From Idea to Exhibition

This short film tracks my residency with students at Claremont College, Tasmania, as part of the Tasmanian AIR 2013 program.

For more information about the AIR program visit:

Video produced by MARK & TOM.

This project was assisted through Arts Tasmania by the Minister for the Arts and by the Australian Government through the Australia Council, its arts funding and advisory body.


Assistance for Individuals

Assistance for Individuals

The Individual Artists program invests in emerging and professional artists by assisting them to take their work to the next level. The program gives  promising and talented artists working in any artform, the opportunity to undertake projects that will enable them to further their careers and enrich their artistic practice.

These projects may involve creative development, exhibiting, recording or producing works, writing and researching creative projects and concepts, market and audience development, professional development and taking advantage of promotional opportunities. Support may also available for travel and living allowance.

Applicants may include actors, arts administrators, choreographers, composers, crafts people, dancers, designers, musicians, playwrights, poets, bands, visual artists and writers, working as individual artists or in partnership.


Emerging & Experimental Arts

Emerging & Experimental Arts

Emerging and Experimental Arts focuses on research and development, creative development and experimentation.

We support artists who are exploring new and emerging art practices through our experimental arts grant programs. We also manage special non-ongoing initiatives such as the Creative Australia New Art program which supports artists to create major new experimental  work. Emerging and Experimental Arts also partners with other boards of the Australia Council to deliver initiatives such as the Indigenous Experimental Art Fund; theHopscotch live art touring initiative; and the recent AlloSphere Artist Residency at the California NanoSystems Institute; virtual art laboratories with the Australian Centre for Virtual Arts (ACVA); We also are delivering one of the key Early Career Artist and Producer Program initiatives – SITUATE Art in Festivals.

Emerging and Experimental Arts arts also supports artists working with professionals from other disciplines, mainly through innovative art/science research collaborations as part of the Synapse initiative. Synapse provides Australia Council funding for successful applications to the Australian Research Council. The Synapse initiative allows artists to spend significant periods of time in scientific organisations and institutions to develop work in collaboration with scientists.

Artists working in this field are supported primarily through their own contacts and networks in their particular interest area. There is a strong connection between artists working in experimental contexts and practice-based research programs in universities, as well as strong international links.

A key event on the experimental arts calender this year is ISEA (International Symposium of Electronic Art) in Sydney in 2013. The Australia Council is a primary funder of the public program of this event.

Read more about Emerging and Experimental Arts and our Sector Plan.


Not Quite Art

Not Quite Art

not quite art

The art show that believes there is life outside the galleries.

An insightful and humourous journey through an increasingly fragmented cultural landscape – where the Internet and communications have given us a set of cultural choices and influences unimaginable even a decade ago.

Week 14 at Claremont College

When Should I Get Started, and Why Should I Bother Anyway?

Happiness Project
The Happiness Project was a three year project that involved artists, health and community workers and educators working in collaboration with community members to make 37 beautiful films about what true happiness means to them. Kickstart Arts worked with hundreds of people from Dover, Cygnet and Glenorchy in the south, Oatlands and Levendale in central Tasmania, and Flinders Island in the north to make films exploring happiness. During 2012 these films were screened around the state at Launceston, Glenorchy, Oatlands, Franklin, Flinders Island, Parliament House, Salamanca Lawns and The Glenorchy Works Festival. The films toured in The Happiness Pod; a purpose built mobile solar-powered cinema, complete with bean-bags and geodesic artworks under the banner of the ‘Fabric of Life’.

Well, no time like the present! it may be bleeding obvious, but really, there is no time like the present. You can stare at that blank canvas, look at that box of pencils, buy the materials, set up your studio space, and sit and wait for inspiration, all your life if you want, but you are only really going to become an artist when you start making art. if it is conceptual art, performance art, rubbish art, you still have to do it, no one else is going to do it for you. And this is where we come full circle, back to the beginning…

So many people reckon art today is something anybody could do. Ahh, yes, that may well be true, but YOU didn’t! And I did, and on so many levels that is what will make you an artist. Believe it or not, most people will respect you for it in the end. Some will even be jealous! But only you can bring it about, only you can decide, yes, I’m going to give this art business a go. And a business it is! You can start out slowly, but you can’t really dabble, you really have to give it a proper go.

You may come across people that dabble in this and that, and that’s fine, but ask the when they last exhibited, and you may well get a blank response! Its not about judging, its about seeing yourself as a valuable part of society, and that your art needs to be seen, engaged with, appreciated, even ridiculed. As Francis Bacon famously said, He didn’t care what the response of the viewer was, good or bad, so long as their was a response. You need to make art because the people around you need you to make your art.

Art is an act of intervention. To intervene is to ‘come between so as to prevent or alter a result or course of events’. That is, when you make your art and take it out into the world where it belongs, you will change the people who engage with it. This where the permanence of your work is not relevant, because it is the Art Effect that you want to create, not an Artefact.

See you out there!

Week 13 at Claremont College

Why Is Documentation Important?


You could say that an artist is only as successful as their last catalogue! As discussed earlier, there is certainly no need to document everything, and there are times when you intentionally don’t want to, in order to create something really special, that can only be experienced first hand. However, documentation allows your work to live on in other forms, in a catalogue, a magazine review or on a website or blog. With the advent of digital technology, its really never been easier, but their are certainly some guidelines worth considering.

Who are you documenting for? If it is simply for you own personal use, to reflect upon, to store ideas, and to assess your own progress and development, then its probably not that crucial what equipment you use or how great your skill in suing it is. A smart phone would suffice. They are relatively affordable, very handy, and actually take pretty good images and video. Blogs are also affordable and relatively easy to set up and operate, and can serve as a visual diary for your own use. You don’t even have to publish them at all.

