Strong paper quality often catches my attention. Curse of the printer’s daughter. Sometimes this can undermine, take over the content inside. This is designed beautifully, a real eye capture. The little ‘hello’ story introducing Issue two of Undertow magazine, quashes my fear. A strong do-it-yourself mentality has been cemented into the rib cage of Undertow’s editorial team. Most people would go to hospital to complete the second stage of a serious bone break, but hey, go figure. The back shed, your dad and a rusty saw is just as good. Subdued colours, photographs accompanying a handful of articles covering music, art and the everyday flicks in my hand all glossy and stiff.

undertowFirst, highlight is local Tassie artist Calypso Brown, her Soundcloud releases in my ears. Strong and elegant voice taking electronic steps, discovering her possibilities, and what direction she wants to take next. Her track Hunting from Calypso released in June, mellows the air with sweet beats and played for pleasure. Field Of Violets has a capella harmonies rounding throughout her exquisite range. The journalism isn’t heavy, they just let the artist take the wheel which can be dangerous if the interviewee is caught on a day when they haven’t got much to say. The key is to get them to chat, away from their speciality, what one wouldn’t expect them to talk about. Rather hear about the aphids on their morning roses, the salt on afternoon margharitas than how they write their music. There is more to Calypso Brown than the struggle, the boredom, where you traveled, the growth one experiences as a musician. I look forward to discovering more and meatier chats.

A conversation with Theia and Grace might sparkle. The mere mention of Facebook has me squirming, but the kids dig it, so the start of that chat is forgiven. Like a cold engine, the timing is all wrong, off kilter. Soon the pistons fire. Visual Bulk is a new art space in Hobart. It’s all about how people ‘navigate spaces’ and the challenge of determining “what’s the work and what’s the space”. Once the pics show themselves I get it. Overall, this sounds like a cool gallery.

Really loved Buying a Banger? Trisso know’s his stuff and give’s great advice and lip on just about any car you can think of. This issue’s banter is ‘Do Bargains Really Exist When Purchasing Cheap (Shitty) Cars? Well some are “rare as unicorn poo”and the goss is all the hipsters are getting to the bargains first! Surely down in Tas you have a better chance than on the mainland. S’pose rust would be an issue, must ask Trisso next time.

There’s a bit of collaborative art by Mish Meijers and Tricky Walsh. Their #dearministerforwoman photography packing some visual punch. It’s amazing what meaning a watermelon and makeshift wooden leg shackles can summon. Hobart Hackerspace is a community run place for ‘geek rebels’ with plenty of machinery to pull apart and share in new designs. They get loads of equipment donated to by decommissioned radio and tv stations as well. A place of big ideas and contributions to scientific research. Looks like serious secret business to me.

I love Undertow’s mission. “The rise of individualism sees more and more people trying new things to improve their life, plug a hole or gain independence. This issue, we wanted to talk about all that stuff”. This may be an old issue, even a gem of a house up for rent has probably had it’s second tenancy, but as a time capsule of winter arts in one of the most wonderful states of Australia, you can see how brilliance develops in isolation. So that’s issue 2, how does one get hold of more?

Art Book Review Reviews Zines & Journals



The industry. Anyone with an ounce of smarts will pretty quickly sense the delusion from those in control. You feel it, it surrounds you. The walls you hit, the absolute tossers you meet in a nepotistic room of mediocre. A back woods of stale ideas, non risk takers with no chance of letting any outsiders adding to the creative gene pool. Top heavy management more concerned with the idea of being part of it.  A structure that stifles. Money wasted on just keeping those in power and all their cronies in a job. If you are not contributing, it’s time to take the long snow walk, I say. Anyway, it’s just too many games and a waste of time for those who see through the bullshit. This is how it will always be.

