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.

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‘SPLASH NIGHT’ on Swanston Street – this week only!

2013-04-16_SplashBaron_GloryCitySplash Baron, the guy who’s painting with water on the pavement on Swanston Street, will team up again with Bee the painter, for a special 3-night event this week from Wednesday to Friday. Those guys are leaving this town soon, yet unknown when to return, so this is a rare opportunity you don’t wanna miss!

Teamed up with Glory City Church Melbourne, this is fundamentally a fund-raising event, rather than feeding their own mouths with the donation they receive in that bowl. For any artist it is a pleasure to be able to use their own art to help the cause they believe in, and anyone who has seen Splash Baron’s religious themes would know that he feels strongly about this.

Regardless of your beliefs, though, – I am a non-religious self believer, just so you know – why don’t you head down into city for a dinner after work, or coffee and gelato (or an affogato to have them in one cup!), and appreciate the delicate work those guys produce. Each face is filled with emotion, their hands tense with muscle just about to move, and body language speak all intentions. Through fragile existence that lasts only for a moment, their art is very much alive, full of more energy than many people you meet in your day.

Come and be inspired. Let’s help the artists live their day in life to full. Show our appreciation. Or just come and say hello.

Here is an article from my blog, on my first encounter with Splash Baron.

And you can see more articles on this blog, just go to the category under ‘artists’ on the drop down list on your right, or type ‘Splash Baron’ to search.

On my Facebook Page album, I also have a lot more recent photos of his works, including some religious themes from Easter, that I have not had a chance to properly put together in a blog article.

 

See you on the street! This week Wed, Thu and Fri only. Don’t miss it.

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!

Lots on this week in Melbourne

Sorry for not updating the blog for a while. I’ve been busy doing this and that… As you would know if you are following my Facebook Page, there have been regular shoots going on, at the markets, on the street and sunset and sunrise as always. But just haven’t had time to properly publish them here, on my blog.

Now, before bringing you up to speed with what’s been happening in my photography world, I’d like to share with you what will be happening, in Melbourne, this week. I will be checking out some of them where I can, and others I recommend that you do. So here it goes…

1. Chinese New Year at NGV – Water Painting Art Performance by Bee

When: Wednesday 13 February 2013: 10am – 2pm
Where: National Gallery of Victoria International (St Kilda Road)

Chinese New Year Performance at NGV by Bee

In place for HungWei the ‘Splash Baron’ who is unfortunately unavailable for the event, her friend Bee, who collaborated with HungWei on water painting work at various occasions, will be performing the water painting on the fore court of NGV International on St Kilda Road. This is the final of 3-day performance, so don’t miss it!

For more info:
Splash Baron: https://www.facebook.com/SplashBaron
Flying Bee’s Love Art Travel: https://www.facebook.com/loveartravel
Photos in my Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.605284716154193.157041.175366942479308

 

2. Blenders Ln Artists Market

When: Wednesday nights 5pm – 10pm (only 3 more weeks to go!)
Where: 110 Franklin Street, Melbourne

Blender Ln Artists Market

Taking place on beautiful summer evenings, just around the corner from the night market at Queen Victoria Market is this laneway filled with artistic inspirations. Artists bring their craft and some produce their magic before your eyes. Live music moves you, all-naturale ginger ale cools you down and you may come home with bag full of one-and-only hand-made goodies!

Everyone kindly gives me permission to photograph their works, so I do have quite a few photos on my Facebook page. I might wrap them up and publish in this blog again, too. I’ll be back on your final night of the season in 2 weeks’ time. Looking forward to photographing your best works and your party dress. We’ll say good bye to summer in style, before going back to our workshop to start the creative process again!

Blenders Ln Artists Market: https://www.facebook.com/Blendermarket
Photos in my Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.556161997733132.149822.175366942479308

 

3. Sidney Myer Free Concerts with Melbourne Symphony Orchestra

When: Wednesday/Saturday 4pm open for 7pm start – wed 13, sat 16, wed 20, sat 22 February
Where: Sidney Myer Music Bowl

Sidney Myer Free Concerts

Melbourne as Arts Capital of the region at its best – Melbourne Symphony Orchestra puts on free public concerts, not just one, but FOUR CONCERTS, in the park. You can bring in your picnic blanket, wine, cheese, tomato and olive and chill out lying on the green stuff up the hill, or sit in the best front-row seat in the house and enjoy the acoustic of the natural sound of orchestra. Doors open early, so make your way and secure your spot.

Be careful – no breakable glassware allowed, so you cannot bring those nice wine glasses.
Plastic ones, please.

Ah… it sort of happens on the same evening at Blenders Ln…

For more info, check out the MSO website: http://www.mso.com.au/whats-on/2013/sidney-myer-free-concerts/

 

4. PEACE Exhibition: Opening Talk at Monash Gallery of Art

When: Saturday 16 February 2013: 2pm
Where: Monash Gallery of Art (860 Ferntree Gully Road, Wheelers Hill)

‘Degree South’ the Australian photographer co-op, or group of documentary photographers, will be presenting their works from assignments around the world, focusing on ‘what peace looks like’. Michael Coyne and Ben Bohane will take the podium to talk about their works. I’ve seen their works in some exhibitions and in their first book ‘WAR’ that I have in my bookshelf.

People who face the disasters have a sense of appreciation for peace, order, safety and health. Many documentary photographers in the past captured the world of love and peace, including the well known war photographer Robert Capa, whose best photography, in my personal preference, is among those when he pointed at children, ladies and family away from the bullets and bombs.

