Wednesday, April 3, 2013

4 day bliss

As I might have mentioned in an earlier post, working a full time job has made me see the true value of The Weekend. I've become one of those people that has a casual Friday, and an every-increasing yearning for that magical two days off once hump day hits. We can add that to the list of 'signs you're really becoming an adult'.

But the most recent weekend happened to be surrounded by Easter as well; four straight days of glorious nothing to look forward to. I had this one marked down in my diary a fair few weeks in advance... Of course I'm not one to make plans, so I didn't end up doing much at all which was lovely in itself.

I did manage to get a good bit of mileage out of dear Hilary. Sophie's blog entry on knifepoint Highpoint got me a bit intrigued at this 'chadstone of the west' so Mish and I went out on a long drive into the unknown on sunday. We girded our loins with brunch at Top Paddock beforehand alongside the rest of the fam. It's funny that there used to be a restaurant with the same name near Knox which was AWFUL. one of those super generic suburban places hawking white people food with too much seasoning across the board.

Top Paddock, Richmond, was not one of those places. Coffee was great, staff were chipper enough given it was a public holiday and the food was delicious and plated a little bit fancier to maybe warrant the slightly steeper prices. That's about all the food blogging I can handle these days so content yourself with that. No instagram photoz.

Afterwards we took a long winding trip down Flemington road towards Maribyrnong and I made a healthy bunch of errors and u-turns and one completely unnecessary detour. When we FINALLY made it to Highpoint I let out an exasperated hoot of victory and proceeded to miss the exit (so add an extra u-turn to the list).

Highpoint is huge! The newer wing was very much Chadstone 2.0 and the dimensions of everything was that much bigger than what was necessary. I walked away with a pair of jeans and a cardigan with on-trend elbow patches. I was meant to be shopping for something to wear to next weekend's wedding (more on that later) but I couldn't quite find that elusive blue blazer that's both affordable and properly cut to my awkward pudgy body.

Monday I headed up North instead. I met Nicole at her abode way out in St Helena for food and trip planning. It felt like the roads anywhere past Eltham were pointlessly windy. I would hate to be stuck in morning traffic up there. She drove us over to Thornbury for brunch at a place called Little Henri. I couldn't help but notice the Jason Jones touch to everything (smashed avo, whimsical semi-industrial fit-out, similarly presented baguettes, Allpress) but as far as I know he hasn't branched out to the North yet (or has he?)

The further we drove up High Street, the trendier it got, until we hit Northcote. Everything was closed except for Penny Farthing so we dropped in for another coffee (sorry Nicole) before heading back home to talk travel. I think the planning stage is half the fun of a big trip. At this point, everything feels exciting and very much doable and you're not yet burdened by money or your own tired feet dragging behind you...

a wee update

il write about my somewhat quiet easter weekend tomorrow. for now, i'll just jot down that i am OFFICIALLY heading to europe on August 24th until November 10th.

mum's super travel agent managed to wrangle me a pair of deals which will take me to london via hongers and dubai and back home from barcelona with the same two stops (and a week's stay in hk on the way home). i am significantly poorer now but the return trip isn't setting me back nearly as much as what i thought i'd have to pay.

so yes, this is happening. it's actually, finally happening. il be pinching myself for some time to come and then all of a sudden it'l be august and i'll be bundled into a plane and thrown over to the other side of the world.

cannot wait.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013


so, the curtain has parted on #sr7 and we now have a name (kveikur), album art (interestingly creepy), tracklist (icelandic, duh) and the general sense that this album will be everything that valtari is not. as much as valtari was undeniably beautiful, the floaty sparkling vagueness of it meant that it worked better as an ambient soundtrack and less as an album of meaty songs to pick apart and play on endless repeat. 

on saturday, all the details were let out of the bag, including the studio recording + accompanying video for brennistein, which i had already heard in snippets and live at harvest and adelaide. there's definitely something to hold onto now. there isn't even a characteristic slow build up to a soundgasm. a few glitchy moments in and BRAAAAMMM its like inception but more apocalyptic. the song plays out with so much beautiful aggression and although its definitely 'angrier' than most of their past work, the similarity is in the way that you feel like you're being swallowed up by this completely overwhelming surge of sound. if i had to pinpoint why i love this band so unconditionally, one of the reasons would be that ability to seemingly drown you in majestic noise.

turn off all the lights and jack up the volume when you play this:

its interesting how the band is very much visible in the video. compare that to their earlier stuff where they either dont appear at all or are sidelined to cameos. i suppose there was a bit more mystery to them back in the day, and they mightve elected to play that up a bit to go along with the music. but being as big as they are now its an altogether harder task to hide behind sepia filters and sweeping views of icelandic scenery.

im still not over the loss of kjartan, and il always think of sigur ros as being a quartet. but i feel ok with this vague knowledge of what il be getting in a few months time. and by few months i mean june 17. fuck.

the irony of a fun run

little known fact: im incredibly unfit. id like that to change, but old habits do die hard, and by old habits i mean an extreme aversion to exercise and rigorous dieting. now that there's the trip coming up, i feel like its a good reason/excuse to cut down on the fatty fatty goodness and make a habit of running/swimming not infrequently.

the other reason occurred on sunday where once again, i was signed up to do the run for the kids against my will. i probably wouldnt have said yes if it were up to me, but these things are decided upon by my mother for some reason so out of nowhere i was told to make myself free for half a weekend.

i didnt want to literally give my life for the royal children's hospital, so i tried to train a bit in the weeks leading up to the big day. clearly it wasnt enough because at the time of writing, i am still in some pain.

we were in the red group, which to my understanding is the most amateur (read: dud) subsection of the horde that runs 15km. there's also a smaller 5km run but im guessing that one's reserved for expectant mothers, toddlers and double amputees. despite the perceived dudness most people still chose to run. being my stubborn self, i was not quite ready to be overtaken by anyone significantly larger or older than me so i went ahead and made the stupid decision to run.

mish and dim were quickly left behind, and for a while it was almost nice to be jogging along amongst a sea of strangers on a nice, clear day with reasonable music pumping in my ears. then i realised i was a fatty and there comes a certain amount of pain when one sails past their comfortable limit for physical exercise. in my weakened state, i chose to keep running, and somehow managed to miss two consecutive drink stations (which was dumb). it was all very silly and i did stop a few times, which seemed to intensify the pain. it also turns out that my thighs rub together, so the latter half of the run came with a fair bit of chafing.

i finished with a super time of 2.10, and i lay down under a tree and vowed to never ever stand up again. after getting airlifted home, i had a thoroughly good nights sleep. huzzah!

sorry, its another potato photo from my potato phone. this may or may not become a more regular thing, owing to the fact that its a lot easier/convenient to carry around a phone rather than an slr. like i said, it was a great day for outdoor exercise. the route covered a hot steamy run through the domain tunnel, over the bolte bridge, a detour through the ghost town that is docklands and a loop through southbank before heading back to the start/finish up near alexandra gardens. fun times.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

gig poster, a sequel to gig poster

here's a little something i pushed out quickly and rather forcibly last night:

amy and tina are in a band by the name of beloved elk, and i did a gig poster for them last year. i guess you could call this the sequel. evidently i had the green light to go full colour this time round. i also had about half a week to finish it so naturally i went for a freer, layered style where every mistake would look purposeful. the image there has gouache, acrylic, watercolour, fineliners and graphite thrown at it.

i had some trouble flattening out the paper after it warped so bad from being repeatedly dried off with a blow dryer. i think next time il try clamping the paper somehow. the scan was a bit woeful at the edges but i managed to photoshop it to something respectable. those yellow patches ought to have been applied digitally, but i was dumb enough to think that acrylic paint could provide a fully opaque cover. il avoid that next time...

a small quiet sample

i unexpectedly had a Hot Date with one mr. james blake on tuesday night. the announcement for the tiny gig at the corner literally came out of nowhere with less than a fortnight's notice. apparently this is a thing now where musicians do miniscule barely-there-tours before embarking on something larger further down the track; although to fly all the way out from the uk for 2 shows seems a bit taxing for what its worth. apparently he's already confirmed an appearance at splendour this year. im probably not going to bother getting up there this year owing to the little trip i have going on in august... but count me in for the inevitable side show!

the show itself wasn't perfect by any means, but being james blake, it was still a ball-grabbingly good gig. he admitted to being severely jetlagged and not quite knowing the time or his immediate surroundings. there were issues with the reverb at times, and on more than one occasion the crowd would scream wildly in recognition when a particular song came on and that would be unwillingly picked up and added to the loop so you'd hear it over and over again throughout the track. i think my biggest issue was that it just wasnt loud enough. one of the things i love most about his music is that sharp contrast between his godly voice and the wub wub wub in the background. i came fully expecting to have my bowels shattered by some deafening bass, but it just didnt happen. il blame that on the corner hotel.

but despite all that, that voice of his is truly magnificent. it was just so utterly clear, and you'd never hear anything close to a break or stutter when he held onto a note. i suppose some of that could be attributed to some unknown technical sorcery, but you obviously need a fucking good voice to begin with.

the set wasn't overly huge. i think he was on stage for maybe an hour or so. all the expected offerings were there: wilhelm scream, i never learnt to share, lindisfarne, cmyk and limit to your love alongside choice picks from the upcoming album including retrograde as the closing number.

steph, jackson and i got in late. we had dinner beforehand at miss chu where they did a pretty good job of making me not want to go back (messed up orders and the like) and only got to the venue with about 15 minutes to spare. the corner is pretty small as it is, and the floor is completely flat so unless youre 6' something like jackson then there isnt much hope for you unless you're pushed up against the front barrier. im not going to post up the shitty photos from my potato of a phone, so il just leave this here... one of his new songs. its amazing, obviously.

im there

my big fat europe trip just got that much more real. i just booked flights for nicole, steph and i to go from manchester to reykjavik on 1/9 and reykjavik to oslo 9/9. the enormity of the trip hasnt probably settled in yet but that doesn't mean it's not happening.

