Me – Studio sort time….

I had the chance to do some sorting in the studio, major work has come to a halt post Regionalis exhibition, but some drawings and other media on paper are wanting to emerge. Those familiar with my Harm series will note the cutout effect I used for the text I want to use with symbols etc in future works, should lead to some interesting outcomes… But I digress.

Sorting the studio, ok it’s a garage, but the time had come and so I spent a chunk of time sorting the bits and pieces out… my other work and its various equipment is now vying for some serious space takeover options. Not good but hey it pays the bills!

I wonder how many other artists have to juggle their space with about four other sets of items jammed in their? Things of mine, my works, my equipment and my wife’s bits and pieces, the list is growing!

Sorting should give me the impetus to do the works on paper… draw paint, make it all happen, and save some storage space too!

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Steve Gray

Exhibition – Biram and Rowe

Walker St Gallery in Dandenong Victoria for those who love landscape.

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Golden Plains Art Trail

Today, Sunday the 25th Oct 09 I went to check out the Golden Plains Shire art trail, its in the western district of Victoria. Many farms and very small communities yet with a heap of Visual Artists and Craftspeople. It was a great weekend (I only got to the Sunday Part) and met a bunch of Artists from realistic to abstract, crafty to conceptual… All up I think I did about 270 klms! It would be fantastic to see other regions do this sort of thing as the turnout of viewers and artists was solid! Well done to the organisers, now to hassle my regional arts and culture people to do a similar thing! :)

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For more info check out the website of the golden plains shire.

Creativity? YES! :)

Every now and then something catches my eye and this blog on creativity did it today… :)

http://creativedynamic.blogspot.com/

Part art, part business… yes thanks!

Exhibition

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Lorne Sculpture Exhibition

The bi-annual Lorne (Victoria) Sculpture exhibition kicked off this weekend with an opening by Sigrid Thornton (actor), various awards presented and 50 sculptures presented around the foreshore and in other venues around town. A great crowd turned out to see the opening and enjoy the works presented, a veritable who’s who of contemporary sculpture.

A stand out piece… Jos Van Hulsens work, number one in the catalogue and number one for concept, craftsmanship and placement.

Jos Van Hulsen

Jos’ piece was similar to this second place piece he had in the Helen Lempriere sculpture show a while back.

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The Lorne web site is here…

DATES: October 17 – November 8, 2009

The exhibition is free to the public.

This year’s curator is Claire Mitchell and the judges are Robert Lindsay, Maudie

Palmer and Phillip Doggett-Williams.

AWARDS:

The Great Ocean Road Sculpture Award – $15,000

Sponsored by the Great Ocean Road Coastal Committee (GORCC)

Winner “Anno Domuno 2009” Geoffrey Richardo

The Environmental Award – $5,000

Sponsored by Billard Leece Partnership

Winner “I’ve come with the wind” Roman Liebach

The Regional Artist Award – $5.000

Sponsored by Friends Of Melaleuca, Anglesea

Winner “Into the wind” Brigit Heller

The Emerging Artist Award – $5,000

Sponsored by Cynthia and Jack Wynhoven

Winner “Junk mail, 2009″ Liz Walker

The Shopfront Award – $5,000

Sponsored by Tom & Marianne Latham and Peter & Mandy Matthews

Winner “Mirage, 2009″ Susan Reddrop

Whyalla Art Prize – Neil Haddon Winner

Well Done Neil! 2009 Whyalla Art Prize winner.

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New gallery…

I have just come across a new listing for a new gallery right on my doorstep in our “arts precinct”… hmm lets see what this brings. No site, as yet, just a listing… will do a drive by and let you know what I find!

OXIDE CONTEMPORARY ARTS
Elizabeth Towers – elements

To coincide with the opening of the new gallery Oxide Contemporary Arts, is an exhibition of oil paintings by Elizabeth Towers entitled elements. Elizabeth uses layers of transparent glazes to produce rich glowing colours, reflecting the artist’s attitude to life. As we delve below the surface we find layer upon layer interwoven by our unique responses, experiences and experiments with life. Elizabeth is a resident of the Bellarine and has participated in many group exhibitions including the recent Geelong Regional Artists Exhibition at the Gordon Gallery and earlier this year at the Brunswick Street Gallery in Melbourne. She has held two solo exhibitions. Several of her prints are in the Gordon Tafe Permanent Art Collection.

Dates: To 30 October 2009
Times: 3.30pm to 6.30pm – Monday to Friday or by appointment
Venue: Oxide Contemporary Arts, 3 McLarty Place, Geelong

Exhibition – Ghost Patrol

Ghost patrol is at it again folks check out the latest offering…

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Exhibition – Stuff of Dreams

Tom Byrne is the Curator for this show in Paris.

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Sharon Stelluto

Sharon Stelluto, I’m a contemporary artist from Philadelphia, PA. Primarily an oil painter but she also does mixed media illustration pieces consisting of watercolor, pastels, and ink with side projects in collage. You can find her on the web at… www.sharonstelluto.com

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What are you currently working on?
I am working on a new piece that embodies botanical forms fused with industrial mechanical forms. The figurative nature of the work allows the natural world to blend with machinery and metals. Two distinct shapes of opposites dance across the canvas only to combine and blend into one plantlike form made of mechanical parts. My intent is to illustrate the ceremony of opposites, fusing the feminine energy of the natural world along with the masculine energy of industrial forms. A significant theme in my work is the concept of duality. I formulate a space where the dualities can intermingle and create a sense of oneness.

