Fear and the Reasons I Need Feminism

**WARNING; THIS POST DISCUSSES SOME SEXUAL ABUSE AND RAPE CULTURE AND MAY CONTAIN SOME TRIGGERS

Saturday morning after I finished work at the wonderful Garden of Unearthly Delights at about 4.30am, I had an incident.
It started after I bought cat food at a 24/7, and was trying to find a taxi home. A drunk guy was at a phone booth on one of the main roads through town. He sways up to me, slurring; “Hey, do you know what happens of I put fiddy cents into that? Will it just ring and hang up?”
Me; “Dunno. Why, are you stranded?”
“Yeah man, stranded…”
“Here, I got some change, its only .80c, but call a mate.”
“Nah I just need to know how it works”
I explain how the phone booth works.
“Man, you’re awesome! I need more people like you in my life! *fistbump, I start to walk away* Oi, give us a kiss!”
“Haha, nah man. Ill give you a hug, but I ain’t kissing you”
“I’m gonna rip into you”
*wait…* “What??”
“I’m gonna have sex with you!!”
*WAIT. WHAT??* (This is the point where my self-preservation voice panics, and unleashes the   classic-late-night-solo-white-girl-defence-line, and I start hating both myself and this douchebag for reducing me to this) “Yeah tell that to my boyfriend man, see what he says.” *I turn my back on douchebag, and start walking away*
“Fucking, yeah I will!! He’s right over there!”
*Still walking away* “Whatever man, have a good one…”
*incoherent babbling*

I made it into a taxi and home safe in the end, but I went to bed so angry I was physically sick all the next day. Its been a long time since I was so offended, infuriated, and insulted by the actions of a singular being. As I write this three days later I’m still ragingly pissed off.
The irony of this situation is that earlier that night we had a dress-up theme at work of “Prom Night”. Having stayed at a friends house the night before, I had to borrow some clothes and came up with a character story of a creepy pedophile teacher who had put date rape drugs in the school punch.

daterapist I admit, this joke was in bad taste, and contributes to the normalisation of rape culture. But, as comedian and performer of “Adrienne Truscott’s Asking For It” Adrienne Truscott (more on this one later) says in an interview “part of the show is what you can make jokes about, whats appropriate and not appropriate about comedy, and who takes offense…” After this encounter, I decided my joke wasn’t really funny anymore, and tipped my hat to the Universe for pointing that out. #AkwardAdmissions

For those that don’t know what Rape Culture is, this article in The Guardian expresses it pretty well. Basically its the idea that other people have the rights to have sexualised power over an individuals body. The majority of this is expressed in men thinking they can take women’s rights to their bodies as their own, but it also happens when women forcibly take men’s bodies, men take other males bodies, women take other women’s bodies, and people of both genders take the rights of trans or intersex people. “The cycle is perpetuated as victims are silenced and blamed, the crime normalised, and perpetrators completely ignored.”
I’ve always considered myself a feminist. Not the man-hating, patriarch-bashing, burn-the-lingerie-and-break-ALL-the-celilings kind. The kind that pulls people up on casual sexism, wears jeans and boots most days but sometimes gets a kick out of wearing a dress and putting on make-up, believes that no one gender is more powerful or intelligent than the other but each have things to bring to the table, can fix my own damn bike, wants Tony Abbot to magically turn into a Schnauzer and spend the rest of his life rolling in sheep poo, walks home alone at night to combat the fear, and is fucking proud to be working with amazing task force of strong and ridiculously capable women in an industry that typically is thought of as masculine.  Its taken me a really long time to be comfortable in my skin, to acknowledge that my body is my own and no one elses, and I am the only one that says what happens to it. The idea that some asshole on the street thinks he knows better negates all the years I’ve spent trying to accept and respect myself against this hostile climate of beauty propaganda and gender-bias touted as cornerstone wisdom.  That pisses me off:  its MY hard work, YOU don’t deserve it!

So, if I’m that confident in my rights as a woman, why did this guy get under my skin so much?
The  Everyday Sexism Project exists to catalogue women’s experience with sexist actions, words or behavior no matter how big or small to prove that as ‘progressive’ as we think our 21st Century society is, the whole thing’s actually a facade.  This story particularly resonated with me, as it explains to me why it felt so shameful to resort to the typical scared-litte-girl reaction of “My (pretend) boyfriends gonna save me!”

