Tips

Sam Leach

Sam Leach

In 2017, Sam Leach presented a solo exhibition with Linden titled Avian Interplanetary. This show was held at Domain House in Melbourne’s Royal Botanic Gardens, while our Acland St home underwent a major renovation. We caught up with Sam to find out what he had been up to during lockdown and as it turns out, he has been very busy.

"My studio is at home and normally it is very quiet, but during lockdown I have been joined by my wife and daughters so isolation for me has meant a lot more human interaction than usual. Home-schooling has been fun – I found a mistake the maths teacher made, which was very satisfying. Some of the material they cover in school is quite interesting, and some is not.  But it is nice to recall how much fun it was mucking around with the other kids when the teacher isn’t looking – or when you have the camera turned off.

During round one of lockdown I added to my difficulties by building a new studio in my backyard and giving myself a couple of semi-serious (not actually serious though) injuries. Calling the ambulance and going to the hospital was an opportunity for conversations with different people and also an outing, so in a way quite a treat. I’m not sure what round two will hold but we have recently adopted a rescue cat (our beloved old cat died at the end of last year so we were ready for a new addition). Building a relationship with a new cat is a complex process so that is absorbing a lot of attention now. With what energy I have left after the cat and the home-schooling I am preparing for a solo show in Sydney at the end of August (touch wood). This show is paintings based on compositions developed using AI and its all about finding a way to have a society without anybody doing hard work. I started that idea before Covid but now it seems pretty apt."

Alicia King

Alicia King

2019. The exhibition aimed to raise questions about the use of technology to manipulate nature and biological systems, including the human body. We asked Alicia what she had been doing during lockdown and what had been keeping her motivated and entertained.

“While in lockdown I've started a new job and moved into a new house (both of which I'm very thankful for), so it's been quite a hectic time. I feel like I have less time now, even though I don't have a work commute anymore. I'm a bit of a workaholic homebody at the best of times, though in my 10th week working from home I finally have itchy feet to get out into the world again. In between packing up my old studio and setting up my new space I haven't had much creative time but having a break from making has been perfect for daydreaming and thinking about what I want to do next creatively. I've been doing a lot of reading and journal sketching, mapping out new project ideas; making the most of ACMI's free Wednesday night film program and links to queer films online; soaking up podcasts like Criminal and This is Love; disconnecting from the news-hype and avoiding COVID-19 conspiracy theory emails from certain family members. It's been a strange time.”

Kylie Stillman

Kylie Stillman

Kylie Stillman’s solo exhibition The Opposite of Wild was shown in 2017 at Domain House in Melbourne’s Royal Botanic Gardens, while our Acland St home was being renovated. We asked Kylie what she had been working on recently and what had been keeping her entertained and motivated over the recent weeks.

“Isolation for me has had me yearning for everything audio. The need to be on screens to communicate for work and learning had me reach for Bluetooth headphones and speakers and flood the house and studio with music, audio readings and conversation. Here are my three loves that are getting me through:

Dan Fox has released a makeshift audio recording of his book ‘Limbo’; the work has been great to revisit in the current climate of isolation.

Richard Watts, 9am - 12pm Thursday on RRR Smart Arts. To be able to still hear from the Melbourne arts community has helped bring the wider world within virtual reach.

And for the kids (3-6 years old), I have discovered Kinderling, which plays quality kids radio programs and music all day long. 

Mimili Maku Arts

Mimili Maku Arts

Anna Wattler, Manager at Mimili Maku Arts, has shared an update on how the Mimili community have been handling the government restrictions put in place in response to the COVID-19 epidemic. Though this has been a challenging time, it has also brought new opportunities to the community.

"Mimili is on the APY Lands, a region in the far northwest of South Australia. We have been under the Commonwealth Biosecurity Act since mid-March. This means that entry to our region is strictly restricted, and requires 14 days of self-isolation.

Whist those measures may seem extreme, it has been absolutely essential for keeping everyone in community safe. Like many remote Aboriginal communities we experience severe levels of social disadvantage, manifested – amongst other things – in poor health and living conditions that make it hard to impossible to enact best-practice hygiene for prevention of community transmission of COVID. With high rates of diabetes, asthma and kidney disease, large parts of the population out here are considered high-risk when exposed to the virus. That is why the strategy of restricting access to the APY Lands was enacted very early on, and has been strictly executed since."

KATIE GRAY

KATIE GRAY

Katie Gray is an emerging artist who is also part of our team of volunteers. We asked Katie how she has maintained her creative drive during lockdown.

