My friend 1337’s exhibition and my own artistic struggles

My friend 1337's exhibition and my own artistic struggles


Let me take you back to the year 2000. It was late at night and I sat alone bathing in the soft light of my computer monitor. Death played on the screen in the form of HalfLife Deathmatch – a first person shooter game. I was SoulThief and that game was my escape from the world. Among my online friends was a player named FrankBooth. For the uninitiated let me tell you that that name actually has meaning. It’s a reference to a 1986 film called Blue Velvet. The character Frank Booth is a “psychopathic gangster, drug dealer and pimp”. Naturally I warmed to this player because he used references that I understood – film references.

FrankBooth joined my clan (WAR) and turned out to be two people sharing a nick, and one of those people was a young Brisbane artist named Matthew Newkirk (also known as 1337 – pronounced Leet as in elite).

Fast forward 15 years – I have never met 1337 in person but we have been clan mates and Facebook buddies for quite a while. We click :) We share the same delight in art and horror movies and games.

So imagine my delight when he says that he is having an exhibition in Sydney, actually in Surry Hills in the same street that my mother lives (and that I lived in 30 years ago).  The gallery is the Blank_Space Gallery (374 Crown St Surry Hills Sydney NSW 2010). After 15 years I could finally meet my friend!

Matt was tall – much taller than I expected. He was also now older than I was when we first met. Yes he was 38 now! This said he had that passion of youth about him (not that I am saying that 38 is old) and that excitement about his work. I was going to post some images of it here but I was unable to contact him as I write (ummmm… I guess it’s not unreasonable for someone not to be reading their Messenger at almost 10:20 at night LOL).

So let me describe his art and then point you towards a biography regarding him.

Ok – his art. Me being me, I would describe it as a homage to classic B-grade horror. My favourite piece was a huge canvas divided into 6 oblongs, each portraying a bright and colourful interpretation of the head of the Monster from the Black Lagoon. It was mesmerising. It was also quintessential 1337 – a darkness of subject rendered in vivid, unreal hues. Mind you, there was other work too that was bleak and ominous and recalling the surreal darkness of many a splatter film.

A lady walked into the gallery while Matt and I reminisced. He pleasantly engaged her and in return she essentially rubbished his choice of subject matter before stalking out. Very strange. Encouragingly this was followed by a different lady, an artist herself, who stepped into the gallery and was much more positive.

In the end we left the gallery, Matt closing it to have dinner with his brother and myself off to see my mum. Nevertheless it was good.

If you are in Sydney and are interested in what you have heard, then pop down to the Blank Space to see Matt’s work while it is there (till the end of this week I think). And here is the biographical link I promised you:

My own art

Firstly my writing – I have been stuck on one paragraph now for a fortnight. It’s the opening paragraph of Pari’s story. I felt that now that I had split up my big novel into smaller ones – each following a different character – that Pari’s beginning was reasonably banal. Poor thing – she already has a possibly dying father, and unexplained nightmares – but I wanted more. This is what I now have:

On the morning of Warim Ahura’s wedding Pari Azar decided to take the long unsettling path down to the Roots of Splendour and there to weep. She did not want to see Warim marry that woman, not that she – a fifteen year old girl – would be a suitable substitute for the bride.

Yes, a crush on an older man! Poor thing. If I play this right then I can develop Pari as a person rather than simply as someone trying to find a cure for her dear old dad.

Now my 3D art.

Well, despite having some excellent tutorials from YouTube to follow, I am still having issues. Not all the shortcut keys mentioned in the tutorials seem to have the actions mentioned in the tutorials. The random face selection simply did not work for me. I also spent a while changing the colours on my Blender interface as my Keratoconus was making some things hard to read. Anyway, this is how the city is progressing.


To be honest I simply may have not spent enough time on it.

Rhiannon’s dancing and travel plans

OK – the main barriers to me getting anything done recently (writing, art, blogging) has been

  1. Rhiannon’s (my daughter’s) pending dance competition and exams
  2. my final planning and organising of the family’s European holiday

I spent much of Saturday south of Sydney at a place called Thirlmere. It’s a quiet place that boasts one superb pie shop/café and a train museum. While Rhiannon spent hours practicing in the local school hall, Nicole and I wandered the streets (and had cheesecake and coffee).