“Competition 2013-11-21 00:36

When a man is still trying to flirt with me after I’ve already said “I’m not interested”, I frequently will ask a male friend of mine (who is with me at the time) to pretend to be my boyfriend in order for the flirting man to stop talking to me and making me uncomfortable. This happens to often to not just me but also my friends.
It’s embarrassing to realise that men will respect competition with another man more than a woman’s request to leave her alone.”

I find this solution more than embarrassing, its also degrading. Not just to myself but also to the men who subscribe to this belief, and the men who are affected by the men who subscribe to this belief. What does it say about our ‘advanced brain’ and ‘civilised culture’ when the only thing that halts someone in their pursuits is “If you hurt me an ape-fisted males gonna bash you cause his ape-fists are bigger than your ape-fists so nyah”? As an intelligent, witty, and somewhat charismatic individual, it degrades me to have to resort to empty threats of implied violence. As a strong independent female, it removes my feelings of strength, independence, and personal power to have to pretend I need looking after by a neolithicly-powered male,  but short of carrying around nail-spiked nun-chucks with mace nozzles in the end, I’m not sure of what other response I can give in that situation to be safe.

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I am not the only one that feels this way, though clearly this is still a topic that’s up for heated discussion.  We recently had a three day car-race festival in my hometown, the Clipsal 500 that co-incides with many other arts and cultural festivals in the same month.  It is rare that the arts crowd meet the outer suburbs bogans in any other scenario, but for three days in March the streets are flooded with car-banded t-shirts and Bundy Rum-fuelled sunglass tans. Local online rag InDaily sent a few reporters out to OP on increased sexual harassment incidents during festival time in general and the Clipsal 500 event in particular.

The comments in the resulting articles are an amazing example of the debate and diatribe surrounding women’s rights in Adelaide.  This article by Liam Mannix on the work of the YWCA to promote awareness to government and civilian alike on the prevalence of harassment during February and March at gained heated criticism from the public attacking the male journalist for his treatment of the woman social worker spearheading the campaign.  They called him snide, patronising, and unfit to report due to the lack of published data as opposed to anecdotal evidence.   THIS article, written by female journalist Louise Pascale while she was out with YWCA’s women’s safety survey team during the Clipsal weekend attracted an equally intense response, with comments crying everything from “Down with normalisation!” to “But you get to see bikini-clad girls on the beach all the time, what’s the problem?” to “Us blokes get harassed too, why do women get all the attention?”.  Its an interesting read if you want to think about the juxtaposition of the general Adelaidian’s opinion on women’s rights, and I’m pretty aggravated by some of the responses. The ancient advertising stereotype argument aide, the press seems to have a magical ability of stirring things up while keeping the status quo the same, and I think this definitely has to be altered before we start seeing a change in the perceptions of how we can and can’t treat women in the public sphere.

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This image was run in the Murdoch Press-owned Adelaide Advertiser Newspaper with the caption; “The Clipsal 500 will be in Adelaide long enough for young Jayden’s interests to mature.”

The thing that surprised me most though, was how many people are too willing to put this kind of attitude of sexual objectification down to particular event or group of people that attend such events .  My initial Facebook post about the verbal attack had many people comment “What the fuck?”, “Are you okay?”, “How dare they?” etc etc.  These comments are mostly supportive, and made me feel justified in my anger, but in the long run, but they’re not changing anything. Like more sympathetic comments in the InDaily articles, they just seem to a be a trigger-response to a damaging topical incident.  When posting the articles and follow-up articles I’d read, the comments from my feed were more along the lines of “Oh, thats Clipsal for you!” and “Damn Bogans… when will they learn?” Its this kind of complacency of harassment and objectification that keeps the cycle perpetuating, and not just in festival time. People come to expect this behaviour year-round from loose louts and ladies alike, and no one really gets angry when it happens in Festival season cause “Well, there’s more people in the city, you just have to accept it’s gonna happen more often.”

