Category Archives: Artsy Stuff

Melbourne Street Art

Special about Melbourne city is the awesome street art, adding to the place’s awesomely arty , urban-vintage style.Comparing to Auckland ( chilled and casual) will be unfair as there are two different vibes here, but both very live-able places i’d say.

(I learnt that Street Art is called Graffiti if it does not hold the consent of the owner of the building.Graffiti is illegal everywhere in Australia)

Now back to the fun part, the photos I took( which i hope is not graffiti) Most were from Union Lane, Hosier Lane and Fitzroy ( an extra-arty suburb).You can find street art pretty much everywhere you go, even on some vans in Dandenong ranges. Wish I took more but Melnourne has so much to do!

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On practice & inspiration

After doodling here and there for years I finally decided to give proper practice a go and ventured out to art classes,drawing meetups and life drawing classes in Auckland.Experimenting  started  with oil painting, moving to acrylics, water-coloring and hung on drawing/sketching now, purely because this requires lesser tools and patience.

No doubt practice has improved me and helped me discover my preferences. Love love love charcoal and think putty rubber’s the handiest thing ever!Still don’t remember pencil names and I’d take figure drawing over anything!Of course, as would be the case for everyone, mood and muse play a huge role too and getting inspiration from fellow drawers – of course not forgetting Instagram sharers.

Some work so far with about a years on and off practice:

Pencil, pen and charcoal:

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Angles are fast becoming a favorite:

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Playing with watercolor and indefinite lines:

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Then why not do a self portrait….

Final

 

J.K!  haha 😉

 

 

 

 

Fiji Fashion Week

Even though Fiji’s just a dot in the ocean miles away from the the big fashion cities, the capital Suva catches onto fashion like fire catches onto the dry sugarcane farms in the west of the islands!And so it was only a matter of time that an annual fashion event opened up and did justice to everyone bubbling with style.Fiji Fashion week events not only seeks to bring to the boil simmering fashionistas of all types , it also provides a much looked forward to buzz in the scene for the locals and for the growing number  of expatriates around the country. The main event is usually held in Suva followed by another at Port Denarau, Nadi and multiple other charity events around the country.

As emerging designer in 2010, I was lucky enough to get a glimpse of the glam world. From hopeful storyboards to endless days rummaging through the only fabric store in town, to nights searching for the right music,to the painful hunt for that perfect tailor to almost smashing my own ancient sewing machine into pieces!! That was just the beginning .After days of rehearsal and alterations when it finally came together my collection ended up looking nothing like I had imagined!

But the show had to go on! Right after I finished my last CPA paper I rushed to the scene of event to a full-on backstage drama of half naked models running, panicky designers, fully equipped and very mobile makeup artists, journalists/photographers shoving mikes/cameras into faces and tailors wedged in wherever possible. In no time my collection was out, my nose powdered and my arse slapped up onto the stage. Where I stood frozen!

Hats off to all the models walking up and down every ramp in the world – you have balls!I did much better in a show later in the year though. I actually walked all the way down the ramp , chewing gum like a cow to stop me from jumping offstage and taking off into the night batman style!

I decided to bow out of the show the following year for many reasons (all me!)but formed quite a few fun friendships along the way and got to work with some of the best in the scene.Still look forward to event updates with much interest.

My favorites for years remain Robert  F Kennedy and Hupfeld Hoerder for producing original pacific fabric designs with touches of elegance and keeping it real.

Robert F Kennedy’s work:

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Hupfeld Hoerder’s work:

 

KuiViti by Epeli TuiBeqa caught my eye last year for so stylishly incorporating the ethnic Fijian masi design on fabric and for use of tapa. Very cool.

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And I unearthed one photo of my stuff from back in the day – backstage posing!

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Theater – March 2016

Phantom of the Opera 

When the world’s oldest musical hit Auckland with flyers  everywhere, I never thought I’d find myself in the excited audience at the Civic, Auckland. Mild initial curiosity grew into bubbling anticipation as everyone I told looked thrilled when they heard where I was going to!

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If I were to tell the story my way I’d say the phantom was a bit of a creep who had  issues and most of the play is about him obsessing about this chic and trying to get it on with her- pretty standard story for these times.

What got me was the amazing props, the singing ( first time opera show for me) and the costumes!