Meanwhile I also have a European holiday to plan. Starting on the 1st of September and ending on the 9th of October – yippee. I’ve joined the English Heritage organisation – a family membership. The benefits of this is that all I need to do is visit Tintagel, Stonehenge and Witley Court (each free entry with membership) and I will have recouped my outlay. Anything else under their control that I visit will then be a bonus and that includes an awful lot. Go have a look. :) We did the same thing the last time we travelled to the UK in 2002 and I really recommend it to overseas travellers visiting those isles.

I have also listed and costed every other place in the UK that we intend to visit – quite a bit. Meanwhile the Trafalgar Costsaver was booked though an Aussie mob called Global Journeys. The agent we dealt with was Hannah and she has been excellent. She helped us to pick the European Cavalcade.  – so let’s see how it turns out. Hopefully I will be able to make daily blog posts as we go along. :)

Anyway, so that is today’s post – convoluted and unstructured as ever. Thanks for reading :)




  1. Wow, that’s an excellent model of a city thus far! I can’t wait to see the finished project of it, good job! :-)
    And the story of your friend’s exhibit reminded me that art is just a very subjective thing in general, some people will “get it” and feel an emotional connection to it, however some will totally miss the point of it. 133T should not worry about the critic, it comes with the territory of anything artistic. The positive is that the woman who gave her energies to a negative response was still moved enough to voice something about the display, in spite of it being negative. I like to believe that it’s worse when people scoff and walk away, without a comment. To me, a lack of any comment means that the art wasn’t worth the slightest of thought, not even I grumble. I personally much rather get the comment of “Your writing sucks!” than nothing at all, because it means the person read it and felt compelled to express some emotion over it. even though it’s not the idea emotion I sought for. I know, I’m weird! =p


    1. Thanks for the compliment :) And very, very true about the lady’s comment :) I would hope that one day my own art moves people to comment – one way or another. I ended up telling Matt a quote (probably misquote) from an old comedy that has an old man saying to a friend “They laughed at Galileo. They laughed at Newton. They laughed at Einstein. Why won’t they laugh at me?!?” :)


  2. Coincidences are strange fellows. My father when a boy lived with his family in William Street, just a few doors down from the Crown St intersection. And another coincidence, you and I are both Shire lads.
    Great you could meet your mate after such a long friendship in cyberspace. Happy days.


    1. The world is made up of coincidences :) I guess that is one reason life is so interesting :)


  3. Looking forward to your novel ^_^ especially the character on Pari…I do hope that she will have a happy ending. I know life is full of ups and downs, but life is hard enough so why make a fictitious character suffers too? Then again, it is your story, it is your call. You will decide the ending ^_- All the best! ^_^


    1. The joy of a story is in the struggle. Pari’s will be sufficiently epic I hope :) As to a happy ending, I have found that these characters live a life of their own as the writing is underway. One character in the book really surprised me with their death. I did not see it coming. And I am the author! LOL Thanks for reading :)


  4. wonderful to meet a friend from internet!
    good start of the city. nice flowing layout of houses and streets.
    as to the random select in blender. it works like so:
    go into edit mode. put the mode of what you want select (vertex, edge or face,, face works best in most cases). then in the select menu choose “random”, and before doing anything else hit F6 key. this brings up a little pop up menu, where you can set a percentage (the default is 50%) of the number of faces, say, that will be randomly selected. when you cange the number you will see the selection changes. you can also switch to deselect randomly, if you wish to (when you had a selection previously)…
    in case your city are several objects, and you want select randomly from them, i think you need first join them (= select them all and press ctrl J or choose join in object menu). after having edited them together you can, if you wish, separate them again.
    keys pressed shown in tutorials are often custom keys, as most users do not like blenders default keys. i edited my keyset up too…


    1. Thankyou! That is precisely the answer I needed. Sometimes it is really difficult to follow tutorials, probably for exactly the reason you state. :) Thanks :)


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