If you didn't already know, I love animals. A lot. I relate to them more than people or I think I do. They make sense to me. I also know (hope/feel) that others are the same and that is why want to get to know their pets and hopefully they will allow me to immortalise them in a watercolour.
For me this would be the ultimate gift, these creatures enrich our lives and are part of our family why not capture them?
Plus as a side note I just really enjoy making them. The two pictured models here are Carlos the Cat and Goatsy Woatsy (GW) the goat.
Carlos is one sexy little man, his eyes are alluring and he is also a major tease, this is his game face or usual face. GW was the love of my life we had a bond like no other, we lost him tragically and quickly one afternoon. This portrait means more than I could explain on a bog and still not something I am ok to talk about.
I will update with more information soon but if you would like to order a Pet Portrait for Christmas send me an email and we can start the conversation.
Earlier this month I held a monkey making workshop for the people of Western Downs Regional Council, thanks to Dogwood Crossing.
I love sitting around a table and showing people how they too can create their very own monkey, it brings me so much joy to see monkeys being made with love and going to new homes.
There were two workshops in total, one for younger children and one for teenagers through to adult. The younglings attached the noses and selected their button eyes to a pre-made monkey body.
The second workshop gave each person a pair of socks that they 'connected' with and off we went step by step.
There was a lot of frustration as I apparently made it look easy and a huge sense of accomplishment when they each got to the stuffing stages.
I'd love to say a HUGE THANK YOU to Dogwood Crossing for the opportunity to share the monkey skills that I have with people in the Western Downs.
If you are ever travelling through Miles I HIGHLY recommend stopping in at the gallery its a marvellous space and definitely worth a look.
I recently, last week I think, drove to Miles and back to deposit some monkeys for an exhibition.
Roughly 60, or just short of it as my beautiful baby claimed a few monkeys on the way.
Miles is approximately 3 hours from my wee house in Ballard (QLD). The drive was fascinating. I love how amazing Australia is and how quickly the terrain transforms from green hills to vast agricultural country to dry but dense with a different kind of tree. I have driven the middle of Queensland many a time and I always gauge getting into 'the heart of QLD' when you start passing small towns. I don't mean places like Oakey that have a small hospital or Wondai that has a timber museum of a whole one room.
No I mean the small silo towns. The ones that have 3 huge silos and 2 - 5 houses. There seems to be heaps of them, but when you talk to people who travel the middle of QLD they don't give directions like, 'yeah we just passed through Brigalow, we are coming up to Warra'. Nope these towns don't get a mention.
Everytime I pass through one of these towns my mind wanders and I imagine a life were I live out there, just me, my family and the zoo of animals I have collected along the way. You know the dream where you are away from the hussle and bussle of life and live the simple life.
As I imagine sipping freshly squeezed orange juice from oranges I undoubtedly grew myself, I snap back to the reality of I like my house. My house is great close enough to not feel isolated yet far enough away to feel all alone. Plus I would never have the patience to actually grow my own oranges.
3 hours passed quickly and before I knew it Violet (the baby), Gaby (my sister and WORST road trip partner ever. Captain snoozehead), the monkeys and myself were at Miles.
It was great to see the space, it is beautiful. Dogwood is worth a visit and I demand that the next time you are passing through Miles take a pit stop and check it out.
It was also wonderful to see friend Ashleigh at the head of the ship. Ash and Anne were wonderfully welcoming and great help with installing.
All up it took about an hour to put up the monkeys in there new temporary space.
I enjoyed making each of the monkeys, they all have wonderful personalities. Not many complainers in this batch.
This exhibition was really important for me, it made me think about the journey monkeys and I have been on and where it all started.
I have posted the full story on the 'Artworks' page in the monkey section. Worth a read, although I am a little bias.
This hansom young bear was featured in the Toowoomba 2013 Grammar Show.
He has sparked a new turn in my work which I am still currently exploring, but lets just say this is the beginning and that all I really know at this point.
