Right place right time
I have always loved to critique art, i spend a lot of time looking at it whether it is online, in magazines or in galleries. I have a constant stream of email request to view art, critique it and give advice as to the direction an artist can take it. I am a 'pusher', I like to push people forward, it is what I do and what I enjoy. I have been fortunate enough to help many people start their creative journey whether it is through inspiring them with techniques, my philosphy on life and art or whether it is through sharing my own journey and art via youtube.
So an opportunity arose late last year to be a guest judge at St. Monica's Catholic School in Melbourne in March. I will be judging grades 8 till 12's and presenting awards etc.
_It was a great opportunity and an honor to be asked and I am really looking foward to the experience. So last week I met up with the co-ordinator of the Art Prize, Zion Mitchell, Curator Lucy Di Lerenzo and fellow art teacher Gerard Mahoney to have an informal meeting and to show my work. I took my little 'Works on Paper' folio to show them examples of the style of art i make. During the 'showing' (this took place in a restaurant in Fitzroy Brunswick area- The arty farty area of Melbourne) our
_waiter proceeded to say how much he really liked my work and that he was an Art Agent on the side and that he would like to give me his card. He went on to say he represents Mike Parr who is a performance artist who became 'known' when he proceeded to cut his arm off during a press conference (previous to the conference he strapped his real arm to his body and made a prosthetic arm and stuffed it with meat). Apparently it caused several members of the press to faint! So I took his business card and we shall see where that 'journey' takes me.
_After our meeting Gerard took us to his studio which was just around the corner from the restaurant on the top floor of a 2 story building. There were 8 artist spaces on the top floor and also an exhibition space to show potential clients artwork. When he was showing us around i was thinking OMG this space is perfect, it felt light and airy and each space was around 4m x 4m roughly. The spaces were manged by Brunswick Street Gallery and so i asked if there were any spaces available, Gerard said we should go over to the gallery and enquire. The spaces had such a great vibe, they were a perfect size and the location was amazing, right around the corner from the gallery and also in the heart of the art area. It felt like destiny. So we went over to the gallery and i met the Assistant Director Joanna Gould who was really lovely and friendly! She told me there were no spaces available but would put my name on the waiting list. I gave her my business card and being the self promoter that i am, i whipped out my small folio of works on paper and proceeded to show her my work. She was like 'your work looks like it would be perfect for the Urban Art show' we have coming up in March! So she said she would email me the details (And she did and i am currently making work for the group show). Anyway we all went on our merry ways and a few days later i recieved an email from Joanna to say that a studio space had become available and that she was putting my name down for it and that I could come and check it out next week. I was thinking OMG are you kidding, how perfect and great timing as i was thinking it might be a month or so before a space would become available! SO I HAVE A SPACE to create and I am really happy about that, and i said a little THANK YOU to whoever is watching over me:) Youtube video to follow showing you the space!
Walking around the Fitzroy/Brunswick area you can certainly tell it is an artist area. All the side streets are filled with graffiti, symbols and writing! I happened to be especially drawn to this mural of an Aboriginal child with some pretty interesting Mondrian style birds. The childs face was amazing and i am not quiet sure if it is a little boy or girl but the power in the eyes was extraordinary.
So today Lucy and her daughter came over for a private class. We spent around 3 hours playing around just doing a bunch of drawing and painting exercises. Lucy did feel a little nervous and intimidated in the beginning, as she wasn't use to being taught by such a huge youtube celebrity artist LOL
The day was very casual and I just outlined a few ideas and techniques and also critiqued some of her work. Below are some pictures of the work she created during the class! Was fun and even though no masterpieces were created we all had a good time.
So i designed a poster to advertise both my online courses and also my live workshop courses. I think it looks pretty good and i have to say it definitely represents all of the styles of art I like to teach and create myself.
So I am just waiting for the posters to come from the printers and i am still working on the website (so for those of you who try to access the website you will be met with a password protection until the site is ready)
My intention is to send these posters to several friends around Australia and get them to put them up on shopping centre notice boards, University notice boards, community centres and anywhere else they think they would be visable. People will then be able to find out more info and register for one of my classes. Once i get enough interest in a particular city in Oz I will then organise a workshop:) Well that is my plan!
So on that note I wish you all a fantastic creative week ahead! Peace to your sexy faces!!
_One of the dangers for artists living in the city is the constant distraction of city living and life. Many an artist has succumb to drinking or partying away their talent due to being in such a busy environment with so much going on.
I know when I lived in London for several years early on in my artistic career, I hardly painted at all. Of course art is a permanent part of who I am NOW and although i am currently distracted by the city, I know I will buckle down and loose myself in my work once again.
