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Shot From a Suitcase @ The Unorthodox Church of Groove by Kian West

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 Shot From a Suitcase @ The Unorthodox Church of Groove

With Malcolm Grieve

By Kian West

We were fortunate enough to grab Malcolm for a quick chat ahead of his exhibition in 'The Unorthodox Church of Groove' here in Newcastle later this month to find out a tiny teaser of information about "Shot From a Suitcase" before it captures all of Newcastle's attention April 24-29. Don't miss out!

Launch Party is April 24th from 6pm with a special speech from Matthew Tome, head teacher at the Hunter Street TAFE Arts campus.

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Hey Malcolm, How would you describe yourself in three words?

 

Zippity Doo Da

 

Not to give to-much away about “Shot from a Suitcase” but you have obviously done a fair bit of travelling ahead of this exhibition, do you have a scary travelling story for us?

 

There was a time just last year when I was in the Dominican Republic and we were heading down a mountain in the back of a ute/taxi that literally had 17 people in the back.  Half of them were Dominican soldiers, and to make it worse it was raining. We were all chatting, laughing, and trying not to fall off the back of the ute when we were surprised by a very loud BANG! The mood changed in an instant as they grabbed for their guns and prepared to fire; my head was as far down as I could manage. Then everyone realized a split second later that it was just a car back-firing and the casual chat resumed. I was holding my camera at the time and got a shot of a soldier’s intense look. It is featured in “Shot from a Suitcase” and is one of my favourites.

 

Where is the favourite spot you have visited?

I don’t want to get too specific about the location, but there is a spot up in the Snowy Mountains that is my favourite spot on the planet. My favourite place overseas would be Trinidad, Cuba. It’s hard to explain, but Cuba is really special. It’s in the people, the live music in the street, the culture of an untouched country. I just love it.cuba taxi poster (1:2 internal page advert)

 

 

60 seconds with... Amy Theodore (Noiseinwonderland) by Kian West

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The tables have turned. Last time we sat down it was me answering all the questions (if you haven’t already, check out Amy’s fantastic article at newcastlemirage.com titled “ If You Can Read This Print is Not Dead”), so it really is fun to shoot a few back your way Amy. 294002d

With Amy Theodore

By Kian West

 

I guess we should start off with a bit of context for those that don’t know you, so can you tell us a little bit about yourself?

For a super short answer, my name is Amy Theodore, I’m a third year (soon to be fourth year) university student studying a double degree of Communication/Laws, and freelance photographer and writer.

 

To expand a bit, basically I felt a desire to work in journalism since I left high school, and in particular music journalism, because I just have such a passion for it. So as soon as I hit uni I began contributing to various music publications, doing albums reviews and stuff like that. Something that naturally goes along with writing is photos, and because I was reviewing gigs, I was seeing some really awesome shots that people were taking at these gigs and festivals. In particular Kanye Lens (a.k.a Kane Hibbard) and his work, I think it’s just such beautiful stuff, so I had to give it a go. So I went out and brought myself a camera.

 

This year I would say has really seen my photography start to take off. I started out with the mindset of wanting to get into gig photography, but I’ve just photographing what I’ve had the opportunity to, and it’s really expanding my views on where I want to go with things. In particular I photographed heaps of the street art around Newcastle, I did some shots for the Hit The Bricks festival that happened last month, and got to chat to the artists, and I’ve definitely fallen in love with the art and having the chance to document these pieces of work. It’s inspiring to see these guys put so much time and effort into a piece that is likely one day to be painted over, so I just really want to capture all the pieces that get put up in Newcastle. I’ve also done photos for awesome festivals like This Is Not Art and photoshoots with some local music artists as well, and I’ve discovered that I love taking photos of other people’s creative work, and getting to connect with them. I just think the way the mind of an artistic person works is so unique and interesting. I like to say that I have no really artistic talents like drawing, painting, or making music myself, so NoiseinWonderland is all about capturing the talents of those around me.

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In case anyone is wondering about the name, the ‘Noise’ part comes from the fact that when I first got into photography I was a massive metal fan, and I definitely still am. But a lot of people around me thought of it as ‘noise’. The ‘inWonderland’ part just refers to my middle name, Alice, but I do also think Alice in Wonderland is one the greatest animations of all time!

 

 

We’re chatting ‘cause I heard you were going to be a part of RAW Newcastle and it seemed like a great way to get the low down on you as an artist, but can you explain what RAW is all about?

