‘Male:Real/Ideal’ and The Vicious Stare*

*This post informs a catalogue essay on the same topic to be printed for the opening of ‘Male;Real/Ideal’ at The Mill (154 Angas Street 5000) on the 6th of September 2013.

My first experience with male body image disorders was through a friend of mine.
We were 18-20-something’s, fresh out of high school and Living The Dream (‘bludging around’).  As with many young creative types, we experimented with many random things, photography being intrinsic to all (many thanks to long-time inspiration Gemma Killen!).  We developed a taste for stage make-up and outlandish clothes, dress-up days, heavily-themed parties, and fantasy photo shoots.  Boys were girls and girls were boys and we all frolicked about in an artistic haze flouting boundaries wherever possible because it was FUN and the act of growing up is frankly a bit shit.
Meanwhile, somewhere in all that play our brains and opinions were developing.  Boundaries were reformed even as we broke them.  More specifically; when we ran into other peoples boundaries we discovered it really hurt.

Said friend, not gay but prone to wearing skirts in public, eye-liner to the beach, and his own amazing jewelery creations everywhere, found it very difficult ‘conforming’ to other peoples dress standards.  He was offended that people immediately assumed there was something wrong with him for wearing a highly-gendered piece of fabric that wasn’t of the masculine style, wrong that he was strong but not tall and big, wrong that he was musical not just LOUD, wrong that he preferred making beautiful things to rounding up other people on a designated bit of ground while aiming for convoluted goals associated with gaining the most numbers.  Already prone to depression, his inability to be able to express himself without the rest of society freaking out and trying to cover him up/convince him otherwise/ignore his existence/run away from the issue sometimes resulted in crippling anxiety and incredible depths of despair.  Unable to face the stares, he retreated for days, weeks, at a time.  We had huge conversations about conventions and gender politics and un-fucking the system, but sometimes, the weight of all those bewildered (and sometimes downright violent) eyes broke him.

Male:Real/Ideal Louie Tarr

We’ve all faced it.
The “why can’t I just be happy with how I look?” which really means “Why are THEY so happy with how they look?”
Its a cycle of self-dissatisfaction> jealousy> greed> self-hate> binge> purge> binge> purge> recover> something’s wrong> self-dissatisfaction> etc, mostly pushed by the media and health organisations as one of those “women’s issues” that we’re so jumpy about (hope you heard the cynicism there).  But listening to my friend talk about this ten years ago, and watching the effect it had on him then strikes home to me that acceptance is not just a “women’s issue”, but (WARNING! Related tangent ahead!) as with domestic violence, its EVERYONE’S ISSUES.

Example two; I dated a painfully skinny boy for a long time (7’2″ tall, 63kg).  We ate chicken nuggets, packet pasta, fried steak and potatoes, take away Chinese, pizza, hamburgers, and drank half a carton of beer a night.  I gained many a tummy roll, he stayed 63kg.  Sometimes he even lost weight, at one point he was 59kg, and freaked out and started eating five times a day.  All he wanted was to hit 70kg.  The dream was 80. I don’t think he ever made it.
Years later, I dated another boy.  At this point I had lost all belief in scales and weight (“You sure that things safe to stand on?”) so I don’t remember numbers.  He had a belly, and arms that jiggled when he ran.  Stockily built, he had muscle mass but it was buried under years of video games and snacks.  I loved him regardless.  He hated himself because he wasn’t fit, buff, or skinny. He hated the jiggle.  His brother, a keen sportsman, was soaked in protein shakes and workouts, and keept a sheath of ‘Men’s Health’ magazines around the house at all times.  The models on the cover seemed to shout YOU WILL NEVER BE AS GOOD AS US BUT YOU MAYBE COULD BE JUST FOLLOW THESE FIVE SIMPLE TIPS…   A constant reminder that whatever you are is never enough.

