JULY 2016 ISSUE #8
Y PP Y HA 1ST DA H T R BI
WHAT LIES BEFORE US AND WHAT LIES BEHIND US ARE ALL SMALL MATTERS COMPARED TO WHAT LIES WITHIN US. AND WHEN YOU BRING WHAT IS WITHIN YOU OUT INTO THE WORLD,
MIRACLES HAPPEN. -HENRY DAVID THOREAU
BECAUSE COMFORT ZONES ARE SOOOO YESTERDAY.... Page 3
Editor/ Founder Samii Lund email@example.com @theeyecreative_mag Writer/ Creative Content Amy Farnworth firstname.lastname@example.org @amyfarnworth Creative Director Jo Nixon @jonixon_art Writer/ Creative Content Christian Gabriel Issue Seven Creative Collaborators Photographers: Calai Photography Brooke Holm Wilk Nikole Ramsey Pixie Bella Jesse Allenwilk Illustrative/ Artistic: Noirin Van De Berg Melita Clare Kip & Co. Spenceroni Live Royal Zoe Kirkwood Daggy Designs Laura Horn Art Shout out to: The team at True Tribe The Fox Tan girls (for being supportive of The Eye from the very first issue!) A special thanks... To every single creative we’ve ever featured & every one of our 88,000 readers! Our success is due to you, and for that, we’ll be forever grateful. We can’t wait to get started on the next twelve months and really get this mag out there in the world. Get ready... we’re on a mission to inspire! Advertise with The Eye Creative email@example.com General Enquiries firstname.lastname@example.org Submissions The Eye Creative accepts freelance art, photo and story submissions from creatives around Australia. We may not be able to reply personally to each individual that is unsuccessful, however we will keep your work and story on file for upcoming issues or opportunities. To submit, please fill out the submission form online at www.theeyecreative.com
On the Cover... Spenceroni Feature Pages 44-49 @spenceroni www.spenceroni.com
“Impossible is just a big word thrown around by small men who find it easier to live in the world they’ve been given than to explore the power they have to change it. Impossible is not a fact. It’s an opinion. Impossible is not a declaration. It’s a dare. Impossible is potential. Impossible is temporary. Impossible is nothing.” - Muhammad Ali.
mid-twenties when I should be out having a great time and travelling the world. I do think that their thoughts on my life in this respect are somewhat accurate, and maybe I should finally get my passport sorted, go backpacking around Europe and get wildly drunk off my tits. However, if life isn’t hard, it isn’t interesting; and I would much rather entertain myself by challenging an idea, than sit on my arse talking about how good it was when I drank vodka off a blind man’s chest.
Hands up if your biggest fear, is fear itself? Don’t be ashamed; I’m in the same boat. Reading this quote by the late Ali made me realise that my fear is totally irrational and that I shouldn’t be wasting any more time on it...as hard as that may be for my incredibly stubborn mind. This issue, our first birthday issue, we focus on challenging the walls of our comfort zones and smashing through the ceilings of the ‘norm’ box. Facing fears isn’t just about walking under ladders, trapping spiders in glasses (instead of running and crying like a child), or showing up to work before 9:00 am without coffee; it’s about belief in yourself, acceptance, and following through on your dreams.
I mean, if stepping out of your comfort zone can make your goals appear within twelve months and open paths that you never considered before, isn’t that worth all the effort? Isn’t that worth turning away from fear and powering through? Isn’t the investment into yourself and your goals WORTH it?? I think so. So go forth creative minded legends; read, be inspired, create something new and smash outside the ceiling of your comfort zone.
It’s a special topic for me - especially when you wake up one day to discover that my tiny little pipe-dream has grown to eight issues and turns 12 months old in just a few days time (just saying that makes me feel old.) Some like to say that I like to make life hard for myself by juggling this magazine and daily life in my
Noirin Van De Berg
Brooke Holm Page 7
www.calaiphotography.com Page 8
/calaiphotography Page 9
June Design Co. Etsy $10.00 Ohhhh Coffee. Coffee, coffee, coffee. The glorious cup of happiness created to give your soul a jump-start now comes in little wooden versions for your ears. Hoorah! Get yours here: www.etsy.com/au/shop/JuneDesignCo
A FEW OF OUR FAVOURITE THINGS Disclaimer: prices of products may change from what is mentioned in this magazine at the discretion of the individual business owner and/or artist.
Ammiki Etsy $40.00 Bare white walls BE GONE! Clear off the family photos and porcelain figurines from your mantle piece because youâ€™re going to want the whole series of these beautiful art prints once you see them. I bet you canâ€™t just stop at one. Shop here: www.etsy.com/au/shop/AMMIKI
Zillpa Large rope bowl $45.00 Round and round and round we go! I don’t know what I would do with this adorable rope bowl...maybe wear it on my head while in my pillow fort, or put it on the kitchen table and place fake fruit in it (because even with good intentions, real apples never get eaten). Either way, it’s ending up in our shopping bag. Buy here: www.zillpa.com
Vege Threads Organic Tank Dress $119.95 Spring is coming so we’re totally going to need this dress ready and hanging in our wardrobes. Manufactured by Ethical Clothing Australia and using organic cotton, not even the environment will hold you to your budget woes! Comes in black & terracotta. Get yours here: www.vegethreads.com
One Happy Leaf Bubble Necklace $80.00 True happiness can be found in a lot of things. Pom poms, coffee, cute dogs, ugly dogs, the smell of freshly mown grass and bubbles. We can’t exactly wear freshly mown grass around our necks, but we can wear bubbles - bubbles in the form of a creative wooden necklace by One Happy Leaf. Get yours here before all the happiness is taken: www.onehappyleaf.com
Eat.Me.Do Gum Drop Scarf $89.00 Oh goodie, gumdrops! The fabulous team at Eat. Me.Do have created the scarf of our dreams! Approximately 1.6m of pom pom perfection to wear around your neck like the prized possession it is. Be the envy of all by shopping here: www.eatmedo.com
A Boy Named Aaron Frida Mermaid Sitting $69.00 There’s just something about Frida wearing a mermaid tail with her boobs hanging free whilst still looking fashionable as f**k that has us lining up to buy the latest creation from A Boy Named Aaron. Made from cut steel with a string of shells and hand-painted with perfection, snapping up this wall hanging will be the best investment in wall style you’ll make all year. Buy here: www.aboynamedaaron.com.au
Rara Studio Hand built porcelain mugs. $50.00 Most people are obsessed with shoes, cars or handbags. Me? Mugs. I have a really strange but beautiful obsession with mugs. Rara Studio satisfies every creepy & caffienated craving with their seriously incredible hand-made mugs with their more than adorable handles and hand-painted patterns. DYING. I need one - or ten. Get yours here: rarastudio.com
A FEW OF OUR FAVOURITE THINGS
Yin & Yarn Cusions from $29.95 Can we firstly talk about the name of this creative business? Clever AF. Once you can get passed the genius of their name, youâ€™ll stumble across their seriously creative cushions and wonder how it is your living room ever survived without them. Shop here: www.yinandyarn.com.au
Ena and Albert Chroma Studs - Rainbow $25.00 An adorable set of teeny tiny rainbow artworks to wear on your ears just so you can wear your positivity on your ears for all to see? Brilliant. To radiate positivity through your earlobes visit: www.enaandalbert.com
Nutie GF/V Baked Doughnuts (Who cares what the price is - TAKE ALL OF MY MONEY!!) Birthday’s are hard for us GF/V folk - no one knows what to make you cake wise and you end up having to eat plain crisps out of the communal chip bowl while everyone feasts on the mudcake someone made you thinking flour doesn’t have gluten in it. This is why NUTIE is a life saver! Baked gluten free & vegan doughnuts!? DONE. SOLD. GET IN MY BELLY. TAKE ALL MY MONEY. GIVE ME ALL THE DOUGHNUTS. Find out more here: www.nutie.com.au Hooray Hayley! Digital Pun Card $1.00 - no that’s not a typo. It’s only ONE DOLLAR. She’s punny, she’s brilliant and she’s selling her wares for next to nothing. Get on board (cheese board...get it?) with Hayley and her hilarious cards. Promise from now on we’ll leave the puns to the professionals. Buy here: www.etsy.com/au/shop/hoorayhayley
Nice Digs Sonic Wave Digitally-Printed Dog Bed From $179.00 Look, just look at him. Look how darn happy this dog is. Is he happy because he’s cute? Possibly. Is he happy because he just farted? Probs. More than likely though - he’s happy because his human just bought him a Sonic Wave Dog Bed from Nice Digs and now he’s able to snooze in absolute style like the fashionable pooch he was born to be. Want to see your pup smiling? Purchase your hand-made dog bed here: www.nicedigs.com.au
Shuh. ‘Urgh Face’ Pillow Case $45.00 FINALLY! A pillow that accurately describes the ‘having to get out of bed’ process in the morning. It comes in black and in white so it won’t just match your morning mood, but your decor too. WIN. Get yours here: www.shuh.bigcartel.com
PHOTOGRAPHY SUPPLIED BY ARTIST.
