Duets: collaborations in creativity
DUETS: collaborations in creativity
Sonia Louise Cozens
From twenty Gympie region artists of all mediums come ten duets, paired across genres to collaborate and create.
This ambitious project is an initiative of Creative Arts Gympie Region Inc with the intention to bring Gympie region creatives of all artistic practices and genres together, to learn from each other and create new relationships, networks and creative collaborations which extend their current practices.
All twenty artists reside and work in the Gympie region and applied to be part of the project through an expression of interest. They were paired into duets and have been collaborating for ten months to create artwork that sees for some a distinct departure from the comfort of their chosen artform. A drawer working with a sculptor, an author paired with a portrait photographer, a journalist working with a comedian, a graduate of the theatre with a papermaker. The cross-genre nature of the partnerships has pushed, tested, stretched and inspired.
This project concept is a response to the shutdown of the creative sector due to the initial Government responses to COVID-19. The impact to the sector has since been ongoing and deeply penetrating. The value of the contribution that artists, creativity and culture provide to our economy, our communities and our society has been questioned, and often measured against metrics that don’t calculate the true contribution and benefits received.
The journey of creative collaboration is as important as the outcome and through this process the artists have learnt from each other – new techniques, inspiration, support and opportunities. While most creatives don’t make their best work with other people standing over them—or next to them, paint-brush in hand for instance—they are almost always telling a story to, or making beauty for, someone specific. The collaboration process has involved deep sharing, combining and merging muses, and moulding two creative expressions into one. The outcome is ten new bodies of artwork that showcase the best of the Gympie region creative community.
The DUETS: collaborations in creativity initiative was established by Creative Arts Gympie Region Inc and is supported by the Queensland Government through Arts Queensland.
Falling Star: Reimagined
Jazmin Adams and Jazmyn Bowman
Blending Jazmyn Bowman’s impressionist photography with Jazmin Adam’s lifelike portraiture, we have sought to create a multimodal reimagining of Witold Pruszkowski’s 1884 oil painting “Falling Star”.
The transient motion within the painting, the dreamscape-style light and the semi-ambiguous form of this painting are what made it of natural appeal for our Duet to recreate, as the work already feels much like the portraits we style and create together for our joint
photography projects within ‘Jazmyn Produces’. In a world and time where we spend a great deal of time focusing on and actively working to improve political issues, we use our art as an outlet for escapism, expressing beauty, safety, grace and peace within our work.
Jazmin Adams is a freelance creative whose passions for music and the natural environment inspire much of her practice.
Jazmin is particularly fond of pencil-drawn lifelike portraits, however, her creative scope extends beyond this to include small-scale paintings, creative fashion and styling, and upcycling.
Unlike many professional artists, Jazmin prefers to approach her creativity as something to be enjoyed
in the time and space where inspiration strikes, rather than as a duty or career, no matter the time between projects.
Travelling to natural environments is not only important for keeping vivid Jazmin’s creativity but also for replenishing her health, as she finds connection and healing in Mother Nature.
Jazmyn Bowman is a nationally sought after photographer and filmmaker, who exclusively works with musicians and artists.
She specialises in a form of photography known as ‘Intentional Movement Photography’, and she has also coined the phrase ‘Impressionist Photography’,
as her keen love for, but lack of skill in impressionist oil painting is what she seeks to capture within her photographic works. Jazmyn adores creating in natural
light and expansive landscapes and thanks fate for her residence in Kabi Kabi country which she says hosts the most wonderful of these spaces. Jazmyn’s practice
also sees her travelling nationally to create visual media with and for musicians including Catherine Britt, Lee Kernaghan, Melody Moko and many more, under her brand name ‘Jazmyn Produces’.
Kym Barrett and Susan Lynch
We encourage you to stop, sit, look and listen.
And breathe deeply.
In our noisy, busy and often chaotic world, we need a reminder to return often to spend time in the natural world.
