28 March 2012

Roaming. There's Something About Norah.

Wandering around Brisbane's Fortitude Valley was not only fun, but alerted me to a vibrant graffiti culture in Brisbane. Quite by accident I read HipsterMattic, a ripper book by Matt Granfield set in Brisbane, on my return to Newcastle. Not only was it laugh out loud funny, but it taught me a great deal about hipsters. Pear cider may be delicious, but you really should stop after two bottles – that's from my own experience. And being lame is cool, at least for now.

27 March 2012

Found. Fist.

I found this soggy drawing at a lookout somewhere between Napier and Taupo. The view was breathtaking, but on the ground strewn garbage got me thinking about why some people are incapable of using a bin. New Zealand is stunning, and I like how this drawing has an air of Kiwi authenticity about it.

25 March 2012

Found. Hard as Iron.

It was 2008, many homes across California were boarded up and on the streets of San Francisco, and there seemed to be an explosion in the number of homeless people living on the streets. As I stepped off a tram on Market Street, Chocolate Cisko's calling card was the first thing I noticed. With eyes and mouth covered, the monkey hints at how many homeless people must feel invisible to many passersby.

24 March 2012

Pinboard. Lurker

Work is well underway on a new series of Lurker covers, this time from Hong Kong where I took part in the Wearables as Media exhibition in Kowloon Tong. Newcastle will get to see the show later in the year, but in the meantime here's a sneak peak. The woman with the red bag had well-defined creases in her jeans.

22 March 2012

Art Martha. Tray Treats at ACP.

A day spent in Sydney visiting galleries is a treat. While Making Sense, Contemporary LA Photo Artists at the Art Gallery of New South Wales show was something of a disappointment  – works seemed to be taken out of context for no discernible reason – Stills Gallery and the Australian Centre for Photography in Paddington delivered the goods. Magnum Contact Sheets at Stills highlights the rawness and craft of the contact sheet. Charming not-quite-right photographs sit comfortably next to 'the' shot; that final image that articulates the photographer's intent and the mood of the time. A different tact is in play at the ACP with Sascha Weidner presenting her photographs in fast fading photographic trays. With art schools around the country ditching most analogue processes in favour of streamlined digital approaches, it's refreshing to see prints all lined up sitting in the chemicals that bought them to life. The beauty of the work though, is that those very chemicals may also lead to the death of the image as they transform the photographs over the course of the exhibition. Don't miss Unveiled/The Sydney Project. It's a whimsical wonder on Oxford Street.

21 March 2012

Pie Report. Cheesy Custard.

The top came away from this pie rather easily, giving me a good indication of what to expect from this Bribie Island bakery in Queensland. I often risk unusual taste sensations when it comes to pies, but unfortunately this cheese, tomato and bacon offering was all round average.

2.50 Pastry
2.75 Filling
2.25 Tastiness
2.50 Structure
2.50 Value


20 March 2012

Roaming. Tabitha.

Named after the Bewitched character, Tabitha is the coolest cat in Newcastle. She's super friendly, enjoys having her fluffy white fur patted and she loves the sun. Sometimes the simplest things, like patting a gorgeous cat, brings the most pleasure.

19 March 2012

Flipfactor. Little Miss Fancy Pants.

Yesterday David Jones shares were placed in a trading halt over concerns that earnings would be hit by fewer people using credit cards to shop. That's the story in a nutshell anyway. Before credit, people used to shop using mail order catalogues, like this one from 1973 which I found in someone's recycling in Surry Hills years ago. Flares were in and you could pick up a pair of Levi's jeans for $12.99 that, if pulled on could pull on freedom – that was the gist of the headline, and I'm not sure what it meant. From to cover to cover there are all manner of modern technologies and fabulous fashions including a purple woolen kaftan for dad. About halfway though, the intriguingly named Curiosity Shoppe appears offering pillow speakers, invisible thread for panty-hose and a 'Snatch-n'-Catch box designed to not only hold tissues, but to store used ones in the car. This catalogue is a time capsule from a bygone era.

18 March 2012

Found. Miracle Birth.

I found this note on a walk in one of Canberra's nature parks where it seemed oddly out of place. The now detached attachment, hinted at by the rusted paperclip mark, surely would have offered a clue to understanding this baffling statement. Being miles inland, there certainly weren't any seahorses giving birth nearby.

14 March 2012

Roaming. All Lined Up.

It's a good thing the Britney shaved head look never caught on. Still, it seems this store in Sydney's hippest inner city suburb Surry Hills, is hoping the trend may well catch on yet.

