Filed under: art, design, drawing, events, melbourne, photos, reviews, typography
Last month I made it along to the Semi-Permanent conference in Melbourne [link] and had a blast. Very inspiring and a great vibe to the event. This was the seventh year SP has run but it was the first time it had made it to Melbourne. It was hosted at the new Melbourne Convention Centre. Wow what an enormous complex and visual statement. Architecturally it’s pretty stunning and lively – lots of diagonal lines, tasteful scheme and interplay of textures. Very impressive place and many big rooms. I do get the feeling though, for the most part, its empty a lot of the time. The only other thing on was a pharmaceutical conference.
[the above 2 photos credit to Jeff Soto, Fecal Face article]
Outside the main theatre where the event was were stalls of various merchandise and design-related services – including Mag Nation, Eckersley’s Arts and Crafts, Wacom, Whirlwind and Frankie. Between speakers and during the breaks, this area was packed.
Another view – The Whirlwind stall had a drawing comp going on through the event. I would have loved to have done one but there was always a line whenever I was there. I think the prize was a tablet. [this pair of photos is blatantly stolen from a Life Lounge photo article]
A couple of views from inside the theatre [the second taken from Life Lounge again]. It was a lovely set up – two tiers, comfy bright green seats, good acoustics and this wicked wood paneled pattern on the side walls. When the speakers were going the place was pretty much full. Good turn-out for its first run in Melbourne, though not surprising in a city which is very supportive for the arts and design community.
Over the events two days there were 12 lots of speakers [6 per day] coming from very varied backgrounds, photography, publishing, illustration, fine art, video, motiongraphics and digital fx. I enjoyed all [well mostly all] the speakers but 6 especially did standout for me: Luke Lucas [Aus], Keith Schofield [US], Day 19 [US], Vince Frost [Uk, Aus], Tara McPherson [US] and Jeff Soto [US].
I didn’t get too many photos from the event itself so won’t bore you with describing them or anything just some links and sampler of their work [if your interested]:
Vince Frost [Frost Design] [link to site] – a legend in the studio design industry with an phenomenal body of design work for corporate, print, installation. Formally from the UK, now based in Sydney. Started out working at Pentagram. A very sharp, simple design sense.
Jeremy and Claire Weiss [Day 19] [link to site] – photography couple documenting American culture through friends, music and celebrities [everyone from The Bronx to Burt Reynolds]. Very cool style and amazing knack of capturing something very honest about their subjects.
Keith Schofield [link to site] – video artist and director, particularly of music videos – very funny / witty guy with a number of very memorable works. Notably a clip for Diesel entitled ‘SFW xxx’ which illustrated over sliced together porno footage [which completely changes the context of it] and a music video for Norman Cook’s side project BPA [British Port Authority] called “Toe Jam”. Has another coming out soon to look out for [which he showed] of a music vid for Beck and Charlotte Gainsbourg called “Heaven Can Wait”. Very cool.
NB. I’ve alluded to Keith Schofield before who also did that music vid for MIMS.
Tara McPherson [link to site] – illustrator and fine artist and one of the main reasons I was at Semi-Permanent. She mapped, pretty much, her entire career from art school through to now of her painting work, prints, music posters, vinyl toys, sculpture and more. A wonderful coherent and distinguished body of work.
Jeff Soto [link to site] – Soto is the main reason I was at SP. I’ve been following Jeff since the beginning of his career and am just captivated by his work. Like McPherson he is a fine artist / illustrator working in the Pop Surrealist style. His presentation showed the complete development of his style / gesture from high school through to now. Outstanding. He seems like a really cool guy too, a down to earth family man. He started off his presentation by throwing cough drops into the crowd because so many were barking and spluttering through the day. Soto was the only one I photographed during the show. The light was pretty weird in there to get anything good and sharp without having the flash on or a better camera.
There were a number of events attached to the main Semi-Permanent conference including an after party [which I didn’t make it too, but sounded pretty cool] + three exhibitions. I was only really into one of exhibitions called “Lyrics and Type” which was out in Fitzroy at the Gorker Gallery. I turned up but it was shut. Apparently exhibitions don’t open till 3pm in Melbourne. Damn, it looked super. You can see some of the work from it here.
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Outre Signing: Jeff Soto and Tara McPherson
On the Sunday after the Semi-Permanent event there was a book signing at the Outre Gallery with Jeff Soto and Tara McPherson which I definitely wasn’t going to miss.
I got to talk to both of them a bit. I even got to talk to Jeff a bit about Transformers and Halifax. Both of them drew me something also as well as getting a couple of Qee toys signed by Jeff. Stoked! What a day!
On the Saturday [when the conference was on] there was another signing at Outre with the dutch artist Angelique Houtkamp for her book launch. I missed this because of SP but would have loved to have gone to see her and get a signature / drawing [she’s pretty hot too]. I did manage to pick up a copy of the book on the Sunday and see some of her prints in the gallery. Her work is a refreshed nostalgic tattoo style mostly of foxy tattooed maidens.
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