Artists Still Live Here — Hillsong Creative Magazine

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Issue Two

March 2021

CONTENTS featuring



















CREATION TEAM Global Worship & Creative Pastor:

Cassandra Langton | Australia Creative Pastor: Rich Langton

Editor: Kris Mateika | Project Manager: Gabriella Melo Korocz Design Team: Ben Yeoh, Daniel Packer, Christel Cherryadi | Cover Design: Yoseph Setiawan Story Research: Dean Ussher, Brad Kohring, Caitie Wall, Matt Myers | Media Clearance Manager:: Bri Wheeler

WRITERS Australia NSW: Rich Langton, Gabriel Kelly, Anabel Litchfield, Sarah Laing, Abbie Herring, Lindley Joyner, Melodie Wagner,

Chantale Roxanas, Evie Gallardo, Kellie Andrew, Kmy Denton | Australia QLD: Alyce Aldous, Bianca Gobalesa Australia WA: Amanda Viviers, Elizabeth Tatenda | Australia VIC: Rachel Ussher, Alfy Afuie | Indonesia BALI: UK London:

Rebecca Ray, Joy Wijaya

Janina Schneider, Amma Aburam, @mediacollectivelondon | Mexico MONTERREY: Steven Richards South Africa CAPE TOWN: Nicolette Kapp

PHOTOGRAPHERS Nicolette Kapp, Anabel Litchfield, Nicolette Kapp, River Bennett, Jonathan Zerger, Evie Gallardo, Luke Currie-Richardson, Hillsong Photography Team

CONTRIBUTORS Abraham Mejia thewiseadvice Mutiyani Parwanti mutiyanip Mi-Kaisha Masella iammikaisha William Adoasi williamadoasi Noodle Scott Joanna & Susanna Olasoji rapunzelvintagestudio

Elizabeth Tatenda testamentlabel

Bianca Gobalesa laceleaf_floral Nikita Hazra

Rachel Ussher heandherthelabel

Nicolette Kapp nkp_journal

Alfy Afuie lighthousebarbers

Jonathan Zerger

Sam Irving

River Bennett thefirsthello

Jerusha Le Chat bowandfeather_

Artisan Athletes artisanathletes

welcome Welcome to our second issue of Artists Still Live Here, a magazine designed to highlight and champion the artists and creatives within the breadth of our Hillsong Creative community. Aiming to tell stories that inspire and stir up the God inspired creativity within you as you read. This issue is jam-packed with those types of stories - from Bali to Cape Town, Monterrey to Melbourne, Perth to Brisbane, and even from the backyards of Dural. We’ve started to carve out regular columns ... we’ve asked a handful of creative entrepreneurs about what inspires them and we take you on an incredible behind-the-scenes look into the Colour Conference 2021 photo shoot... plus so much more. A huge THANK YOU to everyone who has contributed – your stories matter, your words build us up, and your photos and art speak to our souls. I’m a firm believer in “art inspiring art” and I think nothing does that better than creatives sharing their stories and inspiration, their challenges and their overcoming moments. And I believe we have been able to capture that in a small way in this issue. I hope you love reading through these stories and are inspired and encouraged by what we’ve been able to bring to the table for this edition, for the artists among us are alive! Much love,

Kris Mateika

I like to name my years. We have done this as a family tradition for a while now… there’s been Alfred and Emile and Jesse. But this year’s name isn’t my own. It’s one I stole from Reid and Caitie Wall who oversee our Mt Gravatt campus in Brisbane because, as it turns out, they are better at it than me. They called 2021 ‘tumblehome’, and it resonated with me deeply. ‘What’s a tumblehome?’ I hear you ask. Good question! You see a tumblehome is something built into those old twenty-foot-long Native American canoes, or into the base of a Viking ship. A tumblehome base arcs back in toward the centre, toward home, where you sit. Because of a tumblehome, when you lean over the boat into the water, the boat leans back, providing stability. The more you lean, the harder the boat works to stay upright. It creates a space that allows you as a rower to lean into the water and adapt to the fluidity of the conditions you find yourself in. It made me think about what’s at our core as a team and as a people... and I kept finding myself coming back to what we want to be at the centre of our lives and I kept finding myself thinking of one word… WORSHIP. Worship is our tumblehome. It’s our stabilizer, the thing that keeps you upright, the impetus that keeps you moving fast through unknown territory and keeps your heart pliable, soft and malleable. When we keep Jesus in view, when our life is lived for Him, when He is magnified then we live from a place of security and where Christ’s righteousness qualifies us. As a team we spend much of our lives in service. Giving and using our gifts for the glory of God, but I believe that the words of A.W. Tozer must reverberate in our community in 2021: “God wants worshippers before workers; indeed the only acceptable workers are those who have learned the lost art of worship.” Let’s throw ourselves into this lost art. Worship first, worship at our core, worship as our tumblehome and from that place everything else will flow.

Cass Langton

A LOVE LETTER TO THE TABLE Words & Photography: Anabel Litchfield

“You can’t tell me food is merely physical. Because I’ve watched it transform this space into the safest place for everyone who has entered it.”

I’m not sure where I’d be, after the tumult of 2020, Ash’s southern fried chicken & waffles; Yo’s beef without this table. Rendang; Samie’s made-from-scratch gnocchi with eggplant ragu; Dave’s thanksgiving tomahawk steak; It’s been in my family for generations. My dad and too many beautiful sweet treats via Marlei and Yolla; his eight siblings actually grew up eating around it. and countless iterations of shakshuka for me to even I’m not entirely sure how they all fit, but I guess it recall. was a simpler, less extravagant time. As a child, I grew up sitting at it on our veranda, used on balmy You can’t tell me food is merely physical. Because I’ve Queensland nights when it would have been a crime watched it transform this space into the safest place to be indoors. Of course, by that point, it had been for everyone who has entered it. Something happens covered by one of my mother’s tablecloths to hide to us when we stop the hustle, turn off the screens, the badly chipping Laminex underneath (an addition slow ourselves, light some candles, and we sit and courtesy of the ’70s and my Granny’s questionable eat. I think it’s perhaps when our soul has a chance to taste). In my late teens I discovered how beautiful it catch up with our body. was under all that nonsense, chiselled off the Laminex, stripped the timber, sanded and oiled it; and claimed There’s been so much laughter here... the sideit as my own. It is now my most prized possession. It splitting kind; even when the world seemed darker is the one thing that if my house than ever. There’s been more was on fire, I’d seriously consider “Something happens to us when than one impromptu post-meal running into flames to save. dance party, that seemed to we stop the hustle” somewhat expunge us of our This table now sits extra pretty lockdown restlessness. There with this bench seat, which happens to be my fav have been many tears here, kind of like a pressure Gumtree find ever. It took a surprisingly empowering valve finally being released. There have been prayers solo drive in a manual van out to the country one prayed and prayers answered. There have been wintery Wednesday night to retrieve it from another weighty conversations as weary hearts have wrestled family who had loved it for generations prior. And with the complexity of injustice, disappointment, despite the work it took me to refinish and reupholster faith and fear. it — I’d say it was ten-out-of-ten worth the effort. I’ve always loved the table, but last year threw fuel on But obviously, this love letter is not so much about that fire. The Bible talks about the ‘breaking of bread’ the actual furniture... it’s about the meals shared as an important act and I’ve seen it to be true — a around it. truly sacred act that has ushered a little bit of heaven earthward. There’s been whole roasted barramundi with capers & vine-ripened tomatoes, harissa pork shoulder with As life continues to ramp up and inevitably butter beans & spinach; peach & thyme focaccia rollercoaster us through the days ahead, you’ll still with burrata & heirloom tomatoes; foraged cumquat find me regularly returning here to this table. If I & ginger-spiced cake; truffle & chilli cacio e pepe; can make the world better by even a centimetre, I’d roasted duck with blackberry balsamic reduction; imagine it might take place right here.

5 THINGS EVERY CREATIVE NEEDS TO KNOW Words: Janina Schneider @mediacollectivelondon

Learn to appreciate someone else’s gift without questioning your own. What someone else has to offer doesn’t diminish what you have to offer. There is room for all of us.

one Keep it close to your heart, but loose in your hands. Pour heart into it but be ready to let go when the time calls for it. Your gift, your calling and your skill is not for yourself, it’s for other people. Creativity expands through collaboration and it’s meant to to be shared, multiplied and expanded. So, keep it loose.


Find your own voice and trust that voice. There are many creative and talented people out there and many of them can do exactly what you do, but only one is really YOU. What is it that YOU can bring into this world? Trust your unique style and path and don’t just do something because it’s popular or trendy or because people told you to do so. Learn to trust your spirit and instinct, which you’ve been given for a reason.


Learn to steward your inner world. If you’re the best version of yourself, you’ll produce your best work. Your inner world affects your outer world. As a creative, everything you feel is connected with what you do, so you have to learn how to steward that inner world.

Create from the heart, not your Instagram feed. In a world that is so fast paced and always chasing the latest trend, we need creatives that make ‘meaningful’ and ‘authentic’ cool again. Go beyond the visuals and create something that speaks to the soul.



