Everything is cuter in smaller proportions, such as this adorable mini-map of Brisbane city. Adding to the infinite list of all things little and lovely, Dalton Ghetti creates petite works of art atop well-worn pencils. A carpenter and house remodler by trade, Ghetti began his unique approach to “sharpening” pencils as a means of meditation. Using preloved pencils found on sidewalks and armed with a sewing needle and a great deal of patience, Ghetti’s aim is to bring people’s attention to the little things in life that create tiny moments of pure happiness.
Signs are created with the proviso of making us stop and think, usually within a matter of seconds. The re-salvaged signage from text-based artist Alan James, however, encourages the viewer to give way to deeper meaning. The Brisbane artist’s Signs of Life collection merges words from daily journeys to create new inspirational messages and life tips. Rather than directing traffic flow, these reclaimed signs have found a new purpose, twisting mundane phrases into expressions of optimism. Alan’s best known piece “Stop! In the Name of Love” is hanging in homes and businesses in more than 50 cities around the globe.
Do you ever wonder what hijinks your cat gets up to while you are away? Part spy, part intrepid explorer, part yarn chaser, one humble pet dared to dream and answer that very question. Armed with a micro camera set on a two-minute timer, Seattle-based Cooper captures the world from a cat’s-eye perspective. With his owners being filmmakers themselves, the six-year-old feline continues the family’s creative streak. Art exhibitions, television appearances and book deals keep Cooper pretty busy but, as a true artist, he continues his photographic quests around the neighbourhood, producing new and exciting work every week.
Water is one of the most intriguing and frightening aspects of the natural world. Sometimes serene, it invites you to enjoy, relax and admire. Other times, it can create chaos and swallow entire townships in a matter of moments. The introduction of a man-made lake into the Italian villages of Graun and Reschen in the 1950s left more than one hundred houses submerged with a 14th century church tower the only indicator a town ever existed. For many reasons, architecture can suddenly find itself in the deep blue, from Romania’s Tricule Fortressto to the imperial Jal Mahal or “water palace” in India. As the world moves constantly forward, it leaves behind beautiful shadows of a past life in tiny villages and bustling metropolises alike.
Is your little nipper the next Leigh Sales, Matt Moran or Asher Keddie? If you know a crafty kid who is a whizz with a whisk or the next Picasso when they have a paintbrush in hand, Brisbane Powerhouse is hosting a number of workshops to bring those hidden talents to the surface or pick up some cool new skills. Let your little ones loose on the graffiti wall, watch them work their way through the Makedo maze and get their flamenco on with Spanish dance lessons. There is even a kid-centric International Film Festival for budding cinematographers, and a circus workshop for those who dream of the trapeze. Powerkidz classes are filling up quick so don’t delay!
For those who slowly shuffle their way through Brisbane’s streets for the annual Zombie Walk, or for fans of the apocalyptic television hit The Walking Dead, your mecca awaits. The Zombie Mall experience answers that age-old question: what would it be like if zombies roamed free and our mission was to survive doomsday? In an appropriately themed abandoned shopping mall on the outskirts of London, you and your fellow survivors will hunt a zombie horde using airsoft weapons, all the while avoiding being eaten and/or infected by the undead. Three hours of non-stop, end of days, good old fashioned zombie hunting. Hurry though, the site is set to be demolished as all good zombie hangouts usually are.
Many of us have a phrase, saying or prose we look to when we need a little pick me up. Whether it be motivation to keep going, a reminder that things will be okay or a happy thought to lift your mood, a simple collection of words strung together can provide you with what you need to persevere through the rough times and relish the smooth sailing. Every day Five Words Tell a Story brings a message to life in, you guessed it, five words. Combining a love of typography (not to be confused with ty-pug-graphy) with inspiring, thoughtful and humorous anecdotes, Five Words may be just what you need to keep your chin up.
