to ceramics and photography, reflecting my and Karl’s careers." Alan Constable, Not titled, 2016, ceramic, 13 x 18 x 13 cm.-Can you talk about the artworks you have collected from Arts Project? Is there a pride of place where they sit or hang? I like the idea of the mantlepiece as a central focus for the display of objects in the home. This is an area I often arrange with pieces such as Ruth Howard’s Pile or Alan Constable’s cameras. Alan Constable’s cameras work grouped or solo, and I like the connection to ceramics and photography, reflecting my and Karl’s careers. I was thrilled when Karl became enamoured with one of Chris Mason’s ladies, which now sits pride of place on the bookshelf next to the mantlepiece. I also have Lisa Reid’s work TA Adler Contessa 2, a life-size ceramic typewriter and script describing a ‘harrowing disaster at Summer Bay’ from the TV soap. It is a masterpiece but I need a larger area to display it!If you were to purchase another Arts Project artwork right now, which artist would you look at and why? I just realised I have collected solely ceramic sculptures from Arts Project artists, which I suppose is unsurprising. I am always interested in what clay can do. More pieces by Lisa Reid and Ruth Howard would be a goal, and I've seen some shoes Lisa made which I think are great. I like Ruth Howard’s paintings and Alan Constable’s drawings too. I’ve always enjoyed the strong graphic colours of Julian Martin’s pastel drawings and the immediacy of Boris Cipusev’s pen drawings. I am also drawn to works based on contemporary pop culture, which several of the artists make their subject matter.And finally, what pearls of wisdom would you give a first-time collector? Don’t be afraid to go with a gut instinct. It’s worth recognising when something has connected with you, maybe deeply or even superficially, that it is something special. Also buy what you like and what you can afford as this provides the longest enjoyment of an art collection.This is Arts Project Australia’s fifth edition of Collector’s Corner. Have a read of Collector’s Corner #1 with Clive Scott, Manager of Sofitel Melbourne; Collector’s Corner #2 with Abi Crompton, founder and director of Third Drawer Down; Collector's Corner #3 with Kim Butterworth and Graham Meadowcroft, publishers of Art Guide Australia; and Collector's Corner #4 with artist Ricky Swallow. Stay tuned for further editions and feel free to gander through our art collections, as well as find out more about Arts Project Australia’s artists and art. 

