Thursday, April 17, 2014

Some of my recent abstract photographs: April 2014

As we head into a long religious weekend (for some) and as I edge closer to a cafe exhibition in very early May, here are some more of my recent-ish abstract photographic works.


                                                          'Obscured #154'


                                                               'Inner city lines #90'

                                                                 'Dance of the Infidels'

                                                                     'Untitled #49'
                                                                      For Thierry

'Red #60'

'Trust. #5'

                                                                     ‘circular  #26’

All images copyright matthew schiavello 2014

Thursday, April 3, 2014

The little black Melways

There I was, I had just sold my car to a very straight, young middle eastern mechanic who worked for my mechanic, who I had been going to for years and years. I had given the young man the keys and said kindly (because I am a very generous man!), "Keep the Melways, it is current, I have no need of it"..... and then a day later I realised with embarrassment what I had left him with, was actually my little 'black' Melways!

***At this very early juncture, I should point out that 'Melways' is the brand of a Melbourne (where I live) street directory. The 'Mel' in Melways being for Melbourne. I did not realise this till a couple of years ago when I was interstate and asked someone if there was a Melways about so that we could work out how to get 'unlost. They they looked at me like I was an idiot .. "Umm this is Brisbane...Melways are for Melbourne!, here it is called Brisways!" they snorted. "Oh!", was my confused and embarrassed reply. Who knew?

Now, back to the main point of all of this!....Being a single modern man, I have been 'out there'. I don't mean in the garden doing some much needed weeding, but out there, on the dating scene. Dating is word that for me has wholesome connotations and I guess the modern scene is often anything but...but what is my point? A post lamenting the loss of more innocent times? No, something a little more sordid. Today's dating scene is more like a .. well, you meet online, you exchange 'vitals' and interests and then before you have finished saying hello and starting the small talk about the weather and contemporary art, 'Bob's your uncle!' ( a euphemism for: making hay while the sun shines (can you use a euphemism to explain the meaning of another euphemism?)).

So, being an 'out there' modern dating man, I have had my fair share of 'dates' and because I can be forgetful.. I would dot point important details of said dates .. name, address, phone number, 'vitals', 'interests' and important information like - 'nice guy but boring', 'bad breath' etc.... now, because I am practical.. I go that little bit further with all of this and just in case I want to go back on another 'date'.. I placed these little bits of paper, on the actual page of the Melways  (road directory) where they lived. This obviously makes it easier for me if I wanted to visit them again. With me being 'that way inclined'.. this also means these little bits of paper obviously had other men's details on them. 

Anyway ..So here I am, having sold my car and given away my little black Melways with all of it's dirty little secrets, names, addresses, numbers etc,  to a young and very straight  mechanic, who worked for my mechanic  etc.......which all means that obviously I can never go back to that most brilliant of brilliant mechanics.... but at the same time I cannot leave these other peoples personal details 'out there' in the greater world where they may be  used to hurt them in some way... can I?  


What a dilemma!.. what to do?
I mean, another option would be to have the young man sacked so that I can go back to my mechanics if I need to and then won't have to shamefully face him.

Before anyone gets all up in arms, of course I know what I 'must' do...which is the 'right thing' of course! Being of southern Italian blood, the 'right thing' would mean to have him 'removed' permanently. But, being a kind hearted man, I ignore the voice of Calabrese reason and
after much deep breathing and many slugs of hard liquor, I venture back to the mechanics (where I knew the car was waiting on some much needed repair work) and asked  my car's new young owner if I could grab an important document I think I left in the Melways..  He was polite enough and pointed out where the car was. Acting as calm as a cucumber I quickly nabbed all the dirty little bits of proof of the wicked life I had led ( a statement which incorrectly infers that I am now a model catholic!) and believe it or not.. In a panic I actually contemplated  eating the 'evidence' in case he came over and caught me red-handed with it.. but then thought about how I had no fluid/drink to wash the paper down with and my mouth would surely get all dry.. because it was probably like eating dry biscuits.. right?..and your mouth gets so dry that you can't actually swallow! So I took it all home and shredded it instead. I sighed a huge sigh of relief because not only was I amazingly clever and saved the day for millions of unsuspecting gay, bisexual and 'curious' Melbourne men, but now, no one would ever know about my shameful little black Melways.

I am certain that there is a lesson there in all of this... but I'll be buggered if I can find it ;-)

Thursday, March 20, 2014

True North Festival

This year I was invited to be part of the True North Festival. This is local festival run by the Darebin council. It is on from Friday the 21st of March until Sunday the 23rd of March.
I am blown away to be one of four artists selected to take part in an exciting event called: 'cARTography…mapping the creative process'. 
One of my photographs will be placed in a shop front window in Edwards St, Reservoir along with some text describing/mapping my 'creative process'.

