Monday, June 29, 2009


Another surfing artist in the line up for 'Wax On' is Kylie Roberts,  former reigning champ of my own surf club, the Bondi Girls Surf Riders. Unlike Tony Amos who never shoots surfers cause he'd rather be out there surfing, Kylie's often got her camera focused on members and friends at the club's monthly comps. 
Over the years she's captured some classic sessions out of town too, including a sensational sunrise at The Farm, a favourite surf spot of BGSR members. For the exhibition Kylie plans to print an image of surfie chicks riding the liquid gold that morning on an aluminium surface for extra shimmer. 
She experimented with this format when she designed the club's 2006 trophies, two of which I count among my prized possessions. Conditions permitting, I'll be diving in for another crack at a gong this Saturday but the real winner, as usual, will be the one who has the most fun on the day.

Thursday, June 25, 2009


Hooked up with Tony Amos yesterday to discuss his plans for 'Wax On'. Tony has been surfing since he was 11 and shaping his own boards from the age of 14. He is also a terrific photographer working with medium and large format cameras and printing in his own darkroom underneath his house in Bronte. "Nothing is sacred and the rules are way out the window" is his mantra and he's applying it to his latest work - a hand-shaped surfboard coated with tie-dyed fibreglass and red onion skins. He's also making very cool light shades out of surfboard decks folded back around themselves to reveal the detail of his glassed in artwork which is hand-squirted on using plastic 'Nifty' bottles.
We decided to continue our meeting in the surf down at Maroubra which was running a decent ENE swell with an offshore WNW wind. Tony was seriously styling on one of his spunky little guns while I took a pounding on the sandbank. "Some days all you get is an adjustment," he reassured me afterwards in the carpark. And, indeed, my back feels a lot better for all the pummeling.  
Another interesting idea that Tony is proposing for someone to take up as a performance piece is 'Water-Boarding' where a big wave rider is strapped to a surfboard and subjected to the sort of high pressure water treatment inflicted on suspected terrorists in places like Abu Grahib prison in Bagdad. Any takers?


Three days after the winter solstice I was coaxed back into the surf by Richard Tognetti, the Artistic Director of the Australian Chamber Orchestra, who's just moved into a new home at Manly. We met at the southern end with his partner Satu and cellist Julian and all paddled out for a sparkling session in a fat but fun five foot offshore swell. Got the stoke back big time.
Went to see Richard and Julian play the Great Romantics at Angel Place that night and it was as if the ocean's energy was still pumping through their systems. 
Richard is a buddy of Tom Carroll who turns out to be a fan of Chopin and the like. He was at the concert too fresh from surfing endless long lefts out at Newport Point that day. We chatted afterwards about the notorious "spitting the winkle" episode that he'd recently exposed in the TV series 'Bombora'. For those who don't know what it is, it's when a surfer inserts a fire hose up his anus then squirts the contents over unsuspecting passers-by. Needless to say, alcohol is involved. Tom is off the booze himself and is looking fit as Richard's fiddle (which, incidentally, is valued at around $10 million). 
Also spotted at the concert was playwright Edward Albee (who wrote that classic drunken rant 'Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?' and 'The Goat' amongst many others), and Tim Freedman who was squiring former first lady Margaret Whitlam. Tim is a keen surfer too and is heading up to his retreat at Broken Head soon to concentrate on composing more fine music. Looking forward to hearing it!

Monday, June 22, 2009


We're always drawn to the sea, if not to surf then at least to promenade. And that's what Sarah Smuts Kennedy is exploring in her Wax On work - 'Another Day In Paradise'. Using old 35mm stock in her Nikon FM2 she's created a stop motion animation of people promenading along a breakwater jutting out into the Pacific Ocean at Nobby's Beach.
Among those who pass in front of her frame (fixed by a pole at her back) are fisherfolk, cyclists, families and boogie boarders. The surf isn't pumping but it keeps rolling in and breaking on the rocks, providing a bracing encounter with this force of nature.
The work also has a nostalgic quality, like viewing primitive film through a contraption in an old fashioned seaside fun park.

Sunday, June 21, 2009


Met with Roger Foley the other day down at the Hazelhurst Gallery where he plans to resurrect the by now infamous 'Wave of Stoke' for 'Wax On'. It will be a 3 x 3 metre L.E.D. light wave rising up beside you as you enter the gallery and we want to source a soundscape to accompany it.

Roger also showed us his 10 page spread in the magazine 'Lighting India' where he writes about his approach to light. He also poses such heavy weight questions as 'What is ART?' and answers thus: "One of Australia's greatest living artists, Martin Sharp, once told me that - all art is erotic - meaning that if it does not turn you on and lift your spirits then it is not art. I agree. Munch notwithstanding."

Munch? Roger, please explain!