During September Canvas is on the Road
The third of our On-the-Run series was recorded in at a record store in Wollongong called Music Farmers. The store also functions as a gig and art gallery space and is a real landmark for anyone into indie music or art.
We were joined first by one of the founders of Music Farmers, Jeb Taylor, who gave us an overview of the music scene in Wollongong and very kindly programmed our show with tunes all coming from Wollongong bands.
Another thing that Music Farmer’s offers is artist studios and our second guest Josh Wiffen occupies one of them. Josh works between Wollongong and Melbourne. He likes the tight knit community, because it creates a sense of welcoming and connectedness.
Josh creates large scale, mural works, often in public spaces, that force passers by to engage with his art. There are both positive and negative responses to his work… everything from profanities being yelled from car windows to wedding couples posing in front of a part finished ram skull.
Josh feels that there’s been a boost in the creative initiatives happening in Wollongong, which is in part due to Music Farmers and Gallery: 5 Crown Lane.
Next up, we heard Canvas producer Heather Byrne as she investigated Central Chambers – a relatively new thriving arts hub, just off Crown Street Mall (complete with the local ukulele band playing in the background).
Then, artists Caz Nowaczyk and Nina Kourea told us about their new gallery space which has only been opened for 6 weeks. It’s called ‘Exposure Arts and Media’ but everyone refers to it as ‘Studio 19’. The aim of the space was to bring in people that are new to art or have always wanted to do it. Caz and Nina have made it into a creative lounge room, decked out like a house. It feels homey, safe and welcoming and acts as a hub where you can meet other creative people.
We briefly heard about one of Caz’s art projects – photo essays on Roller derby, including the music, tattoos, sport, fashion and the behind the scenes stories of the women on the team.
Our final Wollongong guest was artist, actor, nurse and designer Dioni Pinilla. Dioni started Good Jelly in 2008 as a digital zine, uncovering artists and musicians. In 2011, Good Jelly was opened up as a gallery space, with Dioni believing that “Wollongong has always been a creative place, but it lacked the promotion side… it’s about bringing art and business together to make it viable”.
He has also created a mobile phone app called 101 spaces. The app allows artist and visitors to search creative spaces and creative outlets like cafes that have a wall for artists to display on. It’s free to download and has recieved some very positive feedback from artists.
Dioni, brought along one of the Good Jelly volunteers and an artist in her in own right, Lily Cuda. Lily expressed the importance of networking and the difficultly she and other artists face in making people value art.
They agreed that the talent is definitely present in Wollongong, but would like to see more funding to continue the creative growth of the city.