Honestly, when I was organising the interview I had planned to do the standard Mirage article template and transcribe the interview and top/tail it with a quick blurb, but I really love the recording for that beautiful phone call recording style. So I’m putting it up on our Podcast now and you can listen to it.Read More
A gallery of one's own
Meet 3 volunteers from Independent Galleries Newcastle
A re-purposed Dance Studio with classic Ballet mirrors running along the side wall tucked away above the Sol Invictus Motorcycle Store in Hunter Street Mall sits Melisah May's Art Studio.Read More
Newcastle has a few things popping up on every corner: Espresso Bars & Small Bars... And Art Galleries! Some of them appear to be rooted in peoples want to create a place to "Work" which is really more about where they want to hang out every day. But there are other galleries like 139 that are clearly passionate about art, local creativity... And... much more importantly... They understand what it takes.
It takes creating something special, reasons to visit the gallery, interacting with the community and being a part of the scene you want to visit your space rather than just "Create it and they will come" that often takes place.
Place: Gallery 139 Address: 139 Beaumont Street Hamilton, NSW Hours: Wed-Fri 10-5 & Sat 10-2
Why We Love it: Who doesn't love a Gallery Dog? Coco Mo is this gorgeous little guard dog happy to greet customers at the door. Plus Ahn is amazing too. Stop by for a chat, look around the incredible walls, find out about up-coming exhibitions as well as a fantastic resource of local information. Put the top-end of Beaumont street on your monthly visit route and stop by. You won't regret it.
"What is the value of Print Media?" Below you will find the notes that made up our Idea Bombing presentation from March 20th in The Press Book House on Hunter Street in the heart of Newcastle. If you are unfamiliar, Idea Bombing is an event that invites a series of people to speak about an idea and highlight potential ways that this "Problem" might be solved such as "Newcastle after Dark" or "What is the value of Print Media" as we solved, and so did The Follower Newspaper, 2hrsNorth, and White Magazine. After the four presentations the audience is asked to "Idea Bomb" a wall with their suggestions of ways the city or idea could evolve or change.
(Kian West & Ryan Williams)
Where did it all start?
It was some time January 2013, Ryan and I had developed a bit of a habit for catching up weekly on Darby Street for coffee. We had been working on several projects together for a while… One day I highlighted that Reverb, a Newcastle/Central Coast based street-press, had ceased its print version back in September 2012 and it puzzled me as to why… Well, not exactly since it doesn’t take much to work out print is expensive and thus you need to find lots of advertisers to pay for it before you even start on paying salaries.
So I threw the idea at Ryan and we started talking regularly about it…
Months later the idea hadn’t gone away, but the math just didn’t add up, there was no way we could find enough advertisers quickly enough that we didn’t end up with some $500,000 debt… It was probably about March where we suddenly changed our framework, what if we made a limited edition print, more like a couple of 1000 rather than 50,000, built loyalty and solid distribution points and scaled up. At the same time operating under a “Zine” style structure we could print at low cost thus low risk. It’s also about then that our Ethos started to arise
1. All our articles would be positive, since Newcastle is full of this tall-poppy syndrome, negative whinge effect where everyone chips away at one another and no one celebrates the wins of the community.
- All articles would be about Newcastle and Novocastrians, because lets face it there is enough awesome going on in our city to not have to write about the latest Nick Cave tour. Funnily enough in the last 2 years the “People of New York” has arrived and in some ways it highlights that it is possible to have an inward focus and yet still capture the attention of a country or the World.
What is in a name?
So it’s about March and the idea was still with us, we had decided to have a crack at this “Art and Culture Zine” idea and we had a basic plan. But we needed a name. We were starting to think of ourselves as a bit of an oasis for local culture, for Novocastrians to read positive stuff about Newcastle and we were going to be creating a limited production, a bit of a blink and you miss it so one of the ideas that was thrown around was a “Mirage” this image of an Oasis in the distance, but you blink and it is gone. Plus the URL was available and no one had registered the business name so it kind of stuck.
We should really start by saying for Mirage it isn’t all about print, while our focus is on a print product we create monthly, on time every time, it is all about a bigger picture that ties in with social media, email channels and our website. Because, while we want everyone to read our little magazine, we know we need to connect with a larger audience and drive them to it.
Print is probably only 60% of what we do, but it is the most important. It drives everything else around it, but we spend a lot of time ensuring that other channels are nurtured because you never know what is just around the corner.
That said, we love print, it wouldn’t work in digital because it is so important that tactile moment, that people treasure Mirage for Months or years to come. That our audience comes to understand they have something very limited and potentially of value in years to come. We know this is already happening because people already contact us trying to find copies of editions gone by to complete the set, it’s why we have a subscription option.