Why are you an artist?
My life has consisted of a distinct inspiring life force that compels me to create. I believe being an artist is no longer about a passion, but more of a necessity and a compulsion.

We are creative beings; it is our very nature and our core to express ourselves. It feels unnatural to me to not let that unravel from my being on a daily basis. It is a way of life to me, not a choice.

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How did you get into art?
I came out of the womb with a paintbrush in my hand. I remember responding to life at an early age by art making.

My parent’s would take us to church every Sunday and I would always bring my bag of crayons and paper. Although I may not have understood the setting, I found comfort in my random doodles among the church pews. I may have even absorbed the Spirituality through osmosis.

Later on in life, my work began to reflect the spiritual path that I soon found myself upon. No longer a believer in organized religion, I found a unique spiritual journey of my own as the truths and divinity of life blossomed for me in its own beautiful pattern.

This soon started to shape and support the depth of my work as an artist.

I saw that the dance with life and the sheer amazement of experiencing this world is a spiritual practice in itself.

Tell us about your connection to your subject matter, way of working, concepts, etc?
As a young child I had a wild imagination. I would thrive on taking nature walks and collecting any shape, plant, rock, or particle that I found interest in.

I loved getting my hands into the dirt, creating dreams and worlds with the earth.

My backyard was a mystical land of opportunity. I would like to think that this passion for the natural world has extended into my work today.

I continue to collect shapes, and references from nature to this day.

My favorite past time is walking in gardens or nurseries full of flowers and lush greenery. I notice shapes and colors but also witness the way plants choose to unfold.

I draw a lot of my inspiration from color and feel that the vibrancy of color contains so much joy and life within it. Nature grounds me and helps me remember what is truly important in my life.

Having studied and practiced yoga for many years as well as being a certified Reiki practitioner, I believe I embrace a more holistic viewpoint of life.

This ultimately creates the structure for my work. Living a life with constant awareness that everything within life is energy, including us, I approach my work with this underlying concept.

My intention is to formulate a visual language for this invisible force that permeates all of life.

I often reference ancient mark making from the Mayan civilizations. Their knowledge and awareness of shape within their art was extremely advanced. I am drawn to the Mayan Art forms because they do resemble cellular structures. I feel the imagery of the living cell exemplifies energy in its purest form.

I am also drawn to the concept of duality and opposing forces. I am mostly inspired by feminine energy vs. masculine energy in its myriad of forms. To create this contrast, I incorporate natural, botanical imagery with the balance of industrial, mechanical shapes.

In blending these opposing forces, oneness is created and a subtle reminder that it all originates from the same source.

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Does the “creative process” happen easily for you?
Yes and No. Yes, because my life is full of so much inspiration and imagination as I live and breathe creativity in all I do. But to blend this inner determination with the outside world and life’s daily demands can be tricky at times. Within my career as an artist, I have found that time maintenance has been a key factor. There also may be moments when you have the time but lack the driving force to create. Creativity, I believe, is not something that should be forced. But sometimes when you reach a block, you have to break through those walls in order to maintain your drive and direction.

On my path as an artist I have encountered moments of creative block and it seems to come in phases with the undulations of life. I maintain hope in those phases, knowing it will return to fruition once again. But I’ve found that one’s inspiration is a well and when not nurtured properly has a tendency to dry up. Your inspiration needs to be fed in order for the creative process to continue to take place.

Do you get to other artists exhibitions, openings, etc?
Yes, I feel it is just as important to find inspiration by seeing other artwork, as it is to spend time creating. I make a habit of going to gallery openings, scrounging through books at the bookstore, or tapping into the wealth of resources on the Internet.

It is important to me to understand what is current. As much as we all have been shaped by our world and what has come before us in terms of art history, I feel it is most relevant for me to understand the present moment. To witness and take in the current trends, and underlying art movement taking place reflects the conscious collective of humanity in the now moment. Society changes over time and although the great masters hold brilliancy and weight for inspiration, I find that the innovation of current work reflects our present world state. To be a part of something that is actively taking place has a greater subtlety and grace to it.

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Can you name a favorite artist or three…and why?
I am very inspired by artists with sharp, bold, linear shapes such as Keith Haring and Jean Dubuffet. I am in love with Jean Dubuffet’s sculpture work where he blends painting and sculpture together, creating living landscapes of art form. His simple use of line and form creates such a beautiful dynamic of shape. Drawing a lot of inspiration from graffiti and the street art scene, I feel that line work and the flow of form is important in conveying emotion.

More current contemporary artists who inspire me are Oliver Vernon and Damon Soule. The work of these artists has distinct connections with the earth as well as spiritual undertones. They convey this by using soft, subtle methods combined with sharper shapes and an urban flare. I feel that these artists are masters of form and color.

What can you say about your work that might not be evident to the viewer?
I am intrigued by the current state of the world and how it is shaping us all. These times are crying out for balance and healing. I believe this healing should begin within us as individuals.

