Darby Street Live, the micro-festival that saw the likes of many talented local musicians and artists come together on Darby Street, is well and truly done and dusted for 2018. 😢Alas, fingers are crossed that this event will return again for 2019!
The event was a huge success and for those who came and spent their Saturday arvo sesh on Darby Street, you would agree that the vibes were great and the atmosphere was really special. You can catch a glimpse of just what I'm talking about below... (Shout-out to Gravity Films for the awesome vid!)
However, with any event, there are special teams of people who make sh*t happen and often in really creative ways - that can be said about the No-Fi Art Collective, who put their heads together to do some of the awesome brand work for Darby Street Live.
Consisting of Krystyan Nowak (BUSTER), Hannah Dunn, Angus Bowen (Aanguskhan) and Liz Pike - the No-Fi Art Collective are consistently bringing their unique styles and creativity together to do branding for some of Newy's favourite bands, events and just for the heck of it.
They each have a heck of a lot of talent and are bringing something different and un-tapped to the Newcastle art scene and,the team at Newcastle Mirage thought that we needed to give that a shout-out.
We got to chat to the team about how they worked together to make the Darby Street Logo as well as some of their favourite local talents and what's next on their artistic journey (yeah, I used that word - sorry). The full interview can be found further below.
If you're keen to learn more about each artist individually, keep reading ahead...
I think Liz described it best in our interview when she said her style revolves a lot around 'people' and how unintentionally her artworks always seem to find a way to come back to them. Liz has a really beautiful way of making the human form shine and making an impression on 'canvas' - I say 'canvas' because her work cannot be limited to one medium - with her work having appeared already on event posters, E.P covers, canvas, glass windows, t-shirts, etc. Since joining No-Fi Collective in July last year, Liz has also been exploring and translating her beautiful paint work to work well graphically, a tribute she pays to fellow art member, Angus Bowen.
What to Expect Next
Liz recently had her own exhibition in collaboration with artist, Jonathan Mccallum, at Woodriver Studios called 'Embraced in Thought' on Good Friday - which was described as an exhibition that focused on "..their respective forms of painting and poetry to address the ongoing effects of our attachment to memories.”
Next in the pipeline is an appeared in Angus' art zine, 'Absolutely Hideous', which will give Pike an opportunity to see her amazing work on some nice glossy paper - which you, too, can enjoy as well!
Instagram // @liz.pike.art & @liz.pike
Collection of Works
Honing his skills in the graphic design medium, Angus has been a creative mastermind for No-Fi Art Collective since 2015, as well as sowing his own seeds with individual prints, designs and projects that we, Newcastle Mirage, have even teamed up with in the past - (t-shirts available here). Angus is known for his love of colour and his etch-a-sketch approach to design with projects that leave lasting impressions, inspired by western comic book strip illustrations and Manga.
Not to mention, Angus is also the creator, curator and designer of the fine arts zine 'Absolutely Hideous', which takes local Newcastle artists and outside of the box themes to produce something funky & interesting. You can pick up his last issues here...
Seriously this guy has produced so many great graphics and prints, available both in print, t-shirt and poster form, that his collection of works is only the tip of the iceberg. Check out his Instagram and personal website for more amazing stuff! *goes & buys an Aanguskhan designed tee*
What to Expect Next
Angus is currently working on his third volume of 'Absolutely Hideous', which will feature fellow No-Fi Art Collective member - Liz Pike - as well as some other amazing local artists. Be sure to keep an eye on his socials to pick up/order a copy!
Instagram: @aanguskhan & @aangusrhodes // Facebook // Website
Collection of Works
Meet Krystyan Nowak
Compared to the fellow members of No-Fi Art Collective, Krystyan has a very stripped back style. His style distinctly focuses on hand-drawings and stylised paintings that play around with composition & create some very abstract works. Also, you will most likely find Krystyan's work under the name 'BUSTER', cause why not? (I think it's cause he love dogs & I mean, who wouldn't?) 🐺
Some of Nowak’s illustrations have even been published in local zines including issues of 'Absolutely Hideous' and 'The Line' - you can check out more of his stellar sketches on Instagram or below.
