Two Pages

Two Pages is inspired by Art Forum’s 500 Words and seeks to bring some reflective element to the artists, exhibitions and works that engage with Jugglers at a number of levels. Submissions are invited from artists and arts writers in particular. Editor: Peter Breen. Previous articles by: Emily Devers, Peter Breen, Jan van Dijk, Sue Beyer, Stephanie Munro, Ashleigh Bunter, Paul Harris, Megan Holloway and others.

If you are interested in work experience writing article about exhibitions, for use in promotional material, website and/or newsletter please send us an email at for more information.

Marie Ellis: Feature Artist Profiles

During the 2015 Marie Ellis Prize for Drawing, Jugglers established a range of small initiatives. One of these, initiated by MEPD co – manager Holly Riding, was the Artist’s Profile segment. This involved selected practicing artists who are passionate about drawing. The intent was to expose artists, collectors and the general public to the ongoing conversation and excitement around drawing in its many phases and applications. These conversations have been included in Two Pages as part of our contribution to a more reflective and educated readership.
-Peter Breen: Jugglers Director

Marie Ellis OAM Prize for Drawing Feature Artist – Nicholas Plowman

Nicholas Plowman, Melbourne
- Drawing, it’s my second language.

Tell us a bit about yourself and your work
I have always drawn, ever since I could hold a pencil my Mum says. But it probably wasn’t until I went to TAFE after high school that it occurred to me that I wanted to be an artist, a painter. I then studied at USQ under Charlie Boyle (Painting) and Alan Bruce (Drawing) and things stepped up another notch. However, it was when I returned from Mexico (after visiting Frida Khalo’s studio) that I really chased the autobiographical in my work; this I see now as the first time I actually made “real’ work about my life and my own existence.
Throughout all of this, drawing has always been the base of my practice. I ran life drawing sessions at Jugglers Art Space for six year before moving to Melbourne; here I do life drawing twice a week, it underpins my practice and keeps my eye fit and my hand experimenting.

How would you compare the traditional practice of drawing to the digital approach?
I wouldn’t, I mean by saying that, that I can’t compare them because I have no experience with the digital approach. My only concern would be for losing the ability to understanding the subject by drawing it, studying it, looking at it. Drawing for me is still most important skill to any artist, it seeks answers and attempts to describe. I think most artists are very inquisitive and drawing seems the first logical step to understanding something.

How do you feel the practice of drawing evolved over the past 10 years?
Well, it’s both evolved and devolved. A lot of art schools got rid of drawing for a while, so a lot of graduates were coming out of uni with five or six drawings under their arms; whereas we did life drawing and general drawing twice a week at uni, so that’s four three hour drawing classes every week in second year. The only way to “get good” is to devote time and energy toward it – like anything else in this world. Saying this, I’m all for using technology and exploring digital mark making, but for me there is nothing like walking up close to an image and seeing marks, seeing where the artist’s hand has been. There is nowhere to hide with drawing, it’s all out there for all to see.

*Why are competitions like the Marie Ellis OAM Prize for Drawing important within Australian Arts culture? *
Because it promotes, fosters and encourages drawing. With the changing of the Dobell Drawing Prize to invite only, Australia and its artists (and the public) have lost a great prize for many reasons, it still exists but no longer can any artist have a go. I think the public engage with drawings a lot more than other forms of art, because everyone has used a pencil, biro, crayon etc. People can understand the marks, but still be fascinated and invigorated by the outcomes.

Why is the practice of drawing important to you?
It’s my second language. It allows me to investigate and understand the world and my experiences within it, and to inevitably re-describe; and because there is no place to hide, it is at once exposing and exhilarating.

Read more about Nic Plowman at
Read more about the Marie Ellis OAM Prize for Drawing here

Jugglers 07/10/15

Marie Ellis Feature Artist - Peter Kozak

Peter Kozak, Brisbane
- Personally I like things that are handmade. I like to see people’s hands in the work.

