Posts Tagged ‘contemporary art’

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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“Mildura?” is the most typical response I’ve heard when I tell people I recently drove from Sydney to this rural Victorian destination.  The next most common response was “isn’t that where a lot of oranges come from?”.  In other words, no one I spoke to associated Mildura with art.

When I think about where to find great art in Australia, I typically think of the capital cities, particularly Sydney and Melbourne since I live closest to them.  Then again, I have to say that I’ve seen some of the most interesting and unexpected art in rural and regional Australia.

Even the drive there offers some hidden treasures like the brilliant yellow fields of rapeseed rolling over the horizon giving way to the vast expanse of the Hay plains.  Just outside of Mildura, the spectacular Mungo National Park is a sensational place to be at sunset.

The town itself sits on the Murray River, not far from the confluence of the Darling and the Murray.  Mildura has a deep connection to the land and, as it turns out, a deep connection to art.

For a town of only 50,000 or so, including the surrounding areas, it certainly swings above its weight, with an extraordinary community support network for the arts.

The Art Vault is a rather remarkable gallery including artist studios, etching and lithography workshop areas and two artist residencies, which attracts an impressive list of Australian artists.  Sophie Gralton, popular Sydney artist, is in residency at the moment with her exhibition due to open on 22 September.

The community with the support of organisations like Arts Mildura, The Art Vault, local council and LaTrobe University offers a wide variety of festivals throughout the year.

One of the arts festivals I’ve enjoyed in the past is the Mildura Palimpsest.  This year, the festival (17-19 Sept) is a collaboration with the Australian Experimental Art Foundation (AEAF) celebrating the experimental art history of Mildura including the Mildura Sculpture Triennials. Seven site- specific works exploring the symposium theme (to) give time to time will be on display in addition to other events.

So the next time you’re thinking about wandering out of one of the capital cities, maybe Mildura will pop up on your list too. I’d love to hear if you’ve been there or if you have any other road trippin art adventures you can share. Nothing like a good road trip to welcome in Spring!

I’ve found myself unconsciously looking for inspiration lately. I wake out of a dreamy state imagining myself making photographs of the Northern Lights half way around the world. Maybe it’s just that spring has sprung and we’re all emerging from our winter slumber. Or maybe “life is but a dream” as the song goes.

I’m feeling like my artistic dreambank is low on fuel. I’ve surveyed my dodgy lists located on my phone, small snippets of paper tucked into the odd recesses of my handbag and drawers in my lounge, and come back relatively empty. So I’ve decided to consolidate my lists here (bit of spring cleaning!) to re-ignite my artistic pipeline….possibly add something to your list – and invite you to add on. I’m curious to see see what our collective dreams look like……

Here’s my start in no particular order:

1. Aurora Borealis over the Yukon , Canada

For me, the night sky is an artistic display in and of itself and this has been on my list for a long time….but with a new twist now: Recently I came across Rolf Helter’s photographs from the Yukon, Canada and was he’s inspired me to try to see the Northern Lights “dancing in front of a full moon”…..and possibly give some night photography a go to see if I can capture a glimpse of the magic.

2. Road Trippin….

I’ve seen some of the most amazing art in the most unexpected places. Road trips are a great way to explore the art world that is a bit off the beaten path….the things in the “spaces in between”. Maybe you’ve heard about them from a friend or maybe you just stumbled upon them on the way to someplace else. So here’s what I’m dreaming about next: a road trip along the WA south coast. I’ve heard about a few things: this little artistic community called Denmark and that there is some great live music in the spaces in between Esperance and Denmark. I’m planning to do this in October, so any info you can pass my way, that would be great!

3. Penrith Regional Gallery: Disorder Disorder Exhibit

I heard about this contemporary art exhibit from my fellow blogger on this site. This exhibit sounds like an eclectic and innovative collection of the art of the “disengaged”. It’s on until mid-November….

Collective Dreaming Project…..