What to Expect Next
As part of No-Fi Art Collective, Krystyan will be kept busy continuing to support the local music scene with his designs. Best to keep an eye out on Krystyan's socials for new stuff!
Instagram: @buster_va & @krystyan_nowak // Facebook
Collection of Works
Hannah is a young freelancer who joined No-Fi Collective in July 2017 & has been distinctly working with local talents, Fritz, Split Feed and Altai, with designing all things awesome - E.P covers, shirts, posters - pretty cool stuff IMO.
Her style takes your Mum's scrapbooking and turns it into something for the 'young ones' - kinda like the Burn Book of Mean Girls, but hella empowering & inspired. Hannah is also a very talented illustrator, having had her her first solo exhibition, 'Pas Romantique' (translates from French to ‘Not Romantic’) at Watt Space Gallery back in August 2017. If you're into art that rebels against the status quo - you'll love Hannah's work.
What to expect next
Let's just say you may see a few of Hannah's empowering 'Burn Book' collages at Maitland and Bendigo's leg of Groovin' The Moo this year. Maybe.. I'm not 100% sure. 😉
Instagram: @hannart.dunn & @hannah_dunn_ //
Collection of Works
To conceptualise the logo for Darby Street Live, what kind of things had to be considered? What did you want to make sure was included?
Hannah Dunn [H]: The key focus of the logo design for me was to reflect how diverse the line-up was with all the local talent of such a range of genres, as well as embracing the venues and businesses found on Darby Street itself.
I also wanted to make sure it was colourful and fun, so the bright colours were really important for me to make it vibrant and memorable.
Angus Bowen [A]: The biggest consideration was celebrating the diversity of the festival as well as Darby Street and Newcastle as a city. We made sure to include bright colours, good representation of creativity and inclusive imagery.
We also had to make sure that the typography work was strong enough to work by itself as a logo in situations the hands just weren’t going to be scaled well, which is always a fun challenge to work on and I think Liz really nailed it. We certainly spent a lot of the time working out just which style we were going to use.
What were your specific roles in the creation of the Darby Street Live logo?
[H]: I took on the role in coming up with a visual design of the logo, so each hand was individually painted on paper and then scanned in.
The text for both the “Darby Street Live” logo and event poster details were handwritten by Liz Pike, and all the logo and poster formatting was directed by our graphic designer Angus Bowen.
[A]: My role was to direct the team in finding a style that fit the festival, but also the city.
I am lucky enough to be a part of a really great team of talented, amazing people. It was important to me that while this was a team effort, it needed to have artwork from just one or two of our artists - where Krystyan and I were able to then be a good support network to Hannah and Liz for the first period. I was also the lead graphic designer so I had the fun job of putting it all together and looking at the great work those two did a lot.
As an art collective, were there any set backs with conflicting artistic styles or preferences?
[H]: I think the way our timelines fell into place with this project allowed us to all chip in our ideas and get straight into each of our roles without too much discussion or setbacks. We created a mood board that built up a colourful theme which helped us decide what roles each of us were taking on.
[A]: There is always going to be little issues but I think because we all know each others style inside out and are all really good friends that we are able to discuss really openly and find the best roles for each member to get the best finished product.
[L]: Even though we all have pretty different art styles it was very easy to collectively decide on an art direction when taking into account the festival and target audience. I think the difference between our artistic styles really works to our advantage as we’re able to utilise everyone’s strengths.
How did you decide on what would become the final product?
[H]: We ended up narrowing down to two possible designs, which Angus and I put forward in a meeting with the curators of the event. As soon as we put the first design forward we all almost instantly agreed it was the one to use for the event which was really exciting.
[A]: It was a pretty unanimous decision from everyone once we got it down to the last two works. Which is always relieving because often you will find that once time pressure is an issue, people start to get more picky.
When you finally saw the end product, what was that like?
[H]: I was really excited to see our hard work sitting in the windows of some of my favourite local businesses along Darby Street, and especially seeing so many people coming out to support the event, looking at the program to make sure they don’t miss any music.