noirin van de Berg NORIN VAN DE BERG | PAPER ARTIST
noirin van de Berg WORDS BY AMY FARNWORTH
“With paper, there are no strict ‘methods’ for use in the way there are with paint, clay or textiles – there also aren’t as many tools involved; all I need is a pair of scissors and a sturdy adhesive.” This is Noirin van de Berg, and she’s taking the creative world by storm, but not by wandering down the conventional avenues of illustration, photography or sculpture; Noirin is a paperartist… and we’re very, very intrigued. Having featured many artists from conventional ilks in previous issues of The Eye, Noirin’s work struck a chord with me. I’d come across mosaic-style art before but always from a textile angle, a tiling perspective, or derived from paint and fine-ink drawings; never before had I found mosaic art made entirely from paper (none that I can remember anyway). So when we stumbled upon Noirin’s Instagram account we were
Keen to find out more about this style of artwork, I got in touch with Noirin and probed her for answers. Just what is a paperartist and how does it even work?
but up close you can see that each piece is raised, casting a shadowed edge to each shape.” And it’s this kind of texture that she loves most about working within the paper medium. Initially drawn to paper because of its affordability and lack of mess (unlike paint or clay – sticky paint-infested fingers, anyone?), Noirin soon realised the versatility involved with such a dynamic creative choice. She fell in love with the fact she was able to create blocks of colour in the same way you would with paint but with fewer complexities (no waiting around for paint to dry with paper, eh?).
“Working with paper requires a lot of precision and patience; each tiny shape is cut to fit alongside the other with an even space between. I apply a long strip of double-sided adhesive tape to some coloured paper and then cut it into thinner strips. I peel the back of the tape away as I stick the paper onto a larger surface; this allows me to cut each tiny shape to size, accurately. The end result is a mosaic style pattern/design.” “I also love the practice of papercutting itself – it’s a Noirin’s designs are so intricate, mindful and calming process, so precise, and so detailed and although it’s extremely time that from afar you could consuming, it offers a wonderful easily mistake them for pieces sense of satisfaction once of graphic art, colourfully you’ve completed something.” structured drawings, or stencilled imagery. They look Noirin developed her penchant too perfect to have been made for paper-art back in high entirely out of paper! school, where she made picture “From afar my work can appear story books with all the very graphic and almost digital,
illustrations hand-cut from paper. More recently, she draws inspiration not from the classroom day-dreams of her school years but from any kind of patterns and colours she sees from day to day; whether that be the speckled arrangements of moss on a rock, or the lines and shapes of a particular building. “For me, inspiration can be found anywhere.” With one piece of work taking anywhere between three and five days to complete, it’s obvious that Noirin is devoted and committed to her paper-passion. Selling her designs privately and (occasionally) on a commissioned basis, she’s keen to branch out to a bigger audience. Eventually. “I’m looking into exhibiting in the near future and some of my work can be found for sale at the gallery of Forman Picture Framing in Burwood. One day I’d like to go down a path of textile design and collaborate with Australian designers, but for the moment I’m pleased that I’ve been lucky enough to have people interested in buying my artwork. Having people follow me and take an interest in what I do is amazing!” Instagram @noirin163 Website www.noirinvandeberg.com
If you weren’t an artist, what other profession would you be in? Well for a while I was stuck between pursuing university and the life of your average ski town kicker. This one time I tried picking up books for primary teaching. I also worked the daily grind at an ice cream shop in Canada for a while. To be honest, prior I had just been stuck in that midtwenties state of half-heartedly being interested in one field, and then flipping to the other which is typically justifiable when you’re still a student in the creative industry. But there’s no shame in that I guess considering the best part of this lifestyle is the student Opal card and 10% discounts in abundance - not ready for that side of the real world yet. Where did it all start with your creative career? I guess this is the part where I give a shout out to all my weird and dysfunctional-at-night friends for providing me with visual inspiration to draw them for the #muntbook – a collection of illustrations across my extended friendship network in their best early morning moments. It kind of started as a half-joke/half admiration amongst my close friends for how contorted one’s face could get, but in the nature of social media it was crazy the response I received with the amount of submissions and requests. Your artwork basically looks like an explosion of your daily thoughts. Take us through the process. I guess one thing that continues to ground me if I was to consider myself as an artist, which is a foreign idea to me still for reasons I will explain, is to not take myself too seriously and just act on whatever I’m finding funny or the interesting thoughts I come across in my day. That may be part due to a large undertone in my works stemming from humour and juxtaposition. I think that embodies itself through the casual aesthetic of my illustration style. I guess in that way my works are more fluid extensions of whatever the hell my mind has pieced together. Process wise – I work from doodles first. Or maybe I dig a colour palette I saw on a wall in the streets. Or the characters you meet in Sydney’s innerwest. It’s a little dysfunctional but that’s the fun in it.
Professionally trained, or self taught… or a little of both? Style wise… I’ve always drawn. But when it came to technical knowledge, it took me attempting two different university courses to get my head around and really work in the digital realm when I enrolled at CATC in Ultimo. Being surrounded by creative individuals makes so much difference in the early stages of developing your style; both as a motivational thing and an inspirational thing. CATC, without sounding like an advertisement, really is a fantastic institution and hybridizes the whole teacher thing with actual artists. They really respect each student’s direction, no cookie-cutter attitude there. Do you work out of a studio or from home? From the lounge room floor, my desk… living room table. Scribbling on paper with my friends at drinks. Any space that’s large enough to house piles of paper, my cracked screen laptop and copious amount of tea. Biggest goals you’ve reached so far in your career? To be reached out from others around the world. When you get a message from a lady in Chile asking if she can exhibit your works at her boutique opening – that’s what made me think, wow, these works that started as bedroom doodles have made it across the pacific. Why is art important to your soul? Art for me serves as a memory captor, they are a translation of my weird mind and what’s happening that day. Art kind of functions in a nostalgic manner for me, yet it also works as an outlet to channel my thought overdrive that comes as a result of being someone with a short attention span. You’ve got to try to do something new every day. What is the most important aspect of creating your artwork? Like I said before, keeping it real. As in, produce artworks for the sake of enjoying it and not forcing inspiration out of things I don’t really feel with. I’ve got to remind myself not to focus on the end product and instead work with wherever the lines take me – even if it turns out looking like crap.
