Think Attenborough, think Truman, think science lab, peep show, theatre, movie studio. Constructed in the studio space of the Alex Theatre, spectators follow a labyrinthine passageway past enclosed artist spaces where, through peepholes, they can anonymously observe artists engaged in a studio environment. Showcasing highly specialist art forms, chosen St. Kilda Artists will offer a rare and intimate view into their sacred creative space. A painter, performance artist, a letterpress printmaker, sculptor, an installation artist, a photographer, a ceramicist. The darkened labyrinth passageway will be covered but the studios not. The spectacle will be documented using multimedia from every conceivable angle.
GAS(Grid Art Space) is the dynamic collaboration of St Kilda based artist in residence, master printmaker and sculptor Adrian Spurr and media producer / publicist Kerrie Pacholli.
GAS champions artistic achievement that enriches the St Kilda community and welcomes the creative endeavours of film makers, visual artist, performing artists and art enthusiasts across the City of Port Phillip.
Over the last year GAS has successfully produced, curated and promoted several dynamic pop up art galleries showcasing the works of 18 St Kilda artists as part of the St Kilda Art Crawl incentive hosted by the St Kilda Arts Community Inc.
We are now bidding for your voting support for our next collaborative project ART LABYRINTH to be held at the Alex Theatre in St Kilda in January 2019 as part of the Pick My Project, a Victorian first community grants initiative.
Pick My Project is a Victorian-first community grants initiative, with at least $1 million in funding available in each metro and regional area.
Now It’s time to vote! Pick your three favourite project ideas in your local community and help make them a reality.
Back in mid August 2017 I joined the ranks of the community minded, consisting mainly of a small group of residents.
Over a number of years these individuals had watched their beloved St Kilda in parts, become a barren wasteland. Business in pockets throughout St Kilda had taken a nose drive. Large numbers of the artistic community that had once elevated St Kilda as the artistic epicenter of Melbourne had fled to Brunswick.
Inspired by the strategies of local businesses in other withering cities around the world this group set about igniting creative spirit into the city they loved. The non-for-profit charity The St Kilda Art Crawl was born.
I came on board quite late in the piece, by invitation from one of the founders; it was about 4 weeks before the date of the September art crawl. My first impression was this creative movement has legs. I noted the commitment of the organizers and decided to jump on board boots and all as a volunteer.
My job was to assist with online publicity. The second thing I noted was that the galleries, local businesses and established artists although expressing interest in this event were dragging their heals to officially commit. The main difference between this St Kilda art event and other cities around the world were individuals who were not local property or business owners were organizing this. The pressure was on.
I was way out of touch with the St Kilda art scene and only knew of a couple of galleries that had decided not to participate at that time.
Local artist Marko Maglaic was among the first to commit his time, talents and name on the dotted line in curating a collective pop up exhibition in Christ Church in Acland Street.
A chance meeting with local artist Salvatori Lolicato at 95 Acland Street Café lead me to produce a filmed and written interview with another Shakespeare Grove Artists Studios artist Adrian Spurr and then I was in the business of publicizing local artists in reference to the September 2017 St Kilda Art Crawl.
Two weeks to the crawl date we met Freddie Warschauer owner of a big chunk of real estate on the sunset side of Fitzroy Street. We asked him about the potential of using his window spaces for art and straight up he was keen as punch to put his time, resources and properties to work for a successful Fitzroy Street art crawl contribution.
Property owners Jenny Li and Rob Semple also decided to contribute and gave us the keys to 33 Fitzroy Street and we proceeded to produce what eventually turned out to be two pop up gallery’s showcasing the works of 18 artists over two crawls.
The St Kilda Live Music and St Kilda Comedy Club became proactive and the Espy opened their doors for the first time in years to support them and the crawl with local council deciding to give some money to make this happen.
The seeds of enthusiasm and positive creativity took flight among the arts community.
May 2018 saw the second St Kilda Art Crawl come to life with over 32 galleries including five pop ups stretching from Fitzroy Street, Barkly Street, St Kilda Road and Carlisle Street. With a 60% increase in community participation the event is considered a success by the organizers.
I asked Serge Thomann Photographer and Deputy Mayor of the CoPP between 2012 – 2016 his perspective about art in St Kilda.
