Ben Brown on the Aussie industry and risks. (part two)

Read part one of our interview HERE

Ø  What are your thoughts on the Australian Industry?
I don’t really have any. My work is pretty niche for want of a better word, and people I deal with are all nice and considerate I think. They know what they are getting from me and I deliver the best I can. I am probably a bit of an outsider in respect to the industry… I suffer a little bit from imposter syndrome. I don’t think I consider myself part of the industry, and don’t think too much about it.

Ø  What risks are worth taking?
wow… I’m not sure. The ones that have happy endings? - In design or illustration I think its good to take risks where possible, but at the same time you don’t want to blow something that has consequences for others. Working with people that are prepared to take risks along with you is fun and worth doing.


Ø  If you could make one rule that everyone had to follow, what rule would you make?
no dickheads… sounds a bit kind of bogan - but it is a simple truth to live by.

Ø  What is a dream you have that you’ve yet to achieve?
Lots of money in my pocket - heaps of radical ideas in my head - and plenty of time to execute those thoughts and turn them in to things that make people happy.

Ø  Who has impressed you most with what they’ve accomplished?
Pretty much anyone who has led a quiet unhurried life and achieved the things they set out to do and had a bit of love in their lives… but then again I’m quite impressed by people who have achieved outrageous fame, compromised their art for no one and burned out in a chaotic and explosive manner… I’m pretty easy to impress, so there are too many to mention.

Getting to know Mike Watt (part one)

Allow me a moment to introduce you to ... Mike Watt

Ø What is your artistic discipline?

Drawer of weird characters.

Ø Who, or what, was your biggest teacher?
I learn the most when I sit down by myself and work things out. I’ve definitely had people point me in directions but I’m much better at figuring things out by myself. Even though it might take a year or two.

Ø  What are some things you’ve had to unlearn?
To not compare myself to other people. I think it’s a natural thing to look at people a similar age, making sort of similar work and measuring yourself to them. This is the most unproductive waste of time I can think of. I feel like I don’t do that at all anymore, I’m just doing my own thing and really liking it.


Ø  When people come to you for help, what do they usually want help with?
I used to get asked weekly where I get my stickers printed. Then I guess it’s feedback on something they’re working on.

Ø  Where is your happy place?
When I push myself and make something I’m really happy with, it sounds cheesy but that sense of accomplishment it’s a pretty nice feeling.

Ø What kind of art do you enjoy most?
I like crude art, sort of gross graphic cartoony, fun stuff. I don’t like serious art much. I can appreciate the skill that goes into it but it’s not my thing.


Introducing: Ben Brown. Q&A part one

Allow me a moment to introduce myself, the name is.... Ben Brown

Ø  What is your artistic discipline?
drawing / illustration and design are my main interest. However I like to paint, do print making and create visual images any way I can.

Ø  What was your first job?
Working in a screen printing factory in the art dept. - pre digital - I had access to a bromide camera and a fully functioning art department which was a big deal back in the day - it was easy to sneakily work on my own projects while no one was around .

Ø  What are some things you’ve had to unlearn?
I never really did learn in the first place - I have no formal training and I’m largely self taught. I just pretended I could do stuff and learned as I went along. But if I have had to unlearn anything - I would say it is not caring about what an audience might think of a piece you are working on and dive head long into it with no preconceptions and try to be original and not follow trends.


Ø  Where is your happy place?
Surfing and the beach - seeing loud live music in small no nonsense venues - my family, and working long uninterrupted hours in my studio on something that has no brief / direction or deadline.

Ø  What are you addicted to?
all of the above from the last question - with a smattering of drugs, alcohol, coffee and television… the usual stuff.

Ø  What’s one responsibility you really wish you didn’t have?
I’m ok with all my responsibilities - I need some kind of discipline or I might run off the rails and lose direction.

We talk Australian industry with Makatron (part one)

Allow me a moment to introduce myself... Mike Makatron

What is your artistic discipline?

Majority of my time is spent painting walls,  but I also spend time on canvases, illustration, installations and some sculptural projects.

Ø  What was your first job?
I was a newspaper delivery boy when I was about 10, I ended up basically doing this job as a bike messenger  from 17 years old for about 10 years in 10 cities,  while studying and traveling and doing various other jobs.

Ø  What gets you fired up?
New experiences, music that brings on emotions, art that I would find hard to do, sex with someone special, travel to interesting places and great food.