As consumers, us discerning ones, we begin the search. We tell the spoon feeders to piss off, we turn them off. Easy solution. There will always be lazy mouth breathers holding their remotes, nob twisters whose tastes are imprisoned by mainstream manipulators perpetuating low expectations for advertisers to slot into. “It’s up to the individual how much you want to play the game” Screenwriter Dean Cavanagh’s brilliant insight into the film industry should be part of life’s curriculum, not just film school. His passionate wisdom and ‘suffer no fools’ approach is yet another refreshing individual to cross my path. Sound and vision, his creative is non stop. A synchronistic barrage that melds into his followers. Firing wires, thoughts and ideas. The secret collaborative, inspiration experienced just by viewing his work.

It is too difficult to encapsulate on a page such an amazing artist. Dean is extraordinary. He doesn’t bombard with work. Taking his time between passions. Though what I have found so far definitely excites. So I thought I would start with his directorial debut. 2012 movie release, Kubricks. He and son Josh Cavanagh are given the reigns to see what they can conjure. Hence my spleen vent. It’s movies like these, small budget beauties that brighten me more than any heart string pulling, bulging blockbuster could ever do. Filmed over five days, this is pure heart and humour.

It is a vision of psychological games centreing around the power trips of Kubrick fan, Donald (Roger Evans). A complete egoist, directing his own imagination. His life an insane play filled with Kubrickian symbolism. It has plenty. The story moves through a neurolinguistics therapy session with real life neurolinguistic therapist and Chinwag host Chris Madden. These intimate barefoot sessions tell all and nothing. There is no way to get through to him. Between giggles, the real story of Donald comes out.  He is more in love with the ‘idea of things’ than having any real skill to fulfil them. His motivational tactics are insane. When the demands of a psychotic get screamed at you from a megaphone and in the confines of a yurt, it is not long before you see the cracks appear. An ongoing prop that had me and the cast in stitches. I loved the reality of that. What made this story move for me was its look at the creative experience, the ‘process of not having a process’. A dogma of having fun, making it so exciting to witness. You watch the bewildered cast within the cast weathering his onslaught. Is he “a madman genius” or “somebody from the mental institution who has just been for a walk“. Have they been duped by some maniac taking the piss. The acting is adorable throughout. It seems to have no script, an ad-lib magic that rumbles along with an absurd laughter that is infectious.

Actors Joanna Pickering & Gavin Bain are flimflammed into a chance to fresh air it and quickly get sucked into the trauma. The scenario experiencing its own certain ‘heart of darkness’ inside an ‘apocalypse now’ feel, in a field, on Hay On Wye. Joanna is sceptical, Gavin’s eyes are wide shut. Big cheers must go to producer Alan McGee doing his best to placate the madman on his property and believing in the whole project. He plays ‘down to earth landowner’ so perfectly, so patient and bewildered. Donald’s catalyst to reality. Tom Mitchell’s photography has moments of stunning but also that perfect fly on the wall personal moments. a2172169501_16Its pace within the soundtrack, written by Dean Cavanagh enhanced everything, delivering that madness that was so prevalent. A hyperreal homage to the mood that A Clockwork Orange soundtrack conjured when I was a kid. A reminiscence that exceeded my ears.  Loads of slow mo and white, countryside and masks, love the salted egg scene. Its documentary bones scraped close to real life.




You can watch Kubricks worldwide release here.  You can connect with more of Dean’s mind via twitter.

His latest The Secret life Of the Novel will be arriving in October 2016.



Art Dean Cavanagh film Reviews

Micheline Robinson – Artist

One of the places I frequently visit is New Zealand. North or South, these split islands are equally mind blowing in their beauty. Each so different. From the crazy thermal activity in the north, vineyards, glaziers to the stunning Remarkables in the south (so called, I gather, because they are just, ‘remarkable’). The beaches, long and lonely. Black sand to white winds, so much art on the shores. Weed formations, bleached bones, driftwood and stones. The land vibrates with energy, still growing and forming, so ancient and yet still finding itself. The rainforests, and rivers, Kauri trees, monoliths of wood oozing amber and stories of the past.

