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Archive for the ‘Australian Art & Fashion’ Category

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This Christmas, a Prescription from Art Pharmacy

Maz Dixon "Colony 21"
Maz Dixon “Colony 21” available at Art Pharmacy

Warm the hearts of loved ones with lasting gifts from local, emerging artists

Forget socks, scented-candles and other ordinary dispensables. This Christmas, forego the throwaway gift in favour of an inspiring artwork to last a lifetime, selected from Art Pharmacy’s talented pool of local and emerging visual artists.

As Australia’s biggest online dispensary of visual art, Art Pharmacy was born from the idea that original art should be available to everyone – even those who aren’t bankrolled by billionaires or the offspring of Russian Oligarchs.

Emilya Colliver, Art Pharmacy Founder and Director commented: “Receiving an original artwork made by a local artist at the beginning of their career is incredibly rewarding, not least because it will look lovely on your wall. A new artwork can be challenging, personal and also a lasting token of your relationship with someone.”

The carefully curated collection of more than 600 original works from award-winning local artists are available for as little as $80 in a bid to provide a nourishing dose of art for enthusiasts of all budgets and offspring of all persuasions.

Among these artists include Bea Bellingham and her playful, whimsical illustrations, Maz Dixon and her series of nostalgic paintings that are known to elicit memories of sun-streaked holidays, Victoria Dixon’s conceptual patterned prints and experimental radiography photographs by Brendan Fitzpatrick.

Detail, Sarah Roberts "Far From View" available at Art Pharmacy
Sarah Roberts “Far From View” available at Art Pharmacy

Hailing from across Australia’s eight states and territories, Art Pharmacy’s artist stable spans two-dimensional and three-dimensional work across multiple disciplines, ensuring there really is something to satisfy the personal aesthetic of all burgeoning collectors this Christmas.

“An artwork from Art Pharmacy can serve as an ice breaker between strangers at dinner parties and even has the potential to act as a catalyst for igniting a life-long interest in art and potentially an art collection to rival Herb & Dorothy’s.

In the event of an emergency, or for those with a tendency to leave Christmas shopping to the last minute, Art Pharmacy offers Gift Prescriptions, available online and sent immediately to the recipient. Best of all, delivery of all Art Pharmacy artworks is free, regardless of the size of the order.

Share the love this Christmas; support local emerging artists and ignite someone’s interest in art with a prescription from Art Pharmacy.

Wallow, wallow, wallow: What’s All This Then?

Filth – A Film Review

Filth film


PLACE: Dendy

PIC: Filth

PEEPS: About a dozen.


As well as the usual Dendy ads, we were greeted with a couple that involved retail booze.  There were none for tobacco, cocaine, bribery, violence or diverse practices related to close interpersonal physical relationships (including those featuring only the participant), so we had few hints from them.  Suffice to say that the feature did not include the jewellery, quirky gifts and healthy food that are the staples of the Dendy pre-show.  The correlation between an ad for a picture framing business (operating in consort with a retail art gallery) and a subplot involving a harmless little man may have been unconscious wit.

There were no previews and, in retrospect, it is difficult to think of what may have prepared an audience of lonely souls, huddled in the darkness in the hours following the farewell lunches that have become, again, a regular feature of life in Canberra.

Filth is strong stuff, deserving of its R rating.  It is a comedy, of sorts, about a relationship but don’t turn up expecting something like, About Time.  Bruce Robertson (James McAvoy) is an Edinburgh cop with more issues than the Times of London.  He may be bipolar, but those around have been happy to feast off his successes.  He is a detective sergeant, looking for the promotion that may buy him a few more months or years in the chilly sunshine of the love of his wife, Carole (Shauna McDonald) who has left him but features heavily in his imagined life. He is contemptuous of his colleagues and rivals for the position.  He is capable of compassion and action, but not for longer than the heartbeat of an impulse.  Robertson has occasional allies. but no friends other than those that come in bottles or in powdered form, snorted with a rolled banknote. He is crude, corrupt, bigoted and brutal, but seems to be capable of being effective at bringing other appalling people to some form of justice.


Robertson’s prospects depend on a result in a murder investigation and in resolving a nuisance to one of his brother Masons.  It is at this moment that his stretched lifestyle and fragile mind catch up with him and the nightmare becomes more intense.  Some may suggest that this takes the plot too far, but once the line of excess is crossed, it is all a matter of degree.  The subplots are needed to show the depth of his ambition and his degradation.