Tell us a bit about yourself and your work
I’m 31-years-old. I originally trained in drawing at the Tasmanian School of Art in Hobart, but now work mainly in video and installation. My current practice is concerned with representations of trauma and perceptions of the body.

How would you compare the traditional practice of drawing to the digital approach?
I don’t have much experience with digital drawing. I think the results can be quite similar. I have friends who work mostly digitally, when they show me pictures of their work I often have to ask “is this hand drawn or drawn on a computer?” Personally I like things that are handmade. I like to see people’s hands in the work.

How do you feel the practice of drawing evolved over the past 10 years?
I think how an image reproduces digitally has become a bigger concern for artists working in drawing and other traditional mediums over the last 10 years, with the rise of the internet audience. An example of this, I have a friend who started using thicker outlines in his drawings when he realised that they reproduced better digitally, as it’s more likely that people will view his work online than in real life. For myself also, to document my latest series of drawings I decided to have them digitally scanned because the light pencil marks didn’t translate well photographically.

Why are competitions like the Marie Ellis OAM Prize for Drawing important within Australian Arts culture?
I think more than anything else prizes like the Marie Ellis OAM Prize for Drawing are important for giving artists encouragement to continue with their practice. I got a huge lift from winning the prize in 2012, when at the time I was feeling kind of insecure about my practice.

Why is the practice of drawing important to you?
Even though my practice has evolved more into video work it is still definitely informed by my background in drawing. The first piece of video art that I made, which showed a vapour trail being made and then fading away, is an example of what I would call ‘expanded drawing’ in its use of line, spatiality and temporality.

In what ways did winning the Marie Ellis OAM Prize for Drawing affect your drawing practice?
It gave me more confidence in my work and has helped facilitate a closer relationship with Jugglers.

Jugglers 07/10/15

Marie Ellis Feature Artist - Leona Fietz

Leona Fietz, Brisbane
- Drawing allows me to express myself, while exploring and pushing the treatment of letters within the rules of type anatomy.

Where are you based?
Living and drawing in East Brisbane.

Tell us a bit about yourself and your work
I’m a designer, illustrator and typographer. I’ve spent the last two years since graduating teaching myself the foundations of typography and experimenting with different treatments and tools through workshops and a lot of reading and practicing. I split my time between personal and professional work, as well as exhibiting in group shows. So, my work ranges from illustrated lettering, experimental typography and digital logotypes.

How would you compare the traditional practice of drawing to the digital approach?
You can digitally mimic hand done effects, a worn texture, splatter drips or a dry brush, but it’s just not the same. I’d rather use the tool in real life, find the right paper texture, and leave room for the unexpected; you can decide to not draw up a baseline, grid or angle guide, or follow them loosely and get a really unique result. For example: I love the way a hand painted sign ages due to its environment! This gives it a story and a history. A vinyl sign would just peel off eventually; where’s the charm in that!

How do you feel the practice of drawing evolved over the past 10 years?
Craftsmanship and creative trades have become more appreciated and valued, and it shows, with more companies desiring a human touch reflected within their brand and/or products, embracing the flaws and imperfection that come with a hand rendered effect. Products like Wacom tablets and Cintiqs have sped up the creative process for illustrators, making their work more commercially viable.

Why are competitions like the Marie Ellis OAM Prize for Drawing important within Australian Arts culture?
It encourages artists to strive and work hard towards a deadline and to be seen by a wider audience.

Why is the practice of drawing important to you?
Type based illustration is the crossover between design and art for me. It allows me to express myself, while exploring and pushing the treatment of letters within the rules of type anatomy.


Jugglers 07/10/15

Marie Ellis Feature Artist - Caroline Walls

Caroline Walls, Melbourne
- There has been a real return to and appreciation for craftsmanship – people are looking for a sense of authenticity and traditional, drawing offers that.

Where are you based?
My studio is in Collingwood, Melbourne. I love the area.

