“Art should comfort the disturbed and disturb the comforted,” quoted by someone important I’m sure, but I’m a dyslexic photographer, not a writer, so I really don’t care about the typical rules – ‘cause, I’m someone that finds art comforting.
With the tone of the column set, I want you to know that if you’re feeling frustrated at all, I advise you to pull out this page and follow the folding instructions to fancy yourself a new hat – then post it on Facebook. By doing so you’ll be signalling to the social network that you’re partaking in a cultural revolution.
Still with me? Great! Now we’ve gotten rid of the boring people by infiltrating their logical minds with a creative activity to remind their inner child of the joys of making something with only the materials presently available and creating art for art’s sake.
In undertaking the basic task of making the hat, you’ll be exposed to the seven-step process of making art:
Step 1: This will be awesome
Step 2: This is hard
Step 3: This is shit
Step 4: I’m shit
Step 5: This might be ok!
Step 6: This is awesome!
Step 7: I’m bored. I wonder if… (repeat steps ad infinium)
Okay, I’ve been given power to wield over the arts in this column – or hat – if you will. Make no mistake; the power has gone to my head, so let’s dive in.
I believe, now more than ever, that art in Gippsland is important. A simple statement, but one I never said aloud growing up here. Unless you were that one kid who ran away and became uber successful in New York, art was a waste of your life or worse, a ‘bludge’ until you woke up in the real world and got a real job. But a career in art was never an option if you couldn’t paint or your art teacher said you were ‘crap’. Explore art and you’ll find that there are an unlimited array of mediums, and that being ‘good’ or ‘talented’ doesn’t even come into equation to your success. It’s all about the process, baby.
Here’s the thing about artists, if we could be anything else except an artist, we would be, but we can’t. We tried to once, but it’s just like a jar of Nutella: once it’s open there’s no going back.
Just like accountants need numbers for their world to work, artists need art and the best part is that unlike completing my BAS (Business Activity Statement) for the ATO (Australian Taxation Office) – there isn’t one ‘correct’ way to make art.
In the real word, I’m a dyslexic chick who struggles to read, spell or understand basic math’s. My place is more likely to be on a farm, pulling cows tits for a minimum wage ‘til I find a husband to support me. But in the art world, I’m a pioneer. I’m PollyannaR, The BIG Picture Photographer. I create the world’s longest photographs that are seen by millions and I have my own business on Raymond Street, Sale. I spend my days making family portraits and developing community art projects. I’ve achieved all this by the time I was 26-years old, while living in Gippsland, and now I’m writing for an amazing paper. In the real world I’m a total dropout, but in the art world I’m kicking ass. But I fear that I’ve gone too deep too fast. After all, this is our first time together. I’ll go slowly, I promise.
What is art? — Art is space. It’s silence, like the end of a sentence – just maybe not my sentences. It’s a moment that can create hours. It’s a sound that’ll echo throughout lifetimes. It’s the good stuff. It’s the bad stuff. It takes your breath away or outright enrages you. At it’s best it makes you react and at it’s worst it makes you think. We all make art every minute of the day. Your handwriting is a ballet and washing the dishes can be a symphony. Quieten your mind and focus on the present action, you can create art and then the world will never look the same again.
You can now make a living as an artist from Gippsland. It’s the most amazing life ever – trust me. It’s not easy, but nothing worth doing ever is. I like to think this paper and my creative tribe is proof that times have changed. So step up, create some noise and make your mark. There’s never been more excitement or more opportunity in the Gippsland art world than right now.
2016 featured the massive (!) announcement of not one, but two Small Town Transformations grants for Gippsland. In August, Regional Arts Victoria selected Lake Tyers Beach and The Western Port Township of Pioneers Bay to receive $350,000 in funding – besting 71 other towns. The grant will be dished out over the next 18 months to local and imported artists, as they reinvent these towns as thriving culture hubs. Plus, you’ll benefit from nation-wide promotion. Hopefully making funding for your future projects easier to garner.
Let me spell it out for you, if you’re an artist and want to make cool stuff – there’s now money for you to do it! There’s your introduction to the current state of art in Gippsland.
Please take time for art this summer. Do it, see it, buy it, enjoy it, question it and LIVE IT! Take it from me, however it ends up, it will be a masterpiece and, just like your new hat, it won’t matter at all, but will mean everything.
Illistration by Shane Gavin