Posts Tagged ‘art’

Project Planning

Posted by campbell May 23rd, 2012

Over the last few weeks I’ve gone to a couple of universities to talk to arts students about project planning.

I talked for about an hour about a number of my projects, how they moved from idea, through work, to finished works. How as artists, we need to not only allow ourselves to be swept up in the exhilarating thrill of making, but must also be project managers, and plan and work even when we don’t feel like it.

So much of “being an artist” is doing the work you don’t want to do. Of planning and plotting and scheming and scheduling and sticking to time lines and setting goals. In high school we often get seduced with the idea of the individual genius, of the artist struck by inspiration who works passionately late in to the night and emerges at the break of dawn with his masterpiece. We believe that ideas spring from within, without provenance, and that we will triumph in the end.

There is all the work though, all the grind. There can be no waiting for inspiration, or feeling in the mood. It’s got to be work. And because of the nature of the work, no one gives a shit if you slack off. No one will care if you punch in late and clock off early. If you set your own schedule and you miss it by an hour, a day, a week a month. If you don’t pick up the paint brush for a year, who will really care? We are not doctors skipping surgery, or firemen ignoring infernos. We are ultimately responsible for steering our own course.

Inspiration is a luxury I don’t have the time for.

For the talk, I drafted a list of criteria that I’ve established for myself, of things that I know a project has to have for me to take it on. Things that I know need to be present, or else I won’t see it through. This list will be different for everyone, and will change for me over time as well. I have learned these things about me as much through succeeding in projects as I have through failing in them.

Combine multiple interests.
For me, this means drawing from a range of areas for any given project. It might be certain painters, colour combinations, line work, materials, sounds, music, performances, books. Attempting to make these areas of exploration in to a new whole with new meanings and new readings. It also has the added benefit of offering “escapes” for when you are tired of a project. If you can then shift your focus to a different area of the work, it can keep you going longer.

Make it autobiographical.

This is about placing myself within the work, or rather, identifying where I am within the work and why. Why is this project important to me, to me as a person and an artist. To me as a white male, as a caucasian, as an Australian, as an English speaker. What does it mean for me to be producing the work I do. If a work is autobiographical, or if you are able to identify yourself in it, then you will invest more in the work itself and develop a greater understanding of you and your relationship to the work.

Define your terms of victory.
Goals need to be set for any project. I like to set big goals and mini goals. Big goals are the game winners, they are the big ambitious pay off type goals that will happen when all the grind work is done. It might be an exhibition, or a published book, or a performance. It’s also really important to set mini goals throughout the project. These might be small achievements like sales targets, interviews, number of page views. These mini goals will keep you going when the end seems so far away that you don’t think you can keep going.

Know how you work.
This is tricky, and a knowledge of self can only really come through doing lots of projects. Do you leave everything to the last minute? Do you work to a strict schedule. If you have a deadline looming, and a friend rings you up to go out for a drink, will you stay in the studio and work, or go out and party? If you’re out drinking, there’s going to be ten other artists still in their studios working away, wanting it more than you do.

Set a time line.
Map it all out, map it all out. Schedules are king. Like I said earlier, when you are your own boss, you can be slack as all hell. However, when you are your own boss you can also work as hard as hell. Set a time line. Lay it all out.

I think the easiest way to make a time line is to reverse engineer your project. Start with your end goal. Then pen in when you want to achieve it. Then figure out what the step is immediately before your end goal, and pen that in the calender. Then what do you need to do before that, and before that and before that and keep going until you get where you are now. Assess if it’s feasible, if you know how you work you can figure out if it’s doable. If need be, rejig the plan until it all works spaces out nicely.

Make sure you give yourself room for error, for sickness, for emergencies, because they will poke their heads in to disrupt your master plan.

Push hard
Work work work work work work work.


studio sale

Posted by campbell December 6th, 2010

We’ve decided to move out of our Inglewood studio space at the end of the year.