Why Print isn’t dead?
The more digital comes into play the more we seek that analogue experience. There is a lot of similarity to be drawn from the music industry, while many people are happy to jump on spotify, or buy via iTunes, there are just as many people still using CDs as a primary format and vinyl is totally coming back. For Mirage, we think it is all about the moment, that sense of touch that connects with the smell or the feel that becomes a memory. It’s much more rare to achieve this with digital.
"What is the value of Print Media?"
To us, everything we have just talked about is the value, it’s the treasure, it’s the memories, it’s what draws us back to it again and again.
With Sophie Smyth
By Kian West
Well I studied sculpture and product design in Sydney & like so many others in my situation, I was completely underwhelmed with my choices when it came time to leave my little creative student bubble and start a career. I did work for a few years selling other people’s designs but I always longed to do something self-directed.
Where did the idea for Last Tuesday come from?
Last Tuesday came about from said benched longing and the eventual realisation (it took me a really long time actually), that a lot of people were saying,
“Hey! Nice bag. Where did you get it?”
My friends would then dutifully and proudly tell them that, “Sophie made that bag.” And one day I thought, I should do this!
When did you start Last Tuesday?
I started in January 2013 when I moved back to Newcastle with my partner. I’m a Newy girl, but I had been in Sydney for years.
Renew Newcastle gave me my first big break when they offered me a store front at The Emorium in the old David Jones building. It was a great way for me to connect with my customers and gain confidence.
And What is Last Tuesday all about?
Last Tuesday has always been about hand-making the designs with beautiful quality leather and materials in small, limited numbers. I want people to own something unique & special. There is so much mass production today that artisan skills are being lost. It’s very sad. I am part of the movement we are seeing emerge reacting against this.
By now plenty of Novocastrians are probably keen to see your stuff, where can they find you?
You can purchase one of my bags online at www.lasttuesday.com.au
I am also stocked at Honey Bee on Darby St and I will be doing some markets in both Newcastle and Sydney coming up to Christmas.
Anything else Novocastrians should know?
As someone who has moved back to Newcastle as an adult, I couldn’t recommend this city enough for people who are looking to have a creative career and life. There are so many wonderful people here that really do support and challenge you. Newcastle for me, has given me to confidence to go after the life I want.
The Production Hub
With Olivia & Gavin
By Kian West
SOMETIMES YOU GET THOSE PHONE CALLS THAT TELL YOU, YOU ARE ON THE RIGHT TRACK! WE GOT A CALL FROM THE CREW AT THE PRODUCTION HUB AND IT FELT JUST LIKE THAT, A COUPLE OF RAD PEOPLE IN NEWCASTLE DOING RAD THINGS LIKE SETTING UP A CREATIVE HUB FOR THEMSELVES AND OTHERS TO WORK TOGETHER AND LEARN. HERE IS THEIR STORY…
The Production hub is more than just a co-working space, some might say it is a love story, a romance intertwined with the city of Newcastle, Olivia or Gavin, would you care to tell us this story?
G: Olivia and I met at a party, swapped numbers and over time started to develop a film project. Through that we realised a common love for film and people. What struck me about her was that she was a beautiful, talented woman who really cared and treated people she filmed with such respect and honour. Regardless of who they were. That struck a chord with me. We both wanted to tell stories that would be inspiring and challenging, things progressed quickly. I bribed her to move to Newcastle with me by offering her a job at my company Good Eye Deer.
The business business grew quickly, Good Eye Deer was on trajectory and Olivia came along at the perfect time. We love telling stories and have the same values, so it was a perfect team.
The Production Hub idea came about when we were working in awesome collaborate shared office. We really enjoyed the cross fertilisation experience by being in a space with others doing exciting things. But had a vision of our own. Our vision was to create a space where facilities encouraged creativity.
We love Newcastle and all it has to offer creatively. We saw that while there were lots of great initiatives in Newcastle there was nothing that was production focussed. We wanted to create a place where people can come together to share ideas, encourage new ways of doing things and doing business. The Production Hub is not just about creative people coming together, it’s about business’ thinking and working creatively.
We saw lots of cool offices around, but nowhere to do the work of planning and developing. Our most important room is the Workshop where we build ideas. Everything in The Hub is purpose built (like our films) with both form and function in mind. They look good but to work well too.
On opening night someone said to Olivia ‘Today is a part of history for Newcastle. The Production Hub is a part of a new Newcastle.’ That meant a lot to us.
Can you tell us a little bit about yourselves and what you were doing before The Production Hub?
