Gillian Turner – Artist in Residence

I interviewed Gillian a while back and was amazed at her images while an artist in residence, she mentioned she would be doing another residency in Ireland so I invited her to write about the experience. Well here it is folks! Enjoy!

Gillian Turner

From 1 July to 1 August this year, I was an International Artist in Residence in the remote area of Ballinskelligs. Co.Kerry, Ireland. My home at Cill Rialaig was a restored famine cottage about 5km from the nearest village.

This remarkable artist retreat has six cottages, a Meeting House and laundry room. The view from my cottage door was astonishing: an uninterrupted vista across some remains of ancient cottages, over nearby fields to rugged a headland, then ocean and distant hills beyond the town of Waterville.

The changing colours were stunning and every morning was a delight – no matter what the weather – the light and colour were superb.

My cottage consisted of 4 rooms: kitchen, bathroom, loft bedroom and a large open area which is general living space and studio. The glass-ceiling studio is hidden from the road, and its modern design comes as a surprise after the rugged look of the stone exterior.

Light floods in and given the length of the summer days here, that amounts to a great deal even on days of continuous rain.  Experiencing the Irish landscape in such weather was great: the Atlantic Ocean pounding rocks, the sound of the sea all night and the cosiness of working inside while rain lashed down had its own special rewards. Apart anything else, I created some spectacular ‘rain works’  just outside my door!!

Over the four weeks there were  about 7 artists in residence plus me; most were from various parts of Ireland with one from Scotland, another from France, and myself being from somewhere impossibly distant! The atmosphere was welcoming and friendly but with understanding of the privacy that such an artists’ retreat needs. Some artists were there only for a week or ten days, others for two weeks. My four weeks residency was unusually long and an acknowledgement of the distance I’d travelled from Australia.

My other neighbours were sheep – flocks of them! These lovely animals provided me with some interesting wool to make brushes, and they are great characters as they wander with total freedom around the cottages and tracks. They will even try to visit the studio, and I was advised to keep the lower half of my door closed!

The peace of this place, the aloneness was comfortable, and one of the benefits of such a location where there is little distraction: no TV, no internet and no passing traffic. It allowed complete immersion in the process of creating art, of writing, and being at one with the land.

The wild flowers were superb in July, especially wild red fuchsia which was in abundance.

The walk to the beach cafe – the nearest  WIFI for internet, a decent coffee and chat with the locals – took nearly an hour. I could do it in about forty minutes, but the lure of photographing the landscape or writing about it was often more powerful than the desire for a coffee and reading emails!

Cill Rialaig is about being in the land, feeling its nearness and experiencing its many moods: silent shrouding fog that set my cottage in the clouds for two days, lashing rain and high winds from the Atlantic that occasionally rattled the roof and howled around all night, the breath-taking clarity of early morning light, and the stillness of the full moon on a warm evening. Yes, and even swimming on Ballinskelligs beach in the coldest sea on a very hot summer afternoon.

This residency also offered me time to write as well as continue my visual arts work. In the end, the two came together in what has become an ongoing project: The Wandering Skellig Monk – An Unexplained Journey.  Beginning as a poetic response to Skellig Michael (Great Skellig Rock), this developing fiction includes an extended poem, drawings, and the start of a ‘found artifacts’ collection that will, I hope, be part of an installed exhibition.

Cill Rialaig is a rare opportunity for artists and is in serious need of support. Artists pay only a nominal amount for electricity and water during their time in the cottage. Financially things are tight everywhere in Ireland, and this must necessarily impact on such a place as Cill Rialaig; it is located in one of the jewels of Ireland: the Ring of Kerry.

The landscape is stunning and the generosity of the locals is wonderful. I was offered the chance of a lifetime, and for that I am very grateful. The great news is that I’ll be returning to Ireland next year to work in the Burren, and then  returning to Cill Rialaig in 2014, which seems impossibly distant, but I look forward to immersing myself in the Kerry landscape again.

Gillian   November 2011



Gillian Turner Cill Rialaig














Brain Cohen makes Trax

An abandoned funeral parlour on Plenty Road in Preston first caught the eye of Brian Cohen from Trax while he was exploring the area for office space during a residency at the Preston Market in 2007-2009. After unsuccessful negotiations with owners of large office spaces, “they all wanted a lot for a little” says Brian, the disused and vandalised undertakers was an appealing prospect.

An online land title search cost just $15, presenting him with the owning company’s name. Further online research directed Brian to the address of a mall in Albury, which led him to the owner. He called immediately to learn that the owner hadn’t seen his property for some time and was shocked to hear it was vandalised. Brian proposed that for a low cost rental he would occupy the building as an arts and culture initiative, clean it up and establish a presence on the site.

The owner was in the process of securing a planning permit for the site, intending to build apartments, so while he agreed to the proposal he was hesitant to commit to any length of lease. Eventually he agreed to a six month minimum lease, which will continue month to month until he receives planning permission to redevelop. A number of locals have recently contacted Brian saying they have lodged objections, so the planned development is likely be 12 to 18 months away, meaning the tenants of the Parlour will have a home for longer.

Initially unsure how the artist population of the unique building (complete with chapel and mortuary) would develop, Brian put out a call for expressions of interest through several channels, including Creative Spaces, back in February. Within weeks the use of the building was fully mapped out with “the tenants that will launch and shape the work culture”, and a growing waiting list in place.

Brian will curate and manage The Parlour, joined by illustrators, bookmakers, textile makers, media artists, a recycled furniture designer and photographers (the mortuary will convert to a dark room). The building has needed a lot of cosmetic attention – painting, carpets, and windows – but the infrastructure is in healthy shape so refurbishment has mostly been undertaken by the tenants themselves.

Much of Brian’s work with Trax focuses on cultural development through creativity and collectivism, with collaborative digital, theatre and installation projects. He sees the Parlour as “an exciting curatorial challenge”. With such a short time in the space he hopes that he can still “encourage memories to be created” and that cross pollinations will occur with the collective creative network that has formed.

Brian also sees the Parlour and its tenants as “the seeds on the sock” on the much larger issue of encouraging cultural vitality with urban renewal and gentrification.

“There is a demonstrated need for affordable studio, office and gathering space for the creative class of the Inner North…without the opportunity for cultural activity to develop what will surround these grey five storey styro-crete constructions?” Asks Brian, who remarks that the character and colour of Preston reminds him of growing up around New York.