Your aesthetic is very unique, what is it about the related line work and balance of the digital colouring that you think really sets it apart from other illustrators? Is this a reflection of your personality? Definitely. I never sought to depict grandiose concepts or focus on beauty as my subject matter in the beginning, but instead focused on delivering an extract from the lives and times of young adults kicking it. Dysfunction integrated with the experience of youth culture serves as my inspiration, and it’s the whole reductionism of real-life subjects into the juvenile aesthetic, from the colour tones to the simple line work, which makes it cool and easy for others to connect with. I try to keep it real, hence why no artwork is perfect. What has been the most difficult challenge you have faced in your artistic career? Well, I think I speak for a lot of people, professional or not, when I say self-doubt. There’s always pressure that comes intrinsic to being a creator of things to produce success every single time. Investing a lot of time in a vision that does not turn out to what you had in your head is disheartening, and for a while this kind of kept me from pursuing those little moments of inspiration that serve as the energy in my work. It also fuelled inauthenticity, which in turn distanced myself from whatever I produced. What are the main driving forces for you to do this in your own life and how do you incorporate this into your artwork? I think right now we’re in the middle of a transitional period in terms of a massacceptance of the crazy and wonderful world of different identities. By producing real subject matter and the unfiltered grit of people’s identity is how I acknowledge this growth of selfacceptance, and finding the funny in your own flaws. Breaking the mould of comfort zones comes with disregarding people’s expectations; as an artist, a friend, a daughter, a girl in general or whatever, and that is my most prominent driving force alongside capturing the wonderful in weird.
If there is one message that you could portray to creative souls out there struggling to find a path, what would it be? Just fuck around and have fun. You can’t force the groove it just happens. Why do you think it is such an important lesson to jest let go and trust your own process and creativity? Because it’s the only way to maintain authenticity and personal ownership of your work. How many times have you felt disappointed of that dumb vase drawing you had to do in high school art class? It’s because there was an expectation set as to how it was meant to look and evaluating your success on your ability to emulate a subject matter, (which frankly, why the hell is the art department so mundane in their choice of subject matter), you really don’t give a shit about. Making mistakes means you care. Erasing them means you don’t. Your work portrays a sense of “I do not care what you think!” - which we love. There’s a strength to that creative freedom that a lot of people could learn from in our industry. This is something you struggled with in the past/ still struggling with? I don’t think anybody could answer that in saying they never struggled in 100% allowing themselves not to give a fuck. Creating these artworks is what has encouraged me to channel the same attitude in my own life. As I said before, reminding yourself to stay real is what has granted me the most freedom in this industry that puts pressure on an audience-derived sense of validation. Do you have any illo’s planned for the near future regarding any hot topics currently in the world? Probably a Kanye West x Pauline Hanson collab. Oh yeah, and some form of protest against the new Shapes flavours in there. Maybe Pauline in a savoury biscuit bikini, who knows. Whats next on the agenda for you? Probably continuing my adventures in searching for the best burger in Sydney. And more of my fucked up friends.
WHY SOCIAL MEDIA IS LIKE DATING WORDS BY THE TEAM AT TRUE TRIBE truetribe.com.au
TIMING IS EVERYTHING Being at the right place at the right time can mean everything in the dating world. It can mean bumping into someone who may be the love of your life. Treat social media the same. Don’t publish a post at 3am on a Monday night when 1% of your audience is awake. You’re limiting your potential! GET TO KNOW YOUR DATE When you’re out on a date, never make it all about yourself. Do the same on social media. Listen to your audience. Find out their interests, what are their favourite foods? What’s their favourite place to shop? This will help you create relevant and compelling content they can engage with. KEEP TOPICS APPROPRIATE When dating don’t bring up touchy subjects or say offensive things if you don’t want to get you number deleted or better yet blocked. Similarly, one sure way to get your account deleted on social media is by posting something that violates their community standards. In other words don’t go uploading dick pics. DON’T BE TOO NEEDY Playing hard to get is probably the oldest rule in the dating game to get someone interested. Start acting the opposite and it’s a major turnoff. So don’t be that guy who uploads five photos in a row on social media with a blasting caption asking for people to ‘like’ or ‘follow’.
DON’T GET CATFISHED Ever been on a date and realised the person isn’t who you thought they were? Avoid that on social media. Having lots of followers sure does feel warm and fuzzy. Too bad if they’re not who you think they are. Do the research. Engage with hashtags that are relevant to your brand and will bring you business. Add ones that you know people in your city use. Value over vanity. DON’T LEAVE THEM HANGING No one likes waiting for what may feel like an eternity for a response. Sure, maybe the date didn’t go well, doesn’t mean you stop all communication. So, just like on social media be polite and respond to people as soon as you can.
PUT YOURSELF OUT THERE
KEEP THE MYSTERY Don’t reveal everything about yourself on the first date. You gotta keep them coming back for more. Likewise, surprise your social media audience by revealing interesting details in posts throughout your timeline.
Go on. No one got lucky from keeping to themselves. Likewise, be proactive on social media. Don’t be afraid to like or comment on a potential customer’s photo.
BE AUTHENTIC We’ve all met that one person who looks way better in their photos than in real life. Don’t be that guy. On social media, go easy on the editing and don’t make things up to sound better than who you are. You’ll get caught out eventually.
Just because things seem to be going well on the first date, don’t assume you’re about to score straight away. Relationships in reallife take time to build just like on social media. Consistency is key. Post regularly and keep the conversation going. Hard work will pay off.
DON’T EXPECT TO GET LUCKY ON THE FIRST NIGHT
SARAH BELKNER WORDS BY CHRISTIAN GABRIEL
Just over a year ago, the arrival of Sarah Belkner’s Humans EP gave the music-loving public a concise package of five contemporary ballads, with a confident vibe of the last three decades. In her sound one can sense the poetic embrace Kate Bush shared with Peter Gabriel in the single/video for ‘Don’t Give Up’, yet Belkner has taken that essence and nurtured it into her own style, intertwining with jazzy, baroque and electronic accompaniments. Sydney-born, with a classical musical upbringing in New Zealand, she previously played under the title of Miss Little, forming alliances with Lanie Lane and gaining praise from Crowded House before deciding to change to her own name in 2014. After a successful crowd-funding campaign, she collaborated her husband Richard Belkner, high-end sound engineer and owner of Free Energy Device Studios in Camperdown, where they produced and crafted the Humans EP. With three exquisite music videos releases and a steady schedule of shows to promote the new material, Belkner took a new opportunity to support and play backing to indie-dynamo Sarah Blasko, taking her nation-wide as well as to the UK and Europe in May this year. Returning from that she seamlessly commenced a tour with Olympia while announcing she had a number of tracks from the Humans sessions she was planning to release as a full album toward the end of the year. Punctuating this, she proudly presented the single for Time on iTunes, which will be launched with performances in Melbourne on the 15th July at Penny Black and on the 16th at Sydney at the Oxford Arts Factory Gallery Bar. Never had there been a more appropriate time to check in with Sarah and get her take on the past and the present.
