The idea of giving is not something new to me. While growing up, giving was a regular part of our day-to-day life. Giving of money, giving of time, giving of resources. If something was needed and we had it to give, we gave it. That was just how it was. It was the right thing to do.
As I grew older and I saw life as busy and hectic and, to be honest, a grind, other people that needed help became white noise. Sad to say, but it’s true, for me anyway, that the beggars and buskers, the requests for donations, charity bins and development funds all got overwhelmed by my own personal needs to look after my family. I helped out where I could, volunteering and fundraising drives but no great cause. As basically that time of my life was survival.
I’m not as survival based as with a young family and recently two things have popped up and I donated. And it felt great.
First was to support a project by an enterprising women who decided to see a bit of the world and help out where she could. Kim found the situation for Uluibau Primary School in Fiji needed a boost post Cyclone Winston. The story Kim wrote to support her request is worth the read but to quote a passage:
“…I am asking for your support to establish a new school library at Uluibau Primary School. It’s no myth that education is key to breaking the cycle of poverty, and I believe all children have a right to access education in a safe environment, just as we did growing up. All raised funds will go to the purchase of new (really cool) reading books.”
The thing that struck me was “new”. Why should these kids have outdated, worn out reading material? Why indeed! They deserve better.
Education is the key to everything. We can’t fix it for all schools, and there are so very many in need, but someone I know has put up their hand up to help out one school, and I was ready to back them in. Maybe it was my personal connection to Kim that got me over the line, but whatever it was, it felt great.
Secondly, I love a good idea, and this one is superb. Mum’s Taxi is a ride sharing scheme being developed by George McEncroe a local Melbourne based comedian/writer/performer.
I first heard about this on radio, can't remember where, then again, recently on a podcast I listen to called I Love Green Guide Letters Ep221 16 June 2016.
The podcast is not for those with delicate dispositions as many expletives are spoken, but I am a regular listener and it is hilarious. On it George spoke with passion and it was compelling, for our daughters, sons, nieces, aunts, mothers, grandmothers and cousins. And so I put my hand in my pocket and donated. Again, it felt great.
So I come to the conclusion about giving: It’s feels good. I feel connected to the things I am passionate about. I feel as if I can do something, that I am contributing, that I am supporting people and causes I believe in in a tangible and active way.
I know these may not be your passions, causes or things to support and I'm not sure these are it for me, but it has been good to find this out about myself.
You can read more about Uluibau Primary School and the rest of Kims’ post here: https://www.mycause.com.au/page/128577/help-uluibau-primary-school-fiji
You can read about Mum’s Taxi here https://www.gofundme.com/mumstaxi
Oh, and something I've been working on lately, one for the politicians and the sports commentators...
My exhibition Endless is currently on display at Frankston Art Centre.
Open from 9am-5pm Monday to Friday and on Saturday from 9am until 2pm, it is being shown in the Atrium Gallery now until the 16th July, so if you missed its last showing and wanted to catchup with it or if you just wanted to see it again, you can!
Recently I wrote about e-struct Consulting Services commissioning me for a project and here it is!
As yet un-named, the little bot will become the mascot for their Junior Engineers program. The first item on the agenda is to name the bot and that is to be given to the kids, which is great news. Being the young creative geniuses that they are, they're sure to come up with something more creative than Botty McBotFace and angle for something that is not gendered or ethnically indicative. The idea of course is that this little bot will encourage all kids of all backgrounds to participate in STEM programs.
My suggestion is RU1-2, but I’m not in the voting pool, and I'm a bit biased… but you can check out the program and keep in touch with e-struct Junior Engineers via Facebook.
So my little kids are out there in the wild.
I had been commissioned by Frankston Art Centre to put up some of my little kids as paste-ups but the weather and the glue was defeating me. Eventually making my own wheat paste was easier than I thought. In fact, it was easier than trying to find a commercial solution.
The weather though, that’s different matter. I didn’t want to go ahead and paste them up and then have a down pour overnight that washed them away. So I waited, and waited, and waited. It seemed that the cycle of one day fine and the next day drenching seemed to be never ending. Eventually though this week end was looking good. Saturday fine after a fine day Friday and Sunday is looking fine too. Hopefully they’ll last a few weeks.
