Melissa, Simon & Gustov: utopian heights
“This used to be Tai’s place [artist Tai Snaith]. She moved out and wanted to keep it ‘in the family’ and offer it to friends and we were lucky enough to take over the lease. I work from home on Mondays and Tuesdays as well as in the mornings before the gallery opens. Both of us are self-employed so we’re always working around the kitchen table on our laptops (and we’re trying to enforce a ‘no laptops upstairs in the bedroom’ rule). There’s an office downstairs: computer programmers and designers. It works out well – they keep to business hours and get work done. There are always people coming in and out for meetings, so it keeps things interesting. I was in East Melbourne before. It was tiny, like a hotel room! It had a little kitchen and bathroom, but I never felt confined, because half of the area is parklands. This space is generous by comparison. We can have dinner parties. In East Melbourne, when I had people over for dinner, we’d have to have picnics on the ground or eat on the bed! My favourite artworks are those that have a personal story or memory for me. Easey Street [a painting pictured below by Jake Walker, represented by Melissa’s gallery Utopian Slumps] was given to me by Jake, after a conversation we had over lunch about navigating ‘the art world’. The gallery used to be on Easey Street (in Collingwood), so it was a kind of tongue in cheek thing… ‘living on Easy Street’, ha!”
Simon recently sat on the can for Who gives a crap, a project that aims to build toilets in the developing world. Or, if you like feel-good beer (who doesn’t?), visit Shebeen for updates on Simon’s upcoming bar and sustainable enterprise.
Featuring artwork (in order of appearance) by: Caleb Shea, Brendan Huntley, Amber Wallis, Mark Rodda, Bec Worth & Joanna Zawadzka, Kate Smith, Amiel Courtin-Wilson, Tin & Ed, Ben Sanders, Newell Harry, Jake Walker, Josey Kidd Crowe, Thomas Jeppe, Lauren Berkowitz, Tai Snaith, Conor O’Brien.
- HAWAPI is a site-specific art residency held in a different location in Peru each year: from post-earthquake Pisco to the remote Pariacaca, a tropical glacier above Lima. In the lead up to this year’s edition, Eugenia Lim asked festival director Maxim Holland about HAWAPI’s philosophy of art with purpose and poignancy
- Since 2014, Grafa’s collection of upcycled copper and Spotted Gum garden tools has earned a steady local and international following. Light years ahead of your usual Bunnings fare, Grafa's tools combine a minimal yet warm design sensibility with an environmentally sustainable ethos. Hudson Brown drops by Grafa HQ to talk to co-founders Travis Blandford and Harriet Devlin
- According to the 2011 census, in Banksia – named after the Australian wildflower – 50% of residents were born outside Australia, making it a true ‘melting pot’ of Macedonian, Chinese, Lebanese and migrant Australian cultures. Rafaela Pandolfini drops by the renovated Federation-era home of Jesse and Katie Maling and their two sons to learn about the family’s story of Banksia-infused life and love