The Novocastrian Files Q&A

Wanna read about me shamelessly promoting the people and things I love? Well here's a little Q&A I did for a website called The Novocastrian files. There's lots of other great interviews and general cool Newcastle stuff if you get a bit bored reading about me! The interview is below but you really should go check out the site if you haven't yet!

Condensed CV:
I was born in Newcastle in 1986. I grew up in a small town in the Hunter Valley called Mulbring. I moved to Newcastle nearly two years ago. I’m currently in my final year of a Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree at The University of Newcastle, one half of design duo, Grey Gardens and helping to run ARThive Gallery.

What has been your most memorable project?
Probably the very first stationery set I created with Rose under the name Grey Gardens. We spent ages doing preen release prints, stitching them onto paper and envelopes, tying them up with matching ribbons and hand typed tags telling everyone who we were. We sold them at the This Is Not Art Zine Fair and have never really looked back. Since then we’ve had heaps of market stalls culminating in creating our own market- Young & Baroque (details below)  and selling our wares in both Blackbird Corner and a lovely shop in Wollongong called Milk Thieves.

What would be your dream project?
I guess it would be to run my own shop space that would be large enough to paint, draw, sew and print alongside my friends as well as being able to sell and display Grey Gardens projects and the creations of the many talented people I know.

Considering it’s a dream project the shop could also have an abundance of tea and pets and music and movies and burgers and Dr Pepper and love and could magically float between Australia, Iceland and Japan as I see fit.

What do you consider your greatest achievement?
I don’t really feel as though I’ve achieved a great deal.. yet! However, the success of Young & Baroque has made me believe that the dream of opening my own shop one day is a little more attainable which I suppose is a small step towards a great achievement.

What is your most treasured possession?
That’s a difficult question, probably old photographs of my family, my dogs Taj and Stella and my new cat, Amy Wong.

What does a typical day at work involve for you?
I don’t really have any typical days making art but I work as a dental assistant so I can afford to create art and live. This typically involves looking in the mouths of strangers, helping dentists either fix or pull out teeth, devising fictional stories about patients to help me get through the day and staring at things. Volunteering at ARThive Gallery, going to uni and making art isn’t work at all!

What is your most valuable pearl of wisdom gained since starting your business?
Start a blog! Mine isn’t very special at all but it’s a super way to show your work to the world and if nothing else it’s a great online space to store and document your images and history.

Where do you derive creative inspiration?

Which other designers, artists or creative people are you most inspired by at the moment?
Barry McGee, Maira Kalman, Daniel Clowes, Ed Templeton, Herakut, Anthony Lister, Zak Smith, Ears, Arlene Textaqueen, Sam Kieth, Tom Hovey.

What are some of your favourite websites or blogs?
There are so many so I’ll try to limit it to just a few!
Hello Sandwich is a really great blog. She is a fantastic Australian designer living in Shimokitazawa- my favourite place in Japan so I really love looking at her photos!
Julia Pott has a great blog featuring her drawings and animations. I’m also really fond of Mike Foxalls X-ray Studios, Doodlers Anonymous, Pikaland, the website of Matthew Gray Gubler, Square America, Fecal Face a and my buddy Nick has a great blog called ipatyourdog.

I’m constantly inspired by my friends at ARThive Gallery and some of them just happen to have some great blogs too, so check them out if you can- Jessica Louttit, Rose Turner, Logan Knight, Grant Hunter, Lance Johnson, Adam Clough and Jenna Gill- we have some super exhibitions coming up this year!

Apart from your work, what other interests, passions, hobbies do you have?
Books, comics, cartoons, movies and nerdy things I guess. I also have a predisposition to collecting things; mostly kitsch 1970’s home wares but I also collect bread tags, spoons, books, brooches and DVDs. I have the beginnings of so many collections but luckily I’m able to stop myself..sometimes. I’m about to start studying Japanese this year which should be fun!

How long have you been a Novocastrian?
Twenty Four years.

Newcastle in a word?

What do you love and hate about living in Newcastle?
The fact that there are two kfcs on one street and one of them is the biggest one on earth or some junk
The violent idiots that come out at night
Parking meters
The fact that almost anyone can try almost anything with considerable ease.
Most creative pursuits can be catered for in Newcastle, this can’t be said for most cities.
Carrington Bridge.

How is Newcastle different to anywhere else?
There’s a variety of reasons really but I think one of the most distinct features is the Renew Newcastle project. Most artists and creative types in other cities fight to gain a small shop or space to call their own and Newcastle has ample empty buildings that are ideal for artists and actually attainable.

Where are your favourite places in Newcastle / Hunter to:
 + eat
Oasis Pide (55 Beaumont St, Hamilton). That place is open nearly 24/7 and they put up with so much crap from drunkards and still manage to make the best pide ever! If you actually want to sit down indoors whilst eating I’d say Govindas (110 King St, Newcastle). Fayes Cakes (177 Nelson St, Wallsend) for treats!

+ drink
There are so many great coffee shops- Suspension (3 Beaumont St, Hamilton), Sprocket (68 Hunter St, Newcastle), Estabar (61 Shortland Esp, Newcastle), Rolador (1 Beaumont St, Hamilton) and especially One Penny Black (cnr Hunter & Morgan Sts, Newcastle).

+ shop
Blackbird Corner (70 Darby St, Cooks Hill) and Islington Markets (Wickham Park, Albert St, Wickham, last Sunday of the month) and Adamstown Lions Markets (cnr Gelebe & Brunker Rds, Adamstown, every Sunday 7am-12pm) for clothes, home wares and miscellaneous items, Vox Cyclops (515 Hunter St, Newcastle) for music and Rice's Bookshop (699 Hunter St, Newcastle West) and Cooks Hill Books (72 Darby St, Cooks Hill, enter via Queen St) for books.

+ play
  Croatian Wickham Sports Club

+ relax
Bike rides through the secret mangrove maze at Carrington and picnics in the park. If I want to relax for real I go visit my Mum and dad in Mulbring, there’s animals and trees and its super pretty!

What is Newcastle / Hunter’s best-kept secret?
ARThive Gallery! (L1, 111 Hunter St, Newcastle) Its hiding in one of the little lanes off Hunter Street and lots of people still don’t know we exist so I guess that makes us a secret to some! A secret you can quite easily get in on! Do it!