‘When the mind is festering with trouble or the heart torn, we can find healing among the silence of mountains or fields, or listen to the simple, steadying rhythm of waves. The slowness and stillness gradually takes us over.’ (Irish Poet, John O’Donohue)
These organically shaped clay wall tiles are each lovingly formed from hand-dug and processed earth from the artist’s property. Earth oxides and dry pigments combined with wax are then painted in layers along with the scribblings of nature to evoke an elemental grounded presence.
Fragility and Strength.
We’re aiming for an ‘oasis of calm, space to breathe’ by linking the universal elements of earth, air, fire, water as well as soundscape to transport you to your quiet place.
Our process is characterised by authentic, open and heartfelt communication with each other, through our intuitively-led approach.
Kym Barrett is an Australian abstract landscape artist who uses oils and cold wax medium to create richly layered, luminous paintings, which are both imaginative and metaphorical. She lives in open hilly bushland near a tranquil creek at Chatsworth in rural Queensland and this environment, its imagery and ambience, inevitably influences her work both consciously and unconsciously. Barrett is also deeply interested in the complex entanglement between the creative process and the spiritual path. Her long-term study of contemplative wisdom traditions and practice of meditation inform her life and art.
‘My inner life and musings are entwined with memories of external landscape imagery and these are expressed intuitively in the process of a painting.’
Barrett exhibits regularly in fine art galleries in Australia and her work is contained in private collections internationally, and public collections within Australia. Her work appears in the comprehensive publication, COLD WAX MEDIUM: Techniques, Concepts and Conversations by Rebecca Crowell and Jerry McLaughlin.
Reclaiming Women’s Voices: Rite of Passage
Lesa Bell and Zela Bissett
Our project centres around restoring the voices of women and the ways in which patriarchy has sought to silence them. The movement of participants around the installation traces a personal journey. It begins with identifying limiting voices we have internalised during our formative years, to a healing process of formulating a new and liberating statement for our future.
The installation takes the form of a medieval convent, although the walls are low, suggesting the destruction of the building by time and re-purposing. There is a small guide provided to visitors to show them how to interact with the installation. The process involves identifying limiting judgements and shredding them, allowing space for new positive empowering thoughts.
Around the outer surface of the entry arch single women represent character traits including generosity, empathy, honesty, kindness, tolerance, joy, courage, forgiveness, tenderness, nurture, love, endurance.
Represented in the piece are the names of women who have spoken out, refused to be silenced, acted as a force for positive change, even when it entailed personal sacrifice.
The installation is created from salvaged wood, re-purposed card and handmade paper made from palm fronds and flowers. Palm fronds and palm flowers are materials which women have traditionally used to create useful items for collecting food, carrying tools, even babies, as well as for and making ropes and dilly bags. Lesa and Zela’s work refers powerfully to the capability of women to provide for their own needs using ingenuity and skill.
Lesa Bell is publisher, editor and owner of Gympie Living magazine, and loves the storytelling and design elements of producing a free monthly, community magazine. A well-informed community can make positive choices towards sustainable growth that supports local business, the arts and our environment.
With a background in performing arts, and experience in event management, her practice aims to reach a wider audience by developing a range of creative activities such as live music events, performance, film and installations.
This practice will be further supported through community partnerships that align with the themes of environmental awareness, the celebration of diversity and first nations people.
Strengthening the regions cultural tourism activities will shape a community that has greater access to diverse cultural art practices. It will build pride in region, offer professional development opportunities for emerging artists and young people and also improve employment opportunities for local creatives.
Zela Bissett grew up during the 1950s and 60s on Butchulla Country in Maryborough and Hervey Bay. Her family were somewhat bemused by her inclination towards the visual and literary arts but through the intervention of her “Uncle” Gough she was able to attend university, become a teacher and foster similar leanings in other unlikely young people. She makes art works, writes poetry, prose, plays and polemic, occasionally published. She regularly deconstructs her life via speeches for her Toastmasters club, shows work in art galleries and other locations, and as a speaker has taken part in panel discussions, spoken word performances and pecha kucha evenings.
Brendon Beltrame and Leeroy Todd
When the brakes got slammed on the live experience industry the casualties were widespread, revealing how interconnected society is to the performing arts and it’s subsidiaries. This production is the combining of two affected individual’s experiences to create a work harnessing the l’appel du vide many are still currently feeling in the artistic community.