“Culture doesn’t just happen; it needs the right environments to flourish within. Long term, it’s mutually and economically beneficial for local government to implement considered cultural provisions around cultural activity. But by then our impending eviction would’ve impended, and we’ll be somewhere else, saying the same thing, again.”

The Chapel is now available for hire, read more.

Video – Maggie Brown

Check out this interview with Maggie on the tube… then go and do a search in here for the written one. 🙂

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Creative Spaces

More studio space than you can shake a stick at… Woo Hoo!


Hervey Bay Art classes – Creative Leap

Practicing Contemporary Visual Artist Amanda van gils and Vito Manfredi are running more art classes in 2011 for youngsters, what better way to encourage the creative genius in your child. If you live up that way take a look at their website and give your child a creative edge in life.



Have you ever wondered why your children (or even you for that matter…)  should study Art? Then here’s the answer!

The Benefits of Art Classes

Did you know that exposure to the visual arts helps children to develop sophisticated thinking skills as well as fine and gross motor skills?

They also:
Facilitate communication from the earliest ages through the child’s own graphic language
Encourage children to make their own decisions and choices, Promote vocabulary, symbolic representation and confidence in self expression, Support and extend formal learning

What does Art have to offer?
We believe the Visual Arts are a necessary part of the education of all children.
For some children, the visual realm will be their natural element and they will benefit from identifying and realising their skills and preferences early in life.
For other children, Art will provide necessary skills to balance the skills and knowledge gained through other subject areas like mathematics and english and physical activities.

We believe all children are capable of experiencing the joy of the Visual Arts regardless of age or ability.

We live in an image saturated society; Art education provides visual literacy to help children understand and analyse images and their visual messages.
Many current and future employment options will value visual literacy – from the more obvious Art related fields through to marketing, advertising, design, architecture, website development, teaching and many more. The employment field will continue to expand into the future.

Ongoing classes enable children to become comfortable and confident. In our classes they can think, explore, create, problem solve and express their ideas and feelings.

Melbourne Art Classes – Erika Gofton

When you want to be tutored by one of Melbourne’s premier Contemporary Realist Artists you need look no further than the classes on offer from Erika Gofton. Take a look at the site and the amazing work she has done with her students. Stunning outcomes for the short time the classes have been running!


Excellent work Erika the team here wish you every success!



“Erika’s gentle encouragement gave me the courage to step outside my comfort zone”

“Have learnt so much over the past weeks, am eager to continue”

“I’ve done art for many years but still managed to learn heaps”

“I found that each week built on previous weeks knowledge and provided a good basis for getting a real passion for art as well as opening my eyes up a little more to what was happening in art I admire”

“I didnt expect the class to be so thorough in such a short space of time. The teacher was very friendly, helpful and encouraging”

“Supportive and inspiring teacher”

These are just some of the positive comments students have made about the classes. It doesn’t get much better than that!

The Tribe…

‘The Tribes’ mission is to allow creative people; Artists, Musicians and designers to share their ideas and creations and turn them into a commercial reality. The concept is to bringing together innovators, early adopters and investors to allow a unique opportunity for anybody to submit their ideas and gain guidance and security. Think of it as an online Dragons Den without the judgement and yelling! Everybody’s ideas are considered and can benefit from the advice of ‘The Tribe’ community.

‘The Tribe’ will be holding regular competitions to encourage talented individuals to generate new ideas, concepts and artistic projects. The first competition launching on the 22nd September 2010 will be a worldwide design competition. This will be a fantastic opportunity for designers, artists and creatives of all types to submit their ideas for; the first prize is an amazing £10,000!

We also have a website and facebook page if you’d like to check them out.!/pages/The-Trib-e/112221348828582?ref=ts

Many Thanks,


A book about death – Matthew Rose

We interviewed Matthew Rose recently and here is his latest contribution.

A Book About Death Omaha’s live stream for the opening on July 31, 2010.  Another chapter in this global exhibition:

Please follow this link for the live feed URL:
Matthew Rose

New work ideas – Steve Gray

Having moved house I am in the process of creating some new works, doing my bit to explore working in a new space and wanting to explore notions around landscape but with the intent of tackling surface and to some degree patina. I mixed a small batch of  acrylic and forged on.

I have been acutely aware of the surrounding landscape and skies, with the view over our back fence on to a simple but very interesting area. (Those who check out my Facebook images will see what I mean.) I have purposefully worked in a near black print look as a starting point, to get away from my recent “White on White” Pastel look which hit me strongly about the time of the Black Saturday Bushfires in Victoria.

It seems odd somehow, I would want to create some imagery which is more akin to obvious fire remains than the white works. but these are more like sketches to explore some possibilities and options

Here’s a link to earlier works this month.

Now the newer offerings, again Acrylic on A3 Heavy watercolour Paper.










A fresh set of works – Steve Gray

In this series of works I have worked with subtle acrylic colours and kept the palette to a minimum. It’s very hard doing white on white photo’s, so please forgive the colour cast/s

Size is A3 on heavy water colour paper.










June 2010 – Steve Gray – New works

I found myself tackling some new works the other day, I was torn as to which way to go… Follow an older line of work, create anew and head towards a more patina’d effect, both or.. no stuff it, it’s in a new work space so I thought. time to give some things a try. Older image but almost a reverse, more black than white, so here they are…

Works on paper, Acrylic wash and paint.

Are they figures dancing, trees burning, lost souls aching, me being me, darkness becoming light, knowledge being free, none of the above…





The interview Steve Gray

Street\Studio book launch

We’ve managed to keep this pretty quiet – now it’s finally ready.

STREET/STUDIO By Alison Young, Ghostpatrol, Miso & Timba Smits

Featuring work by Niels Oeltjen / Tom Civil / Tai Snaith / Ghostpatrol /
Ash Keating / Al Stark / Miso / Twoone / Mic Porter and the Everfresh Crew

“Through a series of intimate conversations, Street/Studio offers an exclusive behind-the-scenes look at how street art has entered the mainstream and become one of the most collectable new art forms. It offers an unparalleled insight into the work of ten of Australiaís most influential, dynamic and creative artists living in Melbourne.”

