12th March 2015 Written by Maureen Huang Arts

Two Worlds Collide with Stephanie Gray

When I stumbled upon a card of a hand-drawn bouquet of dried flowers, I became lost in the abundance of brown wilted leaves, inklings of red in roses with her heads faced down, and delicately drawn stems protruding in dozen different directions. As my eyes slid across the bottom of the page, there scrawled in black ink was the word GRAY. ‘Who is the one called Gray who created this card? I must find them!’

This was how I discovered Stephanie Gray.

Science and art: two worlds that seem to be on completely different ends of the spectrum. Stephanie Gray, the gal in between it all. With a science degree under her belt and a heck of a talent for watercolour and drawing, Stephanie is more than your cut-copy artist.

After having spent most of her childhood and adolescence in Bristol and the South of France, Stephanie sought a change of scenery. And a change of scenery she got. Now Stephanie is based in Sydney, and being thoroughly adjusted, Stephanie says her heart lies in Australia. “There is so much opportunity here and so much that I want to do! I love to be warm and love lengthy, light-filled days; these are the things I need to get my to-do list done.”

In order to pinpoint the catalyst of her creative career, we decided to take a trip down memory lane. Stephanie’s love for drawing and all things creative started from picture books. “I was a quiet child and I really enjoyed reading, especially books about little girls and gardens and fairies… I used to copy out the words and illustrations from these books and my mum would staple them together for me when I was finished. I suppose this is where it all began!”

As Stephanie’s passion for art continued to grow, she decided to develop her art alongside her science career. Having graduated with a Bachelor of Science at UNSW, it’s hard to believe choosing such a completely different pathway enabled her to enrich her love for all things creative. “I think that doing a very specific content heavy degree just highlighted the appeal of composing pictures and not words, so I think it has made it easier for me to find inspiration… it was lovely to have such separation between work time and playtime… After I graduated I was so excited to dedicate myself solely to art!”

And thus, her art label Erlenmeyer Art was born. Now you might be thinking, wait, her name is Stephanie Gray? Sounds nothing like Erlenmeyer. Well this is where Stephanie’s science background really shines through. When I asked her where her art moniker came from, she gave me a mini science lesson in return (or in short highlighted my total ignorance towards all things ‘science’). “Erlenmeyer is a reference to the German chemist Emil Erlenmeyer, who created a special flask and contributed significantly to the development of theories of molecular structure.”

But before the Erlenmeyer label represented her art, it was the title for her and her partner Byron’s jazz duet. “I had to take analytical chemistry for my degree and this is where I met my partner, Byron. He and I are both jazz musicians and when we found each other we formed the Erlenmeyer Duet, using the name because it sounds beautiful and elegant and that’s what we were trying to create with our music. Since then I’ve extended the name to represent my art because I am so attached to it and because I strive to achieve the same principals in my artwork as in our music.”

If there were one word to describe Stephanie’s work it would be ‘detail’. Precision is something that gives her work character. Along with detail, her subject matters can change from meticulously drawn dried flowers to a quirky pet name inspired walrus. From flowers to walruses, when trying to pin down her sources of inspiration, Stephanie showed me that inspiration can be found all around us. “Most of my pieces are created as gifts for friends and family… honouring their hobbies or favourite places. I also feel very inspired to do illustrations portraying the skills or beauty of people or things: wilted bouquets of flowers, a musician mid-performance, a little boy’s face after he’s dropped his ice-cream.”

Along with managing her etsy store, Stephanie’s also working on various other projects. “Currently I am working on a playing card deck that features illustrations of steam punk machinery. (kind of like the one featured in the picture at the top of this page) I find it so interesting to design playing cards because you have to identify competitive hierarchies within a theme and work out cohesive images for the back design and the jokers, as well as the typography work that is involved for lettering and numbering.” Together with this, Stephanie is also looking forward to putting on her first exhibition later on this year. Talk about being busy.

What attracted me the most towards Stephanie’s work was its personalised and homemade quality. Not only do you see this in her work, but also through the way she gets her art out to the public. Stephanie often runs a stall selling her originals, prints, gift cards and custom-illustrated playing cards at the North Sydney Markets on Miller Street, while also selling her stuff weekly at Paddington Markets. She often reminds people of her presence on her instagram posts, and encourages people who know of her art to come and say hello.

Interviewing Stephanie definitely felt like meeting and getting to know one of your closest friends for the first time: warm and cosy. This feeling reflects the way you feel when you stumble upon Stephanie’s work.

If you want to check out more of Stephanie’s stuff, you can find her on her website, etsy, facebook, instagram and through her little section at The Makery on Oxford Street, Darlinghurst.

Image: Stephanie Gray

25th November 2014 Written by Katrina Williams Trending Conversation

Miscellaneous Race

Our current world is for the most part, multicultural and diverse. Depending on which country you are in when you are reading this, the chances are that you will know someone who is a mix of few different racial backgrounds. If you’re from Australia, where I am from, the chances of knowing someone who is part Chinese, Portuguese or Greek is up there. I am Australian born but have a mixed background and a lot of people tend to recognise my heritage from my features.