13 March 2012

Roaming. Peace Man.

King Street never fails to provide new graffiti. There is always something different, which I find surprising considering how quiet it is generally.

12 March 2012

Flipfactor. Borderline Pass.

It's fair to say that a considerable amount of the discussion in William Poundstone's fascinating book Are You Smart Enough to Work at Google? went over my head. That's not to say it was a waste of time. On the contrary, with every page flipped I found myself deep in thought trying as best as I could to solve the problems offered. I was proud of my response to the helium balloon conundrum, and while I completely glazed over at any algebraic equation, I still gave it a shot – I quickly worked out after a short-lived stint in a three unit maths class at high school that two unit general would suffice for me. I didn't like algebra. Maybe that's why I'm an artist and not an accountant. The best part of William's book wasn't the conundrums so much as the insight into the interview process at giants like Google. The stories and anecdotes are sometimes humorous, sometimes impolite and at other times provoking, and William writes for people like me to understand. Take the challenge, you may surprise yourself.

10 March 2012

Spin. NunSexMonkRock.

This year marks the 30th anniversary of Nina Hagen's first solo album, the inimitable NunSexMonkRock. Basia Bonkowski introduced me to the single Smack Jack through her music program Rock Around the World on SBS, and in a suburban Sydney room I watched in awe, while my brother watched in horror. NunSexMonkRock fuses unlikely musical styles: equal shots of rock, opera, punk, gospel and reggae forming a truly unique sound. Opening track Antiworld sets the scene with a tale of Jesus: A man is possessed by a demon so Jesus casts out the demon into a pig, which then runs into the street screaming. Every track is distinctly different with no fillers. It's easy to see why Nina is considered the Mother of Punk in some circles, with tracks like Dread Love, Born in Xixax, Iki Maska and Kosma Shiva showing an individuality that few would dare. Thirty years on NunSexMonkRock is still as fresh as when it was when it was released in 1982. No record collection should be without it. Today is Nina's birthday day, so here's a tribute to you Nina. Happy Birthday.

Roaming. Shenzhen.

As the train from Hong Kong sped towards its destination, the sprouting city of Shenzhen came into view. I was quite unprepared for the assault about to hit my senses, something I mentioned in my Wiggin' Out post on Ikon's blog. I've finally had a chance to upload some of my photos from Shenzhen on Turnstile, so why not take a peek.

09 March 2012

Doodler. Man Up.

Compared to recent Cosmo covers, this 1970s Cosmo girl is dressed like a nun in a pink head to toe outfit. Considering the number of cover lines, I'm surprised the doodler found space to add elongated eyelashes, a goatee and a moustache. Still, it's a rather fetching look.

06 March 2012

Glossy. Divine.

Today marks the 24th anniversary of Glenn Milstead's death. Glenn's infamous alter ego, Divine, played jaw-dropping characters in the films of Trash King John Waters. In fact, Divine was the star, no one could hold a light to her vibrance or come near the professionalism of her character portrayals. Who can forget Dawn Davenport in Female Trouble, Francine Fishpaw in Polyester or Edna Turnblad in Hairspray? Divine sung too. Her disco trash album The Story So Far spawned several hits including Native Love, Shoot Your Shot, I'm So Beautiful and the dazzling You Think You're a Man — I recall seeing that song performed live on Countdown much to my parents horror I'm sure. And I freely admit to seeing her live show in a Sydney nightclub — pure filth, wild and fun — in the 1980s.

05 March 2012

Found. Not Yet Met.

Quaint little villages like Morpeth provide fun day trips as well as opportunities to shop. Known as the town that launched the Arnott's Biscuits Brand, Morpeth has another treasure lurking in the back streets: a peculiar Curiosity Sale. The sale tables are littered with cheap gems complete with historical tales about the objects, or who owned them. Written by the crew of old ladies and men who work there, this curiosity sale has charm in spades. I'm told the first Sunday of the month is the time to go.

04 March 2012

Roaming. Stepping Out.

I was intrigued by this King St door sign. Steph sure knows what she wants, where to get it and just how long it will take. Exactly what are potential workers? I think we have some where I work.

01 March 2012

Pinboard. New Do.

Fashion designer Alex Perry seems to have a pair of sunglasses permanently perched atop his bald head. Whether snapped by the papparazzi or walking down the catwalk post show, the sunglasses never move. I wondered what he might look like with new frames and got busy with cutting and pasting.