Join us for the official launch of Street/Studio
4th of June at 7pm, No Vacancy Project Space, Federation Square Atrium, Melbourne
This will be the first chance to get your hands on this book and have it signed by the artists and authors. A handful of original Ghostpatrol watercolours have been randomly inserted into 10 of the books available on the opening night.

If you can’t make the opening night keep an eye out for:

6 June ::: Sunday 2pm :::
Screening of Exit through the Gift Shop
the new Bansky film at ACMI and panel with Miso and Alison Young, followed by book signing at 5pm

12 June ::: Saturday 1pm :::
Book signing with Miso, Ghostpatrol and Alison Young
Outre Gallery, 249 Elizabeth Street, Melbourne
+ surprises

15 June ::: Tuesday 6.30pm :::
Book signing with Alison Young, Miso, Ghostpatrol, Niels and Meggs
Readings Carlton

For those outside Melbourne there will be additional signings around Austrlia annoucned soon on the offical website,
you can also preorder a copy here

– Miso and Ghostpatrol at the National Portrait Gallery
– Ghostpatrol Junior Talk online
– Keep up to with the ghostpatrol ‘deathtron mountain‘ blog
– New ghostpatrol pasteups
– Visit the new Nice Produce website

thanks for reading
-david ghostpatrol

Radio Interview – Kaye Green

Kaye Green will be interviewed on ABC radio National on Sunday morning between 10-11am if you’re near a radio. or if you want you can hear it here as the link is already up.

Kaye has been interviewed here and is currently in the midst of an exhibition based around her exploits at the Tamarind Institute in the USA. It’s at the Sidespace Gallery in Salamanca Place Hobart Tasmania. from Feb 25 – March 9 2010.

Start Looking – Art Videos online

I love it when I find another great Art Resource.

This one has all sorts of video interviews with artists. Enjoy!


VIP Art Event 2010…

This is set to be a big event for the Artists involved, but also a great event for those with an interest in Art and the incredible chance to dine at Parliament house in Victoria. Book early so you don’t miss out… Note most of the artists have been interviewed right here, take a search and see their works and what’s driving them…

To find out more about the Environmental Expressionists art movement take the link and see more. The evening will also serve as a fundraiser to create scholarships for prospective Visual Art Students at TAFE level.

The event will also showcase works from each of the Artists in the Fields of View traveling exhibition.


Evolution series, the first images – Steve Gray


Here are a few images of the first stencil paintings I have done… results are okay so far. this comes from an earlier post about the idea check it out here.




I’m liking the texture and the colours are so far just three off whites.

Evolution of an art series – Steve Gray

Hi All this should be a short log of a new series I am about to launch into, drop by and see what happens as I work to produce a bunch of pieces. Cheers Steve Gray….


I’ve had an Art idea in my head for some time now, even while creating the last “Harm” series, which was a big part of the Regionalis group show I was part of earlier in 2009.  It will use similar colours, I still have a few containers of those colours from that series and will aim to use similar paint application. I will be doing it with acrylics on heavy cotton rag water colour paper about 5 x 7 size, so they should be quick and flow readily (I can only hope!)

The first of two cutout "stencils"

The first of two cutout "stencils"

From the Harm series (see the direct log I wrote on it.) you can see the colours and read about my approach to that bunch of images and the concepts etc. Mainly though check out the images around July in the log I wrote, which uses the word harm white on white on canvas, with heavy textures. The way the words went on (paint wise) and the subtlety grabed my attention, so this new series is an attempt to explore this.

It will almost be a study, but I err to see it purely as such and am thinking of it as an essence approach to the whole colour and texture devices used earlier. Some will be thinking I probably should have done this lot first before starting the harm series as a study into the colours and textures.

Both stencils ready to go.

Both stencils ready to go.

So with two stencil I am aiming to leave the edges as raw paper for ease of framing and the top one will create different textural arrangements on the page.

Concept… Probably looks to the average viewer as a simple exercise in colour but those who have checked out the harm series would be a little skeptical of such a simplistic view. So lets see what develops…

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!


Steve Gray

Black Saturday radio stories

ABC radio in Gippsland has been interviewing people about their experiences in the Black Saturday fires which devastated communities in the region, here three Contemporary Visual Artists chat about their work in the aftermath of the fires and their experiences on the day… HUGE!

Kerrie Warren

Werner and Ursula Theinert

Art in action

While an exhibition Steve Gray is part of (Regionalis), is set for mid August 09 at red gallery, it doesn’t stop him from working! Here you can see some of what Steve has been up to, as he logs a journal with pics of where he’s at now. Take a look. You may recall he was interviewed here earlier


Warren gets New York Magazine kudos

News flash, well not quite ,as it was from last month, but great news none the less! New York Magazine Gallery and Studio published this article on Kerrie Warren’s Exhibition and works… Well Kerry you must be very pleased to get these great comments, especially in the lead up to more exhibitions like Regionalis. Well done!

New York magazine Gallery and Studio and Kerrie Warren's NY Exhibition in June 09

New York magazine Gallery and Studio and Kerrie Warren's NY Exhibition in June 09

Meet the Red Bubble Guy!

You are invited to the next hive melbourne event with Peter Styles from on July 14th. go to the site and see the details, it’s free and usually a great event! bookings ESSENTIAL! (that’s for details and to RSVP on facebook)
Scroll down when you get to the site, to the melb event with Peter… Smile

Reko Rennie Gets Grant.

Reko Rennie, Paris Residency, well done!


Black Saturday – A Tale of Two Artists

Art provides us with many journeys, opportunities and challenges, however few would have been expecting the tragic situation which occurred in Victoria on Black Saturday and would be thinking of it as a driver or motivator for art works. Two Contemporary Australian Artists Ursula and Werner Theinert were caught in the fire and lived, and are now able to share their harrowing experience with us.

I am pleased to say they have seemingly come out with only a few “scars”, (For regular readers you will know Ursula as one of our interviewees and also her contribution of a story on her first solo exhibition.) Both Artists will be part of at least two exhibitions later in 2009 – 10, Regionalis and Fields of View, you can track those shows via each website over the coming months.

Now, their incredible the story…


ursula-at-callignee1  werner-at-callignee1

My name is Ursula Theinert and my husband Werner and I are artists who live in Callignee.  Callignee was one of the areas which suffered terribly in the Black Saturday Fires of 7th of February, 2009.

