MAY 2016 ISSUE #7
Editor Samii Lund email@example.com @theeyecreative_mag Writer/ Creative Manager Amy Farnworth firstname.lastname@example.org @amyfarnworth Issue Seven Creative Collaborators Writers: Grace Brewin Amanda Lindsay Christian Gabriel Amy Farnworth Photographers: Le Tans (Sara Tansy) Melissa Cowan Michael Green Emma McEvoy Hunter Thomson Illustrative/ Artistic: Ash Schmitt Jo Nixon 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... Melissa Cowan Photography Feature Pages 50 - 57 @melissacowanphotography www.melissacowan.com.au
Please note: The Eye Creative makes all efforts to credit any photographers, artists and makers in all aspects of the magazine. Sometimes, we are not supplied with all of the details of contributing parties to each photograph provided to us by our featured creativeâ€™s. If an image appears in our publication, and you as a contributing creative have not been credited in our publication,
Better with besties. .COM Page 5
We got rude, crude and sexy with our last issue and it happened to land us in a bit of hot water with our online partners. Mr Facebook seems cool and all, with his funny YouTube video snippets and people posting about their un-exciting days in an almost ironic tone - until you want to post an image incorporating a hint of female pubes and then you quickly realise how much of a rude, stubborn prude he actually is. And don’t even get us started with our online magazine viewer Issuu, who happened to have more than a few ‘issuu’s’ with our content and didn’t mind chucking up an explicit content warning before allowing any readers through (cheers for that hurdle mate). Nevertheless, we’re enjoying our new found rebellion. We feel naughty, but in a good way. Like the kind of naughty you feel when you leave the last bit of milk in the fridge and your mum yells at your little brother for it, or when you know who’s $2 coin it is in the washing machine but you claim it anyway because finders keepers is an actual unspoken rule. The best thing about us climbing outside the box (pardon the pun) last issue, is that we’ve collected a bigger following which in turn saw our readership soar to greater heights. This issue also comes after the loss of another great creative talent, Prince. There’s so much about his legacy that words cannot describe, which is why we asked our good friend Ash Schmitt to create an illustrative tribute in his honour. If there is one thing that we’ve learned from the loss of two very incredible creative influences in the past few months, is that there is no time to waste on self-doubt. Do what you do with grace, confidence, style, with individualism and just BE. There is no right time to shine - so it might as well be now. Samii xx
CORPORATE COUTURIER Page 7 MELBOURNE
Alice in Wonderment
Little Rebel Collective
Page 9 WWW.EYOTACLOTHING.COM
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Rollie Nation I need to start a ‘Rollie Fund” charity so that I can afford to buy every pair of these shoes that have ever been designed. With artist collaborations, specialty designs, rocking colour themes and most of all - COMFORT - there’s no wonder Rollie Nation is in fact a ‘nation’ and not just a suburb. Buy here: www.rollienation.com
Catherine Spinks Iris Giclee Print from $15.00 Iris...dear Iris. Saying I’m a little obsessed with this woman (goddess) is an understatement. If I ever met her, I would fan-girl so hard that I’d probably cry, laugh, snort, forget to breathe, say something stupid, and fall over all at the same time. I mean honestly, just like her accessory closet, she’s off the hook. This totally insane artwork is perfectly eccentric & at the same time understated in all the right ways. Get yours here: www.etsy.com/shop/ CatherineSpinks
Golden Monkey Forget swimming in a pool of money, we’re the kind of people to take a dip in an Olympic-sized pool full of pom poms. Glorious, amazing pom poms. That’s why we need this Denim Foil Print Cushion from Golden Monkey Designs. STAT. $90.00 (size is 40cm x 40cm) Buy here: www.goldenmonkeybrand.com
Papered Thoughts Good Vibes Rocks (lucky dip) from $30.00 “You’re a warrior! Warriors don’t give up, they don’t back down. So pick up your sword and sheild and you go fucking fight!!” If there’s one way to get us to buy a hand-painted rock - that’s it. SOLD SOLD SOLD! Get your Good Vibes Rocks here: www.etsy.com/shop/ paperedthoughts
Loving Earth Chocolate Blocks from approx. $8.00 (80gm) When you’re gluten and lactose intolerant (AKA intolerant to everything delicious), you start to give up on ever satisfying your tastebuds again....but then along comes Loving Earth with their Salted Caramel raw chocolate and life has never been the same. Best part? It’s fucking good for you. TAKE THAT INTOLERANCES! Please note: not one for those with nut allergies. Sorry, not sorry. Get yours here: lovingearth.net
A FEW OF OUR FAVOURITE THINGS NOTE: Prices of products may change from what is mentioned in this magazine.
Alexis Winter Memory Eraser Pin $15.00 Ever woken up on a Sunday and wanted to throw your phone in the toilet due to drunk texts that really should not have gone out the night before? (Honestly, where is that App that warns you before you send them!?) WELL, forget that app. You can just pretend to wipe your bad habits away with this magical memory eraser pin. Because pretending that things didn’t happen is the first step to curing a hangover (and plus, it’s really cute.) Get yours here: www.etsy.com/shop/AlexisWinter
WHISTLEBURG BY RENEE MELIA WORDS BY AMY FARNWORTH Describing why she draws and how she came to realise that this line of creativity was her forte, Renee says that drawing is a great way to brighten her mind at the end of a working and ‘adulting’ day: “I enjoy doing it. It gives me a fulfilment that I don’t get from my office job.”
Renee Melia is a brilliantly quirky illustrator and maker from Perth, who has a penchant for creating endearingly comical animal and food drawings. These creations stem from the procrastination she encounters in her fulltime desk job, where getting sucked into furry animal video vortexes on YouTube is a daily occurrence.
As far as her making goes (and this involves setting up an Etsy store), she mentioned that she’s grateful it started off so well. “Getting an Etsy store off the ground requires a lot of research and hard work, in the beginning to get noticed and it was all-consuming at the start, especially juggling it with my day job.
“I get bored and snack a lot”, says the 33-yearold owner of Whistleburg, her illustration and accessory business, “so when I sit down at night to draw, that’s what ends up on the page – furry things and food!” Renee told us that while she’s busy during the day attempting to be a moderately useful member of society, at night she emulates Rick Ross quotes: “I’m in the distribution, I’m like Atlantic, I got them motherfuckers flyin’ ‘cross the Atlantic.” Which in layman’s terms (and we’re guessing in Renee’s terms too), means that she posts her products to various countries around the world. Catching up on social media on her lunch break, doing post office runs and making orders in her spare time, as well as taking pictures for her Instagram in the morning before work is just a snapshot into the hectic day-to-day running of her successful company. Flying across the Atlantic indeed. Why Whistleburg though and what does it even mean? Whistleburg is a ‘beatnik’ term for a place that guys go to check out girls and Renee came across it while reading an article on ‘beat phrases’. “It’s not a representation of my products, I just loved the word. And as an added bonus the randomness means I rank brilliantly in a Google search.”
“I love all the aspects of having an online store though; the creating, the photography, the marketing; I even enjoy packing stuff. I thrive on it.” And when it comes to encouraging other creatives, Renee’s success with Whistleburg allows her to give this sound advice: “I think it’s important to prioritise creativity and your creative business, even if that means being a little selfish with your time. Try new things now and then, it refreshes you; and put yourself out there – get on social media, open an online store. Just jump in and do it!” We’re so enamoured and obsessed with Renee’s designs that we couldn’t imagine them not being a part of our lives now. Just looking at them makes us grin from ear to ear; so when we asked her what she’d be doing if she wasn’t making her accessorisable goodies, we’re glad she didn’t give up the day job: “I’d probably just be watching more funny animal videos on YouTube.” @whistleburg www.whistleburg.etsy.com
PHOTOGRAPHY SUPPLIED BY ARTIST.
