Collective Dreaming

Posted: September 14, 2010 by breakingintothearts in Uncategorized

It was about three months ago that we three non-artists embarked on a journey to start an insightful conversation about art, to explore art from an untrained lens.  We didn’t really have a specific plan as to what type of art we would explore or how we would collaborate.  We’ve all agreed that it has been rewarding for us on a number of different levels because we found that we have diverse interests, writing styles and view points.

We’re going to take a short break from posting….when we come back, we’ll continue the conversation about collective dreaming.  In the meantime, we’re collecting a list of anything artistic that you’d like to do or something cool you’d like to share to create a community art dreaming list on our blog. We’ll then publish the entire list so we can all share our ideas. Please add yours!!

Thanks for all your support and comments….talk to you next month!

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You won’t believe the next sentence I’m going to say. And that is I never win anything. Really, I don’t. But I did for the first time in a very long time. It was tickets to the Recycled Cinema session at the Sydney Underground Film Festival.

This spontaneously changed all plans for my day and now I sit here writing this. This was such a rewarding little surprise.

Recycled Cinema was a short film session that was particularly themed around recycled footage from all sorts of places like home video footage or YouTube clips.

So there was an incredible range of shorts in this session from burlesque performances, vintage erotica, The Wizard of Oz to footage of Jesus and Hitler to create wildy new narratives.

One particular short that stayed with me was Natalie Bookchin’s Laid Off (2009). This is an ongoing project for Bookchin which is a multi-channelled video installation

Bookchin explains

Testament is an ongoing series of multi-channel video installations made up of fragments from online video diaries, or “vlogs”. The project consists of a series of chapters, each of which focuses on a collectively told vignette, story, proclamation, or meditation on topics such as identity, the economy, illness, politics, the war, or work. Testament analyzes contemporary expressions of self, and the stories we are currently telling online about our lives and our circumstances. Clips are edited and sequenced like streams and patterns of self-revelation and narrative that flow and dissipate over space and time. As in a Greek chorus, individuals echo, respond to, contradict, add refrains, iterations, and variations, join in, and complete solo narrations. The series reflects on the peculiar blend of intimacy and anonymity, of simultaneous connectivity and isolation that characterizes social relations today.

I am really continuing to enjoy this new exploration of the arts world and the continuing to uncover the diversity within it. I love how this is such a unorthodox yet clever way of story telling. To me, it demonstrates the very essence of art being for everyone and being able to be created by anyone.

Let me know what your thoughts are on this video?

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Urban Uprising

Posted: September 12, 2010 by Tawar in Uncategorized
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So I recently found out about Urban Uprising, a street art gallery out in Surry Hills that aims

to bring street art from around the globe to a new audience in Australia

This is definitely a positive thing but I had a few reservations about this gallery when I read about it. What really got to me was the fact it was opposite to everything I was charmed by initially; that graffiti manifested in open and non-elitist surrounds. And there is a weird aura of stigma once anything is placed inside a gallery. Nevertheless, I trekked out to Surry Hills to get this unusual experience of viewing graffiti inside a professional gallery

I quickly observed it was located on Crown St in Surry Hills, a highly gentrified area bristling with yuppies emulating a ironically bohomian lifestyle, as French-American actor Julie Delpy likes to called them “bo-bo’s” – bourgeoisie bohemians.

Urban Uprising

This was a bizarre perversion of the origins of street art; a grass roots art form that has typically been appropriated by popular culture consequently commodifying it.

I went on inside to find a modest and eclection collection of graffiti

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So I was pleasantly surprised by the gallery’s artwork. I think, despite all my misgivings, it was inevitable for street art to head down this avenue.

As I was talking to Chris Tamm he highlighted that one of the postive of this new trade is talented graffers are able to make a living out of something that has so frequently been criminalised.

But this process of commodification works in other ways such as  artists being commissioned to do work on buildings or walls like I wrote in my previous blog.

So do you this is a step in the right direction for graffiti art or not?