We stood and fought this dreadful fire and managed to save our home, though badly damaged, but lost our studio, workshop and garages and all that was stored within.  This meant of course all the tools and stored treasures, but most upsetting of all were the many paintings, etchings, sketches, photographs and sculptures and five years of art materials.

We love our little mud brick home way up in the hills south of Traralgon Victoria.  Our farmlet is surrounded by farms, quarries and plantations.  The area inspires our art and as Environmental Expressionists, we feel passionately about the environment and believe art is an important vehicle to encourage insights and discussions into the many complex issues which are confronting us all.  I mostly paint and Werner photographs.

As you can imagine we were deeply shocked by this frightening experience, but have managed to begin rebuilding our lives with the great help and support of many kind and generous people who have helped us emotionally, financially and psychologically deal with this trauma.

The sharing of this story is to help others understand the events of that day and even though we feel, and are incredibly lucky and fortunate to have survived it will also assist us in coming to terms with our experiences and loss.

Our day unfolded….. Everyone knows what a terribly hot day that Saturday was, and we were expecting Werner’s brother’s family from Tasmania and had the house in readiness for a fun weekend.  The temperature climbed and we asked  them  to stay in Melbourne because the heat was causing rail problems and there were dangerous fires in the Bunyip area (to the west).  Indeed, we were intently listening to the A.M. radio station 774, and watching the weather satellite and CFA websites because we were concerned for our friends near this ever growing fire.

Our hearts sank when we heard there was a new fire coming from Churchill and heading towards Mt. Tassie, which is only a few kilometres away from us.  When we heard there was a wind change coming, we knew we were in serious trouble.  We had always planned to stay and fight a fire, but we felt very tense and frightened when we realized all our fears were becoming a reality.  We silently went into setting our ‘Fire Plan’ into the final stages of readiness, preparing ourselves we started the pumps and began watering. 

The smoke turned the day into night and then we heard IT!!!  The sound of the fire approaching was like a 747 airliner coming into land.  The wind was gusting and we found it very hard to breathe.  We had torches in our pockets and had to use them because even though it was only about 5 o’clock, it became pitch black.  Well until we could see the glow off in the distance.  The power went off but we still had the petrol fire pump and kept on watering.  

Then we saw the glow grow brighter and started back towards the house.  The embers came for only a few minutes and then we had to make a desperate run for the house as the fire ball struck.  The flames were like a giant blow torch blowing past our house.  Embers came through the door gaps.  Smoke and flames crept into our study roof and we began the fight with wet towels and buckets.  We lost the fight at first with the smoke driving us out of the study.  We stood in the kitchen and witnessed the fire exploding all the surrounding trees.  Our workshop and studio and our neighbours house were all being devoured.  Night turned into a horrific searing daylight!

We were becoming quite frightened now, because the smoke was filling the house and it was too dangerous to go outside.  It was a dilemma, but we were choking and had to leave.  Luckily, we had a small alcove outside in our entrance area and it was that little space, which saved us during the continuing firestorm.

When the fire eased a little Werner ran to the fire pump, but it had been destroyed, as were all our fire hoses.  Our outside buckets had melted down to the water line, the bungalow was now on fire and the water inside the house and the bungalow could not be reached because of the acrid smoke.

We had felt again in terrible straits but then realized that our swim spa’s 6,00 litres of water was our only hope.  We gathered together some buckets and began the long and difficult task of putting out several fires with only the water from the spa.  We had many moments of fear that our efforts would fail because the fire was so stubborn and resisted our efforts.  We continued to bucket water and do continual checks around the house and bungalow until 3 a.m. we were physically and mentally exhausted! 

We will never forget watching the fires all around  in the early hours of Sunday, holding each other’s hands and realizing how lucky we were to have survived this harrowing  ‘Black Saturday’.

In the smoky dawn we saw the aftermath of that night and we fell into a kind of shock as our minds came to terms with this experience and the losses of most of our artwork, art materials and tools.


It takes quite some time to actually realize what has been lost and feel rather overwhelmed to think about beginning from scratch.  Of course, many things can be rebuilt and bought anew, but many other things cannot!

Werner was terribly upset because he was just about to retire and had been working extremely hard to prepare his workshop and finish all of the house projects.  He had lost his extensive collection of tools, and nearly all of his photographs. 

In the following weeks he had some good fortune and managed to retrieve his saved photographic files on his computer hard drive.  He was particularly fortunate because the fire had seriously damaged the study and destroyed all of his back-up drives.  It was a happy day when on newly bought computers he could save some of these files and have his photographs reprinted.

In the days following the fire good people overwhelmed us with their generosity and gave us the support and encouragement to start again.

We have rebuilt our garage and have begun gathering together tools to help us begin again.  Werner has reprinted most of his photographs, and we both have begun on a new series of work inspired by the devastation and regeneration of both nature and humankind.

Our artistic journey continues and has in some ways been strengthened by the Black Saturday Fires.  We were determined to carry on and exhibited in Art Melbourne in April.  I have completed my first painting after the fires called ‘Ashes to Ashes’, and I have just begun another painting.

Werner and I are only a small part of the whole of Victoria affected by the Black Saturday Fires.  We all felt under siege and suffered stresses and hardships, each to their own circumstances.  What was also shared was the bonding of that terrible summer and the soul searching caused by the events of that day.  Out of the darkness of the fires came the great spirit of the community and our country to help and heal each other.

The Black Saturday Fires were life changing events and Werner and I feel incredibly lucky and will never forget all the support and kindnesses, and will carry all of these incredible and touching experiences into our future.


Ursula Theinert 2009

Here is one of Ursula’s works, post Black Saturday called “Ashes to Ashes”.


Thanks Ursula, for the graphic account of a day many of us will struggle to forget, Steve Gray.

empty shop – space – gallery!

This is an interesting Visual Arts initiative… well worth a look

Artists & Makers


Great for places wanting to cut through the recession relics (empty shops!) and add cultural depth to the community.

The A5 show – “Right Here, Right Now…”



“Right Here, Right Now…” A show of contemporary art works created by you, and you! It’s easy, put your thinking caps on… consider the theme, “Right Here, Right Now…” It could mean so many things to so many people.

Here’s the page to view the works.