PHOTOGRAPHY BY MINHKY LE
CAKES BY CLIFF MAKER | BAKER WORDS BY AMY FARNWORTH Cakes by Cliff is the brilliant creative cake business by Sydney’s Clifford Luu. His cake designs and ideas are so amazing that we can’t stop looking at them…and wishing we could devour them…all of them. Being creative isn’t just about creating something using a camera or an instrument or a pencil, it’s about using your creativity to think outside the box, to try new things, and if cake designing and baking is one of them, then we’re definitely on board! The Eye: Your cakes and designs are incredible, where do you get your ideas and inspirations from and when did you first start baking? Cliff: I was never interested in baking growing up. It only started as a hobby and something to bring to dinner parties! I get inspiration from everything and anything! I have a love of architecture but I also work with my clients and help build their vision. The Eye: Obviously all cakes are different and some more time consuming than others but how long does it take from the initial idea inception to the finished product? Cliff: It can take anywhere from 4-6 hours from start to finish. I work with my cakes in stages – I will ice the cake and put it back in the fridge and work on the butter cream or temper some chocolate! The Eye: What’s been your favourite and your most challenging bake to date? Cliff: The Jack Daniels cake infused with Jack Daniel syrup was my favourite but a four-tiered wedding cake for an outdoor venue was definitely the most challenging– there are so many elements I had to manage.
The Eye: You’re also into photography, how does the medium of baking differ to that of a traditional more conventional ‘creative’ medium such as photography or illustration? And are there actually any differences or does art just manifest itself in different formats depending on the person doing the creating? Cliff: Great question! My passion for photography started during high school. I stopped taking photos when I started working full time. I now enjoy using photography as a way to document my processes and my work. Personally, I treat each cake as a small art project, building up layers, choosing different ingredients/decorations, matching colours, etc. The Eye: How much creative passion and time do you spend on your designs and do you ever make mistakes and if so how do you rectify baking fuck-ups? Cliff: A lot of the designs are experimental and accidental. It is a bit of a trial and error to see if certain designs would work or if the colours turn out to what you have in your head. The beauty of cake decorating is that there is no right way to doing it, so a mistake in my eyes may be perfect for someone else. The Eye: What decorating techniques do you use and what advice can you give to other bakers out there who are trying to make a living from their passion? Cliff: I don’t really follow any cake decorating techniques. I tend to adopt various techniques that I’ve watched on YouTube. My advice is to keep baking and decorating to your heart’s content, don’t do it for the money but do it because you love it!
PHOTOGRAPHY BY CLIFF
PHOTOGRAPHY BY CLIFF
SARAH KELK ARTIST WORDS BY SAMII LUND Getting lost in the world of abstract art is for some, a hefty task. “What is it exactly?” “What is the thought process behind it?” And “how the hell did the artist think of this in the first place?” Are all very common questions heard from the echoing gallery walls. However, for those with an imaginative mind, getting lost in abstract art can be somewhat experimental, mind-opening and quite the calming experience. Melbourne artist Sarah Kelk, is one of those artists who seems to create a world within the colour blocked patterns and colours within her work. Staring at it for hours didn’t seem like enough time for me as I made up my own story lines and imagined the process in which she went through to create such unique and clever detail. A true mark of an artist is to engage their audience in a world unlike the one that exists in front of them; and Sarah Kelk has nailed it right on the head, even if she hadn’t meant to. “I’d love to say I’m channeling a deeper thought process when I paint, but if I’m totally honest, I get so engrossed in working on the colour, texture and shape balance within a piece, that it usually comes down to the feeling I get from an inspiration rather than a particular inspiration I’m trying to convey to the viewer.” Working out of a light and bright studio above her garage, Sarah has created not only her amazing artworks but a well defined and celebrated brand as one of Australia’s budding artists. Starting from a young age, her creative spirit developed with the help of other like-minded individuals.
”After studying, it started by someone giving a fresh out of Uni, driven and enthusiastic girl a chance, and I was lucky enough to get work in various gallery and design spaces, as well as some time spent working as an Interior Designer. From there, I’ve put my head down and worked incredibly hard in every role I’ve worked in since.” After travelling the world for two years back in 2002, Sarah found herself stranded in Edinburgh by chance where she decided to take up residence for the next seven years. Here she found herself landing positions in various gallery and design spaces which allowed her to immerse herself in an imaginative world surrounded by inspiring artists and designers. “ It solidified the fact that I wanted to work with and alongside creative people, as well as showing me that I enjoyed working for myself. I knew from them on that I wanted to stay working in the creative industry.” Moving to Melbourne in 2011, Sarah took her inspiration to a new level and started up the incredible flourishing creative business that is Hello Polly (hellopolly.com.au) with her sister Helen. After painting took a backseat while travelling and furthering her study, the opening of Hello Polly helped to get her back to her artistic roots and pushed her toward greater heights. “I loved painting again, and with some fantastic support from Melbourne’s creative community, and I haven’t stopped since.”
The inspiration behind her work is found, like most creative-brainers, everywhere. References from nature, architecture and decorative arts are most prominent; however, influences such as random colours on garage doors and moving colours within a landscape are used as starting points to each piece. Although inspired by different things, each artwork enters a realm within the creative process, where the intuitive spirit takes over from anything literal. This free-form of imagination is what makes each piece unique to Sarah and her style, as it incorporated the real talent and vision of the artist. When she’s not spending time in her decked out garage studio, Sarah can be found enjoying coffee, soft cheeses (a girl after our own heart), enjoying red wine and playing board games with her two young kids & husband. When we asked what was next on the agenda for this super-star artist, Sarah replied “ More of the same to be honest, as I really enjoy what I do! Other than that, I have a few, really fun, collaborations in the pipeline (all secret squirrel at this stage, I’m afraid!)” Secret squirrel or not - we’ll be watching with anticipation. Recent exhibitions: 2016 ‘Floating Worlds‘, Joint Show with Stephen Baker, The Design Files Collect, Melbourne 2016 ‘Desert Dreams‘, The Ladies Network, Sydney 2015 ‘All Things Now‘, Solo Show, Modern Times, Melbourne 2015 The Design Files Collect, ASRC Charity Exhibition, Melbourne 2015 ‘The Ladies Exhibition‘, Ambush Gallery, Sydney 2014 The Design Files Open House, Melbourne
Photographer: Mclean Stephenson
WORDS BY CHRISTIAN GABRIEL In her flashy metallic jumpsuit, the immaculately blonde bobbed Olivia Bartley, or Olympia - having taken her name from the 1863 Édouard Manet painting - is one of the finest examples of high-quality Australian music right now. Her songs have the ability to hook you on lyrics and production efforts alone - at times ranging from the sweetness of Feist to the stylishness of Debbie Harry; although, it’s so much more than that. Working ceaselessly since the 2013 self-titled EP was released, she has been carving a notoriety of her character, knowledge and intellect through TV appearances, giving intimate club performances in her trio format or playing in Something For Kate frontman Paul Dempsey’s touring band. Last year, audiences heard three singles/videos (produced alongside Burke Reid of Gerling): the brilliantly narrative ‘Honey’, along with ‘Tourists’ and ‘This Is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things’. Recently came the single ‘Smoke Signals’ with its mesmerisingly repetitive music video and terrific disco pop chorus. All generous samples indicating what is to come with her first long player album that she has been furiously polishing to a remarkable shine. I had a chance to exchange words just on the cusp of her ‘Self Talk’ album release (April 29th) that she recorded with post-disco soloist Donny Benet, Peter Luscombe of RockWiz and former Dallas Crane bassist Pat Bourke. With such high probability of her capturing an even larger audience with this, there is no better time to get her impressions so far.
