Blog – Melbourne art tours

Loving Melbourne and future travels

Melbourne tours, Venice art tours

12 December 2020
photo of artwork taken in Naosima, during a research trip for walk to art Japan

Naoshima: planning the exciting walk-to-art Japan

2020 has been a year to remember. In some ways it was lovely to slow down and not to travel. We learned to pivot, to make sourdough, to Zoom and to spend time being local.

Galleries closed their doors, art fairs went online and biennales were rescheduled. As people were home, art sales increased and empty walls were filled.

I reflected on the many international tours over the years that I had guided... the visual, cultural and gastronomy highlights of New York and Venice. I was appreciative that I was in Australia and safe at home.

I had a number of participants whom had travelled with me over the years to Venice and New York ring and express how lucky they were to have a collection of wonderful memories and visuals from the tours.

photo of artwork taken in Venice

walk to art Venice: fingers crossed we will be there in 2022

My research trip to Japan to Tokyo, Nasoshima, Teshima and Inujima was cancelled in April (read Art in Japan's Teshima and Naoshima: a wonderful cultural experience). However, the exciting walk-to-art Japan will be planned when we can travel again.

The Melbourne tours and website received a little tweaking, with vouchers and tours now available to purchase online. With Melbourne out of lock down and starting to resume a new COVID-19 normal, walk-to-art Melbourne has resumed in a slightly different format. Smaller groups on Fridays and private tours on Saturday and Sundays.

I am thrilled to be still operating after 13 years and feel very fortunate to have shared so much art with so many participants during this time! Fingers crossed we will be together in Venice in 2022!

 

Youth and art in Melbourne: insights, honesty and talent

spaces, Melbourne tours

31 March 2017
Artwork by Meg Tully, Sacred Heart Girls' College, Oakleigh

Meg Tully
Observation (2016)
digital type C photograph
Sacred Heart Girls' College, Oakleigh

This week in Melbourne was all about school groups, with year 9 students flooding the CBD as part of the City Week program. walk-to-art was in the action taking lovely girls from Sienna College on tour.

It is so much fun having a banter and sharing knowledge with students who are excited to discover, share and learn. It is always refreshing to have the insights and honesty of the youth, and it is also a challenge to have them stop, look and participate before their smart phone appears!

I am passionate about educating the wider audience and making art accessible to all, regardless of age and knowledge.

Speaking of students, Top Arts 2017 is now open at the National Gallery of Victoria Australia (Federation Square). This exhibition presents exceptional work from students who have completed Art or Studio Arts as part of the Victorian Certificate of Education (VCE).

Artwork by Mary Vlachos, Overnewton Anglican Community College, Keilor

Mary Vlachos
Collins St 1960 (2016)
brush and ink and watercolour
44.7 x 52.1 cm (framed)
Overnewton Anglican Community College, Keilor

This is a great opportunity for these young emerging artists (including two highlights featured in this post) to exhibit at the NGV and have a large and varied audience view their works.

What a way to start of your artistic career!

Top Arts 2017
NGV Australia
Federation Square
Ground level, NGV Design Studio
Until 16 July
Daily, 10am to 5pm
Free entry

 

 

 

walk-to-art on Instagram: What my eye picks up along the way

artists, Melbourne tours, New York tours, Venice tours

28 February 2017

walk-to-art is finally on Instagram!

Screen shot of an Instagram post by artist Shepard Fairey featuring Ai Weiwei

Shepard Fairey's post on Instagram (click image to view it in full)

After many conversations with friends and tour participants asking "why are you not on Instagram", I finally put the app on my phone.

I always prefer to see art work in the flesh and am always hesitant to view an exhibition online. However, it seems that the "hash tagging" has become rather important to today's way of experiencing everything.

Instagram has also become a way to archive works, reach an international audience, international curators and, of course, buyers and collectors who don't have the time to visit a show. Some artists use the platform to maintain a public profile and push the boundaries of censorship.

Ai Weiwei is an excellent example. Weiwei (@aiww) knows how to use the platform better than most, going beyond self-promotion to reveal the true power of social media.