Collector’s Corner #4 – Ricky Swallow

Collector’s Corner #4 – Ricky Swallow

Ricky Swallow. Photo by Aya Muto.- Collector’s Corner presents a series of conversations with avid art collectors, searching for the rich stories and ideas that are woven into their incredible (and enviable!) collections. The collectors we chat with show a boundless support of contemporary art, with their ever-growing enthusiasm entwined with the story and artists of Arts Project Australia.For Collector's Corner #4 we caught up with Ricky Swallow, a renowned artist who works primarily in sculpture. Raised in San Remo, and now living and working in Los Angeles for the past 15 years, Swallow initially studied at the Victorian College of the Arts, living and working as an exhibiting artist in Melbourne in the late 90s and early 2000s (during this time he was associated with artist-run initiatives Grey Area Art Space and Rubik, and had a very productive two-year residency at Gertrude Contemporary). These days he shares home-life, and a studio, with his wife Lesley Vance and their young son. As Ricky says, "Lesley is a amazing painter and it’s great to be around such unwavering dedication like that. I think together we’ve made sense of our roles as artists."Ricky has long been a great supporter and friend of Arts Project's and in 2016 he curated a sell-out show of Terry William's soft sculptures at New York's White Columns. Read below as Ricky tells us about how he encountered Arts Project, how collecting art can tell us things about ourselves and how being an artist is somewhat akin to the act of a cat pooping!"Really precious ceramics..." Terry Williams, Not titled, 2009, ceramic, 8 x 6 x 3 cm.- - Could you tell us about when you first met Arts Project Australia? That’s tricky because I was aware of Arts Projects when I lived in Melbourne—via a guest lecturer at Victorian College of the Arts—but it wasn’t something I was really looking into at that stage. When Alex Baker was a curator at the National Gallery of Victoria we became friends through a show I did in 2009, and he started putting certain artists from Arts Project onto my radar, via his enthusiasm and the projects he was planning with you guys. Alex eventually went to Fleisher/Ollman in Philly (John Ollman, the owner of Fleisher/Ollman, is obviously legendary in the field of self taught art and a lightning rod in putting so much of it into the culture here in the states), and perhaps since Alex has been there I’ve been able to see certain things that made me realise I needed to take a closer look. I visited Arts Project in 2013 and again in 2014 and at that point I was starting to talk to Sim (Arts Project Manager and Curator) about projects I wanted to curate and also collecting a few artists... And then somewhere in the middle was the small show I organised for South Willard of Alan Constable’s camera sculptures! _ We're curious as to how you first became interested in art? Did you have an art epiphany for instance? I’m not sure if you mean collecting art or making art? My grandfather on my mothers side was a huge factor—a real Bricoleur and Sunday painter—along with my grandparents who collected small things (more like crafts and small sculptural souvenirs from travel), and that was actually the first instance of being exposed to collecting, curating and also displaying I think... My grandfather posed this question, "What is the artists role? What do they do?” As a kid I answered I wasn’t sure. So he said, “What does the cat do when he climbs my fence at night and shits in my garden? What is he doing?" My grandfather answered, “He’s leaving his mark, and that’s what artists do. Leave their mark.” It's still the best explanation anyone has offered me perhaps!  "There's something very aggressive and also very generous to the images and language he's building. It's asking a bunch of interesting questions about the very nature of picture making, I think." Samraing Chea, Universal vision of the Entire Space, 2015, pencil on paper, 18 x 19 cm. _ _ How would you describe your approach to collecting art? Do you think being an artist influences the pieces you collect? I think my approach is basically to try and be true and trusted in your attraction to an artwork. It’s hard to turn off outside influence or a kind of ambient buzz toward certain things, but that’s collecting for the wrong reasons. Being an artist and being married to an artist obviously effects things. What I’ve learnt is that living with a great or mysterious artwork can be very generative—certain artworks can literally cause the creation of a certain work in one's own practice, or present a problem-solving mechanism—a freedom, or perhaps a dose of colors that you yourself would not normally permit into your practice. So collecting is not just about amplifying an interior or seeming to have a certain taste. It’s part of a bigger creative process. - What do you love about collecting art and what compels you to collect and keep collecting? At a really basic level I love waking up and looking at this stuff, or coming home from the studio to artworks which now seem like permanent fixtures in our house (we hang very little, if any, of our own artworks at home). There’s also an addiction or habit to it—to try and collect a perfect grouping of one artist in which each piece is either in synchronicity, or tells you one specific thing about the artist, or how it can be a diverse group which signals different worlds of interest for the artist. There’s always an artist you haven’t been exposed to and sometimes I like how the juxtaposition of different works creates an unexpected connection. This is something that’s obviously not accidental, but it’s interesting how it occurs. What we collect can tell us a lot about ourselves, I think—I’m always shocked and a little suspicious of those with no collecting habits!  -Generally speaking, which contemporary artist do you most admire and why? That's really impossible to pin down! What has been nice through a few curatorial projects I've done is getting to know artists with multiple decades of working under their belt—there's something deep there to admire in just persisting as an artist and walking into a room for 40-50 years every day and setting to work with materials and contributing to the world of objects in such a specific way—finding your own way of doing things and not compromising and getting through some sleepy decades without losing faith. Ron Nagle is an artist I really admire in this regard and also Magdalena Suarez Frimkess, both of whom I'm happy to count as friends too. From these artists I've learnt a great deal about stubbornness and the importance of humour as necessities to always keep moving things forward—and the powerful authority of the domestically scaled object! -Part of Ricky's Arts Project Collection. Alan Constable, Not titled, 2010, ceramic, 14.5 x 29 x 12.5 cm. -Can you describe your best art experience for us? I can describe a recent one that's really fascinating to witness, and that's our son's recent awakening, or daily commitment, to drawing and mark making. He's four now and I feel like it's been important for me to always put materials in front of him—things like sculptural-drawing and painting tools. It's really been in the last couple of months that he's started making drawings which follow some strange internal logic—a world I just could never access. And when he's making them he's really in the zone and I like to just step back and watch it happen. It's not even as simple as this, as if it's just a middle earth between abstraction and figurative logic creeping in. It's a weirder place than that and I have this feeling it's a small window of image making that is momentary and important.  - When did you first hear about Arts Project and first encounter artwork by our artists? It's hard to pin point the actual time of the encounter. I want to say in my early 20's when the collector Peter Fay from Sydney was showing me his collection—he had been collecting works from Arts Project that he was excited about. And I mentioned Alex baker already, who connected me more specifically to some of your artists. But perhaps the most meaningful encounter was visiting in 2013 because that was a full tour with time to really see the facilities, meet some of the artists and actually handle and experience the works close up. I think I left with a box of works to bring back to LA!  - Tell us about the artworks you've collected from Arts Project. Is there a pride of place where they sit or hang? On our fireplace mantle we have a pair of smaller cameras by Alan Constable, a group of really precious ceramics by Terry Williams and a series of small ceramic stacks by Ruth Howard. So it's specific in that it's one row of objects entirely from Arts Project. There was a ceramic by Alice Mackler with them, but that's recently been moved. The stacks by Ruth are of specific personal appeal because they were something that Lesley really responded to when we visited again in 2014. I'm more of the accumulator in general, so when Les takes the lead it's always exciting and very specific, and I think from a painterly perspective she thought they were great—kind of perfectly resolved still-life-type objects. When you look at them you can kind of participate in their making in your mind, or understand some kind of necessity to their building gesture. -"When you look at them you can kind of participate in their making in your mind, or understand some kind of necessity to their building gesture." Ruth Howard, Not titled, 2013, ceramic, 10 x 12 x 10 cm.-- If you were to purchase another Arts Project artwork right now, which artist would you look at and why? A good question because I literally just purchased a work in the recent week! It was a drawing of Samraing Chea from the show at ReadingRoom, curated by Matlok Griffiths and Rob McHaffie. I had a group of Samraing’s pieces after finding the work via Matlok a couple of years back, as he had collected a couple of drawings. But to see the new ones was kind of amazing as I feel like some of the narratives had become less like isolated worlds and more of a mirror or visual response to current political turmoils. So the drawing I chose of Samraing's adds a very different element to the small collection I now have. There's something very aggressive and also very generous to the images and language he's building. It's asking a bunch of interesting questions about the very nature of picture making.  - And finally, what pearls of wisdom would you give a first-time collector?If an artist tells you you should check out another artists work, it normally means you really should check it out. Think about collecting not just as attaining or owning something great, but also (in most cases) putting resources back into the hands of the artist that created the thing. Try to hold out for the thing that really resonates with you. Main meal stuff, and less snacking.- This is Arts Project Australia’s fourth edition of Collector’s Corner. Have a read of Collector’s Corner #1 with Clive Scott, Manager of Sofitel Melbourne; Collector’s Corner #2 with Abi Crompton, founder and director of Third Drawer Down; and Collector's Corner #3 with Kim Butterworth and Graham Meadowcroft, publishers of Art Guide Australia. Stay tuned for further editions and feel free to gander through our art collections, as well as find out more about Arts Project Australia’s artists and art. 