THE EYE: What has the experience of making this LP a reality been for you? OLYMPIA: Making the record was an incredible experience - one of the hardest I’ve ever undertaken. I’m currently working in a studio in NZ (Neil Finn’s) in preparation for a show I’m doing over here, and it reminded me what it was like being in the studio making the record. It’s easy to forget the work that went into it. Burke Reid (producer extraordinaire) and I worked 22 hour days in the studio. We pushed ourselves - and the work, super hard, working in the studio in the same way the album was written - which was more of a deconstructed way. Like any work, there’s also all the preparatory work and little failures that make the whole the ideas you spend days on that don’t go anywhere, realising the song would sound better up a key and re-recording all the previous work.
We also had the privilege of working in a Melbourne studio for part of the record that was set up by a music lover who’d collected instruments from every era. Vintage drum kits (including a bass drum from the early 1900’s that was wired with light globes to heat the calf skin), and an incredible range of vintage electronics, including a very special Jupiter 8. He even had the MPC used by Massive Attack on of their album Blue Lines, replete with samples from the recording sessions (possibly a remnant of a messy divorce). It’s a rare privilege to meet someone who is so excited about instruments both analogue and electronic - and who is genuinely excited about strangers coming in to the studio and exploring them. The recordings are imprinted with this experience. In the end, the making of the record sonically and lyrically has been influenced by the process of ‘making’, and I love that. That’s the beauty of collaboration.
Photographer: Mclean Stephenson
THE EYE: Where did your musical education begin? OLYMPIA: Our parents signed us up for piano lessons as kids but despite the recital outfits, we were never very good or took it that seriously. I later picked up the guitar and essentially taught myself to play listening to records and watching George Bensen on YouTube. The early piano underpinning has also paid off. THE EYE: What led you to choosing the title Olympia? OLYMPIA: I loved the painting - I love how much it upset everyone at the time, how it had to be hung high to avoid food being thrown at it. It was an incredibly controversial piece. I cut my teeth performing under my own name - that was an age ago. The music is much different now, so is my approach. Ironically, I think it was studying design that had the greatest influence on my approach to music. Looking at the concept-rich works of fashion designers Hussein Chalayan, Rei Kawakubo, or even the 90s United Colours of Bennetton ads, I started to look for ideas in everything. If something as ubiquitous as fashion can be idea-driven, why can’t music? The move to a moniker was a natural progression. I wanted the music to be more about ideas - both theoretic and sonic, not just representative of what I thought, but a more collaborative space.
THE EYE: Your music is habitually described as ‘dreamy, ethereal, hypnotic’. Do you view it the same way? OLYMPIA: Not really. However I struggle to put any words to it, and avoid doing so wherever possible. THE EYE: What other art forms inspire you? OLYMPIA: The most important part of the creative process for me is the idea. The idea comes first, whether (over) hearing a great story, or coming across some strange invention in New Scientist magazine that you’ve borrowed from your boss’ desk. I’m also interested in how other artists have responded to a topic, whether it be in literature, painting, etc. For instance when I was writing Honey, I was first triggered by these pictures coming out of Utah of red honey when a beekeeper tried to cut costs by feeding his hive candy canes. It ruined not only his hives’ honey - but that of the whole states. It just seemed like such a great illustration of the effect that we, as humans, have on each other. There’s also that incredible section of Dorothy Porter’s poem ‘Anea remembers domestic bliss’; ‘I could taste honey, as if every bee in Troy, had made her phantom its swarming hive’. The presence of other artists work is important. Other artists/thinkers become like the cool kids at the end of the street: it’s good to get your arse kicked now and again; and also, by trying to keep up, you’ll push yourself further forward than you might have done in isolation.
THE EYE: What musical equipment did you start out with? Where has that journey taken you to what you use now on stage and in recording?
THE EYE: How has location shaped your sound? Have things felt different since moving to Melbourne?
OLYMPIA: I started with an acoustic guitar, but quickly traded it for an electric - an Epiphone Sheraton (of which I still own). My father (who is a really great player), always told me to never buy a guitar at face value, to play it and let it choose you. Of course I ignored that advice and have bought and traded lots of silly guitars that weren’t right - or rather belonged to a collector. My staples now are the Epiphone, Telecaster, Jazzmaster, and on keys, a Nord, and a scrappy collection of synths. THE EYE: As a multi-instrumentalist, do you feel it’s important to be technically proficient? OLYMPIA: Technical proficiency, even basic knowledge certainly helps, but nobody starts as Jose Feliciano. I think it really depends on your view on music - and the type of music you want to create. When I started to play with other musicians, I wasn’t technically proficient at all. I played guitar like it was the piano and vice versa. There are pros and cons with starting out self-taught. It can result in a really unique voice. However you can become dissuaded easily, and unfortunately I’ve seen that happen too often. You’ve got to be robust.
OLYMPIA: I’m not really sure location has shaped my sound that much. In Melbourne you are certainly exposed to a lot of live music, and people talking about music, but that can also be as much a distraction as inspiration. If anything, moving to Melbourne has also coincided with a more disciplined writing routine, where I’ll write from 9-5 in the studio. THE EYE: Once on the road, what locations in particular do you wish to take this new set of songs? OLYMPIA: Every city we play has a different identity. We’ve only really headlined in Sydney and Melbourne, so we’re looking forward to developing audiences outside of those two cities, and getting to know them better. THE EYE: Knowing what you know now, any advice for a budding artist looking to make a breakthrough? OLYMPIA: Don’t wait for inspiration, and don’t expect conditions to be perfect, otherwise you’ll never start. Write/play/do-your-thing every day.
I have to admit, when I first started playing music I had no idea what I was doing and it was absolute bliss. I had an idea of how I wanted the music to sound, but primarily I wanted the audience to feel something. I took to the electric guitar as another tool to try and articulate the music I could hear in my head. I had no knowledge of chords, and I wasn’t really interested in playing others peoples music. Ideas have always been paramount. The theory came, but my sound was born in this early Garden-of-Eden ignorance. I used to get all these young boys standing at the lip of the stage making notes of my guitar rig, or playing style, narrating what they thought I was doing wrong. If we all followed the same manual, everything would sound the same. You have to go out there and play, sometimes you’re going to make mistakes.
@olympiamusic www.olympiamusic.com.au GET SELF TALK HERE: olympia.lnk.to/SelfTalk
Photographer: Mclean Stephenson
ISABELLA VENUTTI I L LU S T R AT O R
Honest, direct, compelling, creative, relatable and oh-so-glittery are totally acceptable words in which to describe the works of our feature illustrator, Bell Venutti. Her illustrations are so inspired, that it’s as though she’s pulled the influence from the minds of women from all across the world. Speaking to her only furthered our love for her, showing her unconventionally fun personality through not only her artworks but also in her words.
Can you describe your design process a little? I draw various images and doodles on paper (with fine liners generally) and then scan them into my computer and go HAM with the photoshop lol. Do you have a muse? 1960s Anna Karina, Nico & Mo Tucker from the Velvet Underground and Patti Smith, are three creative gals I will NEVERRR get enough of.
Tell us about yourself...Where did it all start? I’ve been drawing, painting and creating artwork my entire life! I couldn’t really pinpoint where my creative journey started, but I was definitely very inspired by growing up around a talented and artistically charged family. Your latest project is about..? My latest illustration project is really a means of putting out my quirky little visual and written musings that are like a little artistic live stream of how I interpret and feel about being a 20-year-old woman figuring it all out and growing up in a city. It’s a very grounding feeling when someone tells me that they find one of my pieces to be ~relatable~ in some way and that’s a pretty darn good reason to keep going with something like this in my opinion. Describe your personal style in a sentence: An equal tie between a member of Hanson in the 90s and François Hardy on casual Friday. What is it about illustration that gets your blood pumping? I Just need to channel things happening inside my head into a physical form that other people can see sometimes. Another form of communication I suppose! Have you struggled with acceptance of yourself and is your art a way of exploring who you are? When I was younger, I literally hated myself, and I think now my artwork is an exploration of the great friendship I have been lucky enough to build with myself over the past few years. List five words that describe yourself: Crazy, independent, passionate, grubby, over-thinker
Your illustrations depict real-life situations and thoughts that could be deemed as confronting to many; have you encountered any negative feedback from your drawings posted online? Never actually! I think the only illustration I’ve ever posted that’s slightly confronting that features masturbation and b00bies is probably one of my most popular! Particularly with the ladies. I think us millennial girls love real and relatable media because females have been so deprived of it for decades. Do the stories/ thoughts in your illustrations depict your emotions and past? Yes and no. But then some people believe that all art comes from a place of truth so take me for what you will haha. Why do you think it’s important, to be honest through your art? I think the society we live in currently can get seriously hooked on the notion of being exposed to people’s innermost truths through their artwork. It’s totally a product of social media and reality TV stimulated culture and I understand and am guilty of it for sure. I love it when people bare their souls in their art but I’m never opposed to a bit of fantasy and escape either; it’s all good. What’s next for you? Right now, coffee. In the coming year…. Who knows! Maybe I’ll make something out of my illustration or maybe it’ll stay on the sidelines for a while. I’m actually incredibly busy with my band IV League (subtle plug!!!!!)