The combination of music and film on mixed media “Gone Quiet” is a manifestation of the abandonment the live music industry experienced throughout the past few years by punters and performers alike. This piece pulls together the frustrated sentiments surrounding the performance sector and the disregard of its place, value and priority in the shared experience of civilization.
Capturing the resilience and resourcefulness of these individuals exemplified by the DIY attitude of punk pioneers, the delivery medium of this work has been hand-built by the artists and cobbled together with what they had available to then rather than what can be bought off the shelf. This interesting aspect lends a certain timbre to both the acoustics and the appearance of the work as a whole.
Recorded in “The Void Studios”
Brendon Beltrame is a multi-instrumentalist and inter-disciplinary performer who is more accustomed to the stage. His body of work and list of venues has not included a regional art gallery and the crossing of these boundaries is an exciting new space of possibilities.
Leeroy Todd first found his feet in the creative industries first with photography and learning to use light and perspective to create powerful images. He has now discovered the beauty of filmmaking and telling great stories through moving imagery. The storytelling and creativity involved in building a captivating film really excites me and I enjoy every step along the way.
The Art of Living and Dying
Anna Brennan and Therese Phillips
“Unused creativity is not benign. It metastasizes. It turns into grief, rage, judgment, sorrow and shame.” Brene Brown. PHD. LMSW.
The way we live defines who we are as individuals, communities and as a country. We choose.
We endure or thrive as a consequence of our choices. Consciousness illuminates our lives, our world.
Art is our expression of creativity and emotion. We express or we drink the poison.
The way we die, well we don’t talk about that much at all.
The death of Therese’s mother was a journey from life to death organically accompanied by ritual, music, written word. Art gave comfort and called her to the study of conscious dying.
Anna first trudged up Grief Mountain at the age of thirteen when her sister died. She has since found the grieving process fascinating, infuriating and raw, not necessarily in that order.
This work is a collection of experiences on how we live and die – a curation, an expression.
Anna Brennan is a stand-up comedian, writer, producer, button badge business owner, aspiring podcaster, average painter, loud drunk and cuddly mum. She has undiagnosed ADHD that she self-medicates with bouts of enthusiasm and a healthy dose of procrastination.
Therese Phillips has a life-long fascination with people and their stories. Moving from Sydney to The Kimberley in 2009 afforded her both the time and opportunity to explore her creative curiosity. Experimentation with photography, painting, clay, ephemeral art, and writing became the foundation stones of her current eclectic art practice.
“Living in such a remote town with no shops taught me to use what was in front of me, to gather in the seasons and glean waste when it appears, for reuse in my arts practice”.
Therese moved to Gympie 6 years ago and is currently writing a ficto-memoir of the time she spent in the Kimberley.
The Self and the Other
Manu Bugallo-Vales and Sandra Ross
‘Self’ and ‘other’ are concepts that have been scrutinised in art throughout the ages using traditions such as the ‘portrait’ or ‘self-portrait’.
Duets, Manu Bugallo and Sandra Ross, present an installation that reflects a sense of themselves through analysing and investigating their individual identities, while questioning their relationship to each other.
Two artists with diverse backgrounds, personalities, experience, and skills were partnered to collaborate, and over the past months have shared time, in-depth conversation, skills, and knowledge.
Manu and Sandra visited each other’s studios many times to discuss art, ideas, techniques, and over time became to know each other through the creative process.
In this installation, we see two very different sculptures, appearing to look at each other through an ornately decorated frame. Each sculpture symbolically interprets how each artist sees themselves.
Through the Duets project and the collaborative process, each artist has been encouraged to investigate traditional materials such as rabbit skin glue, gesso and gold gilding.
Sandra works primarily in 2D media, and in this installation, she has been influenced by Manu’s understanding of sculpture. Both artists have utilised their knowledge of materials and while Sandra’s sculpture reflects her ongoing enquiry into organic form, in contrast, Manu’s sculpture is structured and angular, reflecting his love of Art Deco.
