Saturday, May 26, 2012

"I looked at the Rubens and Rembrandts. I liked the John Singer Sargents. He told me he liked Turner. Never have I turned since then"

- Rufus Wainwright, The Art Teacher

Yesterday was an ARTday, not a Friday for me.

It was pouring rain yesterday, all day, so I showed up to the Brunswick Street Gallery looking like a drowned rat. Yes, this is partially due to the fact that I refuse to buy an umbrella. However, I have never had an umbrella and not lost it, and frankly I'm convinced they don't do all that much good. If it's raining you will get wet.

Anywho- I arrived at BSG to help install their current exhibition, and they put me through my paces. I installed 4 artists' works, and I have to say I was pretty happy with the installations. The one artist I helped who was actually there was super sweet and I hope to remain in touch with her. I enjoyed her work and her company immensely. I also hope that in the near future I'll be helping install my own work at BSG. They have a small works competition coming up that I plan to submit to. The space is a residential building that the two top floors have become the art gallery (the ground floor is a shop and two restaurants). Windy steps, high ceilings, well lit, and there is even one room that is painted the same ox blood red that my bedroom was when I was in highschool. I love it. They get a wide variety of work and change it over frequently, which I think is a good practice to keep the space more vibrant and dynamic.

After helping with the installation I booked it down to Federation Square to hit the Ian Potter (the NGV Australiana collection). They were having a NGV Members free entry to the Fred Williams: Infinite Horizons exhibition, and I just had to see the Upwey Landscape and Silver and Grey again. I also did some sketching so I could better understand how Williams was abstracting the Australian landscape and basically distilling it down to its most powerful elements.

Fred Williams is an Australian born painter, from Melbourne actually. His works, in my opinion, are some of the most beautiful interpretations of the Australian landscape I've ever seen. Probably my favourite. You can read more about him here on wikipedia, but I think I'll write up a review of the exhibition as well in the near future.

Anyway, met up with e at Fed Square and headed to 1000£Bend for some mulled wine and dinner. I had the grilled roo burger of course. Then we headed up to Brunswick St to go to the BSG opening and then split a slice of 'death by chocolate' cake at Joe's Garage.

Friday, May 25, 2012

“I’ve got Friday on my mind, I’m gonna have fun in my city”

- The Easybeats*,  Friday On My Mind

I've been delayed in doing an update (how many times do I make that statement), however here is the entry for Friday 18th to Monday 21st:

On Friday A couple of friends and the mrs. had tea and a pint at Pugg Mahones in Carlton before heading to Tullamarine to pick up "A", a high school mate of hers (and I'd say a mate of mine too) who was coming in to visit us from Canberra and go to the Florence and the Machine show. It was a bit of an adventure that evening. Going to the airport and not flying anywhere or arriving is weird for me. It's also tempting, despite my love for Melbourne; to go off on and adventure. I'm always tempted to go off somewhere. Seriously - so many times I've just considered buying a V-line ticket and seeing how it goes. It seems so irresponsible though....

Saturday we took A down to Brunswick Street for a little shopping and exploring. I bought that ring at the artists' market I've been eyeing for the last two months and picked up a cup and saucer from T2 with a gold chrysanthemum pattern on it. It's lovely and reminds me of my mum. That evening we had tea at Thy Thy a... Vietnamese? restaurant the girls favour. It was good food at a good price and they had the footy on. I got bagged out a lot over the weekend for catch bits here and there of the footy. shrug. After dinner we headed over to d's (whom had crashed on the couch) housewarming/birthday party at his new place. I always enjoy a good house party where everyone knows everyone. I always found uni parties kind of.... awkward. Do you make new friends? Chat with the people you know? Should you chat up your acquaintances and or that person in your class? Anyways, it was a whole lot of fun. I considered staying out with the boys and going into the city late that night but decided against it - I'm not sure if I do or don't regret that decision.

Sunday morning we spent some time down at the Victoria Markets, then had a bite at the pub then went to.... Florence and the Machine at Rod Laver. Awesome show, Florence Welch has an incredible voice that's even more powerful in person. She also seems to have the most adorable personality, she reminds me of my mate j.