We are so caught up in global change that we tend to forget that changes have to start within us first. I feel that one of the only things in this world that has guaranteed a place of joy, upliftment, pleasure and healing for humanity is that of the arts.

Within my work, my focal point has been on the issue of blending the harsher masculine quality of our industrialized society with the healing of the land through a natural urbanized art style.

My approach in my work is to facilitate an opening of the heart through color and healing forms, reminding us of where the healing really needs to take place.

If you stopped doing art right now, would you miss it?
Yes, extremely. Sometimes I think of the lives of people who do not practice an art form.

I think of all the free time they must have! But I’m sure on many levels, they fill their lives up with other joys. It is just hard for me to fathom not spending a majority of my life in union with my own creative self. I see it as a form of spiritual practice that allows me to commune with the divine and welcome the imagery that would like to come through.

Artists seem to have permission to meditate with themselves much easier than one who does not pursue this mode of expression. It’s like a free pass to your true self and innermost passions!


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Compiled and edited by Steve Gray © 2009+

Follow me on twitter! http://twitter.com/stevegray58

Golden Plains Arts Trail

The Golden Plains Arts Trail (Victoria Australia) is being held on the weekend of 24 and 25 October from 10am to 5pm daily. The Arts Trail will present the works of over 50 artists exhibiting in a variety of studios and settings across the Golden Plains municipality. From stunning sculpture gardens, unique textile works, contemporary craft and design pieces to pastel and oil landscapes, the creations that you will find within the Golden Plains municipality are as diverse as the country side that makes up the Shire. A free shuttle bus is also available. Please contact to Alexa on (03) 5220 7135 to get your map and catalogue or to make bus bookings.

Dates: 24 and 25 October 2009
Times: 10.00am to 5.00pm
Venues: Various artists studios across the Golden Plains Shire
Cost: Free
Contact: 03 5220 7135 (For a map and catalogue)
Email: tlang@gplains.vic.gov.au
Website: www.goldenplains.vic.gov.au

Art Shop for sale… You know you want it!

Leonie Barton from Art Depot wrote asking for a hand in mentioning her business is up for sale… Go on buy her out, you know you want an art store…  you can rummage to your hearts content, meet budding artists and enjoy the ambiance, and in a nice area too! :)

Dear Steve…

“I have an art supply store on Sydney’s northern beaches that houses my studio, is beautifully filled with natural light, 2 mins walk to the beach for lunch or afterwork dip and blessed with a wonderful customer base including Bruce Goold, Kerrie Lester and other award winning artists. Sadly (due to one of my childrens health) I am putting the shop up for sale. I realise that normally it would be innapropriate to ask you to include this information in one of your posts but “mothers love” and a need to be out of here by christmas sometimes pushes us to ask the necessary questions. For whomever comes into the shop it is a chance to cash in on the christmas surge. Can you help me ? I hope this note finds you well.”

Yours Sincerely

Leonie Barton

Studio 7 Chelsea Lane
48 Old Barrenjoey Road
Avalon Beach
NSW 2107
02-9918 2009
0414 963 332

Art Classes – Geelong Region

ARTWORX – 136 Ryrie Street, Geelong

Pastel Portrait and Landscape workshops

The Painting Portraits with Pastel workshop explains the basic principals in a step by step approach to building a likeness, while finding and growing a talent for portraiture. The Pastel Landscape and Flowers workshop explores an impressionistic approach to capturing the beauty of flowers using the pastel medium. Demonstrates the basics of colour, composition and technique. Artist: Faye Owen.

Dates: Painting Portraits with Pastel – 9 October 2009
Pastel Landscape and Flowers – 23 October 2009
Times: 10.00am to 3.00pm
Cost: $120 per adult


Illustration Workshop

Learn to draw with international writer and illustrator Conny Fechner in a day. Draw and paint with pen, ink wash, colour pencil and water colour paint. Harness the quirky artist within. Explore your creative skills and combine your favourite person, place and things in your own special piece.

Dates: 14 October and 17 October 2009
Times: 10.00am to 3.00pm
Cost: $120 per adult

Kids Art Classes

Inspire your children to be creative. Let them travel on an inspirational journey with art educator and artist Karen McGlynn. Classes are held in a friendly and caring environment. Classes include drawing and illustrating using pencils, inks and pastels as well as Manga drawing, painting, mixed media and scrapbooking. Ages range from 6 to 14 years. Please bring a snack and art smock.

Dates: To 17 November 2009
Times: Tuesday and Wednesday 4.00pm to 6.00pm
Cost: $120 for six weeks

Adult Art Classes

Artworx has adult workshops to reveal every person’s hidden artist. Come on your own or with a group of friends and enjoy the comfort of a creative environment with well-known art educator and artist Karen McGlynn. Learn to draw and illustrate in pen, acrylic paints and mixed media.