For those of you who can travel to it easily, pop down to Edwards St, Reservoir this weekend and especially check out the shop window at 2 Edwards Street (yes, it is all about me!). For those of you across the seas and distances, here is my image (which will be presented as a 20X30 inch print) and some text on my process:

                                                         "certain/uncertain #18"

cARTography....mapping the creative process

by matthew schiavello.

The creative destination, how did we, how did I arrive here?

Sometimes our destination is reached as a result of a well thought out and planned process. We select the destination, we map it all out and we follow the plan. Sometimes we make
adjustments along the way, sometimes we don’t.

Sometimes, we kind of know where we want to go and we head off with little or no planning. We hope we may get there and sometimes we aren’t too fussed if we don’t.

More often or not for me, I tend to realise I have arrived somewhere without meaning to. I chuckle to myself and wonder how I managed it. 

My most favourite destinations have never been planned.

My photographic works are like this. I sometimes go out with an idea of what I will try and do, but this generally falls by the wayside and before I know it, I have arrived someplace other and someplace much better than I could have imagined or planned for.

With camera in hand I walk about city backstreets and photograph whatever catches my eye and my attention.  Sometimes I don’t know why I like what I see, sometimes I am
confused as my mind attempts to find worth and meaning in what I am photographing. When this happens I tell my mind to be quiet as I try to appreciate the beauty in what I see. I ask, is there something wrong or shameful in not knowing why you like something?

I digress, for I am meant to discuss how my style of abstract photography became so? How did I unintentionally arrive at this destination?

I guess the answer lies in how I arrived at who I am, without a map and also unintentionally. I grew up in the housing commission towers and estates in Collingwood and its
surrounding areas. We were poor and had little but our imaginations to keep us entertained. In the stark greyness of the towers and estates, we had to look for the beauty that was
around us, which was often hidden or overshadowed by all else.  

In my late teens I stumbled across a phrase by Pierre-Jules Renard- “Look for the ridiculous in everything and you will find it”.  I asked myself, what if the word ‘ridiculous’ was replaced with another word, would the same ring true? What if that word was 'beauty'?

Could we find beauty everywhere? If I had found it in those cold dark grey commission towers, surely I could find it anywhere else if I looked?

Here I am many years later, with my eyes still looking for and still finding the beauty in what lies around me.  Those neglected and vandalised spaces that are seen as an eyesore and
abhorred by many, are often a treasure trove of beauty for me and my camera.  But enough of me, where do you find or see beauty?

all work © matthew schiavello 2014

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Some of my recent abstract photographs: March 2014

I thought it may be time to share some of my recent abstract photographs. If you follow me on Tumblr you would have seen most of these already, but they may be worth a second look.

                                                  'Our tangled heart #38'

                      ‘Point of view (or, the shifting balance of power) (i-iii)’

              'Triptych (for my father on his birthday), in green and white.'

                                                               'Not from there'

                                                            'Unbalanced  #01'

                                                                   'Rust #22'

                                                            'Theridiidae #33'

All Images copyright matthew schiavello 2014

Thursday, February 20, 2014

New music Feb 2014

While I am busy doing a gazillion things and yet to work on more of my Amsterdam holiday photos (yep, can you believe it?), I thought a music post was long overdue.

Here are some recent musical purchases:

I am really enjoying the track 'Easy Easy' off 19 year old English artist- King Krule's Lp  '6 feet below the moon'. I haven't purchased the Lp, as nothing else I heard from it 'grabbed me', but this tune did.

King Krule- 'Easy Easy'

The Cairos are an aussie group ( I think from Brisbane), that I heard on Triple J a few times and this single really grew on me.

The Cairos - 'Obsession'.

Laura Veirs has a new album titled 'Warp and Weft'. I have liked her for a while and missed the last few albums. Listening to this new one, I am prompted to get off my butt and track down the albums I missed.

Laura Veirs-'Sun Song':

Saskwatch are a 9 piece soul/ R & B band from Melbourne. Local! Yay! This tune is so damn catchy I had to buy it for the car!

Saskwatch -'Hands'

This next track is by New York duo/group Phantogram. There is something about this single I like, but at the same time feel it is a little cold. I am slightly reminded of Melbourne group Alpine, expect Alpine are a lot warmer sounding.

Phantogram- 'Fall in love'

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Dear crazy and beautiful people, please don't be so hard on yourself.

We are all a little bit crazy. Some of us are more crazy than others, some of us are more openly or publicly crazy than others, some of us are crazy behind closed doors and some of us are so scared of being thought to be crazy that we hide who we are and present as cold, frozen and aloof.

OK, maybe some people are far from crazy, maybe they are well balanced and sane.Well,  Bully for them! (for those reading this who are under 70, 'good for them!').