Compare this with a quote by a woman I found on the controversial Facebook post by Mamamia on the BodyPositiveProject that tells women that by embracing their natural face and not wearing make-up they are empowering themselves.
“I’m one of those people who only wears make up if I have to like say my wedding day, my profile pic. Most others I don’t have makeup on and my husband has always loved that about me that I look like the same person no matter what time of day it is.  Join me people its quite liberating! I do however think I need to get on top of the waxing situation a little more often gorilla eyebrows don’t suit me!!”
Both genders are under the same assumption; what you are is never enough.

Earlier this year a friend of mine, Brodie Paparella, approached me with an idea.  Brodie is of the super-skinny type that I described in my first boyfriend.  He eats constantly but his metabolism is so fast his barely has time to gain nutrients from food before its gone.  By the time he’s 30 he is likely to have osteoporosis.  Colds and viruses hit him particularly hard as he has little to no body fat to feed him immune system.  He has had various reactions to his weight, ranging from “OH, I wish I had you’re problem!” to “You gotta be a junky, right? Can you get me some stuff?”.  Sick of the blatant uninformed judgement on his physical form, he wanted a way of telling the world “Some people just ARE this way! Get over it!”

Lo and behold; Male;Real/Ideal.  A photographic art project that we devised to attack that very situation.  Seven everyday men are paired with seven emerging and professional photographers.  Together they explore the concepts of their own physicality versus outsiders judgement.  They plan conceptual shoots for two images; one that represents where they feel most judged by their appearance, and one where they feel most comfortable and at ease with themselves.

Male:Real/Ideal Kat Coppock
Male:Real/Ideal Kat Coppock

I believe that one of the roles of the artist in society is to challenge presumption.  Therefore we must create ways in to disrupt things society takes for granted, such as stereotypes.  This exhibition is one of those ways.
By selecting models and creating sets, poses, and attire for them we are emulating a modern fashion shoot.  By using atypical models we disrupt what is perceived as ‘attractive’ and bring perceptions of physicality out of the dreamy clouds of commercialism and back to tangible reality.  These are the guys that write your smartphone apps, that teach your children, that work in your offices, that are reading next to you in the library, that make your coffee. There are thousands of them around this country, and none of them look like a God.

Most advertising works on the premise that through repetition the message sticks.  We appropriate and use this same tactic against the illusion theyre trying to sell us by planning five exhibitions with the same theme.  After the fifth we will make a book and sell it that way.  We will cover overweight men, disabled me, transgender men, and overseas men in an effort to show Australia that you don’t have to try and be THIS
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When there’s absolutely nothing wrong with being this;
MaleRealIdeal Dave Laslett

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OPENING NIGHT CELEBRATIONS for Male:Real/Ideal are 6pm on Friday the 6th of September at The Mill (154 Angas Street Adelaide 5000). The show will run till the 27th of September.
See you there!

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‘What Lies Beneath’+’Your Beautiful Face’

Some time ago I was invited to create a work for a seminal art exhibition here in Adelaide by the name of ‘The Tunnels’.  Run by local new kids on the block Artsake Productions, ‘The Tunnels’ used the unique and amazing location of a part of a network of sandstone tunnels underneath the city  built in the 1850’s.

It is no secret that there is a network of these corridors running beneath our feet, but on the whole it is dangerous, locked up, and generally difficult to gain access to. Some how though, these five lovely women managed to convince the Adina Grand Hotel on Victoria Square to let them play down there. And so it was born, a huge art explosion featuring two separate visual art shows, over 60 artists, live music, projection art, live theater, and generally lots of cool things all at once, including a deep set bar that required you to kneel at like a confessional booth, and whisper your secret desire for a drink or two. Running from April 19th to May 2nd, this was Artsake’s first shot at creating large scale immersive arts events.

