You say goodbye…and I say hello! (Quick stopover in Perth!)

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I managed to flit in and out of Perth last weekend whilst en route from Broome to a paediatric course in Shepparton (in rural Victoria – yes, it was indeed exceedingly painful touching down in Melbourne but not being allowed to go shopping! All mah girls say – awww…). But that’s okay! I had just 24 little hours at home but managed to fit in my sister-in-law’s birthday lunch in picturesque East Perth, a visit plus some retail therapy in my beloved CBD, and dinner with my family where my mum cooked all my favourite dishes and I ate enough to satisfy my Asian-food-quota for at least the next three months.

I’d seen some pictures of Gorman’s latest collection (she has been killing it of late!) and made her store in Enex100 my first port of call. Well, I do admit to making a couple of detours – to snap up some heavily reduced pieces of Karen Walker and have a chit-chat and a short sunglasses swap session with one of the lovely Myer girls (she had this pair, amaze!) and, as always, to run my fingers longingly through the exquisite French lace pieces by Lover in David Jones. But I did eventually make it to my final destination and with only moderate damage to the wallet sustained.

Other places on my hitlist were Miss Brown’s pop-up shop also in enex100 and who could resist a quick visit to Pigeonhole’s wildly successful (and hugely expanded!) store at one40william. Jinn was unusually in a very “yes” mood (he’s usually the voice of reason when I lapse into retail delirium), perhaps it was because he hadn’t seen me in two weeks or because he could rest assured that I’d be at least 2500 kilometres away from the nearest Gorman until April. Maybe both! But let’s just say – a highly successful day was had.

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***What I’m wearing – top by Arabella Ramsay (so totally not the same but, in the spirit of detours, how badly do I want this?), shorts by Sretsis (here’s a cute top with a similar vibe), pink leather shoes by The Horse (love these), Super Duper Strength sunglasses by Karen Walker (in black), paper aeroplane necklace by The Bunny (still transportation-themed), vintage tooled leather bag from Bluebird Vintage (get a custom-made one!)

***What he’s wearing – Jimi Hendrix t-shirt by H&M (similar), sunglasses by Cheap Monday, green backpack by Herschel (similar)

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I’ve been everywhere, man!

plane-8My apologies for being so sporadic with the posts of late! But let me explain why…In the last three weeks I’ve gone from Perth to Broome to Fitzroy Crossing to Noonkanbah (*big breath*) back to Fitzroy Crossing to Broome to Perth to Melbourne to Shepparton and all the way back to now be sitting in my little apartment in Broome to bring you this post! And guess what? I’m off to Kununnura on Sunday. So now you know what a gypsy/itinerant life I’m leading and why sadly our beloved blog has been somewhat neglected.

But on the upside, I have had some amazing experiences, some that I may never have had the chance to do and maybe never even have actively sought out being a professed city girl. Whilst in Fitzroy Crossing, we had to fly out to see the kids at a tiny Aboriginal community called Noonkanbah in a tiny one-engine six-seater plane – it was the best fun EVER! Most of the other members of this little expedition had been on many a mini-plane flight before and sat there grumbling about the heat (it’s not air-conditioned!) or quietly nursing their motion-sick heads. As for me – I was grinning like an idiot! I think I even involuntarily let out a little “Whee!” when we hit some turbulence! I bagsed shotgun on the ride back and unashamedly filmed the landing – what a loser! Although I think the pilot was secretly chuffed…

So far, I’ve survived doing solo paediatric clinics essentially out in the middle of nowhere, and met the most beautiful children and the friendliest of hospital staff, all amongst the most gorgeous of landscapes (picture flowing rivers lined by hauntingly white gum trees, ochre red dirt dotted with pot-bellied boabs). If this is any reflection of the rest of my time here, I have a really good feeling about this place. 🙂plane-4 plane-2plane-7 plane-6 plane-5plane-1 plane-9

Kyle Hughes-Odgers interview + exhibition review

gallery-5Last Friday Jinn attended the opening of Kyle Hughes-Odgers’ exhibition “A Thousand Lights From A Hundred Skies” (so jealous!). He got the chance to have a chat with the talented artist himself about his work and inspiration behind it. I wish with all my heart I could have been there too! See what he wrote about the evening below. 

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“I love your stuff man.”

He turns a bearded grin in my direction.

“Thanks.”

Kyle Hughes-Odgers seems like a really nice bloke. When I tell him that Sarah and I were really huge fans of his work, he almost seems surprised. Shocked even. Never mind the hundred or so people milling around inside Turner Galleries just to see his latest exhibition. He still seems genuinely appreciative of the praise. Some people are just nice people it seems. And super artistically talented too!

“So Sarah’s up in Broome?” Clearly he reads the blog!

“Yep,” I tell him. “I’m here by myself for six months. Have to work, you know.”

