Australian Fine Artist

Archive for the ‘Business Studies’ Category

Artist’s Showcase and Residencies – Heritage Hill, Dandenong

The Importance of Getting your Work “Out There”

Creating Art for the People

The depth of research, and explanation, must complement the setting and type of visitors attracted to the venue. The location at Heritage Hill, a listed residence including a restored homestead and buildings, acts as a base for the arts in Dandenong for residencies and exhibitions. 

It attracts tourists, and visitors wanting to fill in some time looking at the gardens and buildings. It follows, that an artist’s deeper meaning intended to inform and enlighten viewers, including art collectors, must be made evident by the resident artist.

According to Langer (1966), “The ancient ubiquitous character of art contrasts sharply with the prevalent idea that art is a luxury product of civilization, a cultural frill, a piece of social veneer”. She goes on to say:

“Wherever art takes a motif from actuality – a flowering branch, a bit of landscape, a historic event or a personal memory, any model or theme from life – it transforms it into a piece of imagination, and imbues its image with artistic vitality. The result is an impregnation of ordinary reality with the significance of created form.”

Assumption and preconceived ideas, such as the role of art in modern society, requires a catalyst to prompt discussions which a residency provides.

Consequently, the work space provided for a residency becomes a meeting place for artists, the art, and the viewer. In this modern context, the working artist illustrates to the public their skill, gained not so much by a ’natural gift’ or “genius”, as it is via practice, training, and education, and how art is relevant in modern society.

Art, therefore, now becomes a vehicle for the artist and viewer to connect on a very human level that predates written and verbal language.

Fine art, according to Kant in The Critique of Judgement (Kant, 1911), “has the effect of advancing the culture of the mental powers in the interests of social communication”. The pleasure from art, he goes on to say is “not one of enjoyment arising out of mere sensation, but must be one of reflection”.

Artworks typically capture a moment in time. The modern artist, due to current digital tools, can, however, create impressions of changes in the landscape. Such is the case in the sketches and paintings included in this book, that reveal how Dandenong grew from bush landscape, to a country town, and then to a thriving modern urban city with Heritage Hill as part of its historic centre.

The Residency Space at Heritage Hill

The residency space for artists is in Laurel Lodge, and for disabled artists, or those with large projects such as sculptors, the nearby outbuildings are also available.

The original bedrooms (upstairs) have plenty of room to draw and paint, and have tranquil views across the gardens. A small couch and seating was made available, along with a set of drawers, large table, and shelves in the master bedroom for this residency. Hanging space on the walls also made the room more inviting for tourists, and visitors to the property, who were welcome to come in to look at the work, and talk about the process of creating it.

The atmosphere of the property and the room itself encourages artists to concentrate on creating, researching, experimenting and producing artworks without the common distractions that can take them away from their work. Especially with a project in mind, it is possible to investigate and deepen artistic practice, and methodology, and pursue new subjects for substantial bodies of work.

As Heritage Hill was a part of the research I was investigating into the history and growth of the Dandenong area during my residency, it provided constant inspiration and a convenient location to base my research, and photography, sketching, and painting.

Research and the Artworks

It is thought by some historians, that the name Dandenong is taken from the indigenous word Tanjenong, meaning lofty mountain. This suits the nearby Mount Dandenong at 630 metres (2,066.93 feet) height, and its dominance of the landscape. As part of the Dandenong Ranges, it was formed more than 300 million years ago from volcanic rock, when a large area of sedimentary rock collapsed into an underlying magma chamber, creating ash flows along the vents.

This series of violent eruptions created four lava flows forming the mountain range, and leaving depressions called caldera, which have collapsed and eroded over time, to be hardly recognisable as the remnants of a volcanic event today.

It was this volcanic activity that laid the foundations for the lush soil, along with regular rainfall, that encouraged the growth of mountain ash, forest ferns and the proliferation of native wildlife like the superb lyrebird, honey eater and Leadbeater’s possum.

For thousands of years this area, extending into the wetlands near what is now Carrum, was the home of the Wurunjeri and Boonerwrung tribes of the Kulin Nation. The clans in what is now the City of Greater Dandenong were the Ngaruk Willam Bunurong and the Mayone Bulluk Bunurong. Sadly, the indigenous population declined severely as squatters took over large areas, with little understanding of the cultures they were disrupting and displacing. It has only been in more recent years that areas of cultural importance to original inhabitants have been protected by legislation and heritage management councils.

