BCTION

I heard about this through an article posted on Facebook. Some group of visual artists got together to create a bunch of installation works in an office building that is scheduled for demolition. They basically got a permission to use the entire building, 9-floors of it, and over 50 artists spread their wings in there to create something pretty funky.

BCTION is a word created to mean something that comes after Action, after A comes B, hence Bction… Action x Action leads to BCTION. Their desire is to draw attention to the ‘dead space’ in the urban environment, with spin-off works spawning up across the globe, such that those abandoned buildings often seen in SE Asia, for example, may see the light of day, while inspiring people to feel more, think differently.

Bicton - Sep 2014 Koujimachi

Continue reading “BCTION”

The Knowles Gallery: officail launch exhibition

Tony Stephens, a very talented artist I’d known from art markets, has extended an invite to the launch exhibition of a new gallery that was opening up in Prahran. He’d told me that this gallery utilises a large space and there is a dance group next door that can be collaborated into the installation… curious.

Rather than boring you with my talk, scroll on, and see how the night played out. There were exhibitions by a dozen or so artists on the wall, and then there was the dance group, from The Space: Dance & Arts Centre (in which The Knowles Gallery is hosted), plus Hernán Lopera did a live installation production.

If you are following my Facebook page, you would’ve seen MOST of the images. I think I added one or two back in here from the photos I’d taken (but not selected for posting to Facebook at the time…)

The Knowles Gallery - offical launch 28 Feb 2014

The Knowles Gallery - offical launch 28 Feb 2014

The Knowles Gallery - offical launch 28 Feb 2014

The Knowles Gallery - offical launch 28 Feb 2014

The Knowles Gallery - offical launch 28 Feb 2014

The Knowles Gallery - offical launch 28 Feb 2014

The Knowles Gallery - offical launch 28 Feb 2014

The Knowles Gallery - offical launch 28 Feb 2014

The Knowles Gallery - offical launch 28 Feb 2014

The Knowles Gallery - offical launch 28 Feb 2014

The Knowles Gallery - offical launch 28 Feb 2014

The Knowles Gallery - offical launch 28 Feb 2014

The Knowles Gallery - offical launch 28 Feb 2014

The Knowles Gallery - offical launch 28 Feb 2014

The Knowles Gallery - offical launch 28 Feb 2014

The Knowles Gallery - offical launch 28 Feb 2014

Live installation production by Hernán Lopera:

The Knowles Gallery - offical launch 28 Feb 2014
There was a black sheet and a white sheet, formed in a shape of lying persons. It looked like somebody was sleeping underneath, and she (looked pretty skinny so I’d assumed she) would just stretch out and get up, out of the sheets. Then this took place in front of us…

The Knowles Gallery - offical launch 28 Feb 2014

The Knowles Gallery - offical launch 28 Feb 2014

The Knowles Gallery - offical launch 28 Feb 2014

The Knowles Gallery - offical launch 28 Feb 2014

The Knowles Gallery - offical launch 28 Feb 2014

The Knowles Gallery - offical launch 28 Feb 2014

The Knowles Gallery - offical launch 28 Feb 2014

The Knowles Gallery - offical launch 28 Feb 2014

The Knowles Gallery - offical launch 28 Feb 2014

And here he is, Hernán Lopera. Love your work, Hernán!

Some poetry on artists and the gallery were presented:

The Knowles Gallery - offical launch 28 Feb 2014

The Knowles Gallery - offical launch 28 Feb 2014
Everyone focuses on one of Tony’s pieces, to which one of the poems was regarding.

The Knowles Gallery - offical launch 28 Feb 2014
In another poem, she took us to our utopia, the ideal place of our creative inspirations…

The Knowles Gallery - offical launch 28 Feb 2014

The Knowles Gallery - offical launch 28 Feb 2014
Tony thanks everyone for their work and participation…

The Knowles Gallery - offical launch 28 Feb 2014
Adam & Deb – two people behind this great space and dance installations.

The Knowles Gallery - offical launch 28 Feb 2014

The Knowles Gallery - offical launch 28 Feb 2014

The Knowles Gallery - offical launch 28 Feb 2014
Tony and Miranda of McDrawn (whose beautiful new works were on display but unfortunately not available for safe this evening due to requirements to exhibit in other exhibitions) – two people I’d had a chance to admire the work of at Blenders Lane night market last summer. You might remember some of my photos capturing them at work.

The Knowles Gallery - offical launch 28 Feb 2014

Please, spread the word about this great gallery space. That, is not what Tony’s girl wanted to keep ‘secret’ down the corridor…
The Knowles Gallery / The Space: Dance & Art Centre

 

Upstairs, 318 Chapel St (enter via Carlton St)
Prahran, Victoria, Australia 3181

http://www.thespace.com.au/theknowles-gallery

Chinese New Year 2014

Looking for something different from the Chinese New Year I photographed in the last couple of years, I headed to the community of strong Chinese presense – Box Hill.