The magical tales of Enid Blyton have stirred the imaginations of young readers for generations. Our collective inner child will remember the story of the Magic Faraway Tree in the Enchanted Woods with fondness and whimsy. Like something from a Blyton novel, in the small French farming village of Allouville-Bellefosse, there stands a tree steeped with history, invoking a sense of awe. The so-called oldest tree in France holds a treasure that has been preserved for centuries: two small chapels, the Notre Dame de la Paix (Our Lady of Peace) and the Chambre de l’Ermite (Hermit’s Room). When a bolt of lightning struck the heart of the tree, fire spread and perfectly hollowed out the inside. Villagers claimed it was a miracle and built a place of pilgrimage within. A wooden staircase spirals around the twisted trunk of the Chêne Chapelle (oak tree chapel), inviting visitors to escape to another world hidden in the treetops.
The humble egg, when it is not being scrambled or poached, is thought to symbolise rebirth, fertility and new beginnings in many cultures. Decorating eggs for the Easter period is a tradition that find its roots in the 13th century. Whether they are made of chocolate or are being rolled down a hill at the White House, Easter Eggs have become a historical part of our calendar year. If you are not one to indulge in chocolately goodness or if your artistic side is yearning for a project, why not adorn an egg with swirls, florals and paisleys in the brightest of hues? All you need is a collection of silk ties, patience and unlimited creativity.
Once merely science fiction, the personal computer has become deeply entrenched in the lives of millions. Three years ago, three quarters of Australian households had internet access – up from one sixth just a decade earlier. As the intricate web of computer technology increases its reach, it takes a toll on the environment through chemical production processes and ewaste. Operating under the full life cycle philosophy, Recompute desktops introduce sustainability through the manufacturing, usage and disposal stages. The cardboard layering act as a natural ventilation, cutting down on electricity use for fans and cooling systems. Say hello to eco-friendly computing.
A sacred place can be physical, metaphorical, intimate or public domain. It can be somewhere to escape to when you are seeking clarity, or an open space to join with like-minded kin in celebration. Since the mid 19th Century, Lithuania’s Hill of Crosses has been a sacred site shrouded with prayer, hope, joy and devastation all at the same time. Some 100,000 crosses adorn the site, despite the hill being leveled and demolished three times during the Second World War. From tiny rosary beads to ornately carved crucifixes, symbols of spiritual power are constantly added to the hill by pilgrims from all over the world. On windy days, beautiful music can be heard as the breeze travels through the dense forest of crosses.
Street art is a topic heavily debated. Many question whether or not it is really ‘art’. Others ascertain that any form of self expression is a creative endeavor to be admired and preserved. But suppose that spray paint was replaced with a living, breathing material and the urban landscape was adorned with verdant lushness as a result. London-based artist Anna Garforth is part of an on-going street art project, applying poetic prose and creating a petite ecosystem in the process. Green thumbs worldwide are growing masterpieces through the unique artform of moss graffiti, melding guerrilla gardening and art installation. Watch your art grow before your eyes using this guide.
For some, cleaning up is a monotonous chore. For others, it can be transformed into a medium of self expression. The creative mind of Ursus Wehrli looked at common matter (breakfast, a parking lot, a sandpit) and saw an opportunity to create art out of everyday routine. Besides being an effective use of organisation, The Art of Clean Up looks pretty neat. For those of us who can’t carefully arrange dozens of sunbakers or bring the alphabet to life from our soup bowl, here are 25 clever ideas to make life a little neater.
Calling all local artists: sketchers, painters, photographers, poets, writers, designers, printers or creators of any ilk. Papergirl Brisbane wants YOU to join this cultural initiative and bridge the gap between the wider Brisbane public and the artists who inhabit this fair city. The first step of Papergirl is collecting the works from any creative soul who is willing to give. Secondly, the art is exhibited (currently at White Canvas Gallery). Finally, the pieces are rolled up and distributed en masse by bicycle to random passers-by in Brisbane’s CBD. The idea was first brought to life in Berlin and has since traveled the globe and finally reached the sunshine state. Anybody can participate by submitting art, spreading the good word, assisting the gallery, or helping with bicycle distribution. Perhaps if you are wandering around the city today you will be surprised by the art of giving.