Screen shot of an Instagram post by artist Shepard Fairey

Shepard Fairey's post on Instagram (click image to view it in full)

Having travelled back and forth from New York for the last 10 years, I am a fan of Shepard Fairey's murals and past-ups. Fairey (@obeygiant) is also political and uses the platform to reach a wider audience, but shares links to works by other artists as well – it's a global community.

So walk-to-art's Instagram (@walktoart) will be about what my eye picks up along the way. Whether I am in Melbourne walking the streets, visiting a studio, an art opening or on tour. Or maybe from the streets of New York to the magical lanes in Venice to the hidden bars for a cheeky glass of prosecco or two!

 

Let's discover Melbourne Central's art (for free!)

16 September 2014

When I received a call from Melbourne Central, a large shopping complex located in the heart of Melbourne, and was asked if I could conduct tours for them, I was a little unsure if there was enough art in the centre to chat about.

I have been pleasantly surprised and I am happy to announce 2 free walk-to-art tours at Melbourne Central this September:

Date: Sunday 21 September and Sunday 28 September
Time: 2pm to 3.30pm
Cost: Free
Bookings: Essential (go to Melbourne Central's website)

Did you know that Melbourne Central is home to one of Victoria's largest public artworks? The 61-metre long mural, completed by Geoff Hogg in 1984, is now heritage listed and one of the highlights of our tour.

Geometric sculptures (bottom left) by Caleb Shea and 'Filling the Mould' (top right) by Hamish Munro at Melbourne Central, in Melbourne

Join us and you will also see:

  • Hamish Munro's inflatable sculpture "Filling the Mould", which won the inaugural The Kisho Prize (2013) and is designed to inflate according to the number of people inside the centre at any time (photo, top right).
  • Work by street artist INSA
  • geometric sculptures by Caleb Shea (photo, bottom left).

Let's travel the lanes around Melbourne Central and discover something you have never seen or noticed before.

I look forward to seeing you on our tour!

 

Art travellers: overseas or in your own city

14 May 2013

It's that time of the year again (and it's fortunately been like this since 2008): I am about to hop on a plane and head to the United States for walk-to-art New York.

So this is time to re-search artists, studios and art spaces, and read cultural online newsletters. Friends have emailed new places and must go bars... and I'm trying to catch up with the latest eateries and coffee shops. All of this needs to go into the little black book before I leave Melbourne!

If you are not joining our group this year (I hope you can make it in 2014), but would like to go overseas to enjoy art, how about Asia? If I were not going to NYC my destination would be the Hong Kong International Art Fair, between 23 and 26 May. This is the first edition of Art Basel in Hong Kong.

There will be a number of Australian galleries there and it is a fabulous way to engage in the international art scene – you can get an an overview of what's happening around the world in just 3 days! Art fairs are interesting not only because significant galleries are invited to participate, but also local galleries tend to curate strong exhibits to attract the art lovers in town.

If you have no plans to travel, why not be a traveller in your own city? These are great shows to see in Melbourne:

Anna Finlayson – Shhh (The Hexagon Trip)
Sarah Scout Presents
Level 1, 1a Crossley Street, Melbourne (view location on Google Maps)
Thursday and Friday, 11am to 5pm; Saturday, 12pm to 5pm
Until 18 May

image from Rhys Lee's Still I'd Sea exhibition displayed at Utopian Slumps in Melbourne

Rhys Lee – Still I'd Sea (image above)
Utopian Slumps
Ground floor, 33 Guildford Lane, Melbourne (view location on Google Maps)
Wednesday to Saturday, 12pm to 6pm
Until 25 May

Ben Quilty The Fiji Wedding
Tollarno Galleries
Level 4, 104 Exhibition Street, Melbourne (view location on Google Maps)
Tuesday to Friday, 10am to 5pm; Saturday, 1pm to 5pm
Until 1 June

 

All my passions put together: this is my job

10 April 2013

People often ask me what I do. In simple terms, I have gathered all my loves and made it into a job!

Having graduated a while ago from the VCA, in Melbourne (view the details in the About us section), I put together all my skills and used them to mentor artists, facilitate the connection between business and the arts, and educate the public along the way.

Meet the Makers 2013 Most of my days are spent in my Collingwood studio, organising tours, speaking with artists and getting myself ready for the next big project.