Inevitably, I receive comments on my appearance but sometimes I receive slightly awkward comments that can't really be called 'politically correct' like, ‘what are you?’ and ‘you’re Australian?' 'Oh right but you’re some kind of mix, right?’ Perhaps because I am Australian, its in our culture to be pretty easy-going and hence, I am never really upset by these comments but at the same time, I know there are others who can be offended and pretty put off by these questions.

The question is, why does your racial mix matter in this day and age where so many countries are multicultural/multiracial, or however you would like to define it? However, it seems that race makes for a socially acceptable talking point a lot of the time. There are a lot of you out there who have parents and grandparents from here and there and everywhere. Getting asked these questions by people who usually have a background that seems to be the one race (as far as they know, anyway – let’s face it there’s almost no such thing as a pure race after years of invasions and wars) can’t be avoided but how do mixed people handle it?

I feel there are options:

  1. Answer politely and mentally excuse their lack of social awareness
  2. Ask them what they are. Throw it back at them.
  3. Give them a weird answer combining multiple racial backgrounds that you are definitely not (always fun when done with a 100% serious expression)

It’s usually a harmless question but is it that hard to be curious in such a way that isn’t uncomfortable for the so-called 'mixed race' person?

Here are some practical guidelines for others:

  1. Remember that people don’t appreciate being asked their race as if they are a dog breed.
    Replace “What are you?” with “Can I ask what your background is?” or “What’s your heritage?”
  2. Don’t tell them (the racially mixed person you’re curious about) that they are not the nationality of the country that you both reside in.  If they are a citizen or born/raised, chances are they identify with that nationality. E.g. as quoted above “You’re not Australian!” – this is not cool.
  3. Following up with “I hope you don’t mind me asking…” is always a good throw in.  It’s just like asking about a person’s age.  Some people are sensitive.  Get in touch with your sensitive side to avoid making things awkward. It can’t hurt.

I hope this articles serves as a helpful guide for both parties.

Image: Hannah Greethead

19th November 2014 Written by Hannah Greethead Arts

Postcards with Kenny

Don’t worry; it’s not what you think. This isn’t a daytime travel show; it’s an interview with the delightful Kenny Pittock. A little while back I sent Kenny a postcard, then he sent one back, then I sent another one... you get the gist.

We've already introduced Kenny here but in case you missed it, he's a Melbourne-based, multi-disciplinary artist. Kenny's practice includes drawing and sculpture which he uses to initiate a fun and clever commentary on Australian culture. Check out what he had to say about his work and other things.

Hannah

intro card

 

Kenny

postcard interview 1

Note (last line): Melbourne writers festival in 2 weeks. Is that worth mentioning?

 

Hannah

postcard interview 2

 

Kenny

postcard interview 3

 

Hannah

postcard interview 4

 

Kenny

postcard interview 5

postcard interview 6

 

Hannah

postcard interview 7

 

Kenny

postcard interview 9

 

Hannah

postcard interview 8

 

Kenny

postcard interview 11

Note (final line): Who knows. Ciao, Kenny

 

Hannah

postcard interview 10

Note: (final line): I didn't know that before.

Title image: Kenny Pittock

31st March 2014 Written by Yael Brender Health & Science

Australia’s Dirty Little Secrets

Your profession dictates your income, your social standing and—your sex life? The Australian Sex Census sheds lights on the bedroom habits of Aussies based on their career. Sounds weird, but stick with me here…

Working in Western Australia apparently raises your floozy factor to the nth degree—40% of those randy devils expect sex on the first date. Not just want it—expect it. Guys, I’ll wait while you book that trip to Perth…

The transport and logistics industry are the most likely to indulge in a little swinging, with a slutty 60% keen on a good ol’ game of Rotate the Spouse. Tying for second place in the swinging statistics are tradies and the oldies (that’s ‘retired’ to the politically correct), proving once and for all the age is no barrier to having lots of sex with other people’s spouses.

The defence force and emergency services workers head the pack when it comes to a bit of self-love, with almost 40% admitting to a bit of right-hand-action on a daily basis. Guess that makes sense, what with all the peace in the Australia right now, they must be bored as hell.

But ladies, I know you really want an answer to the BIG question—which group has the biggest schlong? Drumroll please…it’s those jerks down in Human Resources, apparently clocking in at an average of 7.05 inches. Chemists have the next biggest amount of trouser schnauzer action with 7 inches, followed by construction workers, who’ve erected themselves an average of 6.98 inches.

I’d be interested to know if they measured themselves and/or lied, because these stats could just indicate which group are the biggest liars. Or have the smallest ego. Or maybe we should all just take off our clothes and stretch out on the desks of some HR execs.

