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.
- Andrzej Nowicki is a Melbourne-based, Polish-born, South Africa-raised artist and the initiator of Grey Eye Society. He is also an incredible cook and captivating storyteller. We entreated him to exercise both these skills for Assemble Papers and he treated us to Pork & Pineapple – the modestly named Nowicki family recipe that has its origins in communist Poland
- Dominic Bourke is a teacher, poet, builder and musician. Now based in Beijing with his wife, Celeste, and two children Luella and Raphael, he reflects upon the Strathewen Juke Joint he has (temporarily) left behind – a retreat he built himself using reclaimed materials following the devastation of the Black Saturday fires. Photographer (and Dom’s brother-in-law) James Geer paid a visit just before the family departed for China
- HMAS Harry is a nod to revered Japanese musician Haruomi (Harry) Hosono and his profound exotica obsession that spanned several consecutive albums. Sourcing a rare cache of Hosono's tropical works on a recent solo pilgrimage to Japan, Sydney's Lizard Promise DJ has composed a collage of these sounds sprinkled with field recordings he took in the hills of Kyoto