Well… No.  No way. I’m calling bullshit on that one.
Complacency is the biggest killer no matter what issue it is that you’re targeting. But as angry as I am about the way some women are treated, the line of where it stops being a joke still confuses me.  While women like  Sam Taylor writing for Vice magazine clearly states that she loves the ‘extra attention’ while out and about, there is definitely nothing funny about being told some random dude will “rip into you”, or, as in the Laura Bates article previously mentioned, would “hold a knife to that”.
Adrienne Truscott, one half of strip-comedy duo The Wau Wau sisters, and comedienne in her own right has produced a show on that very topic. (See? Told you I’d get back to it.) I’ve only read one review (in conversation) so far, by the awesome Fleur Kilpatrick on her weblog ‘School For Birds’ (who, by the by, I illustrated an article for not so many days ago) and you should all go and read it because the people discussing the show are far more eloquent than I.
Basically Adrienne opens the show with the line “So, who here has been raped? Okay. Who here is a rapist? Well now statistically that can’t be true.”, and its all confrontation from there.  Throughout the show, she periodically steps over where my moral compass would put the line, though I may have been especially sensitively since I saw the first performance the night after I was told “I’m gonna have sex with ya”. I’ve seen much performance art, and not many shows leave me walking out with such a feeling if disquiet. She discusses normalisation of rape culture through the work of other famous comedians (all men), and uses her character to portray the ridiculousness of  victimisation comments- “She was drunk…” (As Adrienne swigs cans of G+T onstage), “She was provocatively dressed” (as she strips off four denim jackets while not ever having pants as part of her costume) “She was loud and flirty” (As she laughs and jokes and flutters her eyelids and tell stories about how she roofied some guys drink and dragged him home to her apartment and tried to fuck him unconscious on the kitchen floor but he couldn’t get it up so she forced Viagra down his throat and then invited The Girls around for champagne and a free ride… sound familiar?)
The show explores this strange blur between Okay To Laugh and Not Okay To laugh, and she dances through this grey area forcing us to consider and reconsider what is Right and what is Wrong about our boundaries and our ethics.  I left with my head spinning; was my pedophile rapist joke too far? Did that guy on the street corner actually think he was being funny? What makes a stereotype in a sitcom different from a entendre about that trashbag cougar in the corner? If its okay to make nigger jokes when your a black man, and gay jokes when your a lesbian, why isn’t it okay to make comments on these issues as a woman? Why do some men feel they can get away with this shit on stage, but we can’t have a civilised discussion in a public forum?

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TBH, its taken me over a week to write this blog post, as I keep finding more information, opinions, and voices that keep blowing my mind on the debate…

“It looks much more like an attempt to control women, or at least to remind them that they are occupying public space which does not “belong” to them.  This is not something that can be proved by discussing individual cases, or indeed asking men whether that is their intention in calling attention to women’s bodies as they drive by.  But it’s certainly possible to ask men whether they’re being totally honest when they insist there’s nothing irritating or threatening about someone they don’t know addressing them out of nowhere…  Men are used to being offended and angry when people intrude on their right to be in public without being hassled or annoyed… It is only when women point out the daily pressures placed upon them that so many men claim that the streets are totally non-political, and anyone has the right to do or say anything to anyone else if they’ve chosen to go out in public.  Women have spoken eloquently about the links between street harassment and sexual violence and the intimidating effect of dealing with it every day.  And the way men themselves negotiate public space shows that we understand a lot more about the issues at stake than many of us will admit.  It’s simply dishonest to pretend we don’t, and that therefore we shouldn’t urgently listen to women’s voices when they tell us what it’s like in the streets for them.”

–Jam Bloo0mfeild in his blog post “The Freedom of the Streets- Men and Street Harassment”

This is one of the things I think some men don’t understand, the men who ask you what the big deal is about street harassment, say they’d love it if it happened to them, or suggest you just “take it as a compliment”. It’s not a simple, one-moment experience. It’s a horribly drawn-out affair. The process of scanning the street as you walk; the constant alert tension; the moment of revelation and the sinking feeling as you realise what is going to happen. Countless women have written to me about the defence mechanisms they put in place – walking with keys between their knuckles just to feel safe – wearing their earphones so they can keep their head down and ignore it. The whole process of going out, particularly at night, can become fraught and difficult…Why don’t you just take it as a compliment?”
Founder of  Everyday Sexism, Laura Bates in an article through The Guardian on why street harassment is so damaging.