Artist Spotlight: Bronwyn Hack

Artist Spotlight: Bronwyn Hack

Artist Bronwyn Hack in the Arts Project studio.Bronwyn Hack’s artwork hints toward melodrama, fictionalised scenes, tactile creations and bodily formations. In recent years her work has been characterised by an interest in animals (particularly wild and domestic dogs) and an avid preoccupation with bones, as well as the observable and hidden parts of the human body.Having worked from the Arts Project studio since 2011, Hack is becoming known for her multi-faceted practice which spans sculpture, painting, printmaking, ceramics and 3D art. At the centre of this practice sits her recent soft sculpture works that reinterpret singular elements of the body. “I’ve always been interested in the body,” explains Hack. “I’m interested in the different shapes and all the body parts and where they go.”Hack has been regularly exhibiting her soft sculpture, with her two-part work The Body Piece currently showing at Bundoora Homestead Art Centre. Shortlisted for the Darebin Art Prize, the sculpture faithfully depicts reinterpretations of male and female private parts.Bronwyn Hack, 2017, The Body Piece, soft sculpture. Image courtesy of Darebin Art Award and Bundoora Homestead Art Centre. Hack was also one of five Arts Project artists curated by Anthony Fitzpatrick, curator at Tarrawarra Museum of Art, into the group exhibition Faraway, so close. During the show, which took place towards the end of last year, Hack worked in close collaboration with Gosia Wlodarczak and Terry Williams to create A Room of Haptic Knowledge. Hack’s contribution was a series of body parts including eyes, lips, intestines and a brain.Faraway, so close - installation image. Bronwyn Hack soft sculpture along Gosia Wlodarczak drawings. Photo by Kate Longley. Now 2018 is promising to be an even more fruitful year for the artist. Her printmaking work is appearing in group exhibition Under Pressure (opening this Saturday 3 February) and her artist zines will be on display, and available for purchase, at the upcoming Festival of the Photocopier Zine Fair on Sunday 11 February. Not to mention in June this year Hack will commence a residency at the Australian Tapestry Workshop, where she’ll continue work on her soft sculpture body pieces.This transformation marks an acute development from Hack’s earlier work, which often focused on scenes of attraction featuring fictionalised characters and personas drawn from her imagination.When asked about her process and her move towards soft sculpture and body-based works, Hack explains how she often decides every Monday what she will create for the rest of the week. “I get ideas from the internet, books and what I see and I’m looking at body photos” she says. “I just know what to do when I’m doing it, and what colour and shape to use.”Our Artist Spotlight series highlights the practice and ideas of Arts Project studio artists - stay tuned for more spotlights!Bronwyn Hack working alongside Gosia Wlodarczak and Terry Williams for 'A Room of Haptic Knowledge' as part of 2017 exhibition 'Faraway, so close'. Photo by Kate Longley.

Collector’s Corner #2 – Abi Crompton

Collector’s Corner #2 – Abi Crompton

AA Collector’s Corner presents a series of conversations with avid art collectors, searching for the rich stories and ideas that are woven into their incredible (and enviable!) collections. The collectors we chat with show a boundless support of contemporary art, with their ever-growing enthusiasm entwined with the story and artists of Arts Project Australia.For our second edition of Collector's Corner we caught up with Abi Crompton, founder and Director of Third Drawer Down. Established in 2003, Third Drawer Down is an innovative company that specialises in creating limited edition art products, featuring the works of Australian and international artists and designers (think Ai Wei Wei, David Shrigley, Jon Campbell and Frances Cannon among many others).We recently had the great fortune of collaborating with Third Drawer Down (alongside the National Gallery of Victoria) to produce Australiana: a series of merchandise featuring the work of Arts Project artists, creating everything from Sidney Nolan-inspired hip flasks to Hey Hey It's Saturday! cooler bags.Read below as Abi tells us about her current "art crushes", collaborating with Louise Bourgeois and how collecting is about the personal connections she makes with artists and art...Abi Crompton posing as a banana for Arts Project's 2014 exhibition 6 Degrees of Separation. Thanks for taking the time to talk with us. Can you tell us about how you first met Arts Project Australia? I was introduced to Arts Project when Bronwyn Johnson was the Director of Melbourne Art Fair, and she told me I should buy an Alan Constable camera.  I went to the Arts Project stand and fell in love. Later, while eating sushi on the stairs at the Melbourne Art Fair and pining over how I could collaborate with Arts Project, I somehow happened to be sitting next to Sue Roff who was stuffing envelopes. We started to chat and an art-love affair began!We're curious as to how you first became interested in art? And how did this interest link with founding Third Drawer Down?   I become interested in art while studying psychology in my early twenties. I completed this degree and then put together a portfolio and studied fine art for five years, as I realised I was more 'left brain' than 'right brain'. I do feel like I use all parts of my brain now though, especially as working with artists to develop objects requires empathy, understanding and creative processes.How would you describe your approach to collecting art? Or, even better, what kind of collector are you?    I collect art the same way I work with artists: visual impulse and appreciation of an artist's values. My collection is mainly based upon the artists I have a relationship with, as their story is apart of my story, and the story of Third Drawer Down.Generally speaking, which contemporary artists do you most admire and why? Is there someone in particular who’d be your dream to collaborate with one day? I have so many artists I admire. If I had to pick them today, I'd say David Shrigley, Yayoi Kusama and Guerrilla Girls. All of them have their own unique way of communicating the currency of our current times. It's the 'right now', either through politics, humour or beauty. My dream collaborations include Cindy Sherman, Barbara Kruger and Kerry James-Marshall.Can you describe your best art experience for us? Or perhaps a great Third Drawer Down moment?  My favourite collaborations... hmm. Well, there are a few and they all carry amazing stories as I've met such remarkable people through collaborating with them. While I have told this following story a few times, it still remains vividly in my mind: I have always had a major “art crush” on Louise Bourgeois and a few years ago Tate in London invited me to meet and discuss working together on projects. The day before the meeting, I walked around Tate with my notebook listing all the artists I have dreamed of working with: quite a list if I don’t say so myself! So there I was, sitting in the meeting the following day and the Tate opened the dialogue with the forthcoming Louise Bourgeois project, and I jumped in head first, telling them about my list of artists and my personal list being headed by Louise Bourgeois. My meeting folk looked at each other and slid a folder across the table, saying, ‘”Well Abi, it is Louise Bourgeois we want you to work with!”  How is that! I was so buzzed out, she so rocks my world and I couldn’t believe my fate in this scenario. This was the first major project with a museum and the beginning of the Third Drawer Down Studio. During the fantastic project, I met Louise while in New York and she signed the prototype handkerchief we were developing. It reads: “I HAVE BEEN TO HELL AND BACK.  AND LET ME TELL YOU IT WAS WONDERFUL”.Describe the artworks you have collected from Arts Project. Is there a pride of place where they sit or hang? I have collected works by Paul Hodges, Lisa Reid, Terry Williams, Alan Constable, Patrick Francis and Peter Cave. They are the proudest artworks I have in our home and they take over the entrance hall and lounge room. My most cherished is the painting Peter Cave created of me dancing in a banana suit!In 140 characters or less, distil for us what it is you like about being a collector and friend of Arts Project? I love everything Arts Project stands for – the artists and the team that make the magic happen, and the community that supports this. It's more family than organisation.If you were to purchase another Arts Project artwork right now, which artist would you look at and why? I would buy more Laura Sheehan. Her recent solo exhibition at Arts Project was so wonderful. Her lively, colourful and whimsical paintings of soft-toys-pastiche rocked my world. We were fighting over them at work when the invite was sent!And finally, what pearls of wisdom would you give a first-time collector? Buy from the heart. Art should be about your experience to it, not what others tell you to feel.This is Arts Project Australia’s second edition of Collector’s Corner. Have a read of our first edition with Sofitel Melbourne Manager Clive Scott. Stay tuned for further editions (coming very soon!) and feel free to gander through our art collections, as well as find out more about Arts Project Australia’s artists and art. "My most cherished is the painting peter cave created of me dancing in a banana suit." Peter Cave, Abi in a banana suit, 2013, work on paper, 76 x 56 cm. Artist Peter CAVE creating his Abi-Crompton-Banana masterpiece. "Her recent solo exhibition at arts project was so wonderful. her lively, colourful and whimsical paintings of soft-toys-pastiche rocked my world." Laura Sheehan, The song til the end, 2015, work on paper, 39.5 x 54 cm. AAAnother one from Abi's collection: Lisa Reid, The Kylie collection, 2003, work on paper, 34 x 28.5 cm.