To be honest, I did not attend the first week of the show, being preoccupied with Tetratologists Inc etc, but the second opening night I did attend as I had work in that round of the exhibition.
The vibe of the place was amazing, old beautifully coloured rough sandstone walls encasing pine boning to suspend artworks created by local design team ‘Fascination Street’ to preserve the  delicate heritage-listed walls.  There were many amazing artists, including some from the ‘Feathers’ show such as Steph Fuller and Fruszi Kenez. Probably my favourite were artist team Naomi Lam/Dylan Crismani presenting ‘Stereo Lamp’, a sound installation made with plaster and wires and speakers that would pop up around corners and on benches in the space sighing breathy electronic tunes, one of these shells having just so happened to be placed under my work.

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My work for the show was a labour of love indeed. Titles ‘What Lies Beneath’ it was the culmination of three weeks worth of work gathering branches, paper-macheing them, spray painting, and finally wireworking odds and ends and beads and bobs into delicate strands that dripped down from a lamp in the center of the sculpture.

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“Under the earth, secrets gather.
Small things; white lies, lost wishes, cheap coins and abandoned buttons. Misplaced in the grass, fallen down drains, or dropped from pockets, these symbols of sentiments gather huddling underground. Feeding off each other they grow, creating roots and ties. Connections made, cells exchanged, they slowly become one being; a multi-memoried treasure hoarded beneath the dirt.”

The process was quite lengthy, but the end result looked fantastic, and is probably one of my best 3d works to date.

It is in a private collection now (all that work paid off, yes!), but thanks to my shiny new camera, the photos almost do it justice.

Speaking of which (nice segway)… you may also remember my photographic side project ‘Your Beautiful Face’ on tumblr.

Well, it had a whole series of new photographs posted up from events such as holidays, the Reading Room closing party, my involvement with the  ‘The Tunnels’, and some other bits and pieces.
If you’re a tumblr fan, or your just curious to see what I’ve been up to, check it out!

http://thybeauteousface.tumblr.com/

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‘Your Beautiful Face’

A few weeks ago a friend of mine sold me her second hand Canon EOS30D.

Its a great little camera, and I’ve been carting it around everywhere, including Tumby Bay, Xmas, and Exhibitions, doofs, and random places.
All this wandering around has given me opportunity to practice my photography, and also capture the amazing people that I love doing their awesome thing.
And so; Voila! ‘Your Beautiful Face’, was born!
As side-project of mine on tumblr (another one -sigh-) featuring images of those awesome amazing people I come across in my daily life, this gives me both a chance to practice my wares, and celebrate those I love.

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These are just a few samples of what I have so far, there are more on the blog, and will be even more as I wander through time and tide. So check it out. 🙂
Xx

12 Days Of ‘Feathers

It was the 12 Days of ‘Feathers’ and all through the house,
My nerves were high strung as art starts to sprout…

Xmas/New Year holidays! Supposed to be full of rest, but not so for this little curator( Xmas Eve, Day, and Boxing Day aside, of course!). The past few weeks since the success of our campaign have seen many wheels set in motion, and many a ball rolling.

Our beautiful beautiful catalogues have been sent to the printers, and returned minus binding.They are currently at Daniel’s house, being lovingly hand sewn together and accented with his own special touch. They should be ready to post with the sticker packs by New Years! Cameron and Sebastian’s art prints have been sent out to the lucky donators who scored them, and Genevieve will be printing her artist portraits in the New Year, on account of being in Melbourne until the 31st.
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The poles that will form the main structure of the nest have been purchased, and after an eventful make-and-build day at my parents property up in the hills (Thank God Dad had a cement mixer handy on board!), we now have 25 free-standing ribs for the nest.  After much stressing and to-ing and fro-ing and misleading information, I also purchased the chicken wire at the same time from Bunnings (mostly just to get it out of my head so I could move on with my life! :P).
This will make its appearance around the 5th when we start to bump in the show at Format Gallery… not long to go now!