Dates: To 17 November 2009
Times: Tuesday 10.00am to 2.00pm, Wednesday 10.00am to 12.00pm
Venue: Artworx, 136 Ryrie Street, Geelong
Cost: $120 for six weeks
Contact: (03) 5229 4677
Email: sales@artworxgeelong.com.au
Website: www.artworxgeelong.com.au

BROUGHAM SCHOOL OF ART AND PHOTOGRAPHY - Level 1, 73 Malop Street, Geelong

Drawing Skills Short Course

This course will commence with building confidence in foundational skills such as use of line, tone and linear perspective. Further drawing exercises will encourage experiments with a range of drawing media, approaches and techniques with the aim of empowering you as an artist.

Dates: To 26 November 2009
Times: 9.00am to 12.00pm

Art After School

Titled ‘Fruit & Flowers’ these classes will develop drawing and painting skills through a focus on contrasting approaches to Still Life. After studying works by famous Dutch and Japanese artists, the students will be guided in developing an individual approach to still life painting. The classes, taught by Jen Boyd, run for six weeks and are suitable for children aged 10 to 14 years.

Dates: 15 October to 19 November
Times: 4.00pm to 6.00pm
Venue: Brougham School of Art & Photography,
Level 1, 73 Malop Street, Geelong 3220
Cost: $240
Contact: (03) 5229 9984
Email: admin@broughamart.vic.edu.au
Website: www.broughamart.vic.edu.au

Ami Muranetz – Artist

Ami Muranetz is from Victoria, British Columbia, Canada. www.muranetz.com

Are you currently represented by a gallery?
I have a group show opening on October 2nd until the 23rd within Agora Gallery, which is located in Chelsea, New York. After the show I will be personally representing myself, and exhibiting more frequently within Canada.

Interests you have other than art?
Along with my obsession in creating sculptures, paintings, and mixed media artworks, I devote a fair amount of time to environmental and humanitarian issues. I contribute monthly to organizations like the World Wildlife Federation, write letters to politicians and am active in local demonstrations.

Our provincial government recently announced a new budget cut that during the course of 2009-2010 will reduce arts funding by 92%. The local arts community has been outraged, and Victorians, regardless if they are visual artists or not, will eventually be affected by this decision. As a result, I‘ve been inspired to use this issue as the focal point of a new street based art series that is in the works.

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What are you currently working on?
I have recently been sorting through ideas on global change, and ruminating over the direction this might take. One idea that has evolved is a mixed media installation that juxtaposes satellite photographs of urban centers with medical images of human and other animal bodies. The installation will open up a dialogue around our connection to and reliance upon the natural world. Our exploration of technology is not a diversion from the environment we live in, but a potent aspect of it.

Any upcoming or completely new projects you want to talk about?
Children United in Education is one unrelated project I’ve been collaborating on with two colleagues through Camosun College. Comprised of fundraising and giving presentations to local elementary and high school students, the project is designed to raise funds to send children to the Human Factor Leadership Academy located in Akatsi, Ghana. The school will aid in the rebuilding of Africa’s future by training youth and young adults to become capable and compassionate leaders within their communities.

As well as educating Canadian youth about the challenges Africa’s children are facing through writing and art activities, we intend to establish a dialogue between the two nation’s children that will hopefully stimulate new ideas for meaningful change. To look up more information and details of this incredible project, their website is: http://humanfactorla.com/

Can you name a favorite artist or three… and why?
Kiki Smith has been a strong female presence in the art world that has continued to inspire me. She has remained true to her methods and metaphors despite being on the fringe of the art world for many years, which is reflected in the painful honesty of her work. Kate Raudenbush is another New York artist who has been a powerful influence on my creative capacity. The three dimensional sculptures she has built for Burning Man in Nevada are created specifically for the purpose of viewer interaction, which in turn fosters an intimate engagement for each person. The street artist SWOON has blown my mind in terms of scale and level of accessibility she creates for her audience.

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About significant moments in your life, the sort of things that changed things for you forever… perhaps altered your Art… Who how why what and where…?
The universe is an extraordinary mystery. I feel humanity is just on the verge of beginning to become conscious of the depth of connection we all share. Meeting my husband was an event that truly altered the foundations of my belief systems.  The first time we traveled to Burning Man in 2008, it was like crossing a threshold into a parallel universe where I actually felt my values, creativity, and spirit were respected and celebrated. Black Rock City is a temporary and autonomous zone, where for one week art forms of every medium are encouraged, and economic exchanges are unnecessary. I see this experiment in temporary community to be the future of how our societies will form, and from this have become motivated to change my focus from artwork to architecture.

What or how do you respond to the term “Starving Artist”?
A guest speaker on the TED series made a poignant speech on how society undervalues the importance of art in our world. The entire system from education to economics is geared to praise left side, logical and pragmatic thinking. Our concept of valuable skills in society is linked to economic gain, and because artwork is not inspired by profit, it does not fit within the existing hierarchy.

Ancient civilizations such as the Romans and Egyptians valued the aesthetic beauty of temples, buildings, artwork, and music, and thus produced some of the most treasured artifacts and buildings in history. Our present culture values such as speed, fast money, and short term gain are at the expense of future generations. The term ‘starving artist’ in my opinion is one that has only recently been needed because our society doesn’t respect the value and validity of artists. Without them though, we would not have the Sphinx, The Mona Lisa, or any other great contribution of art to appreciate.

