create your own context

said jon conomos. i was in his class at sydney college of the arts. most of what he said was lost on me because i hadn't seen the films or read the books he was talking about. but i remember this one thing he said: create your own context.

here he is talking. this was what his lectures were like.

his website is full of quotes. his lectures used to be to. here's one - 

Leftquote What others criticize you for, cultivate: it is you. Rightquote
Jean Cocteau


study, trees in the city
papercut with pencil, ink and pen, study of a tree in the city.

i organised my paper collection into colours. it turns out i have a lot of pink and not so much green and blue. i'm making papercuts partly to avoid painting. i don't like cleaning brushes.

life without buildings

i love this band. they don't exist anymore and they only made one album. their lead singer kind of talk-sings random bits of text that give this sense of a person living through a period of time and writing down every piece of conversation that struck her as somehow important, things she might have said herself or heard a stanger say or heard on the radio or maybe things she read. it reminds me of something i used to do when i was young which was to eavesdrop and write down things i thought were notable or interesting word for word. at the time i thought i might want to write a script one day and i was thinking about how to write authentic dialogue, or something. or i just liked eaves-dropping maybe.

her name is Sue Tompkins she's a visual and performance artist. here is one of her performances. i think there's some kind of magic that happened when she worked with the band. here's an interview where she talks a bit about their process and how they worked together:

"They would just start playing, and then I’d watch that process for a bit — I find that, still, quite amazing, how the instruments go together. I write a lot, and so I’d take a couple of hundred sheets of paper with things I’d written and typed on them, and listen and listen, and sit on the floor and read through some words, singing along with it in my head. And then I’d just stand up and try it. As far as I could see, they were very accepting. I could have said anything, and they’d have gone “That’s great, Sue!” But they were very quiet, as well. I took them not saying anything as a good sign, although from anybody else I’d take non-communication as the biggest downer ever."

And on what worked about her collaboration with the band:

"I’m sure there are lots of musicians who make what they make through not wanting to make something else. They don’t want to sound like Television, so they make sure that they don’t. But I think my lack of knowing as much as Will and Chris and Robert was quite a good balance, in retrospect."

women in clothes

Women in Clothes: Why We Wear What We Wear (Paperback)

this book and i were meant to be together. and now we are.

Max Watters and Chris O'Doherty

two australian artists whose landscapes are exactly what i stared at out the car window for years. and out the classroom window. i can remember one of my teachers following my gaze and asking, 'what are you looking at out there?!'

both these guys are represented by watter's gallery in sydney. all these images are from their website.

i used to go to painting classes with max watters when i was in highschool. it was a whole bunch of old ladies and me in the back room of some community hall in singleton. it was right at our dinner time so i always ended up going on an empty stomach and by the time mum would pick me up i was starving. every week she would say, 'you're the real thing - a starving artist!' - i was not amused. i was a blood sugar low teenager.

i just looked him up recently and discovered his work. i hadn't really seen it at that time. he lived and worked in the upper hunter valley where i grew up (i don't know if he's still working). i love his take on this very familiar landscape.

he used to call all the old ladies muriel because he couldn't remember all their names. one of the muriels died and left her oil paints to max - he gave them to me. such a lovely bloke.

Chris O'Doherty is Reg Mombassa. I just love his recent landscape works. Some of these are australia and some are new zealand. here's a really nice little interview and studio visit.