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The best bit, with the help of My-Dad-The-Engineer, after buying all the materials and putting it together we went from 6 days out from schedule and  kind of over budget, to being RIGHT ON TIME, -AND- just enough under budget that I can provide drinks at opening night if the sponsorship falls through. YAAAAAAAAAAAAAY!! (you have NO IDEA how happy this makes me! >.<)

In case you missed it, there’s been a lot of chat online for ‘Feathers’!
People are well excited, and we’re in all manner of sites and listings as the world cottons on to just how great this show is going to be.

Here is the link to my YouTube Channel, which features our little showreel of internet advertising for the show.  These take the form of short videos featuring some artists that are involved in the show, speaking out about it. Its pretty cute. >.<

We also have a listing on Yelp as an event, so if you’re a Yelper you can also give us a hand spreading the word through this link…

And, if you have time to kill, or are generally just curious, heres a few more places that the event scored a mention;
Podcast of radio interview with Radio Adelaide 101.5FM
Weekend Notes ( a hilarious article full of puns by Dave Walsh. Yay!
The Adelaide Collective
Tourism SA
Krystoff Online Magazine

There will be many more forthcoming though, so keep an eye on the news feed!
Also, I’ll be Tweeting regular updates as they happen, so if you’re keen to hear about this and other arty project’s I’m working on, hit me up at <a href=”https://twitter.com/artoverapathy”>@artoverapathy</A&gt; for a lark.

So as you can see it’s all starting to hot up!
I can’t think of any better way to start the New Year than with a big flock-off art party, so make sure you’re free on the 9th to come and play with us! If you can’t make it, the show will be open until the 9th of Feb, so come down when you can and give us a little colourful love. 🙂

See you then!
Xx
~Kat

“Feathers”

In addition to being in the Espionage Gallery “AllStars Exhibition” (13th December!), running the Reading Rooms arts program, going on Cairns for a holiday for Eclipse Festival 2012, breaking my toe, rescuing little birds with broken legs, farewelling a dear friend to South America, getting an amazing new tattoo, and generally ‘Doing Life’, this past month or two I’ve been flat out curating, co-ordinating and creating “Feathers”, my most ambitious (potentially TOO ambitious?) project yet!

Inspired by the phrase “Birds of a feather flock together”, ‘Feathers’ will be held at the Format Gallery Space (15 Peel St, Adelaide 5000) from the 9th January to 10th February 2013.

23 young artists’ works will be enmeshed in a giant chicken wire nest built within the gallery, physically and metaphorically supported by the audience as they weave fabric, yarn, sticks, tape, and other recycled materials into the walls.

The opportunity for young artists to showcase their work and become known in the arts sphere is a high priority of this exhibition, with experienced artists displayed on the same platform as emerging thus promoting equality in the creative sphere. The media that these artists work within will be entirely their own choice, absolving the divide between genres and treating all crafts as equal. From photography to jewellery, to illustration and sculpture, all forms of expression combine to increase awareness of local visual culture.

The artists involved include;
Vera Ada, Sebastian Petrovski, Steph Fuller, Genevive Brabdenburg, Elle DS, Gee Greenslade, Wes Todd, Reb Rowe, Cameron Brideoak, Dan Purvis, Caitlin Millard, Beth Millard, Artist Neto, Sam Evans, Imee Luz, Fruszi Kinez, Grace Mitchell, Andrew Humphries, Katie Lee, Alyshia Eming, Esther Nimmo, Ashley Playfair, Ryan Wakelin; all very talented and amazing at what they do.
Needless to say this show is going to be RIDICULOUSLY amazing,

Its been a lot of hard work, after spending MONTHS recruiting artists, planning the show, and more hours creating a 65page application to a traditional funding body, I was unsuccessful for my $4000 request. So I created a Pozible campaign. Its been going really well, at the stage I created the campaign I thought I still had a chance for this organizations funding, so set it at less than I needed (rookie mistake #1)…
After not getting the funding, I did a massive revision of the budget and cut out a lot of things like advertising, which were super costly. The new estimate is that the project will cost us about $1800 with the majority of that going towards things like buying the chicken wire and wooden doweling, and the rest on gallery hire and promotional costs (catalogues are expensive!).
Despite this though the campaign’s been going OFF, and we hit target with ten days left! We’re sitting at about 111% funded with five days to go, but due to my oversight we’re still looking for moneys, and people are still contributing, which is great! There’s some amazing stuff up for grabs on the campaign site, including limited edition prints by artists involved, a dessert baking class at a local cafe, portraits of the artists shot by incredible local photographer Genevive Brandenburg,  as well as some cool stickery things designed by yours truely! (plug plug)