// pathways to devotion // attention is the beginning of devotion I heard the old poet say a throw away line from one who has spent 80 years wandering in the the woods learning how to see the path to love is illuminated by attentive gaze; if you are not yet enthralled by the life around you, it means merely this you have not spent enough time looking. let your eyes take lazy detours over the terrain you want to love and let yourself fall into the tiniest details: the texture of the outer layer is it smooth or rough? how does the light caress its peaks and valleys and what hides in the shadows? drink in the colours and smells, the way it looks, the way it feels, the way it makes you feel and when you think you have observed all there is to know, look again. you have only just begun. +++ Words: Chantale Roxanas


It’s a pretty catchy title. And it’s meant to be. See, innovation isn’t really an option. Either you are growing, or you are fading. Nature isn’t stagnant, and as living beings, neither are we. God designed us with growth and innovation at our core - and any act of creativity is an act of daughtership / sonship.


Innovation is one of those things that everyone knows, but only few attempt, and even fewer make it a practice. It seems to breathe rarified air, being spoken of either in hushed tones of reference for the select few, or being trotted around every time someone finds a new syrup they can add to their coffee - but the reality is, innovation has core principles that will enable you to take a quantum leap forward if you enact them. Here’s a handful:

INNOVATION IS NOT JUST STARTING BUT STOPPING. “If you want something new - you have to stop doing something old.” - Peter Drucker “Innovation is saying no to 1,000 things.” - Steve Jobs Innovation isn’t always about addition; sometimes it’s more marked by taking away the old than adding the new. This means you are no longer using resources on something that’s no longer taking new territory, and also allows you more bandwidth to create something that correlates with your goals. If you’re looking to innovate this year, ask yourself: ‘what do I need to /STOP/ doing?’


INNOVATION IS BOTTOM UP, RARELY TOP DOWN. Innovation is slower than you think, and normally lower than you think. We tend to imagine it being a lightning strike of imagination, a light bulb emoji appearing over our heads, or even more implausibly, a flash of brilliance from the CEO. But in reality, most innovations are born out of necessity. A dearth of resources. A lack of ability. A forced adjustment that ends up being more futurefriendly than the existing. If you are looking for innovation, you will likely find it where the people are connected to the ground, not where a few people have their head in the clouds. This process


WILL take longer, but will also be increasingly worthwhile.

INNOVATION IS A FRIEND OF FAILURE. “Being right keeps you in place. Being wrong forces you to explore.” - Steven Johnson


Way too often, failure causes us to slow to a grinding halt; where it should really be an accelerant that pushes us forward into new discoveries. Innovators aren’t afraid of making mistakes, as they know mistakes are a key ingredient of any success. If you want to innovate, make failure your ally. Allow it to send you into new fields of discovery. The only way you will embrace the next step, is when you realise you’re running out of runway.

INNOVATION IS ALREADY HAPPENING. Regardless of your preference, opinion, or proclivities, innovation is happening. You are only presented with the option to adapt your thinking or step aside and let the future through. Innovation is a road that all can walk, not an Everest only few can summit. If you so choose, you can engage in new thinking by shedding the old. You can go to the coalface of your field where innovations are closest to hand, and you can make friends with failure. And then, you will be well on the way to creating a future worth chasing.


The compelling yet rustic and vulnerable bright-red paintbrush strokes boldly compose the words “No es fácil pero vale la pena” on the ever-intimidating blank canvas. The words (which read ‘It isn’t easy, but it sure is worth it’) come not from a glittery moment of inspiration in Abraham Mejia’s life, but from a not-always-sunlit journey, a pilgrimage of sorts. Abraham, a licensed architect and full-time visual artist and creator in Monterrey, Mexico has been through his own pilgrimage in the last two years. Two years in which both his life and also his personal art platform “Wise Advice” have reached new depths and at the same time further lengths. Upon deciding to leave behind his vast and horizontal desert hometown in Chihuahua, he ventured towards the vertical and protruding Monterrey, a city of mountains and high rises in northern Mexico. The polarised landscapes serve as a visual portrait of the changes Abraham encountered upon following God’s call on his life of embracing a new season to create and also build the church at our brand-new Monterrey location. After the initial excitement of churchplanting, interest nights, first Sunday, ‘firsteverything’ clashes with the challenges of being an independent artist making his way in a foreign highly competitive city, things tend to get complicated. Landing a permanent job at one of the nation’s most iconic branding agencies only a few months after moving was a great idea on paper, but after some months of daily grind, the fit was far from perfect. Being a visual artist who’s called to create and push the boundaries of ‘status-quo’, called to be disruptively human in craft, Abraham encountered the glossy world of branding design and marketing to be (although very inspiring and challenging to many) not inspiring or fitting for

him. With a cloudy confusion looming overhead concerning his work yet continuing to serve and lead as an active volunteer every Sunday, Abraham launched one of his most personal and revealing collections to date after coming to terms and making peace with embracing an “Always a Beginner” mentality. “Siempre Principiante” was like ‘entering a dark room and trying to paint’ says the twenty-seven-year-old painter-architect.

Approaching the vintage art of serigraphy as a beginner was in some ways a disadvantage, but in many others a unique and beautiful opportunity to create flawed yet perfectly imperfect pieces of the haunting two-word stanza. With this collection and other pieces, Abraham and his slow-burning ‘inception-like’ word conjectures, like seeds, started to not only grow roots but bear fruit in many spheres during this wild socially distanced era. Almost as if beauty, words and art are part of what God wants to use to heal our world, not necessarily from the physical, but spiritual condition of our age. Almost as if the fact that artists, therefore art, still lives here, sheds a light on a hope that says: “in the end, everything will be alright.” The church’s role in all of this process was not a small one, but a central one. In his own words “Church has been crucial in (my) life, especially in this season. Church has been the cradle from which all areas of my life have thrived, from spiritual to professional. My church community has been there for me through thick and thin, whether through walking alongside me or being the channel for God to provide miraculously in my life. I’m forever thankful for each and every one of my friends in our church that has believed in me.” In many ways, Mejia’s work carries a reflection of the faith community that surrounds him, showing the enormous growth and inspiration that staying planted gives to artists and creatives. It is with his both meticulous attention to detail uniquely paired with a contagious joie-de-vivre pace that Abraham has recently restarted his work in the field of architecture. In designing balanced and harmonious spaces or painting his next collection, all of Abraham’s art is, in many ways, similar to his journey. An ‘already-but-not-yet’ promise of things ‘here and now’ and also ‘yet to come’. His life is one already thriving yet full of the excitement for what’s ahead. An arrow pointing us to some of the deeper truths of what life is,: a sometimes sunny, sometimes rainy yet always multi-coloured journey of following God’s calm whisper thru the fiery noise of modern living. A life that, while not easy, is always well worth living to the fullest. @thewiseadvice

A DWELLING PLACE words & photography: Nicolette Kapp

It’s 05:50 on a Sunday morning. The city is still asleep with daylight breaking through the darkness. A quick stop for a coffee before the day starts. The neighbourhood is quiet with a cold winter wind howling through the streets of Cape Town. Upon arrival, one is greeted by a security guard opening the door, smiling, asking how your morning has been. First thoughts, it’s 06:00 in the morning, no normal person should be awake right now. Slowly walking through the foyer and up the stairs to the communications office. After the second try guessing the code and the door opens then welcomed by a familiar coffee stench from Friday afternoon. Bag packed out and ready to walk down the stairs through the production office to the main auditorium and greeted by thirty people at the front of the stage. Majority sipping coffee, dressed in all-black. Smiles all around, everyone getting briefed for the day. Then on the left, you have me. Just starring. Actually, just trying to wake up, but also just starring.

For a very long time, I had a dirty little secret that I thought I hid very well. I am a super competitive person and wanted to be the best photographer ever to exist (move aside Annie Liebovitz). My goal as a photographer was to outshoot anyone that joins the team; don’t get me wrong, I will make you feel welcome but not your work. The unfortunate reality is that I am driven by excellence and motivated by pressure. It was only when I hit rock bottom with debilitating depression that I realised it wasn’t actually about me or what I had to offer - but rather in the arts of others... When you roam around the back docks of any event you will see the unseen efforts and works of people from different walks of life. Life backstage is different. It’s a culture no one knows about. There is a lot that happens between the four walls of an arena. I’m intrigued by the people and this unfamiliar culture. This very thing that intrigued me so much, inspired me to make my work about others. Telling the vulnerable untold stories of other people, shining a light on what they have to offer… and not necessarily me.

“I realised that as I was telling their stories, they were uncovering mine.”

My dwelling place is any form of backstage / behindthe-scenes area - from Colour Conference, Jesus Culture to Micheal W. Smith. At this stage of my life, my work is the voice of people behind the scenes. It’s a gateway to a world most people don’t even know about. You will most probably never meet any of these people, but you might sit in an area where the audio sounds perfect, where the lights look amazing or notice that one volunteer who carries the mic onto the stage.

My photography wouldn’t mean anything without the people. I wouldn’t have anything to document if we all did the same thing. For me, it’s the tension of standing with an open hand and giving your gift to an audience waiting in anticipation. I had discovered that I had something of significance to offer. I had found a place to belong - amongst people behind the scenes and those with whom I could do life. I realised that as I was telling their stories, they were uncovering mine.