Monday, March 18, 2013

potentially/very definitely m.i.a

its a slow day in the office. i find that there are a lot of those these days, not that i'm complaining. my boss is a lovely hospitable woman but also incredibly busy, so there are times when she gets dragged off to yet another meeting of some sort and i'm left without clear instructions on what to do. so here i am trying to at least be constructive. ive realised that i haven't actually written a post to describe what it is i do here at telstra... i won't bore you with details now but soon, maybe when im in the comfort of my room or something.

in the few months that i've been here, its just become so much more difficult to get anything else done. im in the office monday to friday and ive still held onto the cafe job on sundays. im suddenly so much more aware of the precious time that's sandwiched between work and lately there seems to be a lot to fit into that time. i could moan about not having enough time to do my illustration work, but i also know that if i were given the time, i wouldnt necessarily throw myself into it with full-blooded fervour either.

the other thing that's preoccupying my mind at the moment is the little trip i plan to undertake later this year. its been slowly gathering momentum and taking shape and i feel like we're now up to that point where its more a question of how instead of if.

most importantly, i've already made one booking for the 30th (as seen by the post preceding this one). i get a little tingly thinking that i'll be spending my birthday in a foreign country with my favourite band (and in a grassy-satellite-dish-infested-field no less). i hope that's not the peak of the trip because it falls within the first week at this stage and i would hate to plateau so early.

here's the plan so far...
at this stage im planning to spend the bulk of the time with steph. we'll meet up in london with alex and spend about a week there before leaving him for manchester and sigur ros. with luck, nicole will join us in iceland afterwards and we'll head south from there by way of oslo, stockholm, copenhagen, berlin, amsterdam and then down to spain (nicole will stay for the scandinavia leg). our eurail pass will be enough to cover a mad dash through france as well so we might choose to take the scenic route instead of spending extra on a flight between amsterdam and madrid. steph has drawn her imaginary line at 8 weeks but i need to be in hong kong 3/11 for the wedding so that means il stay behind in spain. mish is tossing up between spending october in either germany or spain with dim so if im lucky then il meet up with them for a few weeks before flying back together for said wedding. if not i might give the solo travel thing a whirl, after all that time i may want to be alone for just a bit. the thought of it is a touch unnerving but exciting at the same time.

all in all, il be away from melbourne for a whopping 10 weeks, so that's incredibly terrifying in itself. but im excited all the same.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

gods be good

i can sleep easy tonight knowing that for my birthday this year, i will be nestled into a little place 30 minutes outside of manchester called jodrell bank where i will be seeing my third sigur rós gig.

Friday, March 8, 2013

good guy epatant

wow. a month out of my previous online shopping fiasco and out of the blue my rattled faith in online shopping gets restored.

i was out with nicole on saturday enjoying the fantastic weather. we're in a bit of a semi-heatwave at the moment with about 10 days and counting of 30+ degree days but saturday felt more closer to that supremely idyllic sliver between summer and autumn where the summeryness is dying but everyone's still pretending its mid-feb only without the literal baking temperatures.

we had breakfast at Mina-no-ie on peel street in collingwood. its run by the same folk from cibi down on keele street and the literal translation is everyone's home. nicole and i agreed that we could kill to make that tranquil hollow white-washed warehouse our home... the service and food were also super fantastic. when you consider that proud mary is on the next street over and that you'll definitely have to wait for a table at any given moment on a weekend, mina-no-ie becomes that much more ideal.

the ceilings are high, the tables spaced out and it almost had a feeling similar to when you walk into a library and instantly revert to your 'inside voice'. the menu is small, neat and tidy and all cooked out of what looks like a slightly larger but still very homely domestic kitchen (with a number of japanese women bustling about being totally japanese).

my scrambled eggs were deceptively delicious. there was some sort of dashi/shoyu dressing worked into the egg which made it taste japanese, for lack of a better word. 'cole had a more substantial baked egg dish with cheese melted all over it and little cubes of miso-flavoured pumpkin and eggplant hiding underneath. i cant say for sure how healthy it all was, but i definitely felt 'good' afterwards.

it gets better though, and here il revert to what this post was originally meant for. in the same expansive warehouse is Epatant: a dapper store that sells trendy accessories, leathergoods, books and sleepwear/underwear for the discerning man [OF COURSE such a store would exist deep in the wilds of collingwood]. its all very schmoofty, but nice for a browse and a longing gaze or two at buttery leather satchels or that nice hand-crafted mallet you never knew you needed until a minute ago.

i had sort of been needing some perfume/cologne of some sort for a while now but i hadnt been seriously shopping around. i did make two reconnaissance missions to the new commes store on manchester lane, but i couldnt quite make up my mind because i was too busy chatting to the unexpectedly friendly shop girl. so at epatant, they had four fragrances lined up on the counter by astier de villatte which i only realised later is that french brand that makes those hilariously expensive and ubiquitous scented candles in milky ceramic jars. i dont usually become deadset on something like a fragrance, but i think i was just in a good mood at the time, and they were all probably unisex so they didnt smell as heavy and musky as most mens stuff. sadly the one i was after (eau fugace) was sold out in the smallest/most affordable size so i was referred to the e-store instead.

i ordered it 2 days ago and today i received a package in the mail!

so turns out they were out of stock completely. but instead of just flailing their arms wildly and telling me to quietly get fucked (like one other online store...), they sent me the next size up and a handwritten apology! brownie points for you all good sirs and madams. that's how you do customer service.

and P.S. i used this as an excuse to road test the camera on my new phone. work gave me a galaxy 4g for 'work' even though i insisted that the likelihood of me ever having to take a work-related call outside of office hours would be exceedingly slim. but gave it to me they did, and i didnt want it to go to waste... 

Monday, February 25, 2013

i begin with an idea...

this is the work in question:

i think its about time i wrapped up on my little escapade into the land of illustrated type for now. its not that im sick of it, but i need to branch out and not get too comfy... as reb so elegantly demonstrated a few weeks back, pushing outside of one's comfort zone can be incredibly rewarding. in her case, she funnied her way to the state finals of the RAW comedy open mic comp. i know the girls got some sass and a whole lot of funny in her, but i never imagined that it would translate so eloquently to stand up. i just read her blog post on it so its fresh on my mind once again. in any case, il put a moratorium on illustrated type for now. for some reason i find them looking a bit sameish after a while as well.

back to the work in question though, i was really keen to use gouache and just to make something really extravagant. the bjork piece got quite a lot of attention so i think i was trying to channel that and raise the stakes by doing a diptych instead of just a single piece. the quote is by picasso, and i think it describes my work/thought process fairly accurately.

there was a bit more time to finish this as opposed to the bjork, so i built up the colour using a mixture of both watercolour and gouache. it took a while longer but i prefer the more varied end result as opposed to straight gouache which for me tends to come out too primary colour heavy (can never seem to find many choices for tubes of gouache at deans). i finished it off with some ink and went a bit lazy with rubbing out the pencil. i kind of like it being there, hiding in the background. it almost provides a sort of evidence to say that i created the piece by hand.

you obviously cant see em here, but i also had the pair framed for the exhibition. i rarely frame work unless there's an occasion for it so i was really excited to get em back. i had heard about united measures from a few reputable sources, and i was willing to throw a little bit more money at the job if it could get me the sale. the frames turned out incredibly well so id definitely recommend the place if anyone ever asks. ryan works out of a little space within a larger communal warren of studios in collingwood (go figure.) and he makes everything from scratch. you can really tell the love and craftsmanship that's gone into them. i cant begin to describe the difference it makes to the work when you compare it to my usual option of standard sized ikea frames. obviously there's a time and place for ikea frames, but then there are times when a bespoke frame is much more appropriate.

and if you're reading this, thinking that you might want to own it, fear not! for i have prints ready to be put up for sale right after the exhibition closes. at this rate, i highly doubt il be making a cent out of it. not that that was ever my primary goal...