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Mays Lane

Posted: September 12, 2010 by Tawar in Uncategorized
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I recently have taken up an interest in graffiti and in my last blog I described how it has been much more appealing than traditional art and I’m growing to understand why.

I recently took a short student stencil art course at Pine Street Creative Arts Centre in Darlington. The most appealing thing about it was there was no prerequisite to have any formal education in art. Then coming out of the short course I found the whole experience a  very open and welcoming one.

I ventured out to the very unique and famous Mays Lane in St Peters to check out the graffiti that is up there (for now anyway)

The moment you turn right to walk off the station there is graffiti everywhere.

Outside St Peters Station

Then the moment I walked into Mays Lane I felt like I stepped into this massively warped tunnel of graffiti. The art was overlapping and ranged from elaborate tagging in amazing fonts to a mix of sculptured graffiti!!

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And as usual there some graffers out there working on a piece

Graffers at work

So how it works down at Mays Lane is the panels on the buildings are assigned to each commissoned artist. These artist can be basically any graffer out there who applies with very little restrictions. You have graffers from all walks of life come and do some work on the panels.

One of the commissioned panels

Another commissioned panel

This has got to be the most appealing aspect about graffiti. The non-elitst and permeable foundations it is built on.

To hear more about the graffiti scene in more depth check out my interview with graffer Chris Tamm talking about how he got into graffiti, the developments over his 25 years of experience and where its headed!

Watch out for my next blog, I discuss the interesting path graffiti has taken by being installed in galleries!

But until then what’s your take on graffiti?

Does it appeal to you?

Post up any pictures of graffiti you’ve taken. Would love to see a better documentation of this amazing but sadly permeable art!

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Bob Dylan

Posted: September 12, 2010 by Tawar in Uncategorized
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I went to this cute (but now expired) photo exhibition at the quaint Blender Gallery down in Paddington. It has taken me a while to write about this particular exhibition because despite the artistically candid photograph’s which aptly capture the zeitgeist of Dylan’s musical era, I really had difficulties articulating my thoughts on it.

Bob Dylan exhibition

Bob Dylan exhibition

It was almost as if I was compelled to view this exhibition purely because appreciating one of the permanently famous fixtures of the 60s rock music era is an imperative part of learning about Western music history.

I started thinking of this notion of compulsory learning and its pervasiveness in art education that occurs at an early age. Art was always taught around a rigid and hackneyed syllabus as far back as I can remember. Every subject that was remotely related to art managed to include Monet, Picasso and Van Gogh. I clearly remember in year five the exercise in which we were instructed to imitate Monet’s White Water Lillies. What I can’t remember is the one time individual creativity was encouraged, or learning about unorthodox art. And if it was, the memory of the experience has, alas, not stayed with me.

Now what does that say about the way art is taught, if it should be taught at all.

Syllabuses should reflect the diversity in the art world because within this diversity the art world is able to charm and inspire every individual.

It saddens me that this was bereft in the syllabuses that I was taught by.

If art education was approached in a broader and more unorthodox manner, I believe, it would have spoken to more students and would have kindled their artistic selves within rather than repelling many becoming an outcast of the artistic world, something that has become a travesty of art.

On my way to Blender I found something else that spoke to me a greater deal than the actual photos

Street Art

Street Art: A lomo camera painted outside the Blender Gallery

This is what I will write about in my next post but until then…

What were your experiences in art education?

And what has become of your artistic selves?

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I remember feeling wildly creative and free about the age of 5.  There were lazy days of crayolas and texters in a million different colours transcending my dream world onto the paper.  Every day in kindy, we all coloured in our books and shared our dreamtime…it was all so natural.  And then somewhere around the age of 9, I got the sense that this dreamy world was somehow less important than reading my books and learning arithmetic.  By the age of 14, there was “us” and “them”….the artistic types who pursued the creative arts as a career and the rest of us.

Somehow, the further away I got from the age of 5, the further away I got from that feeling that I could just pick up any utensil: pencil, marker, whatever…and let my creative spirit speak in whatever voice it chose on the day.