The Eye: Why did you choose away. Maybe performing was ‘Time’ as the first single from the first instrument? I don’t the upcoming LP? know how entertaining it was. Even though Mum taught piano Sarah: Well, I had an instinct I just played by myself mostly; about it, just that bubbly nice again I would bash away and excitable feeling it was a good pretend I was like dad singing one to send out first. TIME songs. I made up my own quite has a texture to it when you avant-garde songs, singing hear it by itself that I feel really dramatically. They didn’t want encapsulates the ideas and to force us into anything but colours of the album. One of we all loved it so much, and my our friends described it as ‘The first real learnt instrument was gateway drug’ into the album the oboe when I was 9. I played haha! Negative connotations that for years as a soloist and aside I like that, it’s a song that in orchestras. It’s a beautiful definitely pulls you into a state instrument. of being open to some of the most robust ideas and material The Eye: As someone classically on it. It’s also one of the songs trained; what is the most that feature what I like to dub the compelling/challenging things ‘Banshee Chorus’ - a ridiculous about modern composition? backing vocal group made up of Elana Stone, NGAIIRE and Sarah: Modern classical music Billie McCarthy who provide this and improvised music I love kind of raw outer commentator, for its texture and colour, its observer, Shakespearean appearance of unique forms or narrator type role on the album formless nature and ability to too. And Brendan Maclean, who get very quickly to the emotion shows up along the way as the is compelling. It creates worlds supportive right-hand man. It’s and is the ultimate container nice to introduce them straight for a concept as you are free away. to play. But I find it even more exciting when these ideas are The Eye: Was piano your first then pulled into the modern instrument? Did you always song world. The same with want to play? songwriters that draw actual poetic or narrative leanings in Sarah: Before I could play too. I love those cross-overs. anything, I would pretend I could play things, oh dear. The Eye: What is working It embarrassed mum cause with Richard like compared we would have guests over, to other producing recording and they’d ask me if I played experiences? anything, and I’d say ‘yes, I play the violin!’ or whatever and Sarah: Well, we have a very deep mum would look at me thinking communication in the studio ‘no you don’t!’ But didn’t want to where we realise sometimes we seem like a fun sponge. So I’d are not even speaking. We just toddle off and grab one of her work away and know exactly student violins she had at the where we are headed and when house, standing up on the stairs it’s not quite working. Or one of to introduce some made up us can challenge, and we either song title and then confidently listen to each other, or we don’t! squawk terribly
PHOTOGRAPHY BY WILK www.wilk.com.au
Then finding out the other person was onto it in the end and learn. We are both there for the communication of music and can both hear exciting avenues take something together. I haven’t had that with anyone else on that technical studio level. We would love to collaborate with other producers on my music too, though we have a very highclass dream list. Richie is an incredible engineer; he’s very musical and adventurous and always current but not into replicating trends for the sake of it. He loves a combination of the old and the new as I do too. He knows how to work with people’s ideas and be the translator of ideas to the equipment and then there’s a point where it appears out the speakers like magic. It’s very exciting to work with him and I feel like that will always be the case. We have complementary skills so we always have our own space to occupy and then together it’s even better. The Eye: With his and your careers so progressive, would you say you two are becoming a music scene power-couple? Sarah: If that means being a couple who support each other in what they do through the great and the sticky stuff - and who are passionate about the amazing musicians and musical community around them - and obsessively committed to the projects we work on and the space we run... then maybe. The Eye: You have produced for others as well; what discoveries have you made in nurturing other people’s ideas? Sarah: Oh, it’s such a gift and incredibly educational to get to go fully inside other people’s music. And I have been fortunate to get to do that with some incredible artists a lot in the last little bit, playing with and producing. The construction of music is endlessly fascinating. You are exposed to other ways of doing things that you wouldn’t naturally do yourself, and you are this more impartial set of ears and eyes to get the emotion out which I love. I love a great team. I love being asked to follow my instincts.
holder of the most information about it. We could do a whole interview on this so I won’t go too in-depth. I’ve discovered that we all worry during the process of making our own music too much, so learning to leave that at the door or be comfortable being uncomfortable sometimes. Working on someone else’s music is like cleaning someone else’s room, you can see the mess clearly and the greatness that’s underneath it so you just get to it and are excited to sort it out and for them to feel great having a tidy, excellent room at the end. With your own, you are kind of open to all kinds of procrastination, self-doubt and distraction sometimes. The Eye: How was the recent tour playing backup vox/keys for Sarah Blasko? How did your collaboration come about? Sarah: We just got back from Europe where I also opened the shows playing my songs and before that was the Australian tour. Oh man, I have been learning so much about everything playing with Blasko. She is an incredible musician and hard worker. It was a dream to get to play in the UK and Europe, I really love it there and my music felt at home with audiences there. Blasko saw me opening for Jane Tyrrell at Vivid last year and then needed an extra set of keyboard hands and someone who could sing these beautiful soft high punchy backing vocal parts she did on her new album so she asked me. And I was and am thrilled. Her songs are truly magical, and even more so on the inside. She has also been very supportive of my music and said to me when she heard the album ‘you need to take this to Europe!’, so I love that she actually ended up making that happen, helped me make the first connection over there. She is a get-shit-done person! I admire that.
Helping someone uncover their idea is so fascinating, and I am exceptionally passionate about great music being created so I love that. I like to help people communicate as clearly as they can. You can never truly hear your own music with third party ears, but you are the
The Eye: What will you be bringing to future gigs? Is performing live something that can vary in result for you whether it be a collaboration or going solo? Sarah: I have two modes of performing live, and I really enjoy both. My solo set is the usual for supports. It gets down to just you and the connection to the people in front of you and the songs closer to how they were written. You can’t drop the ball even slightly. I love this oneman-band type set up I’m doing at the moment, figuring out how to give the same identity and grandiose feeling of the songs just by myself and without running stacks of track. I limit myself to having beats coming off a machine (often my phone at the moment) and then play a couple of keyboards, one for bass and some vocal texture stuff with a looper. The other mode is with my ridiculous band whom I love so very much. Evan Mannell on drums, Neal Sutherland on bass and Matt Keegan on synthesised sax. Richie is there too, providing sonic landscapes from the desk, and the music always goes to the place I imagine it with these guys. The songs come to full fruition too as we made this album together, it was very much a ‘played’ group album in its skeleton. I hope to get out doing more and more band shows soon. The Eye: Would you agree that there’s a considerable force of solo female songwriters present in the Australian music industry? Sarah: Oh yes totally and there always is and has been a plethora of wonderful ladies making great music.
It’s not like we need an extra pat on the back for being a woman and doing it, you just want to talk about how great the music is and the skills of the excellent people you get to make it with and not anyone’s gender. I just hope it becomes that we start to refer to people as being incredible musicians making great work and that ‘FEMALE’ followed by whatever gets dropped as a genre too. It’s not a genre, have you noticed how it gets used like that? Often accidentally I think too. But so incredibly exciting to have these conversations and see how those labels are there and so many of us wanting that to all be dissolved. I also think ‘Adult Contemporary’ should be dropped as a genre too. It’s ageist and limiting, especially all the artists that get bundled in there making all kinds of wild and wonderful music. The Eye: Agreed! What stage are you at with your new album? What can audiences anticipate from it? Sarah: It’s finished, and I really can’t wait to share it which will be before the end of the year. I feel like we have created our little sonic world with it. I’m proud of the emotional presentation of its ideas and the production and my band Evan, Matt and Neal have played a huge role in getting these songs all uncovered. I guess you can expect to hear something you haven’t really heard before but at the same time might remind you of things you have. I hope that it communicates and provides some comfort to people. I have learnt to be brave in making it so I hope that comes across to help others find some bravery to do what they want to do too.
