17 July 2010

I'd like to buy a town please, Mr. monopoly man.

Launching on Sat 24 July, 'Under 3 Hundy' brings together an exciting line-up of Gold Coast artists, and is the first group show brought to you by Chryslyn and Magnus from retail/artspace 'Reap N' Sow.' I recently scored the niftiest neon shoes and lace white dress here, and for those who haven't been yet and adore vintage I suggest to check the crib out, upstairs at 6/1710 Gold Coast Hwy, Burleigh Heads. Look out for Burleigh Tropicana and Vinnies.

My work for the show, titled 'Former Mayor of Otira' explores my curosity with the tiny remote village of Otira, New Zealand, which is up for sale. For $1 Million you get the mountain town and a school, railway station, pub, heated pool and 40 residents. The village, which comes with enough snow to leave dwellers stranded for a month each year, was bought 12 years ago by a couple who 'felt sorry for it.'

Among the medium for this work include polymer clay, silver, sago and hair from a mellow cat called Isis. My ex-mayor creature represents a sort of retired Monopoly man who has inherited white-wizard hair from the decade-long upkeep of the shire. He is ready to pass on the village keys to the highest bidder...any bidder really, if they can find their way to woop-woop Otira that is.  If there is a New Zealand version of Monopoly, I wonder if Otira is the 'Old Kent Road' of the En Zee. Or maybe Otira is the Free Parking.

Ok off to pack some winter jammies, heading to Newcastle for a few days, oh and checking these out! I have a soft spot for this town and its constantly re-incarnating arts hub. Now only if Newcastle were up for a million...

16 July 2010


Street art event featured on ABC (by Sara Hicks)


On June 5, 2010, the Oneway project debuted in a back alleyway at Surfers Paradise. A 'pop-up' street party held by Surfers Paradise Festival, the one-day event showcased art, music, fashion, cuisine and culture.

As part of this festival I was fortunate enough to curate the live street art featuring local emerging artists Georg WhelanSam SmithClaudio Kirac, Kitty Horton and Berlin artist Mymo. Over the course of five energetic hours these artists transformed what was once a bare-white 15 metre wide building-side into a kaleidoscopic fusion of curious creatures, trumpetting colours and geometric landscapes. Each bore the artists' recognizable street signature. Oneway attracted an amazing local turnout, and over the course of the next few weeks tourists and locals alike flocked to the remnant of the festival - the back wall at Alison and Appel Street - to take pictures, and to quietly soak in the works. 

What is wonderful about viewing street art is its 24/7 accessibility and treasure-hunt mentality. Its existence turns into an unexpected surprise while on detour, or it becomes an alleyway-must see for tourists in the know. What is also novel is that because of the transient energy of this medium, street art vintages differently. Weather elements mean colours fade and crumble, lines soften. Walls retire, get painted over. New artwork patinas over the old. Souvenir artworks that are fragile, that evolve, revolve, disappear.

When it comes to street art our laws on the Gold Coast are mad strict, with the practice mistakenly associated with vandalism. But whereas vandalism is this unruly act of defacing, street art is about complimenting that space, of enhancing it with a creative mark. The streets are a public platform for artists to express themselves on a mass scale, and in most cases they encourage debates about the various styles and social subject matter often explored in public art. 

In most cities artists get caught and fined, but it's all part and parcel of the fleeting, evanescent and risky activity that is working on the streets. Which is why countless of street artists are used to hastily imprinting their art alone, egg-shell quiet, under the coat of darkness, without an audience. And then scurrying off knowing their work may be erased the next week, or next day. So as an artsworker living in a city where street art is stigmatised and virtually non-existent, I found myself - along with others - in awe at being able to witness artists in mid daylight publicly create art right in the tourist strip of Surfers Paradise. 