Sunday, February 17, 2013


one thing i'm really not doing a great job of is reporting back on events/happenings/shindigs in a timely manner. the big grand opening of type cast happened last tuesday and i've been silent thus far. tsk tsk. i need to try harder.

but anyway, the night was more or less a great big roaring success. the publicity we got from desktop and three thousand probably helped, as well as plenty of word of mouth through 23 enthusiastic young designers. the new tacit space is fairly large, made up of a warren of smaller spaces to break things up a bit. but on opening night the place was just absolutely filled to the brim. it reminded me of the grad show, where it became more of a social event rather than a night to actually take time to look at everyone's work. it was just so packed that you couldnt do much other than shuffle around trying not to knock into people while making small talk and juggling a wine glass or two. aside from the heat, i didnt mind it so much. i would choose that any day over an empty opening night. here's what it looked like from outside (the photo was lifted from tacit's facebook)

so far i havent heard from the gallery, so i guess my work hasn't sold yet. im hopeful that it does... its odd that despite spending so much time working on my piece, i didnt quite get to the point of forming a deep emotional bond with it. perhaps because i knew all along that the work would be put on sale. im not sure. back in high school i was always so hesitant to sell or give anything away. now that im older i think that mindset's shifted and i'd rather be selling my work and gaining recognition through that instead of just hiding in my room and making work for myself.

so in case you didnt get a chance to join the chaos that was tuesday night, the exhibition will be running until the 3rd of march. in the meantime, il be looking forward to hopefully another short list show in the not-too-distant future.

Sunday, February 10, 2013


i'm pissed off. incredibly pissed of. fucking pissed off. allow me to explain.

so call me old fashioned, but i generally don't indulge in a great deal of online shopping. of course i love to browse aimlessly, but 9 times out of 10 i cant find it in me to part with my money for a piece of clothing/accessory that i haven't tried on in person. either the product in question is too damn expensive or i won't be absolutely confident with sizing. but from time to time il bump into something that ticks all the boxes, and il throw caution to the wind and proceed to punch in my credit card number.

that was the case when i stumbled on a rather pretty henrik vibskov cardigan on their e-store (run by the larger e-store conglomerate farfetch). it was supremely pretty, and just a smidgen over the imaginary glass ceiling in my head. for those who havent been in and around my closet lately, firstly i came out! [insert sassy finger snap] and secondly, i have been on the hunt for a decent all-round cardigan for over a year now. its a serious hole in my repertoire and i just havent been fortunate enough to find one thats perfect. this cardigan was meant to be. it was SO right. the majority of it was charcoal and each cuff and hemline was finished in a different band of colour. super purrty.

but it was not to be, and here i begin my tale of woe. 

when i made the order the first time, i received a confirmation email and nothing else. for about a week my bank statement just said transaction pending. after a week spent sitting around waiting for something to happen, i emailed them to ask what the deal was. the transaction promptly disappeared from my records, and they replied with an apology saying that they had no record of any purchase from me at all. so i went in and made the order a second time.

again, i received a similar confirmation email and this time the money actually went through, so i thought the worst was over. half a week went by and they emailed me to tell me that the cardigan had sold out completely.

i replied with an angrily worded letter to tell them how pissed off and frustrated i was that they had wasted my time and that i had missed out on getting the cardigan based purely on their incompetence and their inability to remove store items once they were out of stock. they replied with an incredibly generic email (which was similar to every other email i had received from them during this saga) saying how they're a network of 'over 100 worldwide leading fashion boutiques' and how their whole system works. i cant think of any angry almost-customer who would give a shit about the inner workings of a large-scale online clothing store. i just wanted an honest apology, a refund and maybe some sort of compensation of i was feeling lucky and/or particularly pissed off. 

so i got over the initial wave of anger and settled into waiting for my refund to turn up. the day after writing that angry letter to them, i woke up to find that not only was my refund still non-existent, but somehow my previous order had reappeared and i had been charged TWICE. i quickly shot them another email, this time a little more venomous and with a more adequate sprinkling of choice profanities.

again they replied with a generic email apologizing for the fuck up along with a feeble attempt at explaining themselves. by this stage i had even less patience for explanations. i just wanted my goddamn money back.

the refund(s) were processed after another week or so. i never got back the pair of 'international transfer fees' that i were charged and farfetch refused to refund that back to me because it was somehow outside of their jurisdiction (but disregarding that they were the ones who messed up royally).

it was a long and tedious exercise, and i got nothing out of it. the least they could have done would be to apologise sincerely and perhaps offer me some kind of incentive to come back in the future. im not asking to be showered in gifts, but just a gesture of some kind... instead they just said sorry and wished me a good day. ta.

its sad that being such a big enterprise, my little sob story will get swept under the rug and then there'll be new customers and new sales and they'll chug on comfortably as if this blunder never happened. and they wont get their comeuppances. i can only warn every reader/friend/acquaintance to steer clear of Henrik Vibskov and Farfetch for any potential future online purchases, unless you enjoy just losing money for no good reason.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

type cast

hey hey! its already february and i feel like im yet to fully come to terms with the fact that its no longer 2012. im really excited to be writing this post. late last year, tiff had the brilliant idea to stage an exhibition for us freshly graduated graduates. sarah (also from vis comm) had organised another show earlier last year but tiff bravely decided to take over the reins and organise a second show. in the process, we banded together to form the short list and hopefully this upcoming show will be the first of many.

there will be 23 people exhibiting work at tacit gallery on johnston street including myself from tuesday 12/2 through to 3/3. we've titled the exhibition type-cast and all of our work is a typographic response to the phrase 'this is a real job'. its fitting that we should all be grappling with the idea of work and employment at this awkward transitional stage. some of us are working or looking for work, others stuck in some ratty part time gig or freelancing with varying success, or better still not working at all. its no secret that graphic design is a tough nut to crack, so this is us responding to that as well as attempting to alleviate the situation by occupying ourselves with said exhibition.

this is also my first legit exhibition, so that's reason to be excited. i won't count the shows i did back in school or the grad show because there were other establishments propping us up. this time though its just us (granted tiff has done a lot of the behind-the-scenes work).

i've been solidly chipping away at my piece for the better part of the last fortnight or two. i got it back from united measures yesterday and hot damn did ryan do a fantastic job of framing my work. i had known about the place for a while but i didnt think anything i had warranted such honest, bespoke framing. this was a decent excuse to do some research...

so the opening is this coming tuesday. there'll be free wine and entry and i implore anyone reading this to come down to have a browse + schmooze. i am continually amazed at the insane amounts of talent and variety of the people around me; this is your chance to see all of that up close. the work will also be for sale so if you have a blank wall in your abode that requires sprucing up then come on down!

we've already received some attention from very reputable sources. you can find mentions of the show on desktop, three thousand and on lantern printing's blog. il update this if i hear of any others... we also have a website, instagram and twitter. and lastly you can rsvp to the event via fb. so many places to find us! there's really no excuse not to come... as you can see, im rather excited. hopefully tuesday night will be disgustingly packed.

Friday, February 8, 2013


i cant get over how stunning the new james blake track is. it just stays with you for so long after the song is well and truly over. his voice is the closest aural representation of thick viscose honey. i really hope him and his show can find time to tour australia sometime this year... in the meantime il continue to wallow in his voice.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013


so. ive had quite enough time to digest the ama. true to form, jonsi, goggi and orri gave many short little answers in a way not dissimilar to this. but they were also willing to divulge some of the inner workings of the band.

my second worst fear came true when right off the bat they confirmed that kjartan had left. that really really sucks. kjartan was so integral to the band; the only one with proper legit musical training. in my head it was kjarri who was most able to impart that grand orchestral weight to some of siggy's back catalogue. im quite certain that the band will continue to create wondrous music, but then there'll probably be a small part of me forever questioning how things might've turned out if the band had remained a quartet. on the other hand, if he really was sick of the band or wanted to be elsewhere then i doubt that he wouldve been able to keep on making such effortlessly breathtaking music... in any case there's nothing i really can do, just roll with the punches and hope and pray that sigur ros stay true to being sigur ros.

the shittiness of the situation was slightly improved when they also announced that there'd be a new album this year. you heard right. THIS YEAR. valtari was only released mid 2012 and suddenly we're being thrown more new material. its odd how the bit about kjartan leaving has impacted #newalbum and im left feeling somewhat neutral again. well maybe not neutral so much but just a little less spastic than what i'd probably be if i had heard this time last year that id be getting back-to-back sigur ros albums for 2012-2013.

the video up top is a little preview they released at the same time as the ama. you can hear a snippet of brennistein in the background, which was the new song they premiered during the last tour. i think its a taste of things to come... that grinding/aggressive sound breaking back into angelic warbles further down. safe to say it will be the very polar opposite of valtari, and perhaps even a different brand of loud + booming to the stuff of dauðalagið and popplagið. there's no release date yet but a massive tour with dates still being announced. so far they're pretty much heading everywhere except for australia, but fingers crossed that i can see them in some way, shape or form before 2014 hits.

so thats what i have to look forward to this year. be prepared for at least a few more excited and long-winded entries about the upcoming release of album #7.

