I apologise for my distraction for the last couple of months. I have been using Instagram. It maybe a harmless app but it has has meant that almost everyday I am thinking about what I can photograph to upload to my Instagram feed. Somedays it's just some storm clouds or a shop front, then some days it is something more dramatic like Bald Rock at Tenterfield or the interior of the Byron Lighthouse. Instagram seems to silently demand my posting, like a dealer dishing out "likes" for a peek into my soul. Don't get me wrong, I'm sure it is a healthy relationship - I follow pretty wholesome Instagrammers like National Geographic, or Magnum photographer Michael Christopher Brown. I highly recommend it, and it won't break the bank if you get addicted, it's free. My Instagram name is @davehickson1, here is a link http://instagram.com/davehickson1 or you can click on the little Instagram logo on the right of this blog.
The photos here I took over the the last couple of months with an iphone.
I took a few shots at Swell today of just some of the amazing sculptures. The feed back from the people I spoke to was excellent. There is a great atmosphere at the festival, with literally thousands of people wandering the boardwalk and interacting with the sculptures, listening to the music or eating.
The sculptures above are (clockwise from top left): "Uncle jack Charles" by Leonie Rhodes, "Irrelevant Information" by Suzi Lucas, "The Sirens" by The Winged Collective and "Pigs do Fly" by Adrian Hofmann.
It really is worth seeing this show.
Swell Sculpture Festival
We installed my sculpture "All the World's a Stage" at Currumbin for Swell on Wednesday this week. It was great to see the diversity of work of the other sculptors. I was allocated a spot next to Karl de Waal, a sculptor who had pile of demolition rubble delivered to his site on the back of a tip truck - he then began planting little trees and umbrellas in the top of the rubble. We couldn't stay until it was completed, but I can't wait to go back and see how it looks. There are 55 sculptures on show, everyone of them vastly different and fascinating in their own way. The show is on until September 22nd.
You can go to the Swell Facebook page for the latest news and images from the festival at the following link - https://www.facebook.com/swellsculpture
Swell Sculpture Festival - Smalls Show
As part of the annual Swell Sculpture Festival, a gallery in Currumbin - The Way of Design Gallery - hosts the Swell Smalls show, which includes small works by the sculptors showing in the outdoor festival. The show is on now until the close of Swell on September 22nd.
We are hiring a ute tonight to transport my outdoor piece for the main Swell exhibition, which is a two metre long version of the sculpture pictured above. All going well it will be installed and securely attached to the ground before the sun gets too high tomorrow morning.
You can see more about what is going on during the festival at the following link: http://www.swellsculpture.com.au/swell-09/swell.php
Jeff Wall and Sydney
Something about the size of Jeff Wall's photos makes them very engaging, like sculpture they relate to us on a physical level as well as visually. We were in Sydney briefly two weekends ago and I caught a show of Jeff Wall's work at the MCA. The majority of Jeff Wall's huge photos are staged to the very last detail: sometimes they are like opening a familiar door and finding a room you didn't know existed. Others are like paintings - one in particular, "A Sudden Gust of Wind" pays homage to a Hokusai painting. The show at the MCA has closed now, but you can see his work at the following link: http://www.moma.org/interactives/exhibitions/2007/jeffwall/
Driving to the airport the next day I came across this building on the Princes Highway. It was about 5pm, the warm twilight, deco building, peeling paint and posters seemed to sum up a lot of what I like about Sydney. This is not the sort of scene you get to see very often - living on the North Coast.
Northern Rivers Portrait Prize
I made this portrait of Arne Rubinstein for the Northern Rivers Portrait Prize. It and 59 other portraits are showing at Lismore Regional Gallery until July 15. A magnificent portrait by Rene Bolten won the main prize.
I don't often draw using a photorealist technique, but I was working like this while researching and planning the portrait and it struck me that there was something interesting in the way the two cropped images related to one another and I decided to run with this as the final work.
The following text I submitted as an artist's statement to the Gallery:
Dr Arne Rubinstein is a medical doctor at Mullumbimby Hospital and is Director of Uplifting Australia. The organisation runs rite-of-passage programs for boys and girls aged between 12 and 15 to honour the transition from child to young adult. Arne has worked with young people for over 30 years and was the founding CEO of the Pathways Foundation.