If however, you are working on a significant project, carrying out an important commission, or embarking on your life’s work, then it may well be worth investing more in your equipment, doing some courses to improve your skills, or better still, employ the services of a professional photographer or film maker. A well executed photograph, a well put together catalogue or a beautiful film, could pay you back many times over in the long run. So don’t skimp when its worth it.

Also be prepared. You will save a lot of time, energy and stress if you do a few things beforehand. Check your equipment of course, batteries, lenses, memory cards and the like. But most importantly sit down and work out exactly what you want or need. A simple tip, is to write ten ‘shot’ that you need. What processes need to be captured? Do you need sponsors or VIPs photographed? Does it need to be a daytime or nighttime image? Probably the most overlooked subject is YOU! And if you want great images of yourself, in process, working in community, setting up an exhibition, then you will need some help; professional or otherwise, depending again on your needs.

Week 12 at Claremont College

What is the Value of Art That Can’t Be Collected?

minimum monument
The Minimum Monument Project
Nele Azevedo

You may be surprised that museums may only collect as artwork if it is deemed that it will last 500 years in reasonable condition before any significant restoration needs to be done. Obviously museums play a particular and important role in preserving artefacts of human exixstance. Nonetheless, many significant events and milestones have taken place in human history that we now have no remnants or relics. Although their are cave paintings depicting the use of fire, and mosaics of carts and chariots with wheels, we do not have a comprehensive and complete set of human achievenmtns. We’re still looking for the ‘missing link’!

Although we now have all manner of ways of recording events and preserving materials, even within a hundred years there will already be gaps in our collections of life in the early 21st-century. We do things everyday that we don’t make a record of, and art is really no different in the wide range of human existence. In fact humans have carried out ceremonies and rituals of religious or social significance in secret for millennia, and in the age of secularism art and artists can take on this role.

For example, many of the performances and conceptual art of feminism in the 1960s-70s were never recorded or documented, yet to the people involved at the time it was life changing. Women were living for the moment, seeking change, and pushing the boundaries of newly found freedoms. The idea of continuing the patriarchal lineage of institutional art history was indeed anathema to feminist thinking, and many of the interventions were highly critical of the artworld status quo.

The idea of art being ephemeral,, momentary, transient, has many advantages, especially in drawing attention to the transitory nature of our own existance. The ubiquitous bronze statue adorning our public parks is testament to our human desire to be remembered and to remain immortal, but the fact is, none of us will, and in millennia to come all will be forgotten. A work such as Azevedo’s above, speaks volume to this notion.

So it is good to remember that being an artist and creating art is not necessarily about making long lasting artworks, worthy of museological collection, and that it can encompass a broad range of ideas and outcomes, as far and wide as human existence itself; and so art should be. The world would be a poorer place if art was only made for the wealthy. There is something really special about art that reaches only a few, and leaves no trace behind, yet for those it touches, brings new insights into themselves and the world around them.

Week 11 at Claremont College

Why is Writing So Important in Contemporary Art?



Artist often make the point that they need to know how to write, but authors don’t need to know how to paint! Well that may well be true, but that still won’t change the fact that you will have to write about your work if you want to maintain some form of contemporary arts practice. We live in an information driven world, and people want to know all about you!

Although there are notable exceptions, for the most there is an expectation that art will be explained in some way. People want to know what its all about. Without going into art history to deeply, it is important to recognise that what may now be considered a ‘straight forward’ realistic portrait or landscape, may well be full of meanings that are no longer recognised. They may well have been ideas and beliefs that were part of an oral tradition that has long since disappeared.

But we live in the information age where writing is still dominant, so write we do. This may well be changing, and the advent of cheap and easy video making may well be the future. So time to change skill sets once again!


Barbara Kruger

Kruger has appropriated a well–known passage from Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel ceiling frescoes, where the creation of man is represented through the touch of God’s finger to Adam’s. Combining a black–and–white reproduction of this painting with text, she draws a parallel between the Biblical creation story and that of a lauded masterpiece of Western painting. Kruger’s background in graphic design is evident in the way she boldly overlays the clipped image with her aggressive text. By using the word “You,” Kruger implicates us in continuing patriarchal narratives of religion and art history.

Museum of Modern Art

Week 10 at Claremont College

When Is Enough Enough?


You may well have heard the saying, ‘Less is more’, and this certainly applies to the art making process! As an artist you will have a head full of ideas most of the time, and it is all too tempting when working on a painting, drawing or installation, to just keep adding more and more to it.


If you are trying to convey a particular idea, or evoke a particular emotion, then every time you add something new to the artwork you increase the possibility of further interpretation. It really is what you don’t put in your artwork that will make the difference to its power to engage the viewer. Of course, if you are trying to convey chaos, anarchy, indifference or similar states, then you may well want to have more going on in your work.

When using found objects, symbols and icons, remember that these can evoke strong emotional responses or trigger memories, and then nostalgia can takes over and cloud the viewers reaction to your work. Again, if this is your intention, then using a popular icon, symbol or object can take the viewer exactly where you want them. But be careful!

Sometimes an empty narrative can be the best approach. Whether its a painting or drawing of a room or an actual room in an installation, the absence of human presence, an empty chair, an empty bed, can invite the viewer into the scene themselves, or any number of other people, or pets, animals, aliens, that the viewer can imagine. Its a bit like reading a book. You are free to create in your own mind exactly what all the characters, buildings and scenery look like.