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.
- Established in 2012, the Brunswick Tool Library has been welcomed by nearby residents in need of tools for small-scale projects and DIY jobs. Focused on providing artists, gardeners and renovators with an affordable way to take on a range of jobs, the entirely volunteer-run Brunswick Tool Library, led by president Karleng Lim, aims to transform the way we own and use tools
- Virginia-based landscape architect Julie Bargmann of D.I.R.T. Studio creates places that defy traditional notions of nature and beauty. To her, a landscape represents the intertwining of social and ecological cycles, over time. Emily Wong speaks to Julie about how she uses 'toxic beauty' to transform industrial sites into 21st-century public spaces with a past, present and future
- For the last five years, self-taught photographer Warren Kirk has been sharing his photos of the living relics of Melbourne's western suburbs online, as the 'Westographer'. Warren's obsessions culminated recently in the publication of his first book, 'Westography: Images of a Vanishing Suburbia'. Here, he shares some photos from his collection and the story behind his tireless work