It’s these people - the people who “make” things happen behind the scenes - who inspired me to tell their stories. The Makers. The stories about individual creatives. From sound engineers to architects to blacksmiths - they have let me into their spaces and allowed me the privilege of watching them do what they do best. I listen and capture.

Love, nkp @nkp_journal is seen as a photographic journal, documenting behind the scenes for live entertainment with a heart is to tell the stories of OTHERS…(which was birthed from a Team Night message Cass Langton spoke a few year ago entitled OTHERS)

Photography: Nicolette Kapp

OH HEY CREATIVE SOUL Words: Alyce Aldous

Alyce, from our Greater Springfield Campus in QLD, is a qualified art therapist who uses expressive mediums such as play, dance, drama, photography, writing & visual arts to promote mental health and wellbeing. She currently works as a child, youth and family counsellor with a focus on early intervention, client-centred and strengths-focused practice.

He sees you! Do not be afraid, this is the safe place. He has seen you hesitate to pick up that camera. Go on, capture the glint in their eye, the beauty of creation, the important milestone. It is time to highlight the rhythms of life from a perspective that is all your own. Choosing to go further – to find the story and honestly believe in it. What if your stumbling words, your fledgling poems, simple chords, emerging sounds, paused frames... were toddlers, taking their first steps, tumbling, trying, skinning their knees, squealing with glee? What if it felt messy and uncomfortable like you’d been thrown around in a mud fight? What if in the process, you were discovering yourself, your gift, your place? Do you think in that process, God would hold you at a distance, disown you, hide you, forget you? As David grieved in Psalm 13, longing to been seen... He will breathe life into your Spirit, light to move you from despair before your heart closes. He has seen you in that hidden place. He has listened to your frustration and apprehensions. The part in your story no one knows. He has walked it with you. And in that place, He was protecting you, shielding you, holding you. Letting you ramble along weedy paths only you know. Leaning close to hear you whisper secrets and learning what you needed. Giving you room to grow, a chance to shine and space to breathe. Breathe/Selah. It’s time to step out into the light. Let the Spirit in you create, speak, and then create again. Take that one stroke, one photo, one moment, one stretch for the high kick. The surrender is not about perfecting a product but simply starting (and He’s in that process too). The dance of discovery comes where the shadow and light become companions. So find your companions, your people, your community, and cultivate a place that is collaborative, immersive, expressive and creative. Sit in the flow and explore your gifts, your whole self, your identity, and your roots again. Contained and comforted within this space, may you find healing, wholeness and clarity for the next chapter of your creative story. He loves you as you are. He is with you and He is working in you. You are seen and you are known. Welcome to the safe place.

OUR SWEET FRANKIE From Cass & Rich Langton

While everyone approached their covid summers differently, Cass and Rich (our Global Worship & Creative Pastor and Australia Creative Pastor) decided to buy a caravan! Rich shares their story through his eyes...

Normally (at least until 2020 came along), over the summer our family would holiday at some incredibly relaxing beach somewhere. We’d save up for it… and look forward to it for the whole year. We’d usually do nothing. Well, nothing but spend time together… and maybe read that book we hadn’t gotten to all year. If we felt like it we’d swim, but we’d definitely enjoy the sunshine and the long peaceful days. At some stage, as the days went on, we’d reflect on the year that had been and seek the Lord for the new year to come. It’s nothing and everything all at the same time. But, like I said, that was in a normal year! Last year, as 2020 was coming to a close, Cass and I could see our plans for a “normal” summer imploding like a slow motion scene from some crazy dystopian Hollywood movie. Borders were closed, restrictions

applied and our holiday plans were sent into a spin. I had no idea of the different plans God had for this summer. He had a project in mind that would set me up for the new year and prophetically prepare me for the direction our Church would take as we journey forward. Let me explain… to do that I’ll take you back to last November for a minute… Cass and I had been talking about the summer and how we wanted to make it a win for the family despite the restrictions. It was in that moment that she said a sentence I didn’t expect to hear from her and will probably never forget… She said “what if we rented a caravan over the summer?” I laughed out loud… then realised she was serious. “Yeah” I said. But I was thinking “there is no way!!”

And probably because I’m stingy, but also possibly to test how serious she was about camping, I replied with… “If we’re going to rent one, we’d probably be better off buying a cheap old one and doing it up”. I literally didn’t know what I was saying!!!! But, with that, Cass took to Gumtree to see what might be possible. Needless to say, she was optimistic we’d find something “cute”… and I was “realistic” about what we may actually end up with. Long story short, two days later we were the proud owners of a “cute” and “realistic” 1970’s Franklin Regent Caravan which Cass appropriately name “Frankie”. And as I began working on restoring the old van, the Lord began working on me too.

He’s taught me so much over these last few months. I’ve realised afresh that neglecting the little things can cause huge problems. Like in the caravan, over the years small cracks had developed in the window seals. These cracks caused leaks and water had gotten into the walls which rotted out the foundations. The previous owners didn’t do the regular maintenance that was needed, they ignored the regular work and it caused major problems. We can all do that in our lives, can’t we? We can so easily ignore the little things. The unanswered doubts, the “small” sins, the negative thinking, all the stuff that can get in and ruin our foundations. We neglect the word of God, and prayer… and we try to think it’s not going to affect anything. But it does have an effect. Like in the caravan, ignoring the little things can result in becoming hollow, and empty on the inside.

“Like in the caravan, ignoring the little things can result in becoming hollow, and empty on the inside.”

“The reality is, it’s taken longer, been harder and cost more than I could have imagined. It’s also been more fun and more rewarding that I could have ever hoped for.”

After I discovered that those cracks had allowed water into the walls, I soon found that it had attracted ants as well. There was literally a colony of the little omnivorous enemies living inside the walls of our “cute” looking caravan. And as a result, I’ve learnt that it’s what under the surface of our lives that really matters. Ants eat everything. They eat away at whatever is in front of them. Makes me think about the stuff under the surface of our lives. What’s in there? Is it feeding us or eating away on our souls? The Bible reminds us that God looks at the heart. But also tells us that the heart can be deceitful. We sometimes don’t even know our own hearts, that’s why real, authentic community is so important. Without it, stuff can get in and change our hearts. We think we’re okay, but under the surface there can be a different story. The other thing I’ve rediscovered as I’ve worked on the caravan is that there’s no getting away from the truth that a Godly life takes tenacity, strength of character and a commitment to finishing well.

“I’ve learnt that it’s what under the surface of our lives that really matters.” I obviously didn’t know what I was getting myself into with the caravan. I was naive. I thought it would be done quickly and with no work. The reality is, it’s taken longer, been harder and cost more than I could have imagined. It’s also been more fun and more rewarding that I could have ever hoped for. It’s not finished, but it’s on it’s way to becoming more than I thought it could be. The journey of faith is exactly like that, isn’t it? We want it to be something it’s not. We can be naive. But I know it to be true that life in Christ is always better than we could dream if we enter into the work of becoming. If we put our “hand to the plough” and actively “seek God with all our heart, mind and

strength”. I’m not sure how 2020 left you. What plans you had that didn’t happen. And I don’t know what 2021 will look like for any of us. But I do know that God has it all in hand. He wastes nothing. He wants to work on, in and through us. And I believe He’s inviting us to do the same. And so we’ve committed to learning the God-lessons He’s got for us… even from an old caravan. We’re not going to ignore the little things. We will work on the heart of things, and the stuff that can eat away at us “under the surface”. And we will do all we can to grow in tenacity, in character. We will do the work. We will finish well. So as we continue to work on the caravan and our own lives, we invite you to do the same and let’s watch as He rescues, rebuilds, and restores us in the days to come.

BEHIND THE SHOOT Words: Sarah Laing

As Colour Conference, our global women’s movement, celebrates its 25th anniversary, we chat with Conference Art Director Nicole ‘Noodle’ Scott for a behind-the-scenes look at the 2021 Byron Bay shoot. Last year, amid COVID-19 regulations, Black Lives Matter protests and global economic uncertainty, Hillsong’s design team embarked on a mission, led by Art Director Noodle Scott, to capture photos and footage for the Colour Conference 2021 campaign. “It was a crazy time to be shooting. COVID impacted every area of the shoot, from the amount of people we could take, to where we stayed, to how we travelled, to where we could get clothes from. We had costumes we were borrowing from friends overseas arrive two weeks after the shoot, and we had to send them straight back,” Scott says.

(Houston, Colour Conference founder) is talking about the intimacy of God, and so to visually represent that is hard. It takes a lot of thought, a lot of praying, a lot of reading, and then trying to bring it to life visually,” Scott says. Founded by Hillsong’s Co-Global Senior Pastor Bobbie Houston in 1995, Colour Conference has generated a global following over the past two decades. More than 47,000 women and girls attend the conference every year in Sydney, London, Cape Town, Kiev, LA and New York. This year, for the first time, the conference will be exclusively online.

