I live in Ballarat, a regional town of Victoria, Australia and I must say that I am starting to love living here – as a an artist. I did the ‘tree change’ from Melbourne to Ballarat in 2000, because I love the history here, and the property I live on is beautiful. However, not much was happening in the ‘art’ scene at the time – but in the last few years that has been changing rapidly!
In recent years artists in Ballarat have stood up to be counted – Facebook pages have been launched, art groups have been funded, artist registries have been created and council committees have been re-invigorated!
It has been amazing!
The most recent initiative, a public art exhibition, funded by the City of Ballarat, via the City of Ballarat Public Art Committee (PAAC) entitled What Lies Beneath officially opened on March 28th to a huge crowd of art enthusiasts. The exhibition features images from eighteen artists (including myself) printed on a commercial product – Earth Wrap, a non-slip aluminium backed pavement product normally used for commercial signage or safety applications. This exhibition is the first time it is being used in a public art context.
Julie Collins, Ballarat Public Art Co-Ordinator and the curator of the show was inspired by an existing public art piece in Police Lane and Alfred Deakin Place entitled The Goanna Totem designed by Dianna Nikkleson. The goanna image is impressed into the pavement and recalls the indigenous history of Ballarat. The participating artists in What Lies Beneath were asked to create an image that explore what lies beneath the surface – physical or metaphysical. The response from participating artists was diverse – from the literal presence of minerals, water or archaeological fragments beneath the surface through to the more abstract notions of listening to the Earth.
Another new initiative present in this exhibition is the presence of QR codes with each image, allowing an interactive experience for the viewer who can scan the QR code with their smart phone and learn more about each individual artist.
As an exhibition that incorporates these original notions into the viewers experience, it is well worth checking out if you in or near or visiting Ballarat. It is at the Backyard Gallery in Alfred Deakin Place until 5th May 2013.
Tuscany, as we all may know has a romantic reputation for wine, good food and a slow relaxed lifestyle… so a visit to the area was a must while in Italy. We undertook this trip while in Florence, and decided to do an organised tour for convenience and time’s sake. Normally we keep a wide berth when it comes to organised trips and tours, preferring to navigate ourselves on trains. So after a recommendation from a fellow artist in the Florence exhibition I was involved in we booked our trip and crossed our fingers.
As it was the ‘off’ season (winter) our only choice was the half day trip which included a commentaried tour of the Tuscan countryside, a stop at Castello Monteriggioni for an olive oil tasting, with the final stop being Sant’Appiano for wine tastings. The were transported in a mercedes people mover syle van, so it was a comfortable ride with about eight other people in the tour.
Being Italy during the winter, we were lucky enough to have gorgeous sunny weather for the trip, which enabled us to fully appreciate the scenic route to Sienna (rather than the freeway), and we were able to stop a couple of times and take photos.
During this part of the tour we also were shown -from a distance- Sean Connery’s castle, which he purchased in Sienna because he loves the famous annual no rules horse race, Il Palio, that happens there annually. Unfortunately I could not get a good photo of this castle :-/ AND unfortunately I do not believe in horse racing!
After driving for a few hours we arrived at our first stop, the Castello Monteriggioni, a typical walled castle atop a hill – so as to overlook the approaching enemy. Here we tasted some amazing olive oil – and purchased some, as well as a jar of olive oil hand cream which was scrumptious! (a must have for artists)
Unfortunately we arrived at this walled city too late to explore, it was getting dark and late, and we were on a schedule for the wine tasting… so after a quick photo of an old church (which I have no information about) we piled back into the people mover.
After a short upward journey we reached Sant’Appiano, which has been a winery since the 14th century. Today it is run by a family now in its third generation of operation, and they have expanded to offer accommodation for tourists.
The group was given a tour of the winery and then seated in the restaurant for tastings, which included some platters with wine and cold cuts, as it is traditional in Italy that wine is not consumed without food – which was great when we went for an afternoon or evening wine during our stay in Italy! the wines were great, the cheese was great… pity about the cold cuts: being vegetarian!
Don’t go on organised tours anymore! It was a one off and it didn’t work! Even though the weather was great, because it was an afternoon tour it was rushed and we were not able to stop and spend time looking around. Also, though the wine was good, there was not enough of it for the price, and there was no vegetarian option. SO, if you can brave driving through Florence traffic it would be a better option to hire a car, or to go there via train and spend a day or two doing your own thing – in my opinion
As regular readers of this blog will know I recently travelled to Italy after being invited to exhibit in Florence by Vivid Arts Network. The exhibition went for two weeks after which we (myself and my partner) spent a further three weeks travelling through Italy… professional development!
