If you have been around Glasgow this week and you’re interested in contemporary art I’m sure that you’ll have been caught up at some point in the blur of Glasgow International Festival of Visual Art party fever. For the last few days everyone here at Ironbbratz has been gathering for drinks before openings and exhibition crawls. We also officially launched The Telfer Gallery 2012 programme with a special new exhibition by Australian artist Kel Glaister.
I’m sure anyone who has been around the studios this week will have bumped into Kel and will hopefully have had time to look at her super exhibition ‘Aesthetic Error’. If you haven’t come up yet then do pop in and see us; we’ve not only got a new exhibition but we also have a host of new invigilators. I haven’t met them yet but I really can’t wait to get to know more about them. Fingers crossed for a feature in the forthcoming weeks!
As far as getting to know people goes, I know we’ve all been meeting lots of exciting new faces over the last few days at openings and parties. It was a real pleasure for us to get to catch up with Kevin Hunt and Elizabeth Murphy, a previous and a future director of The Royal Standard, Liverpool.
I worked with The Royal Standard recently for my exhibition My Five New Friends and had so much fun I really hope we have a chance to work with them again. When we met up with them for G.I. they were mainly concerned with shooting what they were terming ‘Curator Porn’. The term comes from the mind of the wonderful Nadja Sayej, the presenter of TOWI-IB’s favourite series of artist interviews ArtStars*.
Apparently in the recently released press kit for Documenta 13 the pack contained, in the words of Sayej, “three images by the artist Giuseppe Penone… nine jpegs featuring the work of Jimmie Durham. But the DOCUMENTA (13) camera-friendly curator [her official title is Artistic Director] Carolyn Christov-Bakargiev has 19 images featuring various glamour shots of her in a forest, lounging on a lounge chair, wearing business blazers, working hard, hardly working, throning it and more.” (See the original blog and images here)
So, to celebrate both G.I. and Curator Porn in general, whilst Kev and Liz were up they took some time to shoot their own Curator Porn. Here are two photos from that series, one of me outside Ironbbratz and one of Kev and Liz in my studio. You’ll notice a lot of the photographs are blurry this week – this is also in relation to #GIPartyFever.
Now strangely enough earlier in the week, but unbeknownst to ourselves at Ironbbratz, we’d been accidentally shooting out own versions of Curator Porn. (Well, apart from the fact that none of us are curators!) Since Amanda Dobbratz left her position of Director to return back to her homeland of America we have slowly been acquiring items of her Glasgow life – i.e. Erasmus, the first fish of Ironbbratz! This week, because it was my pay day, I decided to buy a large quantity of fabric scraps from Amanda’s collection and have subsequently been housing said large quantity of fabric scraps in my studio. On Wednesday lunchtime I took some time out with Ironbbratz regular’s Becca Thomas, Tawny Kerr and Marc Cairns to produce some very temporal G.I. ‘outfits’ – to potentially wear out at openings if only we had the capacity to balance un-attached fabrics on our bodies for an extended (and boozy) period of time. My personal highlights are, as you will see from the below photos, Becca’s tea-cosy hat, my own plaited flaccid ‘dangling belt’, Tawny’s (actually passable) netting head-dress and of course Marc’s face-cage. (Mostly I like how bemused Marc was by the entire experience AND how much he looks like Alan Cumming in the picture!)
Unfortunately down to dignity I eventually opted for a more subdued Glasgow International opening outfit, which has sadly only been documented in two images – one particularly blurry image of myself at the opening drinks at Kelvingrove on Thursday evening, and one slightly (drunker) later image taken at my own home after the CCA after-party. The first image was captured by the wonderful Marc Cairns (similarly to the majority of the images in this blog so-far) and the second image was taken by my friend, flatmate and radio co-host Ellie Harrison. The second image was also used for the first of three G.I. Special Edition radio shows I am making with Ellie, under the banner of our regular radio show, The Ellie & Oliver Show.
There is a reason I’ve taken this opportunity to mention The Ellie & Oliver Show beyond pure self-promotion. This week’s radio show featured a section where I talk about the importance of the activity that was hand-making our G.I. opening outfits at Ironbbratz. It seemed that this week I had a slight blur between the Radio Show and The Only Way is Ironbbratz, and this is because they were united by the idea of G.I. and trying to work out what G.I. meant to me and how it played a role in what I understood to be part of a community. I suppose each week when I write this blog what I’m often trying to impress is the role that community does really play for me whilst inhabiting these studios.
In the radio show I was talking specifically about these sporadically instigated social situations that might happen in a studio group full of people who get on – and how these small activities can be celebrated as if they were parts of G.I. in a loose way. I talked about how the best way to understand G.I. was as a totem which symbolizes the idea of a community and which other small communities can gather around and identify with. By way of celebrating our own Ironbbratz community this week, inspired by #GIPartyFever, we experienced this beautiful ‘immediate’ social activity and had a lot of fun.
My way of thinking about G.I. is as a Christmas for artists – a time to gather round and celebrate the people you know through being an artist and all the special times you’ve had together because of this.
Oh and guess what: Unbelievably we’ve still got one studio currently empty. Come down and check us out sometime or contact us first right here!