Artists are not often offered an opportunity to publicly work in a dedicated place of creativity and reflection. In the studio, we are bombarded with emails, phone calls, domestic duties and other distractions. The broken concentration, and inability to dedicate time to a single project can prove overwhelming at times, and can certainly detract from quality time in front of the easel.

Contrary to the myth of the solitary genius creating masterpieces by inspiration, most artists work diligently on not only refining their methods and styles, but also on research into the history of a topic they want to work on, how other artists work and what they are doing currently, and furthering their education. It isn’t unusual to spend 80% of your time as a professional artist on office paperwork (research, study, accounts, grants, exhibitions, supplies, studio management etc) with only 20% actually enjoying what you do best – creating art.

To create good or great art requires dedicated hard work and practice, it is a profession, a calling, and a passion. With that said, the opportunity provided by a residency to spend time away from the office, and outside pressures, to commit to creating art is one with an importance that should not be underestimated. 

Authorities and organisations that provide artist’s residencies and exhibition space understand the need for artists to have the time to work on creative projects, and it is appreciated by artists when we are approved to complete them whilst collaborating with the public arts sector.

On a personal note my Artist’s Showcase, the result of my research project at Heritage Hill, is in the Benga Homestead and will run until April 2019. All the paintings are for sale and the venue provides EFT facilities.

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Painting Workshops – Ethics and Copyright

Many of us who are training to be professional artists, or are keen amateurs attend regular workshops with professional art teachers.

Learning from established artists is a long tradition going back to prior to the Renaissance. In the Middle Ages and Renaissance it was common for artists to take on apprentices who over years learnt about the materials as well as methods and techniques to painting and drawing. Later in their training, they were allowed to participate in completed works with their ‘master’. Leonardo da Vinci is a prime example, whose marks are clearly seen in a couple of paintings done by his tutor.

The difference between then and now, is that copyright and intellectual property are more strictly enforced now than they were then, and because of social media and the growth of on-line sales what is done at a workshop, and touched by your tutor may not be yours to sell without their permission, or to say is your own creation.

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Professional Development Workshop

McClelland Gallery and Sculpture Park, Victoria

I  volunteer at the McClelland Gallery which in itself is a great experience. Teaching kids to enjoy art in the Education Department of the Gallery has opened up my options for teaching in the future as well as giving me some great times enjoying how creative kids can be.

The Gallery, to help us be better teachers, supplied a professional training session which I did today. It usually costs others to attend but as volunteers, we are supplied the days for free.

Today we had a morning with the exhibiting artist doing observational drawing and in the afternoon, we had an intensive session about special needs kids and taking care of our own needs as teachers. It was very hands on, which I haven’t photographed (sorry) but included painting eyes closed, sculpting in clay (I did photograph that) eyes closed and expressive intuitive drawing eyes closed.

The drawing was of the HUGE nude male sculpture in the gallery, which we were asked to in context to the room, compared to things and people around it. We had 45 minutes during which I did three sketches. I have included all three here, they were done using a fine liner on plain white cartridge paper and all are around A4 in size.

This workshop is certified so another certificate to hang on the studio wall!

So, in case you may be wondering why I am talking about this, it is to express how volunteering can have benefits that you may not think about initially, just as I didn’t. I thought I would just use my Certificate IV in Training and Assessment rather than letting it go to waste, and maybe get out of the studio and network a bit with other artists. I have gained so much more than that, so it is a big win-win for the gallery, the kids and me.

It has put a bit of pressure on me as I am trying to get assessments done and take care of domestic duties, but I feel when it is important, I can make the time.

A nice additional thing for us attending is we have lunch, and morning and afternoon tea supplied, I took a pic of one of those!

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Why Study Art?

Why TAFEs are so Great at encouraging the Creative in You.

No matter what stage of life you are in, going back to school is never a bad idea. Having been in full time work for over thirty years, I can speak from experience in this regard.

In 2009 I was made redundant from my job as a graphic artist and application specialist. I was burnt out and wondered what in the world I could be good for. My husband, who had been encouraging me to return to painting part time as a time out from the pressures of work, strongly suggested that I try going back to my first passion – art.

