A VISUAL LIFE | Creative Direction + Design

TUCKER TIME // three blue ducks

Three Blue Ducks is well and truly an established institution with three locations in Bronte, Rosebery and Byron Bay. Luckily the two Sydney locations are convenient for city dwellers with Byron definitely on the menu for the holidays. The good food is obviously the priority but the interiors and laid-back vibe make the dining experience that much more enjoyable.

The dishes are creative and use the best local produce as well as fresh ingredients from the kitchen garden in the back courtyard. They also stock high quality organic, fairtrade and biodynamic products in keeping with their real food philosophy. Believing in sustainable and environmental living by supporting growing and composting initiatives within the community. There’s even renewable energy using solar power, biodegradable takeaway containers and eco-friendly, non-toxic premises.

Many of us aspire to this lifestyle and it is achievable with so many great examples like this to follow. First thing on my dream list is the kitchen garden!

WEEKEND WRAP // word on the street

I’m an avid reader and a lover of books but I still haven’t bought into the whole digital e-book reader technology. I love everything about a paperback – the feel of holding a book, the smell of the print and turning the worn pages (feel free to call me weird!).

Walking around Sydney streets I’ve noticed more street libraries popping up in front yards of homes, schools and public spaces. This is a growing trend which I adore and fully endorse. The wooden boxes house books people have left and lets others take them and leave their own if they like. It’s a swap system with no obligation where you can leave a book at your leisure, but ultimately you want to give back and keep it circulating.

Street Library Australia has valuable information about how they are run and locations across the country. The City of Sydney is also backing the project by running workshops on how to build and install a street library. The concept has been successful globally too, with about 40,000 libraries in more than 70 countries.

This idea creates a sharing vibe among the community and it gives residents a sense of control and input in their area. It’s encouraging reading and literacy among children, especially when schools get involved. Neighbours who may have not known each other before now get a chance to meet and feel inclusive in their suburb.

 

MASTERSTROKE // here comes the sun

John Olsen is one of the most revered Australian artists with a career spanning 70 years. I’ve always admired his painting style which is full of energy, fluidity and colour. His current exhibition at the Art Gallery of NSW showcases his paintings, ceramics, tapestries and works on paper. It’s clear in these artworks that he loves nature and the Australian landscape that also forms our identity. The you beaut country exhibition showcases his iconic landscape series depicting the beauty of places such as Sydney Harbour and Lake Eyre. My favourite is the large-scale Sydney Sun with the intricate layering of shapes and flowing lines. This particularly inspired me as I have watched the film The King Sun: John Olsen a few times. It’s an amazing documentary following John as he paints the second largest mural he’s ever done (The King Sun). It’s a personal insight as he works on the masterpiece, while sharing his thought process and his philosophy on life.

TYPE-RIGHTER // presence

As a graphic designer I have a love for typography and I’m fascinated with the process of creating type. Typographers can have creativity but the successful ones also need the technical knowledge and finesse to make it work. Sydney illustrator and artist Gemma O’Brien has become famous for her font-based artworks and large-scale picturesque murals. She also uses the pseudonym Mrs Eaves for her social media and has had many commercial successes. Respected and recognised for her work, she has presented many talks on typography at design seminars worldwide. Her works predominantly mix lettering with illustrative elements to create visual illusions between the written word and intricate line patterns.

This weekend she had created two large hand-painted installations on the gallery walls at China Heights for her show Presence. The word JOY is almost illegible even though the letters are bold but it is delicately intertwined with flowing lines and botanical references. The other wall is blank except for black script with the phrase Desire Seeks Mystery as a simple statement. These may seem conceptual but the message reflects her personal view of feeling good in an age of global uncertainty. Only on show for three days before being painted over forever, the limited time gives the pieces an energy and performance art effect due to their temporary nature.

HOUSE CALL // save our sirius

Sirius is an iconic apartment building in The Rocks that is a perfect representation of brutalist architecture. It was designed by architect Tao Gofers and built in 1979 for the Housing Commission for public housing tenants. It’s prime location next to the Sydney Harbour Bridge with views of Circular Quay and the Sydney Opera House make it an enviable site. In 2014, the New South Wales Government decided to sell the block of 79 units along with many Millers Point heritage-listed terraces, possibly for demolition to make way for luxury apartments. Despite protests from tenants, locals and architectural lovers, nearly all the residents have now moved out of Sirius. The Government decided against heritage listing despite a recommendation by the Heritage Council, but this will be challenged at a hearing at the NSW Land and Environment Court in April.

Tao Gofers has hosted tours of Sirius to try to get more support from the community by opening up the apartments to the public and educating people about the significance of social housing. Peaceful protests have also been held to show the Government how much this building means to Sydneysiders. Comedian and radio presenter Tim “Rosso” Ross has also been instrumental in organising the campaign Save Our Sirius.

Tonight a rally was held on site for people to have Friday drinks to appreciate the building but also to raise awareness. Since Tao Gofers started his tours, the building’s windows have been blocked out by the NSW Department of Family and Community Services. The beautiful interiors and foyer artwork by artist Penny Rosier is now sadly hidden from view. It was a great crowd full of supporters who respect the historic value of Sirius and who want the best for our city and the people.

 

STREETSCAPES // the rocks

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Being a local in Sydney you can sometimes take the beauty of the city for granted. When I recently spent a day playing tourist it opened my eyes again. The Rocks has heritage elements everywhere with sandstone walls chiselled by convicts and cobbled laneways once frequented by settlers, sailors and soldiers. You can picture what life must have been like over 200 years ago by exploring the heritage buildings and some of the oldest pubs in Australia.

This historic precinct is a colourful mix of the past and present, with plenty to see and do. Food festivals are held here regularly, but new bars and restaurants are adding to the cultural scene. While the weekly markets, art galleries and museums have always made it a creative hub. It’s a great spot to wander around, make discoveries and have a history lesson while having fun along the way.

 

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