The soundtrack is strange, atmosphere larded with the more trivial end of popular.  The dialogue may sometimes have been assisted by subtitles but the intent is always clear as is the trajectory.


Three flat whites.  Additional substances optional.




Vegan Special, With steak; Rare – The Family movie review


the family


PLACE: Hoyts, Woden

PIC: The Family

PEEPS: Six present.

The winter PillowTalk ad, plus one for a club and another for a builder/developer. Oh, and how Army officer training teaches women to walk backwards and do quick changes. Previews for Bad Grandpa (an old codger and a small child engage in some of the imbecility that has made Jackass into a franchise, but failed to turn Johnny Knoxville into an actor), Insidious 2 (a horror film, with shocks and surprises for anyone who has not previously seen such a movie) and Thor: The Dark World (Our Chris, as I should now call him, given that he’s a star and all, saves the world from CGI). The previews created the faintest possibility of a movie about relationships, with suspense and violence.

The Family attempted to deliver on this promise, but the chasm between the safer ground of any of its possible genres was too great for its flabby direction and rote performances by the leads. It fell, like Wile E. Coyote when he realises he has blown up the narrow spit of cliff that connected him to the heights and is plummeting to a desert floor accompanied by an anvil.

The set up is simple. Giovanni Manzoni (Robert de Niro), his wife Maggie (Michelle Pfeifer) and children Belle and Warren (Dianna Agron and John D’Leo) are in a cute little village in Normandy*, masquerading as an American family called the Blakes. They are there because Giovanni was a serious mafioso who ratted on the Mob and now has a price on his, and his family’s, heads. They are protected by FBI Agent Stansfield (Tommy Lee Jones) and a couple of other affable agents who really never get a scene going. They have had to skip in a hurry from other places of refuge, because they persist in acting like serious mafiosi**, or maybe just Americans, and they resume the pattern in their new home. Amusant, non? Well, some of it is, and some of it is just laboured and repetitive. Inevitably, things go bad, but mostly for innocent bystanders (and they’re mostly French, anyway), so that’s ok.

This could have been funny or cleverly plotted, but it’s far more witless than Witness. It’s a mess of attempted humour and excessive violence; the family that slays together, stays together. De Niro, Pfeiffer and Jones pretty much phone it in, and we’ve all seen (for example) De Niro as a hardass and Jones as a weary, decent man before. The younger roles require a bit more, and mostly Agron and D’Leo deliver; it’s not Agron’s fault that she gets cheesy lines and some hammy situations***.

Two lukewarm flat whites.


* – which we are told a few times is Normandy, France. Just in case one might confuse it with Normandy, Missouri, which would be quite possible, because almost everyone speaks English, albeit with a French accent.
** – you know the sort of thing. Lots of talk about being disrespected, followed by brutality without warning or limit.
*** – but as part of a bur

Bright Sparks Conference | Keynote Speaker Clare Bowditch

Clare Bowditch

ARIA winner Clare Bowditch is set to inspire attendees of this year’s creative business conference

ARIA-award winning singer, Clare Bowditch, will be a keynote speaker at Murray Arts’ Bright Sparks 2013 conference in October.

This unique event brings together a talented line-up of industry professionals who are succeeding across the spectrum of creative industries in a program aimed at inspiring, motivating and offering practical advice and skills to people who work or aspire to make a living in a creative field.

It’s a subject close to the heart of Clare Bowditch who understands the challenges faced by creatives striving to achieve commercial as well as artistic success. The singer-songwriter stars in hit TV show Offspring and was named Rolling Stone Magazine’s Woman of the Year in 2010. She launched Big Hearted Business this year, offering mentoring and practical business skills training to groups of 20 creative people trying to make a living from their artistic talent.

For Bright Sparks, she will offer a singing workshop as well as a keynote address: Sensitive Creative Types – A Real Life Survival Guide.

Celebrated furniture designer, Mark Tuckey, will also share the benefit of experience at this year’s Bright Sparks. Tuckey embarked on his road to success 25 years ago with $200, a blue F-100 truck and some recycled timber. Now with a staff of 45, showrooms in Melbourne and Sydney and a homewares store on Sydney’s northern beaches, he qualified to talk on the subject of  Turning Your Passion into your Business.