The internet is in an uproar, and everything I read provokes more feels in me. I’ve been trying to take these conversations out into the real world, and the scary thing I’ve found is that most women do feel terrified to walk home/take a train/go to the pub/sit alone in a cafe/have unlocked car doors while driving/make friends with a stranger due to fear and the feeling of vulnerability that has been drummed into their heads.  
Eight days now and over three thousand words after the incident, I’ve managed to piece this chaos in my brain into a blog post, though I am reluctant to get involved as this whole issue smacks of the blame game and that makes me uneasy.  It seems the majority of society says we should be cringing at shadows and if anything bad happens its our fault for not having any self-defense mechanisms, for wearing/not wearing clothes, for falling asleep at a party or any other plethora of empty excuses.  Its our fault for being scared when we’ve just been told over social media that a famous six-foot heavy American thinks its funny if a woman gets gang-raped by five guys. It’s our fault for not kissing the drunken stranger on the side of the road who you tried to help just cause he wants it. And worst of all, its OUR FAULT men don’t respect us cause WE manipulated them.
I’m sorry, did I tie you to a pole and dance naked around you and give you enhanced interrogative 
drugs so you could run your tongue off at me?  No? Well then shut the fuck up and keep your scare tactics to yourself, cause I will continue to walk the streets at night and feel safe regardless of your beer-sodden squawks.

IMALADYDAMNIT

Basically, this is just one example of why I need feminism, cause NO ONE should use rape as a scare tactic for not getting what trifles they want, and NO ONE should be objectified while trying to help someone in need. No one should be objectified unless they want to be (everything’s a fetish, and that just adds another layer to the debate), and no one should be at the risk of harm while trying to get home from work.
I’m scared every time this happens I get a little less sympathetic and a little more distrustful of humans in general and guys in particular. I don’t want to end up as a scared shell of my former self, or have to give up dancing at three am when all my friends have gone home, or avoid seeing the stars on a crisp winters night in the burbs.
I need to help make this fear and harm stop not just for me but for all of us Ladies, and this is why I need Feminism, to give me the strength to call it and say “Rape jokes are bad, mmmkay? Let me tell you why…”

CoCreate, Community, and the act of Giving

Recently Ive become a part of a movement in my little home town called CoCreate Adelaide. Its a community start-up initiative (as seems to be the fashion these days post-GFC) that aims to connect people together to find and act upon ways of engaging with the people around them to Get Shit Done that Governments and other top-down institutions seem to be failing at.  There are varying different needs being expressed by the people involved with this group, from food sharing groups, community gardens, group meditation sessions, art collaborations, and networking spaces, but they all revolve around the concept of sharing.

My involvement with this group has brought up a lot of thoughts and issues I’ve been struggling with over the past few years relying on trust, openness, and the act of giving. Amanda Palmer iterates this nicely in her seminal video ‘The Art of Asking’, where she outlines that you don’t have to MAKE people pay for music (or help, or lawnmowers, or fabric offcuts, or time), you can ASK them, and in return they will give you unforgettable experiences and have their own unforgettable experiences in turn.

There’s a huge sense of community here in Adelaide and a lot of people willing to connect and to give to each other, but its also juxtaposed with sense of the “my patch” mentality. People are too quick to jump on the “This is My Thing”, or the “Oh, you belong to THAT collective” bandwagon, which just adds to the image that we are a group of selfish, fickle hipsters masquerading as a capital city with a ‘cultural hub’ which, because of this attitude, mostly remains empty of cultural capital whatsoever.
This results in the sense that Adelaide is so tiny that there’s not a lot to go around, and we, like seagulls, are constantly fighting over the scraps tossed to us by higher organisations parading The Cultural Dream. We become disillusioned with the fact that no one else is ‘fixing it’, that it’s too hard to start something, nothing is sustainable, and that other cities like Melbourne or Sydney are the way to go to be a part of something (anything!).