The Parkrise wall is by no means the first evidence of this artform in our city. There have been handfuls of street art littered around, within the crevices of abandoned warehouses, under bridges, in private backyards, or in public but hidden under thickened layers, painted over due to the laws. So saying this, when compared to say the scenes of Melbourne and Japan the notion of a street art scene on the Gold Coast is in its infancy. Therefore the purpose then of this particular project is to catapult positive notions surrounding street art as a professional arts practice, and as another way of creative expression. The goal is to also encourage the same level of public respect and appreciation as the one we direct towards traditional and wall-based art. Important to consider, seeing as a portion of contemporary art in Australia borrows from street art influences, and there are many artists who successfully oscillate between working on the streets and showing at or being represented by white cube galleries. So to have this work legally approved by the City Council is a tiny triumph, not only for these young street painters - whose backgrounds lie in fine art and graphic design -  but for Gold Coast itself in its attempt to introduce street art into Surfers' cultural geography.


The mural can be viewed anytime at Parkrise Building on Alison and Appel alley, Surfers Paradise. Parkrise was held as part of Oneway, an event that will now be held every winter at Surfers Paradise. SPF co-ordinator is Jolie Hertzberg, and a teaser video by Salvador Cantellano featuring the multiple events can be viewed here. Post-show review here



Festival info: 

14 July 2010

thimble garden

These are pictures I found on the interwebs (I wish I took them, but alas no). Delightful how one pretty image can stamp itself into your brain and leave your eyes swimming in the colour and the happy. And imagine if it did start to rain a dazzlin' PURPLE on the pines! Oh Prince would be getting foresight-royalties like he did for 1999. Prince, where are you? You are cool, make more songs.

10 July 2010

You can make a killin', but don't forget da' feelin',

'MAYA' M.I.A, 

M.I.A's new album ‘MAYA’ dropped yesterday, with the singer proving she has staying power in spitting out echo-grows-on-you beats and politically-now lyrics that bomb you with dancey contagion. And it’s no surprise, with Switch, Blaqstarr, and frenemy Diplo, on producing duties here. XXXO is probably the catchiest and most radio-friendly single, but Internet Connection (the URAQT of MAYA), Story to be Told and Steppin’ Up are ear-worms too, making me feel tough enough to get yo-yo like while dancing in my kitchen. They spill so thunderously out of my little iphone, I can only imagine the blaring damage this album would do at the next music-savvy Zumba class. I once wondered what a duet would sound like between M.I.A and the enigmatic Justine Freischmann (who in the 90s was her classmate in art school, and who also headed one of the bands I fancied as a kid, Elastica). Some of the songs in MAYA make me feel like this is close to what it would be like, Brit-pop technowood.

Lyrics-wise, MAYA makes timely references to Google, technology vs romance, iphone, Ghandhi and fighting, and is layered over a cacophony of spliced samples, like jets taking off, dentist drills, gospel praisin' and island beats. The result is a quirky doof-fest that nearly rivals the widely-successful albums prior.M.I.A's first CD ‘Kala’ was named after her hard-working mother, and she titled the sophomore album ‘Arular’ after her long-estranged father, who was associated with the Tamil Tigers. She was hoping her father, wherever he was, would somehow Google his name up, and come across her. Perhaps make contact. Funny to know the first English words M.I.A learnt when she arrived from Sri Lanka to England in 1983 were: " Michael" and "Jackson."

My overture feeling of the entire album's 'sound' is that  Bjork takes Timbaland to the dentist to get his front tooth yoinked out to enhance his harmonic Volta grunts. They then record so-said grunts on an iPad, email the mp3 to Peaches, who then DJ's the demo around in Pro-Tools 17 times until it overheated from rendering. She then swings the demo over to Death in Vegas to mix with Slayer in Jamaica. Along the way Lady Gaga asked to contribute. They all say no. This is actually a compliment, but it's 1am, I've had a long work day, so this album might sound wayyyyy different tomorrow.

The third album is not as pouncey as Arular, I feel.
Earlier songs like 20 Dolla and Bird Flu, with its feist and rigour, really hit the nail in the head with issues like political grit, the plight in Sri Lanka and Africa, crime, children welfare, and the struggle between selling out or staying undah-ground. Still MAYA is catchy, and good to clean your house to when you want to do it quickly.

Through this album, I suspect M.I.A is dabbing on the romantic death of the A-ha moment...for the most part, due to the mega-techno boom of the iphone, Google, Youtube etc. Basically internet overload as a pore that is making us lazy, less sporadic, angrier, more unromantic. Not that far from the truth considering the mental amount of screen-talk/type/write we do instead of face to face loving-ness.