LITTLE REBEL COLLECTIVE
B A R B E R, C R E AT I V E C U T S, N A I L S & B E A U T Y F I T Z R O Y, M E L B O U R N E
Where did LRC start? Kylie was originally renting a chair in the shop when it was a hair, beauty and tanning salon but when solarium’s became illegal, the staff (except for Kylie having working for herself) became redundant and with permission from the landlord, she was able to choose who took over the space. We had all worked for other people for many years in our industry and all had certain ideas we wanted to pursue. At the time Kylie contacted myself (Chelsea) and Rhia, we were both at a stage where we had begun looking into starting our own businesses which made it perfect timing. We wanted it to have different services within the same industry but also alternative to the normal hair and beauty salon. Building a business solely by yourself seemed almost impossible (unless you had major financial support) so having others to support and motivate you, just seemed smart. Where did you meet? Rhia and Kylie met at a party previously and Kylie found me through a mutual friend and the power of Instagram! What about the shop makes people of all types feel welcome? As a unisex salon, we cater for anyone. We don’t have gender specific services which means you are treated as an equal. We treat clients as individuals, rather than making assumptions or suggestions based on fashion or what is normal. We only want to provide a service that will come without judgement and create a feeling of pride in how you present yourself and a reflection of yourself. Also the beer. That’s always one way to make someone feel welcome
Main influence for the shop? As we all have different sections, the shop has a different feel in every corner. Rhia has portrayed the traditional barber shop look with checkered floors, vintage dressing tables, a mint coloured wall and pictures of inspiring women through history. Kylie has a grunge steam punk feel with plenty of demonic style artwork, video games and random figurings scattered around the shop. Chelsea has a wax room down the back as well as a nail bar corner lined with Kawaii flash sheets, white pickets fence, an archway covered in cupcakes and astroturf. Giving it the feeling like you are at a tea party, except rather than tea, we offer beer. Is it important to have your own individual stamp on your spaces? Absolutely. We wanted to bring out our own personalities into the shop and make it somewhat relate to all our clients in one way or another. Are you all from Melbourne? None of us are. Kylie is from Tasmania, Rhia is from Nottingham and Chelsea is from New Zealand. If there’s one message your shop would portray, what would it be? EQUALITY! No matter what your sexual orientation or gender, we welcome anyone that doesn’t fit in with the ‘norm’.
@littlerebelcollective littlerebelcollective.com (03) 9416 0477
PHOTOGRAPHY BY MICHAEL GREEN
( P I C T U R E D P R E V I O U S PA G E )
Do you have a nickname? Dave
Favourite board game? Pink Monopoly because instead of railway stations and fancy streets there’s Ice Cream Shops, Lemonade stands and Nail Bars.
NAILS & BEAUTY
Where do you get your best ideas? My surroundings & energies. Describe Little Rebel Collective in just five words: Rad chicks, equality, professional rebels.
Ideal Breakfast: Pancakes with all the ice cream and toppings. Desert for breakfast is a great way to start the day.
What was happening in your life around the time you joined Little Rebel Collective? Love, life and rock n roll.
Describe each rebel personality: Kylie: Generous, Kind hearted tough bitch with incredible talent Rhia: Equal balance of shit talker and business lady that can relate to every client and create friendships in a space of a 30 minute haircut.
What’s your spirit animal? A Cat. What’s your most prized possession? My hands.
Main Influences: -My mother pushed me to gain independence from my childhood (strong independent single Mum) then over the years, especially over the past 18 months, I have surrounded myself in people (woman predominantly) in business. - I also find inspiration from my surroundings. Recognising colour schemes, texture and patterns. You can pretty much put any design on a nail.
What are you excited about for 2016? Growing with Little Rebel Collective & recording/writing an album with Stay Sharp band. What are your current inspirations? Music inspired fashion & British subcultures. What do you do when you aren’t cutting hair? I play & write in Stay Sharp band. Supporting local bands & exhibitions. Watching documentaries.
How do you start each day? Hitting snooze 5 times, figuring out what clothes are clean or dirty, crossing my fingers that Rhia will offer a ride to work, coffee and Breakfast burrito run from Uncle and Jaks.
Who would be better in a Zombie Apocalypse... Miss Jay or Kylie...and why? Kylie. She’s got mad guns & she bites.
Favourite Nail Design: Technically not my design but I was super proud of my Daria and Jane set. I also did a beach inspired set with hot bods and sand inspired activities. Beats any christmas set. What Soundtrack is playing at the moment? Rhias new Stay Sharp EP. Check it out!
C R E AT I V E C U T S
What has been the most exciting moment in your career so far? Starting my own business and seeing the business grow.
off because it was so white and looked like I was bald at the front! Almost started crying before realising that it was still there.. But i have fried my hair off a few times before I started hairdressing.
Just how hard is it to dye black hair hot pink..? If it’s natural black,it’s much easier, but if it’s artificial colour, especially years worth of black layered in the hair, it can be unpredictable how much it’ll lighten with the first session. That being said, hot pink is much easier to achieve from black than a colours like blue/green/any pastel tones... They are likely to take at least 2 sessions.
When was the moment you knew hair design was what you wanted to do? I would always colour my own hair, and my friends hair- But I was working multiple jobs at that stage...It wasn’t until I was 21 I decided to do a pre employment course in hairdressing, then went on to do most of my apprenticeship in Hobart (where I was living) then moved to Melbourne for my last year!
What’s hanging up on your walls? I have art that I have collected over the years.. Some of my favourite artists at the moment are Mark Riddick, Skinner and Defame. I also have an awesome (ethically sourced) rams skull, a blood covered Jason mask and a dolls head with hair that I half-arse coloured.
If you could live in a film, what one would it be? Big guns, tight buns.
First album you bought? Silverchair-Frogstomp (I also had the tape).
If you had to have either Miss Jay or Rhia colour your hair, who would it be and why? Chelsea (Miss Jay) lightens my hair for me and I throw the colour over top- She is much better at colouring hair than Rhia. Funniest thing overheard from a client? Nothing particularly comes to mind right now, but hearing random sex/tinder stories can be very entertaining! haha! What is your earliest memory involving hair? Colouring my own hair. It would take me all day to do it. I mostly did black base with bright colours- I remember lightening my fringe once and when i rinsed it out i thought It had broken
TALONS OF DEATH TAXIDERMY
WORDS BY GRACE BREWIN While stuffing dead animals has often seemed like a hobby only Norman Bates could love, taxidermy has had a real resurgence in creative culture this past couple of years. A true art form that has found a niche in the Melbourne market, it’s time to forget cow skulls and bird bones and make way for skin and fur. One creative who holds true to the “no guts, no glory” mentality is Matthew Anthes from Talons of Death Taxidermy. Feeling unstimulated by his post-school job, Matthew went back to studying with the intention of becoming a veterinarian but found another calling. “Juggling a full-time work and study balance proved to be more complicated than I thought, so I redirected the passion for animals, biology and natural history into the art of taxidermy.”