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‘Self Belief’ by Micheline Robinson

So there was something familiar when I first laid eyes on Micheline Robinson’s paintings. Originally from Ottawa, Canada then via the Wirral, UK, Micheline up roots and took the long journey to the Kapiti coast near one of my favourite groovy cities, Wellington. Outside the city, it doesn’t take long to find your own little wilderness. Micheline is absorbed in hers. Her studio a factory of her thoughts. Suspended glazed layers and mirrors of colour and emotion. She believes in focusing her perception on light and space. It is there she sees the patterns formed in the urban and the natural landscapes around us. You can see the curl of the ferns, the dense undergrowth, the sky and all the elements. Paintings that are maps of colour, the unseen layers she sees between the trees. It’s where you find her secrets.

Back when Micheline lived in England, she founded and organised The Open Studio Tour in the Wirral Peninsula, a collective that is still going strong today. Micheline now somewhat secluded is now stimulated by the gorgeous landscape that surrounds her.

Yes, my home, the landscape is enough to motivate me. I’m still in awe of everything I see and am happy to soak it all in then work away in my studio. I must admit I have become somewhat of a hermit since my move here.

The hermit life is very seductive, I am envious.

In the UK, I networked easily by going to art events in Liverpool, which I find a little trickier here, living that much further from an arts hub such as Wellington. However, I’m quite pleased with how things are, love that I can hop on a bike and see Kingfishers and horses then come back refreshed for a new day of painting. From the studio I hear the Tuis (which is a local bird with 2 voice boxes) and I am surrounded by trees. 

How bizarre, you wonder why one would evolve to need two voice boxes, and to have such colourful plumage. NZ is one of the kings when it comes to weird, exotic. I’ve seen those crazy Wetas.

When it comes to colour you use a huge palette, you’d think some of the tints in your landscapes are exaggerated. But if you have experienced the place you understand it is like a blending of things, the life that passes through as well. Like many visitors to New Zealand you must have felt that breathtaking awe, so much space and solitude, how did you react to the new landscape around you?

At first I felt the distance to the Northern hemisphere. It felt surreal to be here. I had never traveled so far South, let alone live this far away from my roots. I was in awe of how beautiful it was. I remember landing in Wellington and seeing all these white homes adorning little lush green mountains. The size of the palm trees and the colours in the landscape were things my brain had to absorb as part of a new reality. I was also struck with the rawness of the landscape in some areas. You can feel a sense of danger, of urgency living here. Perhaps it is the idea of being on a small island in the middle of an Ocean, the fact that trees are allowed to grow in a much freer way as they are living in conjunction with humans as opposed to being oppressed and tailored to human taste. The cliffs and the jagged volcanic type rocks adorning the sea coast of where I live

I always say it feels like the place could just stand up and start walking, it feels like you are on the back of an animal.

I still feel this experience as surreal. Some days I forget and am part of a normal society and then other days, it hits me. Especially when I walk at night and see the milky way (something I couldn’t see living on the coast in the UK). I feel much more connected to earth living here. Earth in the sense of nature but also of its place in our universe

Yes the Cathedral of stars just stops you in your tracks. You feel so minuscule. Besides yourself what artists adorn your walls and are close to your heart?

Artists that are close to my heart, quite a few. I would say Emily Carr was one of my first influences. Today I love artists that push the language of paint forward, artists such as Dil Hildebrand, Cecily Brown and Ibrahim Hussein. In my home I have mainly works collected from artists I have known personally throughout my life and images and books from artists that I have always loved such as Jack Shadbolt. I would love to own a Michael Abraham as he was a great inspiration when I started out in Vancouver.