  1. Create a contemporary artwork (any medium) in an A5 size 148.5mm x 210 (half an A4).
  2. Scan it, digital photo etc. Make sure it’s a great quality jpg file please.
  3. Clearly label it, write a few lines to give us an idea of how you interpreted the theme, then Email it with the details, (Artist’s name, where from and medium, to )
  4. I will add it to a page of works people can view on line and you can link to.

Closing date: 23/5/09 Be quick!

Conditions of entry: 

Kerrie and Angela were first up. Thanks!

Hey I like the idea of online exhibitions,  you can write it up on your CV when you have contributed… Why not? So help me out here, and give me some ideas for a theme or three we can use. Jot it in a comment and I will put the ideas together and see what happens next.

Now it’s Dooney TV…

Self promotion? Yep, Hazels got something going on…

Now it’s Dooney TV!

Dooney in five or so questions…

Hazel Dooney is popping up all over the place lately, amazing what some social media, a few good interviews and some other bits can do (like media savvy).

Chances are though that  you read about her here first! 🙂

News from Carol

Carol Es who was interviewed here earlier  has some exhibitions on the boil and some new work… check out where and what she’s up to next… Carol’s news. Oh and an amazing review! Hey remember  you found out about here here first! 🙂

have you been watching… reading?

Sometimes I just get a bit behind with lots of things happening, but we should check out that which jumps up and grabs us… for me it’s the odd blog or three, Hazel Dooney’s blog caught my eye today… What about you?

You know you want to…

Anthony Lister Video

Art classes

Sharon Anderson will be holding a photo screenprinting workshop on the Sat 4th and Sun 5th of April. 
Also a Basic drawing Still life & portraits using pencil, charcoal and my favourite medium pastel.
This is 5 sessions starting Sun afternoons, May 3rd until 31st May at ARC in Yinnar Vic.
There are a few other great workshops this semester including Blacksmithing with Bruce Beamish and Botanical Drawing with Laurie Andrews.

Check out the ARC website for more info and if you can please pass this info on to anyone you think may be interested.
contact ARC ph 51 631 310

Recent works – Steve Gray

These are recently done works on paper, I ran out of canvas so this is the next best thing! note the very light last image is mainly white on white, very hard to get  a photo to do justice to the image a lot of texture there to be seen in the flesh.









Life drawing with a twist…

This seems like an interesting idea I like a new twist on an old theme.

How is this not conceptual art…

Meet Craig…

Is it, or is it not Conceptual Art… Your thoughts???

It is posted as a “social experiment”. Nah I don’t see it that way, but I guess I’m prejudiced as I see Art in most places I go!

Ideas and inspiration plus…

This has got to be useful for anyone who thinks…. Is that you?


March 28th 2009 in Melbourne should be useful, register now…

Artist creates fire image.


Victorian Contemporary Artist Steve Gray has created a painting as a mark of respect to all who have lost loved ones in the recent Black Saturday Bushfires. “I was seeing images of black tree shapes against the light ash background on the news and  the idea quickly developed.” Steve said. 

The large painting acrylic takes up a big wall in  his lounge room, the subtle colours are whites with a hint of yellow in places. Mr Gray pointed out, “The stark images of the fires were so contrasty, It would have been so easy to create a dark foreboding picture, I wanted to provide a sense of the spirit of the people, ghost like, figments or mere memories, so faint against the landscape, yet not create a realistic piece. It is clearly an abstract image but the shapes of the brushstrokes are almost hieroglyphic, I hope people get a sense of the ‘spirits’ talking to them.” 

Similar in style to some of his earlier (more colourful) works on paper, this image is eerie in the way the colours are subtle on the canvas and seem convey so much in light of the recent fire tragedies..

Kerries video – make art!

Kerrie Warren was interviewed here way back in the early days, she just sent me a video to show people what her process is all about. Makes for an interesting view! Check it out….

News Flash

I interviewed Ghostpatrol earlier on and now he is the subject of a TV interview… here are the details!

As you may already know, Miso and I spent a portion of last year with the ABC on
our tail. The end result will be shown this month on ABC TV Australia. The Documentary is called ‘Paper Cuts’ and runs for about 30mins. It will be replayed on ABC2 on Sunday the 1st of March at 7pm.
I believe the ABC will have it available for streaming/download on their website
after it airs. I’ll put the link on my website when it becomes available.

The footage shows both Miso and Ghostpatrol working in their studio in preparation
for their Metro 5 gallery show “nesting and dying”.

thanks and take care

david ghostpatrol

Bud, Pete and Archie, an insight

Television and film star, not to mention Australian icon Bud Tingwell is my subject for this years upcoming Archibald Prize, he proved to be my most challenging portrait subject to date.

It is the most difficult portrait I have done because, I respect him so much as an individual – I wanted to do him justice, I wanted the portrait to be right.


Peter Biram’s Portrait of Bud Tingwell for the 2009 Archibald Prize

Bud is the fifth subject I have painted for the Archibald Prize. My previous entries included race walker Nathan Deakes, Mathematician Robyn Arianrhod, newsreader Mal Walden and showbiz identity Roland Rocchiccioli.

My first meeting with Bud took place at the 2007 Salon Des Refuses in Melbourne, I knew very little about him before I put paintbrush to canvas, other than his on screen persona, he invited me to his place and we talked about love, war and the film industry.

It usually takes me anywhere between a few of days to a couple of weeks to complete a portrait, but Bud’s portrait took me, off and on six months. I got to the point where it was ridiculous, it’s not going to be perfect. Sometimes on-air personalities don’t match with the real-life person. Sometimes you could pickup cues from one’s personality on the big screen. I thought Bud seemed to be a nice person but you can never really tell. It was lucky he turned out to be as nice as he appears to be in television and film. If I don’t like the person I can’t paint them. Portrait painting is a very private process; you get up close and personal. I would describe Bud’s portrait as honest. I asked him how he would describe himself, Bud replied, “A Slob” I think what he meant was, he was sick of being portrayed as a sophisticated gent. He wanted the portrait to say something different; he wanted it to have substance.