"I would say the most important thing in order to stay creatively focused is to invest in yourself and your mental health. Then seek some inspiration. Take your time with it, to gather enough that you feel ready to create again. And take time to rest if you need it. Pick some type of project to focus on - something that has an achievable end goal. In such trying times with no control over how long the circumstance will last, it's important to give your brain something to focus on; something that is in your control, and something that you can see the achievable outcome and finish line for."

Erin Coates

Erin Coates

Erin Coates exhibited in Dark Water with Anna Nazzari at Linden in 2019.

“My practice is quite strongly connected to ideas I’ve formed around endurance and physicality – at first it was rock climbing, and now it’s free-diving. I need these activities to drive the conceptual aspects of my work and also maintain a sense of physical and creative endurance.

Reading Haruki Murakami’s book What I Talk About When I Talk About Running was like a road to Damascus moment for me. So obviously, being cooped up during COVID-19 is pretty hard! Luckily, in WA, I can still get out for a nearby run and some free diving training in the Derbarl Yerrigan (Swan River). This is allowing me to have long studio days. I’m working on several new pieces. Some require a lot of concentration and I find I can only have instrumental background music on. Film soundtracks are great for this. I like quite dark stuff, such as the scores to Under the Skin, Annihilation, Sicario, Bladerunner 2049. For other studio work I can listen to podcasts and audiobooks. My current favourites are: 99% Invisible (fascinating design stories), The Allusionist (all things linguistics, very entertaining), ABC’s Bookshelf and Conversations, and I love the podcast The Scissor Sisters – women filmmakers discussing genre, action and horror films. My life goal at the moment is to be a guest on there.” 

Anna Nazzari

Anna Nazzari

Anna Nazzari exhibited Dark Water with Erin Coates at Linden in 2019.

“As a self-diagnosed introvert, I thought working from home would be a breeze - I would be able to avoid peak hour traffic and have more time for making art. The reality has been a lot harder, work often bleeds into my art practice time, so establishing boundaries has been the most difficult thing for me. I have found time to focus on my practice and … it is the first time in 18 years that I can just enjoy playing/experimenting without a deadline looming. 

Currently, I am interested in exploring a sort of transhuman transmigration, in which everyone may have to migrate in some way, shape or form after the impact of a major disaster or climate change. In this space, I don’t just want to focus on human migrating bodies after a disaster I also want to include human/animal hybrids. I guess I am most interested in questioning what a transhumanist transmigration might look like i.e. is it moving to a liminal place in which humanity has evolved beyond its physical and mental limitations or is it a familiar place but one “humans” do not normally inhabit such as the ocean? 

When I am thinking about this and painting, I love to listen to music and I find what is getting me through at this time is live music videos on Instagram. In particular, I am a fan of the Isol-Aid festival. The voyeur in me likes seeing the artist’s home environment as well as the raw nervous energy of artists performing alone (or trying hard to social distance). I am also enjoying Beinart Gallery’s one-on-one artist talks and some of Saatchi Gallery’s live presentations. 

Importantly though, I’m doing okay and I hope you are also fairing well in these strange times.”

NATALIE RYAN

NATALIE RYAN

Natalie Ryan exhibited a series of photographs and sculptures in an exhibition titled Imaging the Dead at Linden in 2018. We asked Natalie to share her thoughts on isolation and to let us know what she’s currently working on.

“I believe working within restrictions can allow for new opportunities to develop. It’s important to try and adjust to keep moving and motivated. I know it can be easier said than done but we have time to explore how. I am currently working from home due to restricted studio and kiln access, for me this means I am changing the medium I predominately work in.

I usually work in clay - either firing the work to finish as ceramic or making moulds of the work to cast in other materials. As I am unable to use these materials at the moment I will be developing a series of drawings and also jewellery works which I will be able to sculpt on a very small scale and finish in safer times. It’s important during this time of adjustment to not be hard on yourself as we’ll all need a bit of warm up time to set new routines and negotiate workarounds for multiple parts of our lives – I’ve started several drawings and haven’t been able to stick with one yet!

I am quite used to working in isolation in the studio but I always make sure that when I take my breaks I communicate with people – either social media, phone calls, text etc. I think this is really important as it can pick up your mood and change the your headspace. When working I also listen to music or podcasts. I’m currently being a bit nostalgic and listening to some albums from the past, as for podcasts a bit of true crime but at the moment I’m enjoying Clementine Ford’s ‘Big Sister Hotline’ for a bit of fun and David Zwirner’s ‘Dialogues’ which has some interesting conversations between creatives. I’m reading ‘Love in the Time of Cholera’ by Gabriel García Márquez which was a gift. 