Instagram @sarahmbelkner Website www.sarahbelkner.com
PHOTOGRAPHY BY WILK www.wilk.com.au
kip & co
PHOTOGRAPHY BY NIKOLE RAMSEY www.nikoleramsay.com
kip & co WORDS BY AMY FARNWORTH
Imagine a group of friends. They’re maybe a little jaded with what life is throwing at them; they’re maybe a little curious as to what else is out there, and they’re definitely thinking that living a creative lifestyle could mean more than just investing in fancy artwork and harbouring a desire to throw some paint onto a canvas. Now, suppose they became inspired by their friends and family; guess they developed wondrous ideas taking inspiration from fashion, from vintage stores and flea markets, from nature and from whatever their children happened to be doodling. Imagine if they turned all that into a nationally recognised, a universally adored, and a nationally successful lifestyle brand; a brand so popular that it’s been likened to IKEA (yet more fun and with less of the flat-pack nonsense). Just imagine… Are you done imagining yet? Ok. Stop. Stop your imaginations because it doesn’t need imagining; this, dear readers, actually happened.
In 2012, best friends, Alex van der Sluys, Kate Heppell, and Hayley Pannekoecke launched their stylish, imaginative, reliable, independent business and brand: the highly regarded, Kip & Co.
wall hangings to cushions. And their success and popularity are growing by the day! In a recent interview, Alex told me: “Kip & Co represents a very Australian aesthetic – bold, confident, stylish, a bit cheeky, and independent too. We are giving people a choice to make their individual style by mixing and matching, and I think Australians are adventurous enough to embrace that.
Starting as a little, simple dream, the idea for Kip &Co steadily gathered pace, and following an overseas trip where Kate came across some of the most fashion-forward, bold bedding she’d ever seen, the girls realised there was a gap for that “We started Kip & Co because kind of thing in Australia, and we wanted to do something naturally, they pounced! creative, together. We’re not about targets or KPIs – when we Beginning their foray into the develop a new print, or expend world of creative business, into a different category, or test the best friends originally a new country, it’s because we concentrated on developing believe in it, and in each other.” a range of bedding but they quickly found they’d hit the And you can get a feel for jackpot, they’d cornered a niche, their passion just by looking gained an audience, and were at their range of products. The gathering momentum. Before girls tend to lead the creative they knew it, they’d developed direction in all their work, a whole collection of homeware designing the ranges and the and lifestyle products that were patterns themselves, sourcing literally flying off the shelves – their materials together as a from nightwear to nap sacks, team from places like India rugs to bean bags, throws and France, and maintaining to bath robes, blankets to a good dynamic, both as work tableware, colleagues and as friends.
PHOTOGRAPHY BY NIKOLE RAMSEY www.nikoleramsay.com
Running a successful company though isn’t always the stuff that dreams are made of, although it can be pretty close between the sheets. “The most difficult thing is finding balance”, continued Alex, “It can be tempting to give Kip & Co 100% of yourself, but we are very careful to keep the best of ourselves for our friends and family. The most fulfilling bit is doing this whole crazy thing with your best mates, hands down.” Staying one step ahead of other leading industry giants is one thing, but with a growing repertoire of return customers and ethos to continually evolve as a brand, the design gurus behind Kip & Co say they don’t always have time to worry about what other companies are doing. And the fact they have loyal, repeat customers and receive genuine, honest feedback about their products proves they must be doing something right.
To run such a successful company there surely has to be a secret, and Alex puts it down to one thing. “I’d choose your business partners very carefully; that dynamic is the absolute backbone of your business and at the end of the day it needs to be fun.” Instagram @kipandco Website www.kipandco.net.au
Despite confessing they’ll always have a soft spot for their first ever collection, ‘Confetti Storm’, Alex, Hayley and Kate admit that every time they finish another collection or shoot they’re inclined to shout, “Best yet!” Alex said: “I think that’s only natural because it reflects your current mood, the season, and your latest ‘balls to the wall’ concepts.” So it’s no wonder then that their newest range, the Autumn/Winter collection labelled ‘Stardust’, is bigger than ever before, with their home and body products helping to extend Kip & Co’s confident, feminine aesthetic into a comprehensive lifestyle range. The new collection is a tribute to the fantastical and the magical; a walk on the wild side and a night in the boudoir. ‘Stardust’ includes a complete range of adult, kids, and tiny bedding…but reimagined. Grab a fistful of stardust and watch it glitter, glint, float and fade. Immerse yourself under hues of winter stone fruits; soft rose, burnt brandy, grape and silver. Stretch out and slink over velvet, and tumble through layers of linen. With ‘Stardust’, Kip & Co have also launched a new ‘ultimate weekender bag’ which adds to an already existing travel collection. There is tableware and new wall art, and combined with more signature products in the body range, this season is set to showcase some of the most sophisticated and eclectic products on the scene.
PHOTOGRAPHY BY NIKOLE RAMSEY www.nikoleramsay.com
PHOTOGRAPHY BY NIKOLE RAMSEY www.nikoleramsay.com Page 41
PHOTOGRAPHY BY NIKOLE RAMSEY www.nikoleramsay.com
PHOTOGRAPHY BY NIKOLE RAMSEY www.nikoleramsay.com
Spenceroni WORDS BY AMY FARNWORTH
It’s no secret that we here at The Eye love coffee. In fact, we couldn’t get through the day without at least four cups of that gloriously caffeinated hot liquid love. To be honest, we’re partial to a glass of wine or three as well, although we’re not quite sure whether the success of The Eye can be attributed to getting tipsy on a few bottles of Sauv Blanc or whether it’s the caffeine and hard work that’s helped. Whatever the secret, Spencer Harrison definitely puts a lot of his success down to coffee. And that’s more than fine with us. It’s not just the coffee that keeps him going though for the 30-year-old Melbournian behind Spenceroni – his drawing alterego – has self-discipline and the ‘amazingly supportive, creative community in Melbourne’ to thank too. His colourful, abstract, expressive and playful illustrations and drawings have become an internet hit, with Spenceroni amassing over 14,000 followers on Instagram as well as keen Twitter and Facebook followings. Harrison’s designs are stand alone, and what I mean by this is simple – they stand alone. I haven’t seen anything quite like Spencer’s work since I began writing for The Eye, and it’s probably down to the fact he finds drawing a hell of a lot more fun than anything else. His ideas reflect his general approach to life – a smushy and adorable mixture of optimism, playfulness and the outlook of not taking life too seriously: “It’s probably pretty selfish, but I just make work for myself that follows my interests which include bright colours and lots of patterns. I look for ideas in my every day and look at interesting ways of seeing things and translating them into fun, engaging artworks. There’s usually an idea behind all my art which then typically goes through a process of play and experimentation to come up with the outcome.”
And this is easy to observe. The Spenceroni website boasts a fantastic array and a vast range of products he’s obviously had fun developing – from illustrated murals to having his fun designs printed onto t-shirts, tea towels, tote bags and cushions. From collaborating with The Design Kids and Print All Over Me to create a Winter Raincoat pattern, to designing some coral-reef inspired Summer Boardshorts for Syndicut London (only 50 pairs were made, one of which went to Louis from NSW band, Lime Cordiale); his zest for creativity appears to know no bounds. Spencer was even commissioned by Goosebumps Bedding to produce four patterns for their Spring/ Summer collection which were then used to create some pretty funky quilt cover sets. So desirable were they that even I considered purchasing a set – and I don’t even own my own bed at the moment! (Don’t worry, I have a futon and a sleeping bag; we’re all good, bro).
Before he delved into the creative realm of all things graphic and arty, Spencer was studying for a degree in Nanotechnology. “At the time I used to procrastinate by teaching myself Photoshop and Illustrator and mucking around drawing instead of writing my lab reports (He now keeps a sketch book with him to doodle, jot down thoughts and develop interesting ideas). “After a while of finding this stuff way more fun, I decided to pursue a more creative direction which led me to study design.” Now, I’m not knocking science, hell no. I don’t know where he’d be if he’d continued along the super-molecular chemistry route, but I’m glad he didn’t, as having Spenceroni designs and illustrations in my life is sooo much more fun than deconstructing an atom could ever be. I imagine. And what of his processes and progress, and his foray into the fiercely competitive creative market? Spencer told me: “I try not to compare myself to other artists these days as it just leads to negative feelings about myself and my work. The most important lesson I’ve learnt in the last few years is not to compare yourself to others and to run your own race. Everyone has a different process and a different way of seeing the world so you just have to knuckle down and focus on your own work. We are all in this together, breaking away from the norm to lead a creative life.”