"Uplifting Australia programs can:
• Build strong family and community relationships
• Bring out the best in kids
• Inspire them for the future
• Create appropriate Rites of Passage
• Promote healthy self-esteem in teenage boys and girls
• Acknowledge the individual gifts and talents of each boy and girl
• Setup ongoing mentoring and support networks"
(Excerpt from The Australian Rites of Passage website)
For this portrait I wanted to portray as simply as possible Arne's character and also the Rites of Passage Program. Teepees are used as accommodation during the camps and are a powerful symbol of cultures that have always used rites of passage and ceremony to help boys and girls transition to adulthood.
The following link will take you to Lismore Regional Gallery's site:
Governors Island - Jazz Age Lawn Party
I took this photo when Jerusha and I were in New York last year. The photo and the following text were published in the Sydney Morning Herald Traveller section on June 1. I've attached the scanned article from the paper too.
Governors Island is a former US Army and Coastguard installation, lying at the bottom tip of Manhattan. The majority of it is now a public park and ideal venue for outdoor events. My partner and I were staying with family in Brooklyn New York in June last year, and took the free ferry to Governors Island for the "Jazz Age Lawn Party". It was amazing: a twenties style jazz big-band led by the hilarious Michael Arenella played swinging tunes, for a crowd of a few thousand enthusiastic New Yorkers dressed in their best jazz age finery. Everyone picnicked, danced and rode bikes in beautiful early summer weather. There are two lawn parties coming up this year in June and August.
Link to scan of Sydney Morning Herald here
I went to see Voice Weavers on Saturday night. They are an A cappella group which are about to travel to Vietnam to compete in an international choral festival. They are really good. I liked the power of the conductor in this photo, and the separate spaces creating two very different framed scenes. Definitely worth seeing this group. Find out more at the link below.
Sadly another powerful force, the ocean, has been battering the north coast for a few months of this year. Creating a significantly lower beach, which is resulting in the dunes being eroded more than usual, and very established trees having the sand eroded out from under them. There must be about four large trees down, in a two kilometre stretch of beach from New Brighton to South Golden Beach. Apparently the dunes have recovered before - but it is a shame to see trees washed away.
Contacts for Dune Care are on the Byron Council's website.
All the World's a Stage
My submission for Swell Sculpture Festival 2013 has been accepted! The festival runs from September 13 - 22 at Currumbin Beach, QLD. I'm going to make the piece above into a six foot high sculpture that can be viewed from all directions. The title is "All the World's a Stage" referring to a monologue from Shakespeare's play - As You Like It. You can get more info about Swell and the events leading up to it at the following link http://www.swellsculpture.com.au/
Also on the stage we saw a fantastic performance last weekend of "Red" a play about Mark Rothko and a series of paintings he was commissioned to make for the Seagrams company in New York City in the 1950s. It is a two man show with Rothko's studio assistant providing an excellent second character to tell this fascinating story. The season runs from 27 April to 19 May at the Playhouse Theatre, QPAC, Brisbane.
You can get tickets at http://queenslandtheatre.com.au
I first heard about The Candid Frame podcast on Radio National's show, Top of the Pods. It includes in-depth interviews with photographers, people in the photographic industries and educators. Ibarionex Perello is the host of the podcast and also manages a very informative blog and website. Ibarionex is a photographer, writer and educator - he runs workshops and is also an adjunct professor at Art Centre College of Design in California. You can listen via itunes or at the following link: http://thecandidframe.blogspot.com.au/
Radiolab is produced by National Public Radio in the US. Each show is a fascinating investigation into a variety of scientific curiosities and wonders. The hosts have a very inventive and entertaining way of presenting the show and content. I first heard about Radiolab when I went to see Ira Glass, the creator and host of another Public Radio show - This American Life - in Brisbane at an event called "Reinventing Radio". You can listen to an episode of Radiolab on the player below, or go to their website at: http://www.radiolab.org/. You can also listen to the latest episode of This American Life at http://www.thisamericanlife.org/.
I will try to do a post of Australian Podcasts in the near future...
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