Guest post by, Rachael Bartram
My name is Rachael and I am an emerging artist based in Brisbane.
Collage and drawing are intrinsic to my art practice, with mixed media and video also forming significant channels in work. My work explores issues concerned with identity, feminism, self-awareness and reflexivity. Through my collage work, I switch between fictional and non-fictional structures and in doing so, create scenes that appear like ‘interrupted realities’. Many of these scenes interconnect through a common thread or concept. Others offer the viewer an insight into a world of banal, humorous, introspective and strange situations.
Earlier this year, I contributed some of my existing collages to promote The Edge’s One Last Apocalypse project and I took part in an Edge residency. In the lead up to my residency, I got busy planning, and started and thinking about what my aims were. I decided to go in with a few ideas and then experiment with new equipment and build projects from there. So, once August rolled around, I went in one day a week to work experiment and make use of the excellent facilities and equipment.
The timeline of my residency looked like this:
- Grand tour of The Edge with Olivia. I met most members of the team and learned about the different functional areas of The Edge and Fabrication Lab.
- I completed an induction on both the Laser Cutter and 3D Printer. Through the inductions I was able to learn how to start, operate and basically make something on both pieces of equipment.
- Collage work on site (whilst brainstorming what I could do next week).
- Met with Joan from Queensland Memory to learn about sourcing out of copyright materials to use for collage and the development of art projects. Joan showed me how to use Onesearch effectively and how to call out archived materials for viewing (including postcards, books, news clippings, photographs maps…the list goes on!).
- Back in the Fabrication Lab, I jumped on the small-scale stop-motion capture set-up. The enclosed light space with a rigged up SLR camera allowed me to use some of my collage materials to make short, moving collages. Using this setup also introduced me to Dark Table, a photography workflow and raw developer application. Using this software made the instant photo capture process quick and easy.
- Between week 2 and 3, I conducted my own Onesearch library catalogue research at home and found some absolute gems. I downloaded a series of out of copyright coloured postcards and items of ephemera, one of which was a photo of a girl (c 1900) dressed as a bottle of Bulimba Gold Top Pale Ale for a fancy dress ball. I then began thinking about this Beer Girl becoming a central figure to a series of collages or a stop-motion animation.
- I continued using the stop motion set up in the Fabrication Lab to capture a series of images of the Beer Girl moving through different scenes.
- Later in the day, I had a meeting with SLQ staff Jacinta and Thom in regards to the development of a collage based workshop for the Fun Palace event using State Library’s catalogue of old WWI postcards.
- On my last day, I got on the Laser Cutter to make some simple plywood circles to use for wall mount collages/artworks. Having predominately used paper based media in my artwork, the Laser Cutter provided the means to make artwork bases/surfaces out of an alternative material.
- After finishing up on the Laser Cutter, I moved onto compositing my Beer Girl stop motion animations in Adobe After Effects. I made a start on at least three sequences, which when finished, will run on a loop as the Beer Girl character travels through the different scenes.
My activities each week varied and I did not pressure myself to come up with resolved projects or artworks by the end of the residency. Rather, I focused more on learning, experimenting and brainstorming. On that point, I should note that the staff at The Edge have a wealth of knowledge and are not only enthusiastic towards the development of new work and ideas – but they are also patient, helpful and open minded.
The outcomes from my time working and experimenting onsite have grown to become ongoing studio investigations at home. Since beginning the Beer Girl stop motion project I have also started constructing a three-dimensional rainforest diorama made from collected cutouts and a central image of a cascading waterfall on Mount Tambourine. A photographic postcard I found whilst conducting research on Onesearch inspired this diorama idea/side project.
All in all, I had a great experience as the Artist in Residence at The Edge and I will definitely be returning to make the most of this fantastic public resource.