But it’s his series of paintings and collages from his last solo exhibition that has possibly been his favourite to work on. The Synesthesia exhibition was held in Fitzroy back in March and Spencer said: “It was my first foray into painting on canvas, and I taught myself quite a few new techniques in the process of creating the artworks. I was also super happy with the outcome, so I’m looking forward to investigating And with that said, I’m off these techniques further.” to drink more coffee (or maybe wine) and get lost in Spenceroni’s world of humour and creative mischief!
Instagram @spenceroni Website www.spenceroni.com
â€œWe are all in this together, breaking away from the norm to lead a creative life.â€? Page 49
A DAY IN THE LIFE OF.... THE DIRECTORS AT
true tribe WORDS BY CLARISSA AND TIM HARRIS
8am: While every day is different our usual day starts nice and early. We’ll both head off to the gym or a walk with our Staffie and True Tribe Ambassador, Scout. 9am: At True Tribe HQ, Clarissa’s at her desk responding to emails or on the phone to our Assistant, Mon with breakfast close by. Tim is most likely getting ready for a photo shoot with our Producer, Nick. It’s important to get the right colour blue tea towel to bring out those edible flowers in a dish. 9:15am: Tim and Nick skip breakfast for just a long black most days as they prepare their minds and bodies for the 15 meals that have to be consumed after each shoot. Working with food can be tough at times. 11am: Clarissa has usually done at least one victory lap around her desk due to a new lead or pick up from a media outlet for a client. Scout watches from close by. 12pm: There’s usually a meeting that Clarissa heads off to with one of our hospitality clients that almost always includes lunch and a chai latte. 2pm: Everyone’s back at HQ. Tim and Nick are editing photos from that day’s shoot or restocking props and heading out to another.
Clarissa heads out with Scout up to the shops to pick up some nibblies for the team, usually donuts. 3:30pm: It’s that time of day to visit Wine Republic and stock up with products for the next few days worth of shoots. May as well pick up a 6 pack (and a bottle…) for the crew back at HQ. 5pm: Most of us are preparing for social media posts or sending out the last of our emails. Banter about captions start to happen. Drake references are usually a good place to find some social media ammo. 7pm: We’re either on our way to a client party or heading out to chow down in Fitzroy. It feels odd not shooting this food before we eat it. 7:05pm Each of us are glued to our screens as we wait for our meals. Social media never sleeps and it’s prime time for posting. 8:30pm: We’re all three beers deep and stuffed full of dinner. Scout is wondering where the hell everyone is. 9:00pm: Back at HQ we might enjoy a bottle of wine and recap on the OITNB sub plot and debate over our favourite characters. Poussey wins again. It’s almost time to call it a night.
BROOKE HOLM WORDS BY AMY FARNWORTH
While many budding photographers will eagerly mount their GoPro’s onto a drone or toy with the idea of creating a ridiculously long selfiestick that extends upwards of 100 metres, (laugh now, but there’s probably one already in development), in order to ‘cheat’ their way to one of those coveted aerial shots, Brooke Holm likes to take things a step further. In fact, capturing the earth from way up high, getting that perfect scenic shot in the brilliant way she does is ultimately the closest she’ll get to an eagle eye perspective without sprouting her own wings and flying. Brooke Holm doesn’t need a GoPro or a drone, oh no; Brooke Holm does what any dedicated professional would do when it comes to her art - she just charters a small plane. Or a helicopter. Or a hot air balloon. Getting up high for herself and using a DSLR or medium format camera enables Brooke to get the quality she desires out of her images. She can take in her surroundings from a unique position, look for that window of opportunity; she can angle the camera before pressing the shutter, and choose just the right time to take advantage of natural light. She can shoot sporadically too which sometimes results in the best shots of all.
But it’s not just about pressing a button once she’s in the air: “There’s definitely an art to shooting. For every artist, there’s a gut feeling that comes with creating their artwork and knowing when it’s right. I know when a shot is right, and then I press. There are so many reasons and factors behind taking a photograph; whether it’s a conscious or subconscious thought process driving you.” Brooke has been practising photography for ten years, falling for the versatile medium after realising it was the only thing she felt she connected with. Describing her style as linear, considered and emotive, but at the same time spontaneous and impulsive, it’s through photography that she felt able to truly express herself creatively. And although she would like to dabble in commercial and fine art projects with her adoration of great design artists, architects, places and books feeding into her imagery, her heart belongs to the great outdoors. Taking inspiration from landscapes and her fascination with the relationship between humans and nature, being outside amongst the flora and fauna is what makes her feel alive.
Her new ‘Salt and Sky’ series is the perfect example of the lengths she’s willing to go to for her creative passion as she took a flight from Shark Bay in Western Australia and came back with some amazing images that capture the sheer beauty of a stunning landscape.
Brooke’s website is a collection and smorgasbord of vast landscape scenery, layer upon layer of breathtaking beauty – from mountain ranges to glaciers, deserts to shorelines, woodland to farmland, the positioning of her lens and the way she frames her images have a kind of predetermined edge to them. It’s as if she waited for the perfect shot, poised in anticipation to press the shutter at just the right moment. But paradoxically her images could easily have been captured on impulse, caught by chance, a gloriously rare moment in time. And that’s not undermining her skill, on the contrary as her brilliant flare for detail enables her to absorb her surroundings and capture on camera something that can only usually be seen with the eyes.
In her ‘Arctic’ series she discovered and caught the visually stunning natural environment of a very rare aesthetic, capturing the majesty and splendour that the northernmost part of the world holds. In her shots of the Yarra Valley, she recreates the colours and documents the sheer size and vastness of farming life and culture. And it’s through this aerial imagery, through her lens, that we actually gain a sense of the magnitude and contrast in landscapes that our world has to offer. Brooke has recently moved to New York, something that she’s wanted to try for a long time, and after exhibiting in Melbourne and Sydney over the last few years, she’s now ready to take on the Big Apple with her new projects. I for one can’t wait to see what she captures and hope her aerial photography continues enabling her to bring us shots of a thriving American metropolis from a higher and more dramatic perspective. Instagram @brookeholm Website www.brookeholm.com
Model: Jessica Roche (@jessicajroche) Photographer: Pixie Bella and Jesse Allen (@pixpop + @burnt_breakfast) HMU: Penny Antuar (@pennyantuar) Swimwear: Ohana Swim (@ohanaswim)
live royal WORDS BY SAMII LUND
I think we can all agree that activewear is all the rage (especially for those driving to get coffee every day raising a sweat only when raising their latte glasses). However, there is a lack of ‘cool’ happening in the market at the moment; especially when it comes to womenswear. If you were to put activewear, loungewear and sexy streetstyle in a blender and sprinkle it with seriously cool local artists, you’d end up with a neat onewoman label named Live Royal in your glass. From her home in Melbourne, founder Leigh Antonio creates graphic garments with artwork celebrating female empowerment and comfort with the help of her imagination and local artists such as Kimberly Smith @kimberlysmithdesign). The 24-year-old Masters student grew up in arguably the most creative city in Australia and started her business venture a few years ago after creating one-off tees for friends.
hand-painting designs on tees just for fun; as demand grew, I turned the hobby into a business.” Tired of seeing the same old shit around in the stores, Leigh decided to take her new business venture and push the boundaries of the everyday norm that other brands were offering. Instead of providing basics that were in fact basic, Leigh altered the lines of normality and focused her designs on her needs, and not the assumption of what her clients would want. “At the outset, I often created products that I perceived other people would want, but that would not specifically cater to what I thought was best. As the brand developed, I noticed that the best sellers are pieces that I have created to suit my individual taste and style.”
to put forward my ideas and for them to run with it. I feel as though it’s important to give them a certain level of creative freedom as they have a wealth of knowledge that I would be foolish to ignore.” Empowering the every-day woman with robust and sexy imagery on her social media channels is just one way that the lass behind Live Royal is pushing the realms of creativity. Involving musical aspects in her inspirations including the tunes of Kanye West, Kid Cudi & Lorde (whom the name inspo derived from) ensures that her brand image and message carries through to every client, even internationally. Through this means of brand awareness, Live Royal relates with a wider range of women from different cultures and environments. “ I feel the aesthetics of the brand and the appearance of our content communicate a certain aura. It is important for our clients to affiliate with the women associated with and who actively wear the brand, creating a sense of identity.”