To celebrate (and to make the moving process that much easier) we’re are holding a sale of our works this Sunday from 10am. Original paintings, framed prints, art supplies and various other trinkets will be available. We want to say goodbye to everything, so all works are priced from 5$-$100.

There will be works from myself, Elizabeth Marruffo and James Macneil available.

Come have a browse, with muffins and a cup of tea and pick up a Christmas gift for someone cute (or if you’re selfish, for your own cute self)

date: Dec 11
time: 10-2
address: 126 Crawford Rd, Maylands

Jump aboard the facebook event here.


the secret

Posted by campbell December 3rd, 2010

I use my son as unpaid child labor to produce my paintings.



Posted by campbell November 20th, 2010

The wonderful talented Elizabeth Marruffo will be showing works in a group show titled Femme that’s opening at Studio 281 this saturday at 6pm.

She’ll be exhibiting alongside a range of other female artists including Friends of Leon regulars Jodee Knowles and Alex Lekias as well as Carmen Cilliers, Kiri Booth, Annette Allman, Deborah Zibah and Raquel Cavallaro. The above work, “death of the party” will be available for sale, as a well as a few other new pieces that she has been developing.

The exhibition opens tonight from 6pm at 281 Guildford Road, Maylands.

You can see a preview of the works on show here.


bananas in pyjamas

Posted by campbell October 31st, 2010

Bananas in pyjamas are coming down the stairs,
Bananas in pyjamas are coming down in pears,
Bananas in pyjamas are chasing teddy bears,
‘cos on Tuesdays they all try to catch them unawares!


artist talks

Posted by campbell October 30th, 2010

Last wednesday was the final artist talk at free range gallery, featuring Adrian Baldsing and Dom Trimboli.

I was lucky enough to have attended university with Adrian, so am pretty familiar with his work. He is a multi-discipline artist who draws strongly from architectural forms and the lasting impression that the September 11 attacks have left on our world.

In his talk, he spoke candidly about his latest exhibition at These Days gallery, his working process and how he blends contemporary street art, white wall gallery ideology, terrorism, 60’s/70’s counterculture, Basquiat and the Raft of the Meduesa.

I am less familiar with Dom’s work, he is a recent free range member, architect, lecturer at UWA and assists in the production of many sculptural works produced in Perth. Dom discussed his thoughts on the positioning of good design within lower economic levels, the recent construction of a house from discarded showroom kitchenettes and how technology is encouraging organic forms to reemerge in architecture.

Once again, Liz has done an amazing job of tying together the practices of two of our in house artists.

On an organisational front, the talks went smoothly and were quite easy to pull together, with eager artists and guests offering up their time. Next year, in October we’ll run the talks again and hopefully open it up to a wider range of artists who have exhibited with us during the year and let the public attend.


artist talks

Posted by campbell October 26th, 2010

Last week we had the super talented Tanya Schultz and Jennifer Catalano talk about their recent works at free range gallery.

Both artists work with found objects from the environment but in very different ways. Jennifer works with dirt from the local wetlands and wilderness to create pastes which she paints with, while Tanya works with consumer items like plastics toys, candy wrappers and glitter. The contrast between the two practices was great, Jennifer discussed the difficulty in finding the kind of “natural” material that she worked with, she really had to hunt for untouched lands and regions, where as Tanya felt overwhelmed by the abundance of plastics and brightly coloured goodsl. My partner Liz did a fantastic job pairing these two artists up.

This Wednesday Adrian Baldsing and Dom Trimboli will be discussing their practices which are both heavily influenced by construction and architecture.


all over

Posted by campbell October 25th, 2010

The New Perth exhibition is finished and this week I am taking down all the works, patching up the gallery and painting over the mural.

I’m pleased with how the show turned out, although, like all exhibitions the things that I wasn’t able to achieve are the ones that stick in my mind. These things are usually best not to talk about as people viewing the work most likely would never guess what they are.

This body of work is one that I’m keen to continue with, I finally feel that I have struck upon a methodology that combines all the ideas that persist with me. Many of my previous exhibitions, while fine in their own right, were a little all over the place in terms of visual cohesion. I’m looking forward to developing the narrative of New Perth, the myths and stories as well as branching out in to dimensional work. Creating costumes and relics from the struggle, false historical documents of what was.