When not breathing new life into his creations, Matthew is a keen outdoorsman and enjoys “getting far away from the burdens of modern society. “ It’s no real surprise that he also dabbles in photography, his Instagram is a testament to his skill in all his creative endeavours. Describing himself as an introvert and scientifically-minded it is easy to understand why he chooses to bring attention to taxidermy. “There is more to taxidermy than ‘stuffing an animal’... I want it to be admired for its beauty and try to remove the taboo of the medium. A vast proportion of the work that goes on behind the scenes or under the skin so to speak is regarded as art in their own rights.”
Matthew travelled to North America to study taxidermy in Wisconsin, Alberta, and Los Angeles, as he could find nowhere in Australia to study the curious art form. Upon his return to Australia, with his newfound knowledge in tow, he set up Talons of Death Taxidermy and business has been growing ever since. Engaging with customers through social media has allowed Matthew to connect directly with his market, as he says, “The Facebooks and Instagrams of the world have enabled me to reach people with an interest in the subject I could never have before.” He is currently working on a few pieces for the decor of Loretta’s bar, opening soon in Fitzroy. Some of the items will be permanent residents of the bar while others will be available for purchase. Matthews mentions international taxidermists Wayne Comstock of Nevada
Taxidermy in the US and Robert Reed of Sussex Taxidermy in the UK as inspirations saying, “they’re both incredibly talented wildlife artists, and two guys whom I feel are setting the bar for taxidermists everywhere at the moment.” Other inspirations in his life include American singer/songwriter Jason Isbell, “The man has faced his demons, turned his life around with the choices he has made and is now producing the best work of his career. That’s the kind of man I am inspired to be like.”
In the future, Matthew hopes to open a shop front/studio as well as partaking in the Taxidermy World Championship that runs in the US every two years. “I envision winning that championship and globally making a name for myself as a leader of the ‘new wave’ of taxidermy wildlife artists popping up around the world. You can hold me to that one.”
IMAGES BY LE TANS @LETANS
MELISSA COWAN PHOTOGRAPHER
WORDS BY AMY FARNWORTH Lorde, The XX, A$AP Rocky, Flying Lotus, SBTRKT, Flight Facilities; the list goes on, and I’m not just rhyming off random musos here, oh no. These are in fact clients that the very talented and very in-demand Melissa Cowan, has been lucky enough to work with, and she’s only just getting started. Since turning freelance full-time in 2015 after struggling through dead-end jobs, Melissa has hustled, partied and networked her way through numerous high-profile shoots. She’s challenged herself daily and she’s dedicated her time to learning new techniques, pushing boundaries and putting herself out there, collaborating with others, building relationships with clients and creating a portfolio to be extremely proud of. And it’s definitely paid off. Acquiring her first camera when she was just a young buck, Melissa began photographing her mates at house parties and quickly crafted her skill by taking inspiration from the ordinary people she saw wandering down the street and by inhaling the extraordinary world around her, something that she describes as “so vivid and interesting. You can draw inspiration from the most random and opportune moments whether you are looking for it or not.”
“I’m drawn to the endless possibilities of post-production with images, it’s like painting but with photos, so I can happily spend hours layering images and playing with colour and tone and compositions.” And if the shots on her website are anything to go by (take a look, you’ll be more than blown away) then Melissa’s dream of running her own studio with her own creative team, shooting things she never thought she’d shoot is not that far from her determined grasp. “Photography is always challenging, and if you don’t find it challenging you’re sitting still and taking it easy. From a career point of view, the challenge is to get yourself out there and to stay focused and positive when the work becomes less frequent. Being your own boss means you have to maintain a constant drive as there’s no one else to keep you on your toes.” With her provocative and contemporary images making her one of the hottest young photographers around, Melissa’s advice for others is something we’ll be taking heed of: “Create. Collaborate. Party. Meet. Repeat.”
Melissa’s work is phenomenally exceptional and even though she’d love to get back in the darkroom, working organically with film again, it’s her post-production work and her flare for digital manipulation that truly shows off her incredible talent.
ALICE IN WONDERMENT ALICE ACTON, ARTIST
INTERVIEW BY SAMII LUND THE EYE: What’s been your greatest artistic success? ALICE: Probably selling my first piece. It was a monumental moment, a really personal success. With so many people around you, sceptical in their support, laying subtle hints that I probably should focus my energy elsewhere, it was the first time I had the feeling that my work was worthy. I was able to harness some newfound confidence to start forging a creative career. That was big. THE EYE: Why did you choose acrylic as your medium? ALICE: Acrylic kind of chose me. In the beginning, I was gifted an easel, a canvas, brushes and some paint. I had no formal training, so with that I started to explore acrylic, basically because that was all I had. I ran off every weekend to the local hardware and started collecting any bright mis-tinted house paints so I could paint big without breaking the bank. Since then I’ve played around with gouache and pencil too and have been conjuring up a new series where I plan on introducing some new mediums to my work. THE EYE: What is the most challenging part about working with acrylics? ALICE: I think the possibilities and versatility of acrylic is what makes it so challenging, it’s the part where I have to limit myself with texture and application. THE EYE: What is your creative process like? ALICE: Its really instinctual, any planning is done in my head, in bed of an evening and almost never put to paper. I rarely lay out basic design for a new piece of work, instead I focus
on creating something with energy. It’s all in divine timing when I figure out if it’s finished and often I’m genuinely (pleasantly) surprised at the result. Thank goodness! THE EYE: How has your style changed over the years? ALICE: I think I’m only now really honing in on my style, and figuring out who I am, in paint form. It’s all about colour, patterns and shapes. I want to evoke good feels, and share my energy. That’s the purpose of my work and a key element of my style. THE EYE: Are there hidden meanings and/or stories within some of your artworks that it’s viewers wouldn’t necessarily pick up on? ALICE: Yeh, there often is. I think that’s part of the energy put into a piece. I don’t like to discuss it much though, it’s more powerful that way. I think if they feel it, they see it. THE EYE: The shapes and colours within your work mimic that of a child-like soul, do you think it’s important for artists to hold onto their childhood and playful nature when creating? Totally! It really is just a more free, honest version of yourself THE EYE: Has expressing yourself through art helped you overcome anything in your own life?
ALICE: I think art is the best form of therapy,
so many of life’s hurdles can be made small by spending some time relaxing at the easel. I certainly have had my share of tough times and painting is always a good way to release pent up negativity.
THE EYE: Are there any other artists whose work you take inspiration in? ALICE: There are so many. Kirra Jamieson for the colour and balance she creates within her work. Miso for her restraint and precision. Stephen Normandy and Stephen Baker have been pumping so much good lately and I’ve been a longtime fan of Lucas Grogan. Yago Hortal has been seriously blowing my mind and the work of Vicki Lee and Ted Odonnell has been extraordinary. They are one creative power couple. Their photographic series with paint oozing blooms was divine. You must check them out. Is that too many to mention? I’m only just scraping the surface here! THE EYE: To what extent have changes towards open mindedness in public opinion of contemporary art in the past ten years allowed your work to develop and reach a wider audience?