Tell us a bit about yourself and your work
I am an artist and designer working across a number of mediums such as drawing, oil painting and soft sculpture. The female form is a key area of exploration with sexuality and the fluidity of this being underlying themes of my work. I guess I’m really interested in the construction and complexity of the female identity and the distinction between the private and the public self.
Although I am now based in Melbourne I spent five years living in London and New York so was able to immerse myself in the international art scene. I wasn’t really involved in my own practice apart from sketching every now and then but since returning to Australia I have enjoyed picking up the tools and creating a larger body of work.

How would you compare the traditional practice of drawing to the digital approach?
I work in graphic design so I employ both approaches on a regular basis – I think that they can happily coexist given they play such different roles, especially in the commercial sphere. I have just recently done a series of hand-pulled screen prints of figurative forms that I used the computer to build for instance, so I think each have their good qualities. Personally though, stepping away from the computer and working on something by hand is so much richer and rewarding, where as there is a certain aspect of disposability to digital. I love that traditional hand drawing is so pure – take a pencil and a piece of paper and you are off.

How do you feel the practice of drawing evolved over the past 10 years?
I think 10-15 years ago there was still a buzz around digital technology and the internet, so many people jumped on that because it was a fairly new way to create, but today there has been a real return to and appreciation for craftsmanship. People are looking for a sense of authenticity and traditional drawing offers that.

Why are competitions like the Marie Ellis OAM Prize for Drawing important within Australian Arts culture?
Competitions like this are important to continue a dialogue around traditional artistry – drawing has expressive and educational value and these competitions encourage and engage with this.

Why is the practice of drawing important to you?
Drawing has a meditative effect on me – whether it is one of my quick sketches or a larger, detailed piece they both offer me a moment of quiet that I don’t find from anything else.


Jugglers 07/10/15

Marie Ellis Feature Artist - Carolyn McKenzie-Craig

Carolyn McKenzie-Craig, Brisbane
- I draw every day and its physical potentials to engage with my subjective being keep my practice alive.

Where are you based?
I am based in Brisbane and Sydney. I work at the National Art School in Sydney and am a PHD candidate at the Queensland College of Art, where I have my studio.

Tell us a bit about yourself and your work
My current practice investigates how power is socially inscribed upon the body, focusing on how gestural and linguistic regimes may reproduce systems of power and shape subjective presence. Material investigations commence with the primacy of drawing and extend to engage with Printmedia, photography and digital arenas. I am particular interested in the historical nature of the photo archive in constructing truth and social hierarchies and how this may be both articulated and subverted with graphic potentials (both drawn and reprographic trace).

How would you compare the traditional practice of drawing to the digital approach?
Both traditional and digital drawing offer the artist rich tools for investigating the graphic arena. Some ideas are best realized within a digital form and some ideas require the haptic and kinesthetic engagement that traditional drawing materials offer. The convergence of both approaches can lead to exciting new developments with contemporary graphic practice, and activate “traditional” materiality by bringing them into new perspectives and outcomes. In considering the term digital I am referring to all the digital tools available such as scanning, photocopying as a drawing tool, illustrator and other direct drawing interfaces, film and video, digital still cameras which may draw with light or movement, 3D scanners and printers, data modeling, and architectural design elements.

How do you feel the practice of drawing evolved over the past 10 years?
The visible presence of drawing within high profile curated shows ( unfortunately mostly overseas) and drawing centres such as The Drawing Center ( New York ) and the Drawing Room ( UK) has given impetus to the practice of drawing based artists and increased the commodity value of such practices within the art market. This has translated into a renewed interest in the practice of the graphic mediums and expanded and traditional drawing.

Why are competitions like the Marie Ellis OAM Prize for Drawing important within Australian Arts culture?
The Marie Ellis OAM Prize for Drawing provides a review of current drawing practice and a tangible support for artist’s who work within the graphic mediums. The prize makes drawing visible, validates it as a medium of importance and importantly financially invests in artists through the generous provision of prize money.