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“5” Exhibition at 45 Downstairs

Cathy Drummond, Philip Faulks, Bill Hay, Kristin Headlam and Richard Stringer

February 3-February 14, 2015

I was honoured to be one of the many guests that attended the opening of the most recent exhibition by these very experienced and admired artists and teachers. The city location of 45 Downstairs makes it a venue well suited to the artworks that these five artists produce. They speak about the human condition and our society. They prompt us to think about the world around us. The reflect who we are as a nation and as people.

With a variety of mediums in the gallery space, I found a lot to look at and many stories covering the experiences, thoughts and lives of each artist. They openly reflected on who they are and what they care about.

On a personal note it was fun to catch up with so many art teachers from my own studies over the past three years at the event. Support from peers, respected mentors and fellow artists shows a strong community in the arts that is still flourishing in Melbourne.

This is another exhibition I recommend a visit to. The works are available to purchase and would make a great addition to any art collection. You would also be supporting local living artists in their careers.

A few views from the opening night.

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Alex Seton

Artist Talk at McClelland Gallery

Sculpture Exhibition: Last Resort

Alex grew up with parents who, even though in the technical profession encouraged him in his interests in books, art, science fiction and philosophy. At the early age of eight he picked up his first sculpture materials. He went on to study art at college and studied photography as well as his main interest which was history, as he was unclear about what he wanted to do as a career.

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Copyright for Artists and Designers

During my career as both artist and graphic designer/artist I have had experiences concerning copyright that I would like to pass on to impress upon fellow artists the need to be wary of copyright infringement and the various things that it covers.

Many of us use the Internet for information and inspiration, as we study we may also use it for research. Whilst using your computer there are things to keep in mind.

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Copyright for Artists

Assigning Copyright Versus Licensing – What’s the Difference?

When you exhibit you may be asked to sign a document to allow reproduction of your work for an event. I want to talk about the difference between assigning copyright and licensing copyright.

I will put this in the easiest way to remember, which is what I use. One is like selling something so you don’t own it any more, the other is like leasing or renting something, which you still own and will get back.

Assigning copyright is like selling it off. Once you assign copyright of your image you have given away your rights to it. Whomever you have assigned it to now holds the copyright and you will need to get permission from them to use the image you created. This may sound strange as you created it, but you are in fact selling off ALL your rights to use that image or artwork in any of your material for promoting, advertising, reproduction etc.

Licensing copyright is for a given time or event. You may license it for an exhibition for advertising purposes, but once that show is over your copyright reverts to you and the event organisers can not use it again without your permission.

When you read contracts for events, exhibitions etc, do so carefully to make sure that the wording covers you getting back your copyright for your artworks and prevents further use without your permission, or worse, cuts you off from using your original work for your own business.

Ivan Durrant

Visiting Artist Talk at Chisholm Frankston

Biography:

Ivan Durrant is an Australian painter, performance artist and writer. Much of his art has had “great shock value”, therefore Durrant is often described as L’enfant terrible of Australian art and is known by many as a controversial and provocative artist. Although known widely for his 1975 “Slaughtered Cow Happening”, the larger proportion of Durrant’s work consists of paintings using a self-developed style of “Super-Realism”.

His painting technique began in a childlike, folksy style, evolving into paintings of extreme photo realism and sculptures of illusionistic still-lives of butchered meats, pigs’ heads (MPRG). Ivan spent a short time working in a prosthetics laboratory at Royal Melbourne Hospital and was able to create lifelike body parts. This skill was carried over into an ability to create convincingly accurate sculptures of ears, hands, pig heads and various cuts of meat. His most recent works explore the colours and action of Australian Rules football and horse racing and work has ranged from paintings to photography, public performance and installations, short films and sculpture.

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Stephen Eastaugh

Visiting Artist at Frankston Chisholm

Artist Talk and Short Movie Covering Antarctic Residency

Before any artist chat I like to get some information about the experience and qualifications of the person I am about to listen to. That little bit of research beforehand can set you up to listen with some understanding of where the person is coming from.

Stephen’s biography was extensive and impressive. He has a BFA from Melbourne University (VCA), a Diploma of Education from the University of Tasmania, and an Honorary Certificate of Achievement from the University of Oslo. He has also held over sixty solo exhibitions, several group exhibitions and is in the collections of the National Gallery of Australia, the National Gallery of Victoria and several other prestigious galleries worldwide.

With a few decades of practical experience as a working artist and teacher it was a pleasure to listen to this entertaining and informative speaker.

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