Artist Spotlight: Bobby Kyriakopoulos

Artist Spotlight: Bobby Kyriakopoulos

Bobby Kyriakopoulos is both a painter and digital artist whose work traverses the scenes of carnivals and public events, underwater and above-water landscapes, cultural appropriation and an interest in film scenes, particularly the blockbuster-heroic-male - which often contains anxious undertones. Figures such as Wonderwoman, historical persons and characters of action and thriller films (think Men In Black and Star Wars) often feature in Kyriakopoulos' paintings, while at other moment Kyriakopoulos portrays the frenzy of the crowd amid a rollercoaster or car race; scenes which are near-claustrophobic in their over-population and energy. Many of Kyriakopoulos' works contain a feel of impending action, of the event-still-to-come, which is accentuated by his tendency to highlight the positive and negative spaces between image and ground.In his art practice, Kyriakopoulos often favours watercolour or gouache which are meticulously applied. Yet despite the deliberateness of Kyriakopoulos' paintings, the also retain a gestural quality and a sense of movement.Born in 1990, Kyriakopoulos has worked in the Arts Project Australia studio since 2011 and has been included in numerous group exhibitions including ‘Well Red’, Robin Gibson Gallery, Sydney; ‘Melbourne Now’, NGV International, Melbourne; and ‘SMALLWORKS 2014 Art Prize’, Brunswick Street Gallery, Fitzroy. His work is held in the National Gallery of Victoria’s collection.You can see Kyriakopoulos work below, or else head to our shop to pick up an original Kyriakopoulos.