The program includes a number of other creative industry practitioners who will share their insights through workshops and panel discussions, to cover a raft of topics including social media, building business plans, networking, business partnerships and digital software.

Now in its second year, Bright Sparks attracted more than 60 graphic and fashion designers, publishers, writers, film makers, visual and performing artists to the inaugural event event in 2012.

Full program details & bookings here 



Lane Cove Council is calling for expressions of interest from local and Greater Sydney artists, designers and craftspeople interested in participating in a recycled reindeer project to coincide with Christmas 2013.

Seven artists/designers/craftspeople will be commissioned to design and build a three dimensional, weather-resistant reindeer sculpture using recycled and repurposed materials. The completed works will pop-up in various locations throughout the local area in December 2013.

Council is seeking designs that are innovative, imaginative and bold.

Successful proposals will be of a high standard in both concept and execution, while recognising public safety concerns and durability.

Commissioned artists will be paid a one off payment of $1000. Council will also contribute up to $250 towards the cost of materials and, if required, a wire reindeer frame.

The project has been designed to highlight the need to think carefully about our waste at Christmas time. It encourages the community to interact and engage with issues of sustainability through innovative artistic practice using recycled and reappropriated materials.

The Recycled Reindeer project is an initiative of Lane Cove Council and is funded by the Sustainability Levy.

To register your interest, and obtain a copy of the artist brief and application form, please contact Council’s Cultural Development Officer on: cultural {at}

Completed applications must be received by FRIDAY 11 OCTOBER 2013 and will be selected by Lane Cove Council’s Internal Public Art Committee.

All applicants will be notified by email and successful parties will be provided with further project details.

Local and Imported Brews




PLACE: 10:30 am, Hoyts Belconnen, Cinema 7

PIC: The World’s End

PEEPS: The Lovely Companion and I were about half the crowd.


The government electoral ad, but not the one for jobs, and the grating PillowTalk one with a bit of product placement*, plus a new one for someone building ecologically sound houses.  More previews than I can remember, including Now You See Me, We’re the Millers, Pain and Gain, Kick-Ass 2 and Runner, Runner (Ben Affleck runs a dodgy online poker site,  Justin Timberlake confronts him and there’s a non-virtual violence depicted).  The LC and I played the game of thunbs up and down, and I suspect she has better taste, or maybe an even lower tolerance for utter silliness than I do.

For the film was pretty silly, though well-made and with some structure.  Many years before, Gary King (Simon Pegg) and his four mates finished school and decided to do the Golden Mile, a pub crawl through their town of Newton Haven**.  They failed, as teenagers will when confronted by quantities of alcohol if they don’t start king-hitting passing pedestrians.  Years later, the friends (played by Martin Freeman, Eddie Marsan, Nick Frost and Paddy Considine) are prevailed upon or deceived by Gary into trying to succeed as men where they had failed as boys.  It gives nothing away that the friends have moved on with their adult lives, with some success, while Gary remains beached as an eternally irresponsible teenager.  He is as embarrassing and irremovable as a drunkenly unwise tattoo with the name of the last woman one met misspelt or the Chinese characters for “No MSG on Request”****.   He acts like an idiot because it’s not been brought to his attention, through the layers of self-induced addling. that he shouldn’t, because what is merely silly in a boy is disgusting and tiresome in a man.


The town has changed, and not in a good way.  Some of the pubs are now, in effect, parts of chains of identical establishments and have lost the character they used to have.  At least a couple serve Foster’s****.  And the people are different, in a way which will not utterly surprise anyone who saw Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz.  Mayhem and special effects seem to be on a bigger scale than either of those films, but a pretty reliable supply of jokes and sight-gags, plus a couple of cameos (Pierce Brosnan, Bill Nighy) and a nice supporting role by Rosamund Pike***** keep the pace up and there’s even a drunkenly rational motive for continuing the pub crawl that is beyond any sober argument.  An untaken opportunity to reflect on what maturity is supposed to be (rather than not be) and a clever mining of the issue of whether sane and considered behaviour is a necessary condition for humanity******. 

No prizes for guessing the ending or its consequences. 

Three flat whites.  Local microbrewery chasers.





* – though it has occurred to me that the Ashton Kutcher piece called Jobs is likely to be an extensive commercial for Apple, and one we will pay to see.  I mean, we paid to see The Social Network, didn’t we?