“I think each year we just add a little bit more to With experience art directing more than 20 Colour the conference campaign, rather than reinvent it. It Conference shoots in locations such as India, works, it honours women in such a beautiful way,” China and Las Vegas, Scott approached the 2021 says Scott. “The Colour conversation started 25 conference theme ‘Be Found In The Kiss: Tender, years ago and it hasn’t stopped or changed. The Divine, Eternal’, with lots of research. mandate, message and words Bobbie put over the conference are still current to this day.” “The Kiss is hard to represent visually. It’s really obvious, because a kiss is a practical thing and everyone knows what that looks like, but Bobbie

Remaining true to the conference’s core mission of placing value upon womanhood was an important consideration for Scott when planning the 2021 shoot. “A piece of feedback from our last shoot really touched me. It was a college student and she had always thought of herself, for lack of a better word, as a tomboy. She had never felt comfortable thinking about being at girls’ things or women’s groups, but she said the photos from our campaign made her feel, for the first time, part of a greater sisterhood,” says Scott. “I started thinking, how can we do this (shoot) better? I read Bobbie’s Sisterhood Declaration (a mandate outlining Colour Conference’s key values) which talks about women of every age, status and background. It couldn’t be more inclusive.”

represented, and we did our best,” she says. “Who knows, some women still may think they weren’t represented but I think everyone will get the idea. Some women love sport, some women love writing...we tried to represent everything.” Preparation for the three-day shoot started two months in advance. One of the biggest planning challenges was finding a shoot location. “The COVID-19 restrictions made it more difficult, because our variety of locations was greatly condensed. It wasn’t just Australia, we were restricted to the state of New South Wales,” says Scott.

“When Bobbie first spoke to me about the kiss of my mind, I went to the idea of mansions in heaven. A beautiful, amazing place we can’t even dream about here on earth. So, I went in search of a palace-of-heaven type place Scott, together with her team, decided to shoot we could get to within New South Wales, that fit nine different characters to represent different within our modest budget,” Scott says. faces of womanhood: the business woman, the athlete, the wise woman, the wild woman, the After much research, Scott came across a french domestic goddess, the studious woman, the style estate located in Byron Bay’s picturesque adventurer, the artist and the musician. Hinterland region. Boasting antique furnishings, and surrounded by lush rainforests and fields, the “I thought, why don’t we draw from the basics property provided several different environments and create a shoot where all women are to shoot.

“From the second we walked on the property, I knew it was the right place. I felt a peace about it, I felt like somehow God had provided us with this little piece of Europe in New South Wales,” she says.

of 2020.

Travelling to the property with a small crew for the shoot including volunteer stylists and models, a photographer and video operator, Scott says relying on her instincts and being ready to change plans at the last minute proved an invaluable tool. One of the signature shots in this year’s campaign was captured spontaneously in twelve minutes.

“Bobbie’s preparing an important message that’s valuable, strong and inclusive. I think it’s going to change people’s lives. I think even the strongest, most put-together woman will show up and still walk away changed.”

“We’d just sat down to eat dinner and thought the day had wrapped when I noticed the sun setting over the property’s fields,” says Scott. “I turned to our video editor and asked ‘how long have we got until the sun actually finishes setting, until darkness comes?’, and he was like ‘probably 12 minutes’.” “So we gathered our models, raced to the field and started filming. I’ve never seen girls get ready so fast in my life, but it was worth it; the photos and video footage look stunning,” Scott says. Scott hopes this year’s conference campaign brings fresh hope to women after the difficulties

“I hope there’s some healing in hearts that are hurt, I hope people get a glimpse of this campaign and see the beauty in Christianity,” says Scott.

Colour Conference 2021 Online is live streamed 12th-13th March 2021. Tickets can be purchased from:


This year’s stunning campaign photos were shot by photographer River Bennett, who has worked on five Colour Conference campaigns “I just loved the whole concept of capturing women from all spheres of life and how it had the ability to connect with individuals,” she says. “I really enjoyed shooting the portraits they felt almost like exaggerated characters so, creatively, it was fun piecing them together,” she says. Close collaboration with Art Director Noodle Scott and careful planning were key to capturing the 2021 Colour Conference photos. “I am a huge believer in preparation. I find 90 per cent of shoots are preparation and 10 per cent is actually shooting the campaign,” Bennett says. “The first thing I do is sit down with Noodle and we go through the brief. I then head down and for the next few weeks I formulate how I want to shoot the photos. I work out lighting and lenses and camera gear. I also have personal time with God, reread the brief and make sure I can hear what He wants to do.”

Bennett looks for several components when capturing a Colour Conference campaign photo. “Firstly, I like to find out where the model is at - is she nervous in front of camera? Is she feeling good in what she is wearing? I often find if they are comfortable with me and the wardrobe, and have clear direction of what we are trying to achieve, we get the best out of them,” she says. “There is a lot of trial and error in taking the right shots but once you get it right it’s incredibly fulfilling. Through photography, I believe you can tell a story without saying or hearing anything. I believe through a lens you can break down barriers, smash a few religious walls and open hearts to the things of God.”

THE PROPS A flute, chicken and tennis racquets were some of the props used in the shoot. Conference Project Manager Nikita Hazra says, “For the domestic goddess scene, we handmade heaps of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. I bought almost all the bread from the tiny supermarket close to our shoot. I think I smelt like peanut butter and jelly for days afterwards.” For another shoot in the property’s pool, the crew blew up 40 balloons by hand, after the helium tank they were using ran out of gas. “I’ve learnt not to say you can’t do something until you’ve tried every possible option. That’s how you get the beautiful shots. It’s never a ‘no we can’t do it’, it’s ‘we’ll try’, and 99.9 per cent of the time it always works out,” says Hazra.


Shoot stylists Joanna and Susanna Olasoji and Alicia Feebrey sourced second-hand clothes from friends and thrift shops for the shoot, making use of soft fabrics to provide a romantic feel. “We always have a thing for organza, it’s very regal and there’s something about the fabric that just flows in the air and is very heavenly. It really reflects the gentle, lovely words used to frame the 2021 Conference,” says Joanna. “Tulle is obviously the material for weddings, and represents the beauty of matrimony and the purity of love. It represents being one with Christ, something beautiful and lovely,” says Susanna.


Six models were used in the Colour 2021 shoot. “We tried to keep the girls the same as previous campaigns. The faces continue the journey, and people are familiar with them,” says Scott. “We knew that these girls really understood Colour Conference’s message of valuing women. They’re not just pretty faces but are a big part of our (Hillsong) church.” Twin sisters Joanna and Susanna Olasoji, who styled the shoot, were also featured as models. Joanna says being able to contribute to the shoot behind and in front of the camera was a rewarding experience. “Having a say in the visual communication of the campaign is amazing because it shows there is a seat at the table for young women. We’re not just featured in the campaign, but playing a role in the execution too,” she says. “It was also amazing to get the perspective of being a model as well. Now, when we style people, we know how it feels to be in front of the camera!”


The final conference promo video took five weeks to create and incorporated several rounds of meticulous edits. Video Editor Jonathan Zerger says the time and hard work paid off. “I think the final video is very powerful…we showcase women in different walks of life which is such a strong image,” he says. “We also incorporate some amazing visual techniques. For one scene, we split photos into a collage, which looks great on screen.” The video editing process was not without challenge. After filming, one of the shoot’s hard drives containing most of the footage broke and had to be sent away for repair. “It was very tight to finish the video...I think I had three days to collate all the right shots once I received the missing footage. I knew exactly where I wanted to put footage, but I couldn’t get to it and had to wait. It was very frustrating, but it all came together in the end,” says Zerger. Zerger hopes people are able to connect with the video on a personal level. “I hope that they (the viewer) see themselves in the video.”

// Altars // Words piled up, like stonesAnd poems whispered in secret, And penned in obedience Became like altars, built in wild places. Altars raised to punctuate The journey, trod by my feet. Written signposts for those that walk this way, after me. Stony landmarks to stop at, And rest at, and remember at. Places where fire can fall again on sacrifice, Until everything, but love Goes up in smoke. +++

Words: Abbie Herring

MEET MUTIYANI Words: Rebecca Ray and Joy Wijaya

Mutiyani Parwanti, or Muti as her friends call her, is a visual artist from our Bali campus with an incredible journey of discovering the artist within her. Born with a rare genetic condition called Apert Syndrome, she was faced with health hardship from her very first breath. This rare genetic condition that deforms the skull, hands and toes, caused her hands to form without finger separation. Growing up, she had to undergo two finger separation surgeries, and unlike others, she had to adapt and learn, again and again, how to use her hands after each surgery. Yes, despite her condition, even from an early age, Muti showed great interest in art. These included drawing, collages, and creating mini building models.

finding the best composition or shapes is like allowing myself to make mistakes and then forgive those mistakes simultaneously. There’s no competition or rivalry, no obligation to figure everything out all at once. Art should be enjoyed. It should be freeing. The process from it being just a blank page to a complete creation excites me.” When COVID began to spread across Bali Muti’s work as a thriving Wedding Decorator/Designer quickly came to a stop. The wedding industry in Bali is a thriving one; over 10,000 weddings in 2019 alone. Suddenly Bali went from having hundreds of weddings a week to completely none in six months, and Muti was one of the many people who were out of work.

After gaining a degree in Interior Design, Muti went on a mission trip to one of the villages in Java, and she experienced God’s immense, tangible love towards her. She felt she had to write about it. Even though she didn’t feel confident, she picked up a pencil and a paper and started writing. She realized that her hand couldn’t help but place some artistry into her writing and without her realizing she started hand lettering for the very first time.