Thursday, January 24, 2013


early tomorrow morning, sigur ros will be on reddit to do an ama (ask me anything). i wouldnt classify myself as a redditor, but that cant stop me from making a nice big cup of coffee and sitting back to watch it all unfold. i dont know why ive never really been drawn to reddit. on the other hand, id say im an avid imgurian (albeit, as a lurker, for fear of completely losing myself to a murky world of upvotes and karma-whoring).

on the top of my wish list of questions will be whether or not kjartan has truly left the band. i cannot stress how much i dont want this to be true. sigur ros works perfectly as a quartet, each member contributing with equal measure to something incredible. i understand if kjarri has a family to attend to or if he's just sick of touring, but FOR THE LOVE OF GOD just keep on making music with the rest of them. the world will be a slightly nicer place for it.

il get back to y'all tomorrow to discuss...


alongside that magnificently unexpected DD from a few weeks back, ive been getting a sprinkling of equally unexpected attention over on tumblr. it feels rather good deep down that a blog such as art parasite would first of all stumble across my work and secondly, feel it necessary to give me a shout out. like seriously, i worship some of the artists and illustrators on those blogs, and then you stick little old me next to them... what the hell guys this aint right!! but boy does it feel good anyway...

Sunday, January 13, 2013

on the precipice

im starting a new job tomorrow. not just another shitty casual job at some cafe, and not a once off freelance gig either. no it's a proper full time, 9-5, monday - friday kind of job where i sit at a desk in an office and tap away at a computer. i'll explain more once i can, but lets just say its not the sort of design that i've been doing up until now. at this stage im sitting somewhere between incredibly nervous, timid optimism and sheer terror. i need an adult.

Friday, January 11, 2013

a dream of spring

steph and oli came over with scones in tow for a play date with charlie and the first proper discussion about travel plans for this year. the past few years have seen me stuck here while every other friend on fb seems to have enough time and money to be able to jet off somewhere exotic and brag about it on facebook. now that uni is over, i am of the opinion that its finally my turn.

being the initial liability-free discussion, we got super excited and pencilled in every single place that we wanted to see. i dont know how hard it will be to pull off 3/4 of western and northern europe, but i dont think there could be a more appropriate time for me to take off overseas for an extended period.

right now the aim is to get to london, scandinavia (including iceland, god-willing) and spain. i gotta be in hk in early november for a wedding so that's sort of my cutoff point for the home bound flight. now i just gotta start saving... so watch this space, i really truly want this to happen and its a goal that i think is completely achievable.


something odd happened in the past few days. out of nowhere came this steady stream of notifications to tell me that i had a new follower or two on my tumblr. i wouldnt have taken notice if it werent for the fact that they were suddenly coming in so quickly. im not one of those tumblr users that's out to attract a huge following and get thousands or reblogs, i consider it more as a tool for getting inspiration/jealousy.

so out of the blue, the number of followers just about doubled and i couldnt really figure out why. steph suggested that maybe my work had turned up on someone's design blog or feed, which seemed like a logical explanation. but who would want to post up my work?

i soon found out when i logged onto the old dusty deviantart account and BAM thousands of notifications. life is a flower (or flower and honey as i named it on my cargo) had been awarded daily deviation. to say the least i was a little stunned; i never thought id reach that lofty goal of daily deviation. i opened my deviant account back in high school and its been a constant place of non-activity hiding in the background. there didnt seem to be much point to it when i had other things going on like this blog or the cargo.

but they proved me wrong when i was least expecting it...

Wednesday, January 2, 2013


greetings 2013! you, the awkward year with no ring to it sandwiched between an olympiad and a world cup. you, the year in which il be turning 23 (hot damn) and hopefully staying outside of australia for a sizeable chunk. cant wait to get to know you.

i spent the dying hours of 2012 in rather ideal conditions. see the photo below for details. jana's friend mohini graciously opened up her apartment to us for the night. it was in a really perfect spot; on flinders lane right off of swanston with a multi-leveled rooftop balcony looking out over fed square and flinders street. the apartment itself is rented, but between moh and her mum, they have a crazy amount of stuff. every little nook and cranny is crammed full of books, taxidermy, snowglobes, art and other random paraphernalia. i'd describe it as existing in a classy spot somewhere between the Weasley residence at The Burrow and a less severe episode of hoarders.

p.s. ive joined instagram... though ive put a personal ban on food photos because i dont wanna be that guy.

the rooftop was large enough for all of us and when it got to midnight the fireworks were actually going off all around us, which was kind of fun. the only frustrating thing was the fact that we were sitting above all the fast food joints in that early part of swanston street and you'd be getting these constant wafts of awful/delicious fried goodness. still, it was miles away from the squalor down on the ground. from where we were, you could see the entirety of fed square, swanston street and every square inch of flinders street absolutely bursting with people. if you were stuck somewhere in the middle and you needed to pee, you would have had to do it your pants, or in a bottle.

after the midnight festivities, we drank some more and met up with a few new faces to get down to a 'tumblr party' in north fitzroy. i wasnt too sure of what i was getting myself into but i was really not in any state to argue. moh's friends were hilariously loud, drunk and more queer than i could ever hope to be. we stumbled over to what turned out to be an enormous house party spilling out onto the road. it was all extremely trendy.

got back to alex's as it was getting light outside, and i woke up at noon. mish had spent the night in prahran with dim so they picked me up and we searched in vain for a cafe that was actually open. the only place we could find was st ali. being apparently the ONLY place that was open meant that it was completely packed. there were people lining the side street waiting for their names to be called. miraculously we got a seat after only about 15 minutes of standing around. i felt kind of bad for the floor staff having to deal with such an impossibly large volume of hungover people, but at the same time i was desperately in need of coffee and a hot greasy meal.

the kitchen was probably struggling under the mountain of dockets because we waited about 45 minutes for the food to turn up. salvatore malatesta (owner of the st ali empire) apologised with a nice big jar of panella sugar and i was so hungry and dazed when the food finally arrived that it became this near-religious experience. finally made it home mid afternoon and i slept off the food and residual alcohol in my system. great start to the year. 

Monday, December 31, 2012

what a mighty good year

jesus there's a day left of 2012. i don't know how i feel about this. i don't think i've prepared myself for a new year just yet, and maybe i'm holding onto 2012 cos it just rolls off the tongue a whole lot better than 2013. but so much shit has gone down this year! most of it has been of the fantastic variety though... allow me to explain in dot form, as is the norm.

1) i came to the end of my tertiary education. it was a bittersweet ending, and i might already be missing it slightly, but i'm also a little elated to be free from the education system proper.
2) birthed an appallingly expensive folio after far too much sweating, swearing and big hessian sacks of money getting casually thrown away to photographers, printers and bookbinders.
3) made the shocking revelation that my illustrations actually meant something, that i was a bit decent at it, and that i could maybe even make a career out of it. thanks ned.
4) the last hurrah came with the grad show. the place was packed, the lights were hot, everyone was finished and i walked away with a bit of an award.
5) spent the first half of august completely immersed in olympics. australian swimming teams failed; sailing teams triumphed; hot bodies abounded and then there was marcel nguyen.
6) i painted an elephant.
7) finally bid farewell to the braces. freedom at last!!
8) hopped between a few more cafe jobs, spent a whopping month or so unemployed which was strange and wonderful
9) was given a blank wall in the city to fuck up along with masha and a bit of help from nat + nicole. was paid in coffee
10) returned to hongers for the wedding of the century
11) finally gave up on the gym, continued to fatten and widen
12) welcomed the arrival of a new sigur ros album after an arduous wait. loved it.
13) had the most perfect day in the form of harvest. managed to squeeze my way to the front of sigur ros and the icing on the proverbial cake came as the setlist, which is now mine.
14) went back for seconds in adelaide half a week later with yakson. adelaide was a dud, sigur ros could do no wrong.
15) pissed off some people by actually procuring tickets to radiohead.
16) reconciled with my hair, i now look like a pseudo-hipster-samurai-mulan-fag
17) settled on game of thrones as the new fantasy epic to get lost in; tits were seen, limbs were lost.
18) got my first piece of legit design work out into the public domain in the form of mazzitelli
19) made the awkward transition from student to freelance designer/illustrator. got business cards to prove it!
20) opened an etsy store to assist that transition, and for a bit of dosh on the side.
21) mish conquered cinnamon pull-apart bread and macarons, to the delight of all
22) discovered tumblr and lost many an hour on imgur
23) finally got rid of my retched htc, joined the masses with my dad's old iphone
24) the wait was finally over and i saw the hobbit #1. mixed reactions towards the high frame rate but otherwise enjoyed being sent back to middle earth by way of peter jackson.
25) copy + paste from the previous two iterations of this yearly blog entry.

so i think i've covered all that i need to cover, i need to head off to do new years now. may or may not post photos. we'll see how disgusting i look in the photos. happy new year!! and thanks to 2012 for being being so very lovely. i wonder what cool doomsday prophecies we'll get in 2013...