Emily Carr, wonderful colour impression, her forest is a dark flow. I wonder if you have found or have always been drawn to the indigenous connection of place through your work

Yes, there seems to always be a recurring theme of nature in my work. As a child it was a place of solace as had often found humans to be quite complicated creatures. I love the urban but my work seems to be drawn to places that bring us outside of our circumstances. I do tackle political issues quite frequently in my work but often through a nature context. When there was the Lybia uprising against Gadaffi for example, I did a painting of an empty shell (broken regime) on top of a white blanket (in which he was wrapped). The whole scene was of a seaside but it was a metaphor for what was happening.

The curl of ferns, the dense undergrowth, wall of nature you are experiencing now is very different to The Wirral.

Yes, very different. I do miss the beach that went on for miles at low tide on the Wirral and the sound of the migrating birds in their thousands at take off, but the wall of nature is amazing in NZ and have tried to depict it in my newest works. The sense of urgency we experience when we are confronted with raw nature. This experience is for me in some way an antidote to our obsessiveness with the problems we experience between ourselves as humans. There seems to be a disconnect in societies between nature and ourselves. Perhaps why I focus on it in my art.

Another reason why it is appealing for me trapped in this big city. You make us forget what you have described as “geopolitical boundaries of our world that allows the viewer to connect, regardless of experience” I glimpsed only a few photographic explorations that you have done. Very different to your painting. Still bold in it’s stained glass of colour but more of an exploration of micro movements, beautifully abstract. Your sand looked as if you were going to blow away like a little tumbleweed. Sand and glass, I see your works as windows. You can just imagine the light changing them. So is photography something you might explore more of or have explored in the past or is the smell of paint too addictive?

I love photography. I have always loved it but have not as of yet had the money to properly invest in equipment. However this year am planning on getting a new camera (a bit of a debate between that and a Cubase type workstation as also compose music :)). Photography does feed my art. Not in a copying context but it allows me to notice things around me in a different way. It has helped in developing an eye for compositions and also allowed to get closer to the details of my subjects. I first invested in a better camera to capture the birds in flight on the Wirral. I do have the photography bug and am now ready for a more advanced camera that will have better resolution and really bring forth what I see. 

More of Michelines paintings and projects can be found here.

You can also connect with her on twitter


Hand Job Zine

The Zine gods have been against me. A truly bizarre conspiracy. For months now, I have longed for a Hand Job, that lit zine that teased me from afar. John Cooper Clarke held his copy, I’d read the blog, all the accolades. The deal was set, it was on it’s way. Then one rainy morning around 7am there was a knock at the door. I opened it blurry eyed and see the guy from the share house down the road, holding an empty envelope. It was wrapped inside a plastic bag with a Royal Mail explanation printed in bold black ink on its cover. He, was all hunched, and not making eye contact. Holding it out to me by his fingertips, like it contained anthrax. “Think this is for 41 not 47” he mumbled and scurried off. Totally surreal. I closed the door and shook off the water, examining it like CSI whatever. Checked out some likely suspects and discovered yes, it was my zines. WAS! being the correct word. As it seems now they were strewn like decoupage in the bottom of a wet ER postbox somewhere in England. The Queen was very apologetic. So I broke the news to Hand Job HQ and a week later a new bundle arrived fresh and dry. Three issues from the vaults, a time capsule of how their style has developed and a who’s who of great British indie lit.

CLjvTS4UMAAWXL0The manifesto hasn’t changed ‘Anarchy and Freedom’ just no more cut and paste shadows or bright red hand stitching. Gone all ‘la-de-dar’ as they say. In doing so they have lost none of their edge, cut with a sharper blade it feels somehow louder. The layout by Sophie Pitchford is stunning, playing with space and alignment, making the read flow without effort. Her photography that I have seen is superb. Of course having great writers, artists and photographers to layout helps make the whole process feel like it just naturally falls into place on the page.