For the rest of us, I wonder sometimes if we get so caught up worrying or thinking about how crazy we can be seen to be, that these very thoughts get in the way of everything else. I have come to the personal conclusion to stop worrying because everyone else is as crazy as me and if they aren't, then maybe they are hiding it, ashamed of it, waiting for the right moment to give me a lovely surprise with a sudden display of it, or maybe they aren't blessed with a touch of craziness and are just plain BORING. Crazy is as crazy does and if you can't be a little hysterical, unpredictable and able to think outside that bloody square, then how humdrum and predictable a life we would live?

Craziness needs to be loved, to be nurtured,  to be encouraged, to be celebrated and to be held up high for all to aspire to. Yes, for it is a beacon of light in the grey of the mundane and monotonous! If it wasn't for a little craziness, how would the great achievements in human history have occurred?  You just need to look at a photo of good old Albert Einstein and his wacky hair to know that he is a little bit crazy. Van Gogh's beautiful artwork is another case in point, who would have thought to try such a different way of painting? Only a crazy person!

Don't get confused, I am not suggesting we all go on holiday to a sanitarium, wear straight jackets or start taking anti-psychotic medication. I am not talking about mental health issue type crazy here, but the kind of craziness that allows you to function in the greater world, whilst still allowing you to be and do as you want or feel, to be a little left of centre and importantly, be true to your magnificent crazy self! Don't get me wrong, I am not for a second implying that non-crazy people aren't being true to themselves, they are, it is just.. that they are so.... well, you know... predictable and... dare I use the 'b' word?

Sure, for us crazy people, it's not all sunshine, rainbows and lollypops (with apologies to Lesley Gore), for some, being a little crazy means over-reacting to things, exaggerating everything and sometimes flailing your arms about as you do it. Sometimes this isn't conducive to ongoing and long lasting relationships... sometimes our crazy behaviour can get in the way of what we want in life. The glass half full people amongst us, see these moments  as opportunities to moderate and adapt our craziness to help us achieve what we want in life. In other words, change for the better. Yep, talk about seeing the silver lining! The 'glass half full' crazy people talk about owning your crazy, rather than letting it own and control you.. Deep stuff!

So, my dear fellow crazy and beautiful people, be your crazy yourselves and do it with head held high. Life is never perfect, so the next time you are a little crazier than you might like to be, don't be too hard on yourself, be a glass half full type and see it as an opportunity to learn from. An opportunity to try and do things differently next time and to own your crazy rather than letting it own you. Most importantly, what ever you do dear crazy person, never hide your crazy, never deny it and most of all, never ever get rid of all of your craziness, because without it,  you are not you. And you are beautiful just as you are.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Public statements

I recall when I was growing up a real movement around defacing billboards and putting messages on them that made you think about what was being 'sold to you'. It was not unusual to see cigarette billboards suggesting a fun and carefree life, with messages illegally sprayed across  asking if this carefree life was after the character's diagnosis of  terminal lung cancer.

I grew up in Collingwood and neighboring Clifton Hill. I heard recently from somewhere that the City of Yarra, which the suburb of Collingwood sits within, has the highest percentage of people in government housing, in the country or state (I can't recall now and couldn't find anything easily on the internet (yes, I do some research for my blog posts!)). I was not surprised. The suburb of Collingwood is in an interesting one, as it has three twenty-story government housing towers or flats, as well as many low and medium rise government housing, all mixing with an increasingly gentrified area, which is close to the city and is becoming more and more popular for visitors and new residents alike. The  high costs to purchase property in the area is testament to this.  Add to this, neighbouring Richmond and Fitzroy's own Housing towers and estates. But what does this all mean? I do fear that it may only be a matter of time before the government sell off the large allotments of inner city land and edge the poor out and force them to the urban fringes, which lack decent transport/infrastructure and job opportunities. Sadly, these same people that may be forced out, actually helped create Collingwood's unique vibe that attracts many.

Recently a strip of shops were torn down in Smith St (one of the main shopping streets). I recall some of the stores that have come and gone over the past thirty or so years. This now vacant strip, that has had shop fronts torn down and shops gutted, is going to become apartments. Maybe even apartments over a supermarket. I read somewhere that a project was undertaken to photograph some locals and plast their images over the boarding around the construction site....Perhaps done to 'sell' the locals the idea that this development is 'ok' and will be a natural part of the existing community. It wasn't long until these images were manipulated and public statements were made....

Through whose ares do we see? And what lens are we being asked to view live/change through?

I love the torn face, the image no longer becomes about one particular person, but a representation for many.

The dispossessed original owners of the land, now being dispossessed yet again.

This next image is so rich with ideas of the layers of community, of the original image of a dark skinned woman, has been pushed back and replaced with that of the whiter skin of the dominant culture. There is the suggestion of an Asian looking eye as well and then the text which suggests that evil smashes!!!  Fitting given that money is moving into the area and in time, just as it has happened in other places, the poor will be displaced.

original images copyright of the respective artist (no copyright infringement intended), the above photographs copyright matthew schiavello 2013