I thought Christine Daae’s ( Barbara Graham) voice was going to shatter glasses! Unbelievably haunting and beautiful!The costumes – we talking ruffled skirts with ultra tight corsets, men wearing tights, wigs and blushers ,very  medieval European.The props ,clever and effective,like I was looking through a glass into an entirely different era.And there was little bit of ballet too, fascinating!

All in all very professional and high quality production.

Henry V – Pop up Globe 

Pop up Globe is exactly that  – temporary set-ups popping up in town resembling the globe theater in England and does Shakespearean plays.  We were made to read Hamlet and Julius Caesar in school but I remember choosing to do poems and compositions in today’s English rather than try read a language I was still learning in an even more complicated form! So when I learnt that this Shakespearean play was modernized I got all psyched!

Except it wasn’t fully modernized! The outfits were,however, the language remained medieval but that didn’t matter as we could barely hear anything anyways –  so thank god for google!

The building’s circular with sections stacked on top of each other opening up to the sky, wooden benches with real thin cushions and the freedom to snuggle up to your neighbor if you like or spread out. Also people stood on the floor for ages, hung from the sides of the stage or just gave up and sat on the floor.

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The play covers Henry’s time and dealings with the French, rather than much on the war so not that somber.In fact there’s a lot of light, funny moments! Jennifer Matter made for a charming Henry  and  his presence grows as the play progresses. I am talking new school boy to neighborhood thug type transformation here. The wooing of princess Katherine scene certainly perked a lot of interest in the house. By the end of the play, whether I got the story or not, I did buy the characters,  kudos to the awesome female cast!

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Melbourne

What I’ll remember Melbourne by:

Street Art

A few high school students pounced on me armed with cameras and notepads wanting my view on street art, which led me to wonder whether the whole street art thing that Melbourne is so famous for even legal. YES as it turns out! It’s totally legit (you gotta have a permit from the buildings though).How else would Melbourne get that vibrant urban feel!

You can see cool graffiti art everywhere you turn but few known places worth strolling along are Union Lane, Hosier Lane and almost all of Fitzroy.

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Hosier Lane was abuzz with tourists even on a drizzly day!

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Awesome Bars

My bar hopping days are well behind me but I couldn’t help getting all psyched up like a teenager when my friend offered to show me her favorites because even from the outside its easy to see that the bars are fiercely outdoing each other in terms of style and vibe.

Lucky Coq at Chapel street allows causal wear and has a rustic interior with old car parts dangling around.Great funk, nice mini pizzas to go with standard bar drinks.

Naked for Satan in Fitzroy was interesting – lots of deep reds, antique-type decorations and a wall dedicated to vintage porn! Their bar lunch hour special is yummy tapas for $1 each !

Fallen from Grace on Collin Street has an exciting secret entrance to their basement bar. Very James Bond.Beautiful chandeliers and great use of empty bottles slotted in walls covered with square racks.

1806 bar on exhibition street was pretty suave with coctail menus sorted by era. I chose the older version of martini called the martinez, which turned out pretty lethal!

Sculptures

There has to be sculptures in every nook and cranny in Melbourne!

At the Art Center Melbourne

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Over the beautiful Yarra river

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Outside the swirly southern cross station

 

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At the William Racketts Sanctuary sculpture trail – has about 90 sculptures carved into rocks in in the Dandenong Ranges – amazing!

I was in luck I thought but then began second guessing my enthusiasm after thoughts on on consumerism. Victoria Art Gallery was abuzz with excited fans of Andy Warhol.

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I could spend days on the second floor though.There’s a section on eastern Asia and another on European art and this starts with surrealism,cubism etc  and boasts work of some pretty  famous painters such as Pablo Picasso and then on you go to rooms filled with breathtaking paintings and  sculptures, each more awesome than the  next .I cannot imagine the patience required to achieve so much precision! Nudes seemed to be the “in thing” for artists those days. Still is.

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From the Victoria Art Gallery

Cool Architecture 

A melting pot of old and new structures, some fresh,young and sleek and some with lots of age old stories to back the character – like people.Throw in some free colorful trams circling the city and you’ve got Melbourne on a plate.Inner city trams are free but I walked everywhere mostly because I lack patience to understand tram routes! And because all key places take 20 mins to walk.

