Thursday, December 30, 2010

Talking beards with Laura Smith...

Last days of Beardo 009

Another one of our 'duos' and collaborative works that was on show during Beardo was the installation work of Laura Smith and Zoe Steers.  These two fantastic girls worked throughout the exhibition on their installation wall with intriguing little beards that grew throughout the exhibition by Zoe and the winding, beard like writings by Laura.  We asked Laura Smith some questions about her interest in beards.

Tell us about yourself! Where are you from and what type of work do you do?
I’m a second generation hippy. I grew up on an abandoned fauna park in country NSW, where my parents' line of defence against utes and Bundaberg Rum tattoos was to plant over 5000 local native trees and grow organic worms to sell to gardeners. All their friends have hippy-swagman shrubbery, and so does my dad.

These days I work backstage in the entertainment industry, and once bought a glue-on beard for a performer so that he wouldn’t have to grow one.

I am the resident Café Poet at BookTalk Cafe, and my writing has been published in a range of magazines and journals. I have edited two poetry anthologies and two short play collections, and am nearing completion of my own book of poems.

Most recently I am working on publishing an anthology of writing, art, and works about beards, titled The Compendium of Early 21st Century Australian Beard Art.

An evolving archive of my past writings is available on my blog at:

Last days of Beardo 004

What attracted you to make work about beards?
My interest in beards was recently re-fired by collaboration with Zoe Renee Steers on a beard zine, but originates from growing up with a beardy dad. He shaved his beard once, but never again after seeing my terrified 8-year-old reaction to his naked chin.

Beardy things I’ve made recently include Guess Whose Beard, a beard-punked version of Guess Who; Wild and Free, a knitted beard; and The Lumberjack Picnic, a costumed event held in celebration of World Beard Day.

Are you surprised by the reaction for 'beard related' art and how popular the beard is?
Not at all. I’d already noticed a trend for poetry about chin tail, so wasn’t at all surprised that the same trend was appearing in the visual art world.

What attracted you to take part in Beardo - the exhibition?
I was terribly excited to discover that there are other beard artists in the world, and by the excuse to make more beardy things.

What do you think people will take away with them from seeing your work?
A small insight into the struggle for dominance between man and face fuzz.

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