Monday before A had to catch a coach to Tullamarine I showed her around the CBD, mainly stuff on and around Swantson St in a whirlwind walking tour. I think she enjoyed our jaunt and got to see some of Melbourne she hadn't seen before, least I hope so.
"A" snapping a photo on Hosier Ln

Later that day I got into VicRoads (the Aus equivalent of DMV, etc) to sort out my paperwork and appointment time to get my full Victorian Drivers Licence. I'm going to say far less painful then teh DMV and the people working there are friendly and helpful - which not trying to over generalise but, I mean..... some could compare the DMV to one of Dante's circles or purgatory.

* The Easybeats are actually an Australian group from the 60s known for Friday On My Mind as well as Made My Bed Gonna Lie In It

Monday, May 21, 2012

"I want you to be free, Don't worry about me, And just like the movies- We play out our last scene"

- Alien Ant Farm Movies

I caught two films this week (May 15th & 16th that is), and oddly enough both involved vampires. Don't worry - neither involved anything that sparkled.

The first film I saw was chosen by my mate for CineCult. CineCult is... "More than just a once-a-month evening of obscure, obsessive cinema, CineCult@303 is a mad and groovy collision of styles, genres, place, time and everything! CineCult will go to the limits of sanity to bring you back the finest features imaginable in the sleek and sexy surrounds of Bar303."

The film she chose was a fairly obscure Australian flick called 'Outback Vampires' or 'The Wicked'. It wasn't over blown camp and the production wasn't blockbuster there was still heaps of attention to detail, it was well developed. I thought there were some great angles used and the film was upbeat and didn't allow romance or an overbearing backstory weight it down. The film was lots of fun with some great laughs. I fully enjoyed myself and the film and look forward to my future CineCult@303 experiences.

(If you think you might be interested in attending a CineCult at Bar 303 screening check out their facebook here. They meet one Tuesday a month at Bar 303 on High St. Screenings start at 7.30 but typically everyone has a drink before hand.)

The second film I saw was Tim Burton's latest collaboration with Johnny Depp and his wife, Helena Bonham-Carter. Dark Shadows wasn't horrible, but it lacked punch. I feel like the writing was tired and didn't take advantage of so many opportunities - that frankly felt like they were laid out on a silver platter, The time setting itself gave so many opportunities for jokes not only to compare 1800s to 1970s but also both time periods to current day, and it wasn't touched on at all. There was also a lot of poorly developed back story and unnecessary inclusions that just slowed the film down narratively and emotionally. Admitedbly I have never seen the TV show, but rather than try and re-create and condense the TV show, as I expect Burton attempted; I would've taken the premise and run with it.

On another yet related note - Does anyone feel like Johnny Depp needs a new 'role'?  Something he can really stretch in? This seemed like a melding of Edward Scissor hands and Jack Sparrow, the last re-visitation of Gonzo-ism was equally expected....

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

"And in the bottom of a concrete basement, Robin flies again"

- The Breeders Opened

the bar @ Bar Open
This last weekend (Fri - Monday really) was good, if not a bit exhausting. It started out with a Friday night meet up on Brunswick St. J and I had a few scotches at Bar Open before regrouping with the rest of the crew to go check out the opening at Brunswick Street Gallery. The work was quite nice and I'm impressed that they have such a quick turn around on shows since I was just at another opening there the other week. We then re-convened at Bar Open to celebrate b's last exam and upcoming job interview (fingers crossed!). There was also some late night munchies and quite the range of discussion topics that night between the jugs and the kebabs. After that j, f and I went round the corner to the Night Cat to dance up a storm. Plus who knew asking what brand of jeans a person is wearing would be such a successful pick up line? I know - right?

the GPO building
 J, f and I all got home pretty late and had a bit of a chat, which seemed to just continue on seamlessly in the morning. I proved to have magic panadol finding skills as well.

J and I then headed off to the city to see s before he caught his train back toward SA. We ended up having coffee at Southern Cross station and a great catch up with s before having to see him off at his platform. He'll be back next week though, so the good times will continue!

J and I then split ways, her to Footscray and me back to the Box. I had to get home and sort out a few things - including a MUCH NEEDED power nap before I headed back into the city at 5 ish.