31st December 2013 Written by Thomas Brooke The New Frontiers

SLOPES: THE INTERVIEW

Remember Slopes? Not the wintry kind but the easy to roll up and down platform - if you have wheels. Melissa Loughnan from the creative team behind the innovative art space gives a glimpse into the gallery’s conception process, curatorship and why diverse art needs these social spaces to thrive. 'Slopes is a play on 'Slumps' which is frequently-used slang for Utopian Slumps, and references the ramp in the middle of the gallery space. The gallery is in what was previously a Citroën mechanics workshop and the ramp was used to transport cars from one level to another. In the division of the warehouse a wall was built at the top of the ramp, so now it effectively leads nowhere. We decided to celebrate this fact through the naming of the gallery and in the layout of the exhibitions, rather than leave it as an elephant in the room.’
18th December 2013 Written by Amanda Kerr Pop Cultured

BELATED ANGRY WEDNESDAY

It’s happened. Just when you thought having a sexist bigot for a Prime Minister was embarrassing enough, the High Court goes and throws out ACT’s same-sex laws. Over the short period of time that same-sex marriage was legislated in the ACT, 27 couples took advantage of this, including people from interstate, and got married. As of yesterday, all of these marriages are automatically annulled. They were ruled unconstitutional by the High Court because “ACT cannot legislate the marriage because it is a federal and Commonwealth power”. After reading The Australian, it’s not hard to be disgusted with the Australian Christan Lobby and their managing director Lyle Shelton, who stated
16th December 2013 Written by warholst The New Frontiers

Australia is the perfect place for the strange and the wonderful to grow

Australia is the perfect place for the strange and the wonderful to grow. Speaking of the eclectic, our latest art haunt to give a shout out to is Slopes - a new non-for-profit contemporary artspace in Melbourne. Slopes are helmed by this creative team: artist, curator and writer Brooke Babington, board members Melissa Loughnan (Utopian Slumps) and Helen Hughes (Discipline). After a healthy run on Pozible, Slopes have now launched their first art exhibition with the theme of ‘Knock it Off’ which covers the remix grounded life of today:

5th December 2013 Written by Baz Ruddick Pop Cultured

A COUNTRY CELEBRATES BECAUSE RICH LADY OWNS FAST HORSE

By Baz Ruddick Melbourne Cup day sits in society’s consciousness as one of those days where you can exercise your right to get drunk. And, lucky for you, you’re not going to get judged like you would any other day. It’s alright- society has okayed it with their Carlton Draught and Tom Waterhouse stamp of approval! T.V said so. Even Koshie and Mel were dressed up for the races…. Every year thousands of Australians part with their money and become racing enthusiasts for the day. People pretend they know something more about horses than the fact that they have four legs while they take the opportunity to don a suit/fancy hat, get shitfaced and wind up regrettably making out with someone before the sun even goes down. Believe me, sometimes you need the cover of darkness to hide your antics. But why do we celebrate the Melbourne Cup? What is there to celebrate? Do we celebrate because it is part of our Australian culture and heritage? Unlikely.

13th August 2013 Written by warholst Pop Cultured

Throwback Tuesday - Don Dunstan.

Throwback Tuesday - Don Dunstan. Former Premier of South Australia, between June 1967 and April 1968, and again between June 1970 and February 1979. JFK said something about a democracy getting the government it deserved. Just saying. JFK what a dream boat, that hair, he was so movie star, and an idealist. We had our own once, his name was Don Dustan. He looked and dressed like a goddam movie star, championed racial equality, gender equality and gay rights. And while we all snigger quietly and heap shit on Adelaide we sometimes need to remember that cool actually can come from sleepy SA. The real deal. The serious cool. Here’s to you Adelaide. Time for Daiquiris. So Throwback Tuesday today is dedicated to a time when politics was so much more interesting and to SA and to Don Dustan. Yeah. We’ll drink to that. Your political history lesson- it, begins here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Don_Dunstan
11th July 2013 Written by warholst In Conversation

VOX POP: Youth Opinions on the 2013 Election

VOX POP: Youth Opinions on the 2013 Election
19th December 2012 Written by Rebecca Lay In Conversation

Instant Celebrity - Martini. By Warhol’s Children’s Rebecca Lay

Impromptu interviews are beginning to become my thing, but hey, I’m not complaining (yet…). It’s given me the chance to talk with some really interesting people and our next Instant Celebrity is no exception. Although he might be on a different level of curiousness - Martin Lewis or Martini as he is known, is the owner of Martini Café & Bar south of King Street, Newtown – a regular hang out of Warhol’s Children when our stomachs start involuntarily rumbling because we haven’t been fed in days. It’s our destination of choice when we need a little field trip to stretch the legs and reawaken from our natural catatonic states.
1st December 2012 Written by warholst In Conversation

How to be totally amazing – a journey into professional sport

Rebecca Lay speaks to Australia’s next sporting uber-star, (and Warhol’s Children’s Instant Celebrity alumni) Tyra Calderwood. When we went around the office asking what we thought about our new instant celebrity after her interview (yep, the second you leave our office, we’re talking about you … only good though …) what came back were, interesting, lovely, humble, and honey-pie. So yeah … stop off at your regular all-American diner and pick yourself up a nice piece of humble honey-pie aka pro tennis darling Tyra Calderwood….
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