Thursday, May 16, 2013

Weekly drawing: Friday night at Prahran ramp

Prahran skate park, Melbourne was such a popular skate spot it would often get overcrowed which I would negotiate with a skate or die attitude. However I discovered that on Friday evenings (maybe it was dinner time) the park was mostly empty, so this became my favourite time to skate.

I also discovered this was when some of the best skaters would skate. I'd often see local hero Chris Paine riding the big 12 ft steel ramp. I'd imagine when I get the confidence to drop-in "one day I would skate like him". He would do amazing tricks with the greatest of ease, my favourite Chris Paine skate trick was called an eggplant.

We never actually spoke to each other but he would point to me from the top of the ramp to have another go. I would start at the bottom of the ramp and work my way up. Soon all my practicing paid off and I could backside kick turn grind on a 12ft ramp and was considering attempting to drop-in. But unfortunately we moved to Sydney and skate parks were far and few between. So I became a Sydney street skater instead which I also loved.

The thing I loved about these nightly skate sessions was that it was purely about enjoying skating and not really caring about anything else in the world. I'd spent the last few years in three different schools because of my Dad's work and I was in my first year of high school in a new school again and I felt like an outsider especially at this school.

Luckily for me Melbourne is an amazing city for anyone into skating. The Alva team visited my local sports shop in Elsternwick, The Bones Brigade toured with Christian Hosoi doing a skate demonstration at Prahran ramp, I attended the premier of the fourth Bones Brigade movie Public Domain and I was happily in the middle of it all.
Tommy Guerrero deck, Bullet 66 wheels, Thunder trucks, Cockroach riser pads and Borgy copers
There's not much online about Chris Paine but I did find this which I thought was interesting.

Authorbudgee ®
Date/Time28 Oct 2008 10:13:43pm
SubjectRe: Band Called Killing Time
Before Killing Time Paine was actually a very successful skateboarder, featuring in magazines and publications across the country. Word is the three original Killing Time Melbournites were your regular skater punk kids. Paine was somewhat of a mascot for the Prahran skate shop of the time known as "Cheap Skates". The shop was just a stone's throw from the local skate bowl and many of the skater kids from the area congregated there to watch their local hero Paine do his thing. Music came along to this crew when iconic Melbourne store Fretted Instruments turned the Cheap Skates building into their Prahran store. This became the store from which Killing Time/Mantissa bought most all of their equipment throughout their career. "

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Weekly drawing: Narooma Kinema

Family night out to the movies

Amber and I loved going to Narooma Kinema. They sold you the tickets then they'd run upstairs and load the film, plus the added bonus was we could ask for the poster. There's something magical about the charm and homely feel of small independent cinemas. To me they are what seeing movies is all about.

Joel's favourite movie experiences:
1. Annie and all the Muppets movies at Narooma Kinema.
2. Buster Keaton with Blue Grassy Knoll playing a live soundtrack at The Valhalla
5. Mad Max 2 and Rocky Horror Picture Show at the Bermagui community hall while Dad played a gig at the Le Marlin cafe across the road. 

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Weekly drawing: My place

My place
I'd sneak through the farmer's property always fearful of a bull (which was never there). Jump the fence again and disappear into the bush following a small creek to disguise my tracks.
It was here, I'd built a secret sheltered oasis out of sticks, bark and leaves. Looking back, I rarely played there. I just built stuff. At the time Mum and Dad were designing and building our family home, so I couldn't see why I couldn't build my place too.

It was also partly inspired:
1. A picture book about a kid who wasn't allowed to help build the family home, because he was to small. Unfortunately I can't remember the name of this book.
2. The desert children's sheltered oasis in Mad Max beyond Thunderdome
3. The Ewok village in Return of the Jedi.

As children we called this the Ewok village but as an adult I've called this drawing "my place" after seeing the TV series My Place which high lighted to me that children do claim a place as their own, and that's what I did as a kid too.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

weekly drawing: Sea cave

Walking the coast to Wes and Narelle's place, I became quite keen on investigating a dark and mysterious sea cave. Every time I walked past it, my imagination ran wild. I'd somehow managed to convince myself there must be pirates treasure hidden or at least a secret passage way.

