About Me

My photo
Sydney, NSW, Australia
I'm an arts management worker/ artist/ designer. I work at Accessible Arts in administration and bookkeeping, but also work on various freelance activities from photography to graphic design. I'm Associate Partner at the ARI, the Big Fag Press, board member of Runway Australian Experimental Art and occasionally work at Bailey and Yang Consultants. My creative work has often been driven by social issues and commentary. This blog started as a way of documenting research for my honours year at uni, which I have continued, in order to gather inspiration for future artistic practice.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Trampoline Day!

So today was Trampoline Day, which was actually a lot of fun.

 First Pat, Steve & Caroline introduced themselves and the day and how it would all run (notice people holding the fliers).

  The we "set the grid" by adding ourselves to the board and choosing what other topics to attend. Anyone could speak about anything - and the topics were as diverse as raw dog food diets to "how to learn MAD skills".

Here we have a passionate lady called Kylie who told us how she raised $33,000 on Pozible to get a whole lot of Australian wool processed in Australia, and talked about the impacts of wool processing in China on sustainability. I got a few hints about why my own pozible campaign wasn't successful! She really marketed her idea and "sold" it to everyone from politicians to knitter's guilds.

Similarly this is Tom, who also spoke about reasons why crowd-funding fails, I think he was from Kickstarter, or just knew a lot about it.

And another session I attended by Adam who spoke about 3D printing, which I'd never really heard of before - basically the idea that a printer can "print" an object out of plastic or metal, after being given a design to print. He seems to think this could be a huge revolution in the next decade - apparently it's possible that everyone will have a 3D printer at home, and any kind of object we need, we either design for ourselves, or download a "design" for. According to Adam, there is a kind of 3D printing "napster" type site, and that one day we will be able to "print" ourselves new livers, or indeed for a 3D printer, to print an iPhone, or just another 3D printer! No doubt this could change a lot of things about creativity and intellectual property.

A 3D printed duck:

 An intricate metal ball-thing:

And a mechanical contraption I'm still not sure what to call:

And of course we gave a presentation on the Big Fag Press, which got us a few interested parties wanting to work with us!

All in all, I've learnt a lot today.

*All photos are mine.

Trampoline Printing on the Big Fag Press

I'm writing this post without the intention to post it until after the Trampoline event on the 15th April 2012.

So basically I was approached through Lucas and the Big Fag Press by the people who run Trampoline, about designing and printing a flier for the event on the Press. Trampoline is a free art-like event where anyone can come along and give a 15 minutes speech about anything they think is "amazing".

For something roughly the size of an A5 piece of paper, this job would usually be sent to the Rizzeria or Blood and Thunder, but I agreed to take on the job to see a design through from concept to print as a practise for what I'll do for my major work.

I was given a basic outline and things I needed to include, so I came up with a design in three different shapes.

My "trapezoid" shape seemed to be the most resolved, so after a lot of back-and-forthing of emails, fonts and logos, and whether to include an exclamation mark, and how to spell "harbour" and many other things, my final design of the front ended up looking like this:

I then created the map on the back which wasn't easy, perhaps my orienteering skills need a bit of work, but google maps is a very useful tool! I basically ended up tracing over screen prints of google maps and shifting it around to fit my design.

The next step in the Big Fag Press print process is to layout the design on a metal plate. This is done at Imagination Graphics, a place in Marrickville. The designs need to be converted to greyscale, as the ink in the end is what puts the colour on the paper. Ie, 100% black = 100% blue, 50% black (grey), = 50% blue (light blue).

I decided to put in some more time and save money by making one plate only and putting both the back and front of my design on the plate and turning the paper over to print on the back. This meant registration had to be worked out exactly, which I tried to do myself by mirroring the paper placement, designs and crop marks etc, all from one central line. As you can see the template gets very complex.

In the end, I didn't trust my layout enough, because although the "snap to" functions and guidelines in illustrator are awesome, Imagination Graphics just has mathematical software which can lay something this complex out easily. For simpler jobs, it wouldn't be difficult to do this myself, it's usually just a matter of making sure two plates for two different colours match up exactly with relevant registration marks.

This was my plate in the end: (the design looks blue just because where the design is etched out is always blue no matter what colour you want to print with)

I looked through a few different colours (oil based inks), and chose a warm-ish Cyan.