Sandra Ross is a visual artist who works in 2D media. Her artwork examines the feeling of loss and grief by inviting the viewer into a landscape that is both transcendent and mystical. She uses the natural world as a metaphor to express this in a poetic and lyrical way.
Sandra believes drawing from life is fundamental to her art practice and maintains this through studying nature. Her many small sketch books contain drawings that speak to her dedication to her art practice.
An educator for over 35 years, Sandra encourages others to develop their own art practice by offering short courses and workshops in various subjects and media.
Currently living in Gympie, Sandra completed Masters of Art Visual Art from Queensland College of Art, Brisbane in 2002.
Sandra has exhibited throughout Australia and has won numerous awards both locally and regionally. She maintains her studio practice while working part time at the Gympie Regional Gallery in Education and Public Programs.
THE MARJOLAINE PROJECT
Cathy Condon and Sonia Louise Cozens
Nurturing a new dynamic collaboration between visual artist Cathy and professional writer Sonia, DUETS has empowered the ambitious pair to learn from each other, enhance their knowledge base, gain invaluable insight into each other’s skill set and acquire new creative skills.
Recently reconnecting after Cathy’s return from practising in New York and Sonia’s relocation to the ‘town that saved Queensland’, the duo was symbiotically inspired by the rich golden history of Gympie’s mining era, mutually resolving to showcase a celebration of strong, local women through a ‘golden Gympie moment in time’ circa 1880.
Often adorned in subdued, melancholy hues of the Victorian era, womens’ fashion rarely reflected an accurate portrayal of their true character…nor the vibrancy of the town that consumed them. Consistently motivated by gold tints, such as those found in her recent ‘gilded’ series, Cathy’s creative drive proffered a genuine thematic synergy utilising a blend of vivid abstract visual art combined with carefully curated photoshop techniques.
Coming together on all visual decisions, Sonia and Cathy then elected to adopt a complementary historical news narrative employing research, along with an original masthead from an 1880 edition of the “Gympie Times and Mary River Mining Gazette”.
The final works entitled “The Marjolaine Project”, fuses Gympie’s evocative history with Cathy and Sonia’s distinct introspective creative intention, where the resulting works reveal a rich sense of place, vision and passion for local community.
Cathy Condon works as a practicing visual artist, curator and is equipped with extensive arts management in Australia and internationally.
In 2018, she was awarded an artist residency at Mana Contemporary, NYC and subsequently worked as an artist in New York until Covid19 forced a return to her hometown of Gympie in April 2020. Cathy’s abstract paintings have figurative elements, some more resolved than others. She uses oil paint, often using vintage lace as stencils. The works are bold, colourful and reflective of her everyday life experiences. Affected by a lack of perspective and shadow, flat areas of strong colour, and compositional freedom, the audience can enter the artwork through multiple viewpoints.
“As an artist, life informs my practice at every moment, therefore, work and life are inextricably intertwined, so I am not sure if I work to live or live to work as an artist.”
Sonia Louise Cozens is an AWGIE Award nominated and Internationally credited writer/development consultant, writing lecturer and arts manager. Sonia has been commissioned to develop, write and consult across a broad range of screen content including projects aired on the ABC and Network Ten.
Extensively travelled and passionate about our global community, Sonia recently delivered a creative arts teaching program and social impact stage production for International Human Rights Day in rural Cambodia as part of her MICD. Published works include short stories, poetry, newspaper articles, government/corporate & community newsletters, webcopy as well as blogs, vlogs, and online content for World Hope International in Australia, USA and Canada.
Equipped with a Masters of Arts and Entertainment Management, a Masters of International and Community Development as well as a Post-Graduate Certificate in Professional Writing, Sonia’s passion for arts advocacy has been demonstrated through her lifelong commitment to the creative industries.
The River that Flows
Tiarn Florence and Joolie Gibbs
There is a world within this world
where seeds are grown and leaves are hurled.
There is a world where small things thrive
by working together in nests or in hives.
There is a world that comes and goes
with the flash of a flood or the slow, melting snows.
