“It wasn’t until I started reading and found books they wouldn’t let us read in school that I discovered you could be insane and happy and have a good life without being like everybody else.”
If you happen to be a bit of a bookworm, like myself, you are always on the look out for the next good read.
So, I thought I’d share with you some interesting books that I discovered during the past year.
A rollicking read! John Waters – film director, screenwriter, actor, stand-up comedian, journalist, visual artist, and art collector – is also a fan. In Role Models, Waters profiles and ponders upon a host of his most beloved sub and pop culture idols, in his own particular way.
Take a wild and crazy ride through the life of performer Jayne (aka Wayne) County, through her own eyes. Jayne is definitely a character, entertainly revealing the difficulties of her early days to eventually rubbing shoulders with celebrities around the globe in a quest for fame, fortune, and fun times.
This is an exceptional publication. Insight into an artists practice is such a treat, and this book does especially well in conveying process pictorially and through written word. If you are an admirer of Bacon, as I am, it is a must add to your collection.
My Call to the Ring: A Memoir of a Girl Who Yearns to Box by Deirdre Gogarty with Darrelyn Saloom
Deirdre Gogarty tells of her childhood struggles, then how she had to overcome many obstacles as an adult, in order to become not only Ireland’s first female professional boxer but the Women’s Featherweight World Champion. I’m a fight fan and loved her story, though anyone will be able to relate to the effort required to reach a goal.
I’d not previously been super keen of Fischl’s paintings but had this autobiography recommended to me. Its content was a pleasant surprise, and I particularly appreciated the artists candid discussion of insecurities about his work and career. Not having prior knowledge about Fischl’s private life I found his book engrossing.
Quiet is quite the compelling read. In a nutshell it examines how introversion is underrated by society at large, and contemplates the value of introversion in a range of contexts and situations.
Hockney: Printmaker by Richard Lloyd
David Hockney is one of my all time favourite artists. So, needless to say, as soon as this book focussing on his prints came to my attention it was a must have. The catalogue is a fascinating overview of Hockney’s intensely dedicated investigation of numerous printmaking techniques.
Do you have a good read suggestion? Please share by leaving a comment.
Wishing you all the very best for a fun and rewarding 2015!
Alexi Keywan is a Sydney born artist who currently resides in Lismore, Australia.
Her work depicts familiar environments that she deftly instils with an intriguing eeriness.
Recently Alexi took the time to provide me with an insight into her practice and other interests.
Rona: Your art practice includes printmaking, painting and drawing. What do you like about working with a variety of different materials and techniques?
Alexi: The ability to make marks and create images from each medium that are unique to themselves – they all have different ‘atmospheres’. Each medium affords me a different kind of headspace.
R: Who has influenced and inspired your art?
A: Initially my father, sculptor Orest Keywan.
Off the top of my head… Euan Mcleod, John Beard, Karla Dickens, Aida Tomescu, William Kentridge, John Virtue, Vija Celmins, Kiki Smith, Bernd and Hilla Becher, Ed Ruscha, Edward Hopper, Robert Motherwell, Franz Kline, James McNeil Whistler and Francisco de Goya.
Also lecturers and staff from National Art School, Sydney, particularly from the Print department (where I became a part of the furniture after seven consecutive years).
R: When you are making art do you prefer to work in silence or be listening to something?
A: Ever since I can remember, making any kind of art has enabled me to retreat from the world and create my own. I can’t imagine not having a ‘soundtrack’ to this. I think in art school I garnered a reputation as being busy and unapproachable due to the music driven print frenzies I’d get in to. At the moment it’s Frank Sinatra on the way to the studio and then something like Dirty Three or Godspeed You! Black Emperor.
R: What are a few of your favourite things?
A: Solo road trips, travelling, boxing, tattooing and being tattooed, taking photos of concrete and steel.
R: Do you have a favourite gallery or museum?
A: I pretty much grew up in The Australian Museum (Orest worked there), and gallery wise it really depends on what is on.
R: What about your favourite art making material?
A: Etching copper because of the variables involved, but then on another day it could be drawing… or painting.
R: And your favourite food to eat after a big day in the studio?
Finally, congratulations Alexi on recently winning the 13th CPM National Print Award with your etching, You Are Here.
Alexi will be exhibiting prints and drawings at Australian Galleries, 35 Derby Street, Collingwood, VIC, 3066, from 27 August to 15 September 2013.
You can also view Alexi in conversation with Michel Lawrence from The Stock Rooms on YouTube:
Deborah Williams is an artist who is based in Melbourne, Australia.
Working with intaglio printmaking, she lovingly explores the world of the canine.
Please enjoy my dialogue with Deborah about her art and interests.
Rona: Please describe your art for us.
Deborah: When I look at dogs in and around me, I question whether dogs are seen for what they are, as separate beings. I observe that while we do not objectify our dogs per se, our feelings are frequently filtered through human perspectives; these dogs are therefore anthropomorphized, brought unwittingly into our worlds.
I strive to challenge the anthropomorphizing of dogs even though I acknowledge that my work, in common with historical and contemporary contexts of the representation of dogs, is none the less filtered through my own perspectives and brought into our world.
I aim to depict the dog not as a breed above, apart or beyond, but of its own, captured in a moment.
R: Why is the dog as subject matter so special to you?