Recently I curated the first edition of Meet the Makers. It was a weekend of inspiring, educational art events over Fitzroy and Collingwood, with the support of the City of Yarra. I am an ambassador for the council and was involved in their Discover Your Own Backyard campaign, with things to see and do in suburbs like Abbotsford, Carlton North, Clifton Hill, Collingwood, Fitzroy North and Richmond.

As an art consultant, I work with many talented artists and assist people in purchasing art. They often don't know where to look or start, so an art consultant can bridge that gap.

I am also the director of walk to art and, at the moment, I am getting ready for the next walk-to-art New York in May. It is very important that I travel, see and experience; both in Australia and overseas. In October I am heading to Italy's La Biennale di Venezia for the second walk to art Venice. Recently, I visited the Brett Whiteley Studio in Surry Hills; definetely a place to visit if you are in Sydney.

And Melbourne is constantly changing, so I have to be out and about to discover new spaces and new exhibitions. I use a fabulous calendar, Art Openings – Melbourne, maintained by a friend of mine named Charles. It is an excellent resource tool (you could be at a different opening every night!).

Not one day is the same and I am very fortunate to work in Melbourne and other great cities, get to know many talented artist and meet people who are so interested in learning about art.

 

Melbourne in winter: let's get outdoors and enjoy art

22 June 2012

On my walk-to-art tours I am constantly feeding everyone information on how to find wonderful places in Melbourne, encouraging them to try something new and explore a different area or space.

Yes, it's been cold and winter has hit Melbourne, but now it's time to put your woolly gloves and hats on, grab a copy of Hot Spots and get outdoors!

Hot Spots 2012 is out on the streets and available for free at art shops, cafes, cultural hangouts and at the Melbourne Visitor Centre (MVC) in Federation Square. If you prefer to use your computer or smart phone, visit the City of Melbourne website.

Described as "your discerning guide to the very best of a new Melbourne you may not know about", Hot Spots is divided into 5 areas:

  • Central
  • Southside
  • Northside
  • Docklands and surrounds
  • Cultural.

Hot Spots has pinpointed each venue with a number on a corresponding map. These maps are a guide only – use your smart phone or pick up a city map from MVC. My suggestion: try something new from Hot Spots each week!

Also visit Northern Exposure Visual Arts Festival until 1 July 2012. Installation, projection, performance and small works in small spaces, all located on High Street in Northcote (view location on Google Maps).

Northern Exposure Visual Arts Festival

Now in its eighth year, the event promises to deliver a "uniquely Northcote experience" (download the official brochure, PDF file, 1MB).

Have fun this winter in Melbourne!

 

Should we be upset that a Banksy artwork was destroyed?

18 May 2012

Should we be upset that Banksy's Parachuting Rat was destroyed earlier this week in Prahran?

Many street artists have their worked sprayed over all the time, and there is no public outcry or editorial in the newspapers. Street art has no timeline: it could be up for 5 mins, 5 days or 5 years. To remain untouched, untagged is up to the universe.

It's fabulous that Bansky shared his work and love in Melbourne. We are fortunate to have enjoyed the work of this British artist for some years now.

The trade person who drilled into that wall in Prahran probably had no idea or understanding that Bansky is famous and expensive. It is a story in itself. It adds to the history of the wall and the history of what was.

Are we sad that the Bansky was destroyed because it's worth x amount of dollars or are we sad because we lost another Bansky of our walls? Parachuting Rat was the third Banksy destroyed in 2 years – vandals damaged one in Fitzroy in 2011 and council workers painted over another one in Melbourne CBD the year before.

This is an interesting debate and, regardless of your opinion, watch Exit Through The Gift Shop: A Banksy Film. It is a must-see documentary.

 

Don't miss: James Cochran's London Street Portraits

22 March 2011

You have this week only to see James Cochran's London Street Portraits at Lindberg Galleries in Melbourne. I have popped in numerous times with my walking tour groups to see this excellent show.

Cochran has excellent technical skill and his paintings are automatically striking. Cochran fuses techniques together using aerosol pointillism, using multiple dots of spray-paint to render the entire image. In his late teens and early twenties Cochran began his career as an artist out on the street. Cochran began exhibiting oil paintings in the late 1990s while continuing his graffiti and mural work. He is best known for his gritty street urban subjects, but in this show there are only portraits of the homeless people in London.

