Monday 31 December 2007

Illustrators Australia Webpage

Above: I have finally made a page for my work on the fine new Illustrators Australia website. Will be interesting to see if anything comes of it. One New Year's resolution down, and there's still more than nine hours left in 2007. Must be time for an ice-cold drink...

Friday 28 December 2007

A Doll Prototype

Above: this morning I made a doll prototype. It will be offered for sale. Her general shape is influenced by a homemade looking doll from the 1940's which I found in the Cheltenham Op Shop many years ago. (I managed to ruin it recently by leaving it out in the rain, hence it won't be shown here.)

Book Review

Above: Nicki Greenberg's incredible and painstaking graphic adaptation of F.Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby. In Greenberg's imagination, those tragic and beautiful symbols of the 1920's become a series of wonderful alien and underwater creatures, who tell the entire story in a series of gorgeous vignettes. One of the most universally loved novels is now even more of a treat to read, and re-read. (Melbourne, 2007.)

Above: a great glamorous monograph on the tres-hip American artist Elizabeth Peyton (New York, 2005), who is all of 43 years old. Peyton draws and paints famous people (mostly men) she admires in a style that is somewhat idealising, highly varied in quality and incredibly appealing. Best of all, her work sends art critics into a spin because they want to believe that she has a higher theoretical purpose to her practice than an overgrown 13-year-old school girl drawing in order to possess her unattainable objects of desire.

For example, above: Kurt Writing (Newsweek), 2002, Peyton's portrait of Kurt Cobain, presumably taken from a photograph published in that journal. There is alot of love in this picture, not to mention skill: it just makes me want to take my pencils out, play E.P. (not to mention David Hockney, whom she cites as an influence) and draw all the boys that I like. Watch out male readers, you might see yourselves here one day: if you're lucky.

Monday 17 December 2007

An Odd Assortment

Above: Unfinished puppet-like figures which were intended for the Bus exhibition last September. I decided that I had enough strange things to show in my little space without these. The most wonderful thing for me now is remembering where I made them: sitting in Amsterdam in broad daylight at 11pm stitching with the thread I had just bought(shown above); winding my cousin's cereal packet into a cylinder while getting bitten by mosquitos in his garden in Florence; and in our family kitchen in Pucisca dipping my aunt's teatowel in coffee and it obligingly drying in minutes in the heat outside. (Hence unpleasantly jaundiced puppet at right; the others had been 'aged' in tea. You learn.)

Above: a shopping bag I made this week as a birthday present for the beautiful Kaz. There's some of my mother's knitting in it, offcuts from dresses I made out of Liberty fabric, as well as a little piece of Sesame Street from a sheet I bought at the op shop in Port Fairy. It's better than one of those ubiquitous green bags.

Above: a summer scarf made out of a length of natural linen, stitched over with various coloured threads. I would like to learn how to weave a whole striped scarf one day; but this will do for now.

Above: papier mache flower people I made ages ago, influenced by the work of Odilon Redon, below.

Above: Odilon Redon, Little Flowers (Human Heads), 1880, charcoal on paper. Reproduced from Douglas W. Druick, Odilon Redon 1840 - 1916, Chicago, 1994.

Above: In turn, the author tells us that Redon himself was influenced by teratology, or the nineteenth century science of monsters, "an opportunity to contemplate the limits of human variability," understandably fashionable post evolutionary theory (p138). This picture shows a pair of conjoined twins called Ritta and Christina, born in Sassari in 1829. Originally published in Isidore Geoffrey Saint-Hilaire's Atlas to Traite de Teratologie, Paris, 1832 - 37.

Saturday 8 December 2007

A Strangely Shaped Piece of Wood

Above: This is what I did on my day off. I painted a lady and child onto a strangely shaped piece of wood that I found recently (approximate height 20 cm). Below is my attempt to explain to you -- and me -- how it came about.
Above: When I found this piece of wood, likely the limb offcuts of The Dancing Man, I thought that it resembled a person. I am one of those people who sees the anthropomorphic in most inanimate objects.