We’ve also been featured in  Krystoff Magazine, and I had an  interview on Radio Adelaide 101.5fm Friday morning (breakfast show… uggghhh… early morning was early). Its good, it feels like the cities listening. The weight of expectation hangs in the  air. No pressure. 🙂

To check out the campaign, visit http://pozible.com/feathers… or watch the video!

Much more to come on this show and others, there’s a lot of things in the pipeline, though this is taking up much of my time currently.
Who says there’s nothing to do in Adelaide? ;P
Xx

Introducing; “What’s Your Crutch?”!!

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http://whatsyourcrutch.wordpress.com

For the South Australian Living Artists Festival this year I’m collaborating on a project with dancer Fiona Gardner.
I’m striking off in (another) different direction, still experimenting, still trying to find what fits within. We will be merging our art forms to create a moving installation exploring external manifestations of physiological dependency.

In four unique performances, body movement will combine with expressionistic painting skills creating a project that leads to an open awareness of the nature of dependency in self and others.

Each mental crutch has its own unique effect that plays an important part in our ability to deal with the world around us. These unknown refuges can be found in many aspects of people’s lives, both in a negative and positive manner. Examples of negative psychological crutches can include food addiction or denial, psychological reliance on drugs, alcohol and/or nicotine, self-harm, over-dependence on social norms and conformity, escapist or anti-social behaviour, fanaticism, workaholism, adverse promiscuity, gambling, compulsive shopping, technology or internet addiction.

These works are inspired by strangers; so if you have some time to spare, please contribute your stories!

Help inspire us so that in August, we can return the favour. 🙂
Xx

Busy Busy Bonnet!

This week has been crazy! Mega nuts!
For the first time, I was in TWO group shows IN ONE WEEK. Ridiculous, I know.

My works “Wallflower” and “In His Hands” appeared  in the RSASA Youthscape 2012 awards, on Sunday the 17th, sitting alongside some of the best emerging artists in Adelaide.

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Arent they pretty? 🙂

And then, a mere four days later opening on the 21st, was Espionage Gallery’s  whirlwind three-day ‘Winter’ show, comprising of over 60 artists from all over the world (the man’s connected, what can we say?).

I presented these cute little guys…

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“Hugs”

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“Shrugs”

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“Lugs”

…who are all cute representations of something we all get a case of The S.A.D. (or Seasonal Affective Disorder). This is a condition that usually manifests during the Winter months, though Spring and Summer cases have been reported. With symptoms closely mirroring Clinical Depression, it is caused by an over-production of melatonin in the brain. Usually controlled by exposure to bright light through the retina, the long dim hours of winter leave the body prone as it confuses ‘awake’ for ‘asleep’. Disconnection, vagueness, altered eating and sleeping cycles, and bouts of anxiety are all usual signs of S.A.D. Those prone to bi-polar mental disorders and other mental illnesses are more likely to display these symptoms, though ‘normal’ mentally healthy people are also frequently affected. If you are feeling down, this artistic study into monsters of the blues may help you understand why. *

The show was a huge success, amazing turn out and LOTS of fun. 🙂

There’s many things to come as I expand my art practice in all ways possible. The next big project is for SALA Festival 2012, called “Whats Your Crutch?”
Stay tuned for more details…

*If you are feeling like any of these Winter Ogres are overwhelming you, please seek out a good which doctor, or an even better Mental Health Councillor.
Xx