LOST and MOST: meet the artists

Lara Scolari

Dedicated artist and teacher (pictured above) discusses her work out of her new Balmain studio/gallery.

How important are programs like LOST for the arts community?
To participate in the LOST program is an amazing opportunity for local artists to embrace and share their passion of creating with the greater community. Art making can be quite a lonely practice as ultimately you work on your own. LOST connects local artists as well as art lovers and acts as a conduit to expand on new and old relationships as well as strengthening the community culture.

Can you tell us a little bit about your new space?
I am lucky enough to have recently secured a magnificent property in the heart of Balmain at 48 Beattie St. Built in the 1870s our new home/studio and gallery space has had a grand history including once being the local haberdashery store.

What is your main exhibition for this period?
I will be opening a new exhibition MONO2 at 6:30pm on Thursday 10 March 2016, in conjunction with LOST and Art Month. MONO2 is my newest series of works and has been developed and created over the past six months.

As an action painter, my work is produced in an Abstract Expressionist style exploring developed techniques and processes. It builds depth through transparent layers of a variety of media revealing hidden dioramas.

The Mono works explore a limited tonal palette and focus on simpler considered compositional forms. They evoke the energy and chaos of the inner city.

How long have you been teaching art as well as making it?
As the Education Officer at the Western Plains Cultural Centre in Dubbo for many years my love for sharing the adventure of art making with children will never cease. I have recently started “Art Gang” in Balmain which is an after school art program that promotes individual creative growth and expression through the joy of art.

I have been making art all my life and currently love the fact that I can focus and work on my art making practice full time – an artist’s dream come true!

MONO2 Opening Event is 10 March at 6:30pm, and all are welcome. The exhibition runs from 10 March – 28 April. The MONO2 by Lara Scolari Artist Talks are on Saturday 12, 19 and 26 March at 3pm. Listen to Lara Scolari discuss her new exhibition “MONO2” from her studio space. 48 Beattie St, Balmain

That Framing Place

Lynn Pearce, photographer and master framer, is inviting artist Helen Ross to exhibit at her framing emporium over the LOST weekend.

Lynn, you’ve published a photographic book about Balmain and now a book about Rozelle. How important is community to you?
L: The community is why I’m still in business on the peninsula for almost 30 years. The philosophy of ‘Live Local, Buy Local’ is entrenched in the understandings of people who live and work here. It seems to be part of the charm for newcomers who move into the neighbourhood that their services and providers are also locals.

You’re a photographer in the framing business. Do your two practices inform each other?
L: My approach to shooting and, more importantly, my method of editing my photographic images definitely influences how I advise clients in their framing choices. Balance of composition, colour and tones are key in almost every piece of art I handle.

Can you tell us about your involvement in LOST? What do you have in store for us this year?
L: I really enjoy getting involved with LOST not just as an artist but as a local. There are numerous artists and Makers living on the peninsula that the community simply aren’t aware are working at their art in studios, garages or back garden sheds. LOST exposes them to the community, often in their raw but authentic environment.

H: Lynn has kindly invited me to exhibit with her during LOST. I will have bright fresh and happy works on exhibition.

You and Helen work in very different styles and mediums. How do you think your works compliment each other?
L: Whilst our mediums are different, I believe Helen and I know how to fill a frame and when to leave a vacancy. This is particularly true of Helen’s landscapes where the ‘rules of thirds’ goes out the window. I love that freedom of expression and altered perspective it delivers.

H: Both styles compliment, one vivid colour, the other black and white, all with simple white mat and frame.

So, what’s on the horizon?
L: After the LOST Open Studio, Helen Ross takes her work to the Balmain Watch House on May 7th & 8th, 14 &15th in a group exhibition called ‘In the Light’. I follow on at the Balmain Watch House on June 3-5th with a solo exhibition of photography entitled ‘Quietude’.

216 Darling St, Balmain, thatframingplace.com.au


Newsagency Gallery

Bess O’Malley on love, lock out laws and LOST.

How important are programs like LOST for theSydney arts community?
Cultural programs like MOST and LOST are really valuable for Sydney artists and audiences alike. They provide professional creatives a chance to liaise first hand with their community. It also helps demystify art and releases it from the elitism and snobbery that has been associated with the Sydney gallery scene for so long.