I think some of the root of this ‘lack-of-community’ conundrum is not that people don’t want to GIVE, but they don’t know how to ASK for stuff to be given.  It makes them feel weird and useless, and so they bitch and moan and move to Melbourne instead where the Giving is plentiful and you don’t have to try to have things thrust in your face.

I know well both sides of this quandary from running the now-on-permanant-haiatus communal space the reading room. Time and time again we would have to ask volunteers, artists, musicians, random members of the community for their time, their energy, their washing-up skills, their muscles, their endorsements, and their money. We didn’t MAKE them, we ASKED them, and in return we got art shows, music gigs, clean dishes, clean floors, and a whole treasure trove of amazing experiences and stories. Soon we had people coming to us saying “Can I please play a gig here?” “How do I volunteer?” “Can I help you move that couch?” “I’ll wash the glasses!” “How can I contribute?” ” Here’s $20, I love what you’re doing!”.
That’s the happy end of the story, but to start off we really had to ASK the community to help us out, and as much as I’d like to say we got to a point of self-sufficiency (as is the ultimate ideal of the ReNew Adelaide scheme) we never were in a position to stop asking.  The bigger we got and the more things we did the more we had to ask for help, and believe me it never got any easier.

I’m one of those people with low self-esteem and other negative-mental-health-issues (there, I said it, you can all stop acting so bewildered at those late-night D+Ms now). Due to a childhood full of bullying, sporadic-friendships, an inability to learn social norms and parents that didn’t really know how to deal with my weird ways I’ve grown up with this sense that no one wants to help me with anything, I have to do it all by myself, that I’m incapable of anything and all that I do is doomed to failure so what’s the point. Fortunately I’m also ridiculously stubborn and ambitious, and so battle these feelings everyday to try and make for my self a life worthy of living.
To do that I’ve had to overcome this fear of asking for help. Its easier in a professional context, like at the reading room (“Hey, would you mind helping me shift this massive rug?”), but on a personal level it still grates somewhat (“Hey..um…I’d really like.. to.. uh.. do a photo …thing… for this project… thing… I’m inspired by.. um.. want to catch up sometime? You know, whenever…” Awkward.).  Its not that people aren’t keen, there’s lots of people wanting creative things to happen, its just that it makes me feel like shit asking for it.

Apparently though, I’m not alone in this. Millie Roony’s an Australian PhD student studying why in our culture it’s so hard to ASK for stuff. This awesome article shows that I’m not the only one who finds it painful to put the word out when I need help with something. Australians, while loving the philanthropic attitude of giving and supporting a cause, terminally find it hard to admit they’re lacking and need support. What we seem to be failing to realise though, is that the act of asking can lead to many greater opportunities and life experiences than suffering away in a corner just wishing you had some fresh peaches for that upside-down cake (or ten grand for that art show).
What we need to remember, and what Amanda Palmer’s TED talk hammered home for me, is that in the act of trusting your community enough to ask for help you not only remove your own sense of vulnerability, but also enrich the lives of those around you in the act of letting them in. We can change that ugly obligatory sense of ‘repayment’ into cultural exchange so that value lies not in the perceived debt and resulting power-play, but in the act of connection to a community. We strengthen our city and our culture through aid given, and given again in return.

Perhaps if we were all a little less scared of perceptions of uselessness, a little more honest, and a little more open to receiving, we’d have a lot more culture on our doorstep, and a lot more to stay home in Adelaide for. The possibilities are endless.

 

An update in the form of Email To Dad (cause I’m Mad like that)

Hey Dad!

Sorry it’s taken so long to get back to you about the image for the family news!
I’ve been working like a maniac, while still trying to get some sleep etc, and things seem to keep slipping through the net.

As you may be aware, I’ve been working like a mad thing on this new project ‘Feathers’, involving 23 artists and building a communal artspace to help break downs the walls between artists and communities.  After failing to receive the Carclew grant I applied for, I hosted a fundraising campaign on the crowd-funding website Pozible (http://pozible.com/feathers), which closed yesterday. After massive spammage, we hit our target in 20 days, and ended up with $1442 to put on the show, an epic $300 over our target! This is great, as i just found out the catalogues are going to cost an extra $300 I didn’t plan for, so yay! 😛
The added image that I’ve attatched to this email in my portrait taken by local emerging photographer Genevive Brandenburg, a good friend and a mad artist about town. Part of her contribution to this project was to photograph each artist involved to put into the catalogue, which features bios on everyone involved. Shes a great photographer, and the portraits look amazing!