Chinese New Year 2014 - Box Hill

Chinese New Year 2014 - Box Hill

Chinese New Year 2014 - Box Hill

Chinese New Year 2014 - Box Hill

It was a really hot day. Must have been tough for those who were performing or selling hot food on the street side. The mist-blow fan was quite popular for everyone, as it really cools down the heat you feel on your skin. Even this lady of the event security was enjoying the coolness.

Chinese New Year 2014 - Box Hill

Chinese New Year 2014 - Box Hill

Back in the city, along the casino stood temporary food stands and Chinese gifts. I found my friend Bee swapping her colourful water colour with the charcoal, drawing scrolls of the horse themes.

Chinese New Year 2014 - Bee's painting

Chinese New Year 2014 - Bee's painting

Chinese New Year 2014 - Bee's painting

Chinese New Year 2014 - Bee's painting

Melbourne shows many of its faces, even on a single event like Chinese New Year there are so many ways to celebrate.

KATEI

Katei

I almost passed him by. He was just another busking artist, one of many that fill every block of Swanston Street in the centre of Melbourne. It was late on Friday night. I had a dinner on my own in Chinatown, sat down in a coffee shop with a book for a while, and just about ran out of ideas to kill any more time. I plugged in with something of my ‘walking’ heavy rotation through the in-ear Bose, volume turned up a bit high, pushing my way ahead of half drunken, half touristy crowd slowly moving down to Flinders Street station. First my eye caught the sight of the ‘cowboy photographer’ Kazu standing there, which made me stop to say hi, then I realised what he was there for. The sound of violin came in to my system as I pulled off the ear-plugs. It was not one of those amateur musicians.

At a break between songs, I walked up to him and asked if he would mind me photographing him at work. He was cool with that. I guess it is a matter of respect – many people just start snapping away, and maybe it was the way things are with many people with mobile phones. But I often get a lot more involved, moving around in their sight… and I would like them to be comfortable with it, and hopefully see the images and give me comment later. So it’s far better to just ask – all they can say is ‘no’. Then I would have just packed away my camera and enjoyed the music.

Katei

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Katei

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Katei

Even in Melbourne where people are generally appreciative of public art, a crowd around a musician is a sign of something real. People may be generous and paying attention to the performance around them, but they are also exposed to a lot of them and know the difference between something that is not worth their time and a few that they want to stick around while they last.

Katei

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Katei

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When the song finished, the applause rises from the crowd. He opens up his eyes wide and smiles. He almost looks like a totally different person – a craft man at work is not a friendly approachable young man! Not a few drops coins, some leave notes and grab a CD on the stand.

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Katei

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Katei

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Then he focuses his mind to the voice of his trusted instrument again…

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Katei

Are you now curious what his music sounds like? Well, as with many musicians, I find his live performance far better than what I hear on the CD or on YouTube. So make your way down to the city in the evening, when the sky is clear, and look out for a violin player with his own world about him…

… having said that, if you do not live in Melbourne, you may want to check out his YouTube and Facebook page to get started. Once he is back in touring, he may re-appear in Japan as well as other countries. So stay tuned!

Follow his performance schedules, send enquiries to
KATEI’s Facebook page

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Love, Love, Love

Splash Baron

‘Splash Baron’ and I had a break over dinner in Chinatown, and he was telling me about his idea of collaborating with a musician to come up with a new style of painting, while potentially that affects the musician in return. That’s when we heard the music coming from the block of Swanston Street. A couple of Japanese busking artists, with a guitar and a violin, were playing catchy love song of Jason Mraz. That’s what got him started…

Now play this tune, move your feet and follow the paintings along the street!

Splash Baron
Continue reading “Love, Love, Love”

Chinese New Year 2013

Chinese New Year 2013

Last weekend was the New Year on the Lunar Calendar. To bring about good fortune, Chinese Community put on their traditional acts of dragon walking through the towns and lions dancing in front of businesses, followed by thousands of fire crackers.

Chinese New Year 2013

Chinese New Year 2013

Chinese New Year 2013

Chinese New Year 2013

Chinese New Year 2013

Before all the noise, though, I was photographing my friend Bee, the talented portrait painter busking on Swanston street, who performed HungWei’s water painting art at NGV. Unfortunately HungWei was unavailable on these Chinese New Year events, so Bee picked up his hand-made paint brush and stepped up on his behalf. She has worked with him on various collaboration projects, so it was nothing new for her as well.

Chinese New Year Performance at NGV by Bee

Chinese New Year Performance at NGV by Bee

Chinese New Year Performance at NGV by Bee

Chinese New Year Performance at NGV by Bee

Chinese New Year Performance at NGV by Bee

During the week leading up to the Chinese New Year, she also performed in the Federation Court, the space inside the entrance of NGV, at a Chinese New Year Celebration function organised by Australia China Business Council and China Chamber of Commerce in Australia. Here are a few shots I captured with permission by the event organiser and NGV.