James Cochran's artwork

The work is extremely personal and intimate – there is an emotional and humane connection. You can feel that Cochran is close to the subject and has spent time being involved in their lives. This understanding has come from a period of homelessness himself when he was a teenager and forced out onto the streets.

In Hosier Lane (view location on Google Maps) there is a portrait in the laneway that Cochran has painted; it is an extension of the show at Lindberg.

Lindberg Galleries (view location on Google Maps)
2/289 Flinders Lane
Melbourne VIC 3000

Tuesday to Friday, 11am tp 5pm
Saturday, 12pm to 5pm

Until 26 March 2011

 

Independent and "Unrepresented"

29 July 2010
Unrepresented, in Melbourne

I feel very fortunate to be given the opportunity to curate a show at fortyfivedownstairs, in Melbourne. "Unrepresented", with artworks by Nicholas Jones, Christopher Koller, Ted McKinlay, Chloe Vallance and Ben Walsh, opens on Tuesday 3 August 2010 (5pm to 7pm).

Mary Lou Jelbart, artistic director of fortyfivedownstairs, describes the show: "'Unrepresented' responds to the vagaries and minefields of the art world that contemporary artists encounter. Curator Bernadette Alibrando, who delves beneath the surface of Melbourne's commercial gallery scene and spreads her network far and wide, has selected five artists who have chosen to remain independent. While most artists see representation by a gallery as the best possible situation, others deliberately remain outside the accepted system."

I am an independent art consultant who works with artists on a very personal level. Where I can, I help connect, mentor and facilitate opportunities. My greatest pleasure is to sell work and know that it is adding value not only to the client's life and environment, but also to the artist's career.

Gathering and presenting the artists featured in "Unrepresented" has been a great opportunity for me to pull the curtain on all the behind the scenes work that I do. fortyfivedownstairs is as independent as I am, and to be able to give these talented artists such a prestigious stage to present their current work is a great honour.

Selection process – The selection process was not very difficult. I keep in contact with artists and visit their studios often, both personally and because of walk-to-art. Sometimes I park artists that I work with and wait for opportunities that would be beneficial to them to arise. As much as it is about the art, it is also about exposure, which artist is ready and who is accepting, and is grateful and professional enough about an exciting opportunity.

Within the artists chosen... old acquaintances (Christopher Koller and Nicholas Jones) and new discoveries (Ted Mckinaly, Chloe Vallance and Ben Walsh).

I have been working on this show since the beginning of the year, intensely with the artists in the last few months. I decided not to have a theme, but to make each wall a stage for each artist.

"Unrepresented" is about artists who are currently independent. They are all managing their own "businesses" and are not "anti-gallery", just happen to be independent at this stage of their journey.

View the Unrepresented catalogue (PDF file, 7 pages, 1MB)

When: 3 to 14 August 2010 (Tuesday to Friday, 11am to 5pm; Saturday, 12pm to 4pm)
Where: fortyfive downstairs – 45 Flinders Lane, Melbourne, VIC (view location on Google Maps)

 

Street art of Melbourne (look!)

17 June 2010
Miso's street art in Melbourne

I am constantly out and about and walking the streets of Melbourne. I encounter a lot of street art, but I realised that I very rarely write about it.

I speak about street art like any other medium; to me good art is always good art – regardless of where it is.

One artist work that I connect with out on the street is the work by the very talented Miso. Miso (Stanislava Pinchuki) is an early 20s artist living and working in Melbourne. Miso creates work for the street and for art spaces in which intricate drawings and installations fill the space. Miso's street art has been purchased and archived by the National Gallery of Australia, which is such an achievement for someone so young.

I often walk my groups by Miso's gorgeous hand drawn portrait past-ups in the city streets. When new ones appear, it gives me such pleasure to share these engaging works with others.

"Miso is really taken with the idea of art, and especially street art, as being something which binds us as a community. It functions in a very old fashioned way, in that it becomes a way of telling and sharing stories and images, embedding them within the city. Like folk art, it comes to have a very particular, practical function. It brings us together as makers, viewers and consumers, finding new pieces and exploring the possibilities of our cities. In this sense, a lot of Miso's work deals with telling stories. It is heavily inspired by the Ukrainian folklore she grew up with, alongside sharing stories from Eastern Europe today, as well as from her new home in Melbourne." JM – available from Miso's website, cityofreubens.com

Next time you are out and about and walking the streets of Melbourne, look! You may just see.