** – actually somewhere bizarrely called Welwyn Garden City.  I mean, no-one calls Queanbeyan “Near Canberra Parasite City”, do they?  Well, not if they’re talking to people from Queanbeyan (aka Struggletown).

***  – we’ve all seen NRL players.

**** – don’t mind me, I just made a spitting noise.  Calling it Australian is like calling the old Eskimo Pie icecream a product of Alaska (though it’s branded with an inappropriate and obsolete name for a kind of native North American people).

***** – I won’t do “sigh” because the LC was there.

****** – it’s probably not – I’ve travelled on enough public transport where it’s been in short supply – but it might make things better if we could get around to it sometime.

The Art of Dollmaking: Dolls By Bourke

This interview first appeared on WATERMARX GRAPHICS‘ blog ( a blog dedicated to celebrating the craft of letterpress and paper design )dollsbybourke 

Recently we bought a beautiful, customised doll for our daughter from Dolls By Bourke. Not only is Bourke, the man behind this venture, a clever graphic designer in his own right (and one half of the dynamic duo, Kinski & Bourke who built this site) but his handcrafted creations are taking the design community by storm. It’s just another example of this renaissance of craftsmanship we are enjoying here in Australia. Just like letterpress, his work bears the mark of craft – it’s handmade not mass made – so each doll is unique and the product of time and care.

How did you begin making dolls?
I serendipitously found myself in an Eckersley’s shop one day. Being surrounded by crafty things got me in the creative spirit, and I’d wanted to cultivate an artistic hobby for some time that was not my job. So I bought some clay!

Do you model your dolls on real people or your imagination? 
Both. At first it was just my imagination, but then my nephew’s first birthday was coming up and I thought a doll fashioned in his likeness would make an excellent and special gift! Then people began asking me if they could commission me to make a doll version of their friend/baby etc. But I don’t want to limit myself to just traditional dolls. At the moment I’m working on a doll that has ‘died’ named Gina – she will be a complete skeleton and have her own casket – I am very much looking forward to experimenting with paints and textures to create the look and feel of decay. I have a lot of ideas brewing and it would be great to have an exhibition some time. I want to start sculpting birds and other animals, too.

How long does it take you to make one?
It depends. I’m a graphic designer by day, so the amount of time I can spend sculpting depends on my current workload. It takes a while for the clay to completely dry so a project can be on hold for several days or sometimes even weeks before I can do any more work on it. Once the sculpture is dry, the most arduous process of sanding begins – I like the dolls to have very smooth surfaces, so firstly I start with a course sandpaper and then move on to a fine grit sandpaper to get the smoothest result. My Dremel power tool often comes in handy for sanding and polishing. Painting doesn’t take too long. But making an outfit is pretty time consuming – lots of sewing and measuring. I had no experience with ‘couturiering’ so it’s been a learning curve. Short answer: about a month.

What is the history or tradition of doll making? 
In ancient times dolls were often used in magic rituals. Sometimes the doll would be given to children to play with afterwards, but oftentimes a doll would be considered too laden with supernatural powers to be given to a child. There have been a lot of South American child mummies unearthed, perfectly preserved, clutching their crudely made dolls – cute but also sad. Come to think of it, I’d like to make some ritualistic, tribal-type dolls. It’s this aspect of the history and traditions of doll making that interests me, rather than the idea of an old man or lady tinkering in her workshop while drinking Earl Grey.

What are some reasons to have a doll made by you?
It makes the perfect gift. My sculptures are completely handmade and one-of-a-kind, no copies and no moulds. You will have a unique treasure that nobody else owns. Use it as a paperweight or a conversation starter.

How can one order a customised doll?
Head on down to my website Dolls By Bourke and let me know what you have in mind. If your doll is going to be based on somebody living or dead, I will probably request some photos I can use as reference.


Courtesy of Watermarx Graphics

The Loop Relaunch Party

On Thursday 11th April, creative portfolio website The Loop, some of Australia’s finest creative industry figures to celebrate the relaunch of their site.

Guests were given the opportunity to view some of the outstanding work that exists on The Loop. In the run up to the event, creatives with profiles on The Loop were  invited to exhibit at the party, giving them the opportunity to not only attend and network with some of the biggest names in the creative industry, but also to showcase, discuss and sell their work.  Works by Ben Brown, Simone Darcy, Hayley O’Connor, Meeri Anneli, Julia Ockert and We Buy Your Kids were on show.