ALICE: I’d say in many respects we progress and feel liberated by contemporary art, and yet we are becoming more and more censored and politically corrected. We have fabulous platforms nowadays to share images of our art, this opens you up to a much wider audience, and gives you more insight into how your work in being received. I feel this has certainly allowed me to recognise that a long and successful career as a contemporary artist is certainly achievable and it’s been validating for me as I emerge and start to forge my way through the crowd. THE EYE: What advice would you give to young people who want to become artists? ALICE: If you make art, if you are art, you are an artist. Negative perceptions, opinions and judgements of you, your career and your work are irrelevant. Constructive ones are priceless. @aliceinwonderment aliceacton.com.au
NATHAN HAWES MUSICIAN
WORDS BY AMANDA LINDSAY At first glance, Nathan Hawes looks like any Central Coast surfer - tanned, blonde and relaxed - this one with a guitar in his hand. He has the kind of looks that make a teenage girl a bit emotional. And although his face is furnished with an admirable mustache, there’s no mistaking this artist is young. But it would be foolish to assume that Hawes’s age is any barrier. This teen is driven, obsessed and consumed by his art. He has worked hard to evolve, while staying true to himself, despite finding the process of self-acceptance ‘extremely tough’. “I can’t tell you how many songs I recorded that I ended up scrapping, simply because I wasn’t happy with the way I was sounding. I wanted to be more like this person or that person - I had to realise I can’t change myself” says Hawes. This sort of realisation can take years to reach - and in the current age of manufactured horseshit, it’s refreshing to encounter someone who has the depth and the courage to be themselves through their music. Hawes was born to play. His father introduced him to the guitar at around age eight, teaching him basic chords and exposing him to some of the great artists of the 1970s. Over time, he developed an individual style, then began to write and perform songs in his mid-teens. As someone who was perpetually drunk and stupid at the age of 18, I’m honestly shocked at the maturity that Hawes possesses. He is single-minded in his creative pursuit, and when I ask him what he’d be doing if he wasn’t making music he says ‘something creative, art or graphic design’. He considers his work cathartic, an emotional release. The creative process for him is something that ‘just happens’, where he ‘gets lost in what he’s feeling and writing it down’.
where he ‘gets lost in what he’s feeling and writing it down’. He has writer’s block like all of us, but when he’s onto something magical it simply flows. His creative goal is to evolve constantly and to learn from his mistakes. Hawes’s second EP was recently released, he describes the title track ‘I Wasn’t There’ as the one with which he most connects. “The inspiration for this song came from a time in my life where I didn’t know where to go musically and I felt extremely restricted,” says Hawes. The line ‘now I have realised I can be what I want to be’ became his mantra, and eventually the hook line for the track. Backstage, Hawes is undeniably a shy teenage boy, but beneath his earnest exterior lies an adrenaline junkie who clearly loves to perform in front of live audiences. “I think the moment before you go on the stage the lights dim, the music stops -just before you walk out, that’s what does it for me,” says Hawes. Once on stage, he commands his audience with a knowing smile and a husky, soulful voice. His sound is addictive and familiar. His songs have haunting melodies, peppered with thoughtful, lingering pauses. He has masterful control of both instruments. Though this magician humbly recognises that he owes a debt of gratitude to those who ‘take their time out to listen’ to him. He certainly is a pleasure to watch and will no doubt continue to grow as an artist with time.
GETTING IT DONE 30 SECOND INTERVIEWS WITH THREE C R E AT I V E E N T R E P R E N E U R S.
SINGER IN BAND RED INK What do you wish you knew when you were first starting that you now know? We’ve always employed people who had great reputations i.e. publicists, agents etc.. but in hindsight; that has often lead to throwing your money down a bottomless toilet!! If we had our time again, we’d rally a small team who ACTUALLY liked the music and weren’t just in it for money or to be part of a success story. Growing up, did you view yourself as somewhat a black sheep; thinking differently than the people around you? All of my friends have done really well in their own fields; with bank accounts and fancy cars to match.. But that’s never been me. I’ve always danced to my own beat per se’.. There’s a mutual respect amongst my friends that if you love what you’re doing; then you are successful. What have been some of your biggest business mistakes? Paying thousands of dollars having songs mixed overseas by someone who probably did as good a job as we could have done here in Oz for a fraction of the cost.. It’s all part of the story though right.. How do you overcome self-doubt? It may be the ‘Jakubenko curse’ but I don’t really ever have self doubt.. I call it tunnel vision and it has helped fuel me for well over a decade.. Regardless of what the rest of the world think, having a belief in your product and what you do helps keep you on track even when the stats don’t match the vision! RED INK @redinkrock www.facebook.com/redinkmusic
OWNER & ARTIST LEJASP When did you realize that you wanted to be your own boss? It sort of all just happened unintentionally. I finished full time office work after becoming unwell, which lead to the start of a small business up-cycling furniture, then in turn lead to the creation of LeJasp. Did you pursue a course at university, or wing it completely? TOTALLY winged it, but it’s all been so fun and fallen into place. What do you wish you knew when you were first starting that you now know? That there were going to be people who love my stuff, I had no idea how it would be received. What are some highlights from your business journey so far? Being featured in The Eye Creative twice now (big THANKS) and the Finders Keepers Market was absolute fun !!
How important is Social Media to your business and how would the recent threat of Instagram’s changes effect you? Almost all of my business comes from social media. Of course if Instagram changes it will effect all small business, but to be honest I don’t even think about it. I didn’t post the ’turn on my notification’ frenzy, if people want to follow me they’ll follow and call over to my page to say hi and check it out when they want to, I’m not going to make people follow or like what I do. I am extremely grateful to the lovely soles that follow. What colour would best describe you, and why? Pink, I’m a bright happy colour with heart.
KREO HOME When did you realize that you wanted to be your own boss? Whilst working in various roles I realised that I was unable to change the outcome for the better leaving me frustrated and it would get right under my skin (actually it really pissed me off!). I always had a vision of being my own boss free to make my own decisions and influence industry in some way, leading positive outcomes and not going by any rule book! Also, I am a Leo…. I don’t like rules, procedures or red tape! What business challenges did you face early on? Some of the business challenges I faced early on were Search Engine Optimisation (SEO), social media, blogging and how they all worked together. Once I managed to get my head around it all, it all began to flow, in saying that I also underestimated the hard work that goes into running a business let alone one online, it takes loads of hard work. What have been some of your biggest business mistakes? Mistakes…there have be many! But the biggest mistake is not trusting my gut instinct! When it’s talking to you…..listen! A lot of things I’ve decided against my gut haven’t been ideal outcomes, the contrary when I’ve followed it, the staying stacks up from my experience! What do you wish you knew when you were first starting that you now know? I could say many things but learning everything along the way has made the Kreo journey exciting, interesting and completely satisfying. You feel a sense of achievement when you learn something new and put that knowledge into to practise. I wouldn’t change it for the world!
What advice can you give to budding creative entrepreneurs? Stay true to yourself, dream big, never stop learning, constantly evolve, stop the worry habit and think less about what everyone else is doing. Use any feedback you receive as an opportunity to grow and when they tell you it can’t be done, prove to yourself you can! How do you overcome self-doubt? Self-doubt… That’s something everyone experiences from time to time. For me, I tackle this in many different ways that include chatting with some of my peers, getting outdoors and exercise to clear the mind and re-centre. On many occasions, I just let out the tears if I’m at that point! (crying can really sooth the soul)! I ‘ve realised that overthinking/overanalysing random things leads you to some negative states, cultivating a positive mindset is key here as is keeping focused on your goals! What’s next for you? The Kreo Website will undergoing a makeover to make way for new products, services inc. workshops and coaching / mentoring for small business owners and makers. The focus will be on start-ups and also for those established who need help or may need a renewed perspective on their social and online presence. @kreohome www.kreohome.com.au Photograhper: Amanda from ‘Over The Rainbow Images
SALTY BANDITOS A P PA R E L
WORDS BY SAMII LUND Salty Banditos is a relatively new, Aussie lifestyle clothing label based on the South Coast of Australia. With a name derived from the most creative of all inspirations, the ocean, owner Stuart Salty Banditos aims to provide quality threads with innovative and wild designs to the Australian and International market to take advantage of the ever-growing surf and street cultures. Living the ultimate Aussie dream and motivated by ocean vibes and the chilled-out environments in which he and his partner Rhiannon find themselves, founder and designer Stuart says “My desire to do what I love every day is a big motivator. I’m currently travelling Australia, where I’m sure we’ll get plenty of waves, fishing and vitamin D - that’s enough to get the creative juices flowing.” The Aussie label is inspired by modern culture, bringing you the latest in fashion trends by reinventing those old-school highs set off by travel, surf, skate, art and music. Describing their ultimate Salty Banditos soundtrack as featuring artists such as Violent Soho, Foals and Claptone, you can easily imagine where the inspiration for their designs derived from. Salty Banditos believes in sustainable and ethical practice. Their team ensure that the entire process of manufacturing their items supports these values, sourcing the best quality products for their customers and our environment. As Stuart mentions; “I would like to see Salty Banditos grow into the most sustainable, locally-sourced business it can be.”