What are some of your future ambitions and goals?
I allow myself the opportunity to set grand visions and dream big. My current goal is to enter the Environmental Design program through the University of British Columbia next year, and later pursue a career in sustainable architecture. There exists an imperative need to design sustainable and energy efficient yet aesthetically pleasing communities and structures. The technology and materials to accomplish this are available, but the inertia to follow traditional building methods is still quite strong. As our planet changes more rapidly, we may see an increased desire to rethink our current approaches to building our societies.

A secret fantasy of mine is to one day become Prime Minister, with the intent of transforming the current education system and instilling accountability. The entire premise of how we ‘teach’ needs to be re-examined.

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Have you won any awards?
2009 has been a productive year, and I been honored to have been presented with five awards for my artwork.  One was awarded through the Community Arts Council in Victoria for work showing the most promise. Another was first place in the 14th Annual International Competition ‘Beyond Borders’ through the Viking Union Gallery in Washington.

I also recently won three awards through the Visual Arts Department in Camosun College for my portfolio, community work, and commendable achievement. I feel quite blessed to be recognized amongst my peers, and appreciate the faculty within the visual arts department for their commitment to student achievement.

People around you (family friends etc.) what would they say about the way you work, the moods you have, your life as an artist etc?
From what my friends have said of me recently (many things I won’t repeat in this interview), I live my life with no regrets and follow through with my fantastic or at times completely absurd ideas. My inspirations usually lead me to great places in my work or on international adventures, and feel I have accrued a lot of valuable life skills. Although there have been a few times when my mother has looked at me, and has shaken her head. We can laugh about these stories now, but at the time they were not as funny.

The business or marketing side of Art can be a challenge to some, what are your thoughts?
Artists like Damien Hirst have had assistance from trans-national companies that marketed his artwork for him, hence his incredible recognition in the art world. My thoughts are to make a decision about how far you want to take your work, weigh the challenges and joys that may come, and to follow through with the decision.

Before I even contemplated becoming a serious artist, I studied art-marketing books, researched interviews with high profile artists, and read resources on crafting a portfolio. For anyone who is determined to become a celebrated visual artist, I highly recommend doing your research, reading art journals, and studying what innovative approaches recognized artists are utilizing to market themselves. If you do the work, but don’t exhibit, how will anyone know what you do?

Are their special aspects to the making of your work that you want to share?
My creative process usually begins with a dream or an issue that gestates for some time. These dreams then take form in sketches and drawings, and are birthed along with a coinciding conceptual theme. More often, the materials that are used illustrate the statement I’m seeking to communicate. It’s one primary lesson I’ve learnt from my sculpture professor Judith Price, who engrained in her pupils the importance of materials to communication.

What or who inspires your art?
I’m inspired to reach higher peaks in my self-expression by the artists and artwork I see at Burning Man. There are fantastic creations I have seen there, like a fire breathing, articulating dragon constructed from recycled materials that causes me to reconsider the materials I use. Conscious and creative communities also inspire how and why I create artwork, and positive leaders like the Dali Lama encourage me to consider the messages I send into the world through my work.

Now give us a more descriptive outline on your current works.
Within a collage class I will begin teaching in October at The Paint Box School of Art, the students will engage in creating mixed media portraits of the self or recognized person in the community. My own project will involve mixed media portraits of conservative government officials in various prostrated positions. These will take the form of life-size posters scattered throughout the city, proclaiming words of wisdom, absurdities, and provocative sound bites. www.thepaintbox-victoria.com

Artist’s statement…
I take pleasure in constructing tangible experiences for the viewer, in which messages are delivered through physical and visceral experiences.  Current metaphors I embed within my works suggest a curiosity about our social structure, and solicit feedback from viewers in order to distill a collective voice.

My work often addresses issues of social division, status, and sexual stereotypes through manipulations of culturally identifiable symbols. This exploration is carried out through a variety of materials such as plastics, plaster, wood, and glass.  Figurative forms are usually present; either disembodied or referenced metaphorically, and present commonalities that exist between people and their environments.

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Compiled and edited by Steve Gray © 2009+

Follow me on twitter! http://twitter.com/stevegray58

Cara Walz – Artist

Cara Walz lives and works in the Sonoran Desert in Southwestern USA and Mexico,  you can see her website at… www.carawalz.com and check out her blog at www.carawalz.wordpress.com . Cara has been making art for about 10 years.

Are you currently represented by a gallery?
No, because I have to mark up the cost of the work too much to cover the gallery percentage. The gallerists I’ve worked with don’t really have an active base of buyers anyway. I do like to participate in interesting group shows at either commercial or not-for-profit spaces.

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What are the main medium/s you work in…

drawing materials, collage, animation

Artist’s statement…

I work with a wide range of materials, but really, I’m always making some sort of drawing, even if its ?nal form is a video, installation or website. While I’m working I ?uctuate between a pull from my head and a pull from my heart. When my head’s in charge I tend to work on innovative structure and technical experimentation, like a scientist.

When my heart takes over I’m focused on meaning and expression, like a poet. I’m happiest when I find a balance between the two, probably because this is where our richest thoughts reside, but I cannot, or will not, control the outcome by purposefully favoring one over the other. The head and the heart both provide valuable insight and I never know which one might offer the best resolution of an idea.

