Why does art matter in 2017?

we the people_shepard fairey

Image: ‘We the People’ by artist, Shepard Fairey

In 2016 when I began this blog, I wrote a post titled ‘Why art matters’ because I felt I needed to articulate these ideas, although I’m absolutely not the first to have done so. Even universities, like Standford, have said something on this topic albiet as part of their marketing strategy to recruit more students.

The ideas in my first post still hold now more than ever. Continue reading

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The White Road (a book review of sorts)

The White Road

Some art history books have a capacity to kill the reading joy in me. They have a fusty language creating a heavy, claustrophobic atmosphere that squeezes all life out of the subject matter. It’s like they forget there is a reader. Not so artist and writer, Edmund de Waal. His most recent book, The White Road, draws the reader in and takes them on a magical porcelain journey that’s steeped in history but entirely accessible. It’s also a very human story. Continue reading

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Artist profile: 66b/cell – Mariana Verdaasdonk & Tetsutoshi Tabata

66bcell living lens

Living Lens. Image courtesy of 66b/cell

It’s a real treat for me to be able to introduce you two very creative forces: Mariana Verdaasdonk and Tetsutoshi Tabata, who together are 66b/cell, a Tokyo-based creative collective working in theatres, galleries, museums, and beyond.

I had the pleasure of meeting Mariana and Tetsu when they began collaborating with the Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences in Sydney. They were working on developing an extraordinary immersive digital installation which is now complete and part of the current Annette Kellerman exhibition. Go see. It’s spellbinding. You can read more about how 66b/cell created this work here. Having witnessed what they can do and having spent time talking to them about many things creative I knew I had to profile them here. Continue reading

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Designer profile: Jacquie Moon

ginger beer label_Jacquie Moon

Ginger beer label designed by Jacquie Moon for Plump Design

If you’re like me you probably know there’s a lot of work that goes into bringing beautiful, functional graphic design into the world but perhaps less aware of the ‘why’ that sits behind the designer who creates the end product. My next profile of graphic designer, Jacquie Moon, from Plump Design, will shed some light on her design values and beliefs. Having known Jacquie and her design skills magic for more than a decade I was as interested as anyone to know more about her thoughts on why design matters. Continue reading

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Living small

1957 home image via Coronare Modestus Faust

Tim Ross is currently host to a wonderful two-part television series about Australian housing from the 1950s onward – Streets of your town. I love that they’ve used the title of a Go-Betweens song to name the show. What I love more is the investigation into the nature of modern housing and Tim’s fascination as to how we have come to the point of possessing the largest average house footprint of any country on earth. Data over the last few years suggests the average Australian home is now more than 240 square metres in size despite the continually shrinking size of the average household – that is, fewer people are living in these large houses. Streets of your town brings a sense of history and even glamour to the idea of housing, and in doing so, asks us to question what has happened? Continue reading

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The minimalist guide to art in Melbourne

Dome reading room, State Library of Victoria

Melbourne is an amazing city. I left it to move to Sydney just two years ago and my heart still often wishes it was there. But enough of my nostalgic wistfulness. This post is about you and simplifying your Melbourne art visit. Hot on the heels of The minimalist guide to art in Sydney, this post uses similar strategies to set you up for a Melbourne cultural experience that won’t wear you out. Because as we all know, visiting a big city like Melbourne can leave you with too many options. Where do you start? And how do you begin to see all the art? Continue reading

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What does it mean to be human? Art-science and ethics

human cell

Art and ethics. Science and ethics. And more and more, it’s about art-science and ethics because we live in interesting times where technology is opening up possibilities most of us never imagined might be possible. Where do you draw the line?

Here is one example currently on my radar.

Heirloom

How would you feel about the idea of growing your child’s skin portrait from their own cells, and then producing these on casts made of glass or other materials? Imagine you could watch that 3D portrait grow over time as the cells were fed and nurtured. So not a photograph or painting of your child, but something three dimensional that resembles their face in shape and structure, and has been grown with their own biological matter. Continue reading

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Art manifesto

Lebbeus Woods, Manifesto

Manifesto by Lebbeus Woods (image via noever design)

The artist manifesto. A document of ideology. It reveals intent. It aims to motivate and promote change. Historically manifestos have been crafted to publicly declare the philosophy, aims and ambitions of an artistic movement, and really came into their own in the 20th century. Think Realists, Symbolists, Futurists, Cubists, Dadaists, Surrealists…

Writer and cultural theorist, Lee Scrivner even wrote a manifesto on how to write an avant-garde manifesto in 2006 and then taped to the front door the Institute of Contemporary Arts in London, later presenting it in a British Library exhibition in 2008. Continue reading

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A guide to looking at art

I sometimes hear people say they don’t know how to look at art. This is particularly the case with contemporary (and sometimes modern) art. It’s almost like there’s a reluctance to engage with art because there’s a fear of not knowing how to do it ‘right’. Or sometimes people think they just won’t ‘get it’. What’s the point, they ask? It’s all too obscure, eccentric, or downright weird.

You might be surprised to know there is no magic formula to this. Continue reading

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