Why is the practice of drawing important to you?
Drawing is the primary investigative tool within my practice. The kinesthetic action of graphic mediums activates process driven thought and experimentation that I can only articulate through the medium of drawing. The final outcome may not always be directly drawn but the initial phases of all experimentation is drawing. I draw every day and its physical potentials to engage with my subjective being keep my practice alive.

Jugglers 07/10/15

Marie Ellis Feature Artist - Sam Eyles

Sam Eyles, Brisbane
- Drawing is the story I write to converse with myself.

How would you compare the traditional practice of drawing to the digital approach?
For me there is no comparison. The way I treat “traditional drawing” processes; pencil to paper, requires honesty and confidence whilst also being open to flaws and inconsistencies in materials and methods, open to working with the uncontrolled or unforeseen to occur.

The personal hand written, mark making, pressure and variation, the exploration of new materials, the rawness, the immediacy, the time, the lack of time, the control, the lack of control, a touch that I don’t believe can be captured in a digital process. There is something special about drawing, the physical action of applying a medium to a surface, the touch that is required to make those materials come together, to communicate your thoughts, your ideas and tell your story. Only through the physical practice of drawing can these raw and honest notions be expressed.

There is nowhere to hide in drawing. I have to make those marks work.

How do you feel the practice of drawing evolved over the past 10 years?
There seemed to be a move away from traditional drawing practices in institutions in favour of “conceptual” practices where drawing was not expected to underpin the work. Leading, I believe, to some bodies of work with less substance. More recently I have seen a move back to artists exploring drawing and using the medium to inform their practice. People want to see the artist’s hand at work. Creative consumers want to see the artist’s hand in what they are consuming. To humanise is to create true connection. To mechanise is to disconnect.

Why are competitions like the Marie Ellis OAM Prize for Drawing important within Australian Arts culture?
Drawing is the fundamental practice to any successful visually creative outcome. To support this technique (through drawing exhibits) is to test artists, expanding ideas of what is and isn’t drawing through public engagement. I believe this will only strengthen all art practices, be it sculpture, video art, painting or drawing.

Why is the practice of drawing important to you?
Drawing is the story I write to converse with myself. It allows me to explore topics in existential ways whilst trying to discover the meaning to these truths I aim to uncover. It is a story I share with others on topics I struggle to express and understand.

Drawing is a technique that is so simple but can explore such complex themes. It is a challenge and difficult pleasure. Like a word becomes a sentence, becomes a story; a drawing is a mark that becomes a line, becomes a picture and pictures tell a thousand stories.


Jugglers 07/10/15

“In Depth” Review by Sophie Rose on Joanna Bone and Aaron Micallef at Jugglers Art Space, Friday 12th June to Wednesday 17th June 2015

With art today becoming a highly tactile, visceral and immersive experience, the medium of glass takes on a significance that it may have never had before. Joanna Bone’s works call to be touched. There is something beyond the composition of forms and even beyond the many colours of the works that attracts us. Looking at the sculptures, one wants to delve into the layers of glass: to thread your hand through the ribbons of its substance. The tension between what we know to be a solid object and the molten, taffy-like quality those objects exude cannot be overcome and constantly draws us back for just one more look. If we can judge art by its hold of the eye, then Bone’s project undoubtedly succeeds.

The collection takes its inspiration from the life forms of the deep sea. This is not through any explicit citation but in a kind of collage of shapes and surfaces found on the ocean floor. The works have the veneer of mysticism we often associate with those creatures that lie out of sight, below the land and below our general consciousness.
Again, I find the medium to draw out the subject matter in a way painting, photography or clay could not. Creatures of the deep sea are boneless, transparent and when photographed reflect a multitude of colours. What better material then than one that appears structure-less and organic and one that is ultimately not about outside surface but the strata beneath it?

