Gallery

Day Ten

Today’s blog is brought to you by the construction work taking place at Hazelhurst. Right. Outside. My. Window.  Construction workers are using what sounds like leaf-blowers to blow away the concrete dust they’re creating by jackhammering all morning. These workers are sadists apparently.

Things aren’t much quieter inside of Hazelhurst either. It’s exhibition change-over day so things are quite frantic. I think I saw Carrie three times. Once for her to say hello and tell me to book a jumping castle, once for me to ask if I could get involved in the change-over at all (don’t get excited, I didn’t get to), and once to ask her a question.

Everyone in the gallery is quite frazzled. People keep walking past me with sheets of board sandwiching what looked like used bubble gum (this turned out to be some of Rosie Deacon’s art work. Oops).  So, completely unnoticed in the frantic building, I get on with trying to book a jumping castle for this children’s festival Hazelhurst are holding a few weeks.

It’s here that I’m going to warn you that this blog is almost entirely about the angst involved in hiring a jumping castle (quite possibly the only time a jumping castle has ever caused angst).

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I hate this jumping castle and everything it stands for

To be honest I am not ready for this level of responsibility. My first thought was, quite literally “do not f**k this up Nicola, this jumping castle hire costs more than a month’s rent”.  The anxiety was not helped by the fact that I had to make a whole bunch of decisions about the hire, without much input from Carrie (who was understandably busy). In the end I just sort of guessed my way through the booking process, using my best judgement where I didn’t have a definite answer. Coincidentally this is pretty the same approach I use in exams.

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So exams were useful for something…

Having processed the booking, I then got told a wedding party is having their photos taken in the Hazelhurst grounds the next morning. So I email back the hire company asking them if the castle will be gone by that time.

“Only if you can provide someone to help lift the castle. It needs to people to lift and that can be difficult to find an extra man on a Saturday night.”

I spend the next  30 minutes trying to find Carrie to ask her if we’ll be able to provide someone to help out. Somehow she has slipped back to her desk while I was searching the gallery for her.

In the end I did manage to get the hire sorted.  It took me three hours but it got done. Either I’m very shit at hiring jumping castles or this experience goes to show how organising something seemingly simple can be far more complex when you’re organising it for a large group.

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My afternoon was spent desperately trying to stay off Facebook. I had a few tasks I could go on with, but they weren’t urgent. In fact when I did try to go on with making a list of Vital Signs artworks, I ended up somehow changing the default language in Microsoft Word to French. This undoubtedly happened because I bragged about being great at Word in my last blog. That will show me.

I went and had a look at the exhibition change over. Everyone was so busy I could just walk around and no one even noticed. I’ve noticed how there’s an install team that the gallery has that only come in when an exhibition needs to be changed over. I wonder what they do when they’re not here – do they just spend all their time installing exhibitions around Sydney? Is there like some kind of pro exhibition-install circuit they’re all on?

While no one really needed me to do anything I went and made friends with the barista at the Hazelhurst’s café. She’s studying Maths at UOW next session which I thought was pretty cool. The rest of the day I spent bullying myself into doing semi-productive stuff in the lead up to the Vital Signs exhibition, still two months away. But considering I started writing this blog (and doing other assignments) I perhaps wasn’t so successful!

Gallery

Day Eight

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This morning I arrived to notice this guy starting at my from the conference room across from my cubicle. I don’t know where he came from but I can’t shake the feeling that he was placed where he is, directly looking at me, as some sort of experimental method to make sure interns don’t slack off.

Today I was again sourcing supplies for exhibiting artists. This time I was looking for coloured carpet tiles for a Rosie Deacon installation. Unlike last week, this artist sounded familiar (I am terrible at paying attention to local artists) and was pleasantly surprised to find out she was responsible for this work:

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Real name Fun Foam Fantastical-Fabulous Fun. Better name: Technikoala

So for Rosie Deacon I had to find coloured carpet tiles, ideally cheap second-hand ones. Something I’ve really liked about Hazehurst has been the weird tips and places I’ve learnt about coincidentally by just being in the office.  A few weeks ago I learnt about how to make rice starch adhesive as an alternative to wheat paste for paste-up works. This week I learnt about Reverse Garbage.  I’d never heard of this place before but it is awesome. Intended as a place to re-sell unwanted, second-hand or factory extras, this place is filled with all kinds of neat furniture, industrial equipment, rolls of fabric, props, art materials, building material and a bunch of other miscellaneous goodies.