Enough blurring of G.I., Ironbbratz and The Ellie & Oliver Show. (Not to mention all the very blurry memories of the last few days of going out!) Of course the main feature this week that we’ve all been waiting is to get to know these *BRAND* *NEW* *MALE* directors on the Ironbbratz team! So here we go, the all-male edition of the new director’s ‘Getting-To-Know-You’ Interviews!
1. If you had to compare your personality to a style of dance what would
you choose and why?
I would say my personality is best encapsulated by funky ‘dad dancing’. I’m a fun, unconventional, creative person but under this also quite sensible. Like ‘dad dancing’ I’m not afraid or embarrassed to put myself out there with my ideas, which I like to think can sometimes be brilliant but are also occasionally tragic. Just to clarify though, my actual dancing is nothing like ‘dad dancing’.
2. If you could offer a new Ironbbratz studio holder one piece of advice
what would it be?
My advice would be, if the desire takes you to get involved or to suggest new activities for the studios don’t hesitate. Things like the Reading & Discussion or R’n’D group, Show and Tell and Cake Thursdays are fun activities that everyone is welcome to that have all evolved out of suggestions from studio holders.
3. What was the last memorable thing you dreamt about?
The last dream I had was incredibly vivid and of profound importance to me but frustratingly that’s all I can actually remember. I always forget my dreams soon after I wake up.
4. Who did you hero worship when you were 15 and why?
My first hero at that age was Van Gogh, which may sound like a cliché of a 15 year old interested in art, but the expressionism and turmoil of his paintings blew me away. It was the first time I got art.
Then I saw the buildings of Antoni Gaudi, probably another cliché for a 15 year old interested in architecture, and naively thought ‘wow its possible to be an artist but on the scale of buildings!’
The sound track to this period was Bob Marley, probably my biggest hero at this time because of his philosophy on life, not the weed.
5. What do you personally hope to see change the most for Ironbbratz in
the forthcoming 12 months?
Amanda and friends did an amazing job in setting up Ironbbratz Studios in the first place. I owe a lot to her personally as these studios provided the perfect nurturing environment for me when setting up Pidgin Perfect with Marc Cairns.
6. What do you personally hope to see stay the same for Ironbbratz in the
forthcoming 12 months?
So over the next 12 months I don’t really want to see any dramatic change to Ironbbratz. I want to help to continue to deliver the core service of providing comfortable affordable studios for Glasgow’s creative community maintaining the already established friendly atmosphere to work in.
What I do hope to do is to continue to raise the profile of our studios so that we can increase the amount of professional and artistic opportunities for studio holders. Beyond that the studios have huge potential but that’s for the future.
7. When did you first realise that you were ‘a recognised commentator on
the urban realm’ and is recognition your main drive in life?
I wouldn’t personally go as far as to say that I am ‘a recognised commentator’, but through my company Pidgin Perfect I do aspire for my work and ideas to make a positive difference in the urban realm.
I set up Pidgin Perfect with Marc Cairns and the support of Becca Thomas fresh out of architecture school because we wanted to do something different to business as usual, to create a company that we believed in, a company that placed the needs and wishes of communities first.
To do something that no one else was doing was a massive risk, so to get recognition from peers and the profession would be a nice reassurance that the path I’ve taken isn’t seen as a crazy waste of time, but this isn’t the motivator. The quality of work we do and the positive response we get from communities is what’s important – this is the motivation I take into to running Ironbbratz studios.
Now, last but certainly not least,
1. If you had to compare your personality to a style of dance what would you choose and why?
I think the most appropriate Style would be a classic Viennese Waltz, but one performed by a slightly eccentric and off balance OAP couple in a dodgy community centre.
2. If you could offer a new Ironbbratz studio holder one piece of advice what would it be?
I would highly recommend that you make an effort to join in the socialising that takes place in and out of the studio. It’s been such an amazing thing for me and I’ve made so many amazing friends. Oh, and please clean your dishes, well get on a lot better that way.
3. What was the last memorable thing you dreamt about?
Well, this isn’t quite a dream but on Wednesday I had a nightmare which centred on us running out of rubbish bags in the studio and the rubbish was piling up super high… I woke up in a cold sweat.
4. Who did you hero worship when you were 15 and why?
I didn’t have any heroes at 15. I really admired all my friends though and it was them I always looked to for guidance and confirmation, I guess I ‘worshipped’ them in an odd sort of way.
5. What do you personally hope to see change the most for Ironbbratz in the forthcoming 12 months?
I’m really excited to see the results of all the new energy the new directors will bring to the organisation. We already have some developments planned for the next 6-12 months but I think it would be a bit premature to announce them at this moment.
6. What do you personally hope to see stay the same for Ironbbratz in the forthcoming 12 months?
Amanda has done a great job in moulding Ironbbratz into Glasgow’s friendliest arts organisation. We have a great mix of artists and creatives, all with unique personalities and perspectives, and it’s of the utmost importance to the new directors that this doesn’t change.
7. As someone ‘obsessed with people’ to what lengths, ultimately, would you go (or have you gone) to engage them?
Being born and raised in Glasgow, I’ve found that a bit of charm and a smile goes a long in way in getting the job done.
Big thanks to Marc & Dele and a big thanks to everyone for tuning in again! Remember, until next time, THE ONLY WAY IS IRONBBRATZ!