Bone’s process is not of sculpting but of layering. Using cane to colour her glass, she works by creating a series of thin, pencil like rods each woven with a coloured pattern, much like rock candy before it is cut. These can then be wrapped around a hot bulb of glass, creating an egg like shape, and then stretched again to create a new, more intricate set of cane rods. The process can be repeated indefinitely; completed when Bone feels she has reached the complexity she requires.

The final works are a residue of Bone’s practice. We can read into the layers and see where colours have been combined, stretched and stretched again.

The centrepiece of the exhibition is an installation of tall, seaweed like structures. A series of green poles rise out of the plinth and curve like seaweed floating in the sea. This is the work that holds most evidence of the artist’s fact. The seaweed appears to be heaved up, strung out by Bone herself. We can trace the artist’s hand through the curving of its forms. Seaweed has the most direct effect on the viewer: not purely through a removed, aesthetic appreciation but through a more tangible connection to the action of its creation.

I feel, however, the show would be lacking without the accompanying photography of Aaron Micallef. Micallef does not simply document Bone’s work but takes it as a springboard for his own art. Most of his images are digitally manipulated: a result of clear glass being too reflective and frosted glass appearing already to be out of focus. Those images that most alter Bone’s glass are by far the most interesting.

In his Clypeasteroidia collection, Micallef photographs the frosted glass and then sharpens the contrast of the image. The milky, clouded surface of the original sculpture takes on a bright and luminous quality. The sculpture and the photograph of it become quite different objects. Yet in this lies the true appeal of the show. Micallef brings out what we may at first have missed in Bone’s sculpture. We are able to see the original through its copy and, as such, see it more clearly. What looks like a cross stitch in the glass reappears as scales in the photo. The copy returns the original to its own inspiration.

Throughout the show there is a lovely doubling of spectatorship. Bone watches the sea and Micallef watches Bone. While both artists create good works in their own right, it is the coming together of the two that gives value to the exhibition. It is perhaps ultimately a show about watching. We are invited to look deeply into the levels of Bone’s work and deeper yet through Micallef’s transformation of them. It is an exhibition about both how closely we can see and how, through the selections of seeing, we create our own art.

_Written by Sophie Rose
Current Art History Student at University of Queensland_

Jugglers 24/06/15

Art Is Essential: A Reflection by Jugglers Director Peter Breen

What is it about artists?

What is it about art?

There are times every week when I wonder what I do in the scheme of things and wonder about the “grand scheme” and if there is one, where does this aspiration to be an artist and running an art space – Jugglers Art Space – fit.

Passion for art comes from doing art over and over and over and then doing it some more. The waiting for inspiration probably means someone else will do their art on my coffin.

At a recent South Bank [Brisbane] TAFE Dip of Fine Art Graduating Class Exhibition I gave a short speech on art as essential. As someone has said: “When we dilute or delete arts programs, we unravel the infrastructure that assures the cultural future of the nation.” A boring deductive speech does nothing to help the intent “stick in the throat” so I dressed and redressed with due decorum to deliver at least a memorable beginning in the guise of the Juggler. And life for an artist is a juggling dance, a twisting pirouette in a fog with no-one watching!

“Graduates – whether you sneak out onto the world’s stage or rush out flamboyantly you are artists and you are essential. You are not doctors, accountants, lawyers, project managers or engineers but artists and as artists you are essential. Essential for the growth and depth of our society in this and every era.

Artists are cool, weird, poor, fun, eccentric, introverted, extroverted, innovative, rich, depressed, happy and ESSENTIAL and to be essential we can only be convincing if we are passionate. Passion is everything!

Passion is deep, felt and experienced in all kinds of ways by all kind of temperaments.

You know you’ve got passion when you have this sense of being carried.

You know others have passion when they seem carried.

Doing art constantly is the path to passion and change.

There is a young artist who graduated from this institution [TAFE] who is passionate and is followed by thousands around the world, a friend and supporter of Jugglers and an artist who “does art”. Sofles [Russell Fenn] is a graffiti artist of exceptional natural skill and a passionate art practitioner whose work is a conduit for renewal in this contemporary art form, this frontier of new art in the 21st century.

