29 November 2012

The 2012 Cherish Christmas showcase at artisan

It's been a whirlwind year for artisan, and it's already time for the annual Cherish Christmas showcase. This year the Cherish selection of products has been hand-picked by some of Queensland's most well known personalities and supporters of craft and design.
Sneak peek: Some of the amazing products included in Cherish 2012

Cherish will officially open this Saturday the 1st of December, with all products on display and available for purchase in our Fortitude Valley design store. We will also be featuring a product each working day between Monday the 3rd of December and Monday the 24th of December on our Facebook page and right here on our blog, so stay tuned!

27 November 2012

Meet the artist: Kate O'Brien

Kate O'Brien, Humbug Billy - The Bradford sweet poisoning of 1858, 2010. Digital photograph. 40.6 x 61cm

Kate O'Brien is a Brisbane-based photographer whose work is currently being featured in The Antipodean Steampunk Show. We caught up with Kate to chat about art, Brisbane, and Steampunk.

What was your first encounter with Steampunk? 

I believe it was a photograph of set designer, Kit Stolen by the Russian American photographic artist Nadya Lev. He is pictured wearing a dusty Victorian ensemble including a brocade vest and tailcoat with leather gloves and hair falls, equal parts black plastic strapping, dreadlocks and rusty springs. For a while there it was the image most people associated with the genre and is still in the top 10 results on google image search when you use Steampunk as your keyword.

Kate O'Brien, Hull, 2008. Digital photograph. 58.4 x 48.3cm

Where do you draw inspiration from for your photographs?

I don't tend to look at the other work of photographers very much, but rather I draw my inspiration from small details in paintings and historical clothing. I love looking at embroidery on Belle Époque gowns or William Morris wallpaper designs for visual cues for my own work. I also source a lot of French antiques and textiles to use as props and costumes. Often a small thing can inspire an elaborate image, such as the 200 year old silk Brocade I used for the waistcoat in my image, "Humbug Billy: The Bradford Sweet Poisoning of 1858".

What message do you take from the Steampunk movement?

I don't feel the movement is especially unified so it's hard to take one singular message from Steampunk. I can only speak for my own ideals and beliefs, which is that the decorative and ornamented  is what sets us apart from being soulless robots. In the last 100 years we have moved away from the skills and aesthetic beauty that used to be commonplace in ordinary household goods. It's no longer economically viable to allow the everyday consumer access to things made with craftsmanship and beauty and we are conditioned to believe that a clinical piece of hardware such as the iphone or ipad is the pinnacle of achievement in design and function. I believe and hope that after a century of having decoration systematically stripped out of our lives, the thirst for that beauty will return.  

Kate O'Brien, Ava Nara, 2008. Digital photograph. 50.8 x 40.6cm

Your photographs often feature elaborate sets and costumes. How long does it generally take for an image to go from concept to finished product?

It really depends on the concept and the financial constraints. I don't shoot as regularly as I used to, but that was a conscious decision so that I could refine my concepts and create a higher quality outcome. Some images sit in the back of my mind while I collect bits and pieces for them while others only take a couple of months. Many of the props in my images are from chance encounters and there is very little I can just decide I need and go and purchase. Even things like fabric, which is usually readily available needs to be sewn into a finish garment or backdrop. It's very labour intensive, but I think it helps me maintain the level of detail in my work that people immediately notice when they see my finished images. 

Kate O'Brien, Paris green, 2012. Digital photograph. 61 x 40.6cm.

Do you have a favourite piece in The Antipodean Steampunk Show?

I really love Russell Anderson's tea bag jiggler. It really personifies the quirkiness of the genre. It's the classic Steampunk "Infernal Contraption". Definitely my favourite piece in the show!

What’s the best thing about being an artist in Brisbane?

Without sounding too sappy, getting the opportunity to have my work in the show at Artisan and the support I've had from local Brisbane people whom I'd never met before. There is a strong sense of community in the Brisbane art scene and it is really encouraging for relatively new artists such as myself.

You can see Kate's work on display at Gallery artisan as part of The Antipodean Steampunk Show until the 15th of December.

21 November 2012

Steampunk on You Tube

The Antipodean Steampunk Show
We're excited to announce that the short film behind the scenes of The Antipodean Steampunk Show is now live on you tube!

Filmed by our good friends at Carbon Media, the 4min clip features time lapse photography of the exhibition install and opening night, along with amazing video of works in motion.

Check out The Making of The Antipodean Steampunk Show now!

While you're there, why not have a peak at a few videos by artists in the show, we'll be posting more over the coming weeks, so stay tuned.

08 November 2012

Quench: The thirst for new design

Brisbane's Quench collective is giving emerging Queensland designers the opportunity to exhibit their work at artisan and in the USA.

The thirst for new design, supported by Arts Queensland, will award one talented designer with a place in an international design fair to be held in the USA in June 2013.

The brief
To enter, entrants are simply asked to create an interpretation of what the work 'Quench' means to them. Delivering a visual representation by way of graphic design, film, animation, or multimedia, the result can be as literal or as abstract as the entrant chooses.

Entries can be submitted through the online entry form

The prizes
Shortlisted designers will be featured in artisan's Ivory Street window in January 2013. From this group, five designers will go on to a second stage of selection, involving a short interview and a pitch as to why their work should be included in the Quench exhibition in the USA.

The successful entrant's work will  will receive fully paid flights and accommodation for the duration of the international design fair, and have their work showcased in an international exhibition.

Entries will close on 6 January 2013, with shortlisted designers notified on January 11.

06 November 2012

Opening night: The Antipodean Steampunk Show

On Thursday the 25th of October, we proudly unveiled our new exhibition, The Antipodean Steampunk Show.  

Showcasing all manner of Steampunk ingenuity, including jewellery, photography, fashion, lighting and technology, this exhibition is our final show for 2012. 

Opening night was attended by an eclectic mix of artisan regulars as well as Steampunk enthusiasts. There were some fabulous outfits on display, both on the mannequins and in the audience! A few were captured in the photographs below, and you can view more photos in our Facebook album.

The Antipodean Show will be running until the 15th of December


Photographs taken for artisan by Sarah-Jean Young and Melinda Gagen.

02 November 2012

Early Career Residencies up to $30,000

The Early Career Residencies program provides an opportunity for artists, writers, curators, editors, music and theatrical producers in all Australia Council supported art forms, to develop and implement creative projects and developments, whilst being supported in a host organisation. 

This program is designed to encourage connections and collaborations between early career practitioners and established organisations. Hosts can be venues, festivals, arts and non-arts organisations.

Residencies can be initiated and applied for by the host or the early career practitioner. An amount of up to $30,000 is available for a residency of up to six months. Applications close 29 January 2013.

To find out more visit the Early Career Residencies webpage or contact:

Jane Eastwood
Program Officer, Early Career Artists and Producers Program
Phone 02 9215 9032
Email j.eastwood@australiacouncil.gov.au