Above: It reminded me of this photo of a man taken in India from the incredible (un)Fashion by Tibor and Maira Kalman, London 2000. His headdress is said to represent heavenward aspiration. I think he is rather handsome.

Above: Looking at the picture of the man in India made me want to look at more pictures of people from various cultures who might inspire my little person's creation, so I also looked at Frances Kennett's World Dress, London 1994. This is a lady from Kyrgyzstan and her child. I find the dress of the people of Central Asia particularly beautiful.

Above: However, when I finished my piece, I looked at it and wondered why I often end up being reminded of this style of depiction, even though I start off aiming for something simple. I do love this creepy Victorian style of caricature for its politically incorrect subject matter, level of realism and kitsch. Children's cop and hangman bowling targets, circa 1890's. Photo from David Longest's Antique and Collectible Toys 1870 - 1950, Paducah, 1994.

Inspiration I: Homeland, Part II

Above: The body is like a machine, from Svijet oko Nas (The World Around Us), a children's encyclopedia in two volumes published in Zagreb in 1964.

Above: From Svijet oko Nas. The first home shows life without electricity, the second one with. Dusty Victoriana becomes Modernist pad, and the dingy attic even transforms into a roof top tennis court.

Above: From Nas Put I (Our Way I), a first grade reader by Edo Vajnaht, published in 1971. At school in Melbourne I would follow the lives of Dick and Jane, and at home in the evening it would be Ivo and Ana's.

Above: Life is good. Ivo tells his father to heed the stop sign while speeding in his convertible.

Above: Pioniri, about to race. In Socialist Yugoslavia, every child was a Pioneer.

Above: Ana waves at a passing ship and learns the alphabet at the same time. This looks not unlike the Yugoslavia of my childhood holidays.

Friday 30 November 2007

Inspiration I: Homeland

My parents come from an island off the coast of Croatia called Brac. I go back there as often as possible these days. The family visited a few times when my brother and I were children, but we didn't spend nearly enough summers there. When we were teenagers, we had to visit during winter which was incredibly depressing. Ah, when I think about the mischief I could have got up to had I spent the summer there as a thirteen year old...
Above: Pucisca, July 2007. A hand painted wooden chef points to a restaurant just down the road. There are no street names or signs in the town. (Population approximately 2,200.)

Above: I believe that Adria is/was a brand of clothes washing powder. Apron owned by my paternal grandmother, possibly from the 1970's. Direct inspiration: the buildings might as well be from a town on their island.
Above: folky detail from another teatowel brought back by my mother from Yugoslavia, possibly 1980's.

Above: Another teatowel, also possibly 1980's. Nedjelja means Sunday, but not much luck it seems.

Above: another of my grandmother's teatowels, probably 1970's and quite likely made from a bag of clothes washing powder which was intended for that double purpose.

Above: Pipi fizzy orange drink. She was very special to my brother and me when we were children. I think that she is still special to my brother now.

Above: the queen of all homeland product logos: the Gavrilovic smallgoods girl. This very piece of gold printed cardboard (badly reproduced here) was wrapped around a large cajna kobasica: translated directly meaning "tea sausage". That's tea as in beverage, not the British sense of tea, as in dinner.

Above: Podravka chicken noodle soup. Just as easy to find in Clayton as it is in Zagreb.

Above: the king of homeland product logos: the Vegeta man. Vegeta is a type of vegetable seasoning/ stock, and no home in the former Yugoslavia was ever without it.

Above: Ledo, who is probably every child's favourite product logo: his cheer is for ice cream. His name is a nice combination of the word for ice: led, and the word for bear: medo.

Craft Archive: I

I am always making something: lately it's dresses, because I realised that I had alot of fabric in the house, quite a few simple patterns, and a wardrobe that was looking shabby. Usually what I make is dictated by what I 'need' at that moment. So I might end up making anything, really. Here is a random assortment of things that I have made. Above: I 'needed' a red scarf a few years ago. Winter is boring enough without everyone making it even more depressing by wearing drab colours. It even has my name on it in case I lose it. Ha!

