Adrian Spurr – Artist in Residence

by Kerrie Pacholli ©

Kangaroo by Adrian Spurr 11 image by Kerrie Pacholli ©
Kangaroo by Adrian Spurr 11 image by Kerrie Pacholli ©

Whilst working publicity for the inaugural St Kilda Art Crawl last September I  was on the hunt for a well rounded, highly gifted artist and communicator who could present as a key speaker for the local art community.

I hit pay dirt with local Shakespeare Grove artist in residence Adrian Spurr.

As fortune allowed we galvanised with the spark of genius.  We managed to produce some serious creative waves on the ground for the Crawl in piecing together a pop up gallery at 33 Fitzroy Street St Kilda (Punchinello Pop-Up)  which Adrian curated. This space showcased the collective works of eight artists and attracted a colourful and dynamic patron in local entrepreneur and property owner/ developer Freddie Warschauer.

In due course we caught the eye of the newly commissioned SKN editor Mantis Kane who requested an interview; and who is  keen to spread the word of St Kilda Art and Culture.

I asked Adrian these question…

The head of Zeus, standing almost a metre high, king of the gods of Mount Olympus by sculptor Adrian Spurr image by Kerrie Pacholli ©
The head of Zeus,, king of the gods of Mount Olympus, standing almost a metre high in sandstone, by sculptor Adrian Spurr. Purchased by Freddie Warschauer opening night of ‘me human’ exhibition at The Gallery – St Kilda Town Hall image by Kerrie Pacholli ©

What pictures of artworks other than your own do you  currently have in your studio?

I have several pictures of limestone heads that originally adorned great Gothic Cathedrals of Northern Europe. Vandals and iconoclasts knocked them off and defaced them back in the day. To me they are beautiful and alive, not with the humanism of the renaissance but the deep mysticism of the medieval.

What was the first piece of Art that really mattered to you?

My dad was a geologist who travelled the world and often brought home things like masks and indigenous artworks. They were curious to me. But my personal awakening was a Cubism exhibition I saw at the Tate in London. I then understood how art can change the world and could change me.

If you were not a visual artist what would you be?

I’d be a poet. I still occasionally get up and recite at poetry slams.

Where is your studio?

I work in the Shakespeare Grove Artist studios in Chaucer Street. I’ve got to say it’s the best studio I’ve ever had. My studio is right on the corner of the Peanut Farm with a beserk yellow smiley face painted on the roller door. I open the studio on the first Saturday of every month to coincide with the St. Kilda Farmer’s Market. Everyone’s welcome to drop in and see what I’m making.

What projects are you currently working on?

Lots. I’ve just finished a really successful show at The Gallery, St Kilda Town Hall.

In the studio I’ve commenced some large reductive wood sculptures. But the big project I’ve been working on for a couple of years with Phil Doggett Williams and the Fundere Foundry is establishing a not for profit, open access printmaking studio in Sunshine (SPA) . It will cover all print media, screen printing on paper and fabric, relief and intaglio printing and lithography.

Check out the website! sunshine print We expect it to be a significant contributor to the Melbourne Art community. 

SPA (Sunshine Print Artspace) at Fundere Foundary image Kerrie Pacholli ©

What is it about St. Kilda that you like?

When I lived in Sydney and for all the years I lived in Europe whenever I met someone from Melbourne they always came from St. Kilda! When I came to live in Melbourne I started living here too and haven’t left. It’s as good as or better than anywhere in the world. It’s got a very cool, artsy vibe.

What music are you currently listening to?

Lonesome Whistle, a tribute album for Maurice Frawley which includes covers by so many bands I’ve seen here in St Kilda. And Arvo Part because I’m going to see a concert of his music later this month.

What are you reading?

Nowadays I only read books with pictures in them unless they’re reference or poetry. In my studio I have ‘Light on Stone’ a photographic essay. On the go at home ‘Rapture’; poems by Carol Ann Duffy and Jung’s Psychology of the Transference, because I’m a sucker for the collective unconscious.

Bell’uomo by Adrian Spurr image by Kerrie Pacholli ©

What is Art for?

It enables me to make sense of the world that I inhabit but Julian Burnside said to me once that ‘society is made up of two things, the rule of law and a deep respect for Art and Culture.’ That sounds pretty good to me!

What is your vision for regenerating St. Kilda as an Art and Cultural centre in Melbourne?

Well that has to be a three way venture. The City of Port Phillip, local business and Artists. As a venue St Kilda can’t be beat! It’s got the best location and it’s got a deep well of arts vibe. The St. Kilda Art Crawl is a good start in this regard and offers an opportunity for amateurs and professionals to get involved. But look how Stonnington has developed the Toorak sculpture prize into such a popular and high profile event. I won the Toorak prize in 2012 and haven’t looked back.

Helena, daughter of Zeus, standing about one metre high in limestone by Adrian Spurr, image by Kerrie Pacholli ©



David Campbell starring as Bobby Darin in Dream Lover image by Kerrie Pacholli ©

Dream Lover has hit Melbourne like a dazzling and magnificent tsunami of entertainment.

From subject matter in the late, great Bobby Darin through to the original concept and stage play by John Michael Howson and co-writer Frank Howson, adapted for the stage by Frank Howson, Simon Phillips and Caroline Burns through to all the outstanding production team and performances.

The dynamics and genius that fuel this years stage extravaganza in Dream Lover will continue to reverberate.

Hannah Fredericksen starring at Sandra Dee in Dream Lover image by Kerrie Pacholli ©

I was fortunate enough to be at the second dress rehearsal before opening night.

From beginning to end my body pulsated with toe tapping glee to Bobby Darin’s iconic and  heart warming songs from the fifties and sixties, arranged and conducted by legendary musical supervisor Guy Simpson and performed so beautifully by his amazing orchestra.


Amon Prete as the young Bobby Darin and Marina Prior as Polly image by Kerrie Pacholli ©

The synchronicity between the flawless performances by the actors, the music, the sound design by Michael Waters, the oh so effective and atmospheric lighting design by Paul Jackson, the razor sharp costume design by Tim Chappel and choreography by Andrew Hallsworth; all showcased within one of the most versatile and  sophisticated set designs by Brian Thompson.

The collective genius played me like a Stradivarius emotionally.  I was transported back to my early childhood where Hollywood’s magic and romance reigned.

Needless to say, I really enjoyed the show and would like to thank producers John and Barbara Gilbert from Gilbert Theatrical, the legendary John Frost of GFO and last but not least Director Simon Phillips along with the cast and crew, all of whom received a deserving standing ovation.

By Kerrie Pacholli

Dream Lover’ is on until 1 March 2018 at Arts Centre Melbourne.