Some other stats and news you might like to put into the newsletter are; I’ve been curating at the Reading Room now for a year and a half, with no signs of stopping, transforming the space with Beccit to incorporate music, poetry, and theatrical events as well as visual arts. We’re hosting four performances, one visual art show, and one fashion parade during Fringe 2013, which is going to be huge!

I’ve finished up with the GreenRoom Advocacy, which has given me knowledge and skills in areas such as publicity and events management, which we utilised to put on the GreenRoom exhibition ‘GuitarART’ earlier this year, and facilitated a partnership with dancer Fiona Gardiner that resulted in us performing  a groundbreaking performance for the South Australian Living Artists Festival  2012, challenging my boundaries as an artist and introducing my skills into new artforms.

This has been echoed with my involvement with the Moving Music festivals, which I had lent my talents to planning and creating a stage for local bands to play in hidden allyways in the city. The third Moving Music is scheduled for the 14th of January, and I will bee working with a teams of designers and architects to create the largest installment yet. The best news, I actually get PAID for this one (as they took out the grant I was applying for… damnit! :P)

GreenRoom had also provided me with several opportunities to attend arts-as-business lectures and workshops, which are being used as we speak to create a future for myself.  In January I will be starting the New Enterprise and Initiatives Scheme through Canterfuck to further my ambitions as a gallery director of my own place one day.

Also on the cards for 2013 is my involvement with the Helpmann Academy’s Creatives Collective, a youth-run organisation that focuses on bringing emerging artists into contact with funding bodies and the long-standing patrons of the Adelaide arts scene. We promote exposure for young artists through youth events and exhibitions, and aim to facilitate much celebrating of emerging artists and their culture to liven up the cities streets.

You may also remember the art show I had with Tiff for Fringe 2012, where we created 200 works and filled the Reading Room space. Since that time I’ve been in eight group shows in four different galleries (that I remember, there may be more), worked with artists painting a public art mural, helped create a gateway for a festival at the AFC, gained a volunteer position in the Artspace Gallery at the AFC, and made many many awesome arty friends.

Oh yeah, and I went to Cairns and hung out with international DJ’s and went camping in the bush and saw a Solar Eclipse and broke my toe. Hahaha.

So, you can see it was totally worth quitting the shitty bar job! 😀

Its a wealth of information, to be sure, (and probably waaay more in-depth than what you asked for!) but it finally feels with all this learning under my belt I’m fucking getting somewhere. Huzzuh!

Let me know if you need any more dirt to tell the rellies, and I’ll try and something something PR something something.
Phew!

(Also, are you free between now and xmas to help me pour cement in buckets and stick poles in them? it seems easy enough, but these things always have a hidden agenda…)

Give my love to mum and liz and the puppies. (PUPPIES!!)
Xx

 

ADELAIDE! =I love this city…

9/12/2012-

…and this is why. 🙂

Yesterday the crowd sourced  Pozible Campaign for ‘Feathers’ closed. for more information on ‘Feathers’ the show, check out the link or see the blog post below.
‘Feathers’ hit our target goal of $1100 at 20 days into the month long campaign, which is pretty damn amazing. We ended up raising $1442, $300 over target for the show!

I’ve written it a few times now, in emails and updates, but I still can’t believe it. My heart does this weird fluttery thing whenever I read the words “$300 over target” and I get a bit dizzy….in a good way…

The following is from the update I wrote for the campaign upon its close, and sums up some reason why I get this quiver…

“I’m amazed, astounded, and incredibly humbled by this.  The aim of ‘Feathers’ was originally to create an all-inclusive collaborative project that would get artists from all disciplines together. As many of these artists are at the very beginnings of their creative careers, their super-keen involvemement also highlighted how little opportunities there are for creatives in Australia. Traditional arts funding has been slashed and institutions are backing away from arts support. Emerging artists like those featured in this exhibition need all the help they can get to make creating beautiful things a beautiful career, and unfortunately the mainstream mindframe right now is not in our favour!