Above: after I made the red scarf I decided I needed a scarf with pretty colours in it, and a bit more of a knitting challenge. I like this one alot.

Above: a knitted cushion, which probably started off wanting to be an entire quilt, but I got bored with it, or wanted to use my dear wooden knitting needles for something new.

Above: at some point quite a few years ago, I decided that I needed a rag rug. It was fun to do, but remains unfinished. It lives on the floor of the bedroom anyway.

Above: at some point I decided that I needed a patchwork quilt, but by the time I got to my fourth one (above) 'need' was not the appropriate word: I had been taken over by some weird quilt-making-addiction. I have since made at least eight. I need to make a new one for my bed soon.

Above and below: I needed a new case for my camera, as the old one got blown off the washing line while on holiday: fell into someone's backyard. I hope that they like red and white polka dots. I prefer this one anyway.

Sunday 25 November 2007

My T-Shirts I

I design t-shirts for a living. A few years ago, my friend/colleague Jason Parkinson and I designed a series of our own t-shirts under the label Self Service, which were sold at the Fat stores in Melbourne and Sydney; Ivy Hopes, Lupa and 188D in Melbourne, Dragstar in Sydney and Dirtbox in Brisbane, among others. He designed the boys' t-shirts, I the girls'. My designs are shown below.

Above: based on a biro drawing done at work at lunchtime, this is the screenprint that I did in a CAE evening class which sparked my interest in doing my own t-shirts (though we did get the ones below printed professionally, actually, by a company now sadly defunct).

Above: My favourite design, Genetically Modified for Self Service, showing a convenience cow and an understandably frightened chicken. Please note that this cow is based on an actual butcher's logo discovered by my cousin Ognjen Aleksic in Florence, Italy.

Above: Self or Service? Because it is visually cute, I don't know whether many people ever 'got' that this little doll was choosing whether to fight in Iraq or dress up like J Lo. Not much of a choice really.

Above: Smoking Dog, the border of which was based on an 80's Hermes style scarf. I like smoking dogs, and I like smoking dogs wearing tartan caps even better.

Above: Goldilocks' Nightmare, which sold well I think because of all the colours (main image from old Golden Books publication) and the 'naughty' image (scribbles my addition).

I have a few word based t-shirt ideas in my head at the moment which I hope to make and show on this blog soon.

Tuesday 6 November 2007

Some artwork I have exhibited recently

An assortment of 20 x 26 cm 'box' pictures exhibited as part of a student exhibition at The Latrobe Street Gallery last year, a group exhibition at The Town Hall Gallery in Hawthorn in January and my first solo exhibition at Bus in Little Lonsdale Street, September 2007.

Above: I Missed His Dog, 2006. Main text reads: "When we broke up, I missed his dog terribly." (SOLD)


Above: Professional Flirt's Uniform, 2006. (SOLD)

Above: 80's Self Portrait with Appendage, 2006. (SOLD)

Above: Workplace Seduction Contest, 2006. Main text reads: "Advantages began with the seating arrangements."

Above: Darling Street, 2006. Main text reads: "I sat at my desk watching him. In my head we were on a Greek Island. He seduced me, even though he spoke no English. In reality he was an accountant who grew up in Mooroolbark." (SOLD)

Above: Country Boy, 2006. The top picture shows the drinking game of filling a Blundstone boot with beer and skulling it. The ute below has a couple of 'No Fat Chicks' stickers on it. Main text reads: "He was a handsome country boy. I was seduced by him as an idea but in reality we had little in common."

Above: Drawing Class, 2006. Main text reads: "The first day of class he sat opposite me. We were supposed to draw one another. Every time our eyes met, he would turn red and look away. That made him a very different subject to draw."

Above: Love Conquers Fuck All, 2007. Title piece to the Bus exhibition.