The day of the sitting I met at Bud’s home, I wanted to create an environmental portrait, almost like a family snap shot. This I felt, would give the painting humanistic content, Bud would be surround by his personal objects, books tapes and even the several remotes placed on the lamp table. At the time he was preparing for the role of Winston Churchill in a TV film role, so the room was filled with references. So I used this as a narrative backdrop to the painting, because of the eclectic nature of the background this again adds to the family snap shot feel. I felt this side of Bud’s persona was not to my knowledge, previously portrayed. In all of my portraits I try to make it a team effort, that of the sitter and the artist, some times sitters have strong input in the content of the paintings while other times they don’t. I always start from the point of – “How do you see yourself” and extend from there.


Bud and myself at our house in Gembrook

For the first time I was nervous about showing Bud the final product, Nine times out of ten the sitter may find the portrait confronting, I felt I captured a likeness, but I think first and foremost it must be a good painting and Bud really loved it as a ‘painting’. There is a degree of sadness and also a degree of happiness (in the painting). The previous paintings and images of Bud are only showing one persona, the polished gent. I thought, yes, he is that, but also he’s more… one side a polished gent, and the other a vulnerable human being.

When I finished the painting I invited Bud up for a bar-b-que and to view the painting, there’s that awkward moment, what if he didn’t like it, what do you say? Bud’s reply… he had not looked at it for an accurate representation, but its own intrinsic value as a work of art…. And as a work of art.. He loved it. To me he couldn’t have made a better statement.

Here’s a link to an article on it. as well


An amazing “chronicle” of Alisons life thus far… by Jack Radcliffe, for me this is a photographic delight, great moments captured in real life and handed to us to see… perplexing…

If you are into photographing people, check this out, if not, take a look from the development of life side of things… So much said without words.

An Archibald Journey

The following article is By Victorian Artist Peter Biram chronicling some of his “Archibald Journey” thanks Pete for your fascinating look at the Archibald Portrait Prize (An Australian Artistic Institution), this is a fantastic chance to see behind the scenes from an artists perspective… Take it away Pete…

Steve Gray

There is something special about the magic and frustration of the big prize known as the ‘Archibald Prize – My journey concerning entering the Prize over the past couple of years, has been a ‘double edged sword’. A story of joy and reward, and of disappointment. I feel with this statement I have just summed up the art world. But first let me take you back to the beginning, why enter the Archibald? Some say it’s “Nothing more than a chook raffle”, while other say “It’s the dunny of Australian art… attracting entries like odor attracts flies”.

I don’t share this view point, however a can see some strength in their argument. At the end of the day I feel the true strength of the argument lies in the fact we are opening up a wider avenue of dialogue, this in turn has to be good for Art.

Before I share my story with you it may be valuable to underpin this essay with a little background on the history of the Archibald…

The Archibald Prize originated with a charitable bequest endowed by Jules Francois Archibald in 1916. His will stipulates a portrait painted by any artist resident in Australasia, preferably of some one distinguished in Art, Letters, Science or Politics.

Jules François Archibald (1856 – 1919),

The Archibald Prize has a litigious history with many of its defining moments in the Courtroom. The most significant of these was the 1943 Dobell case in which artists challenged the winner on the grounds the work by Dobell was a caricature rather than a portrait. Less famous but possibly more importantly, the Bloomfield case, in which the Art Gallery Trustees took an artist to court when they found he had not painted the portrait from life.

Their position appeared to be in the interests of fairness and their legal obligations under the terms of the bequest the matter required Court action. No award in history has caused so much controversy as the Dobell case in 1943 over the Joshua Smith portrait, since then a lot of brave attempts have been made to be controversial, the Brett Whiteley Portrait, Self – Portrait in Studio, I felt hits the mark.

Each year the entry form is headed by an invitation by the Art Gallery of New South Wales trust to artists to ‘submit paintings in competition for the Archibald Prize’. They then quote the words of Archibald in which he mentions ‘painted’ and then they quote from the Bloomfield case judgement and state that ‘For the purposes of this Prize, the Trustees apply the definition of a portrait as determined in the judgement of 1983: “a picture of a person painted from life”.’ So each year the hunt is on sitters of note wanted to be painted and artists searching for the sitter “of note” hoping that the choice of sitter will give the artist an edge and will catch the judges eye.

Many Archibald contenders go to a great deal of trouble to seek out their sitters; some subjects being closely guarded secrets. There is no doubt a famous and well-liked public figure may increase an artist’s chances of being hung. As a challenge to myself some years I selected a worthy yet generally unknown subject, In  2007 I painted a good friend I have known more than 20 years. We moved into our house about 20 years ago and that’s when I met Robyn who lived next door.

Portrait of Dr Robyn Arianrhod 2007 Oil on Canvas

The background of the portrait was born out of our long-term friendship and the professional respect I have for Robyn – this is my fourth year of entering the Archibald portrait competition, and being both a writer and a scientist, Robyn is a perfect subject under the Archibald rules.

Both Robyn and I have a love and concern for the environment and I’ve tried to convey this in the painting. Robyn is sitting in a ‘personal space’ (being in a private garden). The garden represents a ‘micro’ response to ‘land use’ and this is contrasted with the ‘macro’ response in the right hand panel.

The composition is broken into two halves, in order to symbolize “mathematical balance”. There is also contrast between strength and femininity and an interesting juxtaposition of sensuality and the stereotypically male-dominated environment of mathematics.

The right side of the portrait contains a landscape, on one level it is juxtaposed against the portrait offering an extension as a narrative to the portrait; on the other hand it operates as a ‘stand alone’ landscape in its own right, the landscape reads as on the following layers –

  1. Mark making – On this level the viewer processes the work on a surface level, that is to say the paint texture and colour of the work. The work at this level can be read in decorative terms.
  2. Subject – At this level the viewer reads the work as a landscape, within this framework the observer can interpret the geometric forms as pure decoration.
  3. Conceptual Narrative – The current  body of work exploring the theme of ‘land ownership’ and ‘usage’ within an environmental framework. This relationship includes traditional and non-traditional interaction with the land. For example, within this theme of land ownership I am exploring the pressure placed on the land in an environmental sense both in a western/ European standpoint (the ‘Triangle’) and the koorie perspective, (the dots).

Within this theme I am exploring the fine balance that exists in the natural environment. This is to say “Order & Chaos” found within nature and the balance of power shifting between the two states.
The composition is deliberately broken into two sections symbolizing the two states of  chaos & order, the fine balance of nature is placed under pressure re land “caretakership”.