O: I have been making films since 2006. When I joined Gavin at Good Eye Deer we were working at another co working facility – The Roost. The Roost was a way to introduce ourselves to Newcastle and find our feet. Since joining forces the business was expanding, we really needed an office to facilitate our growth and also show visually what our brand is about. We designed The Pro Hub so that everything you see is a Good Eye Deer.
G: 4 years ago I was working in a home office doing great work (well that’s what my clients told me). It was getting to a stage with Good Eye Deer where the company was getting too big for just one man. I needed to bring someone else onto the team, but they had to be the right person…that was when I met Olivia.
So What exactly is The Production Hub? What happens there and who should come and check it out?
O: It’s Newcastle’s premier co-working space. It’s an awesome space, an office of the future. A place to hold seminars, annual meetings or rent a desk. It’s beautiful.
Companies who are looking for new ways to relate to their clients and their staff can come hire our space. We hire out or Meeting or Workshop/Seminar room to companies who are looking to step outside their square and reach new ideas. It’s the perfect palace to come for a day with your team to see how to do things differently. Our 9m white board wall is great to write on while the ideas flow. We encourage any group/company to come utilize our space.
G: We then created The Pro Hub, with the intention to express our uniqueness and individuality as a business. It doesn’t matter how good your home office is, it will reflect on your image. Like a meal, if a meal is served that is delicious and not presented well, it will not be accepted well. Just as a bad quality meal presented well – will be. I don’t agree with that but I live within that reality. We feel The Pro Hub represents us. A friend walked into the space when it was finished and said ‘Ah now I see you in a whole new light’ it was like he could see us finally.
We are looking forward to others joining us and doing things together. Not just creative’s , but all businesses from all fields.
We are all about collaborating. We are not competing with anyone; there is more than enough work out there. If we work together can achieve remarkable things and put Newcastle on the map - not just nationally but internationally.
Where can people find you?
4 Crown Street
Level 1 / Suite 3
Crown Street Newcastle.
Linkedin - The Production Hub Newcastle
INSTA - theproductionhubnewcastle
Twitter - @TheProHub
You are both obviously highly creative and passionate about what you do, can you pinpoint a moment this began or maybe when you started taking it all seriously?
O: I started taking it all seriously when I saw Good Eye Deer come to life. When Lions Australia requested three national TVCs that really allowed me to step up as a Producer. To have such a huge project, and them all be different creative concepts was big. I got a buzz when I saw the quality of what we produced, that was when I really could see the power of what Gavin and I could produce.
G: The transition from craftsmen to businessman took place after going to a local seminar by local business coach Matt Linnert??? I think it was called ‘Doing Business with Intention’. It was then I realised that regardless of whether I wanted to acknowledge it or not, as a craftsmen I have to be a businessman as well.
Matt said ‘some people to be leaders other people just lead’. I decided at that point that we just needed to move forward with what we do and see who was interested. There were things that weren’t here in Newcastle that we wanted, rather than complaining about it why not step up like so many others and do and make it happen? I see so many people in Newcastle stepping up doing amazing things, there was a hole to fill so we stepped up and made it happen. The Production Hub was born.
Why do you love Newcastle?
O: I love that if you are creative there is enough room for you experiment and try new things. There’s not so much noise and distraction so you can focus on yourself and creativity and what you really value. In Melbourne I was very distracted, there was so much going on that I was always caught up in.
G: I like the pace of life and the fact that it’s a place of contrast. I love the fact I can walk to work; I don’t have to sit in hours of traffic everyday. And there is so much natural beauty, but its also contrasted by the reality of what that lifestyle requires we produce (like coal).
Is there anything else Novocastrians should know?
O: They should know us and we should know them. Because we genuinely want to know all the interesting things that are happening in town. We want to know there is a lawyer that also tap dances (Ben Read Industry Legal – rents a desk at The Pro Hub). The cool thing about Newcastle is that its big enough to have all these different talents, but small enough for us to all know each other.
G: You only have one life so follow your dreams. It comes at a price but what is the price of not doing that? Whatever you dream there are people out there to help you achieve it, all it takes is for you to reach out and ask for that help.
THIS MONTH WAS A GOOD MONTH. ON MY FREE SATURDAY MORNINGS I SLID OUT OF BED, HAD AN ICY COLD REFRESHING SHOWER, TURNED MY CAR KEY AND BURNT RUBBER TO THE OLIVE TREE MARKETS AT THE JUNCTION, IN THAT ORDER. BETWEEN STUFFING MY FACE WITH CARAMEL CINNAMON DONUTS (FROM OUR FRIENDS AT DOUGHEADS) AN BEING SERENADED BY JAMES BENNETT (ALSO IN THIS MONTH, AT THE BACK), MY EYE WAS CAUGHT BY THE CREATIVE OUTSIDE THE FIVE STALL. I FOUND OUT MORE ABOUT BEN FOR THE MIRAGE.