While having an amazing time soaking up loads of art, culture, architecture (and wine) I did have some reservations about some of my travels in Italy: dirty streets, bad street signage, harsh uneven cobblestone pathways, rude pushy people – and while I understand all of these things are me projecting my own cultural perspective, it was at times frustrating (even though I had a ball).
But don’t get me wrong - I loved every moment and wouldn’t not do it again, and after spending a couple of weeks at home I have been able to digest and distance myself from some harsher memories and remember some great experiences.
I am planning to share some of these experiences in a series of blog posts focusing on different cities we visited and explore the art, architecture, feelings and general stuff of the area, from a limited “art” tourist perspective. I may throw in the odd poem or two as well which I wrote while in these environments.
Hopefully these posts will be inspiring and mostly enjoyble!
Regular readers of this blog will know I have been in Italy the past five weeks, exhibiting in Florence and then travelling around soaking up the art, architecture and culture : professional development I like to call it!
But now I’m back home and recovering from jet lag, though still enjoying some “holiday mode” days.
All good things must come to an end, however (whoever coined that phrase has alot to answer for) and work looms in the murky distance.
First are the catch up jobs… a few Etsy orders to post that were sold while overseas… and I am a bit behind with the Poem and Drawing a Day blog. The studio needs a clean, especially since I have a seven year old birthday party booked in for Saturday!
Blog posts will be slow though because my internet went down about a week before I got back and a technician is not avail till Monday! Don’t get me started on that issue – a change in providers is on the cards, I think.
I will leave you with a few pics of Italy… talk soon
The opening of the Cutting Edge exhibition was on the 1st December, but that was just the beginning. The 2nd December saw an informal forum held at the exhibition venue where the featured artists gave individual presentations talking about themselves and their works… artists and interested members of the public were present. Yes it was nerve wracking!
The following day was a rest day and Strobe and I wandered around soaking up the architecture and abundance of marble statues, all hundreds of years old – stuff you see in books, and now appreciate the scale of in real life. Of course we also soaked up red wine!
Tuesday was a press conference at Nardini Bookstore, a bookshop within a cultural complex which was originally a cloistered nunnery and then was converted to a jail which housed social dissidents ie anarchists, which is why it has now been converted to a cultural hub – though i do find it intriguing that a nunnery could easily be converted to a jail!! The bookshop was a great venue, and of course the event finished with wine and pastries.
Following the press conference all the artists headed off to a restaurant in the hub which featured walls inscribed with messages of freedom from visitors, which of course we added to!
It was a great day, and has been a great experience…many thanks to Vivid Arts Network and Viviana Paullo
Thanks to Strobe for the photos too
Opening night of the Cutting Edge Masters of Contemporary Art was a great event with lots of people attending and lots of great art. The exhibition is being held in the Auditorium al Duomo in the historic precinct of Florence, so there is alot of artistic atmosphere to heighten the excitement. The show features approximately thirty international artists, with work ranging from painting to sculpture to mixed media and multi media. It runs till the 10th December, so if you are lucky enough to be nearby drop in and view some wonderful and diverse artworks.
Below are some images from the opening
Where has the time gone? It seems like yesterday I was invited to exhibit in the Cutting Edge exhibition, and now I leave for the airport tomorrow night at 10pm – and I’ve not even started packing yet!
I intend to post images of my time in Italy on both my Facebook page and this blog, hopefully my ‘intention’ happens!
I am spending five weeks in Italy: the first two weeks in Florence for the duration of the exhibition, and then off to Rome. We have friends in Rome, and we will use this as base to do day and overnight trips elsewhere in Italy. We will also have Christmas and New Years in Rome, so that is exciting!
Below are images of the works I am exhibiting. The exhibition is a group exhibition of twenty international artists.
All works are for sale – so hopefully… fingers crossed.
Recently I was curated into an exhibition at Brunswick Street Gallery called Artwear. It was great exhibition with lots of different wearable art exhibits and many more abstract and not so wearable art examples.
Unfortunately I was not able to get enough photos to do the show justice. On the day of installation there was too much chaos and opening night was jam packed, so impossible to take photos of artworks.
I thought I’d get back there before the show closed, but life just gets in the way and I ran out of time. So my only photo opportunity was at pack up. When I got there though, some works had already been collected. I managed to take a few snaps, but missed some great artworks such as foil wall works, shredded paper dresses and moulded body wall works, to name a few.