During the run of the exhibition I was surprised at the amount of media response I received. Ric Spencers in depth review was a real highlight as it’s very difficult to get meaningful constructive criticism outside of university. He’s pretty bang on about a lot of my interests and influences as well, even referencing Leon Golub whose work at the Art Gallery of Western Australia was burnt in to my mind a long time ago. Also of note was my mention on Phantasmaphile, one of mine and Liz’ favorite blogs. To be highlighted alongside some of the most amazing contemporary figurative artists is a real treat. Finally my interview with Voice journalist David Bell was great as a chance to provide more context for the work.

I’d like to thank my wonderful partner Elizabeth Marruffo for her constant support of my practice and this project. None of it would be possible without her.


artist talks

Posted by campbell October 15th, 2010

All this month at free range we are holding a series of artist talks by members of the organisation. Last night, my partner Elizabeth Marruffo and myself talked about our most recent exhibitions and what influences our figurative creative practices.

It was a fantastic opportunity to discuss our work and get critical feedback from an engaged and educated community. One of the biggest things that I miss about university is the critical analysis of your work that was always at hand, of people being able to interpret your images, your technique and methodology. These talks are perhaps an attempt to restore what is missing.

This month of talks is running as an in house trial, to see logistically what is involved in running them and so forth. In the future, we’re thinking of opening them up so that other artists can give regular presentations with the broader arts community able to attend.

I’m not really aware of any other regular arts events of this type in Perth. Can anyone fill in the gaps?
Where do you go for dialogue and community?


new perth review

Posted by campbell October 11th, 2010

Ric Spencer reviewed my latest exhibition, New Perth, in the October 8 edition of the West Australian paper. However, the paper was a limited edition run and was only available for sale on one day, so now you’ve all missed out on buying it, and reading it.

Fear not however! I have scanned the article and even typed it out for your reading pleasure.

“Since impressionism’s intoxication with Japanese prints and Gaugauin’s heading off to Polynesia, the pure of the exotic “other” has never really left art. Of course, it’s never really left our subconscious (or travel brochures) since the Europeans set sail for new worlds but today with global imagery a mouse click away, surely desktop travelling is de rigueur and our desires to elope to fables lands have dwindled.

Not so, according to three shows in town now.

What is interesting about Campbell Whyte’s New Perth, Stephen Eastaugh’s A good Day Tonight and Julie Podstolski’s Geisha is that exotic doesn’t necessarily mean pleasant and nor does it mean utopia. Rather is seems that the contemporary exotic is a nostalgia for anything uncorrupted as a counterpoint to apathy and acceptance.

So, in this sense, where does the contemporary exotic exist? Whyte’s great little show at Free Range is a good place to start looking.

After spending some time in San Fracisco and Oaxaca, Mexico, on artist residencies, Whyte has returned to Perth to produce an art of terrific violence, heavily influenced by the political art of South America.

The style and mannerisms in the paintings blend mural and death art, new age and cult symbolism and the stark, pared down vitriol of someone like Leon Golub.

The new mantra in Whyte’s work is a wake-up call for Perth audiences. Like the work of Patrick Doherty, Whyte examines the possibilities of moral meltdown and examines a Perth engaged with fighting for ideals, involved in protest and civil unrest.

Heady stuff but also refreshing in its approach and the technique it’s delivered in.

The six-panelled work at the centre of the back wall dominates the show and indeed is strong enough to be shown on its own, subjugating the wall painting and other installation work.

This multi-panelled piece utilises broken narrative to deliver six separate works, with titles like Feast of the Unicorns, My Eyes Eat Honey and It Keeps You Running as an ode to the exotic other lying in found aweareness and a cause worth fighting for. In Whyte’s work the breaking down of social structure might lead to chaos but also a sense of rebirth.

This is strong figurative work in search of raw emotion.”