Within this framework I have explored both contemporary ownership symbolized by the triangle in the bottom half of the composition.(from a European standpoint)

The ‘hard edged’ nature of the triangle also represents past civilizations (the pyramids of Egypt) this presents a symbol of ‘land ownership’ in the sense of ‘branding’ the land.
I choose the triangle/pyramid shape because of its direct contrast to the soft organic nature of the bush motif. This also symbolizes human kind’s influence on the natural landscape.

The two triangles “together” also read as a symbol for a ‘black hole’ within the context of a universe the top triangle is a symbol for Steve Hawking’s theory on the ‘Dual Universe’. I use this as a metaphor for “Order & Chaos” and how one juxtaposes one against another, that is to say, as human beings our nature is to explore, from a ‘micro’ level, our backyard, to a ‘macro’ level our universe.

Myself & Robyn in front of the Portrait in the studio Above: the 2007 Archibald entry

Part of entering the Archibald, I believe, is the opportunity to raise ones profile, this seems to be a sticking point for many artists, and the question of how many hours in the week do I devote to the quest of building ones profile. Some say 50/50, others put aside one day a week others two, at this point I am not going to explore this question as this topic would produce another essay to do it justice. However I have found on the question of raising ones profile, the Archibald gives quite an advantage, to date I have not been successful as being selected as a finalist for the Archibald, but I have been selected as a finalist (five times) for the Salon Des Refuses. (Melbourne)

The Artists who submit for the Archibald and are not hung, are invited to submit the rejected work for the Salon des Refuses, which is in the tradition of the French impressionists of the 1860’s who held a breakaway exhibition from the French Academy.

In 2007 I was very fortunate, as not only was my portrait of Robyn selected for the Salon Des Refuses but also a portrait of myself painted by one of my students and now dear friend and artist Ursula Theinert

Myself & Ursula at the opening of “The Hidden Faces of the Archibald” Exhibition 2007

This was indeed special as I was able to share good fortune with my friends and family returning to the question of increasing ones profile, such is the power of the Archibald as one can tap into publicity even by absence of success in being a finalist in the big prize. I suppose at the end of the day the Archibald enables the emerging Artist to “make it” within certain circles of the art world.

Opening night of ‘The hidden Faces of the Archibald’

In 2009 I wanted to draw an analogy between sport and art, so I picked a sports star who had reached the top of his profession but I also wanted to pick someone who experiences the same frustration as I do.

Nathan’s broken records but hardly anyone knows about him. Despite holding the world record for the 50km walk, Nathan has been starved of the lucrative sponsorship and advertising opportunities that so many Australian sports people are afforded. If he was a swimmer of a footballer he’d have no problem. But he’s gone into debt and had to sell his car to keep himself going. I just think it’s tragic.

Nathan has seemingly been blocked out of the Australian sporting mainstream, emerging artists face a similar battle to have their work taken seriously among a host of perennial Archibald finalists.

I think a lot of people have been locked out of the Archibald, because by the time you get all the leading portrait painters together, there might only be room for one or two wildcards (in the final exhibition).

2008 Archibald entry “Nathan Deakes, Race Walker”

Myself standing in front of my painting of Nathan at the Salon Des Refuses, (the hidden of the Archibald)
and in the studio.

In 2006 the entry contained a little political bite, I painted  Channel Ten newsreader Mal Walden, kicking back after a bit of gardening, still resplendent in gumboots and shorts, holding a shovel with his fluffy little dog Gypsy to the side. Down next to the dog, is a seemingly innocuous rabbit, painted by Jessica, my daughter. Well, that rabbit has extra political bite, it was a comment on – level playing field, it’s not.

I entered the Archibald Prize before, but my portrait of media personality Roland Rocchiccioli was rejected.
The rabbit was my comment on the Archibald Prize entry process, where seemingly artists outside a certain circle of regular entrants are often “locked out”. A few years ago an artist entered a painting of a rabbit into the Archibald Prize, which is for portraits of a man or woman distinguished in art, letters, science or politics.

The Archibald is for paintings of distinguished people so how could a rabbit be in the Archibald? If the rabbit was used as a direct metaphor connected to the sitter I could understand, however at the time I thought the conceptual content regarding the choice of motif was a little ambiguous.

I think it’s the same every year, the same old names; Kerrie Lester, Jenny Sage, Robert Hannaford, Gary Shead. Their work is good but it’s the same artist’s every year.  What is this saying? That there’s no new talent in portrait painting in this country?  However I don’t want to be seen as having sour grapes about being rejected last year. It is simply saying “Try to open up a critical discourse and dialogue”. I like to describe the criticism as a “double edged sword”.

The Archibald is about controversy and I love the Archibald because we can criticise it. That’s what I love about being Australian, we like having a go at the establishment and while I worship the Archibald – and would worship it even more if I won it – it should be able to stand up to criticism. An artist’s job is to act as a commentator on what’s happening.

I think most artists probably feel the same way as I do (about the Archibald Prize) but if they feel they’re being gagged then they’re not doing their job. However my entry is not simply a criticism of the Archibald Prize, It’s multi-layered, it’s basically about Mal’s passion which is gardening.  Secondly, it’s about personal space and changing. The painting is about how nothing stays the same on a personal level, in a changing garden.

Then on a macro-level things are changing. In Australia there’s environmental change, pressure on land created by how we use it, as well as issues such as salinity and clear felling. And as for that little rabbit, the innocent little bunny that represents criticism of the Archibald Prize, there is another story behind it. When I knocked on Mal’s door, this cute little dog came bounding down the hallway. I straight away thought I wanted to paint the dog. The dog had a toy rabbit in its mouth.

An article from the Melbourne Age 2006 with the portrait of Mal Walden

At the end of the day I believe it’s about giving it a go, its like theatre, the stage, performing to an audience, putting all on the line and waiting for feedback, if any.

As you can see in the above article, Peter encourages his students to be involved in the Archibald prize, to see more evidence of this take a look at this link. Scroll down on that page to see the articles and learn more about artists and students at work. Particularly of interest is this from a Gippsland Victoria Regional TV station.

Sculptural intent

The guys over at Post Industrial Design have launched their website. It’s great to have a sculptural focus in amongst all our 2D works. If you like quirky steel and other constructions that really are Post Industrial you will find great value in checking out Jos Van Hulsen’s works.