As a church we prayed, constantly seeking God for those who lost their jobs, especially within our creative community, for God to open new doors and opportunities. We then started seeing a shift; God opened doors for many of our creatives and Muti was one of them. God opened new doors for her and her art… she started doing murals at cafes, workspaces, restaurants, and she is now doing what she thought was still far in her future.

She then enrolled in an art school and her art teachers saw something special within her art. They invested in her and she found a love for pencilwork. The texture it creates, how each stroke has imperfect “freckles” yet still has the ability to make a perfect, harmonious piece.

Everything she paints points to Christ, the master artist, who gave artistry to her hands when they were deemed deformed. Because for Muti, “there is nothing in this world that could come close to the feeling of being unconditionally loved by The Creator, and if the talent that God gave me can help others realize and feel His love then I’m all in.”

She said, “writing this way, putting visual artistry in words, is like being honest with myself. The journey of

CHASING AUTHENTICITY Words: Lindley Joyner As the Evil Good Documentary finishes final edits, Lindley Joyner, a Programming Executive for Hillsong Channel, (with his own background in documentary filmmaking) sits down with Senior Editor Sam Irving to talk about his editing journey of Evil Good and what it takes to craft story.

For a number of us on the Film and Television team, our careers all began with the same dream, we wanted to make movies. Nine years ago, Sam Irving, the editor of Hillsong Channel’s first feature film project put his name down for film school with that same aspiration. After graduating in 2015, Sam found himself as the freshest member of the thentwelve strong Hillsong Film & Television team. Like all the new recruits, Sam was enlisted as the new church news editor. Back then, church news was like a right of passage, it was the project they put you on to see if you had skills. Spoiler. Sam had skills. He crushed church news. Fast forward to 2020. Sam is now a senior member of the sixty-plus strong Global Hillsong Film & Television team (including Hillsong Channel) and has worked on almost every major project the team has tackled in recent years. Despite all this, Sam was genuinely shocked when he found himself in the editor’s chair of this feature film documentary, Evil Good. What’s Evil Good? It’s Hillsong Channel’s most ambitious project to date. It’s a gripping true-crime documentary with a faith twist and depicts the first-hand account of expolice detective Victor Escoto (yep, Eli’s dad). And, as it nears completion, I was able to persuade Sam to take his eyes off the colour grade for a few minutes to talk about his experience on the film.

Screenshots from the editing, graphics and colour grading process.

Based on events in Victor Escoto’s life.

LJ: Have you been watching a lot of documentaries while you’ve been working on the film? LJ: From church news to feature film. I’m guessing they feel worlds apart? Sam: In a lot of ways they don’t. I’m using the same tools, the same software and the same tricks that I’ve learnt along the way. I still come to work every morning, sit at my desk and chip away at the timeline on my screen like any other day. Most of the same principles that apply to working on a thirty-second church news ad also apply to a ninety-minute documentary. Everything’s just bigger. There’s a weird comfort in that, knowing that the dream in some ways looks the same. On the other hand, I’m extremely aware that working on Evil Good has been an amazing opportunity and in the moments when the pressure’s been on, I’ve reminded myself that I used to dream of doing this. LJ: Even though there were a lot of similarities to previous projects, were there any creative aspects on Evil Good that were new to you? Sam: Yes, keeping secrets. Because there’s an element of mystery in Evil Good and a pivotal plot twist towards the end, deciding what the viewer needs to know and when they need to know it is critical. We wanted to keep people in the dark with just enough light to see the path ahead. That was new to me. When we work on church stories, we try to tell them in the most uncomplicated way possible. That means not manipulating the flow of information. I’ve really enjoyed the challenge of leaving the right amount of crumbs for the audience to follow. LJ: Does that process affect the integrity of the story? Sam: Ben Field, the executive producer, and Paul Nevison, the director, both said something similar to me about that. Accuracy and authenticity are not the same. Yes it’s a documentary and we need to tell the story accurately, but as filmmakers, authenticity is what we’re most concerned with. So if making a small adjustment to the sequence of events means we are capturing the most authentic moment possible, that’s ok. We’re serving the story.

Sam: Not really, but I try to watch movies whenever I can. I think it’s helped me mostly on a subconscious level. It’s not like we say “let’s use this technique from this film or let’s do what they did in that scene”. It’s more about having an intuition for what makes a good story and a good film because you’ve watched hundreds or maybe even thousands of them. LJ: Did you have any doubts or insecurities when you came onto the project? Sam: The scale of it was a bit intimidating but mostly it was my own expectation of myself and really wanting to do a good job. When you dream of doing something for a long time and you finally get the opportunity to do it, you feel like this is your shot and you want to prove to yourself that you have it in you. LJ: Did you feel pressure to get things right the first time? Sam: I don’t think so. Trial and error is a big part of the process. I’ve learned not to take feedback personally. It’s not about me getting it right or wrong, it’s about me making the best film possible. Doing that means lots of drafts and lots of feedback. To give you an idea, we’ve done about 100 drafts of the full ninetyminute timeline but within that, there was probably at least a dozen drafts of each individual scene. That goes for the graphics and the colour grade as well. LJ: So how do you know when a scene or a graphic is finished? Sam: Two answers - one, when the director says so. Two, I heard a quote once, and I’m probably butchering it but it said something like “a script is never finished, it’s just released.” I don’t like to settle for good enough but there just comes a point where you have to say it’s done and move on. LJ: Now that the film is just about finished, are you going to miss it? Sam: It’ll be bittersweet. Like any other project, it will be satisfying to see it finished but I’ll definitely miss it when it’s gone. I feel ready for the next challenge, as long as it’s not church news.

YOUTH & WISDOM MELODIE WAGNER from our Y&F team sits down for a conversation with MI-KAISHA MASELLA a young artist full of talent, wisdom and grace.

MELODIE: So, you’re a key part of the City Campus and are well-loved in our Youth & Young Adults community. For anyone that hasn’t had the opportunity to meet you yet, would you tell us a bit about yourself and what you do? MI-KAISHA: My name is Mi-kaisha Rose Masella, but my friends call me Kaisha or just Kaish. I am 20 years old. I am a Sydney girl, born and raised. My mum is Darumbal Aboriginal and South Sea Islander, and my dad is from Tonga. I am a singer-songwriter and love learning and studying. (I’m currently completing my undergrad degree majoring in Music & minoring in Indigenous Studies). MELODIE: What has your creative journey been like and how did you come to be the promising young creative you are today? MI-KAISHA: I stand on the shoulders of giants and can wholeheartedly say that without my community, both in church and in the Indigenous community, I wouldn’t have been afforded many of the opportunities I have had to explore, develop and have fun with my creativity. Ultimately, my creative journey is a result of others’ generosity. MELODIE: In 2019 you moved to New York City to

study at the prestigious Clive Davis Institute of Recorded Music. Tell us what it was like uprooting life as you knew it and pursuing your dream? MI-KAISHA: It was always my dream to study at Clive, but I’m a homebody and love my family and community in Aus so deeply, which made leaving a super bittersweet experience. Something about moving to the other side of the world is that you’re almost completely disconnected from everything you’ve ever known and it’s just you, God and a very big city with a lot of strangers. The most beautiful (and challenging) part about moving to NYC was

“Ultimately, my creative journey is a result of others’ generosity” having all the ‘things’ stripped away. I felt God constantly asking me, “Who are you without all of the labels? Without all of the worldly things that you often identify with?” It forced me to truly surrender and grow into a new level of dependence on God that I believe can only come from those deeply challenging seasons of struggle and being completely out of your depth. That being said, it was also the most exciting and fun season I’ve had yet!

“I’ve always felt a responsibility to speak truth and seek justice in all the spaces I occupy.”

Photography: Luke Currie-Richardson

MELODIE: As well as being a gifted artist, you’re a role model, in both church and the wider community. Has being an example always come naturally to you? When did you find your voice - when it came to advocating for others? MI-KAISHA: I’ve always felt a responsibility to speak truth and seek justice in all the spaces I occupy, whether that be in school, university, church and even in my own home. Like I said before, everything I know has been taught to me by the many mentors and strong women in my life and God has taught me to always listen humbly when someone’s opinions and experiences differ from my own. I often remind myself that I didn’t always know what I know now, and it took someone having patience with me to help me learn. MELODIE: I’m personally inspired by the way Indigenous cultures honour their ancestors and all those who have gone before them. As a proud Aboriginal and Tongan woman, what does honouring your heritage and ancestors look like for you? MI-KAISHA: Honouring my heritage and ancestors for me means always being unapologetically myself and stepping into who my community has raised me to be. I know many cultures in Australia, and all around the world, feel the pressure to blend in with the mainstream, to conform. I honour my ancestors by showing my pride and love for my culture and its traditions and sharing that with others. I honour my ancestors by reconnecting with the parts of culture that have been erased or shunned by Western colonial systems. We’ve survived as a people for over 80,000 years and we did that by caring for one another and by maintaining our cultural and social responsibilities to our Mob (our language group & community). I aspire to build up and speak life into the generations to come exactly as my ancestors have done for me. MELODIE: In 2019 you were named National NAIDOC Week Youth of the Year! What does that honour mean to you today? MI-KAISHA: NAIDOC week is a massive celebration in the Indigenous calendar & to have my community

“I often remind myself that I didn’t always know what I know now, and it took someone having patience with me to help me learn.”