Can you tell us about your show during LOST?
We are showing Sydney Love Map and Landscape by Benoit+Bo, who are an important art duo and same sex married couple from China and France. They are visiting Sydney to feature in Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras also, performing with their Chinese big head masks. Benoit+Bo are a true international collaboration, the fruit of two cultures, two sensitivities and two pasts. Using their combined heritage, knowledge and world views they create hybrid, contemporary visions, a mix of Asia and Europe, China and France. Newsagency Gallery is showing the ‘Sydney Love Map’, created for Mardi Gras along with other Love Maps of major cities. Love Maps are beautifully detailed digital paintings where places are imagined and filled with clever streets, intelligent parks and naughty buildings. I encourage everyone to come along and bathe in the magnificent colours and gentle vibe that just oozes love.

How do you think Sydney’s lock out laws will impact the arts scene?
I think the Sydney Lock out Laws are embarrassing, they are a knee-jerk reaction by the religious right who are the enemy of art and free expression. The impact of draconian lock out laws on the art scene is potentially devastating. Particularly if the only place left to visit are casinos which are hardly venues for art and culture and have the potential to ruin lives through addictive gambling. As a friend of mine says “a city without a night life, is a city without a soul” and I believe a city without a soul misses out on the true cultural experiences that artists bring to the world. Fortunately I’m old enough to know that this government too shall pass.

What’s on the horizon for Newsagency Gallery?
We have a full program in the gallery this year with local and international shows. We will participate in Head ON photo festival with artists from Scotland. Studios from Cambodia, China, Indonesia will have shows as part of our Art Editions Asia program. Local landscape painter Ben Cahill will have a solo show of big oil paintings. We are also discussing drawing classes, drag shows and film nights. I love collaborating with creative people so potentially anything could happen. I’m thoroughly looking forward to a great year of art and culture at Newsagency Gallery.

332 Stanmore Rd, Petersham


Evie Group

Alex and Dominic have been a permanent fixture of the Inner West since they started their design studio, Evie Group, in a local house. Now they have moved their studio to a store on Darling Street.

What is Evie Group?
Evie Group is a multidisciplinary design studio founded by Alex Gilmour and Dominic Chong. We met while undertaking a bachelor degree in industrial design at UTS and have since gone on to receive their masters in design. Having a passion for simple, beautiful designs, we decided to create Evie Group to produce our own designs.

Evie Group today offers a range of services in product and graphic design with a studio/store that also retail their unique design collection of homewares, lighting and furniture. Our pieces have been recognised locally and worldwide through design awards, museum curations and exhibitions and from established designers with some highlights include Marc Newson’s selection for the winner of Qantas SOYA Object Award in 2010, winner of the IDEA Awards for Spun lighting range in 2012 and selected to be a part of the permanent collection in the Shanghai Museum of Glass.

How would you describe your style of design?
Our style is minimalistic and refined and draws influence from the simplicity of Scandinavian and American modernism. We aim to create timeless, elegant pieces, ones which hope our customers enjoy and hold on to. The pieces we design are things we would use in our own home; smalls for everyday use or the ideal gift and then larger statement pieces that hold pride and place in the home.

Our most recognisable design would be our Spun lighting range but our popular item is the small geometric keepsake Hex Boxes that come in a range of sizes and finishes. Customers love mixing and matching these and making their own unique combinations for their home or as a personalised gift.

How long have you been in Balmain?
The company formed in 2010 with us working out of a home studio in the Inner West. As this grew we needed a studio space and the Balmain East studio/store opened one year ago. People often come in and ask if we are a studio or a shop, we are both! The studio/store has also recently been featured in the new 2016 Louis Vuitton Sydney City Guide for lifestyle stores as a must see!

57a Darling Street, Balmain East, www.eviegroup.com.
The shop is open 6 days a week: 9-5.30 Mon-Fri & 9.30-1pm Sat.


Art Est Gallery

Jennifer McNamara is the art enthusiast behind the Leichhardt’s very own art school come innovative gallery space.

Art Est is so much more than an exhibition space. Can you tell us more about it?
Art Est is an independent art school for adults and children. We hold daytime and evening classes and workshops for adults in painting, drawing and printmaking. School-age kids from five years can enjoy afterschool and Saturday term classes. Our school holiday programs are also really popular and give kids and teens a chance to explore fun activities while learning lots of new art skills.

The Art Est Gallery is an extension of the school enabling us to provide engaging exhibitions for our visitors and provides a space for us to hold student exhibitions twice a year.