 

RAW is this awesome organisation that focuses on showcasing all types of underground creative talent, and they also hold exhibitions of about 30 artists every few months in cities all over our country and in America. Anyone can sign up! Whether you’re a photographer, musician, makeup artists, filmmaker, you name it!

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The next exhibition for Newcastle, ‘Current’ is coming up on the 27th November at The Great Northern Hotel. I’ve been lucky enough to have been selected to showcase and sell some of my photos. I would highly recommend coming along, there is going to be so much awesome stuff happening, and if you’re looking for a ticket I can definitely hook you up.

 

Also, if you’re a Newcastle creative, jump online, make yourself a profile, and you could get to showcase your work at the next event!

 

So you are a writer, photographer, graffiti artist? As a creative, is there a medium you prefer or do you see them intertwined and as an extension of yourself?

 

Haha, I don’t know about a graffiti artist. I have attempted, but it’s much harder then it might look! I might just stick to taking photos of it, haha.

 

In terms of writing and photography, I think, personally, I’ve come to see them as outlets that are definitely intertwined; I mean, like I sais, almost every article you see will have a picture or two to go along with it, particularly with music writing. Especially in this era, where a journalist is having to become so multi-skilled in their job, I think having the two skills is really beneficial. At the movement though I’ve really been getting involved with my photography, and absolutely loving it!

 

I would say that they have also definitely become an extension of myself. I think when a lot of people think of me now they think of me as that chick that does all that writing and photography stuff, so it has definitely become a big part of who I am, and I’m proud of it.

 

I know you write for a couple of different places, care to talk a little bit about it?

In the past I’ve written for The Brag and Tonedeaf where I did gig and album reviews, and got the chance to chat to some awesome artists. But I had to set those aside to make time for my current job at Urban Walkabout Newcastle as a freelance writer/photographer and blog/social media representative. This job has been awesome because I’ve discovered so many cool places and events through it. Basically Urban Walkabout Newcastle is a blog dedicated to letting you know about what is going on in the area, and about the awesome cafes and shops that we have around. So I put together all the written and photographic content for them, and it’s really let me get out, meet and connect with heaps of locals. I can proudly say I love my job!

 

Do you have anything planned for 2015? Or any new years resolutions?

Nothing major as of yet. I mainly just want to keep focusing even more on my photography and getting out there and grasping more opportunities as they come my way. This year itself has gone so fast, and when I think back, my work has managed to develop and come so far in just this short space of time, so I’m super excited to see what happens in another years time! Also continuing to survive law school is on the list, haha.

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Anything else Novocastrians should know?

I’m sure most already know this, but we really do live in one the greatest cities, and it is becoming such a hub for creativity! Both my writing and photography recently has really made me start exploring this place, and there is always so much cool stuff going on, so get out and get involved! Get Nosiey!

Moneyperry...December by Kian West

"When the sun starts to slide, like an egg down a wall after a domestic disturbance, you'd better have your camera with you. If you don't have your camera bolted to you at all hours*, at least don't leave it at home when the sun sets. DSC59742 copy smlr

Sunsets are often the subjects of the first photo we look at and think "I just took a good picture". The beautiful thing about photography, though, is that you can return to the same subject matter ad nauseum and apply the lessons you've learned on all the other unpredicted, unfamiliar jobs and push the standard sunset shot somewhere new.

 

For me much of the charm of photographing Newcastle is the challenge posed by it's small size and small population. I tend to return to the same few, sparsely populated areas day after day and force myself to shoot something different. The question I face when I visit Sydney is "What will I shoot today?" but in Newcastle it becomes "How will I shoot today?".

 

 

*bolt your camera to you at all hours. "

 

@moneyperry

 

Yogathroughalens... November by Kian West

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YOGA01"The stairs leading down from Shepherd’s Hill to King Edward Park are long and curvy and I really like taking photos where you can use the curve of the landscape. I was actually surprised by this photo because I had fully expected to position myself in the wrong spot on the steps and for it to look weird. But I didn’t. I got exactly what I wanted on the first go. Sometimes I don’t go to certain places where I think a yoga photo will look good because I think there will be too many people, or it’ll take too long to get the right shot. I guess that’s the lesson in it all. You should try to do something before deciding that you can’t. Don’t give up before you’ve at least attempted it. This is tree pose and I used to struggle to hold my leg up and balance it properly. Now, I love that this is much easier for me and the focus needed to balance allows me to calm my mind and be in the moment. And that is the best place to be. " Thanks,

Cathy.

#instagram @yogathroughalens

YOGA THROUGH A LENS - 1 by Kian West

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As you will notice this image isn't the same as the one inside Mirage for August. It appears we are but mortal humans and made a mistake. Many apologies to Cathy Mead that this has happened. Now when you look at the image and read her article it will all make sense...

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Imagine yoga in front of iconic Newcastle locations. That’s what this is all about.

 

Newcastle is incredibly beautiful. Without looking too hard you can find an amazing vantage point to see so many things. Sadly, over the years I had forgotten this and my daily routine consisted of work, shop, home. Sometimes I’d go to the gym and, of course, I had my regular gymnastics session every Friday night. However, this all changed about a year ago when I finally went to a yoga class. I’d always thought that I just didn’t have enough inner peace for yoga. I quickly realised that that was the entire point of practicing. Combining this with my recently remembered love of photography, I have had my eyes opened to the beauty all around that has been here all along. This photo is at Shepherd’s Hill in Newcastle (at the top of King Edward Park) and it has one of the best views over Newcastle’s ocean and beach that you can get. So I’m Cathy, and I’m the random yogi you might see running around at sunrise trying to get in front of my camera before the timer runs out. Namaste.

 

If you like what you see, You can follow Cathy on Instagram

@cat_mead and @yogathroughalens

60 Seconds with CHRIS BROWN by Kian West

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60 Seconds with CHRIS BROWN

by KIAN WEST

 

CHRIS BROWN IS A BUSY BOY. PHOTOGRAPHY, RUNNING A COMMUNITY GARDEN IN BELMONT & FERMENTING JUST THINGS TO NAME A FEW. THIS IS THE PART WHERE I TELL YOU, DEAR READER, WHAT WE TALKED ABOUT. WE TALKED ABOUT CHRIS' INTEREST IN PHOTOGRAPHY. BUT SEE FOR YOURSELF.

How would you describe the photography that you take? My work is a mixture of film and digital photographs, largely portraits – which range from informal documentary style right through to heavily styled studio work. I have 29 cameras and tend to have a few different projects running at the same time. Say for example, I might be working on digital studio portraits, recording everyday life, and another film project where I play around with negative layering, double exposures, carefully controlled light leaks and other fun techniques. I like to experiment and have several things going at the one time.

What are you working on at the moment? I am working on a fashion shoot with a few friends of mine, my upcoming exhibition “Everyone I Know, Everything I've Seen”, an artist residency and a series about community gardens.

Where is your next event? 16th May, 2014, at Churchkey Espresso, Hunter St 6:30pm.

When do you like to take Photos? Is it all about timing or are you always on? My camera is connected to my body via umbilical cord. My camera goes everywhere and I feel weird if it's not with me.

Who is your biggest influence/s? Oh, hard to say. I would rather say that moods are my biggest influence. I can be inspired by the mood of a song, a painting or a landscape just as much as a visual artist.  I get inspired by emotions, feelings and the environment. I have always been  interested in 'exhale moments' – moments in life where you just stop and have a deep breath for whatever reason. Where the mind gets even just one or two seconds to have a break and forget about all the stuff happening in the world. It's not a meditation or de-stress thing, it's got to do with my fascination with people who are comfortable in their own skin and in their own head. I think it's about confidence. Confidence is sexy.

If you could shoot anywhere where would it be? Or who would it be? The mountains of Tasmania would be my location of choice... Such a harsh yet magnificent place.

A STORM CLOUDS recap by Kian West

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IF YOU HAVEN’T ALREADY HEARD, ONE OF OUR REGULAR CONTRIBUTORS, BEN MITCHELL RELEASED A COMIC RECENTLY.  A CERTAIN INTERVIEWER WOULD DESCRIBE THE WORK AS “...A MODERN TALE TOLD THROUGH THE CONVENTIONS OF A CLASSIC HARD-BOILED DETECTIVE STORY. THE APPEARANCE OF TECHNOLOGY FEELS ANACHRONISTIC AND THE HUMOUR IS BOTH DARK AND SUBTLE. THE DISTURBING ELEMENTS OF THE STORY SUBVERT THE INNOCENT EXPRESSIONS OF MITCHELL’S CHARACTERS - A CLEVER CONTRAST. STORM CLOUDS IS SIMMERING WITH INTRIGUE AND ORIGINALITY.” ONE MAN NAMED KIAN, CAUGHT UP WITH THE ARTIST TO CONVERSE ABOUT THE LAUNCH AND SUCH. 1966069_742323895788059_3804101974005829825_o

So you just launched “Storm Clouds” tell us a little about the night and how it went? I held the comic launch at Churchkey Espresso on Hunter St - which, by the time of publication, will be under a new name/managment - and promoted it very hard leading up to the night. I had some leftover prints of the comic art, so I threw them on the wall, made a 6-hour Spotify playlist, organised some refreshments (including special Storm Clouds iced coffees) and prepared a team of helpers to keep the night running smoothly. My friends Tim, Mitch, Swannie and Big Pog took care of everything all night - I couldn’t go three minutes without someone pouncing on me. The launch party was a ridiculous success and I really was unprepared for how well the comic was received. Things got a little Murphy’s Law in the days leading up to the event and by the time I had everything set up on the night I was so physically and mentally exhausted that I wouldn’t have been phased if only like five people showed up, but there would have easily been close to a hundred passing through on the night. We nearly sold out of copies as well - which is over double what I had expected to sell - which was both shocking and delightful news. I wanted to get more of my friends involved in the night, so I threw together a bit of a mini-exhibition with some friends the week before the party. Three artists from Newcastle, (Keo, Grizz and Dan Arnold from Alien Art) and three artists from Sydney (Carlo, Sindy Sinn and Mike Watt) each submitted their interpretation of one of the comic’s main characters. I only gave them like eight days to get the art to me, so they were all mates about it. I only made 40 packs. They were $3 to make giving people change easier if they bought it with the comic, and they sold out in like a half an hour. Another unexpected surprise! Each card had a QR code on the back which reveals a secret message about the comic if you scan them all in the right order! I could not believe how many people showed up and bought a comic. My old band just did a reunion show at the Cambridge and there were more dudes on the stage than there were on the dance floor, so I had lost all confidence in my pulling power. The fact that there are eighty-odd copies of my comic floating around being read by that many people right now is blowing my mind. God bless Newcastle. How has the comic itself been received? On the whole, pretty well. I put a lot of attention into the production and presentation of the book as well as the story and artwork, and getting them risograph printed on special stock left a lasting impression on people. Most people’s standard reaction to receiving the book was opening it, smelling it, and feeling the ink on the pages to take it all in. I’m yet to hear a response to the story from someone who isn’t friends with me and wouldn’t necessarily get all the Newcastle in-jokes, but I’ve had a lot of people tell me they have read the whole thing with my voice in their head, because I haven’t done a good job at disguising my natural mannerisms, haha. I had the same experience reading Nick Milligan’s book at the beginning of the year. So far everyone I’ve spoked to has enjoyed it and are keen to see what happens next! What do you mean by ‘Newcastle-in jokes’? There are too many to really cover here, but the majority of places/people/things in the comic are loose references to things from this city, to add an extra layer to the story for locals. The main character Chino is named after Chino’s, the Cambridge side-bar that was shut down in 2011. Everywhere in the city there are tags that read ‘R.I.P VOX’, a reference to the old record store in the west end, Vox Cyclops. Conroy’s, the bar in the comic, is named after a closed-down Newcastle cafe and the inside is modelled after The Lass. Jared’s band CHANCES is named as a nod to No Second Chances, a now-defunct Newcastle hardcore band, and their hit song bares some similarities to a horrible chauvinistic anthem my old band from Uni had back in the day. Also, a huge part of the plot (which I won’t spoil for you) is a big reference to how Renew Newcastle works. Marni Jackson made an appearance at the opening, and I think she got it, but was a little taken aback by all the violence ahahha Will there be more comics from Ben? I hope so. I was treating Storm Clouds as my debut of taking the cartooning thing seriously, so the general response is going to determine whether or not it’s something I am going to continue with. As I said before, most people who’ve read the ending are keen to follow up the cliffhanger and find out what happens next. Everyone conversation I’ve had about this has been different depending on who I’m talking to and what they’d like to see in a sequel. I’d really like to focus more on Jared on Charlie in a prequel story, but after the events of the first comic there are lot of directions I can take with Detective Rose and Chino. The main idea, at this point, is to tell a bunch of interconnected stories about Bontown and the whole conspiracy that was uncovered in Storm Clouds, and how everyone there seems to be so caught up in their day-to-day that they don’t realise how much sinister stuff is going on behind closed doors. What’s next for Ben? Before I can tell another story, I want to make sure as many people read Storm Clouds as possible. I am currently sold out of all of the first run (which, as I said before, was not how I had planned this to go) so I’m trying to chase up a second edition as we speak. At the moment I am a lecturer at Newcastle Uni which is keeping me afloat pretty well, but I still do regular freelance graphic design/illustration work pretty much full time. I have currently never been more busy, and any time I am away from my phone/emails I am super relaxed. At the moment I’m working on a comic with another dude which will be out next month, and doing a bunch of graphics for a new bar opening on King St which should be out around the same time. I’m beginning to think that if I can survive just on doing comics for myself (that other people want to read and share) I could end up only drawing things that other people tell me to occasionally - which is the dream, currently. For those that haven’t caught a copy yet, where can they get one? This is a question whose answer has changed only very recently. Storm Clouds is currently sold out all over Australia/the world, but I will be able to release a second edition of 100 copies in mid-April. These will have slightly different covers, and won’t be hand-numbered. They’ll be available from Fun Apparel online, Graphic Action on Hunter Street, and I’m also super excited to announce I’ve scored a partnership with indie comics publisher Birdcage Bottom Books for distribution in North America and the rest of the world, alongside some of my favourite artists. As I wasn’t expecting to sell 80 copies in one night, and then sell the remaining copies within 2 days in stores and online, I hadn’t planned a second run for the foreseeable future. Whilst selling out was great news, it took me off guard and I was really uncomfortable telling people they would be unable to read the comic, so I took action almost immediately! By a stroke of luck, my boy Xavier in Melbourne has had a cancellation and will be able to fit my second edition in, and another risograph printers in Sydney is interested in doing another run in case anything goes wrong. Finally, no one will be denied Storm Clouds. Until the second edition drops, I ended up with a few extra copies from the printers that were lacking covers. As I mentioned before, I got the covers done in Newcastle and the insides done in Victoria, but the covers were done first and Xavier ended up running out. As a result, I’m doing a very very limited run of five copies with a limited edition cover illustrated by my friend Carlo Delos Santos, which I’ll be selling myself online. BUT, if you subscribe to Newcastle Mirage this month, you’ll be in the draw to win one of these limited edition Storm Cloudses! Tell em all about it, Kian!