He laughs. “So you’re manning the fort by yourself,” he says. I nod.

Kyle is such an accessible person and his art is so accessible too. But it doesn’t baby you. It doesn’t give you obvious answers. He draws you in with gorgeous geometric shapes, interesting patterns, colours and symmetry — but beyond that, he makes you look, he makes you think. The figures he depicts are almost child-like in their simplicity — yet at a certain level, the art holds something back, encouraging you to forage deeper for meaning.

“I think art needs to be more than just aesthetically pleasing, otherwise it just becomes design,” Kyle explains.

“It needs to be open to interpretation. I make each piece or body of work around a specific set of concepts or ideas that make sense to me but I wouldn’t want the work/concepts to be so obvious or based purely on aesthetics that the viewer can’t see or understand an idea that links to their own personal experience. I don’t think a painting works if you know exactly what the artist is trying to say at first glance.

“There needs to be multiple layers to keep me interested.”

Earlier I had spoken to gallery director Helen Turner about her view of Kyle’s current works. She talks with passion and enthusiasm. She is obviously a big fan!

“A lot of these paintings depict the struggle between the natural and industrial world,” she says.

“We see those figures struggling to find balance between the man-made and natural world, and we identify with them. I think we all yearn for a more natural life, but just like the figures depicted, we don’t always get there.”

Kyle goes on to explain further: “I’m just highlighting something that bothers me about the modern world. Human advancement at all costs even if it means we are destroying our natural environment. As long as we have our fill in our lifetime. It’s a horrible attitude to being alive.”

And what of the figures themselves? Some of them seem particularly sad. Are any of them based on himself, for example? (Some of them do have a passing resemblance to the man! Especially with that beard!)

Kyle laughs. “None of the figures are identifiably me, but… I think subconsciously, artists do tend to portray themselves in their work,” he says.

“The figures are something that has developed over time. I try to show moments of hope or optimism amidst the weight of their surroundings or situation.

“My recent work has been focusing on ideas of ingenuity and practical creativity within a narrative. Paintings about knowing what you need to do to change a situation but not having the skill set or mechanisms to do so. So there is a melancholy to the work.”

We talk for a bit longer, about his experiences overseas (he loved Cambodia and New York); painting up in Port Hedland (he loved painting the big abandoned bus in the middle of the desert); his plans for the future (to be based in Perth, but travel some more), his opinion of the arts scene in Perth (its growing, expanding, improving!).

After talking for several minutes, Kyle attention is taken — another gallery devotee has grasped his hand with a firm handshake. He looks like a friend of his.

I take the opportunity to give my thanks and say my goodbyes. I would have liked to have talked more but it seems Mr Hughes-Odgers is in big demand this evening!gallery-1gallery-2gallery-9gallery-6gallery-12gallery-4gallery-11gallery-14gallery-8gallery-16

“A Thousand Lights From a Hundred Skies”
Feb 8 – March 9 2013
Turner Galleries
470 Williams St Northbridge

Kyle Hughes-Odgers / Turner Galleries

We’re famous! (…kind of)

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We recently had the chance to do an interview about this blog for Rushfaster. They’re a great online store that sells a huge variety of bags, especially wallets, backpacks, messengers and laptop bags. Jinn says they also have an excellent range of Herschel bags (some at incredible prices!).

They are currently spotlighting various blogs around the country and we were lucky enough to be chosen!

You can check out the interview here.

Happy Chinese New Year!

1broome6For me, I’ve decided that this year is going to be the year of the Hermit Crab. Yes, not one of the traditional twelve animals of the Chinese zodiac but that kind of sums up how this year is looking for me – less than “traditional”. My usual Chinese New Year festivities kick off with much greeting of everyone with loud and enthusiastic cries of “Gong hee fat chaiiiiii”, followed by eating superhuman amounts of steamboat, lo han tsai (one of my fave vegetarian dishes – ever!) and yee sang, then giving out ang pao (red packets) to all the little kids!

This year, a Broome local took me and a bunch of others fishing. Now, for those of you who don’t know me well, this really is quite a dramatic and momentous occasion as fishing and me don’t generally ever get mentioned in the same sentence. I’m admittedly a city-girl and the last memory I have of going fishing was around the age of five when my dad took us fishing off a dark smelly jetty in Mandurah. I managed to get a fish hook stuck in my knee, and the whole experience was so traumatic that I’d never been fishing since!…But! Just as a hermit crab has to expose its soft and vulnerable bum to find itself a bigger and better home, I’ve resolved to say yes to anyone and anything, throw myself out there to make new friends, and firmly ignore that safe, comfortable, boring and shy girl that sometimes takes hold of me in these situations.