I also wish that I could paint more but with a now self moving baby I paint when I can.
I have started another painting, but we had a small disagreement on placement and nose size. I have started to sand back mr moose.
Recently a new empowered deer was on display at the Art & Design Precinct, West End Brisbane as part of Tamara Armstrong's Empowerment exhibition.
Check out more of my new work at the gallery.
The Play Me I'm Yours pianos hit the ground hard. Or i assume as they were heavy.
Also for those who need/want to know, yes painting the pianos did bring on my baby.
7 Piano's of the 17 were deemed playable by the tuner and they were played for two weeks across the TRC region. One was even evicted.
This project was particularly fun and I also never want to see a piano ago...or at least for a while.
Each year September seems to get out of hand. Last year made. launched Creative Tanks as part of the Toowoomba Carnival of Flowers, we had extended opening hours with the carnival on and decided to also be a part of the awesomeness that is the Fashion Markets Spring Edition. That was just work, smack bang in the middle of that Aaron and I thought, 'hey lets get married'. It was a crazy time that ol' September 2011 but this year it seemed I planned to out do myself.
September 2012 Itinery:
Creative Tanks - Basic running around and documentation on two weekends
Play me I'm Yours - Documentation of the project while people swarm
Finders Keepers - Installation and de-mount of the exhibition at the Food and Wine festival
Spring into the Country - Geham Craft Market with all my felties
and of course looking after the one and only beautiful Violet.
Take that 2011.
In general though it is an exciting time and the wee baby Violet has hit the ground running with what is to be expected over the rest of her life.
It seemed like an easy and amazing idea at the time. No dramas I told myself when I was commissioned to paint 17 pianos for this fantastic international initiative created by Luke Jerram. But I am also on my biological deadline with my due date for our first baby to be only 6 days away. It can be done I say.
The project is described like this at the Play Me, I'm Yours website.
"Touring internationally since 2008, “Play Me, I’m Yours” is an artwork by British artist Luke Jerram. Reaching over two million people worldwide – more than 600 pianos have already been installed in cities across the globe, from New York to Sydney, bearing the simple instruction ‘Play Me, I’m Yours’.
Located in public parks, bus shelters and train stations, outside galleries and markets and even on bridges and ferries, the pianos are available for any member of the public to play and enjoy. Who plays them and how long they remain is up to each community. Many pianos are personalised and decorated by artists or the local community. By creating a place of exchange ‘Play Me, I’m Yours’ invites the public to engage with, activate and take ownership of their urban environment.
Play Me, I’m Yours is currently happening in Toronto and Salem, Oregon and will be taking place in Stratford, Ontario from 1-19 August 2012. We are also delighted to announce that the artwork will also be visiting Toowoomba & Perth in Australia, Hangzhou in China and Cambridge in the UK later this year. "
Day one saw a mini shop up as we bought the primer, paints, brushes, filler, respirators and all that fun stuff. It was then followed by pallet jacking all 17 pianos into their own space and a debrief to the trusty volunteers. (P.s you guys are amazing). We all then selected our pianos and primed away. Soon the 17 beautiful timber upright pianos began to transform into blank canvas with the shed filling up with white pianos. We were even lucky enough to get a little bit of colour splashed around as well.
It took two days, a lot of laughter (mostly at my expense) a lot of primer and a few really unhealthy meals but the first days are down and we at least lie to ourselves and tell eachother how great the progress has been..so far.
PLAY ME, I'M YOURS TOOWOOMBA
End of day one with white pianos everywhere
Trusty Volunteer #1
Starting to get a little bit of colour out there
Trusty volunteer #2
I feel (slash) I know that I am out of room. Socks, stuffing, thread, paint and general artiness crowds my house....please art give me some room my house isn't that big, and I already have to share it with a husband, three cats, a goat and a very lonely fish. (Tangent) Soon fish we will buy you friends that don't die, or are you killing them?
Anyway I need room away from my murderous fish to create art and now I am on the hunt for studio space, or maybe just the need to clean out the shed and call it my own. Either way I want my office out of my house.