The challenges with passion and doing art are the extraneous diversions: Expenses, income, sales, studio space, exhibitions, relationships, representation, moods, ideas. How we manage those accoutrements will be yours to manage but manage them you must at great cost sometimes.

The last is this: If you are going to be passionate practising artists essential for the growth and depth of our society – no pressure!! – then you will need one thing: You will need to determine to make the search for beauty a commitment until the end of days. Not glamour and superficiality and productivity but beauty. Set you heart and mind to search for, find, experience and represent beauty. If this is your core focus and intent then passionate art and art in passion and passion following art will carry you, carry us. We will always need skill refinement and refine our practice to find our own modalities but pursuing beauty in all its illusive,silent, loud, monochrome and colour filled expressions is the mysterious spiritual formational framework for a satisfying life as an artist and as an influencer on the deepening of a more reflective society.”

Peter Breen: Director – Jugglers Art Space Inc.

Jugglers 17/06/15

Imagine Being Attractive - Process & Review: Reflections from Emily McGuire's Exhibition at Jugglers Art Space Inc.

As part of the growing pervasiveness of digital culture into everyday life, Tumblr allows bloggers to explore alternative forms of presence and interaction in the social world. Tumblr is a microblogging platform that allows bloggers to instantly post quotes, text, videos, music, links, and images on individual blogs. Despite this variety, the platform is saturated with reproduced images with blogs resembling quasi-exhibition spaces that imitate the layout of mood boards. In particular, Tumblr has become a space overwhelmed with fashion imagery, typically derived from mainstream fashion media sources. Through rapidly compiling image after image on their blogs and following other users with similar taste, bloggers can participate in and connect with an ideal world of beauty, novelty, desire, and style.

Emily’s engagement with fashion via Tumblr begins with her own blog. Emily began using the platform in 2011 as a daily resource for imagery that guides her design process. As a young female practitioner interested in dressing the female body, Emily predominately follows Tumblr blogs that focus on fashionable female identity and this subjectivity is reflected in her practice. Almost all of these blogs – including Emily’s own blog – are entirely anonymous, blogging under the guise of pseudonyms. Central to this enquiry is Judith Butler’s (1990) idea that gender identity is always performative through the re-enacting and re-experiencing of behaviours, gestures, and codes of dress on the surface of the body. Tumblr blogs are a kind of surface on which anonymity and found imagery articulate fashionable female identity as a performative act. This identity plays out as a ceaseless process of becoming through the continuous blogging of posts in an unending search for an ideal self-image.

On Tumblr bloggers play out a logic of “look what I found”, not “look what I made”. Through acts of de-authorship and decontextualisation, Tumblr blogs attempt to display the bloggers’ individual tastes and “image-hunting abilities” in a way that seems original.2 In Textual Analysis (2015) Emily replaces Tumblr posts with a pithy description of their contents displayed to mimic her blog layout in the form of fabric banners. The archetypal fashion blog on Tumblr displays high fashion photographs alongside reproduced images of modern art, photos of cities and architecture, and fragmented pseudo-philosophical phrases quoted from cultural figures, literature, or poetry. Elements of high and low culture are conflated with an anarchic indifference toward status or value. By textually analysing these posts in a visual way with bold, clunky cut-out letters and cringey colour combinations, the work playfully protests the way in which Tumblr blogs display the banal desire to appear smart, unique, and attractive. Ultimately, these blogs constitute a profoundly seductive performance of a more beautiful and hence more socially valuable image of female identity.