My wearable artworks are the ceramic jewelry in the glass case. Most of these are now listed on my Etsy site, and would make great Christmas pressies if you are looking for gifts that are different and unique. I also take custom orders, so message me your wearable art ideas
Following is a slideshow of the artworks I managed to get images of… enjoy!
As some followers may know I have been making jewelley since December last year (2011) after having an accident – for a while I couldn’t make the larger scale sculpture I usually produce within my art practice. Jewellery was a managable option: I could still be creative – it was like making mini wearable sculptures.
While I have exhibited my sculpture both within Australia and overseas, the only exposure I have given my jewellery was amongst friends, via social media and on my Etsy shop. I have not formally exhibited the jewellery pieces – until now!
I have several jewellery pieces in an exhibition called Artwear at Brunswick Street Gallery in Fitzroy which opens this Friday at 6pm. This is the first time my jewellery creations will be shown in a gallery setting. It will be very interesting – and nerve racking – to observe the reactions! The exhibition features several artists exhibiting a range of wearable art.
The exhibition runs till 4th October, so if you happen to find yourself having a browse and a glass of wine in Brunswick Street make sure you drop in for a look
I have been invited by the director of Vivid Arts Network to exhibit in the International Exhibition Cutting Edge Masters of Contemporary Art to be held Auditorium Al Duomo in the heart of Florence in December 2012. Only 20 artists are being asked to participate. I did not apply to exhibit, but was invited, so feel very honoured, and would love to be able to be involved.
In order to help facilitate this goal I have set up a project on Pozible – a crowdfunding website.
So what is CROWDFUNDING? It is a platform for creative minded people to raise funds and realise their aspirations. In return project supporters receive a “reward” based on their pledge. I have a project on the crowdfunding website Pozible, which you view here.
WHAT ARE THE REWARDS?
Supporters who pledge between $15.00- $49.00 will be publically thanked and acknowledged on my website, Facebook, Twitter and Linkedin accounts, with links back to their websites if applicable.
Supporters who pledge between $50.00- $99.00 will be publically thanked and acknowledged on my website, Facebook, Twitter and Linkedin accounts, with links back to their websites if applicable. AND you will ALSO receive a collection of ‘happy snaps’ taken during the exhibition.
Supporters who pledge between $100 – $249.00 will be publically thanked and acknowledged on my website, Facebook, Twitter and Linkedin accounts, with links back to their websites if applicable. AND they will ALSO receive a Limited Edition Print of one of the artworks exhibited in Italy on archival paper and personally signed by myself. You choose which artwork you would like. These prints will ONLY be issued to supporters, so are unique.
Supporters who pledge more than $250.00 will be publically thanked and acknowledged on my website, Facebook, Twitter and Linkedin accounts, with links back to their websites if applicable. They will ALSO receive a small sculpure, unique and handmade by myself, about the size of a tennis ball and similar in style to the image below.
AND FOR ANY CORPORATE SPONSORS : I am offering a creative teambuilding workshop for staff members where participants will make coffee cups for each other – this will encourage listening, consideration and co-operation in the workplace environment.
A BIT ABOUT WHAT YOU ARE SUPPORTING:
Participting artists will be included in an extensive catalogue, receive international media exposure, be individually presented during the exhibition and be involved in the local arts community, and be interviewed in a special artist presentation film featuring each participating artists which will be distributed in more than 65 countries. This would be an enormous opportunity for me, and greatly benefit my international arts career. The exhibition will provide an international media exposure through the broadcast of the opening reception, artist interviews and a special artist presentatios film featuring each one of the participating artists which will be distributed in more than 65 countries.
The exhibition aims to promote cultural diversity and intercultural dialogue by establishing bilateral cultural exchanges and promoting contemporary art in the city of Florence, an more information about the exhibition can be found HERE. (
Any funds raised will contribute to the exhibition entry fees, cost of transporting artworks, and personal travel and accomodation costs to attend the exhibition opening and artist interviews.
I am not solely relying on this project upload to help facilitate my ability to participate in this exhibition – I will also be applying to funding bodies, such as Regional Arts Victoria and the Australia Council… but, being governement funding initiatives these funding bodies are very competitive, with many more applications than they have funds.
I have exhibited nationally and internationally during my career and have a strong background in the visual arts, so following through on this project is assured. Please see my Curriculum Vitae for evidence of my dedication to my arts profession.