So the next time it was low tide, I took my torch and I had a look around. However it wasn't what I'd imagined. Instead of vast riches, I only discovered a small group of bats who wished I'd stop shining my torch so they could keep on sleeping. I didn't find what I was hoping for but I hadn't ever seen wild bats in a cave before, so I was still pretty excited it was a bat cave.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Weekly drawing: Night buskers King St Newtown

A few years ago, Bec and I were walking home along King street at around 10.00pm.
We could hear this amazing music echoing down the street. It was coming from three buskers disguised in lycra suits grooving out in front of a crowd on the steps of the Newtown Post office.

It was incredible. I never discovered who they were, but I wished it would happen more often. Good live music is magical and should be encouraged in every city and country town.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Pig Lane - Hay street car Park Liechhardt opening

Originally Hay street car park was a place were people walked through as quickly as possible just to get to Norton street. However over the last few months it has been transformed by the Leichhardt Council into a food garden and sitting area called 'Pig Lane'. The name is a tribute to the sites historical past, when it was home to at least one piggery owned by a Leichhardt Council Alderman Charles Hearn in 1872.

It's great to see by redesigning an area people are in less of a rush to get through the area and they're starting to use the area to sit on their lunch breaks. Also The Food, Wine and Design School now harvest food for classes from the garden. I think it's great that the Piggy history has somehow brighten the future of this once bleak eyesore.

Thanks to Bronwyn Tuohy the Leichhardt Public Art Officer, I was fortunate to be involved and asked to design the metal garden pigs, a retro lamp post and signage plus the etched pavers such as the trailing pig tracks. 

It's been great to be offered such an exciting creative freelance job while being a stay home Dad. I had worked with Bronwyn on The Hawthorne Canal community artwork (my largest piece of art at 25 metres). She has an amazing ability in seeing a disheveled public place and making it shine.

A stray Joel garden piggy
Some more Joel garden Piggies
Joel Piggy tracks etched into the pavers
Joel retro lamp post and signage design

Bronwyn with a real little Piggy at the opening
once there was nothing but rubbish

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Weekly drawing: The Broadhurst's great tree swing

Kate Broadhurst and me play on the swing
The Broadhurst's had the best tree swing in the world. As kids we were amazed by it's design "How could someone throw and tie the rope at such a height?" Well, I never really worked that out. So instead, I visited as much as possible and concentrated on enjoying it and pretending be Tarzan.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Weekly drawing: Blackberry picking

Sometimes we'd walk the long way down to the beach, to pick berries. 
But because blackberry is an invasive weed these vines were only edible 
for a limited amount of time before they were sprayed. 
Part of me wished they wouldn't spray them, so we could enjoy the free food. 
But another part of me wished I knew more about bush foods.
So I could find lots of free food which wasn't classified as a weed.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Weekly drawing: Wind and rain monsters

As a kid some monsters seemed more honest and friendly then some of the adults who pretended they weren't monsters. This is a drawing and poem too the honest monsters who would walk through the bush on stormy night. I enjoyed their Muppet appearance and Wild Things ways.

The wind and rain monsters
I can't sleep.
The wind is wild,
The rain is insane
The trees are alive
like never before
I want to see more.
But I have school 
in the morning.

                         by Joel Tarling

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Weekly drawing: The big tree in playground

In Bermagui public school there is a grand old tree growing in the middle of it's playground. I have always loved this tree, it reminds me of the kind of tree that would grow in Tolkien's Mirkwood forrest.