Thursday, December 27, 2012

in a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit...

ive been getting into the unfortunate habit of writing about events long after they've transpired. this is my attempt to rectify that in a small way; and also because my pseudo-review of the hobbit will be that much better if i write it when its fresh in my mind.

so, the hobbit. looking back its been about 11 years since i first saw fellowship of the ring. that in itself is a terrifying figure. in that time i've grown into this massive, oftentimes-inappropriate fan of tolkien and middle-earth. the period from 2001-2003 was glorious in that each boxing day brought with it the promise of a new film and during the other 11 months id reread the books, acquaint myself with genealogies and pool my resources into buying useless merchandise. it was a happy time, before i realised i was committing social suicide for being this heavily into a book/film franchise. the fervor died down as the movies winded down, and when i ran out of books to read. i think i still count myself as a fan, but not one that's ever going to teach myself how to write in tengwar or attend comic-con dressed as elrond.

so anyway its been a few years since ive come out of that batshit crazy stage, and it was interesting to see the long-winded process of making the hobbit from the perspective of a pre-existing fan as opposed to when i went into the cinema to see fellowship without any clue what was going on. a few things happened during production which dampened my spirits a little. i didnt know what to make of the higher frame rate, and i had a slightly sour taste in the back of my mouth when pj announced he was making a trilogy out of a 310 page book.

maybe il start off proceedings with what i didnt like about an unexpected journey. for starters, the 48 frames per second thing was to me a mistake. i appreciate the effort, but i just didn't feel like it was necessary at all. it was completely jarring at the start, and i only managed to kind of ignore it by the end of the movie without actually loving or wanting it to be there. the higher frame rate made the film look more like an oddly sped up tv show or a video game and the special effects at times looked really out of place and more obviously fake. the movements of the characters and the camera were violently crisp and almost too real. little things like embers billowing out of chimneys looked cheesy and fake. i want to see the whole thing again in 24fps maybe, and definitely for the next two installments.

i also have to say that it was all just too long. lord of rings as a book had SO much detail and background information to cover for every character/kingdom/geographical feature and the writers did a magnificent job of shrinking it down to a digestible yet understandable trilogy. the opposite happened for the hobbit in that you've got a single book that suddenly needs to be spread out across roughly nine hours of film. so many scenes felt unnecessary or just too damn long. i think they could have made a perfectly serviceable film if they had been just a little bit more aggressive in the cutting room.

the very point of the hobbit is that Tolkien wrote it for his kids before lord of the rings was even a twinkling in his eye. the tone of the book is entirely different to lord of the rings and i think that point was lost. there were times in the film when things got a bit funny (surprisingly even during riddles in the dark) but other times it just felt like jackson was trying too hard to force out an epic fantasy from this humble little book. there were parts of the script that pj and the team lifted out of various appendices and footnotes instead of the actual novel, but the whole time i couldnt shake the feeling that it was all a bit forced.

but in saying that, i am a fanboy deep down and it was fun to have so much time to escape back into middle earth once again. i didnt hate the film outright, but there were just a few glaring faults in the whole thing which couldve/shouldve been avoided.

i loved the little details which made it clear that guillermo del toro had left his mark on the movie. the opening shots of erebor in all its glory couldve easily been lifted out of hellboy or pan's labyrinth. for some reason i also found thranduil turning up on his deer (lee pace makes a rather spectacular elf) and that grotesque goblin king under the mountain somehow del toro-esque. im wondering now what the entire series could have been like if guillermo had stayed on to direct... i think the whole saga wouldve felt more like its own film as opposed to a long-winded setup for lord of the rings.

bilbo's scene with gollum was fantastic, as we all expected. there was a real bit of tension there which i appreciated. it made sense for gollum to be a shade more innocent without having sixty years to brood on the loss of his precious. the sequence under the mountain was entertaining too, without becoming too much like moria 2.0.

im looking forward to the next two films, i think where this film slipped up was maybe because they had to do a lot of setting up/expository dialogue and fingers crossed the pacing for the next two are a little faster. i think i was saved from the worst of the arduous run time because i had an idea of what was going on, but to a laymen i get a bad feeling that it would've been 170 minutes of slow slow pain.

next up: giant spiders, a big angry dragon and the slightly-awkward-but-entirely-warranted-sexy-father-son pairing of lee pace and orlando bloom. excitement

Friday, December 21, 2012

take me back

sunday night saw the family and i get into some serious festive shit, as well as indulging in some deep almost-forgotten nostalgia. after work, the four of us set out for hamer hall and a 5pm performance of Handel's Messiah. i dont think ive ever sat in the audience of a large choral/orchestral piece such as this. the only equivalent was back in the days of boys choir where i was the one on stage. it brought back serious waves of old memories from way back when... dicky red robes; mr carmody conducting with big rambunctious gestures; walking in and out single file from that side door; having to hold off from scratching or sneezing or rubbing your eyes on stage; the strange green room at hamer hall which looked like a yum cha buffet; and the massive black void that we sang into.

we sat up right at the back. sitting up near the rafters, you got a real sense of the depth and size of hamer hall looking down into the pit. it wouldve been all lovely and fine if the batty old lady behind hadnt tapped me on the shoulder midway through part one to tell me to stop looking through my program because it was apparently hugely distracting...

the performance was fantastic, for the most part. my mind wandered through some of the lengthier solos. the countertenor's voice was almost eunach-like which took me a bit by surprise. i was familiar with a few of the choral passages, and then came the hallelujah chorus where everyone was obligated to stand, and i honestly think i couldve just about sang along to it in full.

we set out for dinner afterwards, and to see if the city council had actually put any effort into this year's christmas decorations. i dragged everyone to an izakaya on bourke street near lonsdale which i thought was appropriate given our massive glutton-fest the night before. it turned out to be closed, so we wandered over to chinatown in the hopes that maybe hutong had a spare table. they obviously didnt, so we trudged over to another hole-in-the-wall japanese place nearby for economy sushi and soba.

it turns out the council has indeed boosted their christmas budget when we walked past town hall to see it completely lit up with a continuous sound and light show/projections. it was really amazing, in an entirely non-cynical sort of way. really helped to get me into the mood of the season. here's some photographic evidence:

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

eat until you hate yourself

another year, another blowout christmas feast. the older i get, the more i appreciate my mum's supreme adequacy in the kitchen. its not as if she doesnt try for the other 11 months or so of the year, but christmas to us is just an excuse to cook festive food and to commit deep sins of gluttony.

we had a big bunch of family friends over on sunday for our yearly christmas party. like last year, mum issued out an edict that all the food had to fall under a theme. this year it was spain. everyone brought a plate of tapas and mum focused her powers on the ham and three massive trays paella. everyone but dad was happy to forgo the ham, because we knew there'd already be enough food to contend with, but dad was his usual stubborn self and refused to believe that we could do christmas without a ham. so ham happened.

the tapas' were abundant in number, and i mightnt have left enough room for subsequent ham & paella. i think everyone just got a little too excited seeing the table groaning under the weight of it all.

alongside mum's contributions, i had cooked about 4 kilos of beef cheeks in pedro ximinez the night before (braised until you could break it apart with the tap of a spoon) and jo brought over a lamb shoulder. it was completely too much food, but that's the point isnt it?

mish made macarons, which i am so thankful for because at that stage anything larger and we would have all chundered on the carpet. they took quite a few batches to get right, and mish was at the point of losing in the days leading up to sunday. but after some tweaking of the cooking times, she finally managed a batch that didnt stick to the baking paper and that's what you see here. they were AMAZING.

so now that that's over, we're currently trying to find inventive ways to use up the leftover ham, and looking ahead to another slightly smaller food fest on the 25th.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

a fucking cute fairytale

this. this is gold. as with most things, im probably getting to this much later than what is acceptable, but that doesnt mean its not worth sharing because it is just fucking adorable.

opening ceremony had their 10 year anniversary this year and part of the festivities included the release of a book. they promoted it with this little 'fairytale' starring two stupidly cute kids playing the founders of oc, humberto and carol. (on a side note, anyone christened umberto by their parents is probably bound for greatness.)

aside from the astounding cute factor there's a nice soundtrack, its kind of inspiring and the narrator has a really soothing voice. so do yourself a favour and have a watch. the sound that came out of my mouth at steph's house when i watched it was extremely unbecoming of a grown man (albeit, a gay grown man)


when i get asked who i still keep in contact with from high school, the answer is pretty short: ineke. i mean, there's chris and rob and evan and maddie but the one i feel is most important and comforting and necessary is ineke. we've been through a lot together, and that makes me wonder why i dont see her as much anymore. its not that we dont want to, but we just have so much other shit to get on with, and im really terrible at making any solid plans.

last week i had a day off from work and miraculously, so did she. i suggested breakfast, which seems to be the go-to, but we're both a bit cash-strapped at the moment. so it became breakfast at my place. we scoured thomas dux and came out with some slab bacon, haloumi, ciabatta and truss tomatoes. i really need to stop being so enamoured of food; or at the very least, be addicted to lean nutritious food. alas, it isnt so!

we threw together this stinking pile of regretable protein, fat and carbs. yum yum. probably not a good thing that we're this good at concocting what i like to call the deep end of the brunch menu.

take note of the festive christmas table cloth. christmas is a week away... sheeeeeet

Friday, December 14, 2012


finally, a post-uni piece of work! i think ive had quite enough of a break from work now so its time to get stuck into it. think of this piece as a sequel to this; which i did back in april for christine's wedding. and by sequel im thinking more two towers and less batman and robin. this to me is a huge improvement from the last time i tried to bring together cursive type and overblown floral detail. i made sure to fit in bigger areas of solid black, in order to improve legibility. this is also drawn on a3, so there was room to squeeze in detail with the more minute pens in my jar.