Wow sorry blog and anonymous readers I didn't mean to turn this space into a complaints office.
Art life is what you are interested in, but as you know my art draws parallels, or more of less lives in an over-populated house with my personal life so readers ignore or enjoy the insight to my lifestyle.
I have been working like a mad hatter, both on new works and on artistic admin adventures. I just updated my already 4 page CV with things that I have done in the past 4 months and realised they are extremely arts admin heavy. However more art from my own hands will be hitting the shelves soon.
On Saturday I gave an extremely personal artist talk about my work and the sock monkey at ArtBox. It seemed like my crowd of followers and question givers were interested in what it was that I was saying so I was happy with the outcome. They asked some really engaging questions and maybe learnt just how connected the Sock Monkey and myself really are. So ArtBox was the first of my session of exhibitions to come. Overwhelmed dwelling opens at made. Creative Space on 16 December, with one work completed and the other on its way I am really looking forward to the exhibition.
Ok I have decided right now that I am sleepy so off to bed I will pop. If you are out there reading my inner ramblings of sleep deprivation give me a thumbs up below or even a comment, you never know I might comment back.
Although I should be spending more time than I am each week making Sock Monkeys due to their high demand and the pending exhibitions I am finding that the paint and pen are calling my name each night, around 1:30am. I think there is many clues to what is happening in my life right there in that single sentence. Lets analyse. Pending exhibitions = stress, Stress = no sleep, no sleep = miniature artworks.
Gosh I am good.
So as a product of my late night painting sessions I have added a new tab to the page titled Miniatures. check it out to see what I have been doing. Right now though I am heading back into Monkey making territory.
I love the idea of writing down tid-bits of my life, throwing it out into cyberspace and wondering if anyone ever really reads, enjoys, follows or plain old cares about it. It is kind of like a techno version of a message in a bottle, but less romanticized and a little more teenage school girl. But alas I am without a bottle and no where to throw it, except at passing cars and I highly doubt they would enjoy my message very much.
Moving right along now.
It seems that as much as I love the concept of jotting down my thoughts I rarely get time to do it and so to catch everyone up with where I am at it takes a long monolgue. Lets make it quick:
GW aka Goastsy Woasty, the love of my animal/human life was in essence murdered by two dogs. I don't want to go into it. It has effected me more than any other tragedy in my life and really its not something I am ok with talking about yet. Not somewhere where I can read it back anyway.
Art wise this pretty much put a halt to anything really. And took me a few months to get back into wanting to make.
Also in other big news I am now a MRS xoxo husband dear.
Thank you so much to my dear friend Adam for taking such wonderful pictures.
I have been pretty quiet on the exhibition front for the last 3 months. Getting ready to get back into the swing of things.
What I have done here and where..
Creative Tanks a project created by Elysha and myself through made. Creative Space and Toowoomba Carnival of Flowers went off with a bang. The project brought together 16 artists and 14 CBD venues gave people a chance to look behind the art and into the making process.
Being on the otherside of the glass was an interesting experience for myself. In the window I was placed in we couldn't hear a thing, very sound proof, so although I was only one pane of glass away from the world I felt extremely separated.
The project was highly productive for myself, I created 40 monkeys in the window space while being watched. All sold though...
Up and coming is my last two solo exhibitions for the year, one is at ArtBox and the other at made. Creative Space. It is my return to Tba with solo shows as I have not had one in over 20 months here. People might start to forget me.
But in the interim I have been making and selling Sock Monkeys like there is no tomorrow through in.cub8r in The Valley, Brisbane, and on the new website Emerge. I will say though, it is causing a slight strain on the relationship. The little buggers are slightly demanding, but like all great friendships even though it is hard now, I know that we will work it out in the future.
So that is a brief catch up with the life and artistic adventures, I will try to post a little more regularly, but I cannot guarantee it. Just look at my CV its not like I am being lazy I am just a wee-bit busy.