I then chose my paper, which was 690 x 750, 300gsm, coated, and printed several copies onto scrap paper just to test out where the central line would fall on the paper bed on our machine. It was then a matter of printing onto both sides of the paper and shifting the registration lines a couple of millimetres to make sure back and front would match. In the below image is Pat helping me use the sun to see if our registration was working properly.

I then printed all 50 copies, let them dry, and then printed the backs, all the time fighting to keep a balance of water vs. ink on the plate as it was a very humid day and the plate was drying up quickly.

 At one point I had to clean the press blanket and start again because some flecks of paper began getting stuck to the blanket, and obscuring part of my design. This is the blanket below, it works as kind of a huge "stamp" taking ink from the plate to the paper.

And then became a tedious process of trimming the fliers, but they ended up coming out pretty well (at least I think so).

Pat, Diego and I are attending the Trampoline event on Sunday to give talk about the Big Fag Press - it works out nicely actually, because we do think it's pretty amazing!

*All images are mine.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Giopet's Graphic Art

And another caught my eye:

 *All images thus far from Giopet's Graphic Art Blog.

The latter no doubt inspired by Phil Poynter's "I didn't recognise you with your clothes on", Dazed & Confused 1998:

A Collection of Cartoons

*All images from McHumor.com

Ann-Sofie Back

So, part of my dissertation was looking at the way we use fashion to hide or conceal parts of our identities, and one of my case studies was the work of designer Ann-Sofie Back.

Here is an excerpt of my current dissertation draft:


A case study relevant to this argument, is the work of Ann-Sofie Back, which blurs the line between art and fashion, looking at concepts of masking oneself with clothing, and as Beck states “drawing inspiration from mine and other women’s failures at achieving perfection and beauty” (in Granata 2007, p394).

There is a general consensus that Back is considered as an avant-garde designer, at least in the first few years of her work, because rather than focusing on fashion as a commodity, she broke certain practical fashion rules in order to expose ironies present in fashion systems, and the superficiality of fashion which she felt she grew up with (Granata 2007). Her interest in fashion was spurred by ideas like Goffman’s that “the individual... intentionally conveys misinformation[s]” (1959, p2). While many theorists have explored fashion as an indicator of identity, essentially clothing being the construction of a personal cultural expression (Wilson & de la Haye 1999, p1), Beck’s work expresses the notion of fashion as a disguise or mask, “rather than its alleged ‘authenticity’” (Granata 2007). Back’s work surrounds the idea that every aspect of fashion is “a perfect lie, watertight, nothing left to chance” an example of which is her “faux wasp-waist garments” which have a fake belt attached to the front which can be tightened to give a visual sense of thin-ness (in Granata 2007).

The concepts present in Back’s work are not news, in fact society has a general understanding and awareness of “the power [fashion] wields in defining and communicating our identity” (Arnold 1999, p490), and that clothing acts as a “superficial gloss” (Craik 1997 p1). Individuals use fashion deliberately to disguise and flatter aspects of their identity, one example of which we are all familiar with is the thought process we go through when selecting what to wear for a job interview (Goffman 1959, p47).  


 Arnold, Rebecca 1999, ‘The Brutalized Body’, Fashion Theory, Vol. 3 Iss. 4, pp. 487-502

Craik, Jennifer 1993, The Face of Fashion: Cultural Studies in Fashion, Routledge, London, New York

De la Haye, Amy & Wilson, Elizabeth 1999, “Introduction” in De la Haye, Amy and Wilson, Elizabeth ed., Defining Dress: Dress as Object, Meaning and Identity, Manchester University Press, Manchester

Goffman, Erving 1959, Representations of Self in Everyday Life, Anchor Books, USA

Granata, Francesca 2007, ‘Subverting Assumptions of Female Beauty: An Interview with Ann-Sofie Back’, Fashion Theory, Vol. 11, Iss. 4, pp. 391-402


 I looked further into Ann-Sofie Back's work and I liked how her design work is driven by concepts in society she wishes to comment on or disagree with. Her concepts have included the way men look at porography, mental illness, and the idea of God. I think these concepts lead her to some very interesting places.



 Porn 2:


God 2:

 *Images linked from Ann-Sofie Back

I suppose I'm looking at ways a fashion shoot could be made into something that can be interpreted as semi-satire, and I think anything as concept rich and opinionated as this could really work.