The VCA Blew Me Away

I took my sceptical self to the VCA Open Day, and  was most impressed by what I saw. Having already visited MADA, and RMIT, I thought my mind was firmly made up, as to where I might hope to continue my further study.

Painting Studio VCA
Painting Studio VCA

A brand new ceramic and sculpture facility mightily impressed, as did the Painting studios. Whilst not expansive, they boasted good natural light, due to the beamed and skylight, old factory ceilings.

VCA 2
VCA 2

 

The model of mixing in all year levels together, appealed, offering  fostering, and  cross pollination of ideas. The 9 to 5 work ethic, promoting a 40 hour working week  of studio practice, struck a cord in this old proletariats heart

sign
sign
Easel in studio
Easel in studio

 

Honours Student
Honours Student

 

I freely conversed with a sculpture student, an administrator, an academic, a lecturer, a painting teacher and an artist, John Campbell, one of my favourite Australian painters. I garnered factual information, insider tips for interview, and appreciated the positive, can do attitude.  It gave me much to think about, and contemplate, and I admit I was pleasantly surprised by what I saw, who I met, and how it takes its place as a valuable training facility, in the visual arts field.

Sculpture
Sculpture

To complete my plan of further visual arts training in 2016, it will be necessary for me to deftly negotiate the VTAC site, surmount my growing horror in an interview situation, amass my huge body of work, and retrace my steps back to Southbank aka South Melbourne, the familial home of my misspent youth. The VCA is housed in the old factory where I began my working life as a staff clerk at Telecom Workshops. I can stride through the old costing area, above the sheet metal workshop and know that 35 years later I have made a triumphant return feeling more at home with a paintbrush in my hand, than I did with a P66, and an annual leave bonus.

1st year
1st year
vca painting studio
vca painting studio
roof
roof

Final Essay

A plan was formulated, some time ago, to plan, and write my final essay for Context and Culture, a second semester subject of my Diploma of Visual Art.

 

Time to write
Time to write

I believe I chose a suitable topic, but research proved problematic, as not much documentation,  of the art work produced in this period, was recorded. Still sticking with the original topic another attempt has been forged, but I am stuck. First and second paragraphs are written, but the stumbling block is the next two paragraphs and conclusion.I want it done, it has hung around too long and invaded the edges of my conscience, an unwelcome intrusion when all I really want to do is spend time in my studio and complete pieces for my final folio assessment.

 

tunnel 3
tunnel 3

I am frustrated and bored with it but seem locked into inaction, a paralysis of the brain, preventing my arm from piecing it all together. I know I will just need to sit down and give it a bit more time. I will myself to get organised, collate my notes, marshall my thoughts, and produce a cohesive piece of writing. I just can’t seem to pull it together, with so many other demands on my time to complete my final drawing folio and display it in a cleaned studio,  the essay keeps getting relegated to the ” to do ” pile. Oh well, there’s always tomorrow! Watch this space.

The Palais

scaffold
scaffold

Much loved local icon, the Palais Theatre is under threat! Local rocker and frontman of the Dark Horses, Tex Perkins has stepped up to its defence. Mysterious scaffolding has encased the mighty structure for some time now. Apparently this is not a renovation precaution, but is in place to prevent bits falling off and striking the general public, and theatre goers.

 

Luna Park
Luna Par

 

 

She is a much loved piece of the St Kilda landscape, and integral part of the Melbourne theatre, and performance scene. Concerts are regularly held there, and she continues to host local and international acts. Mick Jagger, Rolling Stones singer, referred to the Palais in his recent Melbourne Show saying they performed at the Palais in 1966 and urged fans to save the venue.

I have attended many memorable performances there. Annually the Sacred Heart mission’s, Heart of St Kilda Concert, to raise funds for the local homeless, Missy Higgins, Rockwiz tribute night to Vanda and Young, Birdy, and Boz Scaggs.

 

palais
palais

 

In 2010, I was privileged to win a ballot to tickets to a guided tour of the Palais, as part of the StKilda Festival. We got to go backstage, stand on the rolling stage, check out the dressing rooms, view the juliet window, site the projectionist room, and even climb up into the roof to inspect the domes, and building structure. A memorable tour, firmly etched in my memory, and probably not possible now, due to Health and Safety regulations. The craftsmanship, attention to detail and sheer beauty of the grand old dame, a fine example of art deco architecture, was breathtaking. It was also sad to see how much she had fallen into disrepair through neglect and lack of maintenance. Impossible to believe she was still exisitng at all, but she has a tenacious hold on StKilda, our hearts and minds, and is the venue of our dreams. She’s not going down without a fight, and the locals are just passionate enough to save her. Prepared to take on both the local and state governments they will fight for her survival. The infamous triangle site fiasco is brought to mind, where they repelled the attempts to build a Chadstone style complex, on the vacant land around the Palais Theatre, abutting Luna Park, and the St Kilda Foreshore

 

 

palais side
palais side

. A virulent battle between protestors, and developers, and local and state government ensued, which saw the protestors victorious, and the site remains vacant until a suitable compromise can be reached.The StKilda Pier Kiosk was burnt down, the StKilda Sea Vaults closed, St Moritz demolished, and it would appear the Astor Theatre is beyond redemption, but the Palais is hanging in there and we will save her, wrangling a truculent Local and State Government to assist.

As a visual artist, I have always found the old girl, aesthetically inspiring and have photographed, painted, and drawn her for many years. She is a big part of my local history, and I too will do whatever it takes to keep her standing. Too young to have seen the memorable 66′ Stones Concert within her hallowed walls, I remember a Dame Edna aka Barry Humphries, concert there of 30 years ago, where the grand old dame played host to the magenta haired, grand old Dame, and gladiolus, flew through the air in a floral frenzy.

The Palais will not go down without a fight, it will emerge from its encasing cocoon like a chrysalis,  and I expect to be along for its bumpy ride, to re-emergence.

Visual Diary

My Visual Diary, is an integral part of who I am.  I record in it, stow found objects, sketch ideas, write lines overheard on the train, snatches of songs, and map out ideas. Its my creative life blood, my thought space, where I create, think, feel and articulate my visual repertoire . Varying sizes, paper thicknesses and surfaces add variety. At the moment I am using a rather cumbersome one, distributed free by a VU teacher, from an abandoned stock-pile in a cupboard. Its large in size, and needs to be transported in its own bag. I now draw in a horizontal rather than vertical format. I love the crispness of its sheets, the rustle of its pages, and the inviting, cool expanse, of white paper in which to unleash my creative energies. One page flows into another, many are filled in rapid succession, soon a fleeting image is captured and I am able to move onto the next feast of  mark making.

 

 

Diary material
Diary material

Sporadically, I  look back at the previous pages work, scarcely able to believe I have created such spontaneous imagery. My small diary was carted around eastern Europe, in 2013, and saved me from many an argument with a recalcitrant daughter. I would put my head down, and draw and paint in my tiny diary, easing the barbs of the day and removing any residual animosity. For a period of quiet reflection, wherever we were I would use my diary, choosing from the accompanying small selection of tools, and I would attempt to draw what I saw,record it in my visual diary and commit it to memory. It became my escape, my release and my solace when the constant travelling became exhausting, and the camaraderie of the journey a little stretched. Bit like my current trajectory at VU.