KMKY: ARTIST TALK SERIES #3

KMKY: ARTIST TALK SERIES #3

INTERVIEW WITH KMKY ARTISTS PAUL HODGES & THE SISTERS HAYESArts Project Australia's first exhibition for 2014, Knowing Me Knowing You (KMKY), will question the collaborative process and explore the complex nature of collaboration between professional artists.We invited artist and curator Lindy Judge to work with us to create an in-depth collaborative investigation involving ten of our studio artists and ten external contemporary artists. From 2012 through 2013, cinematographer Shelley Farthing-Dawe has been filming the evolution of the project as a film journal that will later be edited into a documentary.This post is the third in a series of artist interviews, and will focus on the collaboration between Arts Project Australia artist Paul Hodges and external artists The Sisters Hayes.Artist Paul Hodges and The Sisters Hayes working their collaborative KMKY project in the Arts Project Australia studio.KNOWING ME, KNOWING YOU BLOG INTERVIEWTell us about your background. Have you studied? What is your practice and have you always been an artist? PH: I suppose I studied art at Huntingdale Tech in the 80’s and did volunteer work in the library. I have always been an artist and I have always liked to make paintings.TSH: There are three of us in The Sisters Hayes (Christina, Esther and Rebecca). We have all studied in our chosen areas of art making; Christina (BA of Fine Arts Painting with Honours at the VCA), Esther (A Bachelor of Theatre Production in Costume design at the VCA) and Rebecca (Bachelor of Arts in Animation & Interactive Media at RMIT). We have practiced as individual and collaborating artists ever since, with the Sisters Hayes officially forming in 2009.Where is your studio based? Describe it. How often do you work there? PH: I work at Arts Project Australia and I work there full-time – every day of the week. The studio is fun and interesting – there are fun people to work with.TSH:The Sisters Hayes have a studio in the Nicholas Building in the CBD. Our studio has two rooms and is full of sewing machines, drawing desks, computers, piles of material and art supplies, racks of costumes, shelves full of books, art by our artist friends which covers the walls and there are trunks full of who knows what. The three of us are often in the studio daily so we made some room for a kitchenette because we love food, coffee and cups of tea.Exhibitions are a big part of an artist’s life. With that in mind, where have you exhibited your artwork recently? Where would you like to show your work in future? PH: I have exhibited at Arts Project and I will be showing a piano I’ve been painting at the Arts Centre in Melbourne in 2014. I have been working on the piano project for three weeks.TSH: We have shown our work in a variety of different places. The Sisters currently have work at the NeXmas Fundraiser Exhibition at Gallery One Three in the city. Past work includes a moving image commission for ACMI (Profile Me, 2013), curating The Great Un Reveal (a collaboration with 13 artists at Arts Project Australia (2012), a solo exhibition, Big Sky Country at Rae & Bennett Gallery (2012), doing the set and costume design for the Malthouse Theatre’s production of Blood Wedding (2012), production design for Finucane & Smith’s Carnival of Mysteries (2010 Melbourne International Arts Festival) and A Good Death, which was a dark and decorative exhibition in the crypt of St Mary’s Star of the Sea Church for the 2010 Next Wave Festival: No Risk Too Great. Future plans include a screen based exhibition of works featuring dance films with artist collaborator Paul Hodges!What inspires you?PH: I suppose life and interesting people inspire me. I am always having ideas for artworks. I am also inspired by the landscape, art and dancing.TSH: Family, theatre, stories (all sorts), history, costume, films, television shows, travelling, games, museums and galleries, art, carnivals and show grounds, secondhand bookstores and shops, other artists and people in general.Artist Paul Hodges and The Sisters Hayes working their collaborative KMKY project in the Arts Project Australia studio.How did you first find out about Arts Project Australia? PH: My mother’s partner at the time heard about it on the radio. Then mum took me to the old building and I was introduced to Megan McEvoy. I then decided to enrol at Arts Project two days a week.TSH: The Sisters Hayes first found out about Arts Project through Christina who came across APA when looking for work as an artist assistant in 2006 or so. Christina started as a studio volunteer and then was hired to work in the studio as an arts worker. Soon all the sisters started coming in for openings, studio visits and christmas parties (Esther always helped Christina with her costumes).The KMKY project has been collaborative for all involved. Do you normally work collaboratively? If so, can you talk a bit about they way you approach this process. If not, can you talk a bit about why you have never worked collaboratively before working on KMKY. PH: Not really. But I have before on a project “NaPAULeon” with Christina and The Sisters Hayes. I worked with Christina who gave me ideas about the dance and costume in the video we made. I thought the process was good. It was fun to work with them and to be filmed.TSH: We work collaboratively a lot. Both as individual artists and of course as the Sisters Hayes, which by its very nature is a collaborative venture.Our process is a bit unique as we are siblings. So far working as a family unit has been a great strength for us as artists. This is great because we share family history, influences and memories but also respect each artist's vision. We also work together as theatre designers and this requires us to collaborate with an even bigger team of creatives; including