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.
- Designed by Brunswick-based Breathe Architecture, The Commons is a considered alternative to the rapid-fire inner city multi-residential developments of the 1990s and early 2000s. Environmental and social sustainability is at the core of The Commons’ architecture, so much so that Breathe’s Jeremy McLeod has moved not only his practice, but his family, into the building
- Australia is currently experiencing a golden age of backyard beekeeping. This is, arguably, one of the last golden ages of European honey bee (Apis mellifera) honey production – anywhere in the world. Nic Dowse of Honey Fingers, takes us through the importance of caring for our bee populations, the basics of backyard beekeeping, and how to build your own swarm trap
- Since 1974, not-for-profit organisation Arts Project Australia (APA) has been championing the talents and wellbeing of artists with an intellectual disability through its open philosophy of agency, freedom and collaboration through art. On a wintery Thursday, Grace McQuilten visited our Northcote neighbours at Arts Project HQ to speak with Executive Director, Sue Roff