Chinese New Year Celebration function at NGV - Water Painting by Bee 5 Feb 2013

Chinese New Year Celebration function at NGV - Water Painting by Bee 5 Feb 2013

Chinese New Year Celebration function at NGV - Water Painting by Bee 5 Feb 2013

Chinese New Year Celebration function at NGV - Water Painting by Bee 5 Feb 2013

Chinese New Year Celebration function at NGV - Water Painting by Bee 5 Feb 2013

I’d like to thank National Gallery of Victoria for their kind permission to photograph Bee and her performance in the Gallery. As my regular audience of this blog would know, NGV is one of my favourite art space in this city, and it was a pleasure to finally get to work with their blessing.

I’d also like to thank Australia China Business Council and China Chamber of Commerce in Australia, for allowing me to photograph Bee during the private function. I hope my suggestion on how to set up the podium backdrop helped the photos your event photographers made during speeches. As you noticed, I have quite a bit of experience in working with events, both as event organiser and as an event photographer. I look forward to working with you in a future function.

And finally, I’d like to extend my sincere thanks to the artist Bee and HungWei, for always allowing me to closely document your work. I am, as ever, inspired by what you guys can do with only a bucket full of water. I am really hoping to travel inter-continent now, in order to follow your work, while I also capture works of people in those countries, artists, farmers, traditional craftsman, mothers and grandmothers, and any ordinary people. That is where I am going with my photography. Just wait till I lined up a few assignments to get my trip started!

Splash Baron at TEDx Melbourne Women

street artists

Friends who have been following my Facebook page or this blog know this guy by now. This is ‘Splash Baron’ (Facebook page here), or HungWei Chen as known to his friends. He is a Taiwanese performing artist making living on the donation from his audience in public space such as Swanston Street in Melbourne where he often shows up with his bucket and brush.

Recently he was invited to perform at the TED spin-off event, ‘TEDx’ in Melbourne (TEDx Melbourne Women – Facebook page here). When he asked me about it, we talked a bit about what TED stands for, and what opportunity it may bring to him as an artist with such talent but could really use wider audience. He brought his friend Bee to assist/paint with him, and I came along as a support driver and photographer, well, more to give him a moral support.

Hung Wei and Bee at TEDx Melbourne Women

He was unsure about this. First, the weather forecast did not look to be in his favour. He is a water painter who works on the pavement out there. He cannot create when it rains. When it rains, he sits and contemplates. He studies sample pictures, coins, notes, anything, to come up with ideas. But he cannot paint. And the forecast was for a rain. Unlike him, I am not one to believe in God, but I did wish for this force of universe to help him, grant him a couple of hours of sunshine. Turned out, it was a hot lunch time, so hot that the first part started to dry up before he finished a single painting. Thanks for listening to our wishes!

Hung Wei and Bee at TEDx Melbourne Women

Hung Wei and Bee at TEDx Melbourne Women

He had more concerns. His painting requires a specific surface that absorbs the right amount of water, so it does not smudge or flow too much. Although he went to the venue in advance to study it, the day he went it was raining so he did not get to try and see. So he was concerned.

Hung Wei and Bee at TEDx Melbourne Women

Having seen him so many times now, I could tell that he was struggling a bit. It was way too hot, so he needed to put more water down so it will last at least until a piece is finished. But the surface of the concrete tiles were letting water smudge a little too much, so the lines do not remain clear. It was such a balancing act. If you have seen his portrait series, or more of his ‘signature’ animal series, you know the difference. But fight on he did.

Hung Wei and Bee at TEDx Melbourne Women

Bee, who is an extremely talented painter herself (Facebook page here), has picked up HungWei’s brush before while they were busking in the city. So she is no stranger to Splash Baron’s style.

Hung Wei and Bee at TEDx Melbourne Women

Hung Wei and Bee at TEDx Melbourne Women

Hung Wei and Bee at TEDx Melbourne Women

Yes, that’s right. She’s painting your friend there!

Hung Wei and Bee at TEDx Melbourne Women

Hung Wei and Bee at TEDx Melbourne Women

Hung Wei and Bee at TEDx Melbourne Women

Hung Wei and Bee at TEDx Melbourne Women

Hung Wei and Bee at TEDx Melbourne Women

Hung Wei and Bee at TEDx Melbourne Women

Well done guys! You make a great team, coffee and muffin deal!

Thank you, Jon and Tracey of the TEDx Melbourne for inviting those talented artists to take part of your event, and for allowing me to photograph at the venue. Thank you all the paticipants who despite the hot sun came out to take part in the creative process. There is no public art without you!

Please do forward your comment, snaps you might have taken at the venue, or any enquiry directly to the artists.

HungWei’s ‘Splash Baron’ – Facebook page
‘Flying Bee’s Love Art Travel’ – Facebook page

As for my event photography, please use the enquiry form on my profile page.