Sometimes it’s our feet, or a violent breeze,
sometimes it’s concrete or the falling trees.
But whether by force or a gentle hand
our actions, of course, impact all on this land.
Inspired by and created on Kabi Kabi and Butchulla land, this collaborative work explores the concept of worlds within worlds; celebrating the seemingly small and insignificant in this more-than-human world.
The River that Flows is the story of a Muscleman Tree Ant experiencing the various emotions and hardships of surviving a major life disruption – in this case, being displaced by one of Gympie’s Mary River floods.
Embracing the Mary River as a metaphor for life, we follow the ant and other regional creatures including the Transverse Ladybird, Tramp Snail, Water Spider and centipede as they navigate their turbulent journey.
Tiarn’s written storytelling is inspired by the interconnectedness of living things and how certain behaviours and impacts of the natural world reflect the complexities of our human experience.
Joolie, inspired by the displacement caused by floods, illustrates this through the mediums of local botanical inks such as Bunya, Gympie Messmate, Ironbark and Red Kamala. These illustrations are stills captured from the stop-motion animation.
Tiarn Florence is a weaver of words, holistic educator and bedtime storyteller to her two young children.
Since childhood, Tiarn has been enchanted by words and has since developed her creative writing as a tool for learning, healing, and connecting with others.
In 2018, Tiarn published her debut poetry collection, Growing Pains, which served as both a sharp knife and loving embrace to readers everywhere.
Inspired by nature, connection and the human experience, Tiarn explores the depths and shallows of life through written and spoken word. She has performed alongside talented artists during events such as Space Girls and CollabANation, and competed at regional & state finals of the Australian Poetry Slam Championships.
Tiarn’s passion for the creative arts are also at the heart of her holistic education programs which empower people of all ages and abilities in achieving their goals.
Joolie Gibbs brings a wealth of experience from a career spanning over 40 years in arts related industries. From making the models for ‘tick, tock, what’s under the clock today’ for Playschool, tombstone art, graphic design, paste up art, tutor, set design, community art, desktop publishing, papermaking and basket making to Director of the Gympie Regional Gallery for 23 years.
Completing her Masters of Art in Fine Art (MAVA) at the Queensland College of Art, Brisbane, connected her once again with her own art practice.
Joolie Gibbs’s message is environmental and in particular her local/regional environment, the Mary River, the Wallum, her property. These subjects have meaning to her, they contain the stories of her youth through to now. Portrayed mainly through 2D large and small drawings using her own botanical inks mostly from trees on her property, through printmaking and papermaking from natural fibres, and now Stop Motion animation.
Janet Lee and Charmaine Lyons
ENOUGH grew from outrage over reports of the alleged ‘toxic workplace culture’ in Australia’s Federal Parliament House, reports which surfaced in the news media early in 2021.
allegations of harassment,
allegations of bullying,
allegation of rape,
allegations of offensive behaviour…on and on the news stories went.
Author, Dr Janet Lee, and photographer Charmaine Lyons, partnered together to create a response which enmeshed both their art practices.
Janet Lee’s initial rage statement has been conceptualised, re-considered, re-constructed, in essence contemplated by the two artists, to evoke Charmaine Lyons’ raw and instinctual photographic response.
The artists drew on their own lived experiences to develop the work, and a strong, collaborative, visual narrative emerged from the process.
Dr Janet Lee is an award-winning Queensland writer. She won the Emerging Queensland Writer category in the 2017 Queensland Literary Awards. Her winning historical fiction manuscript was published as The Killing of Louisa, by University of Queensland Press in 2018. The Killing of Louisa (UQP 2018) was shortlisted for the 2019 Davitt Awards in two categories, and has now also been made available on audio book. She has a Doctor of Creative Arts from the University of the Sunshine Coast. Janet has won multiple awards for her short stories, including the 2016 Boroondara Open Short Story Award. In 2019 Janet was the Artist in Residence at the Museum of Brisbane. She is currently working on her second novel.
Humanist photographer Charmaine Lyons is best recognized for her unique, portrait work, haunting photographs that capture not only the image but the soul of the people who sit before her.