 

One of the most beautiful art shows seen in Melbourne in 2009

12 October 2009

On Sunday (11 October 2009) Sarah Duyshart's exhibition ended after a very successful two-week show – "The Lure of Echo". It is not often that I say this, but to me it was one of the most beautiful shows that I have seen in Melbourne in 2009.

In conjunction with the Fringe Festival Melbourne and the support of the City of Melbourne and Manildra Flour, Sarah occupied the amazing space in the basement of 673 Bourke Street, Melbourne.

The darkness, the light, the vibration, the emptiness and the emotional connection that the viewer could experience from this installation were incredible.

"Entering down a stairwell into a series of dark arches and corridors the viewer encounters several large spot lit sieves. Atmospheric aural reverberations translate into physical vibrations that gently sift flour to the floor. The sounds are based on field recordings captured within and around the building, including the heritage cage lift. They consist of rhythmic textured arrangements where isolated meditative ambient bass is interwoven with delicate subtle microsounds.

The Lure of Echo, Sarah Duyshart

"the lure of echo, sarah duyshart, an immersive meditative sound sculptural installation exploring the junction between ethereality and materiality and their duality in real time"

"Duyshart's temporal installations utilise ephemeral materials such as flour and ash. Her viewers are encouraged to consider the impossibility of holding time still. Flour sifts as time disintegrates. Translating the immaterial to the material, 'The Lure of Echo' presents physical and aural echoes of the past providing the audience an opportunity to contemplate the visceral impact of what is unseen in our lives. Moving through the historical basement, the viewer is prompted to engage in a critical reflection of both their internal and external landscapes, that of the past and potentially their future."

It was such a pleasure to take walk-to-art participants to this exhibition. For me, good artwork needs to be conceptual, technical and emotional. This exhibition had all three elements and I was so impressed with Sarah's energy, love and passion. Well done to a very talented artist!

 

Greg Wood: the second exhibition of a fabulous artist

18 August 2009

I am fortunate to meet many talented artists through walk-to-art. Artists introduce me to other artists and great connections/relationships evolve. There are many artists who have supported walk-to-art and have opened their doors over the years. Greg Wood is one of those fabulous artists, and he has been there from the very beginning.

Greg is about to have his second exhibition at Australian Galleries – Melbourne Smith Street, opening Thursday 27 August 2009.

Greg Wood's artwork

When the skyline's blue burnish'd resistance
Makes deeper the dreamiest distance...

"Greg Wood creates the impression of space and movement by depicting obscurity, with his current portrayals of brooding, majestic landscapes being neither abstract or realistic. These panoramas of soft fields and blurred profiles of vegetation are charged with a poetic grandeur based on the artist's sensation of the Tasmanian wilderness, combining swirling mists, distant views and bucolic landscapes. Twilight and early morning flows through the canvas with luxuriant ease. His preference for the large scale delivers works dominated by vast heroic skies that dwarf the suggestion of foliage, enveloping the viewer within an atmosphere of lowering melancholy and mysterious subliminal imagery. Wood invites the viewer to consider the inherent drama of strange primal formations within the landscape, and in turn the dark recesses and lurking swampy structures take on a formidable course of their own.

"The existential experience of the viewer and the perceived landscape is filled with potent human experience, and defines the viewer's relationship within the spiritual universe. With its absence of detail the panoramic work becomes both a composition and a transient space, creating an evocative condensation of form and thought. This form of landscape is a perfect medium for self-reflection, with just enough ephemeral detail to trigger certain elements of identification, and tap into our memories and experiences of the forces of nature.

"Born in Melbourne, Wood later lived in Tasmania and studied Fine Art. He is now based in Melbourne and regularly revisits the island to reconnect with the landscape. His dry painting technique begins by applying a colour ground to enhance the overall mood – whether warmer or cooler – then he boldly applies passages of colour which are then reigned in as the dreamlike composition emerges. While the image develops, breathing through the canvas, thin layers of pigment are applied over the base colours rendering a tantalizing textured finish."

Caroline Field (July 2009)