How do you describe your work?

It ranges from pop/kitsch-influenced narrative to industrial/experimental weirdness.

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What are you currently working on?
A series of colored ink & acrylic drawings influenced by emergence theory and some figures influenced by George Romero’s zombie films.

What fascinates you?
I saw my first wild tarantula this morning. I thought they all lived in plastic boxes.

Why are you an artist?
I can do three things: dance, draw and write. I made a choice to devote my life to the most difficult of the three. I’m a glutton for punishment.

How did you get into art?
I didn’t. It got into me.

How important is art for you?
It’s a pain in the ass, like a wayward child. I love it.

Was your education helpful, or a hindrance?
I don’t think art education creates artists, but I valued the history, culture and theory I learned. I also met a ton of interesting folks.

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What did you do before or during becoming an artist?
I worked a long list of crappy jobs, toured a brief stint with a punk band, gave birth, stuff like that.

What is your earliest memory of art?
Sitting on a blanket in a ballet studio, watching legs and dirty ballet slippers fly by, feeling the wooden floor bounce beneath my butt in time with the music

Do you remember your first painting or artwork?
The first artwork I was proud of was an extreme doodle on the cover of a spiral notebook in junior high school.

Was art a “thing” that was encouraged in your family?
From my mother’s side of the family, yes; from my father’s side, I’d say they were neutral

What or who inspires your art?
Currently I’ve been obsessing on Twombly. Next month it will be someone (or something) else.

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Was there a big turning point in your art journey that caused you to think that “it’s all worthwhile”, or “oh yeah I get it…”?
I get it, but I’m not yet convinced it’s all worthwhile.

What caused you to choose the medium you currently work in?
Ink is the first medium I worked with. As a child I constantly doodled with ballpoint pens, and I made linoleum block prints with my grandmother. Now I’m most fond of waterproof, fade-proof ink in bottles applied with a small round brush or a big flat streaky brush. Ink is the only medium that moves fast enough.

Have your artistic influences altered over time (e.g. artists.) ?
As soon as I see a work by someone I either love it or hate it, and I have absolutely no preference for a certain style. I very rarely change my mind about a picture or object I love.

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What can you tell us about your planning and making process for making art, and has that altered over the years?

I really haven’t changed my process of making things over time at all. I always have more ideas than time to execute them, so during times of introspection I plan out a project, knowing full well I may or may not get to it. I have a running list, and I gravitate toward the project that seems most immediate or necessary. Some projects float around in my head or on paper half formed for months before they come together. Some projects pop into full fruition very easily. Some die on the vine. It’s always been this way.

I execute work based on the intent of a project, and so methods and mediums might change to suit this intent, but not a whole lot because no matter how experimental it appears to be I’m always making a drawing of some sort.

How important is the clarity of concept to you, prior to starting an artwork?
Sometimes it’s extremely important, sometimes not; I liken this to symphonic music vs. experimental jazz: both approaches are useful, depending on the project and intent.

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Do you have a personal description of “Art”?
Cultural expression.

How important do you think craftsmanship is to artistic creation?
Craftsmanship can elevate some works and doom other works to mediocrity.

Does the sale of your work support you?
I’ve taught art and I’ve written about art and I’ve sold art to make money, but I wouldn’t recommend you do any of these things to live comfortably.

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Some say the lifespan of many “artists” post educationally is about five years, any thoughts on that?
That’s simply due to the demands of living, paying the bills, especially if an artist decides to have children. If a person completely gives it up then they weren’t meant to make art, which is fine. One can live creatively without making art.

Tell us about your connection to your subject matter, way of working, concepts etc?

I’ve always been the weird one, the one that refuses to settle on a genre or style. When I make something people like, many expect me to make a bunch more of the same thing. Not likely to happen. I make as many pieces as are necessary to complete a project and then I move on.

If you could have any piece of artwork in your personal collection, what would it be and why?
I would love to own anything by Bruce Nauman, maybe a neon piece or one of his ‘animal parts’ sculptures. I relate to him because to me, he is also always making a drawing.

Can you name a favourite artist or three… and why?
I already named two, Cy Twombly and Bruce Nauman. Alberto Giacometti can be my third, I suppose. I admire their work because it’s usually very good.

What happens to works that “don’t work out”?
They get torn into pieces and oftentimes these pieces make their way into something else

Do you aim to break the rules of basic composition, layout etc or do you ignore the “rules” and just create?

What are the rules of basic composition? Has anyone really ever been able to teach this? There is no such thing as ‘basic’ composition. It’s either ‘good’ composition or ‘bad’ composition, and it’s completely relevant to and dependent upon the context/format. The eye either gets sucked into or repelled from the works we create.

What sort of research and or reference material do you do for current works and has that changed over time?
I’ve always done the same type of research, mainly collecting but also reading and writing theory, but I seem to spend more time at it as I grow older.

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Musical influences?
I don’t always work to music, but when I do it might be Philip Glass, Outkast or Billie Holiday or They Might Be Giants, Madonna or the Beatles.

About significant moments in your life, the sort of things that changed things for you forever… perhaps altered your Art… Who how why what and where…?