So, to the writers and Issue 7. All the best lit zines in Britain seem to have a Ridgwell up their sleeve. This first story actually sounds like a typical night in his company. ‘The young, hungry and rejected by mainstream‘ creating ‘the culture you deserve. We are the SHAMBLEISTS, Now Fuck Off!‘ Such a bitterly creative spleen vent. Frustration and anger turn into characters. Helter Skelter is a ‘right on’ table turner. A fantastic mad fantasy based somewhat on the truth of trying to become a writer. Great to see Joe has just added a few new releases to his shelves of limited editions. Ridgwell Stories via Bottle Of Smoke Press and Burrito Deluxe via Leamington Books are both well worth a squiz.

So back to HJ and I land inside Ian Cusack’s Universe Of Life. This feels like a sigh of intergalactic integration into the big lights of London. A grinning one pager that I really enjoyed.  Andrew Climance’s thoughts on his grandmother are as soft and comforting as a hug in her dressing gown. Recalling and really only understanding that day of grief years later through poetry.  If two snippets from Dean Lillymans’ brilliant novel Billy And The Devil via Urbane Publications doesn’t pique your interest, a quick look at his website surely will. Baby Sitting and Jack Is My Dad’s Dog attack all my senses. Specifically illustrated by Paulina Kalwarska, it becomes hyper real, beautifully ugly. Very much like the feelings the somewhat disturbing This Could Be A Good Thing by James Collin Kelly evokes. Each character speaking in turn. Each their own agenda. Three worlds and the collision in my mind cripples me.

3 Poems by Gwil James Thomas, titles that are poetry themselves, Things Shouted At A Full Moon Whilst Howling Like A Drunk, Rabid Dog – Poem Scribbled Onto A Sick Bag At Thirty Thousand Feet and my favourite Reflecting On Everything That I Loved About Your Art Exhibition… totally agree on the “bring back free toys in cereals” bloody nanny state! Paul Heatley’s 40p conversation is a well written piece straight out of the pages of experience. Mathew Williams saucy silhouettes compliments Neil Laurenson’s Under the Obscenity Act. Time, death and National Archives often reveal all sorts of what the’s? One no more bizarre then Maggie and her aversion to sex toys. Worried about injury, and inspired by the rants of crazy Mary, she wanted them all banned…just think she wasn’t using hers right. Which brings me to Suzie Cichy’s illustrations. Doodles of doodles and bottles of plonk – just hilarious. Like a nightmare of identikit images from a tv binge of Embarrassing Bodies, but it’s a nice little breather. There are some beaut pics in this issue, including some artwork which is best viewed on Hand Job’s website. The Plutocrat by Michael Powell focuses on the polarization of wealth. His annotation makes a powerful matter-of-fact statement on society. Then there is Mick Marston who, to me, had a touch of the Clockwork Orange‘s about this piece, not quite sure why it sings to me like that, maybe it’s the menace of a big eyeball. Farmers Market Of Organic Egos, well need I say more, Colin James says it all in an anaphylactic nutshell. Finally it’s time to Wander the dichotomy of dreams “Through peacocked feathered, Waterfallen beauty” editor Jim Gibson had me at ‘slag heaps’ a great piece and street scape to match. I now have a new boyfriend, his name is Magic Mike New Year, New Me.  But I think the only thing he strips is lead from church porches. Apparently he may be dead. Great Zine.

To keep up to date with past and future issues, look here




Art Poetry Zines & Journals

No Time For Love

Chloë Sevigny zine


It started with Larry Clark’s 90’s jaw dropper Kid’s, twenty years later and she never grows up.  Her dark doe circles and uber cool fashion sense, Chloë Sevigny, has seen her life in the tabloids. The ultimate page 6 girl. Who’s who and who’s doing who to who. Chloë seems to wear New York Post gossip like a badge of honour, especially when it comes to her personal life. So here she swings it back. Such a cute zine, like it was put together on a floor on a rainy day, No Time For Love is a collection of photos of the men she has loved through her life and secrets and mishaps via newspaper clippings. Personal photos from photo booths to polaroids, friends clicked images at parties and clubs, kissed, sweating, blurred and natural. Stickers hide the identities of Chloë’s heart, No Time For Love published by Innen Zines it is now part of an impressive list of artzines to be released by graphic designer and publisher Aaron Fabian. Zine heads be warned, this is high end in price and probably more for fans of Chloë. One thing though, you definitely get a sense that this comes from authentic hands.