directors, lighting and sound designers, writers, actors and so on. Each project is different but we have learnt the most important part of the collaborative process (for us)  is to respect each collaborator and treat each person’s artistic expression with dignity. It takes a lot of courage to make art and a safe space needs to be created for that.What did you hope to get out of this collaboration? What were your expectations? PH: I wanted to have more people interested in my work, by people seeing the video we made . I have worked with them before on NaPAULeon, so was fun.TSH: We had the pleasure of collaborating with Paul on a project called NaPAULeon, a dance film that featured a solo performance of Paul as Napoleon. We hoped that in this collaboration we could make another film that would not only feature Paul but include the whole cohort in a dance spectacular bonanza!Our expectations were really high about how much fun we could have and how ambitious we could get. Paul is an amazing painter. Christina and Paul were really interested in bringing in a ‘painterly’ element into the film, Rebecca was really hoping to make a great film that referenced great moments of dance in films that we loved and Esther wanted to ensure that we could have more elaborate costumes.  We all share a very big love of ballet and theatre. It is really wonderful to be able to work with a visual artist, like Paul who is also an accomplished ballet dancer.Were there any highlights along the way that particularly stick out in your mind? PH: I think going and looking for the costumes for the Knowing Me, Knowing You project; it was fun looking through the different costumes at Rose Chongs .TSH: Visiting the National Gallery of Victoria again was a huge project highlight. We all love the place and were looking to find new inspiration there. Laurie Benson, who is a curator of International Art, pointed us to the painting of Allegory by Luca Giordano. This painting was the inspirational spark that led to ideas of painted back-drops, theatrical props and costumes and a great narrative dance piece choreographed by Paul.Were there any challenges? If so, can you explain? PH: Probably just the filming, because we had to do it so many times!TSH: The biggest challenge was often getting all four of us together at one time; between busy schedules, studio work, illness and holidays it was tough occasionally. But we all shared the dedication to our vision of the work and overcame this. Practically it could be a challenge finding equipment, studio space, money, the right costume, learning new dance moves, and so on. We had some wonderful extra support and encouragement come from Paul’s sister Debra Howlett, his dance teacher Dianne de Batista, and artist Kate Matthews who helped on the day of the filming. We are grateful for all the support of our friends and colleagues who championed the process and understood it is important to give the process time.How do you feel now that the project is finished and waiting for exhibition? Give an insight into the process? Are you happy with the final artwork(s)? PH: I am happy that I have completed the project. I am happy with the final artwork because I think it looks good on video.TSH: Finished?! We are still in post-production on the film! (laughs). We are really looking forward to sharing what we have been up to with everyone and to exhibit the finished results. We are really happy with the photographic work which is a portrait of Paul as Pan and a tableaux vivant of all of us as the painting Allegory.How would you describe the finished artwork? PH: I’d say it’s very religious, because it’s based on Pan, he was a God, and it’s very Renaissance. It’s a video piece of Pan dancing around with cherubs and young kids. There is also some photography.TSH: Hmmm….. The finished work is comprised of two photographs and one short dance film. We were interested in creating a tableaux vivant, a scene presented on stage by costumed actors who remain silent and motionless as if in a picture and I think we achieved this on film. The finished artwork is definitely a homage to Luca Giordano’s painting Allegory and draws inspirations from all the great films of ballet we love, in particular ‘The Red Shoes’.What do you hope happens to the work once this exhibition is over? PH: I hope it gets seen by the public and gets passed on to someone interested.TSH: We are already talking about making another dance film together and hope that we can have an exhibition of all three screen based works in Melbourne and perhaps interstate.Would you ever work collaboratively again? Why/why not? PH: Yes, because I think The Sisters are fun.TSH: Yes! With Paul we just knew that we didn’t want to stop making work together. The opportunity to collaborate in KMKY confirmed that this was something that needed to continue and could! The four of us share a passion for a lot of shared interests and cannot think of a reason not to go on!Here is a sneak peak of some behind the scenes footage on set with Paul and The Sisters Hayes! All image credits: Penelope Hunt SUPPORTERS: Thanks to our Major Supporters Arts Victoria for a Community Partnerships Grant and the Besen Family Foundation:      Thanks also to the following Supporters for their in-kind contributions:SHELLEY FARTHING-DAWE for giving additional time and resources to the project SILK CUT LINO for sponsoring lino for artists Angela Cavalieri & Fiona TaylorFOLLOW THE EVOLUTION OF KMKY ON: FACEBOOK OUR WEBSITEFOR FURTHER INFO & MEDIA ENQUIRIES: Sim Luttin, Gallery Manager & Curator: [email protected], +61 3 9482 4484Melissa Petty, Gallery Assistant: [email protected], +61 3 9482 4484Twitter: @artsprojectaust Pinterest:@artsprojectaust Instagram: @artsprojectaust #artsproject Facebook: facebook.com/artsprojectaustralia facebook.com/artsprojectgallery 