What have you got planned for LOST and Art Month?
In the gallery we have a group exhibition curated by Lisa Woolfe called Vantage Points. The term “Vantage Point” has many connotations: the view from a physical stand point, or a standpoint informed by unique experiences. This exhibition considers a variety of ‘vantage points’. Including painting, drawing, digital prints, ephemeral and installation.

How important are initiatives like Art Month to Sydney’s arts community?
Art Month and initiatives like LOST give galleries, art spaces and artists an opportunity to connect with the community. It encourages people to get out and take a look behind the scenes of the art world and gain access to places they normally wouldn’t see. And likewise, it gives artists exposure to new audiences – they might sell artwork or be discovered.

What’s on for Art Est this year?
This year we continue to with our regular term program and school holiday workshops. In fact Autumn holidays are coming up from 11-22 April, so time to book the kids in! Term 2 starts in May and we also have an excellent range of weekend workshops and master classes planned which is really exciting.

In the gallery, we have a number of exhibitions coming up including a solo exhibition by emerging artist Rachael Helmore. We will again host the Greenway Art Prize, and last year’s winner Gauri Torgalkar will have her solo exhibition. And don’t forget WOOF! in July – a fun exhibition and competition for artists who love dogs!

4/67-69 Lords Road, Leichhardt


One+2 Artist’s Studios

Pollyxenia Joannou and Lisa Jones, artists at One+2 Artist Studios – Balmain, share their thoughts on Sydney’s art scene and LOST.

How important are spaces like One+2 Studios for artists and the arts community?
P: For me, One+2 has always offered a sanctuary to concentrate on the progression and development of work I make amongst like-minded professionals. These studios have enabled me and other artists to exchange thoughts, practice and continue with a path that is by its very nature, an isolated existence.

L: One+2 provides an environment that helps nurture and support art making practice, through a discourse and through the sharing of information and opportunities. Studios should be supported by local councils for many reasons – it is well documented, for example that where there are artist communities gentrification and regeneration follows.

Why is it important for Sydney to run programs like LOST?
P: Programs such as LOST provide an opportunity for art to be opened up to those who are curious and interested.

L: They enable the public to engage with and develop a deeper understanding of art making practices. Artist are an invaluable asset to the community and open studios provide the public with a glimpse of the hidden treasures that are often unknowingly on their doorsteps.

Can you tell us a little bit about what you will be showing for LOST?
P: I personally will have framed work on display plus, leave the work in progress as is.

L: I will be showing works in production and also the drawings I recently exhibited in Kensington Contemporary.

What inspires you about the Sydney arts scene?
Speaking for myself, I find that the words “inspires” and “the Sydney arts scene” a bafflement. I have witnessed and been part of an ever-shifting “scene”. There are artists who have constantly worked over the decades without being aware or included in a “scene” of any description. This question is hard for me to respond to. Co-operation and practical valuing of the artist and the arts in our community would be a start.

6 Mansfield St, Rozelle


Skyfire Studio

An art gallery, workshop space and local arts hub located on the upper level of Leichhardt’s Italian Forum.

Can you tell us a little bit about your space?
My husband/business partner and I met while at Columbia University in New York, in Chinese class. Skyfire is a fledgling commercial gallery which opened in June 2015. We attempt to walk a fine line between commercial gallery and vibrant collective. We curate shows, attempting to exhibit a mix of emerging, established, and mid-career artists. We run various workshops, as well as an artist in residency program that is designed to not only expose people to the artists’ work, but to develop a sense of our in-house community.

How important is connectivity for the local arts community?
It seems sometimes overlooked that a gallery can be a resource for the community itself. That’s part of what we’re trying to do with our Inner West Gallery Tour-By-Bus, engage more of the community in an area that has the largest percentage of artists per capita in Sydney.

What do you have planned for LOST?
We’re super excited about LOST as it’s our first year participating. During that time we’ll be exhibiting “In the Ides of Now”, comprised of all female artists. Our featured talents are Kathrin Longhurst, Lea Kennar, Amy Summer, and Shelly Anfield. We will have a pre-viewing on March 11th 7pm-9pmy. We’ll have a closing party on April 9th from 7pm-10pm. All works are for sale.

What does the future look like for Skyfire?
We have Life Drawing and Gypsy Jazz event coming up in April, produced in conjunction with Gadjo Guitars. A life model poses accompanied by a Spanish flamenco quartet, and supping on wine and canapes.

Shop 10 Italian Forum, Leichhardt