Strolling Through the Studios

In addition to the delights and demands of the day job, I’ve been getting out and about. One highlight of the last fortnight was meeting Vincent Fantauzzo in his studio. Vincent occupies an entire floor of an office block in South Melbourne – the light is good and even, the walls spacious, and the labyrinth of rooms allow him sufficient walls to paint on, enough offices to maintain his business, and some storage space for his finished work, though he invariably sells before a piece is completed.

Artists meeting artists have curious conversations. Always stimulating, but often circumventing the issues. In my experience when two painters meet for the first time they don’t ever talk about the ‘why’ but always the ‘how’. ‘How did you get that glazed effect there?’ ‘How did you manage that scumbling on that passage of colour there?’ And so on. I guess ‘the why’ is a given – you rarely question another artist’s motivation, ambition, or compulsion. It’s best left silent – a shared bond. Vincent’s recent work is absolutely gripping – ambitious, bold and adventurous in its urge to collaborate across generations and cultures. He’s also an extraordinary case study in how a university experience – happily in this case RMIT – can radically transform a life. I’ll leave you to seek out his story, it’s rather special and it’s easily accessible online.

I was with another painter this week too. Ella Whateley is putting her toe in the water of the Melbourne art scene with a major show of recent works at fortyfivedownstairs on Flinders Lane. What splendid spaces for showing art this country has! Ella’s work looked stunning in the lengthy volume of the basement. Her colours seem to throb and glow on the walls. It’s a good job I took this photograph – her other half, who is a very senior colleague at RMIT, was so carried away with the marvellous occasion he nearly failed in his photographic duties.

Lastly, hats off to my Fashion and Textiles colleagues at Brunswick. Not only did they successfully stage a massive colloquium in Saigon last month and then an equally successful smart textiles conference here in Melbourne a few days later, but they’ve arrived at the best title for any blog yet crafted: The Houndstooth Wrap. However, my first choice (which they discarded – so spoilt they were with literary riches) was, of course, Ripping Yarns. Their blog is just awesome – to use one of the many subverted words that now litter the 21st century vernacular.

And very finally, thanks to those readers who read my ‘rant’ on Brexit in the last blog and responded in full over the past few weeks. One reader asked – rather teasingly – if I was actually paid by the word…

From spaces to studios, from showcases to symposiums, I never fail to be impressed by my RMIT associates. All this visual stimulation is making my usual paperwork look decidedly colourless. Perhaps I’ll trade it in for my sketchbook this weekend?

candy striped wall

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