KMKY: ARTIST TALK SERIES #1

KMKY: ARTIST TALK SERIES #1

INTERVIEW WITH KMKY ARTISTS FIONA TAYLOR & ANGELA CAVALIERIArts Project Australia's first exhibition for 2014, Knowing Me Knowing You (KMKY), will question the collaborative process and explore the complex nature of collaboration between professional artists.We invited artist and curator Lindy Judge to work with us to create an in-depth collaborative investigation involving ten of our studio artists and ten external contemporary artists. From 2012 through 2013, cinematographer Shelley Farthing-Dawe has been filming the evolution of the project as a film journal that will later be edited into a documentary.This post will be the first in a series of artist interviews, and will focus on the collaboration between Arts Project Australia artist Fiona Taylor and external artist Angela Cavalieri.Artist Fiona Taylor and Angela Cavalieri planning their collaborative KMKY project in the Arts Project Australia studio. KNOWING ME, KNOWING YOU INTERVIEWTell us about your background. Have you studied? What is your practice and have you always been an artist? AC: I studied fine arts at the VCA, Melbourne from 1981-3 and have been a practising artist ever since. FT: I did art therapy before I started at Arts Project – I was learning how to do things in response to a personal event. Only by being at Arts Project Australia have I started my art practice. I was going to do it at another organisation, but they didn’t think my work would be right there. Where is your studio based? Describe it. How often do you work there? AC: My studio is in Brunswick. It is a large self-contained private studio complex that I share with other artists of mixed-disciplines and practises. I have been in this studio for 15 years, and before that I had studios in Fitzroy, Prahran and the CBD. I work in my studio on a regular basis but it varies due to projects, deadlines and exhibitions. I also work outside the studio and have had a few artist-residence opportunities within Australia and overseas. In the last four years I have been working as an artist fulltime, before that I was working in part-time jobs. FT: (My studio is) at Arts Project Australia – here! It’s great working here – I enjoy working here, doing different things like ceramics, puppetry, printmaking and painting. I work here four days a week – before I was working three, before I started ceramics with (one of the artsworkers) Glenn.   Exhibitions are a big part of an artist’s life. With that in mind, where have you exhibited your artwork recently? Where would you like to show your work in future? AC: I have exhibited in commercial galleries, such Australian Galleries Melbourne, as well as Local Council and University Galleries, including Macquarie University, the Baillieu Library at Melbourne University, Deakin University Museum of Art, Maroondah Art Gallery and the Counihan Gallery in Brunswick. FT: I have exhibited at C3 Gallery in Abbotsford, at Arts Project Australia and at The Tanks, Arts Centre in Cairns. I would like to have another show here at Arts Project.   What inspires you? AC: Stories, music, language, culture & history. Also travelling. FT: Oh…I like sporting things like gymnastics and tennis. I do Special Olympics and in 2007, I represented Australia in Shanghai in China, which was an amazing thing. They have the volunteers for the athletes and I did the host-town program. I got a silver and bronze medal in China and that inspires me.Artists Fiona Taylor and Angela Cavalieri working together on their collaborative KMKY project with artsworker Nicole MacDonald and curator Lindy Judge.How did you first find out about Arts Project Australia? AC: Through artist colleagues. FT: I think mum found out about it. I am not sure how, but I’ve been here for I think around four years.   The KMKY project has been collaborative for all involved. Do you normally work collaboratively? If so, can you talk a bit about the way you approach this process. If not, can you talk a bit about why you have never worked collaboratively before working on KMKY. AC: I have worked collaboratively off and on with my artist books, both with the bookbinder and through producing a collaborative series of artist books with another artist/writer. I also worked with other artists to complete the hand printing of my large-scale works. FT: No. It’s a big experience for me. Working big on large canvases…well I’ve never done this before. I have never worked as big as this before. I don’t know why I’ve never worked with anyone collaboratively – this has been a big experience working on Knowing Me Knowing You. What did you hope to get out of this collaboration? What were your expectations? AC: Sharing creative interests and observing how another artist works and approaches a similar idea/theme to you. I enjoyed seeing how artistic outcomes evolve from shared ideas. FT: Angela and I both had travelling experiences – I like travelling and Angela likes travelling. She likes it as much as I do, so it was good we had that in common. Angela sorted through what she wanted to do with the project and I sorted through what I wanted to do. I had pictures from Tiananmen Square from when I was there in 2007, so I wanted to work on that with Angela for the Knowing Me Knowing You project. I thought doing that was a great experience.Were there any highlights along the way that particularly stick out in your mind? AC: The whole process of seeing our conversations and ideas evolve to the final outcome was a great experience for me. It was vey exciting seeing the completed artworks and seeing Fiona’s happy and satisfied response and sharing this together. FT: I really liked putting it all together. I also really liked working on the Silk Cut lino; it was a really amazing thing to do. Also, how we got an income for the project too. Were there any challenges? If so, can you explain? AC: No more challenges than what I have to confront on a daily basis in my own art practise. FT: Working on a big scale was a big challenge for me, and having to put it together as a jigsaw puzzle. Having to map out the areas, number them and put it all together for the Colosseum. That was like looking back at my drawing and painting…I was exhausted from all the hard work I had done!   How do you feel now that the project is finished and waiting for exhibition? Give an insight into the process? Are you happy with the final artwork(s)? AC: I feel excited about seeing the finished work displayed and am also looking forward to seeing the other artist’s results. I am very keen to see the filming and documentation that has been made during the project. FT: I am looking forward to the exhibition and getting it all finished with Angela. I am so happy with myself and that I’ve achieved my goals with the project, and I am happy with the way it looks and has all come together.   How would you describe the finished artwork? AC: I feel it has been a successful collaboration and positive professional development for both of us. FT: Like James one of our artsworkers said, “Wow, that looks amazing!”. There is a painting of Tiananmen Square, a painting of the Colosseum, and in printmaking I did the Eiffel Tower with Silk Cut lino.   What do you hope happens to the work once this exhibition is over? AC: I hope it finds a ’home’ where it can be viewed again and enjoyed. FT: I am proud to have it here at Arts Project Australia. I know someone wants to buy one of the pieces, and I am overwhelmed someone wants to buy it. I’m overwhelmed by it all.   Would you ever work collaboratively again? Why/why not? AC: Yes. I enjoy sharing and working through ideas and processes; it is part of my learning experience as an artist. FT: With someone else at Arts Project again? Definitely. Because it was fantastic working with Angela – we worked so well together. And she’s such a nice person to work with. So I’d hope to work with someone just like Angela.Artists Fiona Taylor and Angela Cavalieri working together on their collaborative KMKY project with artsworker Nicole MacDonald. Here is a sneak peak of one of Angela and Fiona's finished works that will be exhibited at Knowing Me Knowing You next year.Fiona Taylor and Angela Cavalieri, Rome, 2013 acrylic, linocut print and oil paint on canvas FT&ACEW13-0001 © Fiona Taylor and Angela Cavalieri Supported by Arts Project AustraliaAll image credits: Penelope Hunt SUPPORTERS: Thanks to our Major Supporters Arts Victoria for a Community Partnerships Grant and the Besen Family Foundation:      Thanks also to the following Supporters for their in-kind contributions:SHELLEY FARTHING-DAWE for giving additional time and resources to the project SILK CUT LINO for sponsoring lino for artists Angela Cavalieri & Fiona TaylorFOLLOW THE EVOLUTION OF KMKY ON: FACEBOOK OUR WEBSITEFOR FURTHER INFO & MEDIA ENQUIRIES: Sim Luttin, Gallery Manager & Curator: [email protected], +61 3 9482 4484 Melissa Petty, Gallery Assistant: [email protected], +61 3 9482 4484Twitter: @artsprojectaust Pinterest:@artsprojectaust Instagram: @artsprojectaust #artsproject Facebook: facebook.com/artsprojectaustralia facebook.com/artsprojectgallery