Design Federation’s Estelle Pigot attended and had the chance to catch up with Twitter acquaintance, James Noble, of Carter Digital, in the flesh. Carter Digital were appointed by The Loop to drive the design and development of the website’s redesign, creating a site that’s clean, easy to navigate, non-obtrusive and with very clear calls to action. The greatest challenge for these “Digital Httpsters” was to meet the highly aesthetic design expectations of the community The Loop represents? A challenge that would intimidate even the most experienced of designers.  They pulled together a team that included Sex, Drugs and Helvetica and Positive Posters founder, Nick Hallam, and delivered a damn fine job.

The Loop has grown to be Australia’s leading destination for creative professionals – it connects creatives with companies, collaborators and job opportunities from design and development to account management, animation and production.

The party took place at MTV, in Surry Hills and drinks were on Rekoderlig Cider, Mount Franklin, Little Creatures, Ketel One Vodka, Jim Beam and Jagermeister.

Create you The Loop profile today and connect to your creative community.


PINHOLE COLLECTIVE / Vol 03. Call For Submission


Our favourite little Aussie zine, PINHOLE is releasing Volume 3 and calling for submissions.

They say:

“We’re going fishing for submissions and want to ask; ‘what are you chasing?’ Is it love? Money? The idealistic dream lifestyle? What captures your  imagination? What are you suddenly aware of? What moves or inspires you? Makes  you think twice or even look back in anger?

We present ‘The Catch’ – The devil is in the details.

Often referring to a catch or mysterious elements hidden in the  details. You can have it all, but you better read the fine print. We explore the  dark side of a good thing and vice versa. So what is the catch for you?

We’d like to invite you to unleash your creative mind and show us your best  artistic interpretation of ‘The Catch’ by adding your words, visuals, tales and  stories to our Volume 3 for your chance to have your work printed in our  zine.

Max four A5 pages for each submission. Words 500-1500 – max | Images,  illustrations and all visuals to be sent in high res 300dpi for print  purposes.”

Get your creative thinking caps on and submit!

Submissions for Volume 3  close end of March 2013

Pinhole Collective Follow us @pinhole_3


Go Red Threads to Knock Em Dead


Newcastle, for all its glorious beaches, fecund palm trees, broad streets and pop-up shop awesomeness, is not a destination known for its shopping. Trust me, this is for good reason. Severely sparse pickings on the fashion retail therapy front.

Baking in the Hunter Valley sun after schlepping from the beachfront, through the Hunter St Mall and up the celebrated Darby street seeking shopping relief. I panted my way along Glebe St to discover The Junction – according to Vogue Forums – had a redeeming boutique called Lillies at the Junction. And yes, Lillies is swell, if you love love love Trelise Cooper and were looking to blow a cool couple of grand on your afternoon shopping spree. So, no offense to Lillie’s or Trelise, I moved on rather disheartened and was starting to consider the whole mission a failure, dragging my feet along Union St when the Red Cross shop caught my eye.



In I walked and was immediately soothed by the conducive shopping tunes of ABBA’s greatest hits (play Dancing Queen next time you’re trying on a skintight pair of jeans and you’ll agree, there’s something in that disco mix that makes everything OK). The lovely Adele was busily working her visual merchandising magic and I was so taken aback by the loveliness of the shop displays, I had to poke my head back out the door to check the sign. Yep – Red Cross Op Shop – most peculiar.

Then my busy hand fingered the racks turning up label after label of beautifully pressed, barely worn clothes. Jigsaw, Witchery, Country Road, Escada, Max Mara, Cue… all in my size! The final assault were the price tags. Almost new, trans-seasonal wool-blend trousers for $12.99, dresses for $15 and jackets for $20, I needed to know what was going on.

Patient Adele explained it all to me – luckily – because now I can share this news with you (unless, of course, you already have known for ages in which case WHY DIDN’T YOU TELL ME?).  Red Threads is the Red Cross’  fashion initiative where they only keep premium quality donations and attract partnerships with fashion labels who donate their seconds stock. Store Manager, Megan, has decorated the boutique with bunting and cute signs which, along with Adele’s zjooshing make this one happy little oasis of bargain bliss.

It’s fabulous. You can nab a new outfit for less than $50 and enjoy warm fuzzies all in one fix.


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