If you would like to tag along for this, please let me know. MGA is not the easiest gallery to reach if you are based near the city like me. I’ll be driving up for the talk, and come back in time for the concert at Sidney Myer Bowl in the evening.

For more details, check out MGA’s website: http://www.mga.org.au/exhibition/view/exhibition/117

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.

Instagram photos

As I shared in some blog posts before, I do use instagram. It is easy. I like the square format. And some of the filters, though way too strong for most use, are in the direction I would process some of the dull lighting in the street scene. Just like any photography we come across on the internet, there are always ‘nice ones’ and ‘not so nice ones’. I would like to be careful in choosing only the images worth sharing (or at least worth keeping in my album for later review), and continue to let go of the images that just missed the moment or clicked in rush when the image was actually not there.

Sometimes beginner photographers ask me for tips. You know the kind of questions – which camera should I buy? Which lens? Which brand? I would say, get yourself a mobile phone, and use only that for a long time, taking every photo you want only with it. Before mobile phone photography became popular, I used to say – if you have a camera with a kit zoom lens, tape it to the wide end so you cannot zoom; use only a wide angle lens, pay attention to the background and what’s around the subject in your frame. Keep it clean. That way you can go very far already. With the technology available in mobile phone, what more would you need, really. The only difference is the ergonomics, in my opinion.

Anyhow! Let’s look at pretty pictures from my instagram moments.

Oh by the way, all the photos on this blog, Flickr, Facebook and elsewhere are results of the photographer’s hard work, and often published with kind permission of people and places I photograph. Please do not reproduce them without express consent of the photographer (myself).

Now, enough talks… Don’t forget to drop a comment or message to me afterwards!

Queue
“Queue”

Towards the sun
“Towards the Sun”

Ivy, the Street Artist
“Ivy, the Street Artist”

Flinders
“Flinders”

First coffee
“First coffee” (of the day, which I got to enjoy finally in the late afternoon)

The balloon guy
“The balloon guy”

Cow up a tree
“Cow Up a Tree”

Bee's work
“Bee’s work” (at a show of local fashion designer)

Bee's work with a model
“Bee’s work with a model” (who is actually wearing the dress she painted for the designer)

Secret Concert
“Secret Concert”

Do you take photos with mobile phones as well as your ‘serious’ camera? Do you only take with mobiles? Do you share socially? Do you print, maybe? I am seriously considering printing some of them. Ikea used to sell this pretty small square frame…

Met on the street – more on the story of Hung Wei

I mentioned this guy with his full size paint brush drawing pictures with water on the pavement. Visiting from Taiwan, Hung Wei is busking on the street of Melbourne these days. Street is my work place, my practice ground, my source of inspiration and new creative ideas. So I try to go out there a few nights a week or more, and we were bound to meet again where we both ‘show up’ at work.

Hung Wei the Street artist
He told me he’d seen my blog post (I gave him my card last time I saw him) and that I got his ideas right when I said the message I receive from his work was ‘nothing lasts forever’.

 

Hung Wei the Street artist

 

Hung Wei the Street artist

Lots of people stopping by to complement on his work, have a chat.

 

Hung Wei the Street artist

So why is this guy drawing with fragile matter like water on the pavement? And in the middle of city on a busy side walk?

 

Well that is what this is all about, he says. He is drawing animals that are about to be extinct. I saw him draw lions, zebras, and something that looked to me like wild horses and dragons (or large fishes – scales)? He is asking people to notice what we are doing to the world, destroying its environment and those living here. His chosen media was that fragile matter that will be gone in a few moments.

Hung Wei the Street artist

Some notice, stand still, take photos, drop a few coins. Others walk past, walk all over, and I think that represents the situation so well. I am impressed by his ideas.

 

Hung Wei the Street artist

 

Hung Wei the Street artist

 

Hung Wei tells me that he wants to work on ice sculpture if he could find an opportunity. It is about the same message of disappearing members of the globe. Would anyone be interested in working with him? Just walk down on Swanston and say hello to the friendly man with the big paint brush. He would be thrilled to hear your comments and discuss ideas for collaboration or opportunity to show his work in public.

Now… the sun has long gone and he was wrapping up for the day. We walked across to Chinatown to grab some take-away food and joined his fellow busker from Taiwan.

I’d seen Bee on the street a few times. She is a charming young lady who paints with beautiful melting water colours.

Bee the artist

As we sat down to eat, a customer showed up. She put down her noodle soup and her expression became serious, in her zone. Hung Wei and I finished our meal, watching hers turn cold on the pavement.

 

Bee the artist

 

Bee the artist

 

Bee the artist

 

Bee the artist

 

Those people are genuinely talented artists. Bee’s colours are so beautiful – I just loved how she uses the navy blue, that blends towards green, to yellow. It was shiny, almost like oil, and saturated, like spray art. You just have to see it for yourself. She is often setting up her little booth along the street in CBD. Do stop by to say hello, or better still, ask her for a painting. You might like to keep that in a frame on your wall, or your mother’s wall, maybe?

As for me, I am still walking around and around the blocks of the city centre. I look for my inspiration, I work on the creative ideas, I’m on the shy side, but I love to talk to people. So if you’ve seen my photos (which you have now, seeing that you’re reading my photography blog), please let me know what you think, what you like, or if you are interested in having me photograph you and your loved ones, just give me a yell!