I got my power nap and the mrs. was sweet enough to drive me into the city on her way to meet her cousin. Thank goodness because I needed the extra moments slugging it on the couch before standing up serving beer tastings all night as a volunteer at the Great Australasian Beer Spectapular!

a photo of the bar i worked, which was a
shipping container filled with kegs
60 different beers and one cider. 5.15-11.45pm. It was a long night of bar work but not un-enjoyable. I got to taste some good beers and some very unique beers, and some that were both - like a coconut infused stout. yummmy. A chilli pepper with chocolate porter and a watermelon warhead -lager? pilsner? also stick out in my mind. The White Rabbit ale made specifically for the event in collaboration with ... I want to say Little Creatures was also fantastic.

After I was done serving I headed out to meet some mates at The Aviary and on my way ran into one of my co-volunteers from the Bar 03. He was visiting from Brisbane apparently and I dragged him along.

the view from the bench out front the Library

Sunday was mostly spent feeling exhausted and run down with a bit of a cold, and a little home-sickness. It was Mother's Day.

Yesterday, Monday that is; I met up with e in the city for some mulled wine at Section 8 then went on a wander for food - got some tofu curry at 'Don Don' or  'Bento Don'? (Japanese place across form QV on Swantston St). It was a wet night but sat on the benches outside the front of the State Library and ate. The rain had pretty much stopped it was just a beautiful night. I love Melbourne after it's rained at night. It may be cold but the lights reflecting off the wet streets is just lovely.
soem of the seating @ E:fifty-five

Of course given that it was a wet, kinda cold night - sitting in a basement seemed ideal.

As such e and I headed off to  E: Fifty Five at 55 Elizabeth Street which is basically a cross between the cool basement all your friends hung out in high school (like that 70s Show - Eric's basement) and a Shag painting. They were also having a special on a 12yr old Yamakazi whiskey, so... YUM! It was a good night and while a little bit of a late one I woke up feeling refreshed and less sniffly.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

"I never needed anybody's help in any way. But now these days are gone, I'm not so self assured, Now I find I've changed my mind and opened up the doors."

- The Beatles Help!

Yesterday I had a 'day at home' applying for what I think would be the perfect job for me, but ultimately I won't get it. Its to be a member of the Exhibition Team at the ACMI (movies and visual exhibition - drool!). My lack of ability to get a position in the art world just makes me think of a particular scene in Art School Confidential. Yeh, ya know - the one about getting ahead? right? Sigh I also skyped with someone in the same city as me for the first time ever. Not a bad thing really.

A Gum Tree I saw on my adventures today

Later in the evening I met up with f at the Provincial on the corner of Johnston and Brunswick Streets for a bit of tea and a few jugs. I'm not sold on having vanilla vodka in my Pimms Cup but I'm not a lover of Singapore slings either really. Frankly, but don't tell f; I think even canned pineapple juice makes my head feel a bit dodge. I'm deathly allergic to fresh pineapple by the way. Any who - the pizza was good nad though over priced the Guinness there isn't half bad.

The Provincial on Brunswick St

I crashed on f's pull-out couch to get a start out on the right side of town to cut down on some of my transport today, which was a failed attempt. Due to incidents involving myki and my sometimes lack of ability to rapidly get where I'm going ("Did you ride a camel into town?"), It might not have really helped. I did have a lovely breakfast on Brunswick St to keep me going through the day. Either way I've come to peace with the fact that I can not coordinate myself so nor could I troops and I would've struggled utterly in OCS. Thankfully my day was saved as was I when I was chivalrously rescued and my day salvaged.

My new favourite store 'Art Stretchers' on High St. There goes rent!

Then later in the evening the mrs. took me to Bunnings (Australian Home Depot) for a staple gun and some wood glue. I re-stretched "you talkin to me" this evening over a film viewing and an amazing roast chicken and avocado sandwich made for me by the mrs. What can I say life is good. d, the buyer came around in the evening and picked up the painting and had a bit of a chat and now I'm just debating going straight to bed or popping on a cheesy film to drift off too. In other words, not a bad 48 hrs. Have a few things that NEED to be done tomorrow but I look forward to a little induced productivity.

vice grip clamps form art stretchers on high st

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

"Indian Summer. I love you the best Better than all the rest."