Lyons has exhibited both nationally and internationally. Her debut solo exhibition, Artist of the Atelier opened in 2015 at the Gympie Regional Galley. Her most resent exhibition WOMEN UNITED, a three year undertaking, focused on photographing 200 ordinary, extraordinary women throughout rural, regional and urban Australia. Lyons has exhibited in group exhibitions in Orlando Florida, Melbourne, Brisbane and the Sunshine Coast. She is a participant of the 2020 Loud and Luminous project, 1 of 100 female photographers chosen to exhibit in Sydney to the theme of Equality.
As You Make Your Mark
Ashley Pel and Cindy Vogels
As a duo, songwriter and performer Ashley Pel and fashion innovator and designer Cindy Vogels were the perfect pairing for the Duets program.
As a designer, Cindy Vogels’ motivation lies in empowering women in music, seeing them be the best and brightest, not copying anyone, not following trends, designing for the brave individuals who make up the landscape of women in music here in Australia.
Combining Ashley’s evocative and incredible expressive voice and songwriting, under the moniker Ashy, with Cindy’s visual imaginings in clothing, styling and photography, the project delights the senses.
The Duets collaboration presents a series of visual landscapes, with Cindy’s costumes, styling and photography acting as a response to Ashy’s impactful story based songs.
The project showcases a series of projected photographs and an accompanying Lookbook, which will highlight and visualise excerpts of Ashy’s lyrics, drawing the audience into her world, both through audio and visuals. Cindy has meticulously curated and photographed each image, using original costumes, found objects and reused clothing, all set in a variety of local landscapes, guided by Ashy’s lyrics and visualisation. the images, both photographs and drawings speak to the meanings around the songs.
Since the start of MTV in 1981 and the subsequent rise in importance of music videos as a promotional tool for music artists, the Duets Lookbook project adds an extra dimension to visualising music.
When you meet Ashley Pel for the first time, it’s hard not to be drawn into her innate passion for music and songwriting and when you hear Ashley sing for the first time, you know that music lives deep within her. They say the best things come in small packages – and it’s hard when you witness this 17 – year old artist from Gympie to comprehend the depth of her incredible voice. It is a voice that is entirely her own. Immediately artists like Kate Bush and PJ Harvey come to mind. And a primal desire in her songs to make an impact with her words and her stories. The past 18 months has seen Ashley grow as an artist – constantly writing and performing. Ashley has been part of the Woodford Talent Quest, Space Girls Festival and has opened for international guitarists in South East Queensland and been selected to be a part of the Plug In Music mentorship under the guidance of Deb Suckling supported by Creative Arts Alliance and Gympie Regional Council. This is one young lady that has firmly set her sights on a future in music. Ashley has a voice and guitar prowess to match that instills a great passion into the most seasoned of musical ears. Stay tuned – Ashley Pel is a young artist that will stake her ground in the years to come.
From Lady Gaga to the country’s fastest rising music stars, Australian fashion innovator and designer, Cindy Vogels, dresses the music, with a difference.
Founder and director of slow fashion label, Racy & Lucky, Cindy creatively collaborates with artists on one-off, obscure and beautiful garments, with her costumery and fashion featured on screens, stages and red carpets across the world, including London Fashion Week, the ARIAs, Eurovision Australia and a Christian Louboutin campaign with guitar-slinging artist, Jaguar Jonze.
Winning awards and launching her first fashion label at just 16 years old, Cindy Vogels was cast into the international spotlight when her handcrafted feather crown was worn by pop sensation, Lady Gaga in a 2017 performance with the inimitable Tony Bennett.
Cindy has since dedicated her unique talents to the music industry, growing an enviable portfolio of strong, striking designs, including the eclectic outfits for iconic rock band, Regurgitator’s 25-year anniversary tour.
A multi-talented creative, Cindy is also an event producer and creative director, founding both CollabAnation, a live arts performance movement promoting creative collaborations across Australia, and Space Girls Festival, a vibrant event committed to delivering 100% female programmed events.
This project is supported by Queensland Government through Arts Queensland.