However, incredible people like those that have helped with this campaign have re-established my faith that art and artists are not only highly needed, but also valued in this community. Its a great feeling, and thank you all for giving that back to me. 🙂

There is a very strong underground arts scene uprising in Adelaide at the moment. The past few generations of graduates have emerged as a highly-motivated and powerful art force, and they are grabbing this city by the horns and showing it how it’s done. With these inspiring people beside us we WILL bring creative projects back into this city. Vibrancy be damned, we’re pouring paint off the walls, sending colour cascading down the streets!

This is just the start of my personal arts renaissance. By getting the wider community involved in projects such as ‘Feathers’, I aim to bring down the walls between artists and audiences. I want to show people that there art is not something to be afraid of, feel alienated by, or let pass quietly. We are all inherently creative, and ‘Feathers’ celebrates that by providing a space that  everyone can play with/in.
The first step was this Pozible campaign, and it’s worked better than I could have ever imagined. Thank you all again! :D”

Having had a day to get my head around it, the next step is to send our catalogues to get printed (tomorrow!), and to continue posting all our posters etc (designed by yours truely!) out and about on the streets.

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The next few weeks will see me living at Bunning’s, salvage stores, and sand/metal depos gathering the framework for the nest.. and then.. bam! Come January the 9th there’s going to be the biggest opening party this year. (Incidentally, I was born at 12:06am January the 10th, so its also going to be one huge birthday party. Wouldn’t have it any other way!).

Thanks again to everyone who made this journey with me, and who will yet to be involved! You’re all fucking amazing. 🙂

Xx

ALL THE ART SHOWS!

October has been the most hectic month for me!
By the 30th, I will have been in four art shows, started curating my first independent exhibition outside of the Reading Room (at Format Gallery in January 2013 involving 24 artist, 25 wooden dowel rods, 50 meters of chicken wire, and a whole lot of love), started planning my next curated show at Tooth and Nail Gallery (July 2013??), finished up my Advocacy at the Adelaide Festival Centre’s GreenRoom, and started a Core Committee Member position (still volunteering, damnit!) working with the Helpmann Academy to resuscitate their youth arts administration program Helpmann Academy Creative Collective (formerly the Foundation Front, but more on that later).
Its been full on, but having that kind of hyperactive brain that makes it hard to focus on one subject for more than about ten minutes (if I MUST an hour or two :P), this is the way I prefer to work, lots of projects on the go at once. 🙂

I gave up working hospitality last month, as I felt that it was getting in the way of my art practice. Late nights, sleeping all day, missing out on openings and shows due to working evenings, feeling like I was wasting my time standing behind an empty bar when I could’ve been creating something… all factors in the decision to be a dole-bludger.  On the bright side, the sea change has given me a lot more time to myself to do the things I ACTUALLY want to do, and freedom in my mind to work towards my visual art practice, my curatorial practice, and taking care of the Reading Room. It’s also forcing me to treat art as my job, not as a side project, and even though it’s only been a month the decision was absolutely worth it!

I was in a group art show at the new gallery  These Walls Don’t Lie for the first time and sold two works there, and have been invited to exhibit for their  Halloween Show; Trick Or Treat

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Should be awesome!

I’m also in the 10×10 Charity Fundraiser show, in which participants take a movie that has inspired them and create a 10cm x 10cm image from it. All sales of works go to charity to supply fresh water to kids in malaria-infested areas, which is pretty awesome. Here’s a teaser of the work I created, based around one of my all-time favourite movies “The City Of Lost Children”
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This one was a tough one to do, as my style is usually more immediate and emotional. I haven’t had much practice ‘illustrating’ as such, so I wrestled with this one a bit. BUT it paid off, I think it’s one of the best things I’ve done stylistically in a long time. My painting technique has really improved as I try new things like washes and mixing colours and shades to an inch of their spectrum to get THAT effect. I’m learning when to apply THAT effect in a piece too, so my confidence is gaining technically.

