A VISUAL LIFE | Creative Direction + Design

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.

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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.

 

TUCKER TIME // camperdown commons

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My childhood home always had a vegetable garden, fruit trees and even beehives! (kudos to my parents) So I grew up knowing the importance of fresh food and appreciating the process of growing your own crop. Thanks to the resurgence of organic and sustainable living, our generations are going back to this way of life. Unfortunately we’re living closer to the cities where space is limited, so a great alternative that has evolved is the community garden.

Camperdown Commons is an urban hub that gives locals and visitors a place to connect and meet. This green space is like a big backyard for everyone – interactive play areas for kids, spaces to exercise and yoga classes. The real beauty in this development is the working farm on display and the food on offer.

Pocket City Farms have established an ecological farm and they also run workshops so you can learn how to cultivate your own garden. There’s also a community food forest, chicken coop, greenhouse, composting program, vegetables and herb crops. Everything is grown organically and ecologically, and you can even buy direct from the market stall selling the harvest. You can taste the seasonal on-site produce as well as locally sourced food at the Acre Eatery. Otherwise you can enjoy a snack at the Garden Canteen or a coffee from the Container Cafe.

INSTA-JAM // 2016 countdown

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I know it’s like wishing time away but I think we all agree that 2016 has been a very interesting year that has been punctuated by loss and turmoil. Now that the end of the year is counting down, I’m looking forward to a new year of hope and beauty. I’m sharing some moments from my Instagram as a reminder of brighter times and moving into the future. Wishing you all a peaceful, fun holiday break and may 2017 shine!

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