in case you were wondering, its a quote lifted from don quixote, i'll provide an explanation for it when the time is right... 

prints will be made up once i have 3 or 4 other drawings to add to the bulk order.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

another small thing

and i probably should mention that i got my marks back! even for that drop kick of a unit called digital imaging i managed to scrounge a credit for so i think this officially means that i can graduate! happy days.

i am for sale

hello! i have developments up my sleeve...

now, im well aware of the fact that i am lazy as fuck at the best of times (my go to excuse for the habitual neglect for this blog). but a few things have popped up in the last 48 hours or so that im really quite excited about. im sitting at porgies right now, after another menu revision session with jason. the stubborn decision to do the mazzitelli menu on indesign as opposed to word means that im the one that oversees menu adjustments. it means that i have to find time to see the higher powers, but then i can also hang onto creative control and there's usually a free hot meal in it as well.

i am currently making the most of the free wifi and the fact i was given a top secret password to said wifi...

so anyway, im really excited to announce the launch of my etsy store! its been a long time coming, which in all honesty should have happened sooner, but its live now and i can finally find out whether or not this career choice can produce an actual income. ive found the most wonderful printer in middle park (lantern printing). it seems to be a good fit for my work and the scale at which im operating now. ive been in to see karl a few times over the last week and a half and the giclee prints he produces look just as good, if not better than the original. there's also that added bonus of being printed on a thick sturdy 300gsm stock which gives it the feeling of being even more expensive.

here's the all-important link to the store. and here's another link to a facebook page i threw together last night for my work. i personally dont like the idea of having a separate page for design/work on facebook but as mish and i agreed, i think it works out better in the long run for people to be notified via said page when i post up new work as opposed to trawling through photos and mundane status updates on my profile. its also just another way to motivate me to continue drawing/painting/creating.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

everything in its right place

alright so i think i should get on with writing this... a week ago at about this time, i was getting settled into my seat in front of RADIOHEAD. it was an odd sort of lead-up to the night. so many people on facebook and otherwise had been moaning about not getting ticket, some of whom were definitely bigger fans than mish and me. you definitely got the sense that just as many fans missed out on going as the fans that did acquire a golden ticket. having said that, i was excited but not hyperventilating beforehand in the same way that a sigur ros gig will. at the same time, i knew that i was in for a Good night, and that i was ticking something major off of my bucket list. i think i belong in that sub-category of fan where i know maybe... 2/3 of their work but wouldnt be able to recite song lyrics from memory or consider getting a tattoo in tribute.

the setlist went as follows:

lotus flower
there there
the daily mail
the gloaming
kid a
how to disappear completely
weird fishes/arpeggi
full stop
you and whose army?
paranoid android

encore #1:
exit music (for a film)
these are my twisted words
pyramid song
lanet telex

encore #2:
give up the ghost
everything in its right place

needless to say, it was a long gig. major kudos to the band for acknowledging that they hadnt been down to australia for years and offering up a two hour gig as an apology of sorts. i really desperately wanted to hear all i need and get absolutely lost in it. but i was really excited that they included exit music and pyramid song, two personal favourites...

this was my first big proper stadium gig. it was at rod laver, and i was imagining the tennis going on in the general admission pit in the middle and how amazing that would be... we were sitting pretty close to the front, but nowhere immediately close to the stage. i felt a touch awkward being seated for all the parts of the show where i shouldve really been stuck in the middle of the crowd tapping a foot to the beat and shifting my weight from side to side. alongside radiohead themselves, there were huge suspended LED screens which shifted around and projected different song-appropriate lights and graphics. i guess playing a stadium show affords you such luxuries.

i had the misfortune of sitting to two screeching banshees, which ruined the night a little. they were clearly at least a bit intoxicated and i very quickly ascertained that they were massive fans. they brought in some more liquor and spent most of the night breaking every rule in the proper gig etiquette guide book. that included screaming loudly constantly, singing along incredibly out of tune (bitch i didnt pay to hear you sing, i paid to see thom yorke sing), 'whooing' at the most inopportune moments, recording a third of a song on your phone with your iphone flashlight illuminating everything within a five metre radius, standing up every now and again when everyone else was sitting and trying to forcibly pull me up with you because apparently sitting down means i cant enjoy myself as much as i would if i were standing.

it was a bit of a pain to have to deal with them, but i tried to block it out as much as possible. the huge distraction on stage helped.

Monday, November 19, 2012


i feel like lately, there's been a lot of emphasis placed on finishing. not just in my own head, but the fact that the art/design faculty celebrates the achievements of its soon-to-be graduates with a big sprawling exhibition.

friday was the much anticipated opening, which i was looking forward to with as much eagerness as the sigur rós double act. to me it was the best way of showing with absolute clarity what i had learnt/achieved through the years of school and uni. i really dont want to make it a cheese-fest, but i was excited to be able to show my parents that i had in fact come out the other end of these last four years with an accurate and achievable idea of what i actually wanted to do with myself post-uni, and to show them that all their money hadnt just been thrown mindlessly into an incinerator. i think they were really happy.

the opening was chaotic. i think its a little unavoidable when they try to cram so many people into the one narrow, oddly-designed building. last year was made that much worse because the opening fell on a supremely muggy day. our building is well-known for having a woeful cooling/heating system which pretty much refused to function at all, so we were all left clutching beers to our face and wading through the heavy sticky air trying in vain to appreciate the posters hung on the walls. this year was a lot better in terms of weather, but it was still fairly hot in our exhibition space because of the spotlights and the plethora of people you had to elbow your way past in order to actually get to the work.

it was very much a night for socializing as opposed to taking in the work on display. there were so many people to say hi to. i coerced pretty much anyone i could reach to come see the show, as well as all the guys in vis comm this year, and the poor sods that stuck it out in interior who were exhibiting next door. i was honestly left feeling confused and terrified (and thrilled for them of course) looking at their work. confused because there was so much i just didnt understand; terrified because i couldnt for the life of me fathom how i could have almost been there alongside them putting a vast majority of my strength into not slashing my wrists.

this is the only shoddy photo i could salvage: an awkward family photo at the door... keep in mind that my parents were severely jet lagged after having just gotten back to melbourne from london at 7 in the morning following some 30 hours in transit. suffice to say, they're pretty darn rad. (sorry mish your face ended up as a swoosh, blame charles)

i forgot to mention that there were some awards handed out! that thing tucked under my arm is the award for most outstanding illustration, which was such a huge validation for me. gene was announcing the awards and he started off by saying that the recipient of the next award had already had his work acknowledged in the form of a fibreglass elephant... so i realized he was talking about me and then people were cheering and up i went for said award. it happened so quickly but i just remember it being a moment of really genuine unadulterated happiness. again, sorry for the unashamed cheesefest.

the show runs for another 2 weeks. all the information, as well links to everyone's folios/websites/work is up on the mada online catalogue. i highly recommend that you go.

wonder, awe (and adelaide)

eugh. you know you're poor when a 2 day trip to adelaide is consigned to the travels tag.

but to adelaide we did go. i am so sick of that awful moniker radelaide because like the city itself, its tired and incredibly unfunny. i did go into it with slightly higher hopes, but il be honest and say that it was all fairly disappointing (aside from the very reason jackson and i were there).

i think it was a combination of bad luck, poor navigation, wrong expectations and a tendency to compare anything and everything to melbourne. we stayed in an apartment on morphett street in the west end of the cbd, and the streets were basically deserted. the only signs of life came from a few construction sites dotted around. we were about 300m from a queer festival of some sort, and despite what looked like a pretty ample setup, it too was dead. the whole of the city just had this awkward country town feel but at a much larger, less navigable scale.

we tried taking the tram down to glenelg beach, but it took us in the wrong direction and we wound up at the entertainment centre for some reason. we wandered down rundle mall, the main shopping strip in the city, and it didnt seem to have any stores that werent readily available at a westfield or two. we did find a decent place for coffee, with baristas that looked like they had been plucked straight out of collingwood, but they didnt do breakfast...

i feel kind of bad saying all that. i cant say i had a good time, but i dont want to write adelaide off entirely because i have friends who grew up there and i really do think that the lack of fun was partially our fault. i need to go back with a guide perhaps, and definitely a car.

by the time thursday night approached, i was starting to feel bored and ready to go home. but then i remembered why i was there in the first place. SIGUR RÓS

yes, the citizens of the southern state were to be graced with the presence of my favourite band. they only announced sideshows in perth and adelaide, clearly as a way to satisfy as many fans as possible outside of their already-announced appearances at harvest in melbourne, brisbane and sydney.

the night was wondrous, as expected. i love that the band has this drive to always put on a fantastic show; not just a few big numbers in a dark room but with enough lighting and effects to make it so much more memorable. i realised that there'd be quite a few songs in their setlist that just dont ever leave. songs like hoppípolla and popplagið are expectations, but they've been around for years, so you have to stop and wonder exactly how many times theyve had to play some such songs over and over. i get bored so easily, but hats off to them for bringing the same enthusiasm every single time.