At a closer reading, the fashion photographs circulating on Tumblr evoke a sense of melancholic femininity. This expression characterises the fantasy scenarios of desire, depression, and ecstasy constructed within western contemporary fashion photography. In depicting ideal female beauty as skinny, white, fresh-faced and wide-eyed fashion photographs convey states of boredom, alienation, indifference, and psychic disturbance. At the same time, the models seem empowered and are often portrayed alone, in the city, and suggest a “profound reluctance to embrace domesticity”. What’s produced is a hysterical discourse that elicits the impossibility of femininity, provoking an unsettling atmosphere of melancholia. In Feminine Melancholia (2015) gathered frills of scrap fabric form coiled arrangements that follow the exact dimensions of found images posted to Emily’s Tumblr blog. Synonymous with western female beauty, seduction, and elegance, the decorative ruffle becomes almost grotesque and uneasy in its exaggeration. Awkwardly fragmented into clashing prints, colours and fabrics, the girlishness of the frills is undermined by a sense of ambivalence. In a depressing way, the work intensifies the cultural construction of ideal female beauty as a desire that’s perpetually unsatisfied.

The sameness of these ruffled forms responds to the interchangeable and hence homogenous quality of fashion image posts, which conflate to produce a seamless image. Images do not function autonomously on Tumblr blogs but rather, they slip over and blend with other images to portray a “shared, vague field of [cultural] references”. Though this work depicts Emily’s blog layout its title and other information has been left out, calling attention to the blog’s anonymity and hence her lack of agency. Although the use of anonymity on Tumblr suggests empowerment and control over one’s identity on Tumblr, the irony is that anonymity simultaneously disempowers these qualities through the ways in which Tumblr blogs constitute a performance of conventions, ideals, and constraints of mainstream modes of femininity.

Alongside this performance, Tumblr bloggers have a penchant for using text posts to express ironic, self-deprecating parodies that critique the idealistic fashion images that circulate on Tumblr. These text posts such as “on a serious note I’m cute”, “attractively bored”, and “imagine being attractive” relate to ideas of beauty, fashion, taste, and self-gratification. They also evoke an apathetic sense of humour and elicit the “low-culture absurdity” of Tumblr blogging. The Text Post Series (2014) appropriates user-created text posts from Tumblr as vinyl prints. Slashing the printed words in half and stitching exposed threads to loosely re-join them is a method of deconstruction that subverts the process of garment making. The disproportioned, unfinished appearance of the works speaks to the constructedness, instability, and ambiguity of affirming idealistic representations of fashionable female identity on Tumblr. However, the colourful handworked stitching introduces elements of mending and empathy as a way of playfully celebrating user-created text posts as an intimate and candid view of Tumblr culture. In fact, the popularity of this mode of critique suggests the text posts build a sense of belonging and hence cultural intimacy between bloggers. This occurs as a collective awareness that neither the blogger nor the reader is desirable or attractive like the beautiful models and fantasy scenarios depicted in fashion imagery displayed on blogs. In turn, the performance of fashionable female identity on Tumblr is often deeply ambiguous as bloggers complicate a simple dichotomy of empowerment and disempowerment through the affirmation and critique of fashionable female identity.

User-created text posts are a reoccurring theme throughout Imagine Being Attractive. In Seductively has No Life (2015) this phrase, which is appropriated from a user-created text post, is cut from gold-foiled synthetic velvet and fused to an oversized merit badge. Smothered in pink fabrics almost sickening in prettiness, the merit badge signifies the affirmation of female beauty and hence, female success. The badge states, “seductively has no life”, which collapses tragically against the edge of the badge. The work highlights the way in which performing fashionable female identity on Tumblr is a ceaseless process of becoming that’s perpetually undermined by a sense of disappointment or failure to achieve this impossible ideal. In it’s self-reflexive mode of address, “seductively has no life” calls attention to the self-deprecating irony of Tumblr blogging – perhaps to seductively have no life is to be scrolling aimlessly through Tumblr, typically in a state of abject boredom and continously re-blogging posts that affirm an exceptionally fashionable, desirable, seductive image of feminine beauty.