Although there is the question of the painter-outer-er. We have a person in the area, who, with very good intentions, has the grey paint the Council uses to paint out graffiti and they conscientiously keep this bridge in tip-top, graffiti free condition.
As these have been commissioned by the Council, I’m keeping my fingers crossed this person has been told and doesn’t feel the need to clean them up.
So if you do want to see them, in the wild, be quick! They’re on the pedestrian bridge where Playne Street crosses Baxter Street, over the railway line in Frankston.
Sorry about the map, best I could do!
I thought I had a big project to announce, but it’s yet to be confirmed. The people I’ve been dealing with haven’t got back to me and after a couple of un-answered emails I’m not sure where to go with it. I don’t want to email the big-boss but… anyway I was getting a bit down about it but two - count them TWO awesome things have happened.
I’ve been commissioned to develop a character for a wonderful program run as an off-shoot of a local engineering company, e-struct Consulting Services. They’ve put their considerable intellect and enthusiasm into ‘Junior Engineers’ a S.T.E.M. program of fun activities in the sciences to develop and encourage problem solving, creative thinking and learning as you do.
When I met the directors, their excitement and integrity with which they are doing this was amazing and infectious. Only just at the beginning of their venture, they want to show children how technology touches their everyday and how they can be part of it. To do this they run events where kids can participate in experiments and solve puzzles, teaching them as they do the activity, letting them explore and find out for themselves.
The character I’ve been asked to design is to create a friendly, mascot type of emblem and I’m loving the sketching… can’t show you all yet, but I will later - of course!
The second thing, which is also so great I can’t believe it’s actually happening, the remainder of my exhibition ‘Endless’ is to be shown at Frankston Arts Centre (FAC).
So there is one last chance to see the few items that weren’t sold. They’ve also put some tea towels and postcards in the display boxes so they’re for sale too. It will be open to viewing on 10th May until sometime in July. What a run, hopefully lots of people will see it and maybe even a few more contacts made!
In other news, I’m currently working on a new series of drawings (above). If you follow me on Instagram you’ll have already seen some. It’s a play on entropy, beauty and its fleeting nature… I hope I get better in finding the words to describe it all.
I do know, for certain, that drawing these gives me joy and the finished ones leave me dumbfounded that I did it. I keep coming back to look at them again and again, and they leave my heart satisfied.
It’s Sketchbook Project time again. I stuck with the pencil work again this year, but created a bit of a narrative. The little darling, can’t decide on what to wear… creates a bit of a mess in the process.
So it’s off to the post office and out of the country to Brooklyn, New York. To be properly digitised and put into their collection.
Each year I sign up I think I’ll never get this done, each year about halfway through I want to bin it, each year there’s an immense sense of achievement in finally seeing it posted off.
You can flick through the images here of each page by clicking on them.
More postage, I’m about to send my second postcard off to the publishers. This one began when I said I was going to make these postcards and Rohan said, “…like and old fashioned tweet…” so I grabbed that and went with it.
The original is hand painted in Gouache, I’ve tidied it up in Photoshop, putting the background in and adding a few more notes and I’m really pleased with how it came out. This would make a great greeting card, I think, and the style would be a good book cover, hopefully ‘they’ see that it would too!
It’s already halfway through February! Where does the time go? Certainly not adding to my charms…
The last month or so has been really productive. I’ve finished and printed some promotional postcards and written a short article about my amazing new press for the Illustrators Australia magazine, Outline.
I’ll post the article when it’s published, but in the meantime you can go to www.enjaypresses.com.au, under “success stories” is a hint!
The postcards though, are to be sent to publishers to tell them that I exist. Hopefully they’ll like what they see and get in touch.
I have a campaign ready! six postcards one a month until July, starting in February with one I did last year with a bit of a Valentine’s theme. I love getting things in the mail which aren’t bills so hopefully they will too.
I’m also putting together a print portfolio to be posted (Yes! by the Postie). Some publishers only take physical portfolios and this one will be printed like a magazine and showcase what I think is my best work.
It’s hard to decide what is left in and what is omitted so I’ve decided to focus it on the lettering and children’s illustrations. Other potential clients explicitly say they want digital submissions, so I’m also doing a version that can be emailed. Lots of work to get work!
It's been a challenging year, but a happy one. For me it's all been a successful one. I haven't won Tattslotto or anything, but I have created a plan, stuck to it (-ish) and begun building a business for myself in a true and meaningful way.