the gig was held at thebarton theatre, which was a smallish venue (definitely smaller than festival hall). that allowed for a few quieter numbers, as opposed to harvest where there was more of a need to churn out loud festival-appropriate tunes. i was thrilled that they did vaka, which was breathtakingly tragic, and ekki múkk in the encore. the new album didnt make a huge appearance at either gigs, and i think that's just down to the appropriateness of some of the songs on valtari. if their new song brennisteinn is anything to go by, then im rather curious/excited to see what their new material will be like...

the odd thing about this gig was the fact that it had only been half a week since i had seen them last. at harvest, i had waited for four years for that moment, and then obviously '08 was the very first. i didnt have this long gestation period and so i wasnt as ravenous and on edge throughout the gig. i didnt pay as much attention to every little detail like on previous occasions, and for a lot of it i think i was just in some sort of blissful post-rock-induced daze.

but this show felt a little bit more intimate and the band seemed to be more at ease. perhaps playing a small show like this comes with lower expectations... but it was a fantastic and beautiful night nonetheless. i came out of there with my throat dry and my hands and feet a bit tingly still. adelaide mightn't have lived up to expectations, but sigur rós surely did. cant think of when il see them next... i hope its soon.

takk fyrir

here's the only proof i have of being there. i didnt bring a camera so i tasked jackson with taking photos on his shiny new iphone. i was up near the front salivating.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

what could have been...

so, i just got wind of a mysterious but altogether real sideshow that grizzly bear had last night at billboard. i somehow managed to not hear a single shred of information about it beforehand. that leaves me thoroughly pissed off. i got into them just as they left the country last time round, and then this happens. HOW LONG WILL I HAVE TO WAIT.

at first i was all:

and then i did this for a bit:

gifs really are the only way to convey one's emotions these days...

im aware that this is really only a first world problem, but still im more than a little miffed.

harvest '12 pt. 2, or, my second encounter with sigur ros

the last half hour seemed to drag. it was starting to get dark now and out scurried a sea of crew members to install the elaborate setup for sigur rós and all the musicians backing them up. i was thinking that travelling for them would be a huge undertaking and a bit of a logistical nightmare with all their gear and instruments.

i dont know where i got the karma from, but the people in front of me and grace left and i managed to wedge myself right up against the railing. nothing to distract me now. really sad that nicole was starting to feel a bit sick. maybe the combination of heat, rib-crushing crowd and loud noises didnt go down too well... i dont know, but she had to leave me and grace right before the big stuff started. i think she did manage to get an alright spot afterwards, so all was not lost.

after the painful wait, out they came and i cracked an enormous grin. i mustve looked like a real idiot grabbing my face and biting my fist/lip simultaneously in a mixture of shock and delight but i couldnt help it, i was just that happy. by now my feet were feeling like coagulated gravy but for the next glorious ninety minutes, i couldnt have given less of a single fuck about anything else other than what was happening on stage.

they kicked off proceedings with í gaer, which i hadnt heard live before. the noise was explosive and glorious, and it was so loud it sounded as if you were standing point blank in front of some sort of beautiful fog horn. from that point, there really wasnt a moment where you couldve had a moment to catch your breath or to let your feet settle back on the ground. i think it was probably due to the outdoor festival setting, but i found the entire set to be noticeably loud; louder than what i recall back at festival hall. even the quiet moments were blasted out that little bit extra, perhaps to reach the bigger audience out there on the lawn.

they followed with glósóli, which had a similarly aggressive explosion of sound that you really got lost in. it just felt like wave after wave of noise crashing down... sorry, i dont wanna sound like a pretentious wank but that's honestly how it felt. following on from that, they calmed down momentarily with svefn-g-englar. i have to add that throughout all of this, the enormous screen behind them was projecting these stunning visuals that fit so well with the music. it wasnt anything too literal or distinct, but floating shapes/bursting stars/bubbles/waves/writhing bodies which added that extra something to make the set feel even more like some sort of blissful dream.

then came saeglópur to wake us all up from our brief slumber. during the song, a girl was pushed up to the front because she was looking a bit out of wack. it looked like she had taken some nasty pill fished out from a stranger's pocket and she had to be lifted out of there by one of the burly security staff. it was odd, and i briefly snapped out of my stupor. after saeglópur came the obvious hoppípolla + með blóðnasir combo. it sounded great up there, especially with the horn and strings backing it up. they were really able to push out the climax in a satisfyingly huge manner. jonsí tried to get the audience to help him out with the repetitive ooohs in með blóðnasir and i gleefully sang along with the same gusto as an overly attached twilight fan.

olsen olsen and festival followed, which both sounded absolutely fine side by side despite being from two really different albums. its interesting that the set featured pickings from basically every studio album, although there was a great deal of cohesiveness between every song.

next was something i did not expect... a new song! i had seen something written about it on their facebook page, but i wasnt expecting to hear brennisteinn myself. it was pretty exciting stuff, it sounds like theyve stepped away once again from their more ambient stuff and onto something much louder and festival-appropriate. for lack of a better word, it sounded dark and creepy. there was this industrial clanging in the background while jonsí's voice floated around on top. a comment left under a review that i dug up said that it was a perfect combination of sigur rós and NIN, if that's any help to you.

the second-to-last song was varuð, which was the only song played from valtari. out of the new album, its really the only song that gets to that similarly climactic spine-tingling place so its understandable that it was chosen and nothing else.

last came popplagið, and i couldve died happy just standing there letting all that noise surround me in its warm gooey embrace. it went on for so long, but not long enough. i dont think there was a single person there who wasnt completely swallowed up by the enormity of the final song.

and then just like that, the last chord faded into distorted noise, the band all left the stage and my feet touched down onto the grass once again. there was no encore, but they came back out again to give a few bows and soak in the thunderous applause. i was sad to see it end, but it had to. then i realised id be seeing them again on thursday so that made me feel a lot better.

it was a magical set, and it worked better than i couldve hoped for in a setting like that. the absolute icing on the cake came when one of the crew threw all the setlists off the stage. everyone in the front stretched their arms out instinctively like starved zombies to warm flesh (me included) and i was lucky enough to snag one of them. HOW THE FUCK COULD THIS DAY GET BETTER?! its now sitting next to me as i type and i will most likely treasure this tattered a4 piece of paper for the rest of my days.

so that was the end of harvest, and the end of a perfect day. im sorry ive waffled on for so very long. but im assuming most people wouldve just seen this enormous body of text and left it to someone else to read, so this apology will be reaching no one.

the last thing that harvest couldve fucked up majorly was the return trip to the city. but lo and behold! they didnt! santigold was still going as nicole, grace and i trudged out still in a slight daze to join the throng of people wanting to go home. we were greeted with an endless stream of buses and it literally took us about 5 minutes to get onto one of them, despite there being so many people needing to get out as well. so pretty much everything went to plan for the day (barring grizzly bear): the weather was perfect, the hayfever stayed at home, i saw the best band in the world again, and i got back to flinders in time to catch a handy glen waverley train home.

to the organisers i'll say thank you a thousand times over for a terrific festival and to sigur ros, just as many thank yous as well, and i'll see you thursday! i hope and pray that i might bump into some of you on the streets of adelaide, but i completely understand if that doesnt happen because i have seriously used up all of my backup karma on sunday.

Monday, November 12, 2012

harvest '12 pt. 1

before i start, i think il write separate entries for harvest and the splendour that was sigur rós. when i have a good time i tend to ramble, and i definitely had a good time yesterday. i dont expect many people to go through this entire entry (as long entries usually go) but il just say that the shortened version goes something like OH MY GOD IT WAS THE BEST DAY EVER. here is why.

all in all, i can safely say that harvest was the best festival that ive been to yet. im not exactly a hardened veteran when it comes to the festival circuit but there was really nothing to fault about sunday's spectacle. i wasnt there last year, but i heard from a few sources about the botched ticketing system for booze and lack of toilets. this year the organisers obviously listened to the customer feedback and answered with easy and abundant access to both. i honestly didnt need the alcohol; it wasnt cheap and i managed to have a fantastic day despite not being off my tits.

it helped too that the weather was spot on. the sky was clear and the temperature sat in that grey area between spring and summer so while it did get a bit hot, it wasnt approaching australian open levels of scorching. in any case there were plenty of trees and shady spots to collapse into and cool off. whoever decided to set up the festival at werribee mansion is an absolute genius. i also made sure that i was heavily medicated all day with antihistamines so the hayfever wouldnt have a chance to ruin my day with itchy red eyes and snotty nostrils.

i met up with nicole and her friend grace (she of the superbly well-maintained fringe) at flinders and we trained as far as footscray. the werribee line was down for maintenance past that point so they had a steady line of shuttle buses ready to ferry us to the site. we got there at about noon and there wasnt much on the schedule that i was dying to see until beirut started at 5. we wandered around, had a lie in the sun until it got a bit much then casually watched half of the dandy warhols' set from afar. i grabbed a few cans of pipsqueak and we sat down under a tree during mondo cane. i was surprised that there wasnt that sense of urgency which seems to come with single-day festivals. sure i couldve run around all day trying to get in as many bands as possible... but it just made so much more sense to take everything slowly in order to enjoy the festival to its fullest.