When I was in year three, Scott and I played cars at it's base. We made camouflaged Batcave's for our cars by placing sticks between buttress roots and covering them with leaves and soil. In the company of this grand old tree, we were lost in our own imagination and a thousand miles from the school yard politics of footy and kiss and catch.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Weekly Drawing: Singing to the cows

This drawing is an illustration of something I mentioned in the blurb of Weekly drawing 53 

"We lived 5km out of town along the coast and my sister and I were the only kids at our school bus stop. However this didn't seem to bother us. While we waited we made a hand ball court by sweeping the clay, so there was a smooth area to play. And the property over the fence was dairy farm, I would sometimes amuse my sister by singing to the cows "Da do ron-ron- ron". To our amazement they would all huddle over to listen. These were magical days."

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Weekly drawing: Message in a bottle

My big sister, Dan Scollay and I, inspired by a combination of The Police song 'Message in a bottle' and Robert Louis Stevenson's story Treasure island, decided to make our own messages in a bottle and cast them into the ocean for passing ships to find.

Our hand drawn messages were placed in old lemonade bottles and we clambered down a goat track to a small beach, only accessible from Eileen's property.
However when we tired to send to bottles out to sea we couldn't get them past the breakers. Not even our Dennis Lillee styled bowling methods helped that day. Every bottle floated back to us.
I was left feeling I would really need to practice bowling in case I was ever stranded on a desert island otherwise I wouldn't have much chance of survival.
My message was a treasure island surrounded by sharks

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Weekly drawing: At the tip with Dad

Bermagui tip collecting yellow bricks
There were lots of good things to salvage at the local tip. Our best score was a pile of yellow bricks. We used these to make a windy yellow brick path to our front door through the spotted gums and burrawongs.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Weekly drawing 75: Underwater gardening

Realising the joy of underwater gardening.
Before: I built the stone steps and oyster-free swimming cove
I was just out of Art school doing odd jobs and my friend Matt offered me some work, building stone steps for a property at Cottage Point. I have always enjoyed landscaping with stones, so I jumped at the opportunity.

The stones for this particular job were all gathered from the site. Experience has taught me, when working with stones it should be within a 5-1o meter radius from were I want to use it. By doing this the stones will suit the environment and I won't break my back moving them around. To my joy, I also discovered stones are a lot lighter to move underwater. So I used this to my advantage and saved a lot of time.

The time I saved making the steps, I used to landscape underwater, creating a small oyster-free cove for launching a row boat or a place to swim. Unfortunately the couple who paid me for the days work thought I was just mucking about in the water.  To give you an idea of what they must of seen, use your hand and cover the underwater part of my coloured drawing - I just look like I'm just playing in the water.

It wasn't until I'd gone home, they went down a had a closer look and realised what I'd created for them. A functional and subtle design which the fish also loved.

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Weekly drawing 74: Wes Stacey's home

Wes Stacey's home camped by the sea

Over the years growing up in Barragga Bay our family became close friends with Wes Stacey and his partner Narelle Perroux. During this time he showed me that an artist can create serious work and also have lots of fun just being yourself.

I was extremely lucky to have my childhood with someone like him around. Wes along with Harold Cazneaux is one of my favourite Australian photographers.   I remember the first time I saw his book "Timeless gardens" a photographic record of Australian environments which included coastal flora, desert flora and even underwater flora (coral reefs). I'd never considered that these were actual gardens to admire until he photographed them and highlighted this concept to me. It was quite a revelation and changed how I viewed the natural environment.

When I was 9 years old, I would walk the rocky coast to visit him and his partner. He was often full of energy and cooking something like pasta and loudly calling out to the commercial fishing boats. Saying things like "Allan catch a big fish mate! catch us a Bea-uty! And drop over for dinner, we don't mind we've got lots of pasta!!!"

I loved his place so much. It was hidden in the bush on the edge of the ocean with paths that blended into the environment. This clever camouflage was subtle but made his camp more secure and extremely hard to find unless you knew exactly were it was. Even the chimney was disguised as a termites nest. To me it was designed like the ultimate cubby house, but it was actually a home. So it was the best of both worlds.