So off we went! After some nifty four-wheel driving over the gorgeous but bumpy red dirt roads, we finally arrived at our fishing spot for the day. The spectacular view just about took my breath away – I can barely describe it and the photos don’t do it justice. The place is so untouched and just teeming with life. Hermit crabs of all sizes scuttle around your feet (some tinier than a pea!), silvery fish flit blithely through the clear aqua waters, and turtles surf the gentle waves, occasionally poking their heads above the surface. The water itself was so deliciously warm that all fear of jellyfish and other such scary things was forgotten as we took refuge from the heat of the relentless sun. No fish were caught, but I couldn’t have cared less!

The day was suitably capped off with an evening by Cable Beach enjoying the sunset, drinks in one hand and fish and chips in the other. Gong hee fat chai indeed!

They say you should spend Chinese New Year doing the things you really like because it predicts what you’ll be doing for the rest of the year. Let’s hope this old saying holds true for me – because that means my year is going to be a cracker!

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A Thousand Lights From A Hundred Skies

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On the last weekend before leaving for Broome, I had the chance to have a sneaky-peek preview of Kyle Hughes-Odgers’ upcoming solo exhibition “A Thousand Lights From A Hundred Skies”. Jinn and I have been closely following Kyle’s work for a number of years – chances you have been too, perhaps without even knowing it! Kyle’s work can be found almost everywhere in Perth, from street murals in Northbridge, Subiaco and Claremont, to a shop wall in Pigeonhole, to a mural at Murdoch University. He has also travelled around the world, painting in such places as New York, Berlin and Cambodia. His stuff is unmistakeably awesome and incredibly distinctive, quirky yet somehow manages to grab your attention, hold it, then twist your heart strings in an inexplicable way – that’s some talent.

Kyle’s last exhibition in Perth was held two years ago. We were a bit lackadaisical about attending and missed the opening night, and by the time we eventually got there we were devastated to find that all the works had been sold! We vowed from then on and henceforth that we would not be such lazy butts when his next collection came around. Jinn had been following the progress and preparation for this upcoming exhibition closely on Twitter and Instagram and we were determined not to miss out this time. I was heartbroken when the opening date was announced – I was going to be in Broome. But unbeknownst to me, Jinn got in contact with the lovely people from Turner Galleries to say that we were interested in purchasing a work, and we were granted an early preview of the works which were actually already hanging in the gallery, ready for exhibiting!

It was seriously my lucky day/dream come true/prayers answered/fairy godmother moment. What an experience to get to see Kyle’s latest collection of works in their entirety, and with a somewhat behind-the-scenes commentary/guided tour with Helen, the lovely Gallery Director who let us in that day. She even showed us some older works of his from previous collections. It totally added yet another dimension and depth to viewing the paintings and an insight into how his style has evolved over the years.

We oohed and aahed and admired the works, and then we ummed and aahed while we vacillated between which one we would choose. And then – we did it! We went with our initial gut instincts and chose “A Future Life”. After the exhibition we’ll get to bring our very first piece of original art home (i.e. not a print!) and find the perfect bit of wall for it where we will undoubtedly continue to enjoy it.

Be sure to check out the exhibition! Kyle Hughes-Odgers is a locally grown talent who is taking on the international stage in a serious way – watch this space and see him explode, I guarantee it.

“A Thousand Lights From a Hundred Skies”
Feb 8 – March 9 2013
Turner Galleries
470 Williams St Northbridge

Kyle Hughes-OdgersTurner Galleries

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There’s no aphrodisiac…like chocolate!

sue-lewis-18Still searching for the perfect Valentine’s gift? Or simply looking for something fun and different to do where you can even learn to do the impossible (i.e. temper your own chocolate!)? Look no further than an evening spent with Sue Lewis, a true artisan chocolatier who makes all of her delectable and sweet morsels from the finest and freshest of ingredients, and is so so passionate and knowledgeable about her trade. Read more about her and what inspires her here. Every Thursday night at her store at 44 Derby Rd Subiaco, Sue holds classes on chocolate tasting and tempering – and if that doesn’t turn you on, you must be a two hundred and ten years old! Or a zombie. Or a cucumber. Ok, basically anything that’s not alive!

Sue let me try my hand at tempering some chocolate when I last visited her. There is something truly therapeutic about pouring out all that delicious, molten chocolate out onto a marble slab and then swirling it around – almost hypnotic! So nice…

Not only will you get the chance to play with your food (something I still get in trouble for!) but chocolate tastings and a glass of bubbly await you as you arrive. Treat yourself and your loved one/bestie/Mumsy to an evening of taste bud titillation. Call or email Sue for more details and to make bookings. Or even better, visit the store in person and leave with the best chocolates/ice cream/sorbet/brownies/all the above you would have tasted this side of the equator, or dare I say, ever!

Sue Lewis Artisan Chocolatier / 44 Derby Rd Subiaco

0452 423 323 / info@suelewischocolate.com / Facebook / Website

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