Going Solo… Ursula Theinert

It’s not every day you get a chance to explore the behind the scenes efforts of artists, as they do their “bit” to add to the cultural landscape and provide us with their unique insights into the world from their creative standpoint. So here is a “diary” of setting up a show by Ursula Theinert, who’s first solo show is at a public gallery in large country town, blessed with a great regional gallery. So lets follow part of her journey as events unfold, I hope you enjoy this as much as I have. Oh and see her own website by following her link in the artists links to the right below for more images of the show.

Steve Gray


This is an insight into the last few days of my first solo exhibition. I am going to include a short introduction and then a series of photographs and diary entries that show the sequence of events that lead to the attainment of one of the important goals, which artists set for themselves.

At the time of submitting my proposal to the gallery, on 25/4/07, I only had the concept, which was, to address the hidden problems of forest management. My focus was going to be on pine plantations to highlight the plantations of an alien species of trees which covers thousands of hectares of land, insidiously effecting the environment. I wanted to reveal that under the canopy of perceived green there is a veritable desert of pine needles affecting the habitat of our native flora and fauna.

I intended to express the landscape in human terms, as a living entity, in order to heighten passion and empathy.

The gallery took me on good faith and I worked very hard to complete the series of paintings. This personal journey culminated with the exhibition opening night on the 24th of October, 2008. It has been a very rewarding experience and one that I will to share with you through my diary.
Having created the works I was now in the final planning stages, on the weekend before the set up day 21/10/08, I made a list of the final jobs that needed to be done.


I typed up and printed my labels and then pasted them to the back of all my works on paper and canvas.

I then needed to find enough “D” rings to attach to the back of all the canvases. I also checked that all the edges of the canvases were clean, and painted them white. I also decided to measure and mark the distances for hanging just above the “D” rings so that the set up day would go smoothly. I used the formula :-
A divided by 2 +B – C = D
A = The height of the work.
B = The height from the floor to the centre line of the work, which is 1500mm.
C = The distance from the top of the work down to the top of the “D” ring.
D = The height from the floor to where you should place the hanging system.


I had an interesting wood sculpture that was a little unstable but I wanted to include it in the exhibition. So I went on a hunt around the back of our old workshop and found a beautiful rusty old piece of forged steel, which I think is part of an old railway line. It was used to go under the railway track which is then fixed onto the sleeper. It was perfect for the sculpture “Time Warp”, and after a great deal of wire brushing and hitting rust off with a hammer, and then oiling, it looked wonderful. Two holes were drilled through the steel and attached to the sculpture. All I needed to do then was to re-sand the sculpture and oil it. This was followed by a buff and polish and it was ready!


I had 16 paintings to pack into the van. Eight of them were framed and all were about 750 x 1000mm, so they were quite heavy. They went down first and then the four 1500 x 1200mm canvases, followed by the three 1000 x 2.200mm canvases. My handy commuter van has plenty of storage space. I could even put the small canvas at the end of the bay.
I almost forgot my sculpture. I wrapped it up and strapped it into the seat with the seat belt. Finally, all the packing was done along with a bag full of trifolds, business cards, and a visitor book. I also had an additional list of measurements, cleaning cloths and glass cleaner. I was a little nervous about the set up day and I wanted to be organized and look as professional as possible!

21/10/08 – SET UP DAY!
I didn’t sleep well that night. My husband, Werner, and I arrived at the Latrobe Regional Gallery at about 9.30 a.m. and had a coffee at the gallery coffee shop “So Swish”. We then got to work and were pleasantly surprised that some of the gallery staff helped us unload the van and get the work into the gallery space. They told us that there was a shared “set up day” with Monash University Gippsland Campus – Magistery Exhibition. I was also going to have a joint opening with this exhibition! This exhibition would have works from past and present art lecturers, and so they would not be able to help me set up that morning and would install my works either later that day or the next morning. All I had to do was to unwrap the works and decide on the placement along the walls. That job was easy especially when my friends and fellow artists were there to help me.

After the placement was decided all I had to do was to revise me list of works to help the gallery staff amend the copy that I had emailed them earlier. I also wrote down some additional instructions e.g. I needed two plinths – one for the sculpture and one for the trifolds, business cards and visitor’s book.

It was lovely to have Kerrie, Leonie (artists and dear friends) and Werner, my photographer, share this day with me. It was a great support and made the day a lot of fun. We all enjoyed a cup of coffee and a chat afterwards. I decided to come back the following day just to check that all was well. And of course the gallery staff did a super job!


It was very exciting to have the opening of the exhibition finally arrive. It was a joint opening and there was a large crowd and a wonderful atmosphere. Paul Holton welcomed everyone and then gave the opening speech for my exhibition – I had butterflies and a smile from ear to ear! Tony Hanning then gave his speech which was followed by the guest speaker for the Magistery exhibition Professor Helen Bartlett, who is the Pro Vice-Chancellor of Monash University Gippsland Campus. It was a grand affair!! How fortunate for me to be part of this special opening night.

After the speeches people went up to Gallery 6 and my exhibition. I was very happy to see the many friends, family and fellow students coming along to support me. It was also pleasing to see so many unknown faces in the crowd too.

I felt so fortunate to have my teachers, Peter Biram and Chris Myers, who have always been so encouraging and inspiring, to be at the exhibition. And my son James, who flew down from Cairns to share that special night with me.

Just to show you the beautiful space at Latrobe Regional Gallery.

The whole experience of exhibiting at LRG was enriching, and one that I wouldn’t have missed for anything! The exhibition space is beautiful, and the staff were professional and helpful.

It is a challenging journey to strive to be an artist and it extremely important to be surrounded by talented, stimulating and encouraging people. I recognize that I have been extremely fortunate to have so many wonderful and kind people supporting me and they have all played a part in making one of my dreams come true.

Do you have questions for the Artist? Go to the comments section at the bottom of this post and ask away.

Compiled and edited by Steve Gray Contemporary Australian Artist

Art Toys – Toyism

This just in from Alex Pardee I was wondering where this genre had come from, seeing it more and more in Australian art but perhaps the groundswell happened elsewhere.

Artist sells for millions – Damien Hirst

The news media is all over this guy (English Artist Damien Hirst) and the ongoing success with his work.

If he is making this sort of money I think I’ll become an artist! (Oh I already am…? darn what went wrong?)

It raises the BIG question, what makes an artist successful?