KMKY Launches: Sat 8 Feb 2014

KMKY Launches: Sat 8 Feb 2014

We have a very exciting collaborative project that we are currently working on that we want to share!Arts Project Australia has invited artist and curator Lindy Judge to work with us to create an in-depth collaborative investigation involving ten of our studio artists and ten external contemporary artists. From 2012 through 2013, cinematographer Shelley Farthing-Dawe is documenting the evolution of the project as a film journal that will later be edited into a documentary.Knowing Me Knowing You will question the collaborative process itself; it will explore the complex nature of collaboration between professional artists. This will be investigated within the framework of the following curatorial rationale:“Knowing Me Knowing You is about relationships between very different artists. The external artists have a sophisticated practice that’s enhanced by their ability to communicate verbally and in writing, while the Arts Project artists use visual media as a potent tool for communication.  For some, it’s their only method of communication when sight, hearing or verbal dialogue is not available to them. While my earlier experience as a curator at Arts Project taught me that there is a common desire for these very different artists to get to know each other, I noticed that attempts at collaborative relationships didn’t always succeed. When they did, they often developed mutually rewarding relationships that continued long after the project had ended.Shelley Farthing-Dawe filming curator Lindy Judge with artists Kate Knight and Martin King. Photo: Sim LuttinArtists Rebecca Scibilia and Steven Asquith negotiating their collaborative KMKY project. Photo: Penelope HuntKnowing Me Knowing You attempts to examine the process of collaboration by documenting on film the individual processes of each pair of artists from the beginning of the project to the end.The resulting film will present a model for future collaborations at Arts Project and beyond, providing an insight into how art can facilitate communication. Each artist will begin a conversation with their collaborator using elements of their own practice e.g. paste ups, animation, printmaking, painting and photography. The outcome will be the creation of relationships that extend beyond the life of the project, an increased awareness of the collaborative process and the development of a shared visual language that finds its voice somewhere between intellect and intuition.” Curator Lindy Judge.Artists Jim Pavlidis and Steven Ajzenberg working together on their collaborative KMKY project. Photo: Penelope HuntParticipating artists include: Rebecca Scibilia & Steven Asquith, Paul Hodges & The Sisters Hayes, Steven Ajzenberg & Jim Pavlidis, Terry Williams & Jenny Bartholomew, Cam Noble & Annalea Beattie, Fiona Taylor & Angela Cavalieri, Cathy Staughton & Catherine Bell, Michael Camakaris & Geoff Newton, Chris Mason & Nathan Gray, Kate Knight & Martin King.Artists Annalea Beattie and Cam Noble working together on their collaborative KMKY project. Photo: Penelope HuntLindy Judge has worked on two earlier projects with Arts Project. The first, Double Take in 2005 saw Arts Project participants given an artwork by an external artist and asked to respond to it. The second, Portrait Exchange saw studio participants paired with external contemporary artists and each painted a portrait of each other. To this day, individuals continue to work together and it’s this positive and unexpected outcome that has provided the impetus for Knowing Me Knowing You.Artists Martin King and Kate Knight working together on their collaborative KMKY project. Photo: Penelope HuntPortrait Exchange was widely publicised and a short piece created by Art Nation was screened on the ABC in 2010.  In this ABC presentation, pairs of artists were interviewed about their collaboration and the resulting dialogue provided insight into the challenges that arose.Knowing Me Knowing You is by far the most ambitious project yet, as it strives to connect, question, challenge and generate in-depth insights.Artists Terry Williams and Jenny Bartholomew working together on their collaborative KMKY project. Photo: Penelope Hunt SUPPORTERS: Thanks to our Major Supporters Arts Victoria for a Community Partnerships Grant and the Besen Family Foundation:      Thanks also to the following Supporters for their in-kind contributions:SHELLEY FARTHING-DAWE for giving additional time and resources to the project SILK CUT LINO for sponsoring lino for artists Angela Cavalieri & Fiona TaylorFOLLOW THE EVOLUTION OF KMKY ON:FACEBOOK OUR WEBSITEFOR FURTHER INFORMATION: Contact Arts Project Australia on +61 3 9482 4484 or email [email protected]

KMKY Update: Paul Hodges & The Sisters Hayes

KMKY Update: Paul Hodges & The Sisters Hayes

The Sisters Hayes and Paul Hodges were hard at it in the Arts Project studio on Friday afternoon, painting babies. The inspiration? The famous Luca Giordano painting 'Allegory' c. 1675 housed at the NGV International, which the artists visited a few weeks ago and will base their collaborative artwork for Knowing Me, Knowing You (KMKY).Artist Paul Hodges says, "I am really excited about the project. I am very happy to be working with The Sisters Hayes and I look forward to working with them again."We're super excited to see this project evolve and have images to share of the project in its inital stages below - enjoy!-----------------------------------Artist and curator Lindy Judge is working with Arts Project Australia to create an in-depth collaborative investigation involving ten of our studio artists and ten external contemporary artists. Cinematographer Shelley Farthing-Dawe has been documenting the evolution of the project as a film journal that will later be edited into a documentary. Keep an eye out for the teaser trailer that will soon be released!Knowing Me, Knowing You questions the collaborative process itself; it will explore the complex nature of collaboration between professional artists. Curator Lindy Judge says, “Knowing Me, Knowing You is about relationships between very different artists. The external artists have a sophisticated practice that’s enhanced by their ability to communicate verbally and in writing, while the Arts Project artists use visual media as a potent tool for communication."Luca GIORDANO (c. 1675) oil on canvas 230.5 x 231.0 cm National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne. Purchased through The Art Foundation of Victoria with the assistance of the Government of Victoria, 1988The Sisters Hayes with Paul Hodges in the Arts Project studio.Paul HodgesChristina HayesEsther HayesRebecca HayesThe Sisters Hayes with Paul Hodges - the project is underway!SUPPORTERS: Thanks to our Major Supporters Arts Victoria for a Community Partnerships Grant and the Besen Family Foundation:      Thanks also to the following Supporters for their in-kind contributions:SHELLEY FARTHING-DAWE for giving additional time and resources to the project SILK CUT LINO for sponsoring lino for artists Angela Cavalieri & Fiona TaylorFOLLOW THE EVOLUTION OF KMKY ON: FACEBOOK OUR WEBSITEFOR FURTHER INFORMATION: Contact Arts Project Australia on +61 3 9482 4484 or email [email protected]

COVID-19 UPDATE: ARTS PROJECT IS CURRENTLY CLOSED. WE CONTINUE TO OPERATE ONLINE AND SALES WILL BE PROCESSED ONCE A WEEK.