I recently read Funemployed by Justin Heazlewood, a book written about the realities of earning a living as a fulltime artist in Australia.
Heazlewood, an author/ comedian/musician/ writes a painfully entertaining account of his experience making a full time living in the arts. He shares his successes and his lows. In an age of facebook and blog sites perfection it is easy to present only life’s successes and omit mentioning our failures. But it is the later which provides the greatest insight to the reader as to the challenges faced by artists in Australia.
I think Heazlewood has been very generous in the sharing his thoughts and feelings. He expresses his doubts and conflicting emotions with a rare honesty. Sprinkled through his narrative are insightful anecdotes shared by other artists with similar experiences. This is a seam of gold.
A full time living in the arts is not an easy gig. Rather than dissuade you, this book should arm you with the knowledge that you are not alone in the difficulties you may face.
If you are considering a full time career in the arts, or setting up an arts practice I recommend that you grab a copy of this book and have a read (and a laugh).
Heazlewood, J 2014, Funemployed Life as an Artist in Australia, Affirm Press, Melbourne
Storm light Margaret River was made one winter’s day in 1983 at my grandparents’ farm. I remember the five or so days that we stayed it bucketed with rain and squally winds. It really started at Australind, with the wind driving the rain horizontally into the coast. By the time I had reached my grandparents’ farm in Margaret River it was raining non stop. Over the next few days the light was gluey grey punctuated with startling sunlit contrasts as low clouds rapidly scudded across the sky.
The film was Kodachrome, the exposure made with my Pentax LX and a Pentax 100mm lens, hand held with the camera jammed against the front door for stability. I can’t be sure of the shutter but it was likely to be 1/15 sec or slower, aperture at its widest f2.8. This photograph gave me the idea to name my publishing imprint Stormlight Publishing.
Artists Talk At Heathcote Museum & Gallery
Saturday 14th March at 1pm.
I will be giving an artists talk show and tell discussing my use of a 4×5 field camera in making the images for this exhibition. All are welcome, come along with your questions, I will be bringing my 4×5 wooden field camera. During my presentation I will show you how I set up the camera to make a photograph, and what choices and decisions I might make in determining camera position.
PS the Sunday film processing workshop is booked out. I may get a chance to run a second, so leave your contact details with gallery staff ( firstname.lastname@example.org ) or contact me and we will let you know if a second date can be arranged.
Arts Practise School is only the beginning. We can learn all our lives. The Lady in Number 6 A Century of Wisdom pianist Alice Herz-Sommer.
We can learn all our lives is a quote from ‘A Century of Wisdom’ which I have just finished reading, a biography by Caroline Stoessinger about 109 year old pianist and holocaust survivor, Alice Herz-Sommer. It’s a wonderful book which I only came to know of because of the recent Academy Award winning doco about Herz-Sommer based upon Stoessinger’s book. Herz-Sommer is an amazing, energetic and intelligent lady who at 108 still puts in several hours of piano practice daily, despite having ‘retired’ from performing as a concert pianist. Her music is her life and she is nourished and guided by it. She passed away just a few weeks before the documentary received an Oscar. You can see a link to a video short ‘The Lady in Number 6’ www.youtube.com/watch?v=8oxO3M6rAPw
Whether you are looking for wisdom of seeking insights into an artist’s life I highly recommend this book.
Stoessinger, C 2012, A Centuary of Wisdom, Randon House, USA
Destroying mac G5 power pc well it was almost seemed like destroying my old G5 power pc. Thankfully it all went back together again. Pulling the CPUs out of one’s computer seems a little excessive. The computer was playing up, not waking properly from the sleep mode in that the computer awoke but not the screen. The amount of indoor dust which accumulates around the cooling fans and circuit boards is amazing.
As I had to take both CPUs out to access the power supply unit I gave the whole things a good blast from my air compressor in the wide open out doors. Great clouds of dust came of from the chassis. Long story short I replaced the power unit with a second hand one and it all seems to work again, the way it should. So much for it not being serviceable within Australia.
Carlo was about 87 when he related a story to me about seeing some violins during a visit to Perth many years ago and how, when he returned home to Margaret River, decided to make one. I asked if he still had it and if so, could I see it. He went inside the house and then returned to the verandah where we had been sitting, with a partially made violin.
Carlo had hand carved the instrument from a local marri tree, shaping the wood from the memory of his Perth visit. The marri had proven difficult to work and cracks finally appeared, so the project remained an unfinished dream from all those years ago.
But really, I digress, yet still on a vague musical theme and life’s lessons. I read a wonderful book recently called Piano Lessons by Anna Goldsworthy, an autobiographical account of a young musician who grows and matures through her successes and disappointments, and gains a worldly wisdom from her wonderfully gifted piano teacher.
The piano teacher’s knowledge and insights transcend mere musical technique and reveal her great depth, not only as a human being and artist, but as a great educator. Goldworthy’s narrative style flows easily, her recollections priceless. If you are considering a career in the arts, or if you are already involved with an arts practice, I highly recommend you read this book.
Goldsworthy, A 2009, Piano lessons, Black Inc., Melbourne.
I have been invited as guest speaker for the next Artist Lounge Talk, a quarterly evening event providing a forum for local art and craft minded people to listen to a professional artist (or in my case photographer) discuss their art experience and knowledge.
I will be giving an overview as to how I began my photographic career, my choice of subject matter and the founding of Stormlight Publishing. Photography has undergone rapid changes over the last decade brought about by the advancement of digital technology. Even so, I will discuss my preference for using a large format wooden field camera which I will bring along to show. Finding the balance between personal artistic expression and commercial needs is my aim in using both digital technology and maintaining the use of non digital, traditional, wet darkroom techniques. You are invited to come along for an evening of discussion and view some of my recent work.
Artist Lounge Talk, 7.00pm June 14th 2010
Cooper Avenue, Kenwick
for bookings and information call 9452 9903