It was not however filled with coloured carpet tiles.

Neither was the second place I tried, a used-carpet stockist. In fact the advice I was given here was that it was unlikely I would find any second-hand carpet tiles in anything but beige.

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Beige was not an option.

So out of curiosity I decided to just look up a conventional carpet retailer to gauge the availability and price of coloured tiles. As it happened I found a place in Marrickville that was basically a building-sized packet of skittles, but for carpet.

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Taste the rainbow

They were of course, about four times more expensive than second-hand tiles, but Carrie seemed to think they were within budget so all good. Another problem solved by Nicola Dowse.

The rest of the day was spent finishing of the five or so projects I had on the go. A few artist statements to edit, the website blurb, a media release etc. etc. I was left basically to get on with work, which I am 100% on board with, especially since now that I’d been interning for a while, I had more of an idea as to what to be doing. I’ve come to realise that in a gallery environment, if what you’re working on isn’t for the most imminent exhibition, then you’re work isn’t going to be a top priority. Makes sense really. Why do an assignment due in two weeks when you’ve got another assignment due tomorrow?

 

Gallery

Day Seven

Today started again with editing more artist statements. Like last week, it was great. Since today was the due date for the artists to send in their written and image elements, I had a decent stack of documents to occupy myself with. Having studied and come to understand my ex-classmates’ artistic styles over the last three years, it was fascinating to see their approaches to writing.

Whipping the images into shape proved a little tougher however. I’d been putting off dealing with artist images since last week, as several of them were not correctly formatted. Despite specifying for images to be 300dpi and either JPEG or TIFF format, about half of the images sent were of far lower quality. And for some weird reason someone sent in a screenshot, of a photo, of their work. It’s not like I was trying to be difficult – the images needed to be of a certain quality to look good on web and print publications. To be honest I was kind of expecting for this to happen. While I hate to generalise (as I know it’s not true of everyone in the industry) but I know SO MANY artists who can’t quite get their heads around tech.Not that I’m an expert, but it does kind of go to show the importance of staying updated re. technologies important in your industry.

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So at least you can avoid this scenario

Frowning ever so slightly at the ten or so lacklustre images I had to work with, almost trying to wish them into being better quality, I thought about my options.

  • I could send emails back to everyone asking for them to, please, send images with the correct specifications. But I realised this might just result a whole bunch of people not understanding the issue, or how to solve it.

  • Ask Google.

Unsurprisingly, I went with option two. Turns out some smart cookie has already solved this problem and created an online program for converting image dpi. Now I’m pretty sure there’s a reason why you’re not supposed to do this. I vaguely remember being told in a photography class that this does something to the image size or something something. But after testing out an image, and seeing vast improvement for only a little bit of cropping, I was sold. All hail Google and people who put free stuff up online.

I then spent half an hour calling hydroponic supply retailers. For art, I swear.

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An artist who was going to be exhibiting soon at Hazelhurst wanted to use silver-backed mylar film for an installation and wanted to know where it could be sourced from. While I don’t hate calling people, I have always found it awkward as heck. Something about not being able to see someone’s face and gauge their response – I always end up talking over people by accident. But realising that I am inevitably going to have to call people all the time in every sort of job I ever have, I got stuck into it. I eventually found out answers to all of the artist’s questions and, as a bonus, learned what a ‘um’ was in regards to measurements.

For the rest of the day I got to research another big upcoming exhibition at the gallery. The exhibition was going to bring together the work of artists across the Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara  (APY) lands.

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APY art-fernoon

I knew the exhibition was a pretty big deal for Hazelhurst, as they’d just been lucky enough to receive Australia Council funding for it. Which I presume, with the recent federal funding cuts to the arts sector, may be one of the lasts grants not gifted in the form of food stamps.

Researching art from the APY lands was a pretty great way to spend the afternoon really – all I had to do was look up previous images of the exhibiting artists and catalogue it with all the usual details.  Plus I got to learn more about a region of Australia I’d only previously heard mentioned in passing. 4.5 star afternoon