Art Zines & Journals

Penny Goring

ZOOM ZOOM by Penny Goring


pic by Penny Goring

When my mind feels there is no where to go, smeared with the white noise of life, a vision often appears. A bright square as big as a postage stamp wakes inside. Penny’s face a flicker n zap, shaking up dormant parts of me. A static stimulus of words and colour. A black beauty screaming in an isolation tank of perfect originality. An artist so stripped bare, she becomes invisible so she can slip inside you and play with your guts. She thinks she is her parents ‘costly heartbreaking disappointment’, but those who can’t get enough of her approach, her creativity, know that we will never stop looking. Her tagline of self knowing “i am in the ludicrous position, do you like it or absolutely adore it?” always at the forefront of our response, for me, it usually is the latter.

Penny Goring is a London artist. I knew that about her first. I was immediately captured by her digital strokes, her movement. It wasn’t until I started following her closely that I discovered her larger pieces of writing. Who knew she had a book? Several in fact. I have started with the Zoom Zoom. Not one for the heavy self promote, Penny seems to want you to find her, an almost shy gentleness that sits side by side with her imperviousness. The art in her words shaped to tell her stories is as colourful, evocative and fierce as her visual work, lit with even more taboo, unease, humour and beauty. A story only she could have been inside of. It’s a froopy dark ride dripping in trip. Penny is honest and fearless. Sad threads bind the tapestry of poems, a beautiful ugliness weaves inside the rug you get to ride on. The Zoom Zoom is not a new release, but it will remain on it’s electronic shelf fresh as forever, hopefully waiting to be snapped by eyes and minds more adept at expressing what a powerful piece of literature this is.

The Zoom Zoom is available via http://www.amazon.co.uk/Zoom-Penny-Goring-ebook/dp/B0053CZHI0/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1420976243&sr=1-1

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Art Book Review

Kelly Sullivan


Artist Kelly Sullivan – photo credit Suze McLeod

The Rocks is in Sydney’s old quarter. Our history huddled on the harbour. Its come a long way since the first huts of twigs and mud to the gentrified tourist hub it is now. Where convicts and first settlers built and struggled amongst the rats and the rum economy, now dwell artists, chic markets and chef hatted restaurants

It’s nice to stroll through the streets, visit old pubs unmarred by pokies, where conversations are had soaking in the sun and sipping amber. The amber may have altered my state of conscious, but so did an image that shone in a gallery window. Ticky Tacky Little Boxes it said. An invisible hand grabbed me by the collar and hauled me into Ken Dones old artspace. Instead of his tourist trapped imagery, I was entertained by a few artists from the Northern Rivers Creative.

One artist I couldn’t keep my peepers off was Kelly Sullivan. She has an eye for the iconic, for colour and finding an ordered placement for nonsense. She takes the individual – snippets, scenarios, words, pictures – from her mind and suburban surroundings and makes them connect. Besides the finger smearing artist in America, the General Hospital actress and the nun from the Nicaraguan orphanage, I found the real Kelly Sullivan, Australian mixed media artist hiding in her Byron Bay bunker. I am very fortunate that Kelly has found some time to put down the scissors and chat about her art.

I was in an bric-a-brac shop in Kangaroo valley a couple of weekends ago and they had thousands of antique postcards from around the world. I immediately thought ‘Kelly Sullivan would have a field day here’ – kid in a lolly shop. Is your material collection getting out of control?

Yes, you could say that…I am a self confessed hoarder of many things. Luckily I live in the country and have the space for it, even though my poor husband would refute that comment.