In this, I've been overwhelmed by the love and support of my family, they have been through it all, everyday, step-by-step and my biggest cheer squad.
I've been humbled by my friends, who have also been there, holding my banner up high and heralding the charge. I love them so very much.
People have taught me so much about myself through out this year, and I reckon this it the key to happiness. Learning. About yourself, the world, the universe. Science, art & everything, it all opens your mind...astoundingly and delightfully expanding it, adding new bits to the pile of information already in your brain, shifting it a little to make more room. This is the truly ever expanding universe.
PS: HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!
It's a crazy time of year. Everyone is busy, busy, busy!
Roccotillo's Cafe in Wells Street Frankston very kindly offered to put up a few of my pieces. Which I've taken full advantage of, and they look great. Irene has already had them hung, so if your around, go and buy a coffee from them (and I can recommend the Lemon Friands - delicious!) and check it out.
Lately I've been working on a project I can't talk too much about, but the artwork is finalised. What I do with it is yet to be decided. From the busy-ness of this time of year I like to think these best describe what's truly important...
Having fun, laughing with your friends and seeing how far you can go!
The podcast of the interview I did with JOY 94.9 Sunday Arts Magazine is up! You can listen to it from via their website here:
It was so nerve wracking and wonderful all at the same time. I love it when life does that to you. Like a carnival ride, or the surf, it leave you all tingly and excited... invigorated and looking for the next adventure.
Lots of adventures this month! This week alone has been full of new and exciting things that I've never done before.
On Sunday I was interviewed on the radio. What a thing!?! One of my wonderful neighbours volunteers at community radio station JOY 94.9 and he put my name forward to the guys who do an arts program on Sunday afternoons called Sunday Arts Magazine And it was FANTASTIC! A great experience which I never thought I'd ever have. David, Daniel and Brendan the announcers were so welcoming and generous that, although I was very nervous, made me feel totally at ease.
A podcast of it should be available soon.
On Monday I helped hang the 2015 Illustrators Australia 9x5 Exhibition 'Playtime'. It was a big day but there were many helpers and we got it all done in record time. Come and see it, it's showing at the Abbotsford Convent from 10th November until 5th December.
Coming up on Sunday 15th November and Saturday 28th November, we're having an Illustrators Market there in the gallery. I will be selling some of the tea towels, postcards and prints from the show. So if your looking for something to do and need to do a bit of present shopping, come down and say 'Hi!'.
Thank you everyone! It was a great night Friday and the exhibition launched without a hitch (I was a bit impressed with how calm I was).
So many people came and such wonderful support was so lovely to see. A terrific endorsement for me and the past years work. The positivity in the room was palpable.
Some major thank you's go to my wonderful family. Their help on the night was OUTSTANDING. It just wouldn't have worked without them, I love them to bits and they are amazing. To those who've all been on this journey with me, my sisters, brothers, nieces and nephews, not to mention my friends... "Thanks" doesn't cover how grateful I am and how special you all are to me - not even close.
In the end, we raised a little som'n-som'n for WHISE which, when the exhibition winds up, I'll pass onto them.
And if you want to see it all again in a less crowded environment, the Gallery is open on Saturday and Sunday from 10-4 until the 25th October. Tell your friends!
Oh, and I'm on Instagram now, you can follow me @_essayer - just like all the cool kids!
After a big, exhausting effort on Friday, the exhibition is hung and we're almost ready to roll.
Liz (the gallery) and Rohan's (my husband) help was invaluable, I just could not have done it without them (there was maths involved). And in spite of me, it looks fantastic! I can't wait until the 9th!
Firstly, a big THANK YOU to those who've signed up to the mailing list. It has been very challenging to put myself out there but knowing people are behind me is AWESOME! In the words of one great Australian, "I love youse all!".
So the invitation is out there, excitement and rapturous applause...
Also, 10% of sales from the night will go to Women's Health in the South East (WHISE), as a donation for the important work they do supporting women's health and in particular, women in domestic violence situations.
Come along, bring a friend or two, post the invitation to all your peeps on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram... the more support this gets, the more practical help we can provide to local women, AND have a fun night as well!
Everything is at the framers and I'm counting the sleeps now! Can't wait to see you all.