I’ve just watched a British Crime series ‘The Capture’ on ABC, which was great, and I’ve been watching measured doses of the ABC News who I believe are providing the most informative and useful information. I’m loving making lots of yummy and healthy food, we are getting fresh fruit and veg and a cheeky wine delivered by the Local Drop - a company that has started delivering local produce to your door contact-free that would have normally gone to restaurants.  I think it’s really important to take moments everyday that are just for you, simple pleasures and time away from all the noise are everything.” 

NICOLE NEWMAN

NICOLE NEWMAN

Nicole Newman exhibited with Linden in 2017 at the headquarters of the National Trust in Melbourne.

“Being a sculptor or any artist is a solitary profession, so for me it has been no great change. Will see if that holds true in 6 months. I become engrossed in work until I'm not, so then the multi streaming platforms come into their own.

I watch documentaries on art, history and even cooking, although I don't like to cook and I don't. By the end, the day has gone. P.S. If you are a member of a library you can download KANOPY app which allows you 10 free views a month of their art house movies, documentaries and courses.”

JACQUI STOCKDALE

JACQUI STOCKDALE

Jacqui Stockdale is an artist and currently installed at Linden with her exhibition The Long Shot.

I actually flourish well with very little noise. I live in an old house in Preston with lots of trees so there are always birds chatting, even at night.I only listen to podcasts when I am driving or jogging (very slowly). Eckhart Tolle, The Power of Now is one I have on repeat, Maria Stoljar, Talking with Painters is great. Not much else actually. People keep giving me their faves but I still prefer to listen to surround sounds…I love music from my stereo but I save it for Global Village on PBS every Sunday from 5pm. I am a big fan of live music with brass instruments. Most of my friends seem to be performers drawn to gypsy, balkan, swing styles.  Now that all the work for my recent solo exhibition project, The Long Shot, is over I can let myself read a novel. It's called, Wanting by Richard Flanagan. However, most of my reading is for research for my art.  I watch films on SBS On Demand, latest one is Strange Colours directed by Alena Lodkina. It’s set in Lightning Ridge, NSW and many of the actors are non-actors, you can tell, they are so real. It is very sparse and moving film.  My son and I watch 'You Cant Ask That' together on ABC TV’s iView.  I listen to Radio National when I am in the kitchen to catch up on the world. Cooking is my de-stress go to. With the last of our leeks I am making a potato, leek and cheese pie, I might throw in some grated zucchini as we grew too many. I cook like I make art, 'it's all a collage', I say. I nick figs from around the neighbourhood to make into fig preserve so that we have figs for winter to go with yoghurt.

HANA VASAK

HANA VASAK

Hana Vasak is a Linden Gallery Administrator and ceramic artist.

Working from home can definitely be a positive. Over the years I have come to enjoy the solitary nature of having a home studio. It has allowed me to embrace having a relaxed routine including creating my own working hours, at times working in my PJ’s.Probably not the best studio practice but these are the wonderful benefits that working from home can bring. I’ve discovered the ways I work best and found a routine that has helped me stayed focused when I am on my own. I like to start my day in the studio by having my cup of coffee, making a to do list – I like to draw the pieces I will create that day. This is usually followed by catching up on my weekly dose of the news on the 7AM podcast and like many others I enjoy listening to true crime, though this is definitely mood dependent and in the later afternoon I listen to music. I enjoy spending a bit of time preparing my lunch and eating this in my garden. When I finish for the day I like to get out of the house and go for a walk along the Merri Creek which helps clear my mind.  I think creating your own simple pleasures that you can instil into your everyday can provide you with those small moments of enjoyment. 

YILIN ZHAO

YILIN ZHAO

Yilin Zhao is a Linden volunteer. She has now entered her second month of self-isolation in China and provided us with this update.

As I have kept self-isolation for nearly two months, I have to find myself something to do at home - I'm now taking French classes with my tutor online every weekday afternoon!As for some small "self-care at home" tips, I believe keeping a regular daily schedule really works. Keep moderate exercises, have good meals, keep social distance and most importantly, wear a mask when you come into contact with others. Washing hands is essential but don't forget to sanitize your phones and doorknobs - anything you would touch frequently. Also, I would advise to stock some food at home to minimize the amount of purchases. Keeping self-isolation really helps since it actually protects yourself, doctors and nurses and the country's medical resources to lower the fatality


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