If you’ve ever had anything to do with the arts, you’ve probably come to the realisation that funding is greatly lacking and career opportunities are abysmal.
If you’ve ever tried to get a job in the arts you’ve probably been told that in order to get paid you need experience in the industry. But, here’s where it gets tricky. In order to get even an unpaid internship you need to have “a minimum of five years of experience in the field, a PhD and be a direct descendant of MC Escher”.
So as a young artist with no money what do you do to get experience?
Sarah Thomson and Regan Warfield took matters into their own hands and decided to organise an art exhibition at a West End share house.
Now, a lot of people might think that an art show in a share house would be nothing more than a cluster of unwelcoming hipsters having an intellectual pissing contest. But I’m pleased to say, you couldn’t be more wrong.
The exhibition, HERE&NOW, showcased art with a focus on living in Brisbane as a young person. Many pieces explored challenges, joys, fears, aspirations, sex and establishing a sense of self. As an exhibition HERE&NOW explored these issues in such a way that wasn’t overtly explicit or contrived but rather well-thought out, organic and very original.
A fantastic example of this was the digital projection piece “Our Father” by Isaak Taylor. The piece explored the relationship between the sentient moment experienced during orgasm, and religion. “Our Father” was a well-developed work which allowed viewers to question their own ideologies and make their own conclusions.
Organiser of HERE&NOW Sarah Thompson says having the exhibition in a house had its benefits, “It opened up creative freedom. It allowed art works to be exhibited that included nudity and porn without restriction. That’s the beauty of putting something on at a house, you’re not governed by what you’re expected to present.”
The result of this unrestricted expression was fantastic uncensored art, which was true to the artists’ vision. The pieces had a purpose and many of them were space specific, turning the domestic space into a catalyst and stimulus for the development of art.
Sarah says, “The location of the show came about out of necessity, there is a severe lack of funds and opportunities for young artists… but the domestic space became something artists could respond to.” Co-organiser Regan Warfield agrees, “we’d wanted it to be about here and now, and what’s more here and now than a domestic space”.
Although HERE&NOW was a low budget, DIY exhibition the artists and attendees extended far beyond the organisers’ social circle. Sarah says that while the call-out for artists started with friends of friends, through Facebook, they soon had people they’d never met submitting art for the exhibition. Similarly, the crowd was a mix bag of friends and strangers. A group of young and old art lovers ready to support the next generation of up-and-comers.
Both Sarah and Regan agree that after the success of HERE&NOW they are likely to organise more shows in the future. HERE&NOW is a great example of what you can do with determination and resourcefulness. As Regan says, “We used what we had and we wanted to be proactive about it”.