I watched a 15 year old boy die a little over a year ago. He was dragged under the back wheel of a school bus. There was blood coming out of his nose and a huge bruise all along the side of his body. His name was Kevin.

What about the role of titles with your work, some hate them others revel in them, what about you?
My favorite titles are made-up words, like ‘superfluxable’ or ‘microcosmigram’, and generally I’m a fan of titles as long as they’re short and sweet.

You know you have “made it as an artist” when…
You’re able to live on a Greek island with a herd of goats.

Your first “decent” gallery representation, how did it come about?
It came about the same way all good things come about, through a friend of a friend.

The business or marketing side of Art can be a challenge to some, what are your thoughts?
This is just about the only notion that has changed for me over time. When I was young I thought there was some holy ‘other’ somewhere who decided whether or not work was deserving of…something, I don’t know. Now I realize that the art market is very closed and settled and centered around certain institutions.

I have a ton of education but I’ve always been ‘outside’ this system, simply because I don’t know any rich, influential people. I decided quite awhile back to essentially ignore this system and make work I like and that people near and dear to me like.

In essence, there are two markets, one for the elite and one for the rest of us. This is true not just for art but for real estate, food, clothing, etc. This ‘regular person’ market is actually larger and more various if you’re willing to do some legwork, but it’s tough to stand out amidst a glut of landscape and flower paintings disguised as art.

What is the most unexpected response you’ve received from a viewer of your work?
One person told me the word “spit” was “tips” spelled backwards. My response was “okay, and-your-point-is…?”

Have you had much connection post sale with purchasers of your works?
Some buyers like to keep in touch, others like to covet the thing and be rid of you.

Name a book or books, which may have inspired your work as an artist?
The Ecstasy of Communication by Baudrillard. A Clockwork Orange by Burgess. Oryx and Crake by Atwood.

Tell us about your studio environment?
I have a dirty shop-like studio space in my back yard, which fills the bill unless I want to work on clean little drawings. For those, I work at a table in the house.

Otto Dix the German artist said (in part)… “All art is exorcism…” Is that the case for you? If so how…
At some level he’s probably right, but I don’t think the viewer has to be beaten over the head with this all the time. Delicacy has its place.

Some say a measure of an artwork is the ability for it to hold a persons attention or cause the viewer to come back after an initial glance and become captivated by the work, is that so for your works or an intention of yours?
This is definitely an intention, that the work seduce the viewer. Baudrillard argues that only the object has the power to seduce, and I agree.

What is one thing you need to have in your studio before you work?
A pile of carefully considered debris.

What or how do you respond to the term “Starving Artist”?
I suppose it’s better than the notion that all artists wear berets.

How important is society, culture and or history to your work?
Very important.

Is the making of art all it was “cracked up to be”?
I’ve never harbored any delusions about the making of art, except maybe the aforementioned delusion that the cream always rises to the top, when in fact geography, luck and social status can play a huge part in an artists’ level of success.

Do you work from life, or from photographs or from imagination or some other method? Most of my work is derived from bits and pieces of our constructed world, whether it be photographs, web content, commercially printed materials, television stills, etc. I also work from life on occasion, and I take photographs of subjects I can’t dig up by any other means.

Do you aim to make “masterpieces” with the aim of being seen in the future as an artist that really made their mark in art history?
It’s important to me to make timely work, work that’s relevant in this time and place, but it’s up to the historians to figure out the rest, and I’m more than happy to let them to do that thankless job.

What advice would you give to an artist just starting out?
Bestow hugs and kisses upon anyone you meet who appreciates what you do.

How often do you work in the studio?
When enmeshed in a project, daily.

Do you ever question being an artist?
Sometimes I wish I was a fireman or a nurse or something.

How has your mind-set changed from struggling to find your own style to solidifying what you are doing today?
There have been moments when I’ve thought, “Wow, I’m making some strange stuff!” but those moments are fleeting.

How do you establish your art work prices?
I price things according to how long they take to complete, so something that only takes a day or two to finish is very affordable, but something that takes a month or more to resolve is more expensive.

Does the gallery make the artist famous or does the artist make the gallery famous?
In most cases the latter. Collectors make the artist famous.

What was life like for you as you were growing up?
My mother was a ballet dancer and my father was an alcoholic advertising executive. They divorced, of course, and when I was six I went to live with my father and stepmother, a schoolteacher. I spent a lot of time alone doodling and making things to escape what was a tumultuous, drama-filled household. It wasn’t long before I met friends who also created things for similar reasons, and then I spent more time with my friends than with my family. It’s still that way.

How did your first solo show go?
That would be “siren” at Joseph Nease two years out of grad school, and it went pretty well.

Do you have difficulties getting into galleries?
Most commercial galleries in the midwest and southwestern US sell genre paintings. I’ve never bothered to try to get into them because I don’t make genre paintings. My work shows well in contemporary art galleries, but the buying audience for contemporary work is so small they usually operate in the red, so, especially in the last few years I’ve found it easier to sell work directly.

How do you think people learn about you?
Through the internet mainly, but also through friends.

Eccentricity is seen as a common trait of artists of many disciplines, how about you?
I can’t remember most names or any series of random numbers. Is that eccentric?