Signing the land by Wes Stacey
'Remote shore'
A beautiful example of Wes capturing the south coast
coastline, which I'd often venture.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Weekly drawing 73: Barragga Bay rock pools

This drawing is my celebration of a magical place and the amazing
times spent with Eileen Scollay, Dan Scollay (her grand daughter),
Amber (my big sister) and Bridget (Eileen's Labrador).

In the 1983-85, a family friend and neighbour Eileen Scollay would often babysit my big sister and me. One of our favourite places she took us were the rock pools hidden under the seacliffs at Barragga Bay beach. I remember the first time my sister described them to me. I couldn't believe there were so many pools in one place, It sounded like some fancy resort. And I loved it.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Weekly drawing 72: Camping in St Ives bushland

Anthony and I camping at St Ives, 1989

When I was 14, Anthony and I spent many weekends camping in the bushland at St Ives . We would walk down from Acron Oval to the Cascades and then along Middle harbour creek to our favourite sandstone overhang, were we would camp overnight. 

I felt a great feeling of freedom in the bush. I was relived to get away from the bland suburb of St Ives and it's ever growing shopping centre. At times while camping I would imagine how the local Aborigines once lived in St Ives, fishing in the creek and sleeping in the same sandstone shelter which we used for our camp site.

Unfortunately we couldn't enjoy the same simple pleasures because the creeks were now very polluted from urban and industrial runoff. So we had to carry everything we needed into the bush and ration our food and water for the journey. To conserve water and save energy we cleverly hid water bottles at certain secret places along the track (behind trees under leaf mulch) 

To me pollution doesn't mean it's all over and everything is destroyed. It just makes me think we need to clean up our act, so one day we can have clean waterways again. Imagine one day going for a walk in Sydney bushland and confidently drinking or swimming in the water, it would be awesome.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Weekly drawing 71: William Barak the ngurungaeta (leader) of the Wurundjeri

28th March 1881, William Barak, the Ngurungaeta leader of the Wurundjeri people,
lead 22 Coranderrk men on the long walk to 
Melbourne to try and save his community from the poor policy
choices of the Aboriginal Protection Board.
This week's drawing is based on the insightful documentary series 

Melbourne was originally Wurundjeri land, but within 30 years of white settlers arriving in the area 
the Wurundjeri people found they "…have no place to hunt kangaroo or maintain they way of life they have developed over so many years", 

Watching this documentary highlighted the implications of the government system at the time called a 'land grab'. This policy allowed free settlers to claim land for a home and farm. Ironically this is system was also used to effect by the Wurundjeri when they chose Coranderrk on the banks of the Yarra river in 1863. However their claim was only 1% of what they already owned. To me it's an extremely generous compromise and the most peaceful outcome given the fact that we'd pushed them off their own land.

"…It's a refuge and a place for them to work the land and show 
the white people they could make it a success." 

Coranderrk was an extremely successful community that quickly prospered. Unfortunately the government red tape tore holes in their thriving community. I feel very sorry about the way it all ended up. The Aboriginal people of Coranderrk really tried to work within our system and we let them down. It would have been amazing to see it still running today, it sounded like it was an wonderful place.

Oddly enough, the documentary made me think of John Macarthur, who around the same time claimed 5000 acres of prime pasture land (Camden Park) and got stinking rich. When his ancestors decided to reduced their land holdings, they sold it back to Australian people, and made even more money. History can be so cruel.

For more information watch episode 3: "Freedom of our Lifetime"

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Weekly drawing 70: Historical wooden bridge, Wallaga Lake

Wallaga Lake's historical wooden bridge was opened in 1894

The wind was so strong the pages in my sketch book were flapping everywere as
I drew this one. At times I thought of Claude Monet as he painted 
I admire Monet's commitment to extreme art locations. Can you imagine trying
to carry all the painting equipment over rocky the coastline of √Čtretat
to paint a picture before the tide came in. 

This weeks drawing is two pen sketches of the wooden bridge at Wallaga Lake on the south coast of NSW. It was great to be drawing on the waters edge out in the elements in one of my favourite places.