How do you feel power, politics and money can assist the St Kilda Arts Community?
It is not known by many that Local Government is the government body that spend the most money on culture and art, from running libraries (Port Phillip has got 5), providing spaces (Gasworks, Linden, Multicultural Arts Victoria, Save the ABC, Carlisle Streets The Gallery, Shakespeare Grove Artists Studios, etc) to supporting local organisations (Red Stitch, Theatreworks, Rawcus, Phillip Adams Ballet Lab, MAV, Brightspace, The Torch, just to name a few) and individuals through various grants. There are also staff members who help artists and companies and mentor them. Obviously, the funds provided by a Council can make a big difference in the cultural landscape of a city. St Kilda has been an art hub for decades and we need to keep some of the creative juices flowing through our village. I believe artists are much better in running art programs – but they need to be funded, e.g. the importance of a Council. After due diligence, of course.
How do you feel the St Kilda Arts Community can further give voice and make room for artists, art and creative pursuits?
As St Kilda is getting more gentrified, it is always more difficult for artists to find a voice and a space in our village. Artists have always had to fight for survival. And some artists are good, and some not so good. Or should I say popular or not so popular. St Kilda still has got great artists living here – painters (Peter Booth, Andrew Taylor, Lewis Miller, Ann Middleton, Alan Mittleman, Chris Beaumont, just to name a few), film makers and actors, fashion designers, sculptors, photographers, writers, comedians, etc… but most are a bit older and have been in St Kilda for many years. I agree, probably most of the young and up and coming artists live on the other side of the Yarra. There are several artists studios and spaces, but at the end, people should buy more art so more artists can live from their work. The St Kilda Arts Community does provide exposure for artists, creates a buzz around them. Being an artist can be a lonely world but SKAC brings them together and creates a family. This can only be encouraged. I am right behind it. Money can help, but it is not the only valuable ingredient for growth and prosperity.
With 23 empty shops along Fitzroy Street St Kilda waiting to be rented, there has been much debate in state and local government, as well as among property developers and on the streets, as to why Fitzroy Street; from Grey Street down to the beach has become a tumble-weed zone.
Mobile artist Tommy Langra working at his draughtsman buggy
Inspired by the May St Kilda Art Crawl and with assistance from owners of 33 Fitzroy Street, Jenny Li and husband Rob Semple, GRID ART SPACE (GAS) organized a group of local artists to join forces. The result is an outstanding high-end pop-up art gallery in the middle of this neglected zone, to show what can be done with talent and teamwork.
This is the second time GRID ART SPACE in association with St Kilda Art Crawl hosted a pop-up art gallery in that space. GAS is a collaboration between Shakespeare Grove artist Adrian Spurr and producer / publicist Kerrie Pacholli with the aim to fill empty spaces with art and culture to bring about growth.
With encouraging sales on both occasions, the organizers received much praise from delighted visitors with encouragement to keep it open. But this of course can only happen with the community support of both local and state government.
With the debate still open most would agree that this collaborative artistic and cultural inclusion added much needed prestige to an otherwise depressed local economy.
During this St Kilda Art Crawl May 25, 26 & 27starting from 10am GAS will be working in collaboration to showcase the works of sculptures, painters, photographers, filmmakers and local businesses in Fitzroy Street. Artists include:
The Alex Theatre – Level 1/ 135 Ftzroy Stree, St Kilda an exhibition by Sculptor Adrian Spurr and Stonemason Calthestoner
At Punchinello Pop-Up – 33 Fitzroy Street St Kilda – Master printmaker & sculptor Adrian Spurr, Stonemason Calthestoner, Salvatori Lolicato with ceramics. Photographer Michael Kluge, painter & poet Tommy Langra and painter & curator Marko Maglaic.
The Linden Tree – 11 Fitzroy Street, St Kilda – exhibits by Emily Humphries and Calthestoner
St Luja – 9 Fitzroy Street, St Kilda a pop-up poetry event featuring Marian Webb, Hamish Danks Brown, Yoram Symons & singer Lisa Wood
HQ Gallery and Bar – 7 Fitzroy Street, St Kilda – A collective Aboriginal exhibition featuring Pop Indigineous artist Dino Damiani
Presented by GAS (Grid Art Space) courtesy of Vass Productions & Alex Theatre:
24 February – 18 March 2018
To coincide with the Australian premier of the Robert Askins stage production of Hand to God by Vass Productions, sculptor / master printmaker Adrian Spurr is exhibiting his extraordinary sculptures currently on display in the piano lounge / art space of the Alex Theatre in Fitzroy Street, St Kilda.