Here’s the scoop: today I was discussing this post with my two fellow bloggers for this site and we all agree that it would be interesting to see where the collective dreaming list takes us.  We’d love to capture a list of the cool artistic things you’re dreaming about (whether you are the artist or the audience), heard about or want to connect to somehow.  Once we’ve gotten all the comments together, we’ll create a collaborative post to share the list and all the inspiration.   So send us your dreams…big or small!


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I ran across this question recently and when I couldn’t come up with an immediate response, I jumped onto the internet to explore it.  There is much written about the definition of art and what art means from the point of view of art historians, art educators and established artists and indeed I found a whole lot of interesting commentary from this perspective.

But I persevered, hoping to find a broader collection of ideas from the sort of “un-establishment”. I wanted to hear what everyday peopIe had to say because I’ve heard some of the most profound observations from the most unexpected sources…..like my 5 year old neighbor who reminded me that “Art is heart. Get it?”.  Out of the mouths of babes……

And then I ran across a project sponsored by the Australia Council for the Arts called “What Makes Me”.  Via their website, they are inviting everyone to create a cube of images, audio or video to express what art means to them. You’re in for a real treat….get to know some great Australians and get a glimpse into how they see art in their lives.

What Makes Me Website

Here are some of the beautiful people I met there:

Gillian who reminded me that art is magical and introduced me to a whole different concept of pole dancing (and its not what you’re thinking)!

Jenny who showed me the playful side of art and how its part of her everyday life…as it would be if you lived just over the road from a circus performer!

Snowy, a music lover (with a great nickname) who talks about the the lyrics of The Doors. Some nostalgia and good memories there!

And finally Kylie, as in Kylie Kwong, who mesmerised me with the way she drew parallels between her love of food and her love of modern dance through the lens of Zen masters. Food for the soul…..

“What Makes Me” just confirms for me that art really is for everyone and there are places where artists and non-artists can come together to talk about their experiences with it. I loved being in that space today. For me, art is like love: multidimensional, provocative, heartbreaking, electrifying, inspiring….but most importantly, something we all share.

So…..what does art mean to you?

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While the definition of art hasn’t always been clear, we have always had a pretty clear sense of the role of the artist and the role of the audience in art.  The artist created the art and the audience played a voyeuristic and responsive role.

Performance art pioneers like Marina Abromovic have been challenging the boundaries between artists and audiences and the definition of art and art practice simply by creating a real time connection between the artist and the audience.

The space created by this connection offers us a glimpse into a new dimension in art experience with a growing loyal following.  The experience is more like a journey, revealing a compelling invitation to explore our individual and collective social consciousness in the “spaces in between” (in between our fast paced, ordered modern existence and an uncertain dimension of possibility).  It challenges us to be open to whatever presents itself and to abandon expectations.  Time and space become fluid.

The overwhelming response to Marina Abromovic’s recent performance at MoMA, The Artist is Present, is a testament to the evolving state of this art form and the unexpected outcomes for both the artist and the audience.  The intimate nature of such performances is a catalyst to co-create a unique experience in our lives: to slow down, be in the moment, and look through different eyes…..making new things familiar and familiar things new (as Samual Johnson says).

Here in Australia, Anastasia Klose, has been performing at the Australian Experimental Art Foundation (AEAF), in a work partly inspired by Maria Abromovic’s recent work at MoMA.  In an intimate setting, sitting in her bed, she allows us to read her thoughts on-screen as she sits in bed and types them, responding to her surroundings, her audience and her experience. (Photos by Teri Hoskin courtesy of the AEAF website).

I’ve been to performances like this and initially, I found it challenging to stay in these intimate spaces with a stranger on unfamiliar social ground for long.  Other times I found myself distracted by life outside the space or unable to appreciate the subtlety of the experience. But I have to say that it has become one of my favourite art forms: a place where we can explore infinite possibility by connecting with each other in new and unexpected ways.

So what do you think about this kind of art form? Love it or leave it?

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