the one bummer that i have to make note of was the unfortunate timetable clash. the last three acts on the first mainstage were beirut, beck and sigur rós. running simultaneously at the other big stage on the other side of town was ben folds five, grizzly bear and santigold. i wasnt fussed about missing ben folds five or santigold, but it meant that i had to choose between either half an hour of grizzly bear, or sacrificing a prime spot for sigur ros. being me, i went for the latter option, which in my head was the right decision, but a small part of me is still devastated that i missed out on hearing/singing along to  two weeks live.

so my plan of attack was to wedge myself into the front during beirut, then creep closer and closer during beck until i was as close as possible for the final act. the plan went off without a hitch, but it meant that i basically stood there in a dense crowd for five hours straight. my legs were sore as fuck but it was all worth it in the end.

beirut was lovely as expected. this was the third time that id seen them in the space of twelve months so i knew what i was in for. they played all the necessary tunes, though i was still wanting to hear guyamas sonora and he skipped the peacock cos i guess it isnt so ideal to play to a festival crowd.

next was beck, and though could only recognise about 3 songs in all, it was still loads of fun. the man has a really easygoing presence on stage and he made it all look so easy. he threw in a few jokes about finding an 80s guitar solo in the fields and maybe leaving some of it for sigur rós because they might need it more, as well as plenty of little asides and improv to keep me very much interested. some bitch managed to piss me and everyone around me off by trying in vain to barge to the front. she seemed to think that she had the privilege to do so because apparently noone else knew the words (to which i say, i don't speak no icelandic but i sure as hell love a certain other band). words never come quick enough for me in those situations but a girl next to me managed to shut her down real good so she huffed and retreated in defeat.

beck finished at about 8pm and then came the last half hour before sigur rós would come to grace us with their presence. the rest il post in the following entry. this is getting too essay-like as it is.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

wait no more

my god it feels like yesterday when i stumbled into festival hall and found myself at the complete mercy of four brilliant icelandic musicians... that was over four years ago, and tomorrow i will be seeing sigur ros once more. its been in the back of my mind for ages now, and for the longest time i wasnt even letting myself think too much about it because i had to focus my attention elsewhere. but now its happening, its real and fuck i am excited. fuck i am so excited.

Friday, November 2, 2012

proud as punch

to the interwebz, i proudly present to you my folio. or rather, the culmination of a 17 year long journey through education.

this has to be my proudest post to date. its what i've been slaving away for the vast majority of this semester, and something i knew from quite early on would be awaiting me at the end of my course. and without sounding too cliched, i really do think that it reflects me as a designer/illustrator/general creative type.

today i went into uni to hand it over, alongside my website (all updated and dolled up) and grad show piece. seeing everyone's immaculate offerings, you begin to get a real sense of the overwhelming talent in the room, as well as how different each person's skillset is. id like to think that we've set the bar pretty high for next year's group.

yesterday, i picked up the last piece of my big expensive puzzle. whites law did an amazing job with my folio book. it wasnt cheap, but it came out so well that i can forgive them for the heftiness of the bill. my book was a3, coptic bound (by them) and the cover was a box board sealed up in sexy matte black with my logo printed in a spot varnish, which contrasted really well against the matte black. i was a bit uneasy with the printing at first, because the colour settings on their inkjet made all my photos look simultaneously washed out and saturated for some reason. by the time i saw the proofs, i didnt have much choice but to stick with em which felt a little gutting. but then tony (the wonderful man in charge of my folio) worked his magic and the photos in the finished book came out amazingly well. happy days.

i need to also acknowledge francois, one of dad's patients who dabbles in woodwork in his spare time. he kindly agreed to construct my box for me, which as you can see looks beautiful (also kind of like an oversized wooden macbook, which is a nice touch). the timber is tasmanian oak, which has a really noticeable grain pattern. it also developed a deep yet subtle sheen after i applied a few coats of danish oil, which makes it all the more appealing. i know that il need to update the contents of the box in the future, but that box is definitely staying. it might be a little on the large size, but its really as small as it could be and i can still manage to slip it easily under one arm.

the other very important person who helped out immensely was ian, my photographer. he was incredibly patient and generous with his time, and the photos came out exactly how i wanted them. theyre now all over my website, if you were wondering.

and lastly, mish. for acting as my constant tether to sanity. she proof-read everything, gave sound advice when i so desperately needed it, forcefully coerced me into writing lists, organising myself and planning out my schedule (something completely foreign to me) and drove my exhausted ass to the printers on more than one occasion. i couldnt possibly ask for a better sister, and i would not be so completely satisfied and content writing this now if it werent for her. she's also the only person mentioned here that offered their services free of charge... 'nuf said.

i feel completely weird now. i dont know what to do with myself and its gonna take some time to sink in that im really done. im excited for the next few weeks. first i get to clean my room and the den. i plan on gutting it completely, disinfecting every surface and throwing out everything i dont actually need, hoarders style. next week we have interviews with industry peeps as part of our assessment, and i was lucky enough to get eamo donnelly and ned (though i think they paired us up on purpose). then after that comes HARVEST, where i will be seeing SIGUR ROS once more then again the following thursday in adelaide. flying back the next day il be back in time for the grad show and fuck i could die happy after all of that. cant possibly think of a better way to celebrate one's freedom than a music festival, 2 consecutive sigur ros gigs and a grad show opening, with a bit of radiohead thrown in just in case i havent jizzed my pants enough. goddamn life is good right now.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

the last

up top are the last two non-folio assignments. dont take them as the culmination of my design education (thats folio), because these were both done in one frantic night. i had decided early on what would be headed for the folio and what wasnt. still, that didnt mean that i could get out of assignments for my other units (illustration and digital). the folio was so much more stressful, time consuming and expensive but it was easier to work on because i knew that it would have a life outside of monash. i was motivated by the thought that this piece of work would be more reflective of me than any other thing id ever do, so thats why im currently feeling oddly ok about it before i even submit it.

meanwhile, i found myself thinking less and less about the other subjects. their uselessness suddenly became much more apparent and unless you count the possibility of me having to work a lot with after effects or paper-cutting, i cant imagine that these assignments would add a lot to my existing skillset.

i was less interested in digital than anything else, so much so that i didnt even bother to find a copy of after effects to use on the mac. instead i forced myself into a comp lab at uni and forcefully pushed something out (also mostly conjured up the night before submission).

[on a side note, the computer labs at uni really ought to get some proper ventilation. naturally this time of year is the busiest and most fraught with danger and tears. you get students from all the design faculties setting up camp at computers and moving away only for coffee and mercy runs to coles. the comp labs feel like jail cells, there are no windows to open, let alone a functioning a/c. the macs are all getting the shit kicked out of them by sleep-deprived design students and so the whole room heats up into a stinking hot furnace. the left over food scraps and unwashed student bodies also add a delicate aroma to the heat.]

so digital wrapped up on monday. there was a bit of frantic rendering and a last-minute speed to officeworks to get blank dvds. unless i failed the unit, i can lay that thing to rest now.

back to the two projects at the top, they were done on the monday night and submitted tuesday. they were the last two illustration briefs and il need to explain why it is im omitting, of all things, illustration from my folio. for starters, i didnt know about these briefs when i was planning the contents of my folio. by the time these briefs landed on my lap, it was too late in the game to be desperately finding space for them. i found with this semester of illustration that it was a hell of a lot more experimental and context/concept-based. last semester was all about drawing pretty pictures, which was so much easier to deal with. this semester we had the added task of finding uses for our work, which makes sense but then it added so much work to assignments that were roughly the same in terms of mark weighting and overall quantity as the previous semester. that might have been the fault of the tutor in underestimating our workload or ability to multitask properly, but regardless i had even less time to think about it when i was busy attending to more important matters.

brief 5 was a paper cutting project, so i couldnt even rely on drawing... mish and i stayed up all night cutting flowers to throw around some hastily cut out letters. it was a poster for harvest festival (2012, not 2072!) in case you didnt know. in any other situation id be striving for something folio-worthy but at this point i just needed to put something together good enough to pass. still, old habits die hard, and i got a bit worked up over the flower arranging and the overall composition. i wouldnt have made it through without mish. she's such a trooper; there isnt much in it for her but she kindly volunteered her time to help me finish. all the pretty flowers are hers, and all the wonky hastily-cut ones are mine.

brief 6 was even harder to digest. we had to put together a scene of collected/found objects in response to a music documentary. so we're talking collage here... and i cant say im too familiar with that at all. i may have tweaked the brief a little to my liking, but i assumed that i could create my own pieces to collate, and due to the documentary that i was paying homage to, it made more sense to be minimal (read: an excuse to be lazy)

naturally i picked heima. i wanted to show that feeling of drifting/floating and the lack of a strong narrative in both heima and their more ambient-leaning work. i lifted my idea from this genius, but id like to think that i did it because it fitted the brief and because i was seriously limited in the time that i had left. its a single piece of a3 paper, brushed with ink and cut to size.

this is nowhere near what i think i could achieve so dont see it in that light. but for a night's work im pretty amazed that i managed to pull all of this out my ass. (again, not without the help of mish) despite the other shit that's gone down recently, i can at least be positive about the fact that i made it out of uni more or less in one piece and with a nice folio to boot.