Do you wake up with ideas at 2am etc… and have to jot them down?

No, but oftentimes I can’t get to sleep because of a new thought.

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Compiled and edited by Steve Gray © 2009+

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Exhibition – Geoffrey Bartlett

An exhibition by one of Australia’s finest Sculptors… Geoffrey Bartlett at John Buckley gallery in Albert St Richmond Victoria.

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Last Call – exhibition review

Last Call is an exhibition with Rod Gray as one of the participants, and it’s a great chance to catch up and hear from a him about a show he is part of…

Where is the show on and when?

Upstairs @ the Napier Hotel, 210 Napier Street, Fitzroy 3065

Oct 1 -22nd 2009

Wed – Thurs 4 – 8

Friday 1 – 8

Sat – Sun 1 – 5

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What was the inspiration for the show?
The show was cooked up by the ARS crew who manage the space at the Napier. They are a passionate and wry bunch with a love of the venue and an unapologetic appreciation of pub life. There is also something quintessential about the Napier, which lends itself to this kind of ‘acknowledgement’. I had a show there in July, and it was great getting to know the sights, sounds, smells and feel of a busy pub and it’s incredibly diverse clientele. The inspiration for the show is probably the same thing that brought the ARS group together, we all love a drink.. and in the background is all the media about the police and govt. cracking down on KIng St stuff and that curfew thing last year. I have a strong feeling that the huge majority who drink lazily to relax and without competition and testosterone fueled antics are keen to assert that drinking can be any number of different experiences, not merely the teenage binge and the blokey frenzy of excess.

How did the theme come about?
Having said that, and attempted to validate the theme with the implication of insightful social comment, the reality is that the show was conceived by the ARS crew over an enjoyed table of beers. And perhaps an elegant white or two. The title for the show was niggled a bit and I was present at one of these natters. I think it was Cheers or Drink up or something initially. I think Last Call with it’s evocative suggestion of the seedy end of the night also has a historical angle befitting the Napier itself. It’s not a cool city bar vibe it evokes but something more local and familiar. So the title/theme is true to that.

Why this venue?
The ARS crew work from this venue all year round and so the show is a homage to the venue which we all know intimately. Though regulars to the Napier will be delighted to hear that the upstairs balcony has been re-opened and so despite a big night tonight, there should be breathing room upstairs and the chance to actually see the work… imagine that… actually seeing the work at an opening

The artists for this show were they chosen or?
My understanding is that the artists are part of the Napier network, the regulars, former/future exhibiters and patrons, etc. There are a substantial number of well known artists in this mix. But also some characterful, first time exhibitors. The Napier crew tend towards exhibiting artwork of people who they have got to know. So this is a very big, broad bunch of friends really. But because they all know someone in the crew there is a loose cogency to the grouping and the adherence to the theme will materialize. The rest is in the curating of the install…

About the artists…
The approach to the theme is going to be wide ranging, but there will definitely be a lot of humour in the mix.

Speaking for my work though I had the curious experience of having headed in the direction of a borrowing from beer posters of the 40′s, the kind of thing that drove my grandfather’s generation to drink. I love some of those corny and macho posturings and I particularly love the flatness of the colours and the florid fonts, but, as I don’t tend towards the ironical naturally in my work I found the work drifted away from the posters and closer to an earnest evocation of this particular character and place. He’s just off a ship, out of Barcelona is my guess, though by the bluey, maybe he’s been working on the docks in Melbourne and he’s a Wharfie, either way he has that thirst particular to ‘after work’ and yet the weather hasn’t warmed yet in the evenings, A spring beer perhaps.

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Kerry Buckland

Michael Madigan

Nada Poljski

Robyn Ceretti

Mark White

Barts

Anne-Marie Kuter

Tony Mercuri

Richard Rowlands

Kristen Phillips

Angela Leech

Kerry Strauss

Andre Cotton

Andrew Sinclair

Guy May

James Hawthorne

Anthony Abell

Rohani Osman

Jon Perring

Guy Lawson

Renato Colangelo & Rosa Voto

Jeph Neale

Chris Mether

Danni Tigani

Stuart Ringholt

Nat Thomas

Morgan Fayle

Peter Lee

Louis McFall

Viv Miller

Jamie Boys

Rosa Tato

Rod Gray

Lyndal Walker

Fiona Wood

Polly Newsome

Caroline Bandurski

Some comments now that I have seen the finished space… ingenious and hilarious in equal measure!
The spaces are dynamic and strong, with spades of humour and the kinds of energetic juxtapositions I have come to expect from installs here. Tony Mercuri and Richard Rowlands who did the majority of the installation as well as two of the standout works have installed some ‘top drawer’ wall plinths that make the space come to life. There is possibly a little too much work but since it is in fact an exhibition reflecting on excess that is not a criticism with any chance of a strong basis. Duchamp is firmly present in spirit as I believe the strongest works are of the readymade variety. A biased favourite is Last Pots by Ant Abell, a bugle fashioned of used plumbing.

Exhibition – Kim Lawler

This looks like an interesting show, have seen some of the works elsewhere and they were of an impressive scale. all the best Kim…

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