[A]: Seeing your work in physical form is always quite a unique feeling, I know we got a lot of compliments surrounding the main poster and illustration and I think the colours turned out quite exceptional, which can be a worry when designing on a computer and just having to wait till its printed to see.
[L]: It’s always really different seeing a physical copy of your work hung up, as opposed to viewing it on a screen during editing. It was really nice seeing the hard work of the team come together and each of our own elements complimenting each other.
You’ve all got your own individual art projects and styles - how would you describe that to people?
[H]: I would say my style is fairly consistent in the block colours and illustrative method I paint with, but I also create collages which has a bit more freedom and is often separate to my painting style.
[A]: My visual art style would probably be best described by relating it to graphic novels and their illustration.
Manga and some western comic book artists are certainly a huge influence. My design style is a bit harder to describe - I always enjoy changing the style I use from project to project to give the client something that is unique and ‘theirs’, I believe its much more rewarding that way for me and for them.
[K]: Still a work in progress, but my style always has a handmade and hand-drawn quality.
[L]: I think the subject of my work consistently comes back to people, sometimes unintentionally, so I often find myself working within portraiture.
Lately I’ve been predominantly working with old photographs and layering of painting with translucent materials like sheets of plastic. My work was recently described as ‘[combining] realism with an affected romanticism that recognises beauty but questions it’s truth or hints at it’s fragility’, I feel like that hits the nail on the head.
What do you love about Newcastle’s art scene?
[H]: I started to get involved in the Newcastle Art scene about a year ago and I was blown away at how welcoming and supportive it is.
It’s been an absolute pleasure getting to know some of the great local artists we have like Tom Henderson, Gillian Adamson and Joseph Belford (just to name a small few). I’d say the scene is incredibly supportive and diverse. 💕
[A]: What I really love about it is the diversity as well as the friendship and community. Everybody are mates and I don’t think I wouldn’t buy anyone a beer.🍻
[K]: The scene is very supportive and encouraging.
[L]: Definitely the support. I feel like I could reach out to absolutely any of the friends I’ve made within the Newcastle art scene for a hand, advice or support relating to art.
Do you have a favourite local artist? Why?
[A]: Uhhhhhh I’ve been a huge fan of Gillian Adamson since I saw her works at a Suspension exhibition last year and was so stoked to have her in the second issue of the zine I produce ‘Absolutely Hideous’. I think the colours and textures in her work are amazing, but there are also people like Elliot Watson; who is going to blow up (I swear), Liz Pike of course, Joseph Belford is a star and photographers like James Rhodes and Bronte Godden (Lazy Bones) are really some of the best of their craft locally.
[K]: All the above. Mel O’Dell. Quinn Squires (Real Salad). Renae Titchmarsh. Nick Barlow. Lu Quade. Leah Poi. Mia Peters. Jerry Ray. Jemima Hodge. Robert Connell. Clare Hodgins. Dale Forward. I could go on for a while. (Newcastle hosts a lot of amazing artists, obviously!)
[L]: So many huge talents have already been mentioned. I’m really in awe of Renae Titchmarsh’s art and graphic design. She’s also incredibly helpful and has given me a hand with graphic design in the past so I value her opinion and support immensely. Lazy Bones is hands down my favourite photographer, and Lottie Consalvo is a big inspiration who has made me cry at least once during her performance works.
What can people expect to see from you next - anything in the works?
[H]: I have been working on some collages that will be mural displays at this year’s Groovin' The Moo, which will be at Maitland and Bendigo which is really exciting.
[A]: I am about to start working on my zine ‘Absolutely Hideous’ and its third volume. It’s a really exciting thing for me because I get to learn lots of things from some of the best artists in Newcastle and maybe show them to some people that haven’t heard of them, all the while I get to practice some layout design and be inspired and learn about other practices which can then influence my own.
[L]: I’m really excited to be in the next volume of ‘Absolutely Hideous’, as Angus mentioned above. We had our first meeting with all the artists this week which was really inspiring, feeling very lucky to get to work alongside some of my favourite local artists.