- The Doors Indian Summer

Today was an' Indian Summer' sort  of day. 22 degrees, sunny - just lovely. Met up with E after she'd gotten off work and had a drink down at what is one of my favourite little spots in Melbourne, Pony Island. The bar is under the walkway bridge over the Yarra River in South Bank and has just such a lovely, laid back, summer vibe. The music was a bit crap today but other than that....

view of yarra river from Pony Island bar in the middle of the yarra
After that went for a bit of a window shop. E has impeccable taste but unfortunately both of us are trying to be wise with our funds...... but we can still look! We would've bought heaps of socks but we're struggling to find exactly what we're looking for. Neither 'Big W' or 'Socks Club' in Melb. Central shopping arcade had what we were after.

We then went to have a bit of a bite at another favourite spot of ours, Lounge on Swanston St. No longer has a down stairs (which is missed) but still a nice spot with some yummy food. [Sorry no photo for that.]

Next we thought we'd find a new place, and while we didn't end up at our intended destination (Berlin) the one we found, Fad Bar, was a nice spot. The bar tender might have been inexperienced but she was friendly, and it's not her fault the manager doesn't carry sweet vermouth.

"Monday You Sure Look Fine..."

- Fleetwood Mac Monday Morning

Monday is becoming one of my more favoured days of the week, I know - bizarre right? I just tend to get so much done in the morning and then am able to arrange something interesting to be getting on with later in the arvo - so it's brilliant. Work then rewards.

Monday I finally had the pleasure of meeting e's father whom is an established painter and a technical expert in painting mediums. He's gonna help me sort out my stretcher bar situation for my buyer and has offered to lend a hand with the re-stretching, he's utterly lovely.

E and I then spent the afternoon.... (pause for drama) ..... working on a jig saw puzzle! We did get up to a bit more than that but mostly is was a lazy afternoon of chatting, eating chocolate crackle biscuits (homemade by e and delish at that) and working on an INSANE image of a school of fish. It was a lovely day spent in the northern part of town.

Darebin Station late on at night.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Oh, the line forms on the right, babe Now that Macky's back in town

- Bobby Darin Mack the Knife

This photo and the one of me w/o the mrs.
taken by Daniel Taylor.

Secretaries and Secret Agents Party (MadMen and Archer fancy dress party) at me and the mrs' place was a blast! had some great tunes, a great crowd, a lovely punch concocted by the kitchen queen herself and of course some wicked good outfits. I of course 'went' as Joan, and I think I did alright pulling her off.

Also I think I might really, really look like my grandmother Carolyn. Suppose I'll email a photo to my grandfather and ask his opinion. I think overall everyone had a great time.

I hope everyone had as much fun as I did and there were plenty of memorable moments - some not even caught on film like the one to the right (haha). I think the mrs. and I aren't bad hostesses (and of course honourable mention to f) and I look forward to our next bash - I think it's becoming a thing for us to have one per month or so.

You’re ever welcome with me any time you’d like, Let’s drive to the country side, leave behind some green-eyed look-a-likes

- Fleet Foxes Blue Ridge Mountains

A lovely fella tok me to the Dandenongs yesterday. I really loved it, you could see all of Melbourne. The CBD was just a little cluster like something squiggled out on a map, the Emerald City along the path. I wouldn't be surprised that if on a clear day you could see Geelong.

This is all instagram-artsy, it wasn't that dark out but it was cloudy and overcast. I mean, it is winter.
It was really lovely as well that we went up on a Sunday, reminded me of my runaways to Skyline Drive when I was living in Harrisonburg. Crisp, forest air and a beautiful view with great company - couldn't have asked for a better Sunday.

Later in the evening I met e for tea & a double feature (Pan's Labyrinth & Amores Perros) at 1000£bend. We ended up foregoing the films and just having tea and a drink. We were both a bit tired from the weekend. We then went moseying around and ended up at Section 8 Container Bar (as you do) and having a glass of wine before calling it a night.

1000£ bend on Lt Lonsdale St just beyond Elizabeth

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Waiting for the Man. . .

- Lou Reed

At Southern Cross station waiting for s to get in from the vline. Bloody starving but quite excited about the day.

Brekky with s, bit of shoppes because *woot!* the painting made it over with no worries full stop ...