But by far the most challenging and exciting thing I’ve been involved with to date is the  Unboxed; Vinyl Toy Show at Espionage Gallery.  Josh (the director dude) gave a bunch of artists these   Munny Toy things, and asked us to go play!  I don’t usually work in 3d at all, even my 2d stuff is very flat-planed, so it was a difficult thing to try my hand at! But after three solid days of working hard at it, I think I have a final toy that   is both completely unique and not even that bad looking.  In all the rest of my online publicity I’ve just used this image

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How creepy is this guy?! His eyes are actually two small round mirrors, so when you move around they flash at you. The wire Mohawk is part jewellery wire, part hanging wire stuck through his head with wooden beads as anchors, and that denim poncho used to be a pair of jeans of mine, now jazzed up with hand painted ink decorations and crazy yarn.  I called him “Masau’u; The Light At The End Of The Tunnel”, after the Hopi Indian Life/Death God. The inspiration came from dolls many American Indian Tribes make to represent the spirits that are inherent in everything (Kachinas),   this is the main image I could find for inspiration.  Obviously it’s been adapted somewhat to fit my own interpretation. We’ll see how it goes down at the opening on Thursday!

I’ve got so much more to write, but right now as its about 3.30am I think the bed is calling. I’ll try and post again very soon. Until then my dears! Love life!
Xx

SALA– OH MY!

SALA Festival is traditionally a pretty hectic time of the year. Come the first of August (and sometimes before!) every gallery and its dog start pumping out the art shows. Last years SALA festival had something like 4132 artists displaying works in over 350 venues statewide, so as you can imagine it’s been pretty busy around here right now.

I’m very much looking forward to checking everything out, not only is the weather FINALLY warming up and becoming amazing for bike-riding, I have many many arty friends sharing their joy on the walls of Adelaide’s galleries, cafes, pubs, retail shops, hairdressers, Reading Rooms, and pretty much everywhere else they can find. The city will be alive with colour, emotion, and inspiration, its an exciting time.

Understandably, the week following SALA is quite similar to the first week post-Fringe= full of exhaustion and a dazed sense that time is never quite as rigid as we were taught in school after bending it to fit around so many events.

Even the lead-up to this period is pretty tiring! Not only are Fiona and I rehearsing MADLY for “Whats Your Crutch?”, with our first show in ONE AND A HALF WEEKS (not even freaking out. everything’s FINE! :P), but we’ve also set up an  online ticketing system, had a radio interview with Jennie Lenman from Arts Breakfast over at 101.5FM Radio Adelaide, met up with Esther Nimmo from The Adelaide Collective for a chat, AND  made it into Fringe Benefits Guide, but we may also be onstage in the Unley Coucil’s ‘SALA on Sale’ towards the end of the month!

MADNESS!

Here’s some progress shots to give you an idea of how we’re going with things…
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For more images, check out my facebook album full of all the crazy things we get up to.
YES, MADNESS!

We’re pretty on track for the 5th though, am getting excited and nervous. Will be posting  more on the shows progress as it gets closer to the date.
Stay tuned, Amigos!
Xx

Ingrained

Last night was the opening of Espionage Gallery’s “Ingrained” show, a group show where all the artists painted on the lovely medium of wood.
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My piece was a last-minute addition to the show, being delivered just the day before to be hung. Originally started  somewhere back in 2008, it’s been a long time in the making while I acquired the forms and skills necessary to express my idea.

(Don’t let anyone fool you, good ideas stick around while you work towards them. Some pieces can be a flash-in-the-pan-one-hit-wonder combining learned inspiration with skills already gained to create something amazing in one hit. Some pieces are like pushing a stone up a hill, one step at a time, tedious and slow as you work and work at the skills and concepts needed to pull them off.But then when you get to the top of the hill all the dirt falls away and you realize that you’ve been rolling this huge nugget of gold or chocolate or insert-personal-most-valued-commodity-here and now you get to ride it all the way home. AWESOME.)

Eventually though, even after appearing at my grad show in 2010 in a half-formed state, the work was given the push needed to come through, and “High Up In The Clouds” finally sat happily and whole amongst some of Australia’s best.

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If you’re around the city in the next few weeks head up the stairs in Lindes Lane off Rundle Mall, to the second level above the shoe store, wave to the amazing Josh Smith, and have a look-see! Its a cracker of an exhibition, well worth the climb! 🙂

Go on! Get your art on!
Xx