Ø  What’s the hardest lesson you’ve learned?
early communication is key to avoiding problems.

Ø  When have you been most satisfied in your career?
I dont think that has happened yet, but I guess at some point the main goal at the time was achieved many years of being sustainable, but the best part of my art career is that there is always the next challenge and I'm always learning.

Ø  What are your thoughts on the Australian Industry?
I grew up in Adelaide, and I think most people who are hungry or wish to strive to be top in their field have to leave Adelaide to grow, which I think relates to Australia as a whole, but we are also very lucky to live in this developed beautiful country.


Wanna get to know Alexandra Lederman on a slightly deeper level? (part two)

Read part one of Alexandra's interview HERE

What things do you think should be done the old-fashioned way?

·      Communication. (I’d love to experience even just one week where we communicated only through face to face and the occasional hand-written letter)

·      Breakfast. I’m one for the simple breakfast options. I’ll choose eggs on toast or basic porridge over ‘60 degree eggs with a quinoa hash brown and raw mushrooms on a bed of biodynamic lettuce.’ (Actually, I think I may have just invented the quinoa hash brown…look out)

·      Nights out. House parties with twister, and live concerts without people recording on their phones.

·      The newspaper boy. I miss the days of waking up to the newspaper boy blowing his whistle as he walks/cycles down your street selling the weekend paper.

·      I could go on with this list forever…

What risks are worth taking?
·      Experimenting with new art materials

·      Ordering extra prosciutto on a pizza

·      New relationships

·      3 bath-bombs in a bath,

·      Speaking your mind.


What sacrifices have you had to make in order to get where you are?
·      Leaving family to move cities

·      Volunteering or creating artworks for free

·      Changing houses

·      Enrolling in (and paying for) further study

When have you been most satisfied in your career? 
I felt extremely satisfied when I applied for and was booked in for my first solo exhibition in Sydney. Creating, curating and organising my first exhibition was the most enjoyable and satisfying thing! Also my first job as an art therapist, where I realised that I could continue my creative endeavors, while at the same time helping others to find their own creative expression and support them through hard times.

What gives your art meaning?
I feel that my art is the most meaningful when I know that I have created it with honest intention. When I create and get into a state of ‘flow’, the images arise as a natural expression, which allows me to see the end product as an extension of my true self and current state.

Father Superior creative director Jodee Knowles...part two

Ø  What are your thoughts on the Australian art Industry?
I don’t think about it, I hope it’s going well. 

Ø  Have you ever worked overseas or thought about it? Where would you go and why?
Yes I have, it’s great, Australia is home to me but I do love Los Angeles

Ø  How do you measure success?
When one feels safe

Ø  What’s one responsibility you really wish you didn’t have?
Being responsible for my responsibilities

Ø  What gives your art meaning?
The viewer. My art only has meaning when viewed by the anonymous public


Missed the first part of our interview with Jodee? Read it >> here <<

Taking risk's with J2ske... (Q&A part two)

Read part one of our interview with J2ske here

What risks are worth taking?

HAHAHA I probably am the worst artist to ask this question, because I have never really stuck to any type of formula, or “look” in my work. I mean, you can tell I made it, but there’s nothing really there that ties each work to the next, except maybe some recurring compositional devices. I make all my work thematically and I base it on the imagery which tells the story, so it’s hard to really stylise that without detracting from each images own merit. In that sense I take the risk of my work being attributed to other artists who make similar stuff…that happens a lot, both ways actually.

From an actual risk perspective, well I’ve been known to dabble in some nocturnal outdoor typography on the odd occasion, not so much these days but in my youth I did a bit of that sort of business. I think that is a very important part of the development of any Street/Graffiti artists work. Learning speed, the ability to overcome situational problems, having to change your idea and adjust on the fly due to paint problems, scaling up an image….all that is a huge part in the development of the skillset required to make this type of work with any real style and resolve.

If you could make one rule that everyone had to follow, what rule would you make?
Not one for rules. Fuck em

Where is your happy place?
The coast. Love me some good coastline

What’s the first career you dreamed of having as a kid?
I wanted to be an Ichthyologist actually, since I saw jaws when I was a kid. I even went to Uni to do the course. It didn’t really pan out. hahaha

When people come to you for help, what do they usually want help with?
Moving house haha, nah, I have a fairly broad range of “clients”, for want of a better term. I have businesses that want to install a mural, or get a shop fit, or a logo. I have peers who want to discuss materials, or work or ideas. Dudes always wanting to borrow tools and shit hahah.
Yeah Not sure really, that’s a situational one.