One thing i have realised in this 'transition' phase is how important it is to keep focusing on your 'purpose'. I am always telling people to be consistant, dedicated and devoted to their art practice because it is only then you will make a difference and create an impact.
I revolve in many online circles partly because I don't want to be pulled into any one particular group and i also think it keeps you fresh, and there is sometimes that thing where being with one particular group of people for a long period of time...well it can become incesttuous, you know what I mean! So i think it is healthy for artists to constantly mix with new artists and form new associations.
So today this blog is about refocusing on 'your purpose', about being dedicated or preparing and allowing yourself to be dedicated. I have noticed in a couple of online artist cirles of late, there has been great motivation in doing a painting or drawing a day! The great thing about this excercise is that it gets you moving forward, it gets you 'DOING' rather than talking about it. My mantra for many years was ' Think less do more' because many of us spend too much time thinking about doing something, and we get so caught up in the process of thinking about it, that the physical doing doesn't actually happen OR we talk ourselves around it. I think as humans and as artists, the biggest danger for us is to over internalise everything. You really just have to get it out of you physically by painting, drawing or dancing or however you express yourself.
__And in fact i have always entertained the idea of being placed in an unmarked grave or just wrapped in a white cotton sheet and tossed into a ditch LOL (and i have had this conversation with many of you and had a good laugh but there was truth and honesty in that humour). And that is why i think this song has been an important reminder for me personally, because I AM HERE and one day it will be because 'I was HERE' and what is it that i have given forward to the next generation, what purpose has my life amounted to? Maybe i am becoming sentimental in my oldish age which is something i never wanted and still don't LOL but thank you Beyonce for this song, it is a constant reminder of my purpose! And I hope it reminds you of your own journey and purpose and why you are here!
Being in 'transition' is a strange feeling, i liken it to what it would feel like to being a ghost. As i ride the train into the city I feel completely detached from everything and everyone. I feel like i am floating, and i watch people as they go past me and they are all occupied with their routines and lives, and then there is me, in transition. It is a weird sensation, that feeling of not really being apart of anything in particular, not having any real responsibility or routine to my daily life. I wish i cared, but honestly i don't at this point, and maybe that is a good thing or a coping mechanism. I think it makes it easier to deal with change when you just 'let go'.
It is like jumping off a cliff and free falling, i am not ready to pull the shoot yet because there is a freedom in the unknown and in the 'falling'.
Being a ghost in the city is my new reality for the moment and I am ok with it. I know i can't drift forever, but when you have gone through such life altering 'stuff' as i have over the last few months, giving yourself time to be 'everywhere and nowhere' is a good move emotionally. I know there will come a time soon when i will be ready to pull the rip chord on the parchutte and step back into 'reality' and that ghostly feeling will be become a distant emotion, but for the 'now', i welcome it.
_'Suck it up Reef' I say to myself as i come to the realisation that finding a studio space isn't going to be as straight forward or as easy as i had envisaged. The reality that paying for a studio space, rent, food and transport has been a wake up call, because now i have to actually view my art and everything which revolves around it 'in part' as a business.
It is a matter of survival now, i can't rely on a steady income from the cows anymore and the more i think about the huge wall which stands in front of me, and the more i examine the wall, the more i see it is going to take a lot of work and effort to lift myself up. I am looking for the small cracks and spaces to place my hands and feet because i am determined to climb this huge first big hurdle.
I do take comfort in the fact that I am one of those very fortunate people who seems to attract the right people into my life at the right time and over the years i have lost count of situations which 'had i not met a particular person' then I would not be where i am today.
I just have this unquestionable belief that everything I need will be provided in some way and that if i am truly meant to be an artist and follow this passion then 'life' will support me and offer up opportunities. And so far that has worked. I just want to add that i think it is a 'give and take' thing, just because i am meant to be an artist and opportunities are coming up, i still must play my part of 'giving' as much of my gift and of myself to 'serving' others as I can. The truth of the matter is the more you give and want for others, the more it comes back to you, so i am always aware of this fact and i try to serve others as best as i can.
_Currently I have no art supplies, no paints, canvases , paper etc but as fate would have it, the universe has brought a very special person into my life who happens to live in Melbourne and who happens to have a lot of used supplies AND has offered them to me. Ofcourse in return I will supply her with free private classes in anything she wants to learn, but it just goes to show you and show me that I am being watched over closely.
We are also going studio hunting this week as i need to start looking for a small space where i can work from and hopefully tutor a few students, so fingers crossed something comes of it. I have emailed a couple of places regarding studios but have not heard back, but that maybe because of the xmas new year period. I am anxious to get painting and creating again so hopefully something fantastic will appear soon!!
If there is anyone in Melbourne who has any advice or thoughts please get in touch 0452454294