I have a garage, a shed and a caravan pretty much full of ‘my’ stuff, but the funny thing is – I know where everything is. I was looking for cloth patches to sew onto some art the other day that I have had in a drawer since 1982. I knew exactly where they were. So my argument to hoard things ‘because you may need them one day’ is relevant.

The pop iconography that you choose, the images, biggies from the 70’s are an influential era for you. I’ve seen your Clint Eastwood, Jane Fonda, Cassius Clay. These were some of the faces from America that we were subjected to most in this decade . The resurgence and reinvention of Pop Art, is this something you have always been attracted to?

Like most artists, I guess my work is largely based on circumstances that surrounded me.

I was born to a family of great iconic imagery and pop culture of the 20thCentury.

My parents met at an Elvis look-a-like competition when they were 16, and my older sisters – one being a lesbian Sharpie, and the other a Big M model, were two glaring examples, albeit opposite poles, of dynamic 70’s icons. Hence, my work is fundamentally grounded in graphic pop culture.

Ticky Tacky Little Boxes

Ticky Tacky Little Boxes

Kelly has an aerial approach to the imagery she places on canvas, like word and image topography. One glides and hovers over – up close to enjoy the detail and afar to reveal simulcraes which the viewers mind interprets.

Your map series are my favourites, and possibly your signature art – Road To Nowhere, all its negatives and dead ends, cars stopped in bottlenecks, carparks and one way streets. How did this series progress, do you have the theme in place and continue to build new landscapes?

Landscapes have remained a constant in my art, They are a powerful example of personal and cultural reflection. I love to use text as a narrative, documenting contemporary and bygone views of language.

This work is based on vintage cartography that I collect and the iconic pop usage provides a distinct time and place, as well as social and cultural trends that often have an underlying comical edge that is consistent with my deadpan aesthetic. I love the Road to Nowhereseries as today, people think ‘no’ is a bad word. They see it as a word for failure, not feedback. It is a word of limitation not freedom. We are told as parents that we shouldn’t say ‘no’ to our children, even though as adults, they will be asked to tow the ‘no’ line in many circumstances.

It’s so easy to say yes. Yes to yet another commitment, yes to an overly optimistic deadline, yes to charity events, yes, yes, yes!

This is why we have to start getting into the habit of saying no. No to things that just don’t fit, no to things that just aren’t the most important right now, and no to many things that you simply couldn’t give a shit about!

There, I said it…..NO! haha…feels good don’t it!

Is Ticky Tacky Little Boxes from the same series?

Yes, Ticky Tacky came about after exploring these urban/suburban map scenarios, and I suddenly thought, what would happen if I lifted the roof off of all those little houses and exposed the people within them? I chose Barbie and Ken to represent us in more true-to-life roles that are not seen within the Mattel design room – representing gay marriage, single parenting, drug & alcohol addiction, sex workers, obesity, menopause and independent single minded individuals who just chose to live alone without the spinster/bachelor label.

The art work title Ticky Tacky Little Boxes”is based on an old folk song from 1962.

The song is a political satire about the development of suburbia and refers to suburban tract housing as ‘little boxes’ of different colors, and which ‘all look just the same.’


Game Over stream of conscious thrown into a board game scenario is a fantastic piece. Do you find this a melancholic work, that ones life can just be concentrated into the trivial or more humourous?

kelly 1

Game Over

Game Over was a total stream of consciousness painting indeed. It was funny watching the responses it provoked when I had to sit with it when minding the gallery and watch people be drawn into reading it. One guy shook his head and told me ‘I needed help’ and walked out – other people laughed their heads off? I could have sold that painting ten times over, it seemed to attract a wide audience. I have experienced some very unusual circumstances involving life and death over the last 8 years or so. I happened to be on the remote island snorkeling with my little girl when Steve Irwin was dragged onto the beach from out of nowhere and he died right there on the beach? It was a surreal moment in time and still seems crazy to think about even now. A few years after that a young student at a High School I worked at died tragically in the school yard which made headlines all around Australia, (let alone the tidal wave that erupted in the small community that I live in), and not long after that my Dad (who lived with me) died in a car accident? I guess what I was trying to convey in that painting is really that life is short and unexpected and you’re lucky if you get to the end of the game, so be thankful for what you have and above all don’t forget to laugh!