I made it! All my work is at the framers (bar one piece, but that's not far away).
The date has been set for the opening - Friday 9th October. I'll be putting together an invitation and posting it all over the shop next week. Put yourself on the mailing list to get one direct to your inbox!
It's been an interesting month. The print put into the local art show sold! Which was unexpected and wonderful. Having no expectation of selling, and printing it for the purpose of getting ready for my own exhibition made this a bonus... and YES, I'm putting together my first solo exhibition.
The studio where I work has a gallery space attached and I've booked myself in and created a deadline. I've even told other people about it so, it is on!
Dates are to be confirmed but regardless, everything that is to be framed needs to be completed by the end of August. eek! Only a couple of weeks away.
If you want to be kept informed just sign up to my mailing list or follow me on twitter (@_essayer).
The works will all be about the washing. Yep, I still haven't got it out of my system. Hopefully this will purge it from me and I can approach the laundry with the same disinterest as the rest of the population. But I doubt it. The washing is always there, another load to wash, another to hang out, another to sort. It never f**king ends. You can never retire from the washing.
Pegs though, are a fascinating bit of kit. Simple, effective, ubiquitous, useful and (dare I say it?...) essential.
AND... This week I'm the featured artist on the Illustrators Australia website. YAY!
Previously I'd posted about a print I was working on for an upcoming exhibition, and I thought it was going to be great! Ba-wah! Boy, was I wrong!
After much to-ing and fro-ing I had found a press to hire and the printmaker, Belinda Nye, was fantastic! I've admired her work for a long time and it was great to finally meet her properly. Check her out here. We did many experiments. Was it the plate? Was it the ink? Was it me? but we couldn't get it work.
Her solution to separate the images and get rid of the border was absolutely the right call, but her double printing the image was ground breaking. It looked fabulous. This idea needs greater exploration. I could have framed up an image from what we got on the day but it didn't feel right and wouldn't do it justice. So, pulled out the proverbial and made a new plate.
With a similar theme which bubbles away in my personal work, the new image was printed with a barren, using the brute force of my able assistant and champion.
So it's all framed and read to go for the exhibition! Woo-hoo! It's not what I'd planned, but I learned so much from the experience... it really pushed me. I'll be working on my three separate plates of women hanging out the washing for a future exhibition, with cleaner plates, better technique and superb composition. It'll be great!
I've had an image in me, burning a hole in my brain, for quite some time and like anything, it needs to get out.
With the opportunity to prepare for a local art show in the works, I'm using it to justify sending the time on it.
It was always going to be a lino cut. Funny how sometimes, you just know... sometimes it's clear and not right unless it's done that way. Other times of course you can puddle around for hours trying out different mediums, formats, compositions. Not this time.
I've done a small version to test out my technique and it seemed to go well so I'm looking forward to getting it finished and seeing it all.
Recently, Illustrators Australia (IA) held a professional development night with a topic close to my heart (and wallet), The Business of Illustration.
Keep in mind I've been to a few business type of seminars and I'm jaded and sceptical about what these types of talks can offer. From previous lives in previous industries they have all blended together to form an overwhelming mass of information that seems quite impenetrable.
I can do the illustration, and there's always new things to learn and ways to be better at it, but the business of illustration has been another whole hairy beast I'm just beginning to get my head around.
Luckily I went to this one. The speaker, Vincenzo Pignatelli of Blue Quoll Publishing was AWESOME!
I'm cross at myself for not speaking to him afterward (I should have got a photo!) but there were lots of people there (a full house - great work IA volunteers!), and lots of people wanting to speak to him after the talk. Everything he talked about made so much sense and it cut through all the other management-speak that turns my brain into blancmange.
Lisa's book is a practical overview of the industry and how to go from making art to selling art. With lots of examples it described the why's, how's and opportunities that are out there. When I read it, it gave me a new sense of purpose and commitment to myself and my work. I carry it with me in my work bag.
Vincent's talk brought all this into focus, unbeknownst to him (or may he knows?) he reinforced what Art Inc. discusses, and he spoke in a direct, open and friendly manner which was clear and understandable. Not only was it a great talk, it was delivered well. What's not to like!?!
I know I'm still finding my feet but it's exciting in a way it wasn't before, so I'd just like to say to IA, Vincent and Lisa a heartfelt: