Friday, 19 September 2014


Moving to the city of Melbourne from country NSW had a big impact on artist Jo Davenport. Up until then she had spent her childhood in and around the Riverina city of Albury. It is where she met her husband, and within close proximity to Splitters Creek, the place she now calls home. And just as the countryside has always been within reach, so too has art. Both her grandmothers painted, and Jo recalls painting alongside the grandmother who lived in Bendigo. When Jo moved to Melbourne to complete a Masters of Visual Arts these two forces in her life merged in spectacular fashion. The result was a graduate show that led to representation with Melbourne’s Flinders Lane Gallery. Jo is also represented by the Arthouse Gallery in Sydney, where she is exhibiting until October 4.

Which five words best describe you? Patient, intuitive, obsessive, interested, eclectic.

How did you get your career start and what path have you taken since? I have always painted. Both my grandmothers painted. My father is a ceramicist. I grew up in an artistic environment. I live in the country. I studied art at Charles Sturt University and the Riverina College of Tafe in Albury but the catalyst was moving to the city to doing my Masters of Visual Art at the Victorian College of the Arts in Melbourne. Being exposed to what VCA had to offer - the lecturers, the library, the other students, the inspiring environment was definitely a turning point in my career. My work was exhibited to a city audience, for the first time, at the VCA Graduate Exhibition and noticed by Claire Harris from Flinders Lane Gallery. My career has taken off from there and I’m now fortunate to be represented by two incredibly supportive galleries – FLG and Arthouse Gallery, Sydney. 

What’s the best lesson you’ve learnt along the way? Painting is a joint effort between the paint and the artist. Insisting on my own way is often a road to disaster. I’ve learnt that it is in the praxis that a painting takes shape, you have to be open to the possibilities of what can happen on the canvas. I recognise that the best paintings come to me as a gift. That one painting can’t say it all. And to know when things go wrong that courage isn’t always a roar. Sometimes it’s the quiet voice at the end of the day saying, “I will try again tomorrow.”

What was the starting point for this exhibition? “An Intimate Landscape” was inspired by a recent trip to China, which renewed my interest in ancient Chinese aesthetics in landscape painting. The idea that landscape painting was no longer about the description of the visible world but a means of conveying what is felt has founded the works in this show.

What’s your proudest career achievement? Being invited to exhibit alongside Sally Gabori and Aida Tomescu in the Action Abstraction Exhibition at the Wangaratta Regional Art Gallery was for me a pivotal moment.  

What’s been your best decision? For my career, it was to do a Masters Degree in Visual Art at VCA.

Who inspires you? My partner and our daughter, they are my rock and my inspiration, they encourage me to live a courageous life. The artists whose work inspires me are William Turner, Edouard Vuillard, Emily Kame Kngwarreye, Cy Twombly, Claude Monet, Sigmar Polke, Georg Baselitz and the ancient Japanese and Chinese landscape artists. 

What are you passionate about? Art and, in particular, painting. Paint and how to apply it to the surface; I delight in the response it gives me. The space between a painting and the viewer and what happens in that ineffable expanse can be so moving. I adore my garden, growing things, tending to it and sharing the harvest, all very satisfying. 

Which person, living or dead, would you most like to meet? William Shakespeare.

What dream do you still want to fulfil? I dream about doing an artist residency in Venice at the Scuola Internazionale di Grafica. Being surrounded by artistic and inspirational people, and painting the water and the light there. 

What are you reading? I have two books on the go. A little book on Wabi-Sabi by Leonard Koren and Mapping our World Terra Incognita to Australia

images courtesy of jo davenport and arthouse gallery

Wednesday, 17 September 2014


For the second time in the past week someone has revealed that their parents steered them away from architecture. But in each case the lure of the design world was too strong. For Francoise Baudet, she found her way back to her first love after a career in advertising. After 12 years of corporate life she picked up a camera, studied at night and assisted during the day. Now she is out on her own and loving every minute.

Which five words best describe you? Organised, hopeful, passionate, monochrome, family. 

How did you get your career start and what path have you taken since? My parents are both architects and told me never to do architecture. So I studied a Bachelor of Business (Advertising) and spent over 12 years building a career in advertising and branding working on mostly corporate and political clients like BHP Billiton, Westpac Group, Coca Cola Amatil, Queensland Labor Party and Australian Aerospace. However, I could not shake the passion I had for architecture and design. I’ve always had a strong appreciation of design and how it works with nature and effects our lifestyle. And, of course, I’ve developed a love of white, grey and black. I really enjoyed photography as a hobby, so studied it at night and set out to change my career. I was lucky enough to intern with Megan Morton who gave me real insight into the business as well as the confidence to jump in. I also assisted incredible photographers like Richard Glover, Amanda Prior, Jason Busch and Felix Forest. Each are so generous with their time and knowledge. I would not be where I am today without their mentoring. When I’m on location shooting a house, it feels so damn good. I was so nervous in the lead up to shooting my first house, but nothing could shake how comfortable and confident I felt behind the lens capturing the space. If I ever start to question my decision to change career, I get behind the lens and that comfortable feeling comes back.

What’s the best lesson you’ve learnt along the way? To throw yourself in and commit wholeheartedly. Keep pushing outside your comfort zone and keep learning. Seek out mentors and listen, listen, listen.

What’s your proudest career achievement? I’ve got so much further to go and I’ve got plenty of goals to achieve. However, so far, my proudest career achievement was getting my first house published. I rushed out and bought a heap of copies of the magazine.

What’s been your best decision? To explore my passion for photography as a hobby with formal study and to leave the world of advertising and enter the world of photography.

Who inspires you? This will sound cliche but I am inspired to work hard for my husband and family - my biggest support team. In terms of creative inspiration, well, there’s so much good juice out there. I am inspired by everyone. I cruise architecture sites and particularly love Pinterest. I get lost in there for hours.

What are you passionate about? I’m passionate about sharing the importance of good design. In this day and age, it’s too easy to buy a house from a catalogue or do a renovation by yourself. I think spaces are incredibly important and shape the way we live and enjoy life. I also like the idea of leaving something valuable for the next person. Architects understand how to utilise the land, light and built form and their influence can transform a living space into something very practical but also extremely beautiful.

Which person, living or dead, would you most like to meet? Frank Lloyd Wright.

What dream do you still want to fulfil? I’ve been working on a special project documenting my late Grandfather’s Modernist architecture work from the 1960s. He designed a huge number both private and public buildings during a very unique era of architecture. My dream is to have an exhibition sharing the work.

What are you reading? At the moment I’ve been keeping it more visual and indulging in coffee table books. I am loving Minimalism by Loft Publications, Northern Delights by Gestalten and 50s/60s/70s Iconic Australian Houses by Karen McCartney.

images courtesy of francoise baudet and the ivy

Tuesday, 16 September 2014


The world of Christian Joy is reminiscent of old school New York in many ways. She creates costumes with a wink to how the punk movement attacked their clothes: with scissors and safety pins, even glue and paint, rather than a needle and thread. Christian also has the same underground vibe to her work. She revels in creating fanastical costumes that aren't about finding a market but rather embracing the here and now. This is most evident with her greatest output of work - for Karen O from the Yeah Yeah Yeahs. They met in 2001, shortly after Christian moved to Brooklyn, and since then the costume designer has had her creations exhibited in the Victoria & Albert Museum in London and collaborated with Top Shop on three limited-edition collections. More recently she’s released a range of art prints and ready-to-wear clothing and accessories. A keen collaborator, Christian created the series of images above with fellow New Yorkers, photographers ioulex.

Which five words best describe you? Obsessive, optimistic, funny, creative, curious.

How did you get your career start and what path have you taken since? I began making clothes about a year after I moved to NY. I was inspired by the NY punk scene and how everyone created art and music without really knowing how. I decided to follow the same methods and began to teach myself fashion design. I began by chopping up tees and then prom dresses. Along the way I met Karen O and it just all took off from there. 

What’s the best lesson you’ve learnt along the way? Not to take yourself too seriously. Go with the flow.  

What’s your proudest career achievement? I'd say having my costumes in an exhibition at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London and also creating Karen's gown for the Oscars. The gown was funny though because it's not the greatest representation of my work. Still it was so exciting and my family were so proud and just over the moon. 

What’s been your best decision? To follow my instinct.  

Who inspires you? A whole cast of nutty characters. Lately I've been so excited about John Cameron Mitchell. I saw Hedwig and the Angry Inch on Broadway and was so thrilled to see this amazing character he created become so huge. The filmmaker, John Waters. I adore him. The artist Sonya Delaunay. I love her vibrant prints. My crazy husband. My mom. 

What are you passionate about? I'm passionate about trying to create new works and ideas. It makes me almost no money but I can't imagine being happy without it.  

Which person, living or dead, would you most like to meet? I think Sonya Delaunay. I've been fortunate to meet a lot of people that I really admire so I'll have to say her. 

What dream do you still want to fulfil? I really want to be in the MOMA here in NY.  

What are you reading? The prisoner of heaven by Carlos Ruiz Zafron. I just read two of his other books as well and I'm obsessed.

images courtesy of christian joy and ioulex

Monday, 15 September 2014


Hayden Cox is on a trajectory that has taken him from setting up his own company while still in high school to collaborating with Alexander Wang for an installation in the fashion designer’s New York store. The idea was to create a surfboard that looked like a piece of art. The result is five surfboards, all hand-crafted by Hayden, covered in a marble print on silk. While this is the Sydneysider’s first foray into high-end fashion, it’s not the first time he’s pushed himself into new territory. Since starting his business, Haydenshapes, at the age of 16, his surfboards have been sold into more than 70 countries, and he has opened manufacturing facilities in Los Angeles in the USA, as well as running his main operations out of Mona Vale on Sydney's Northern Beaches. 

Which five words best describe you? Determined, analytical, creative, loyal and grounded. 

How did you get your career start and what path have you taken since? When I was 15 I traded in my school holidays to do work experience at a local surfboard factory - taking out the trash, tidying up, etc. On the last day the owner realised that I was there on my own accord and not through a school program, so through perhaps a little bit of pity, he showed me the very basics of shaping a board on the last afternoon I was there. He shaped one side, I shaped the other. My side was terrible but I kept at it and eventually got better and better. I started Haydenshapes when I was still in high school and taught myself to code my first website when I was around 16. I have actually only ever worked for myself and I've never even had a job interview. I had a vision and I was determined to make my business work. I’m 32 now and still feel that it’s only really getting started in a way. 

What’s the best lesson you’ve learnt along the way? Hmm, where to start? I have made tonnes of mistakes and learned many lessons over the past 15 years, but I'll never make the same mistake twice. One key lesson I'd say, is learning the importance of  staying ahead of the curve and being two steps ahead of the people around you - even those you trust. A few years back my old Japanese distributor went ahead and registered my brand trademark. It took me four years and countless hours and dollars to fight to get it back. The whole thing was a nightmare. I also learned how crucial it is to surround yourself with like-minded people who inspire and motivate you. It affects you in ways nothing else can. 

What’s your proudest career achievement? This year my design, the Hypto Krypto, won 'Surfboard of the Year' at the Australian Surf Industry Awards. Haydenshapes was up against the biggest surfboard brands in the world and being recognised in the industry at that level was definitely a defining moment.  