[Some gal just asked me to watch her bags as she ran into the loo. Love this country. She trusts me to watch it and i trust she isnt a terrorist leaving me with a bomb. Brilliant] I need stretcher bars, clamps and a staple gun. May borrow gun and clamps depending... And then (drumroll) Secret Agents & Secretaries Party (madmen and archer fancy dress party) is tonight!
Quite a good day ahead if I dont die of starvation waiting for s. I swear my stomach growled so loud I jumped in surprise. Which also meand it was audible over the trains.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Easter Bunnies?! Easter Bilbies! (easter post coming soon)

Darrel Lea Chocolate Bilby

I spent this Easter at the mrs.'s folks in Culcairn, NSW. For Easter her mum got me an Easter Bilby instead of an Easter Bunny! It was delicious and put money toward saving the Bilby, an indigenous bunny-like marsupial that's endangered.

Easter was a laid back affair much like it is with my folks. We spent an evening with her lovely school friends, I got to meet her father's parents and as always had a bit of a paddock bash. This time the mrs. drove the 4wheeler while I held on for dear life and photographed one handed. I also video-taped!

Of course, there where Kangaroos!

There were many kangaroos and the land was much lusher and greener then the last time I had been to their farm. The decade long drought broke while I was gone and as a result all of Australia I've seen this time around really does bring Donald Horne's "Lucky Country" to mind. I had a lovely time, the mrs.'s parents are tops and I look forward to my visits in the future.

"A painter must think of everything he sees as being there entirely for his own use and pleasure."

- Lucien Freud, Man with a Blue Scarf

On my epic train ride to Eltham/Montsalvat yesterday (seriously, take the bus ALL the way there if you live in my side of town) I finished Man with a Blue Scarf: On Sitting for a Portrait by Lucien Freud by Martin Gayford. Yes, the purchasing of such a book went totally against the rules for myself but lets just say it was the guiltiest of guilty pleasures and totally worth it, even beyond the lovely plate reproductions of Freud's work and the lovely kodak snaps of the artist at work.

The book is a collection of anecdotes of Martin Gayford from his time spent sitting for a portrait. The anecdotes contain reflections on the process of sitting, Lucien Freud's painting process, conversations the two had and some historical background on Lucien both taken from the artist's stories and the writer's knowledge and research.

I loved it. It is not salacious look in to Lucien Freud's studio and life but rather a very mediative book that can really give an appreciator of his work and/or a would be painter a look into how one of the 'greats' went about his process; especially in the later years. (During the course of Lucien Freud's career he went through many changes in style and even at times subject but is best known for his mid to later works that are portraits developed out of strong and deliberate brushwork that both in reproductions and of course in person the tactile nature of the brushwork is especially compelling.)

I found Martin Gayford's insights about the sitting process a 'view through the looking glass' as it were since I'm rarely on that side of the canvas or camera. Its very apparent from the nuanced recounting of the experience that Gayford was studying his subject just as much as Freud was studying his. Gayford's knowledgeability about art and the way he inserted that expertise was both interesting and informative, especially the information on Francis Bacon, whom is usually paired with Lucien Freud as the 'big things' in the London art scene and international art scene at their prime.

Most of all though I loved how Gayford captured how Lucien Freud worked as a painter and artist not only because it can give someone like me, an aspiring artist; a sort of road map to procedure but also the very gratifying experience of finding similarities in between my process and Freud's. This of course is not at all shocking given that portrait painters working in oil are going to have a wide range in similarities in their process, but it was the little idiosyncratic things that aligned that I found truly gratifying being such an admirer of Lucien Freud's work. When I first came across one of his paintings, the one of illustrator John Minton; it kind of all came together for me.

To this day this is one of my very favourite paintings and Lucien Freud one of my favourite artists. So, when I read "When he is really concentrating he mutters constantly, giving himself instructions: 'Yes, perhaps - a bit', 'Quite', 'No-o, I don't think so', 'A bit more yellow.' Once or twice he is about to apply a stroke then withdraws, considers again, then re-scrutinizes..." or that his palette is typically incrusted with blobs and not cleaned, I felt ... assured? An assurance that yes I am meant to be a painter and maybe someday in the future there will be a book written like this about me with similar anecdotes and maybe even parallels drawn between my work and Freud's as Gayford does with Freud's and other artists.