Designing for what Leigh calls her “dream girl”, is made easy with the help of numerous local female creatives such as Nadz “Two summers ago after I had Banaag, Nicole Millar, Yasmin finished exams for the year, I Suteja (Culture Machine) and started up the project in my Pixie Bella to name a few. garage cutting stencils and “Working with all these supertalented photographers and @liveroyal_ creatives has enabled me liveroyal.tictail.com
â€œThe Live Royal girl is open to embracing difference, belongs to different subcultures and is not affraid to stand out.â€? Leigh Antonio Founder of Live Royal
Model: Jessica Roche (@jessicajroche) Photographer: Pixie Bella and Jesse Allen (@pixpop + @burnt_breakfast) HMU: Penny Antuar (@pennyantuar) Swimwear: Ohana Swim (@ohanaswim)
zoe kirkwood WORDS BY AMY FARNWORTH
“Kirkwood is a master manipulator of surface and colour, and with a combination of modern materials, her new body of work creates an absorbing experience” Jenna Pippett. Gallery Assistant, Hugo Michell Gallery. Zoe Kirkwood has just finished her second exhibition at the Hugo Michell Gallery in Adelaide. The installations and paintings for her ‘In The Round’ series follow her 2014 exhibition, entitled ‘Space Invaders’, and showcases her further research into painting in the expanded field. An active and recognised member of the local arts community in Adelaide, Zoe’s current show has been very well received and rightly so – experimenting with a more spatial, three-dimensional approach to painting, her work encompasses a whole range of mediums, from painting and woodturning, to resin casting and metal work. A self-confessed lover of and voracious consumer of popular culture and shitty action films (we hear ya, sista – Die Hard 2 anyone?), Zoe is someone who could – in her words – “happily bore you to death with conversations about contemporary art”. But it’s from where she derives her inspirations that we’re really interested – the digital screen and her obsession with the Baroque.
Growing up on a farm in South Australia, the Baroque style and everything it represented was worlds away from anything she’d ever known, and it was while on a family trip to Versailles that she found herself falling in love with the spectacle of the decorations and architecture. It’s not only this dramatic form of art that provides her with her ideas, as Zoe told us: “I think that love of bright spectacle was also fostered through growing up in the late 80s/ early 90s. I remember being mad about Madonna’s Blond Ambition tour, and the Jean-Paul Gautier costumes, and Michael Jackson’s Bad Tour. That and my Mum’s wardrobe choices!” Her love of all things glamorously abstract are genuinely reflected through her work. You only need to study some of her sculptures and installations to see that this girl’s talent is limitless. She can create something visually stunning, mesmerising and eye-catching from a simple shape or object, and her use of colour is fascinating too. “I definitely have mainstays that I love to work with including phthalo blue and quinacridone magenta. I guess I would also have to add in fluorescent pink if I’m honest, but I do keep on trying to make my work less pink…although this never seems to eventuate…but I did do an allwhite show once…”
With a show at CHASM Gallery in New York already under her belt where she collaborated with Melbourne-based artist, Emma Coulter; a group show in Sydney coming up in August; and a further project set to be exhibited in November, Zoe is definitely open to anything and everything when it comes to her artistic pathway. “I think it can be so rewarding to be open to new things and new opportunities that arise and allowing them to decide where you go next. Fingers crossed, within the next five years I’ll be making more work and travelling too.” Zoe’s work can be bought through the Hugo Michell Gallery, and she has other pieces available to purchase through the Mars Gallery Stockroom in Melbourne: email@example.com & firstname.lastname@example.org Instagram @zoe_kirkwood Website www.zoekirkwood.com
Working abstractly comes naturally to Zoe and has opened up so many possibilities, satisfying her curiosity for different mediums and allowing her to take a hands-on approach to making and building things. She finds there’s a symbiotic relationship between all the mediums she explores as what she may be doing in her painting can often feed into her sculptural work and vice-versa: “I get excited about working with new mediums and techniques and become pretty obsessive about experimenting with them.For an upcoming residency, I’ll be working with a master mould maker and welder which I can’t wait for!”
daggy designs WORDS BY AMY FARNWORTH
Putting good use to what some have deemed an unfortunate if not peculiar surname is Patrick Dagg’s selling point. The conceptual rationale at the basis of what Daggy Designs is all about is a play on words - a paradox if you will. Despite being super-proud of his surname, Patrick says; “I’ve taken a name that represents poor taste; something uncool or undesirable, and I’ve turned it on its head. Metaphorically speaking, I’ve polished a turd.” This is the running stylistic vibe I got from Patrick after interviewing him about his ceramics business, Daggy Designs. He’s crass, he’s clever, he’s witty, he’s convoluted, complex and incredibly articulate; and he sees himself as a ‘designer’ rather than an ‘artist’ or ‘ceramicist’. Daggy Designs launched in May, but far from being a brand new endeavour, Patrick Dagg’s ceramic brain-child is something that had been gestating for many years. “The idea began with a show I held named ‘crash paintings’ over four years ago in Sydney, which was inspired by a serious car accident I was involved in. A friend was working at a ‘paint your own bowl’ style business, and I decided to match my paintings with the bowls. Something more exciting happened when the artworks existed on a functioning object.” And it’s his references to contemporary art, modernist design and the more traditional/cultural art practices that can be found in his ceramics; he has the ability to change the context of an object and mix it with a range of opposing ideas to create some exciting results. And none more evident than in his pieces, ‘Dennis’ and ‘Boner Vase’. “I love gestural painting, whether 50s New York School or German expressionist and Neo-expressionist works, as well as a love for tribal art. The Boner and the Dennis vases are examples of the more playful, humorous side of Daggy Designs and have more scope to explore figural ideas that interest me in the tribal art and pottery. I’m keen to explore more limited edition hand built vessels like this that push the boundaries of function and bad taste.”
While it was these designs in particular that caught our eye, the range of Patrick’s work within Daggy Designs remains random, individual and unique. His ‘classic-ware’ range features the same prominent black squiggly line which is easily identifiable and along with his other signature collections can be solely attributed to his recognisable style. “The range in Daggy Designs includes a number of patterns or designs that have names such as the squiggly black line. Although they are of the same pattern, each piece is improvised separately and thus the design is never the same twice. This degree of improvisation is crucial to me as I want to keep the work fresh and fun to make.” Far from being just vases and vessels though, Patrick is careful to add variety to his collections and is aiming to branch out with a jewellery range and wants Daggy Designs to venture into other fields such as fashion and homeware. “I created Daggy Designs to produce high quality aesthetically exciting work that is affordable to a large section of society. I have itchy feet though and want to do everything all at once…retail stores, clothing ranges, painting exhibitions… but for the time being, I just need to be patient. It’s only been a 12-month turn around since I began with ceramics so I think this year is about testing the products and getting feedback.