Apart from being a lyricist M.I.A is also a mad graphic designer, and indulges in quirky, somewhat high-end vs chav-pov fashion.
The 34 year old, who became a mummy for the first time a few months ago, is also no stranger to controversy. She copped criticism for the Born Free video (it was violent yes, but also poignantly effective, even though I did at first think Slipknot hired a chick). She also recently dissed Gaga for sounding “like 20-year-old Ibiza music" and was then harshly portrayed (and apparently misquoted) in the NY times as this oxymoronic sista' who kept-it-real while chasing the smoochin' glamour of the high life. 

So maybe this album is actually about M.I.A growing up and 'coming across herself'. Learning to battle the battle a bit more confidently. Letting the world know she is Maya Arulpragasam, alter-ego wiped off. Only then can she really be at peace with her shot-to-postmodern-stardom guilt-trip. Y'know, where she is constantly torn between going mainstream and protecting her artistic indie cred. You want me be somebody I'm really not. Well, as long as Miss Arulpragasam is not pimping Coke cans and iEveryting in her videos that's fine by me (and my dancing feet).

M.I.A: on the same shelf as:  Martina Topley-Bird, Death in Vegas Sleigh Bells, Peaches

5 July 2010

Nobody Knows

17 July - 15 August, 2010
Gold Coast City Gallery
135 Bundall Road, Surfers Paradise Q

Anne Wallace, Salto Mortale, 2010, oil on canvas 116x89cm Rob McHaffie, Hope for the Disheveled Seeker I, 2010, oil on linen, 56x66 cm.

I've been a follower of Anne Wallace's works since I had a high school outing in 1997 and we stumbled upon her painting 'Damage' at Queensland Art Gallery. Wallace's photorealist Hitchkokian-atmospheric paintings entice audiences to 'look closer' and study the subtle story is breathing behind the layers, camouflaged from the glimpse. Simon Mee's works are quite similar with his gothy, ambiguously eerie references to pop culture and folklore. When I see a Mee work I am thrown back to the era of the PuppetMasters , a cult film that used to scare/send me ROFLing when I was a kid. Rob McHaffie's works, I'm not familiar with yet, but it looks like he has a knack for quirky titles, and wouldn't it be great if his esoteric, Gentelemen Broncosesque landscapes extisted in real life? Who would not want to hang with baby Jesus in a pink cloud as we gaze at Africa. Looking forward to hearing these artists discuss their works at the Gold Coast City Gallery next week, and maybe stuff myself with chocolate treats in the process! A free 16 page catalogue is available to coincide with the show.

L-R Simon Mee, Boating on the Styx, 2010, chalk and charcoal on primed paper
Rob McHaffie, Is ‘home and away’ on yet?, 2009, oil on linen 46 x 36cm.

“A curator is meant to be objective, in this case however I feel am the exact opposite. I have deliberately indulged my personal delight and pleasure in working with two artists whose work I enjoy. Anne and Rob’s work have both filled me with that strange mixture of pleasure and envy brought on by the “I wish I had done that” feeling.” - Simon Mee, artist and curator of Nobody Knows

"McHaffie’s dream-like mis en scenes have a hintof apocalypse, Mee’s doll-like figurines have a whiff of tortured deformity andWallace’s is a world of grey skies and ominous shadows.All three are like nocturnal somnambulists bringing their visions into thewaking world, what Thomas Pynchon has described as "that rare and luminous gift for reporting back from the nocturnal side of reality.” - Ashley Crawford, from the Nobody Knows catalogue.


Friday 16 July 2-4pm Tickets $30 + BF
Join artists Simon Mee, Rob McHaffie and Anne Wallace in launching their exhibition
'Nobody Knows': New works evoking strange stories and act as imaginary previews of the artists' humours and dark experiences. Enjoy a delicious selection of savoury/sweet treats and wine/coffee, and hear each artist speak about their works.
Tix: $30 + BF. Book tix. W > www.theartscentregc.com.au E > gallery@theartscentregc.com.au Ph > 55814000