What a difference a week makes and what a week its been. South Australia decided to share its top soil with the whole of the eastern seaboard of Australia and New Zealand too. I got lucky with two of my dust storm shots being published in a magazine in the States called Strange Light, and last night I stepped out to the launch of Spoke + Spool, a new range of retro inspired lycra-less cycling clothes (In the shots below these "Street Fashion" portraits taken at the opening) at Frasers Studio in Chippendale Sydney.
As I mentioned last week, if you are going to launch a commercial product in an art gallery space it is probably a good idea to get some artists involved too by way of collaboration. Now this is exactly what happened at the Spoke + Spool launch under the banner of “Where To From Here?” Though to be honest I am not sure if Spoke + Spool is really a commercial product or an Art Project designed to look like a commercial product, however the clothes do look really nice. But I digress.
As someone who gets from point A to point B by bike (and who's current fav blog is Bike Snob NYC) I was very excited at the prospect of attending an event that fused Fashion with Bikes & Installation Art & Performance not to mention Free Beer! And speaking of free beer, as I also said last week, usually the “promotion” is for the beer and so it was this week with a beer I had never heard of before called RAW beer.
In fact every photographer that I spoke to that evening (and there were quite a few) could not help but make the connection between RAW files and RAW beer & what with the beers being kept cold and served from a filing cabinet... No doubt with a few RAW beers under the belt “Batch” processing may never be the same again!
But as I was saying my current fav blog is BSNYC which has helped me make sense of a whole raft of "things" I have been noticing around the city of late such as people walking their shiny track bikes or “Fixies” around Newtown & Darlinghurst/Surry Hills. I for one would never ride a fixed wheel bike around Newtown or in traffic in general (it was bad enough doing it for one off-season on the Camperdown Velodrome RIP) so I think these dudes walking their bikes are quite smart really. And so it seems are Spoke + Spool who are creating stylish clothes for cycling from vintage clothing and fabrics with tricky reversible bits and fashion details in reflector strips; so you don't get run-down heading home at night when you realise your flashers are tucked away in your other bag.
From Spoke + Spool, “The aim is to use as little factory-new products as humanly possible, which results in one off low-tech pieces forming a collection of unique concoctions that are unusual in style, as well as comfortable, practical and durable.”
But back to Free Beer and art openings, one of the barometers of success I use for judging if an Opening has really "gone-off" or "not" is how long the free beer lasts. As I reported last week, at the Sneaker Freaker headphone launch the Becks never ran out. Oh happy days (or happy nights) I hear you say. No, that is not quite right although it does allow one to “enjoy beer responsibly” for-free for-longer. Sadly if the free beer does not run out, the launch/opening/promotion has not been a success! So I am pleased to say that even though RAW beer appears to be a new form of that Aussie sure-fire hangover-rendering “Classic” beer VB, in the fullness of time the RAW beer finally did run out; and after an enjoyable and informative night out so then did we.
Last night my posse & I headed out for a night of art, free beers, street fashion and cultural enlightenment. Yes it was Friday night in Sydney and China Heights Gallery was launching “Old Friends New Minds” a new solo show by Mark Alsweiler. This is a very quirky show & I was able to knock off a quick “Artists and Openings” portrait of Mark himself with one of his large cut out works. Mark was pretty easy to spot as the artist too since as you can see from the portrait he was wearing a curiously similar hat as his painted subject (right behind him) is depicted wearing.
As regular readers of this blog would know I use art openings not only to keep up-to-date with new creative work, I also like going to art openings to see what people are wearing. Recently I have been noticing the return of the extreme tight jean, well extremely tight jean leg anyway; it seems the crotch may still ride low 90s style if you like them like that. For those of you who may not be aware I am a tragically old man and I must say its nice to see the tight legged jean back in style. Back in the early 80s I became something of a dab hand at tapering the legs of my jeans on my mothers trusty Husqvana sewing machine and, short of actually asking someone I suspect these “New” tapered leg jeans are available off-the-shelf and probably in stretch denim which was yet to be invented back in my day... No doubt stretch denim makes the logistically difficult task of getting the jeans on and off a much more simple affair.
Whilst checking out Marks charming art and art patrons jeans and shoes at China Heights we “discovered” Sneaker Freaker was having a “Cool” new product launch at another favorite gallery of ours, Palmer Projects just a little way down the hill.
Its an interesting proposition launching a product at a hip indi gallery space. Usually the art is real art and the “promotion” is just the beer. Sadly this was not the case down the hill at Palmer Projects although the good people at Becks seem to have provided quite a few cases of beer to help make the night a big success...
On our arrival at the Sneaker Freaker launch we were confronted with just four large “Portraits” of “Cool” people wearing ear-bud headphones & some clear display cases with, yes you guessed it, ear-bud headphones inside.
Now apart from the fact that I am a bit miffed that no-one asked me to shoot the portraits for a very reasonable advertising day rate; there is some pretty serious competition in the people-wearing-ear-bud-headphone world of advertising and photography. Also am not sure that presenting audio equipment “Under Glass” like it was precious artwork or some kind of jewelry is a particularly enlightened idea. Lets face it, even if like me you might just be turning up for a few free drinks and a bit of social intercourse; even the type of "Style Influencer" that this sort of launch is meant to impress is hardly going to be "influenced" by a few pack shots on the wall, no art and no Artist!
So I got to thinking about art and sound & I thought that if I wanted to have a cool launch of some headphones at an art gallery, it just might be a good idea to get some sound artists involved with the project instead of a photographer! Now as cool as sound artist Rik Rue (photographed here at SNO Gallery in Marrickville) certainly is, I suspect he is quite likely outside of Sneaker Freakers target demographic.
Still, there are plenty of sound artists around and a real art collaboration would have brought a level of true credibility to an audio products launch in an art gallery. And if we could have “sampled” the product (not just the Becks) we might have gotten a much better idea of just how “Cool” these new headphone are...
By way of lending a helping hand I decided that I myself would “collaborate” with the Sneaker Freaker installation and “re-curate” one of the jewel cases which I have duly documented here. And funnily enough, people just love collaborating with "art"; within minutes of my “indi-collab” the Ear-Bud-Jewel-Boxes were literally bristling with empty Becks bottles!