acknowledge me at the National NAIDOC Awards was just so special. It wasn’t so much the award itself that holds significance for me, but what that award represents. It means that my community, the very people who raised me and built me up, are proud of the young woman I am growing into. It was such a beautiful encouragement to receive and an honour to be in the room with so many important leaders who have helped shape Australian history. MELODIE: Writer and poet Amiri Baraka once said, “The artist’s role is to raise the consciousness of the people. To make them understand life, the world and themselves more completely.” Do you have a memory of a ‘becoming conscious’ moment where an artwork, song, or person inspired you and made you see the world differently? MI-KAISHA: Music has always informed my awareness of the world around me, but I think that awareness grew much deeper when I discovered Billie Holiday’s Strange Fruit. I think it is one thing to read about the atrocities of our history, but to be forced to feel it is something totally different. This song gave me a profound understanding of what injustice was and what it feels like at a very young age. The feeling I got when listening to this song was the same feeling I got when hearing about Australia’s history. It helped me channel my yearning for justice into my music and writing. MELODIE: In closing, as someone who uses their art and platform to bring light to causes you’re passionate about, what would you say about how creativity and justice can come together to be a force for social change? MI-KAISHA: One of my most favourite things about music is that it is often centred around a feeling. It has the power to break chains and open hearts. Through my music, I am presented with an opportunity to deliver a message to people who don’t necessarily want to hear that message. It is an opportunity to interrogate peoples’ hearts and minds and give them a glimpse of my own. It is a challenge and I often don’t have the right words to articulate the complex discourse I am having with myself in my head, but music is the tool I use to express that unrest and that yearning to see our country do better.

MELODIE: Thank you for taking the time to talk! Is there anything you’re currently working on and where can we keep up with everything you’re doing? MI-KAISHA: I’m always writing and working on music...and also always struggling with that inner critique ha! But aren’t we all? I will be releasing my first single, Brand New, this March & now that I’ve said that it has to happen, so please help keep me accountable! Love you guys, the creative team, so much and am so grateful for the wonderful community and safe space you guys have created.

“I often remind myself that I didn’t always know what I know now, and it took someone having patience with me to help me learn.” @iammikaisha

// a meditation on creativity // sometimes my fingers itch with wild energy running from knuckle to fingertip, digits fidgeting until I make something that can exist outside of me. sometimes my chest inflates with a restless longing for beauty, an irresistible urge to call something forth from the void and breathe life into it. and I wonder, was it like that for you? did the urge to create become so undeniable, that you were compelled to speak into the darkness to release the lightning running up and down your tongue, shaping words into a universe of perpetual creation. +++

Words: Chantale Roxanas

// hard work: a meditation on hope // let us do the hard work of hope singing in the darkness, rising after the unravelling, planting joy among the rubble, so that tomorrow can grow into the beauty today can only dream of +++

Words: Chantale Roxanas

MIC DROPS FROM THE MICROPOD William Adoasi from Episode 147 “My creativity is often birthed by pairing my frustrations with my passions.”

“I feel like so many people are intimidated by the scale of their dreams that they end up doing nothing at all. You just need to take one step every single day. Do one small thing, take one step every single day, then you look back after a year and realize that you’ve climbed that massive mountain that looked unsurmountable.”

“I’d never seen a black person running a watch company. That was part of my motivation, was to show that I can do this; this is a field we can dominate in too.”

[When deciding whether or not to use their savings to start VitaeLondon] “Worst-case scenario, I’ll get another job in the future and build this money back up. But best-case scenario, we can impact thousands of lives. Now whenever we sell a watch, we help support free education for children in Africa.”

“My parents wanted to build a better tomorrow for us, in spite of them having to take some steps backwards to make that happen.”



Can the words artisan and athlete co-exist in the same sentence? Dominique and Steven Klein experienced first-hand the juxtaposition of strength, capacity and rhythm to reinvent their understanding of dance. Dom grew up in California and started dancing at four years old. She loved exploring the musicality of dance with her twin sister. They were home-schooled by their parents, and dance was a big part of their primary school curriculum. Training, precision and structured studio time was a big part of her fitness journey. However, when she shifted to Australia and found herself newly married to Steve, she struggled to maintain her performance levels. Her passion for dance waned. Steve grew up in Queensland and always had a huge passion for sport of any kind (except maybe swimming). He started lifting weights at sixteen to strengthen up for soccer and enjoyed it so much that he went on to study fitness and received accreditation as a personal trainer. He now creates training programs, believing in the importance of strength training for well-being. This passion and experience from their love of training in two different studio environments made them wonder if the artistry of movement and strength training could combine to help dancers thrive. Dom and Steve founded Artisan Athletes in December of 2020. Together they help dancers fine-tune their bodies through cross-training. It looked like branching off from solely training in the dance studio to include workouts based around strength and conditioning, which brought together both of their specialities. Dom was resistant to the idea of the gym because she didn’t want to bulk up. Her understanding of the gym relevance for dance was limited to yoga and pilates training. She couldn’t see how weight-based strength training could combine with the fluidity that dance requires. After many requests, she finally agreed to join Steve for a weight session and even though Dom had danced for over two decades, she realised she had so much to learn about the body and the importance of strength and conditioning.

Steve liked the challenge of creating programs for dancers because they are very coordinated and highly skilled at learning new routines and, in his experience, can train hard. They saw a need for combining these disciplines when, as dancers grow older, the time they have to dedicate to their craft gets harder to balance with the expectations of teenage and adult life. The combination of these training styles enabled Dom to see vast improvements in her athleticism, and it was these results that ignited a passion for helping other dancers learn how to cross-train. Together they created a six-week workout program designed to increase dancers’ fitness and agility for their craft. As a couple, they are passionate about creating opportunities that enrich your artistic endeavour even with a busy lifestyle. Their goal for Artisan Athletes is to have general fitness programs to help anyone take their fitness to the next level and programs that focus on specific performance goals. When asked what it was like working together as a married couple, Steve replied, “It’s great working with my wife. Dom has a lot of good ideas and is excellent at making decisions. She knows what dancers need. We have many laughs, and each day consists of some conflict, like all great things, and we are enjoying working together. Dom reflected on working as a couple “It’s fun, and we love to go on walks with our puppy, Woody, to talk through our ideas. We each have different strengths, and I’m loving seeing them bring out the best in each other.” Tom Freston (founder of MTV) encouraged us by saying, “innovation is taking two things that exist and putting them together in a new way.” The brilliance of combining two different kinds of creative craft and reinventing the impact is that we each learn from one another to learn and grow. So, can athleticism and artistry, the lyrical nature of dance and the squat rack combine? Absolutely. We are growing strong together!




FRIENDS WITH INSTAGRAM while the concept of “art inspiring art” is not new there are always fresh ways to discover it

Photography: Jonathan Zerger

Evie Gallardo In the beginning of 2020 I decided to do something completely out of my comfort zone – I decided to wake up before my kids in the mornings and go for a walk. I’ve never been the ‘exercise type’; I’ve disliked sports growing up and I remember having to choose between music and sports and music always won. So, waking up early to go for a walk was a big call for me! The weeks went by and we went into lockdown and the morning walks turned into a morning run and then turned into my ‘life-support’. What was first arduous work turned into something I looked forward to each day and I started to realise that the time I spent walking/running, listening to Scripture and praying became my holy ground. One day I had the idea of taking a photo a day as I walked – I once heard that taking photos while you’re walking or are surrounded by nature helps you stay present to that moment – so I’m now choosing something that catches my eye to admire and to capture on my phone (Some days it’s the sunrise, others a pattern I find in plants, other days the trees). One morning as I opened my Instagram I noticed Kellie Andrew had tagged me on a post. And to my surprise, a couple of photos I posted that week had caught her attention, so she decided to paint the images I captured. She is incredibly gifted as an artist and it has been such a pleasure watching her journey develop, especially during this COVID season. I was so honoured that my very simple, badly edited iPhone shot of jacaranda petals on the floor with my tired feet sneaking on the side would have caught her eye. To me that was a reminder that God works in weaving lives and stories together, that even though church life and our involvement on team might look different in this season, God is still using beauty, creation and creativity to encourage, spur and point us forward as a community. So here’s to more creativity inspiring creativity, more art inspiring art!

Photography: Evie Gallardo

Kellie Andrew I have a series of paintings called “Friends with Instagram.” It’s an ever-growing collection of acrylic paintings on card paper and canvas. I often admire the photography skills of my friends online. I scroll through Instagram taking in the everyday adventures of my friends. Some days I feel a real connection - a zing - my eyes love the composition of a simple photo. This is the story of Evie’s feet. In the photo she was walking, on lush green grass with a smattering of jacaranda petals. It was a simple photo showing her shoes on this adventure, but I felt inspired to paint it. So I did. I love the idea that a simple photo, the creative output of one person, can be used to inspire another person’s version of it. I feel like we, as creatives, should bounce off each other’s creativeness, using everything we see, hear, feel, experience, in our daily life to inspire our own art. I often get to paint with live music playing, as my art studio is next to my husband’s music studio. His art inspires my art. Evie’s random Instagram photographs inspire my art. Nature inspires my art. As long as you’re looking, inspiration can come from anywhere, because art is everywhere.