A mirror does not always reflect truth. In the eye of the viewer, it can show what they wish to see: who they aspire to be or perhaps who they once were. American photographer Tom Hussey created a set of advertising posters dedicated to a drug designed to treat Alzheimer’s dementia. The series labelled “reflections” offers a glimpse into the world of those suffering memory problems and the daily challenges they face. Through a highly emotive display, the images reveal how Alzheimer’s patients can be trapped by their youth. Another photographer taking a glimpse into the past is Irina Werning with her collection “back to the future“. Irina is a self-confessed old photo fanatic and has taken it upon herself to dig through the archives of family favourites and perfectly recreate the images, sometimes up to 50 years later.
Since Al Gore stepped forward and presented us an inconvenient truth about the future of our planet, ‘going green’ is on the increase and change is on the horizon. The documentary was an entry in the 2006 Sundance Film Festival and has since encouraged heated discussion and spurred a call to action for greener living. Following in the footsteps of film-based awareness, an Australian co-op is calling for creatives to push their boundaries and give carbon the flick. Green Screen is seeking film submissions of up to 5 minutes that communicate a positive message about a clean energy future through any genre or style. This joint effort by the Climate Scientists of Macquarie University, The University of Melbourne and Monash Sustainability Institute, aims to promote positive change in the great climate debate. The deadline for submissions is Friday 10 February 2012 so get those cameras rolling.
Sometimes, words alone are not enough to express what we feel. Some turn to music to reveal their emotions, others divulge their inner thoughts through painting, poetry or dance. Still, some choose to say it in llama. When Helvetica feels bourgeoisie or Arial Bold is just too in your face, say it in llama. Send a love letter, write your shopping list or present your thesis with the help of these woolly mammals. Llama font is the creative work of Avery Oldfield and Jack Inscoe. In their mind, everything is better with llamas. How can you argue with that?
Christmas may be done and dusted for another year, but gift giving is a constant that remains throughout the seasons. Birthdays, Mother’s Day, Easter, the Queen’s Birthday, Friday… the occasions are limitless when it comes to gifting. Newcomers to the wrapping paper game, Gift Couture, have created a deliciously themed paper set. Complete with bun, pattie, cheese, lettuce and tomatoes, Gift Couture’s Cheeseburger Wrapping is so amazing it doesn’t really matter what’s inside the box! In another food-meets-wrapping twist, the crafty folk at Creature Comforts offer step by step advice on creating beautifully stamped paper using celery. Yes, celery! To top it off, home and lifestyle queen Martha Stewart offers a concise 45 point list on wrapping ideas. You know, just in case hamburger or celery inspired papers aren’t creative enough.
At the same time each year, many are faced with the daunting task of buying for the friend who has everything. The answer is simple: give them a goat. The hoofed beast is a quirky present for someone special and an amazing gift to a family in poverty. Goats, with their magnificent eating abilities, can provide nutritious milk, clean up scraps or be bartered for pay for a child’s education. A goat not really ‘your thing’? How about guitar lessons for children in Vanuatu, a well in Sri Lanka or toys for orphans in Africa? Sometimes we forget just how lucky we are. So this year when you are making your list and checking it twice, give the gift that gives a little something more.
The miniature fantasy world created by Perth-based artists Pip & Pop is everything you ever imagined as a child plus more. Think the land of the Ning Nang Nong meets Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory. A place where the tooth fairy might wind down after a hard night’s work. Using sand, sugar and cake-decorating tools, artists Nicole Andrijevic and Tanya Schultz play on mythology, cosmology and nostalgia. As part of the Brisbane Gallery of Modern Art’s fifth anniversary celebrations, We Miss You Magic Land! is an excursion into a world of colour for the young and young at heart. Relax on the grassy knoll and gaze upon the giant sugary clouds, wander past the glitter lagoon and peer through portals into a tiny universe of creativity. The installation will be at the GoMA until March 2012, but you can always take a virtual tour.