This tension between affirmation and critique continues in I Just wanna be Profound and Gorgeous (2015). A panel of grey silk organza hangs tenuously from the ceiling with the phrase “I just wanna be profound and gorgeous” printed off-centre. As a piece of fabric it seems unfinished; perhaps it’s to make a garment, or maybe it’s a delicate veil, or mimicking the screen. Suspended in a state of unfulfillment, this work returns to the idea that the performance of fashionable female identity on Tumblr is a permanent process of becoming. But this time, a confronting desperation is evoked. There’s an eerie feeling about the work – a highly seductive surface brimming with anxiety. Here, the performativity of identity on Tumblr is perhaps most explicit. The work communicates a self-reflexive knowing that wanting to ‘be’ profound and gorgeous is a desire that remains perpetually unfulfilled on Tumblr, and this work finally confesses to the banal, narcissistic pre-occupation with this insatiable longing.

Imagine Being Attractive attempts to articulate the some of the complexities of performing fashionable female identity on Tumblr blogs. Emily explores her Tumblr experience as a participant observer on Tumblr through processes of garment making, textiles, fabric printing, text, and installation. Her creative practice translates the digital to physical world through which the immediate, intangible, forgettable and the fleeting become clumsy, highly tactile, heavily labored, and enduring. Rather than suggesting contempt against Tumblr as narcissistic and superficial, this exhibition evokes a passionate kind of empathy toward Tumblr bloggers who, through their blogs, pay an ironic homage to an ideal world to which they know they’ll never belong.

sessional academic | fashion | QUT

Jugglers 17/06/15

Jugglers is Going Green - A review of the Jugglers/Brewsvegas event by C.Francis

Last Saturday, Jugglers underwent a significant milestone in the development of becoming a more environmentally conscious space.

As part of the annual Brewsvegas festival, Jugglers facilitated a venue-wide activation of live and large painting to enable some real “badass”, up and coming street artists to continue the dialogue between the genre and participation within the community. Our courtyard and tunnel were transformed throughout the day by the buzzing crowds, live music, good beer and tremendous talent that encompassed the onlookers.
Personally I found the event terrific, as it was a chance to break down the barrier that generally separates artist and audience. This was achieved by spectators being able to witness in real time the transformation of the courtyard and tunnel into lively murals that exposed communal and political commentary of the Australian social climate. Familiar graffiti iconographic tags, the indigenous flag, portraits and even the comical representation of our prime minister’s head propelling out of a jack in the box were represented boisterously. People generally associate graffiti with vandalism which contributes to the lack of voice that street and graph artists receive in comparison to the more familiar and accepted art genres styles. Since the root of the word ‘graffiti’ is ‘to write’, graffiti can be interpreted as an instinctual human need for communication and in relation to the way it is displayed it can potentially tap into mass communication to express issues of cultural frustration, anti-consumerism and individual expression.

Since 1998 the Jugglers community has been inspired to take action around the need to write and continues to address the critical shortage of creative spaces available in Brisbane and to provide a vehicle for cultural inquiry.
Brewsvegas also attempted to advocate a transition and breakthrough into becoming a more environmentally conscious space. Jugglers is happy to announce that we have become a SUGAR only Aerosol space!
Our partnership with Crush City seeks to enforce a shift towards more sustainable arts practices which can be achieved by making our courtyard a SUGAR only aerosol space. This Ironlak initiative is a revolutionary health conscious aerosol formula that has amazing results, as it is the world’s first hybrid water and alcohol based acrylic paint. This innovative technology has led to a unique formulation, which combines water with alcohol made from sugarcane to replace petroleum-based solvents. This therefore rids the use of sprays that contain hydrocarbon or compressed gases that are notorious for being greenhouse gases. Therefore Jugglers is proud to say we are minimizing our carbon footprint!
If you or a friend is interested in doing the same, then you can collect a loyalty card from the Jugglers Gallery and received discounts on SUGAR paint from Crush City!

Claudia Francis is currently working as an intern at Jugglers while completing her Bachelor of Visual Art at Queensland University of Technology.

Jugglers 13/04/15