Surf and Skate culture apparel brands are a big hit at the moment in Australia, with our lifestyle choices heading back toward the laid-back stereotype the rest of the world has given us. (If you can’t beat them, join them, right?) The greatest thing about this is, the major brands are phasing out, as the smaller businesses, such as Salty Banditos are closing in the market with their high-quality garments with impeccably unique designs. Created in August last year, yes only less than 12 months ago, Stuart has grown what he calls a ‘pipe-dream’ into something very achievable in such a very small time-frame. After working as a carpenter for eight years, his creative brain and freedom came after a big move from the Mornington Peninsula in Victoria, to the north coast of NSW where he was able to concentrate back on what makes his soul tick. “I guess, I had always thought to start something like this [building a brand] was an unachievable goal. However, the support has been overwhelming from my friends and family and those from afar.” Although already achieving amazing results from his short time in business, Stuart is still incredibly humble saying “It’s always a surreal feeling [seeing your brand out in public], whether it’s a snap chat of a group of mates down at the pub all wearing Salty Banditos or bumping into a stranger at Falls Festival Marion Bay! I don’t think it will ever get old.”
FLIRTING WITH YELLOW BY L I Z PAY N E , T E X T I L E A RT I S T
WORDS BY SAMII LUND If there is one thing I’ve learned in the 26 years I’ve lived; it’s that needles and I do not mix. No, I’m not talking about the giant doctor-type monstrosities (although, yes, tears erupt like waterfalls when they’re near) but rather, the teeny tiny sewing needles used to create lovely little artworks and tapestries. It’s not that I can’t hold one or know how to use one, it’s just that the end product will turn out looking like something my good mate Elmo would have created after a big night out on Sesame Street drinking red cordial. Hilarious maybe, but not good. That’s why we leave it to the experts; like Sydney artist Liz Payne of Flirting with Yellow for example, who not only knows the craft of embroidery inside and out but also has an insane talent for putting together tiny stitches of creativity to construct works of art.
The almost cartoon-like, 3D aesthetic of Flirting with Yellow artwork amuses my inner child while the intricacy of the detail could have me staring for days on end appreciating the time and complexity of each stitch. Each one of her works starts as a hand-painted masterpiece built upon with layers of gorgeous embroidery techniques and materials, which changes the confounded judgment of needlework.
Liz put it perfectly when she stated; “anyone can stitch, the same way that anyone can pick up a paintbrush and paint! But I guess it’s what you do with the medium that makes the difference.” With the world joining the crafty craze in the last few years, it’s not unusual to walk into new friends homes to find an embroidery frame holding a delicate crafty project on the wall that they discovered in the local salvos. With there being a definite stigma attached to textile art in the past, it has no doubt become a very on trend craft in the current time, with more than a few artisans jumping on board. However, when it comes to style, flair, bright, colourful and intricate, labour-intensive artworks - no one does it better than Liz Payne. Even the master of all things crafty Etsy thinks so, with Flirting with Yellow being awarded the prestigious Etsy Design Award in 2015. “To win the award was an amazing achievement for me. Through Etsy, I have been lucky enough to gain a lot of exposure which has turned into commissioned work.”
Set far apart from any other textile artist we have ever seen, Liz has the knack of meshing mediums as if they were always meant to be together. Sequins shouldn’t mix with fluoro paint and woollen thread, right? Wrong. Somehow when Liz picks up her materials; magic happens. Not only is it more than OK that sequins are making an appearance together with the bright colour of fluoro pink, but they also seem to be getting along rather well with the addition of several other mediums such as beads, thread, fabric and every bright colour under the sun. It’s a party, everyone is invited, and low and behold, everyone is loving it! Craziness. Beautiful, creative madness.
“I love using thread as a part of my work because I do like breaking the misconception about the medium being dated, and I like showing it in a new light. I also love the physical practice of stitching and working with thread as a replacement to a paintbrush to add colour & texture to a piece.” It’s not only artworks that Liz creates; there’s also items such as hand-embroidered shoes and jackets each magnificently designed and put together that even Kanye would be jealous of you walking down the street in them...and we hear he doesn’t even like colour.
PHOTO BY TOM ROBERTS MEDIA Page 77
PHOTO BY SEAN FOSTER
reached the status of a full-blown argument. However, I don’t think we’ve EVER all agreed on the same restaurant.”
HOT POTATO BAND
That’s not to say that Simon is like a musical version of Mussolini, far from it, as all the members are keen to add their individual flavour to the music, performances, and even the logistics. And having varied the line-up and navigated their way through many changes, meeting people along the way; some joining the band spontaneously, some introduced to them at parties or through friends, they’re quite lucky to have finally found the right people to complement their sound.
WORDS BY AMY FARNWORTH
When Dylan Wright joined Hot Potato Band as lead vocalist in the summer of 2014, it was an addition that resulted in a wonderfully beautiful collaboration. “We have had a lot of people come through the band over the past seven years; Dylan joining us was a huge change, but definitely for the better; he’s just an amazing singer.”
“Hot Potato, Hot Potato; Cold Spaghetti, Cold Spaghetti”. That’s all I find myself humming when I think about this band. But the similarity to that God-awful, annoying Wiggles tune couldn’t be further from what Hot Potato Band are all about. A sensational 11-piece musical ensemble; a fusion of funk, reggae, jazz, soul and beat; a combination of New Orleans brass with a modern-day Ska/Pop/World vibe, with no need for expensive PA’s or electrical power systems – the instruments create the noise and the noise is just…well, it’s just WOW!
And it’s from this that the group decided to move away from performing covers at corporate events and start writing their original music that takes inspiration from their everyday lives, the things they do and the people they meet and move toward playing at festivals.
Forming after member, Simon Ghali, was asked to put together a band for a wine festival, the idea of a roving ensemble that didn’t need power sprung to mind. He collected a group of musician friends, they rehearsed together and bounced ideas off each other (hence the name ‘Hot Potato Band’), and the rest is history – they, as a band, became as well-known as their moniker suggests. Their sound is catchy and vibrant, and as Simon puts it: “We’re always told that if Fun were a genre, we would be it.” As difficult as it can be to make a decision in a group that has only four members, it can’t be easy for 11 musicians to decide on a direction, so when Simon describes the musical decision making as like ‘herding cats’, he confesses he’s perhaps the band’s main peacekeeper-slash-independent adjudicator-slash-umpire. This often means he interjects in other areas too, like when they struggle to decide where to eat for dinner: “I wouldn’t say we’ve ever
The band which includes members; Marc Malliate, James Swanson (drums), Daniel Moore (sousaphone), Nicholas Calligeros (trumpet), Max Mallen-Cooper (trombone), James MacKay, Bernard Lagana and Peter Orenstein (saxophone), are currently on tour moving between NSW and QLD over the next few months and have plans to tour nationwide from August. With all the energy of their contemporaries, The Cat Empire, and the colourful nature that comes with being part of a large musical family, Hot Potato Band are definitely ones to keep an eye on. And when it comes to creativity, and what it means to be a creative, Simon’s answer sealed the lid on why HPB are our new favourite bunch of musos: “What does it mean to be a creative? Always do you!” @hotpotatoband www.hotpotatoband.com
B Y E M M A M C E V O Y, P H O T O G R A P H E R
WORDS BY CHRISTIAN GABRIEL ‘Immersion’ in art can be quite broad - one can admire an image that makes the imagination lift with the composition, interpreting colours and shapes to have made the experience poignantly immersive for them. Others can comment on how immersive the story behind the art is; what the image represented and what the circumstances were for the artist creating the piece. When a set of works embodies those qualities and then goes the extra distance that Emma McEvoy has, immersion becomes the art itself. That’s how the general public found themselves standing in a few inches of sand in a house in Fitzroy at the beginning of April. No Fool’s joke here - sand in a house. For three days a house due-for-demolition off Johnston Street was host to 9 tonnes of sand and Emma’s Sand Castles exhibit, displaying her recent series of photographs of the very real (and surreal) houses of Kolmanskop - a Southern Namibian ghost town where the desert sands have slowly engulfed several abandoned buildings. It resulted in a magnificent ‘meta-art’ experience for those in attendance. After graduating in Visual Arts and receiving a prestigious AIPP Student Photographer of the Year nod, Emma McEvoy was destined to follow her vivid imagination. Her previous commercial work has brought strikingly lit portraits of young musicians featured in magazines and promotional material. For her fine art compositions, she pulled out the big guns early by placing models in magnificent locations locally and across the globe. Admitting that she has a thing for shooting in ‘the golden hour’ (in first or last daylight), a lot of her work attains a stark, gothic presence that can take technical consideration.
