Artists connect with audiences from home

Queensland College of Art (QCA) alumni will share work with audiences online from their home studios as part of a new residency at the Museum of Brisbane (MoB).

Five of the ten creatives selected for the MoB Artists@Home residency are students and alumni from Griffith University.

While galleries and museums remain closed, the unique six-week showcase aims to bridge physical distance through making, sharing and connecting.

QCA alumnus Michelle Vine with her Honours exhibition, Surrogates for Social Touch

Bachelor of Fine Art Honours graduate Michelle Vine is an installation, performance and photo media artist. Her recent work features common household objects playfully re-imagined as tactile artworks.

“At the moment, no one can touch my work or see it at galleries, but I wanted to keep exploring the idea of touch,” she said.

“I’ve started making small-scale objects that give audiences a tactile experience.

Iso-pet by Michelle Vine

“I call them iso-pets – they can sit on your lap… I’ve nicknamed my first one Wilson!”

Michelle hopes to produce one sculpture a week, using materials from around her home – from old tennis racquets and broken electrical appliances to textile off-cuts. She will share tutorials online about how to re-create some of her works.

Clare Poppi in her home studio in Marburg.

“I want to be able to involve audiences in the process – let’s have some fun with this,” she said.

Bachelor of Fine Art (Jewellery and Small Objects) alumnus Clare Poppi will share a series of living jewellery pieces, crafted from recycled precious metals and micro plants.

The keen gardener was inspired by coronavirus panic buying at her local plant nursery.

Growing hoops by Clare Poppi. Photo: Lisa Brown, Faun Photography

“I noticed after the toilet roll and hand sanitiser ran out, the next thing to go were seedlings and seed packets,” she said.

“Whether it was a last minute attempt at self-sufficiency or the realization that they would finally have the time to get into the garden, Australians wanted to feel a connection to growing and living things.

“However, many of us are isolated in small apartments and have minimal access to a garden plot. I will be using this residency to create Growing Jewellery.

Each piece will be offered to volunteers who will have to tend the piece of living art – making sure it’s watered, given sunlight and nurtured – and documenting the experience on social media.

She is excited at the prospect of sharing her work online and collaborating with local art lovers.

“A lot of contemporary jewellery is kept locked behind glass in a gallery,” she said.

“It’s so good to get my art out there into people’s hands and homes.”

QCA alumnus Marisa Georgiou in her home studio

Marisa Georgiou graduated from the Queensland College of Art in 2015 with a Bachelor in Fine Art (Hons). After experiencing creative burnout last year, she is using the residency to explore the concept of creative wellness.

“This moment of isolation is a fantastic opportunity to break down and rebuild artistic practice in a much more sustainable way,” she said.

“It’s great to be part of a larger project that showcases the amazingly talented and resilient arts community we have here in Brisbane.”

QCA photography graduate Man Cheung (Man + Wah) and Griffith Bachelor of Arts / Bachelor of Tourism (Leisure Management) alumnus Delvene Cockatoo-Collins were also selected for the residency.

Queensland College of Art Director, Professor Elisabeth Findlay

QCA Director Professor Elisabeth Findlay said the fact so many Griffith alumni were selected for the residency reflected the high calibre of graduates.

“The outstanding alumni selected for this unique residency work across photography, installation, printmaking and jewellery design,” she said.

“It is testament to the high quality of our teaching and learning that so many of the creatives involved are QCA students and alumni.

“It is fantastic to see institutions like the Museum of Brisbane pivoting so quickly to support emerging local artists.

“The fact that this collaboration is taking place online provides an opportunity for the artists to engage new and diverse audiences around the world.”