What’s been your best decision? One of them would be patenting the design FutureFlex, which I created back in 2006 and is a parabolic carbon rail surfboard technology. Traditional surfboards have a wooden stringer through the centre that controls a lot of the flex of the board and gives it a torsional twist movement. Futureflex has carbon fibre rails which creates strength around the frame of the board, which means it has more flex and buoyancy through the centre (like a tennis racquet). It is also more lightweight, which gives the board more speed in the water. Not only do I use the tech for Haydenshapes, but I also on-sell it to other major board brands in the market. 

Who inspires you? I get a lot of influence from a variety of designers, brands and individuals both within and beyond the world of surf. Artists, engineers, fashion designers, architects, pro surfers, etc. My key design muse would probably be pro surfer and Haydenshapes team rider, Craig Anderson. He has a unique style that has really made him a surfing icon. 

What are you passionate about? A lot of things, but at the end of the day, having a good life balance is really the most important thing. I’m passionate about design, surfing, running my business, etc, but I get married in January to my fiance Danielle, which is something that I am most excited about. 

Which person, living or dead, would you most like to meet? Andy Warhol. He is a bit of a mad scientist. 

What dream do you still want to fulfil? I set pretty high goals for myself, especially in the business sense. I'd really like to continue to grow the brand in a way that others in the surfboard world haven't been able to. Having a family of my own is also something I really look forward to and I am yet to fulfil.

What are you reading? I don't read a lot to be honest, but I just finished the book TC by my good friend Tom Carroll and his brother Nick. Very honest and eye opening. 

images courtesy of hayden cox

Friday, 12 September 2014


Martina Gemmola is having a good year. The up-and-coming Melbourne photographer has had features published in Vogue Living, Inside Out and House and Garden magazines, and is also gaining a respectable advertising client list, including Kikki.K and Haymes Paints. But, as with many success stories, she has been plying her trade for many years. After studying photography at RMIT Martina assisted leading photographers and spent time living and travelling overseas before returning to her hometown to cut through.

Which five words best describe you? Calm, hardworking, loyal, open, grateful.

How did you get your career start and what path gave you taken since? Many hours learning the beautiful unpredictability of the darkroom sparked a passion that led me to enter the sought-after RMIT Bachelor of Arts in photography course. Since then I have lived and worked in Greece and Los Angeles, learning what I am and am not excited about in the world of image-making, assisting some incredibly talented photographers, and refining my own personal style and aesthetic. Since moving back to Melbourne my freelance business has taken all those experiences and become what it is now – a bit of a dream.

What's the best lesson you have learnt along the way? Just keep going. That, and learning that the doubt that creeps in is all part of process, a cheeky little test to see if you really want it.

What's your proudest career achievement? Working up the confidence to approach people and publications I wanted to work with was a daunting, rewarding, and proud turning point in my career. It sounds simple, but I realised unless I put myself out there, nobody would know I existed. Folio in hand, I put my work, heart and passion on the line and much to my relief, the response was positive and encouraging. Phew!

What's been your best decision? Joining the Creative Women's Circle. After returning to Australia after six years, I wanted to reach out to like-minded people who I felt I could connect with on a creative and personal level. This ace bunch of ladies has been an amazing resource of inspiration and fun, and I have collaborated on so many gorgeous projects through this group. I found my name being passed around more and more within the network and beyond, and it really changed and expanded my business. Finding your people is such an important part of your creative journey.

Who inspires you? Anyone who manages to live, breathe and be successful in their small creative business.

What are you passionate about? My husband, family, home, travel, beautiful light - and my cat.

Which person, living or dead, would you most like to meet? The late Olive Cotton - one of my first photographer crushes. She was a dynamic, humble and ever-so-talented photographer who paved the way for female photographers of the future. I imagine a cup of tea with her would uncover many pearls of wisdom.

What dream do you still want to fulfil? So many! Combining photography and travel on a dream project would probably be at the top of my list.

What are you reading? On top of the ever-expanding pile is a book of baby names – for our next little adventure!

images courtesy of martina gemmola


Related Posts with Thumbnails