Missed part one of our interview with J2ske? Catch up  >>Here<<

Alexandra Lederman about her biggest teacher's and lessons in art (part one)

Allow me a moment to introduce you to... Alexandra Lederman

What is your artistic discipline?

I specialize in painting and use a variety of media such as acrylic, oil, watercolour and inks. I’d like to think that my dad jokes are pretty creative too…

What’s the first career you dreamed of having as a kid?
I can’t remember which came first… sushi chef, professional soccer player, or the 6th Spice Girl.

Who, or what, was your biggest teacher?
Probably my mum, who showed me that it was possible to establish a career that combined both creativity and therapeutic support.

What is next? Where are you heading with your work?
That’s an exciting and scary question. After my most recent exhibition in Melbourne, I am ready to try a new direction with my art making. At the moment I am collecting and storing ideas and images that inspire me, and I hope to get creating again soon.

Knowing what you know now, what advice would you give yourself when you started in the arts?
Two things. Firstly, create for yourself and if people like what you do, that is an added bonus. Also, If you have moments where you don’t feel like physically creating, it doesn’t mean that you aren’t soaking in your surroundings and building up inspiration for new work. I feel that once you find that you get enjoyment and satisfaction through creativity, it will always find its way back into your life.

Introducing master of arts/fashion Jodee Knowles (Father Superior) ...part one

Allow me a moment to introduce myself
My name is... Jodee Knowles

Ø  What is your artistic discipline?
Evoking emotion, attempting to understand the human condition with the use of visual relations

Ø  If you could make one rule that everyone had to follow, what rule would you make?
For everyone to have empathy

Ø  What things do you think should be done the old-fashioned way?
Nothing but the cocktail

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Ø  What risks are worth taking?
All of them, they can only lead to success or a lesson

Ø  What gets you fired up?
My expectations not being met

Ø  When have you been most satisfied in your career?
When people get it

Allow us to introduce you to J2ske (Q&A part one)

Allow me a moment to introduce you to... J2ske

What is your artistic discipline?
I am mainly a painter spreading my time between a studio practice and  larger scale wall works.

I also make some sculptural works and I run a branding company which works in everything from graphic design to full retail interiors, so a bit of a jack of all trades. I like to keep it interesting haha

What things do you not like to do in your art?
Ooh, that’s a good question…I have a fair aversion to appropriating anything too culturally significant, even though my work is all based on the reinterpretation of social and cultural imagery. I try to avoid deities and anything considered sacred, or more to the point anything I don’t really understand fully enough to be able to use without providing too much ambivalence to its meaning within the work. All the elements of my paintings are quite carefully considered, to create a larger more sophisticated dialogue, and some types of imagery lends itself to this better than others. Religious iconography and the like has too broad a base of understanding….what I am trying to get across could be lost because of a person’s own bias and pre conceived notion of a particular icon/image.

Also just anything overly extraneous to the work makes me lose interest pretty quickly. This is across the board, in my own work and in the work of others. I like work to be sharp, too much filler just dilutes the impact, so I’m fairly edit heavy…even when it concerns little accidents that occur that may look cool…basically if it detracts from the overall shit its gone.

What are you addicted to?
I really do have a tendency to get hooked on things and thrash them well out. In the sense of colour I’ve been the biggest fan of pink and green combos for ever. Its just a colourway that has always appealed to me. Although, some unusual colours have started sneaking in over the years. I like a pretty simple palette of mainly pastel colours because you can create such contrast, I suppose that’s a throwback to doing a lot of [graffiti] pieces in the past, you want that contrast so it pops.

My other big fascination is definitely in vintage imagery. You just cannot go past that period of post ww2 until maybe the Ronald Reagan days for the best imagery. Basically, pre computer graphics. The typography, the illustration, the design, even  the photos….just too fucking good. It’s great to reference all that stuff because it is still so timeless, and it’s been basically burnt into everyone’s subconscious so it speaks the closest thing to a universal language available.

What gives your art meaning?
Realistically, ANY creative process has meaning…at every step of the way. There’s an Idea, an Intention, an Effort and a result…then the viewer’s own meaning assigned to all that….You can presume that any of these steps or the sum of its parts all has SOME inherent meaning.