By the time I was 20 and needed to take some kind of artistic elective course at Uni, I was slightly panicked.  I couldn’t imagine that I had any talent in any of the options available.  I even asked if it would be possible for me to study an extra unit of art history instead…..completely distanced from that 5 year old who confidently picked up a texter or a paintbrush without reservation and had the best day everyday just for the sheer pleasure in all of it.

And lately I’ve been asking myself why?  Why do we devalue the artistic creative spirit at such a young age in our educational system?  After all, we value “innovation” in business, don’t we?  We value the creative thinker who can create new opportunities in business or solve complex problems.

I caught up Nola Diamantopoulos, a former corporate type, celebrated Sydney artist and creative coach to explore this further.  Check out the podcast interview to hear her insights and some interesting observations on the subject…..

There was no such thing as cubism or pointalism before somebody decided to make these marks on a canvas – in effect to break the rules of art. So what’s stopping us from just making a mark on the canvas?….Nola Diamantopolous

The truth is that we are all creative beings.  We showed up on this gorgeous planet to create a unique expression of ourselves.  Every act we take is an expression of that creativity: our personality, lifestyle choices, fashion sense, musical taste and the films we see on the weekend to name a few.  The dreams that start in our heads manifest themselves in our career choices, our next holiday, our relationships, etc…  In short, it’s the realm of possibility manifested in physical form.  But does that mean that we’re creating our full potential?  Could we be more creative?  If so, how??

I’d love to hear your story….what does creativity mean to you?

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It seems like our journey at Breaking Into The Arts has been about connecting (or reconnecting) with art and about connecting artists with non-artists. The logical progression to explore is all of us reconnecting to the artist within, to acknowledging our individual and collective creativity: in short, re-affirming the infinite realm of possibility.

The notion of becoming an artist can seem daunting for most of us non-artists. It brings up all the doubts we have about our inherent talent and the fear of being judged based on what we create: the end product. None of us want to hear that the piece of art we spent so much time working on is ordinary. Somehow the object we create gets confused with our sense of self, our understanding of our own value and wisdom.

The truth is that art is often more about the journey than the destination. Its about other things like just letting go of what the outcome is and simply enjoying being lost in the moment, in the unimaginable expanse of colour, time and possibility.  How often do we take time out of our impossibly busy lives to just sit and doodle (or whatever your favourite equivalent may be)…draw without aim….let our minds wander.  It exercises a completely different set of brain “muscles” and lets us experiment – do things that are irresponsible, illogical and even absurd. How good is that?   I can’t tell you how many days I had at my corporate job wishing I could do something outrageous!

So I’ve been doing an experiment lately….trying to interpret something in my life through a different lens: see something differently, even the most obvious things I already “know”.   Last week I took my non-artist self on my regular walk to see if I would notice anything that I hadn’t seen on the same walk I’ve been on hundreds of times before. Here’s a sample of what I found:

Baywalk Hidden Treasures

The truth is that it was about being present – not absent-minded and not distracted by something else that I allowed to enter my brain space that clouded my lens – and it was about not judging what kind of photo I ended up with….I took this photo with my phone – no fancy camera, no thinking about composition, I just did it.   And I was amazed at how many things I saw that I had never seen before.

Whether its photography or some other medium, there is a different way to explore the world through an artistic lens and in the process, we are actually enhancing our brains to do other things as a side benefit.

We’re learning more everyday about how things like music build new and different neuro-pathways.  In example, Melody Gardot , the 24 year old platinum selling jazz musician, taught herself how to speak after a horrific car accident using music.  I was so inspired by this story that I’ve decided to try to take up some kind of music even though it’s somewhat daunting for me.

I ran across this one week study program in Cuba: yes, you’re reading this right…. if you’re going to dream, dream big, right?? Kosa Music is a sensational educational opportunity to combine culture, rhythm, music and celebration into your new artistic practice in 2011. Ok, ok……so maybe traveling to Cuba in March isn’t realistic, but it is good to start dreaming and using all the creativity we were born with to reclaim that space within and be in our fullest expression as human beings, fully integrated.

So what about you? Are you using an art practice to explore some aspect of your life or are you thinking about trying something new?

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