“I will almost never shoot in the middle of the day”, she explains. “I almost always shoot in natural light. I’m just never happy with the outcome when using studio lighting. It doesn’t suit my style at all”. Her talent for resourcing is possibly the most impressive in her ability to take an audience to imaginative scenarios through props and costume. Girls with giant C.S Lewis-style clocks, in giant plastic bubbles, climbing ladders to infinity or being dragged to the bottom of the sea by anchors are not mere impressive illusions these were logistical triumphs. Reminiscent of a Tim Walker composition, Emma has left viewers gobsmacked and imploring with the ‘how’ in her work. Despite being highly gifted in post-production to achieve her results, it would be erroneous to assume she produces the majority of her results sat at a computer. One particular stunning image has involved an epic tale of obtaining a custom-made mermaid tail from the US to be shipped to Iceland. “It was tough because the model couldn’t walk in the tail so we had to carry her everywhere, over some seriously rugged terrain”. Another photograph might have a simpler explanation, the gorgeously composed nude lying alongside a grizzly bear on a bed of moss was indeed put together in post, yet the meticulous detail still warrants prolonged study to determine how obvious that is. What stands out is how confidently Emma can blend the borders of production values in a single image. There’s no combination of place, people and things that she’s backed down from yet.
The digital age can carry narrow-minded assumption. “If people think I’m a post-reliant artist and not a photographer, that’s cool. I don’t really care for labels. These days I’m just making whatever art calls to me, without the worry of fitting into a particular box. I went through my first big creative block last year and it was all because I started to care too much about what people thought. I became too preoccupied with creating work I thought I ‘should’ to please others. I started putting way too much pressure on myself to release work more often, even though that’s just not the way I work and it all just became too much that I ended up being unable to create anything at all. For someone who has never been short of ideas or inspiration, this was really scary. It wasn’t until I realised where this block was coming from (caring about others opinion) that I was able to break free from it.” To stand in the venue of her recent exhibition says a lot about facing obstacles. Her beautiful Kolmanskop prints are hung throughout the petite run-down Victorian home, sand spread gloriously down its corridors, climbing the walls, filling the bathtub and pouring out of the kitchen oven. It began as a 6 -year fascination with the unusual Namibian location, which became Emma’s goal while travelling through Lesotho and South Africa in 2015. ”Before heading there, I didn’t know if it would turn into a series or not but as soon as I stepped foot inside, I was so overcome with emotion, I knew I had to do something more with it”. Negotiating fellow tourists, she realised to capture the interior sand dunes uninterrupted by the footprints of others she would have to appear during closed hours. The sneaky deed paid off as wind storms and the golden dawn light gave her the beautiful final shots of a natural phenomenon.
“The idea to display my images in this way came to me while I was shooting in the town. Wandering around barefoot in the sand, inside these buildings was so unusual and inspiring, I wanted others to be able to experience something similar! I wanted to create this installation in inner-city to show people what is happening out there in the world. Sometimes it’s easy to disconnect from the impact we are having on our environment when you are living in a big city”. Obtaining the house back in Melbourne was another natural stroke of luck, after roaming down a few dead ends she shared her work and proposition with a development company that suggested a place and was willing to play along with the idea. “I nearly had a heart attack it was so perfect, so many eerie resemblances of the houses in Namibia. The walls were cracked, peeling & covered in cobwebs [and] the wallpaper was the perfect colour. Then came the topper: the sand. The only proviso the development company has was that once the exhibition was done, the two truckloads-worth had to be removed before the demolition, scheduled for a day later. Amazingly, thanks to a posting on Gumtree, a community of sand-enthusiasts made that a smaller task than one would think. “Just another crazy serendipitous situation that occurred throughout this whole process”.
IMAGES FROM EMMA’S EXHIBITION IN FITZROY, MELBOURNE
TOGETHERNESS DESIGN MAKER, DESIGNER
WORDS BY SAMII LUND “Pattern, pattern and more pattern!” They say less is more; but who are ‘they’? Well we think that they obviously don’t know what they’re on about, especially when we’re talking about the world of Togetherness Design. Textile artist Esther Sandler has an incredible control over placing patterns and colours that have our minds blown. For those who are not artists, let me explain it to you. The dance between too much and too little when it comes to pattern clashing is indeed the hardest feat any creative could ever face. Colours, dots, stripes, geometric vs. organic shapes... the list could go on forever. Move one line to your left by half a millimetre and f**k the whole thing up. It’s a delicate balance. Esther, however, makes the whole thing look so bloody simple that we are equal parts in awe, and frustrated. It’s almost annoying how perfectly she get’s it right. As well as the perfect balance she achieves through her pattern work; her illustrative style is also a unique flavour, so much so that it feels as though it shouldn’t belong; but somehow it does. The naive elements and free-form shapes of Esther’s hand-drawn sketches create such a bold yet, simplistic canvas to her colour work, allowing each artwork to form their unique personalities. The freedom of it allows the audience to feel a part of the art. It allows the mind to explore and play, though, in the same breath, kept in a controlled setting, keeping the interest on the same brain wave - an incredibly hard feat to achieve for any creative mind, whether it be the audience or the artist. Another annoying aspect of Esther’s work (and by annoying we mean envious), is the fact that she’s so humble, it almost doesn’t occur to her how brilliant she is.
“I love the mistakes and imperfections that come with drawing by hand as well as the texture, spontaneity and happy accidents.” Mistakes....seriously? *sigh* From an early age, Esther was immersed in a creative environment. “When I was a kid, I loved craft and making things. I spent a lot of time at the local rec centre, either participating in after-school pottery classes or making a crafty mess with friends at Brownies.” Her mum was the ultimate creative influence on her life showing her the ropes from when she was very little. “she was always sewing and knitting as I was growing up and used to make clothes for my sister and me when we were younger. She taught me how to sew by hand at first and later on how to use a sewing machine.” Now after studying Fashion & Textiles in Perth, and also RMIT in Melbourne, Esther has built not only a brand but a budding creative empire. Not one to shy away from challenges, Esther made the move to work for herself as a designer and full-time creative approximately a year ago and since, her techniques and passion for the arts have come a long way. Collaborating with artists such as Min Pin and building her audiences through creative projects and markets such as Mark It in Melbourne are just some of her achievements in the recent years. Although we love her work as it stands (if you can’t already tell through our incredibly obvious fan-girling above), there is something very exciting happening on the horizon! “I am just in the process of beginning an exciting new project which will be print and embroidery focused but I cannot say too much right now because it’s top secret shh!” @togethernessdesign www.togethernessdesign.com