With Ben Stevens
By Kian West
So Ben, tell us a little bit about yourself? Well, after ignoring my creative instincts in high school, I made the decision to rebuild that part of my brain, undertaking graphic design studies a few years ago, whilst working full time outside of the creative industry. Since then, it’s been all about playing 20 years of catch-up, trying to find my voice within the gamut of creative outlets these days.
I spotted your stall at the last Olive Tree Markets. For those that haven’t heard of you, how would you describe your stall? Not one Bunnings table in sight! It’s more like a construction zone than anything. A walk in space where my tees, bags, prints & stickers are hung, stacked, and spread - ready and waiting for the punters. I just try to make it different from what people may expect. When you aren’t at the markets, are there other places people can catch you? My online store, www.outsidethefive.com.au is pretty much the shop front between markets. Working full time outside of this caper makes regular additional markets tricky, but I normally let people know when I will be doing a cameo. The usual social media channels get updated with that info.
Where can people catch you in September? Olive Tree Market on Saturday the 6th is the main gig. I’m looking into a possible appearance at the Sydney Rock n Roll Market on the 14th as well. Locals can always hit me up via email and Facebook in between times.
Tell us a little bit about where the idea came from? The name originated from an old Goodies episode where they set up a pirate radio station outside the 5-mile mark in international waters. Kind of metaphoric for me challenging myself to step outside my comfort zone, even if a little bit. The whole idea behind the project is for me to try different design ideas and share them with people. It’s a bit of a vehicle to help me find out what is MY style and what formats I may be best suited to.
Anything else readers should know about you? I’ve been trying to improve on my traditional sign painting techniques, with some help from Brett Piva at Pocket Design, so there is likely to be some more use of those techniques in the future.
By Kian West
1. How would you describe the art that you make?
I am a visual storyteller who experiments with a range of mediums and processes, so to narrow down my style is quite difficult. My work is very emotive, and greatly inspired by cultural motifs and beliefs from our own cultural heritage, and by Indigenous beliefs which connect land and spirit.
2. What are you working on at the moment?
I am working on a body of work for my up and coming exhibition at four point gallery, including illustrations, clay wall sculptures and a mixed media artwork depicting my own contemporary folklore interpretations inspired by places I have lived and visited
3. Where is your next show?
At four point gallery, 30 August 2015
4. When are you most creative?
When my son is sleeping
5. Who is your biggest influence/s?
Definitely my son, as he has taught me to ‘play’ again, Yayoi Kusama for her experimental and multidisciplinary practice, Simryn Gill,
6. If you could work anywhere where would it be?
I’ve always been interested in Berlin, so I would love to do attend a residency program
HAPPIE SURF CRAFT IS THE BRAINCHILD OF LOCAL NEWCASTLE SUFRER, DANIEL LOBB. BUT IF YOU HAD READ THIS INTERVIEW, YOU WOULD KNOW THAT ALREADY. YOU WOULD ALSO KNOW MORE ABOUT WHAT HE DOES, AND WHAT HE'S PLANNING FOR THE FUTURE. READ THIS INTERVIEW.
With Ryan Williams
Is there a philosophy behind what you do? I just love to make people happy. Recycling old surfboards and transforming them into a totally new surf craft that people can re-use over and over gives me such a thrill. Seeing how interested and supportive people are of my work is inspiring and I’m always so stoked to hear good feedback from my customers.
Tell us about the handplanes. The hand planes take bodysurfing to a new level, giving you more drive and speed whilst allowing a lot more control on a wave. They’re compact, lightweight and great to keep in the car or throw in a backpack when you stroll down for a swim.
Is that all you do? I design all my logos and make custom fit covers for every hand plane and surfboard. I like to create a whole product and give people something they will love for a lifetime.
What else are you working on at the moment? I’m always designing and trying to think up new ideas and ways to improve my products where possible. I’m shaping a few surfboards at the moment and have a couple of old boards that will become hand planes in the near future.
What have you got coming up? I’ve recently started to sell my products at some local markets. I love the vibe and atmosphere that markets bring. Being able to chat to the people who buy your products and knowing they are walking away just as stoked as I am is great.
Where can we get this stuff? You can find me at Olive Tree markets on the 7th June and the Hunt and Gather Markets on the 21st June. You can also get in contact with me on facebook at Happie Surf Craft and on my instagram @lobby1.
Anything else you'd like to add? I’m having a lot of fun creating and I’m stoked that people are interested. Come and see me at the markets and have a chat. I’m always keen to know what people think and I’m super excited to see what the future might bring.