// Sand //

The sand sinks and shifts beneath me, As I stand on the shoreline. And I think about the billions of grains, Holding me up. The sand that surges and swells Against the swimmers as they navigate the relentless waves. The millions that are scooped, and pressed into crumbling castles by my children’s clumsy hands. And then, I think on the trillions way out there, In the deep In all of the unseen spaces Between me and the horizon. And I marvel at your thoughts of me And how you’ve had eternity to think them. +++

Words: Abbie Herring


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Testament the Label Elizabeth Tatenda | Western Australia

WHAT DO YOU DO? I’m a fashion designer. WHEN DID YOU START? I started designing clothes when I was quite young and went to university to study Fashion Design. I’ve been running Testament the Label for a year now. WHY DID YOU CHOSE THAT PATH? Growing up, I was in love with dressing up like most little girls are! I’d make clothes for my dolls and teddies. When I was old enough to dress myself, I jumped at the chance to explore my ever-changing style. For me this path felt natural, it felt like the only thing that I could ever imagine myself doing. WHICH TOOL COULD YOU NOT DO WITHOUT? My trusty sewing machine! WHAT ARE YOU WORKING ON RIGHT NOW? I’m currently working on a custom-made wedding dress, it’s the second wedding dress I’ve made so far! Whilst something as special as a wedding dress is a bit of pressure, I feel so privileged to make someone’s day special with a unique dress! ONE THING THAT WE SHOULD KNOW ABOUT YOU? I’m quite obsessed with Myers-Briggs personality types and I’m an INFJ. WHAT INSPIRES YOU? Stories and storytelling. I think anything can tell a story. I’m inspired by legends, folklore, stories and landscapes that you can find in the Bible. All of these inspire fabric and colour choices, influence the silhouette I create within each garment. WHO DO YOU LOOK UP TO? My sister, not only is she a great sounding board for ideas, I watch her chase her dreams everyday and that inspires me to chase mine. BIGGEST LESSON YOU’VE LEARNT? The biggest lesson I’ve learned is to just go for it! When I was starting my label, I wanted to have all my ducks in a row and I wanted everything to be perfect. I worried so much about what people would think, or if my clothes were too expensive. I learned that everyone needs to start somewhere and I grew and adapted as I went. WHAT DO YOU STAND FOR? I called my label Testament because I wanted my work to be a testament of my beliefs and values, my dedication to excellence. I stand for equality in the fashion industry and an environmentally conscious design process. BEST PIECE OF ADVICE YOU’VE RECEIVED? Don’t undervalue yourself and your gift. WHAT’S YOUR NEXT GOAL? My next goal is to release a full collection. FAVOURITE CREATIVE ACHIEVEMENT SO FAR? My graduate collection, Adhara. It was the most challenging collection I’ve ever designed and completed in such a short amount of time. AND THE BIGGEST CHALLENGES? My biggest challenge so far has been operating the business end of the label with no experience, it’d definitely been a learning curve but I’ve learned so much! WHAT ARE YOU GRATEFUL FOR? The support I’ve had from friends and family in starting this journey! WHERE CAN WE SEE YOUR WORK? my portfolio:, my website: or instagram @testamentlabel

Top image: Designer Elizabeth Tatenda Bottom images Testament the Label pieces

HE and HER The Label Rachel Ussher | Victoria

TELL US ABOUT YOURSELF? My name is Rachel, I’m a collector of vintage treasures, I have three amazing little girls and I run a kids clothing label called He and Her the Label. I’ve been working in the Aus fashion industry for over 15 years now and I genuinely love it. I love the design process; dreaming up something then seeing it realised in a garment, then having someone choose that piece of clothing to express their own style and uniqueness. TELL US A BIT ABOUT YOUR BRAND? He and Her the Label is an staple wardrobe collection for children. We focus on producing premium children basics, with a neutral colour palette and unisex styling to create an all year-round collection; meaning that we carry Summer - Winter all year round. I started it when I was pregnant with my first daughter Florin almost eight years ago. We went through a crazy journey of expanding super quick and being in over 70 stockists in Australia & internationally, to then reigning it all back in in order for it to work with the seasons that we were navigating (insert 2 extra kids along the way & juggling & building a business during nap times.) WHY DID YOU CHOOSE THIS PATH? I’ve always loved textiles and clothes. I remember when I was in primary school my Nan taught me to sew. She had this cupboard of all her clothes from the 30’s / 40’s / 50’s and I used to look through them all and just be in awe. I would go over to her house after school and she’d pull out a wad of fabric for me to make something with. I’d often fashion lace curtains into dresses and skirts or turn pillowcases and bedsheets into tops and slip dresses. I then later went on to study textiles at uni where I developed a real love for fabrics. I’ve always thought that clothes are more than just things we put on. Fabrics and clothes hold memories for us. They can transport us back to amazing moments in our life. Think of wedding dresses for example - we treasure them and when we look at them they bring back all the memories and emotions of that day. It feels like a real privilege to be able to create something that someone else loves and chooses to express themselves with. WHAT ARE YOU WORKING ON NOW? Always working on the next collection, currently thinking about Summer updates for 2022. I have the luxury of not having to stick to the trends or even the seasons too closely as the collection is all about ALL SEASON dressing, so it allows me to inject new product when I feel the range needs it. ANYTHING WE SHOULD KNOW ABOUT YOU? Hmm, my hair is untameable, I’m a tragic collector of all things vintage, jewellery, shoes and trinkets and on a day off you’ll probably find me solo with a book in my bag, the sun on my face and my toes in the sand. WHAT INSPIRES YOU? Nature is a big one for me. Before I start any new collection, nature is my first port of call. I spend some time in nature, usually going for a bushwalk or somewhere along the coast. Trends come and go, but nature provides a never-ending colour palette, bombards our senses with textures and never fails to spark inspiration. Often a simple colour / shape / flower in nature is enough to trigger a starting point of an entire collection for me. I’m also really inspired by art. I have a degree in Fine Arts, so art holds a real special place in my heart - expanding my mind and seeing ways that other artists push the boundaries in turn inspires me to not be complacent in my process of creation. I’m also really inspired by vintage pieces. I have a solid collection of vintages dresses, clothes, silks, random bits and pieces that I use as an archive when I design. I think there’s something beautiful about looking to nature, to the future and back to the past when I approach the design process. WHERE CAN WE SEE YOUR WORK? @heandherthelabel or

Lighthouse Barber Alfy Afuie | Victoria

TELL US ABOUT YOURSELF. I’m Alfy and I hail from Auckland & Wellington New Zealand. SHOUT-OUT YOUR CAMPUS AND CREATIVE TEAM YOU SERVE IN. The mighty Melbourne West Campus & west tech team BEST THING ABOUT BEING A BARBER? The amazing people I get to meet everyday, and the relationships I have the honour of building. 2020 IN MELBOURNE WASN’T EASY, WHAT WERE SOME OF THE STRUGGLES YOU FACED? Financially we had lost our main incomes, and keeping my mental state healthy. HOW DID YOU START YOUR DREAM BUSINESS IN A YEAR OF CHAOS? It all started with leaving my full-time job just before Summerfest 2020. I really wanted God to speak to me and show me His plans for my future. I definitely don’t recommend spontaneously quitting your job just before a pandemic lol. My wife and I started looking for new homes and suddenly came across this home/shopfront and decided to check it out. We both knew that whatever God had planned for us He would make it happen. My first thought to make this business a win was to start our heartbeat for the company, our “why”. God always showed me visions of being involved in the community and being a safe place for people. So we both decided that this business’ heartbeat is “to be a beacon in the community to encourage and inspire people to be greater”. We got the right people around us that championed and encouraged us. WHAT’S NEXT FOR LIGHTHOUSE BARBER? Continuing to grow our presence in the local community, training opportunities for the next generation of barbers, and facilitating initiatives around men’s mental health are our big goals for the future of Lighthouse Barbers. ANY ADVICE FOR CREATIVES WANTING TO STEP OUT AND START SOMETHING? Find your heartbeat first. If you focus on the “why” that God has put on your heart, the pathway to the “what” becomes clearer. On a more practical note, research and planning before acting, was something that we had to learn to do! Sometimes the excitement of being able to live out our dream took control and we got ten steps ahead of ourselves. COVID was our handbrake in slowing us down to be able to make decisions more rationally, and make a clear plan before acting. WHERE CAN WE SEE YOUR WORK? @lighthousebarbers and