Maybe a bit too existential a question for this forum, or maybe [probably] I missed the point.

What is the most significant project or accomplishment that you’ve achieved in your career?
I have been fortunate enough [or just been around long enough] to have had many moments I would consider “crowning” accomplishments.

I have been Lucky enough to travel a lot for my work, met some of the most amazing people, a lot of whom have become lifelong friends, done some great projects Australia wide and been fortunate enough to have been able to paint some pretty public, large scale imagery.

I have also been fortunate enough to have worked with some government and community agencies to provide both arts and music workshops for at risk youth, senior citizens and many school students. Seeing your practice have a real life effect on someone else’s life is super fulfilling.

Finally I have my family which is a huge part of my practice funnily enough, having the ability to work for myself and to spend a fairly large amount of time with my daughter is amazing, that is probably the best part of my career, being on hand to watch all the things many parents unfortunately miss.

What are your thoughts on the Australian Industry?
I can’t really speak for the whole of the industry, I am probably not that connected to be able to comment on what happens behind the scenes everywhere, but in the microcosm my work exists in then I am fairly happy to be witnessing a massive shift in the whole paradigm of Street/graffiti art. There has been a huge increase in the public’s interest towards wall based  art works, and it has made it a viable industry to exist in, a far cry from even ten years ago when a free wall was like a treasured artifact that was to be tightly held.

I am often asked about competition amongst painters in this realm, and I always have to explain that the “competition” is more of a perception than a reality. More artists need to view these things from an abundance mentality, whereby each time a wall is painted, it opens up MORE opportunities because more people are made aware that this type of work exists and that it is available to the public. It seems counter intuitive, but making a market instead of joining one is always a smarter play, in my opinion.

In that sense the Industry is very healthy. I think now the onus is on the artists to push the boundaries, and to start using these sites as a point of conversation…to start a dialogue. There’s a lot of responsibility that goes with painting public work that I think is lost on some artists. Sure, something decorative is nice, but something that starts people thinking, and taking back their space, something that allows the audience to feel a sense of ownership of their environment…that’s truly where the power in the work lies.

What gives David Kurzydlo's art meaning? ...part two

Read part one of our interview with David- HERE

What are you addicted to?
Ink Master. I know it’s ridiculous. I have no tattoos. Don’t want any. The show sux. But if it’s on I'll watch it. Don’t judge me

Ø  What gives your art meaning?
My art is very personal and is a pouring out of emotion. I think the audience is able to connect with these emotions as we all feel, hurt, love, hate etc and this is the reason I make art. My work is honest and from the heart. I try to be original in a world saturated with imagery. I think about my work for a long time before I start making it. Thinking about the work takes way more time than actually putting marks on a surface. I take a lot of care with the things that I make

Ø  Knowing what you know now, what advice would you give yourself when you started in the arts?
Networking is as important as actually making the work. Go to as many events as you can. Expand your audience with social media. It’s not enough to just produce. People need to see it, and as many people as possible before someone with more exposure starts ripping on you’re shit lol. I don’t attend half the events I should and have to force myself to use social media. It has probably hurt my career but whatevs. I’m still emerging. I have time right?

Ø  Have you ever worked overseas or thought about it? Where would you go and why?
I lived and worked in Berlin for a while. In Berlin you can do whatever you want. It kinda restored my faith in humanity. I had shows in LA and NYC at the end of 2016. That was fun. I have Italian heritage and feel at home in Italy so I’d love to live and work there for a while. Lets face it I want to go anywhere I haven’t been before

Ø  What things do you not like to do in your art?
Dealing with framers. I do a lot of work on paper, so dealing with framers is a must. If you find a good framer stick with them. I have a couple of excellent framers I deal with but it took a lot of trial and error to find them, and still they occasionally do my head in with the work they present. I’m always on the lookout for the perfect framer. I also dislike shipping work around. Like artists don’t already have enough costs to deal with and things to stress about !

Q&A with Western Australian painter Wayne Herring .....part two

Read part one of our interivew with Wayne HERE and details to connect HERE
Ø  Where is your happy place?

Definitely the beach. I love water. I love the reflections on the sea bed and the colours. I’m also happy with a good book and a coffee, or a coffee and great company. I could sit for hours on a secluded beach just taking in the world around and pondering. I love to ponder, don’t you?

Ø  What are you addicted to?
See above. Coffee, coffee coffee.