D: I did not consciously set out to make images of dogs. It just seemed to evolve organically. In 1992 I adopted a Blue Heeler x from the pound. Ruby accompanied me often to the studio and I drew her in those moments when I felt at a complete loss or creatively uninspired. This seemed to happen often.
I began to look at the dog as a potent marker for the fragility of the world we live in. And they represent the qualities we advocate but cannot sustain – unquestioning love, inner peace, inexhaustible spirit. They educate, intrigue and amuse me.
R: Who has been an inspiration to you art wise?
D: Noel Counihan. I was fortunate to grow up with his linocut print The Hunger, 1959. Counihan believed printmaking was a Socialist art form, easier to disseminate to the masses. This philosophy had a direct impact on my decision to study Printmaking and has continually inspired me. His images keep me grounded. They challenge me to keep reflecting and I believe, always will.
R: Which of your art making tools is the favourite?
D: Roulette wheels.
R: When you are working what do you listen to?
R: What is your all time favourite book, and are you currently reading anything interesting?
R: Where do you like to visit for relaxation when not making art?
D: Somewhere warm with an amazing beach and great food. If that’s not possible, walking the parks around the Merri Creek or Yarra with my dog Kish.
R: Thanks for chatting with me Deb!
If you would like to see Deborah’s work in the flesh run along to her exhibition Sense of Self at Australian Galleries, 50 Smith Street, Collingwood, VIC, 3066. The show is on now and continues until Sunday 16 September 2012.
You can also check out more of Deb’s delightful work by clicking here to visit her website.
Paul Compton is a visual artist who lives and works in Melbourne, Australia.
Through his art Paul creates a magically haunting world for us in which to dwell.
This week I had a chat with Paul and this is what we nattered about…
Rona: Please describe your art for us.
Paul: I make drawings, prints, books and zines. I’m intrigued by the curious and dark aspects of the Victorian and Edwardian eras. I am continually interested in the occult, literature, folk lore and outsiders. I tend to suggest narratives in my work that blend sad and grim elements of life with humour.
R: Which of your art making tools is the favourite?
P: My old-fashioned dip pen.
R: When you are making art what do you like to listen to?
P: I love listening to music / musicians that are either obscure or largely forgotten. It feels special to know that I might be the only person in the world playing their song at that exact moment. I adore folk, 80’s & 90’s New Wave and Goth Bands, theatre musicals, bluegrass, classical (Scriabin is my favourite), 1970’s Glam Rock and any obscure German Chamber music I can get my hands on.
R: Who has influenced or inspired you art wise?
P: Odilon Redon, Gustave Dore, Edward Gorey, Peter Blake, James Ensor, Paula Rego, Vilhelm Hammershøi and more recently Grayson Perry. The most inspiring artists are the ones I see exhibiting regularly in Melbourne. I see their work progressing and they inspire me to keep going and attempt to get better at what I do each time. They have truly unique and personal styles which I find very encouraging. These artists include Deborah Klein, Shane Jones, Petr Herel, Steve Cox, Rona Green, Sheridan Jones and Jazmina Cininas to name just a few.
R: Where do you like to go to see some art?
R: What are your favourite horror film and ghost story?
P: My favourite horror films aren’t gory ones, more subtle and quietly disturbing. The Omen and Rosemary’s Baby are my favourite bedtime flicks. My favourite ghost story involves the Black Shuck which is a fierce, ghostly black dog that famously appeared to a church congregation in Blythburg, England in 1577. It killed two people, caused the church steeple to collapse through the roof and as it fled into the mist it left scorch marks on the northern door which can be seen at the church to this day!
R: Why did you become an artist, and what do you enjoy most about the artistic life?
P: It is the only thing that gives me a true sense of an identity. When you put on an item of clothing it is designed by someone else and someone else in the world might be wearing it too but with making art it is purely the amalgamation of all the things that interest, inspire and scare me most. I enjoy the feeling of accomplishment when I finish an exhibition because then I can move on to my next one!
If you would like to view Paul’s art in the flesh go see his exhibition Domestic Disturbance at Hand Held Gallery, Suite 18 Paramount Arcade, 108 Bourke Street, Melbourne, running from 28 June til 21 July 2012.
‘All fantasy should have a solid base in reality.’
– Max Beerbohm (1872-1956)
Please join a tour of the creative thought process that lead to my series of prints titled Borneoids.
Borneo, the third largest island in the world.
The mysterious island lends it name to quite a few modern wild man myths such as Hiram and Barney Davis (aka Waino and Plutano) who were transformed into the Wild Men of Borneo earning a great sum of money as side show stars.
Kuching is the capital of Sarawak, Borneo and is also known as Cat City.
Cat City is riddled with wacky cat sculptures as well as real life felines nosing around.
The Dayak are the native people of Borneo.
The Dayak are traditionally animist in belief and their tattoo designs are sophisticated stylisations of flora and fauna.
One particulary impressive plant native to Borneo is the Rafflesia.
The Iban in particular are a heavily tattooed branch of the Dayak peoples of Borneo.
Part of Omi’s side show schtick was claiming to have been captured and tortured via tattooing in New Guinea.
Actually he was inked by the ‘King of Tattooists’, George ‘Professor’ Burchett.
Who doesn’t love a black and white patterned animal?
Be sure to check out this mesmerising little clip of The Great Omi.