“The goal is to have a group of stockists around the country that support Daggy Designs and get people excited about what we do. I’m looking forward to the Big Design Market in December where I’ll be showcasing some of my work.” Daggy Designs is refreshing, abstract and fun. And Patrick Dagg has ambition, drive and determined grit that will surely see his ideas flourish in the years to come. His passion for creativity is overwhelming, his knowledge of art astounding and his confidence in his abilities is staggering. But it’s his description of creativity and why he thinks it’s important that helped is fall a little bit in love with this eccentric designer: “Creativity is important because it’s a release from all the madness and chaos that is life. One of the first creative experiences I ever had was when my father allowed me to throw stones through the windows of the back of the house before it was renovated. There was something so liberating about that act; defiant and slightly menacing.
The act of destruction has always been relevant to my practice as once something becomes imperfect it appears far more interesting. And I don’t think life would be fascinating without creativity.” Catch Patrick’s Designs at The Big Design Market in December. Instagram @daggydesigns Website www.daggydesigns.com
LAURA HORN ART WORDS BY SAMII LUND
Tell us about yourself and your creative journey so far. It was not long after my second child was born that I started getting the urge to do something different. As lucky as I felt to have two children, I also felt like I had lost a bit of myself along the way. I really wanted something just for me. At the time, I didn’t know what that something was. Having enjoyed writing as a child, I started a blog called “Space for Magic”. The blog was about making time to do things that I really enjoyed. While I was blogging, I was introduced to the idea of intuitive painting and quickly became absolutely fascinated with this playful and liberating approach to making art. I signed up to many courses and immersed myself deeply in the intuitive painting world. My blog ended up on the scrap heap but it didn’t matter, I’d found my magic! The more art I made the happier I became. Colours became more vivid, my senses heightened and for the first time in a long time I felt well and truly alive. There was one small problem though. I wanted to do it more. A little voice started whispering to me - “what if creating art was my job, what if I got up every day to do what I love, what if I could help others connect with their own creativity?” The voice got louder and one day quite spontaneously I decided to just go for it. I cut down my hours at my office job, transformed our dining room into an art studio and purchased a printer and scanner to make prints. That day, I made the decision to back myself as an artist.
Why abstract/ mixed media art? I’ve always been drawn to abstract art. There’s something about the mystery of it, the way that it encourages the viewer to fill in the gaps and search for the meaning of the painting. It suits my free-flowing style of painting. I like to focus more on colour and movement than fine detail. As for mixed media, to me it’s just super fun to experiment with different supplies. It reminds me of being back in kindergarten, you get to scribble with crayons, splash paint and glue and stick things. When I am feeling stuck creatively, opening up my journal and playing around with mixed media, usually gets the juices flowing again. What has been the benefit of being self-taught? I was keen to go to art school but in the end I chose to do a business degree. I just didn’t think I could make a living from art and I feared that I wasn’t good enough. Now, I think it might have been a blessing as I have been able to explore my creativity on my own terms. I’ve had the freedom to choose my teachers and my tribe and take my art in directions that feel good to me. Where do you work from? These days I am very lucky to have a studio at my home. It’s the bees knees, I love it! I’m a big believer in having your own space to create, even if it’s just a small corner in your living room. Having somewhere that you can leave a few supplies out, really helps you to build up a regular creative practice.
What is it about art that really tugs at your heart strings? I can’t seem to not make art anymore. It’s become such an important part of who I am that I just don’t feel right if I am not flexing my creative muscles in some way. Honestly though, I think it’s the way that painting has improved my overall confidence off and on the canvas that keeps me coming back. There’s so much that you learn through the creative process that can be applied to everyday life. It really has taught me so much about persistence, patience, trust and compassion. Where do you find inspiration for your work? Everyday life inspires me. It could be anything, a piece of fabric, the lyrics of a song, a page from an interior design magazine... I keep several journals where I store ideas. When I’m feeling uninspired, getting out in nature never fails to leave me feeling rejuvenated. The colours you use are so well balanced; is there anything in particular that inspires you to choose your colour scheme for each artwork? I choose colours that I love, often taking inspiration from my own wardrobe or home décor. Most of my paintings feature soft pinks and peachy tones and if you open my wardrobe it’s exactly the same. I go through tonnes of white paint as I use it to soften colours and to create resting spaces within my work. Balance is very important and I am always striving to create a harmonious palette with a good variety of lights and darks. What has been the most difficult challenge you have faced in your artistic career? Honestly, there have been many challenges. I think the biggest one for me was coming to terms with where I was at in my own creative ability. When I started painting there was an enormous gap between what I wanted to paint and what I could paint and that was frustrating. I’m a very determined person though, or maybe I’m just stubborn. I kept painting and if you paint a lot of paintings it’s inevitable that you are going to learn a thing or two!
Symbols such as butterflies, flora and girls flow throughout the body of your work in both your abstract and whimsical work. Why are these icons important to your work? Personal growth and discovery are important themes in my work. In my early work there was a lot of ‘unlearning’ that I needed to do. To get to where I am now, I needed to let go of messages such as ‘I’m not an artist’, ‘You don’t know how to paint’, and “You’ll never be good enough”. Because of this, I gravitated towards symbols like butterflies. I could relate to the way that they shed their skins and transform. Similarly, I often included imagery of plants growing towards the light. As for the girls, I think that was a way of reconnecting with my childhood, a time when I created with ease and abandon. These days, while I don’t use as much imagery in my work, my paintings are still influenced by these themes. What are the main driving forces for you to push yourself outside your comfort zone and how you incorporate this into your artwork? Whenever I have to do something that takes me out of my comfort zone, whether in life or in art, I always remind myself that there is magic on the other side. In just about every painting that I create, there is a stage I go through when the painting looks really awful and all my insecurities creep in. At this point, I am out of my comfort zone. Something is happening on the canvas that is testing me. The beauty of having painted a lot is that I now know I can get past this stage and almost every time I end up with a painting that is better for it. A painting that is richer and has more of a story to tell. A peice of advice to young budding creatives struggling within their comfort zones? One of the reasons I called my exhibition, ‘Dream Chaser’ is because you’ve got to chase the dream. dreams don’t come easy, persistence is key. You’ve got to keep picking yourself up, keep moving Forwards, try to look at things from different perspectives, surround yourself with good people and don’t give up!
“I have learned to let go of the need to know the outcome.” Why do you think this is such an important lesson..? Having an outcome in mind, really hindered me when I first started painting. I had strong ideas about what I wanted my paintings to look like and no idea how to get them there. Perfect conditions for a whole lot of frustration and self-doubt. It was only when I started to let go of needing to know where a painting was going that I started learning a whole lot more. There is great value in experimenting and following that intuitive voice that whispers in your ear to pick up a certain supply, try a different tool ... if you can nurture that intuitive voice, you have a very powerful tool at your disposal. What’s next on the agenda for you? After my exhibition, I’ll be focusing on creating some original pieces on wood panels and adding new prints to my online shop. As soon as it hits about September, my schedule gets busy with markets. I’m also looking at running an intuitive painting workshop. Exhibitions: I’m about to have my first exhibition as part of the South Australian Living Artists (SALA) Festival. I’m exhibiting at Local Crowd in Adelaide for the month of August. The exhibition has been inspired by my own journey as an artist and explores the highs and lows of chasing a dream. Underpinning my work is the theme of positivity. Instagram @laurahornart Website www.laurahornart.com