I remember seeing some other great pieces on Barbie, I heard these have got snapped up.

     Yes, Barbie has undoubtedly done well. What a complex character she is? Someone should (or probably already has) written a thesis on her evolution. Her inventor Ruth Handler said Barbie was a solution for girls who wanted to imagine adult roles rather than just play mother with their dollies, and she was the first toy to multi-culturalize her product line, even though they are always dressed in stereo-typical ethnic clothing. Barbie has also had her critics: the accusations from feminists that she reinforces sexism, and represents a young woman with questionable brainpower and a near-impossible body shape. Personally I think we have just over thought a cool plastic doll in pretty clothes and Barbie has become consumed with consumerism and image because our modern world has…

How does it feel to sell a piece, beside woot woot $$$.  Are they hard to part with like giving up your children for adoption?

I used to find it hard to part with artworks, but now I find it quite simple. Now that I am painting full time, I simply wouldn’t have the space to keep them all (where would I hoard my other shit?) I did sell the Cassius Claypainting at a NYC art fair and regretted it, so I painted it again and gave it to my husband as a Christmas present.

Do you like to know a bit more about the person buying your art?

It was great doing a Pop Up show recently as I got to mind the gallery and chat to people about my art, which is something that really only happens in a whirlwind at art openings, that I inevitably drink too much wine at, and therefore don’t make sense! Its nice to get emails from people that show where they have hung it – its comforting to know they have gone to a good home. This doesn’t happen often as galleries rarely disclose their mailing lists or buyers, as they want to be the ones representing you.

Besides map series I have seen the fun, colour & vibrancy of your work. I think they are from an exhibition you had in Mexico. I am sure this beautiful place inspired.

Unfortunately my work has travelled far more extensively than I have. I had an opportunity to exhibit at a few art fairs last year in London, New York, Canada and Mexico. Shipping work is a costly thing, so it was the art or me that got to stow away in containers and set off into international transit. I would sit down at my kitchen table covered in coffee stains, vegemite and bills and clink a champagne on opening nights and say “well, one day, I will get to go with them”. As it happens – I have been offered an exhibition in London next March – and I have now been working on getting funding to get meand the artover there.

You’ve been exhibited in far off places, and pop up spaces. This is really great for local artists to get seen. Anything lined up for future exhibits.

I have been lucky to have exhibited and sold a lot of work overseas. Its something that you always dream about as a creative person, and sometimes I do have to stop and think “wow amazing? this is really happening – you just have to stay on the bike and keep peddling!”

So I’m doing just that. The hard thing about it is having to be everything – creator of ideas, marketer of work, chasing the next awards or competition deadlines or funding, chasing accounts, photographer and updating social media – blah blah blah! you know what I mean? This is small business issues that all small business people have to deal with I guess.

You are also involved in the wonderful music festival Splendor In The Grass. Another great line up this year with The National, Mumford & Sons, Architecture In Helsinki, Boy & Bear, Empire Of The Sun to name a few.

My husband and I met in rock venues in the early 90’s. We worked at the Annandale hotel, the Hopetoun and the Metro on George St in Sydney. We left there in 2000 moving North for a quieter life, but somehow Rock n Roll follows us wherever we go? Hence this is where we have landed and have been involved with SITG since then.

This year at SITG I am working in collaboration with these crafty girls from Sew n Tell

http://www.sewandtellfair.com/We have put together an Art & Craft tent for the first time and it’s going to be super freaking amazing! I will be managing the tent over the festival and I have also been making props and coming up with workshop ideas and its all hands on deck! Below are some links with more info:



photographer - Suze McLeod

photographer – Suze McLeod

You can also find links to Kelly’s art on her blog