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 thatÂ 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 FacebookÂ buddies forÂ 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).Â 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 canvasÂ 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 intoÂ 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: http://www.stencilartprize.com/stencil-artist-profile-1337/
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 Ahuraâ€™s wedding Pari Azar decided to take theÂ long unsettlingÂ path downÂ 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
- Rhiannon’s (my daughter’s) pending dance competition and exams
- 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/cafÃ© 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 beÂ 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. Â – 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 :)