Sunday, 14 December 2014

Cicadas, Stone Villa, Salmagundi and the lack of affordable studios in this town

Cicada, Sunday night at my friend's house, December 2014

Cicada, teaspoon and leg, December 2014

India Zegan 'October, 2012' (2014)| Materials: Plywood, Archival Fabriano paper 200gsm & colour pencils| Measurement along combined top edges= 17cm x height: 21cm

'October 2012' (2014) is a new work that I completed today and will be submitting for the Stone Villa fundraiser which happens this coming Friday night, 19 December, 2014 at Chrissie Cotter Gallery, Camperdown. All works sell for $50. All funds raised go to support their forthcoming Stone Villa Wearable Art Prize, 2015.

Stone Villa is a studio initiative that aims to provide affordable studio rents to studio artists. As a not-for-profit studio complex, this project is generously supported by Marrickville Council. For readers not familiar with the studio scenario in Sydney, such initiatives are rare in Sydney. If you are a Sydney based artist, keep a tab on Stone Villa website. There's a call out twice a year for Visual Artists to apply for a free six month studio residency at Stone Villa.

Salmagundi Studios: I'm luckier than most in this regard- at least for the time being. My current studio is located within the 20+ mixed discipline studios at Salmagundi. That said, our position is best described as tenuous, as Wolli Creek (suburb) is currently being transformed into a medium density high rise apartment landscape. All studio holders pay current market rent. 

As a mixed discipline studio, Salmagundi accommodates a variety of visual artists, robotics engineers, artisans, designers and project-based associates. Each studio holder has successfully managed to calibrate their paid work load (the day job...), so that over 80% of studio holders are able to commit a full time load or as close as possible, depending on project brief and scope of the project. Work undertaken in the studios includes: engineering projects (predominantly 3D film, theatre, tv and event based projects), commercial design (2 and 3D), decorative art and furniture restoration, metal work, graphic design, print media and visual art. Salmagundi has also recently started providing art classes to adults living with a disability and other groups.

While all of this sounds great, it is inevitable that the building will be sold for redevelopment within the next 12 months. If any one has any bright ideas regarding rehousing 20 artists in an industrial building, please contact Dillon McEwan via the new blog:

India Zegan, '30 irregular minutes' (1999-2013). Photographer: Felicity Jenkins. [Measurements: 120cm x 120cmx 9cm, upright support: variable.] 
Notes: This work was first exhibited as part of the 'Splice' (2014) exhibition at Articulate Project Space, Sydney. The drive to present this work, using a galvanised metal hinge, was informed by the giant 'gate' (movable 4th wall) in my studio. Mechanically minded people will appreciate that the circular voids that had to clear 64mm of mdf( never again with that material) were achieved by using a free-standing magnetic industrial grade electric drill press. I could not have completed this work without a studio. Many thanks Skadi Nova and Dillon McEwan for providing affordable studios and free access to said wonderful drill press. Thanks also go to Steve Mori for art transport and installation assistance; and Ramie Moussa for de-installation when I was in Singapore helping install 'Art Stage', Singapore and also looking at the Singapore Biennale (2014).

Photo notes: My movable 4th wall in my studio. The installation of this structure provides me with a dedicated installation space when I 'open' my hinged 4th wall; in addition to machine workshop and storage area, also within my studio. My 4th wall also provides me with an additional 2x[ 3.5m (w) x 3m (h)] walls. Special thanks to my friend, Damon Hannon, Architect and Eco builder. Damon completed his Masters in Architecture, UNSW a couple of years ago. Damon is a Sydney- Gosford based Architect. Damon's inventive design allowed the project to be completed in two days and under budget. There has been zero warp to the gate since its installation in 2012. The entire frame is made from timber.

Photo notes: With the 4th wall 'closed', I am able to unfurl 'long' works in progress.  December, 2014

Photo notes: Prior to commencing the toxic treatment (2011-12) to change the font and design of my pattern, I made a major investment in small portable dust extraction and air filtration machines, attachments and special charcoal filters for particles and odours. In addition to running the air filtration machines at all times, I also wore industrial quality air-filtration masks, and worked with a vacuume at close hand, so that I could thorough 'vac' between each cut. Re-routing the surface of this pattern (initially made by me) is possibly one of the most scary and phenomenally satisfying technical projects that I have set myself. During the process I kept feeling that the project was a bit like performing neurological surgery on myself using a high powered router. I have now disposed of all mdf in my studio and will not work with this material again. 

Photo notes: Working with Ramie Moussa. I engaged Ramie as my Technical Adviser and Studio Assistant for a 2.5 week project, 2013. Although I am more technically minded than others, and give or take less than others, my experience and expertise does not extend to resin technologies, and the correct curing point of resin in fluctuating relative humidity conditions.

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