Originally from the UK Adrian has lived in Australia for over 20 years and is a local artist in residence at Shakespeare Grove Artists Studios which is part of Veg Out in St Kilda.
During the September 2017 St Kilda Art Crawl Adrian was invited to curate and exhibit his work along with 10 other artists at 33 Fitzroy Street St Kilda known as Punchinello Pop Up. The exhibition was so well received by locals and visitors, it remain open for a further two weeks on invitation by shop owner Jenni Li.
Adrian is committed to exhibiting his work and the work of other local artists to continue to enrich the St Kilda spirit and in turn landscape.
‘Art and its glorious influence is not fully realised until it is taken out of the studio and displayed for public viewing’. Adrian Spurr
By Adrian Spurr Sculptor / Master Printmaker Carved red flowering eucalypt with pyro graph markings.
80 X 45 cms 2018 $6,500
The title of this artwork is taken from Shakespeare’s play Macbeth.
The third prediction Macbeth is given by the witches is that he should not fear until Great Birnam Wood should move to high Dunsinane.
Of course, Macbeth cannot imagine that a wood might advance upon his fortress, but it does when Malcolm, the rightful heir to the throne, orders his soldiers to cut down the trees of Birnam Wood and move them as camouflage toward Dunsinane Hill.
Macbeth rightly starts to fear for his life…
The sculpture is of a man in Malcolm’s force, standing amidst the trees on a bright morning with the shadows of branches and leaves upon his face. The man is contemplating the endeavor he is about to undertake, the defeat of a tyrant.
Ecce homo! Behold the man!
By Adrian Spurr Sculptor / Master Printmaker Rosewood & anatomical foot 50 x 35 x 35 cms 2016 $4,500
A found life sized anatomical model skeleton of the human foot.
Daniel Defoe’s fictional protagonist Robinsen Crusoe (1719) comes across a footprint in the sand and knows he is not longer alone.
The most memborable photographs of the first Moon landing are of the astronauts footprint, Mary Leakey’s discovery of the 3.7 million year old Laetoli footprints in Tanzania or our contemporary concern regarding our ecological footprint. The references are multitudinous.
This particular skeleton of a foot is encased in a sealed nugget, a pod or a capsule with a glass front that emphasizes the act of observing, of visually recognising, perhaps even assessing. The beautiful colour and grain of the reclaimed Rosewood (which itself comes from ever increasingly endangered rainforest) felled in 1994, softens the hard edged geometry of their machined wooden shapes.
Head of a (Blind) Prophet’
By Adrian Spurr Sculptor / Master Printmaker Adrian Spurr
Carved limestone and stucco 60 x 30 x 30 cms 2015 $4,500
The work itself pays tribute to the face in Medieval sculpture of the twelfth and thirteenth centuries, work made by sculptors for the great Gothic cathedrals of France and Germany.
Many of the sculptures were smashed during bouts of iconoclasm and their heads now reside in museums across the world having been disinterred by archaeologists in latter years.
This work, Head of a (Blind) Prophet is set in an old wooden draw that I found in a dilapidated chicken shed in the Wimmera. The draw was a nesting box but formerly came from a Spice cabinet. The intention of the drawer is to reference the museum exhibit / item status of so many of these heads.
This head of a prophet though, also wears ear protectors, a necessary item of safety equipment for sculptors but metaphorically for this prophet, a defense against all the noise that litters our modern world.
‘Patrizia’ By Adrian Spurr Sculptor / Master Printmaker
Found antique chair and macracarpa wood. 2017 $4,500
This sculpture is a portrait of an elderly lady, a mother or grandmother.
The chair is representative of the woman and sitting in her lap is the sum total of a life’s experience.
Memories, sensations, echoes, reminiscences; the souvenirs of a long life that by necessity are ordered, collated and fixed.
But when the time eventually comes all this body of experience will separate and disperse back into the universe from where it was derived.
For expressions of interest: Kerrie Pacholli 0423 308 005 or firstname.lastname@example.org