Laceleaf Floral Bianca Gobalesa | Queensland

WHAT DO YOU DO? I am a part-time florist. WHEN DID YOU START? I started mid-last year when I became a bit bored during our brief lockdown and would ask friends if I could arrange flowers for them. WHY DID YOU CHOSE THAT PATH? I spent quite a bit of time dealing with a chronic illness and was in and out of the hospital last year which was quite hard, but I remember my hospital rooms being constantly filled with flowers from friends and family. It was a stark reminder that my family and friends were thinking of me and covering me in prayer and interceding on my behalf. It was a reminder that there is always spring after winter and that there is joy after sorrow. God felt very close in those moments. So I guess I wanted others to feel that way when I created something for them. I wanted others to feel heaven leaning in a bit closer when they looked at these flowers - that God was very close. WHAT INSPIRES YOU? Colours!!! I used to not like colourful flowers. I liked muted tones, but nowadays colours inspire me so much, the way it clashes yet also makes sense all at the same time. WHO DO YOU LOOK UP TO? Ahhh so many people. But if I had to name one, it would be Martin Luther King Jr. I’ve studied him and the Civil Rights Movement a lot over the years. Learning about his life compels me to have a “Thy Kingdom come” life. BIGGEST LESSON YOU’VE LEARNT? Not to wish away the days that are before me. WHAT DO YOU STAND FOR? God’s Love and Truth. I am a people pleaser by nature, so that’s a hard question for me because I don’t want it to be wrong or disappoint people ha. But if I keep standing up for God’s Love and Truth, then I think I’ll be okay. WHAT’S YOUR NEXT GOAL? My next goal is to just keep getting better in my craft. I want to be a bit more adventurous and bold with my arrangements rather than just sticking to what I know and am comfortable with! FAVOURITE CREATIVE ACHIEVEMENT SO FAR? Probably doing my first wedding as a florist. I was super nervous the whole morning and doubting and second-guessing my work, but a few days later when I was scrolling through Instagram, I saw an ad pop up from the photographer of the wedding and there was the bride, holding the flowers that I had arranged and it was very surreal. I think I cried ha. AND THE BIGGEST CHALLENGES? Probably being smart with my time. Juggling flowers and my 9-5 job and being a youth leader and also planning a wedding keeps me more busy than I’d like sometimes haha, so that’s probably my biggest challenge - trying to fit it all in and do it all well. WHAT ARE YOU GRATEFUL FOR? My family, my fiance and my friends who have constantly encouraged me and pushed me to dream bigger and to actually do it. And God. Thank you thank you thank you God for creating flowers. WHERE CAN WE SEE YOUR WORK? Instagram! My handle is: @laceleaf_floral

Bow and Feather Jerusha Le Chat | Western Australia

WHAT DO YOU DO? I create hand-lettered wall art and apparel. WHEN DID YOU START? I started in 2015. WHY DID YOU CHOSE THAT PATH? So at the time I had a toddler and a newborn, our family was facing some challenges and I found myself desperately needing a creative outlet to express myself, so I just started writing out the words I needed to be reminded of during this time. To begin with, it was purely just for me and I really had no intention of sharing it with anyone else, until I realised how powerful it was for me to be able to see words of truth and hope. So I finally worked up enough courage to put it out there. WHICH TOOL COULD YOU NOT DO WITHOUT? I absolutely cannot go without my Kuretake brush pen. It’s the first brush pen I ever used and still for sure my fave! WHAT ARE YOU WORKING ON RIGHT NOW? Right now I’m working on some new ideas for apparel. I like the idea of being able to carry a positive message wherever you go, and if I can do that with lettering that would make me so happy. ONE THING THAT WE SHOULD KNOW ABOUT YOU? My love language is quality time so I’m always up for long and meaningful chats. WHAT INSPIRES YOU? Music, lyrics, books, artwork and nature. WHO DO YOU LOOK UP TO? I look up to Rebekah Lyons because she’s a mumma who has overcome some big personal battles and now helps so many others, and Bob Goff, for the way he inspires us to love. BIGGEST LESSON YOU’VE LEARNT? Fear is a liar. WHAT DO YOU STAND FOR? Love. BEST PIECE OF ADVICE YOU’VE RECEIVED? Surrender is strength. WHAT’S YOUR NEXT GOAL? My next goal has been influenced a lot by the things my fam and I have gone through the last few months, so right now it’s more about being present and creating out of the things I’m learning along the way. FAVOURITE CREATIVE ACHIEVEMENT SO FAR? Having the chance to create custom pieces for people who have been going through some really painful situations and getting to see how a word in season can bring hope. AND THE BIGGEST CHALLENGES? It would probably be comparison and self-doubt, it’s always uncomfortable putting something you make out there. But it’s good to remember, there may be someone who is doing it better but that’s how we are inspired and challenged. Also it’s not just about us anyway. There may be someone who just needs to see/hear/experience what you create. WHERE CAN WE SEE YOUR WORK? You can see my work on Insta @bowandfeather_ or on my website


Well hello, and welcome to this fresh trip around the sun that is 2021! Although nothing magically changed with the start of a new calendar year (unless it did for you, in which case you need to immediately holla at ya girl & let me know which secret sauce it is you’re cooking with, ya Michelin chef!), we did it. We made it through, and here we are together almost three months into the new.  Perhaps, last year afforded you the creative treasure trove of a lifetime where you just got to it, and ya just DID THE THING. You wrote, you sang, you played, you made, you innovated, you reimagined, and you ignited those dreams right up. Or maybe you really wanted to and planned to but life just took a few turns that rerouted your plans and added on some extra hours (and extra lockdown love handles) to your creative-outlet-ar- If you’re lagging in any way, read and reread Hebrews rival-time. (Listen, no shame in the extra kilos cos none 11, and let it shoot some faith-filled adrenaline into of us were spared. Cue: GIF of little boy laugh-crying.)  your soul. It’s inspiring and challenging to remember the litany of people who put action to their faith and Wherever you find yourself, let it be known that we’re stepped out in what God said, often in the most prein good company because we’re more alike than you carious situations. For them, it was a matter of obedimay think. In all of our individualities, there’s a com- ence. For us, it’s the same. One of the best challenges mon thread that unites us: we’ve overcome a lot to be I’ve ever received from a good friend was this: “Kmy, where we are now, and yet, we’re still caught in the ten- didn’t God tell you to write?” Me, shyly: “Yes, He did.” sion of where we are and where we want to be—where Her: “Alright, then why are you disobeying Him? Why we are and where we’re going. And I’d say that’s a pret- are you putting it off?” Me: “Oh yep. Cool cool cool ty perfect place to begin. Again.  cool cool.” She was right! I knew what God had spoken to me, but I kept negotiating the terms and conditions Beginning again, like when you hesitantly lock eyes of my creative obedience. I didn’t think I was disobeywith a pristine page, unsure of the unknown and slight- ing God ‘til she said it. Then I was convicted, repented ly intimidated by the stark blankness of it all. Slow fin- and finally started putting my hand to the plough of my gers tip-toe their way through the first sentence and potential. So what is it for you? What condition have stumble to the next before ink drives a plough through you put on your God-given gift? it all. Squeamish scribble, primitive and messy, but it’s a ready farmer sowing seed along the ground. Is it pos- Charles Spurgeon once said, “Obedience is the highest sible that we put too much pressure on our creativi- practical courage.” Obedience (noun) meaning the act ty to begin as something immediately fruitful, sure or or state of being obedient (verb). That in itself is praccomplete? To think that only when the conditions are tical courage. With that, I’m inviting you to join me in perfect can we actually get going with what’s burning a creative challenge. I’m committing to write every day inside of us? “Oh, when I get to write with that person” this year in order to steward my gift. What personal or “when I get that recording gear,” or “when someone challenge can you set for yourself so that you’re dilirecognises my talent, then I can finally begin”. What’s gently walking in your creative calling, no excuses? I’m your blank page heaving with expectation? What ex- expectant for what you’ll do, and as a community, what cuses are undermining your raw and potential-rich we’ll do together. It’s gonna be good. starting line?  Peace & love, Kmy



Don’t put pressure on yourself to create perfectly. What you have in mind will probably only reach the standard you want after multiple tries, so do not hesitate: make mistakes, own them, try again, keep going, the sweet thing about this moment is that we have lots of time, so do not put pressure on yourself to create perfectly immediately.


There is creative abundance within and around you, step into it. Ultimately God, creation, the people around you are sources of creative abundance you can draw from. Pray, go into nature, talk to people and commit to working from a place of creative abundance even when you are not feeling it.


Creative time is playtime. Remember the times you created just for fun? Well, lockdown is the perfect opportunity to tap back into that space. Create not because you have a deadline or because you’ve been commissioned or for work, create for the sake of it, because it’s a fun pastime.

Words: Amma Aburam @mediacollectivelondon


Rest is a creative’s best friend.

Lockdown has taught us that it’s not always about chasing, sometimes it’s about waiting. Rest is a state of mind that benefits creativity. It allows you to fill yourself up, helps you to receive before you can pour out and create. So put the “resting guilt” aside and let rest be a source of inspiration.


A creative block is an opportunity for redirection.

Sometimes we are so tied to creating something in a specific way that we get tunnel vision even if the end of the tunnel is blocked. Yes, do not give up but remember that creativity is also about being solutionsdriven, so be open to finding alternatives to getting to what you want.


Teach your skills.

Feeling low? Teaching others your creative skills is a powerful reminder of why you started doing what you do in the first place. Organise a skill-sharing Zoom or WhatsApp group - it’s a great way to remember that our gifts are not ours to hoard but are made to be shared. There’s joy in that.

Interested in joining our team? We’re looking for: Writers - Graphic Designers - Editors Photographers - Researchers - Producers As we continue to carve out our identity with each new magazine issue, we are also looking to build and expand our volunteer team. Whilst we are still in early days, and crafting team slowly and mindfully, we have need for writers, graphic designers and photographers and a handful of other roles that are required to make a magazine possible. If you’d love you know how to become a volunteer and get involved please email us and let us know how you’d like to be part of our team. Can’t wait to meet you!

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