Ø  What gives your art meaning?
Surprisingly, emotion. There is so much emotion that goes into my paintings. Under all my acrylic pieces is a painted work or poem about something I’ve encountered or felt. Appreciation also gives my art meaning. Knowing that someone else can see and appreciate my creations just gives me a warm fuzzy. You know the type.....


Ø  What is a dream you have that you’ve yet to achieve?
Well I’m about to realise one of my dreams of owning a villa in a tropical climate. Somewhere to ponder, relax and eventually retire. One of my biggest dreams is to find someone to love and cherish. Someone to be my best friend and partner. Someone to laugh and cry with and someone to help me sit and ponder. On that beach or in that villa. Someone to complete me and share life with....... gosh I’m such a romantic at heart.

Ø  If you loved everything about your job, and were being paid well for it, what kind of offer would make you consider changing careers?
Well this is true. I have had a lot of jobs in different fields over the years. My current job as an onboard manager for Qantas is the longest stint I’ve had in any job. I just love it. I love meeting such diverse characters and working with some of the most caring people in the world. However, if you offered me a job to paint all day, create set design and create memories and to blog about them, all whilst sitting on that tropical beach or in the villa I wouldn’t say no.  

Reintroduction to David Kurzydlo ...part one

Allow me a moment to introduce myself.
My name is.... David Kurzydlo
Ø  What is your artistic discipline? Painting and drawing. I trained in natural history illustration and oil painting

Ø  What was your first job?
Picking blueberries in Corrindi

Ø  What gets you fired up?
Watching the place where I live become overrun by rules and regulations. I lived in an artist’s co operative for a period of time and on the fridge door was a sticker which read ‘Australian rules, there’s a new one every day. This is kind of how I feel. There are  so many aspects of the modern world which get me fired up but I’ll stop my rant here. I’m trying to be a more positive person lol

Ø  If you loved everything about your job, and were being paid well for it, what kind of offer would make you consider changing careers?
Perhaps if the location of the new job was more interesting than where I was presently working

Ø  What risks are worth taking?
Risks for love. Risks for happiness. Risks for innovation. Risks for life. All worth taking

Ø  Where is your happy place?
Working in the studio with no phone and no distractions and no time limits on how long I can stay there.

Wayne Herring ...part one

Allow me a moment to introduce myself...
My name is:
Wayne Herring
What is your artistic discipline? There are a few. Ive always been creative and studied design at university with an honours degree in set design for theatre. I’m a self taught artist and tend to stick to acrylic and watercolour though pastels and oils also feature. I’m fairly new to watercolours and love the fluidity of it. Switching between acrylic and watercolour has its challenges as they both require very different application techniques.  

Ø  What was your first job?
My very first job was a newspaper round but then moved to working in a bakery at the early hours of the morning to pay my way through university. I’m definitely not an early morning person!

Ø  What are some of your technical/artistic/personal “rules” that you never break?
Honesty and integrity have always remained my personal values. When it comes to my art, Ive always been of the opinion that one must create work for fun, learning and expression and not for the dollar value. It gives me some sense of happiness whenever I gift or sell a painting knowing that a part of me has a good home and is appreciated for what it is.


Ø  What are some things you’ve had to unlearn?
Wow. Lots. Ive really had to learn how to let go of things. That’s quite a challenge when someone such as me becomes attached to ideas, ideals, art and people. Learning to let go of who I thought I was, society’s ideals and people’s expectations. I’m my art Ive had to unlearn perfection and perceived perfection. Learning to stop adding when you thinks it’s done.

Ø  What is next? Where are you heading with your work? 
I’m just starting... what is next? Well I think I’d love to explore more. Explore more self expression. I’m just learning that I do have a style and that I need to let people appreciate it. For years I always thought that I wasn’t good enough to sell and always had in my mind that “I will never be as good as them”. In actuality I’m heading in a direction of creating and refining my brand. I’m currently developing a Kimberley series in the north west of Western Australia.  

Ø  What things do you think should be done the old-fashioned way
Manners. One should always be polite and have manners. Oh and phone calls. These days people rely too much upon sms and email and the like and it’s very hard to get someone’s intentions this way. I love a good chat on the phone or over coffee. Emotions and intentions are so easily read this way and communication is all about body language and tone. The other thing that should be done the old fashioned way is dating. No one seems to date properly anymore, I dunno, call me old fashioned and a romantic if ya like.