While I really enjoyed this read I'm going go ahead and state that it's probably not for everyone. If you aren't into Lucien Freud, painting, contemporary/modern art then it might not hold the same interest for you that it did me. It's a bit of a niche book.

 c. esbenshade

“I don’t know what tomorrow brings. It’s alive with such possibilities…”

- Bright Eyes, ' Method Acting'

Its been ages since I've posted. So long in fact that Blogger has undergone a facelift and I barely figured out how to create a new post - there seem to be many more options of gizmos and gadgets from when I last updated.

Well, what's been happening? Heaps but noting worth mentioning I suppose? Or more that it was not fit for publication? Really I think it was just so much going on that I just couldn't be asked so lets see if I can work my way backward through the last weeks and pull out the notable moments.

EASTER (will get it's own post)

April 12th- Hello Sailor Vintage Market in St.Kilda with k&j where I tried on this lovely number:

April 14th- Pints of Guinness at Pugg Mahones with f, unfortunately they didn't show the footy match I'd hoped to watch. pout. Go SAINTS!

April 19th- Got a hair cut @ Biba in Camberwell and then met up with e for some drinks, goss and then saw This Must Be The Place  at the Nova. The movie was good and I thought it was a very different role for Sean Penn. I also really liked how Frances McDormand and he worked together. It was not a sad movie, but not an entirely uplifting film - but really anything that includes the Holocaust in the plot can't be all that light hearted.

April 20th- M's 25th at the Carlton in the CBD, press ganged f into joining, also saw the girls a bit before hand.

April 21st- A morning coffee and a chat, a retail therapy session with f on Brunswick Street and then Girls Night at ours filled with bunnies, de-lish nosh and some great chick flicks.

April 23rd- Free passes to the wish you were here advance screening at the Palace. Took f and afterward had a lovely dinner at a american style diner the Soda Rock. The film was good, an Australian Independent that had truly touching performances from the actors and really drew you into the narrative. Had no idea what was going to happen so really enjoyed it even though on a broad scale - also not a feel good movie.

April 24th- Free passes to Irvine Welsh's Ectasy screening at the Nova. Took w and had tea on Lygon street and ate Maltesers during the film. Not as good as Trainspotting but also not the same budget allowances. Enjoyable film, some really great scenes as far as cinematography and overall engaging story. Also came across my new favourite joke in the ladies' on the stall door:

"Hisenberg is driving Schrodinger to the pet store when the police pull them over..."

frankly, it's right up there with neutered watermelons for me. I know, bizarre sense of humour but some people love me for it and when all hope seems lost I can get a smile out of myself.

April 25th - ANZAC day. Ashamed to admit but between my mood and the downpour going on outside I didn't bother with the dawn service or the parade. Went out to Preston and saw my mate's new digs and she showed me a shed thats open for my artsy needs - which I fully intend to take up she and her roommates offer of it's use. the mrs. made a de-lish casserole/stew and f came round as well.

April 26th - bit of a date with the Mrs. (aka my roommate)

April 27th - Volunteered at the Brunswick Street Gallery on Brunswick Street. Helped install their print exhibition upstairs and later attended the very lovely opening. On my lunch break (Joe's Garage?) I passed the Gypsy Bar which while not open had flyers and such sitting out front, including the poster I designed for the upcoming 'Trentfest'. I was quite excited to see my artwork hanging around one of the hipper streets of Melbourne. Also met a mate for a few pints at the Provincial before the opening and then joined another mate at a work house party which was also quite enjoyable. Low point of that evening/ early the next morning was my mobile having an independent adventure from me that ended in a termination of service to that particular SIM/mobile. I now am an owner of some sort of samsung smart phone which I reckon is cleverer than I am. While off put by it I am enjoying it and feel compelled to name it..... but haven't chosen one yet.

April 29th - Due to lack of phone a hiccup in communications occurred and I accidentally stood somebody up. They are incredibly gracious and magnanimous though and as such I have been forgiven. (yay! felt real horrid about it as you know I would)

April 30th - Completed a web development job, can be seen here: The Cybercologist and then had celebratory pizza & beer with a dash of archer w/ the mrs.

May 1st- Went to Montsalvat artist community in Eltham & the painting 'you talking to me?' arrived at it's buyer's office and met f for tea in Heidelberg.