 

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IN CELEBRATION OF STORM CLOUDS RELEASE BEN MITCHELL HAS GENEROUSLY GIVEN US A COUPLE OF LIMITED EDITION COPIES TO GIVE AWAY. ALL YOU NEED TO DO IS SUBSCRIBE TO MIRAGE BEFORE THE END OF MAY AND 2 LUCKY SUBSCRIBERS WILL RECEIVE A FREE COPY IN THE MAIL WITH THEIR JUNE EDITION.

(offer only available to 6 or 12 month subscribers)

Joel Alston Photography - January Image by Kian West

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Joel Alston Photography

Joel Alston Photography

LOOK AT THE PHOTO ON THE BELOW. ISN’T IT NICE? JOEL ALSTON TOOK IT. LOOK AGAIN. IT’S EVEN BETTER THIS TIME., WE SPOKE TO JOEL BACK IN ISSUE #4 ABOUT HIS PHOTOS, AND WE THOUGHT HE CAPTURES SUCH NICE ONES WE’D GET HIM BACK TO SHARE HIS SECRETS WITH YOU GUYS.

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Set Up: Canon 7D (1.6x crop sensor) Canon 50mm f1.8 Settings: Shutter Speed:         1/250 sec Aperture:        10 ISO:            100 Focal Length:        50mm

 

This day was so amazing for me as a photographer. The storm was so strong, dark and moody over Nobby’s beach whilst the sun was still shining from behind me which enhanced the contrast between light and dark.

This day was difficult because I only had a fixed 50mm fixed focal length to with me to work with, which didn’t allow me to use a wider angle which is more appropriate for landscape shots. For my landscape shots I tend to use an aperture no lower than f.9, this is to enhance a greater depth of focus (field). When I adjust the shutter speed to account for the aperture, if it goes below 1/100sec to get an appropriate exposure, I tend to try and always use a tripod to ensure no movement blur from unsteady hands. But I got lucky in that there was enough light to be able to use 1/250sec.

For questions, hints or tips contact Joel Alston on: facebook.com/JoelAlstonPhotography