Vintage Urban CBD

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Flinders Train station 

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Flinders Station front against modern sleek giants

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Federation Square

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The Grand Melbourne Hotel

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The massive Town Hall 

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Typical rustic blocks in Fitzroy

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Fancy looking Theater Building 

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Horse and Carriage rides with very stern looking drivers are plenty around the Royal Botanic Garden and so are statues of sturdy looking important men in Australia’s history. Royal Botanic garden is well……a big garden. Could make for an excellent spot to take the baby out for some air ( If I had one!)  or have a snooze under trees. Also I noticed that lots of people used this place to sit in solidarity and stare at their phones.But of course, a heaven for lovers of flora and fauna.

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The Shrine of Remembrance – more massive than the picture shows with painful stories to learn.

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View from my balcony!

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Dandenong Range 

Dandenong range has quite a bit to offer – cute little villages, walks, bicycle trails, lakes, sculpture trails, gardens, tall tall trees and 1000 steps for those that want to feel a little bit of what Australian soldiers went through in Kokoda in Papua New Guinea ( 1940s).

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The trail is short but steep and  a bit crowded  and I am super proud of my cousin ( former school sportswoman of the year and now a busy working mum) for not giving up despite the heat and that she hadn’t worked out in donkeys years. Great day!

 

 

 

Sculpture – Feb/March 16

Sculpture art has really not been my thing because the finance professional within me started to nag me about the use of resource,economical impact, costs etc etc – boring stuff and I’ve tried to kill these thoughts.One of the reasoning in attempts to kill these  annoying thoughts of mine is that people buy these with huge amounts of money and artists buy things to make it so….. it’s must be economically legit! Also I’ve recently found that actually stopping by to read about the sculptures helps appreciate the invaluable messages behind it .Some of these seen are grand to look at regardless of messages within but then there’s one or two that really really had me.

Auckland Botanic Gardens – Sculpture in the gardens 

Back to my old running spot Totara Park ,I took some cool off time at adjoining botanical garden. Some awesome ones such as these could be found scattered around the garden.

Bird Songs by Chris Moore

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Khulu By John Ferguson

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Gravity Bag by Ramon Robertson

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Titipounamu – A  necklace with lost gems by  Bing Dawe

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But the following is the one that had me though. Kind of like my sanity before my tongue lashes out.

Tipping Point by Richard Wedekind

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Harbor-view Sculpture trail Te Atatu

Back to my first area of living upon moving to NZ, the west Auckland. Some interesting ones were featured relating tales of environmental and social issues.

But this one,I could stand and think about all day!

Playpill by Nicholas Mans in support of improving mental health with this super-cool lobby against some pharmaceuticals that hard sell pills.

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Jan 2016 Art Exhibitions

I have a love-hate relationship with art. Sometimes they move me, other times they frustrate me.If someone draws childish squiggles on ply board and calls it art I want to pull my hair! But the funny thing about art is that the same ply board squiggles might just strike a chord with someone else. Art is very personal in that sense.

Here are a few that ticked me:

I have a habit of dropping into the Auckland Art Gallery sometimes when I am in the city. You get to see varied art exhibitions, interesting sculptures on display and some “me time” away from the buzz.

This one caught my eye.

Study of a Samoan Savage (2015) By Yuki Kihara. This is R18 as it features nudity.

 

Study of A Samoan Savage

Xutong Tian’s Zen Heart

Recently I decided to drop into the Fo Guang Shan Buddhist Temple again. The visit is covered in another post. They usually hold art exhibitions as well and this time around it was Xutong Tian’s Zen Heart.

I was spellbound from the moment I entered the gallery! I must have stayed in there for ages, finding it hard to drag my eyes away even if to move on to the next piece. Each piece brought to mind only one thought – pure tranquility. Zen.

Xutong Tian uses paper and ink and because so many of his work has been targeted by copycats in China he marks his work with his fingerprint. This kind of goes with the whole theme of his work.His style is “less is more” and he plays with a few key peace related figures of the Chinese culture combined with galaxy and mammoth landscape impressions to convey his message. There’s not much color and there’s a feel of lots of space. Some went for as much as $9K NZD!

I have looked online for the exhibition pictures and cannot find anything that remotely has the same effect as the real thing.

 

More about this exhibition