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: www.laurasmithisbeingapoet.com

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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.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Beards with Dan Edwards

Tapestry by Daniel Edwards


Tell as About Yourself! Where are you from and what type of work do you do?
My name is Dan and I live in Canberra. I am an emerging artist working in textiles and fibre arts.

What attracted you to make work about beards?
I am interested in the bearded craftsmen of the 1970’s era. Images of a bushy bearded man in flannel and denim. A potter at the wheel, or a carpenter turning wood.

beardo image 1 dan edwards 2010


Are you surprised by the reaction for ‘beard related’ art and how popular the beard is?
I see life’s journey as seasonal so it was only a matter of time until sporting facial hair became a trend, perhaps as a counter cultural movement to the manscaping metro sexual era.

What attracted you to take part in Beardo – the exhibition?
Currently my work investigates cultural identity I find local artists with beards and link them back to the forefathers of the crafts movement in Australia. I find the beard to be a good icon for identifying the ‘creative man.’

What do you think people will take away with them from seeing your work?
I hope my work can encourage people to create. I am a big believer in local community and creating environments where creativity can flourish.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Getting beardy with Christie Torrington...

Work by Christie Torrington
detail of one of Christie's works.


We spoke with the lovely Christie Torrington about her love of beards.  We were incredibly lucky to have Christie fly on down from Sydney to attend the opening night and also the In Conversation program for Beardo.  Her small works and beautiful and very engaging.  To see more, check out her website http://www.christietorrington.com/


Tell us about yourself! Where are you from and what type of work do you do?
I am a Sydney based artist/illustrator living & working in the inner west suburb of Petersham. My work explores, and has always explored notions of the body and the self. I am fascinated by the fluidity & immediacy of pen & ink, it is my new obsession. http://www.christietorrington.com/


What attracted you to make work about beards?
I like hairy men with something to hide! I am interested in the notion of the beard as a disguise, a barrier, a hiding place. I am also interested in the 'stigma' of the beard, the old idea that a beard represents a 'shifty' man, a man who should not be trusted. The beard has become a symbol of something other than just lazy grooming - it alludes to personalities that are integral to Australian culture such as the bush ranger, the biker, the metal-head.

Are you surprised by the reaction for 'beard related' art and how popular the beard is?
Not at all - beards have always elicited a wide range of opinions, emotions and sideways glances. Fashion works in cycles - it is only a matter of time before people are riding penny farthing bicycles & sporting crinolines all over again. The beard revival is only just beginning.

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What attracted you to take part in Beardo - the exhibition?
Old beards battling it out with new beards in one fantasic space grabbed me from the moment I heard about the show! I like the clash of the old and the new. It is through our past that we may understand the present & change the future, and beards are no exception!

What do you think people will take away with them from seeing your work?
I hope people will be inspired to grow their own beard - I sadly cant grow one myself, but if I could - I would be all up in that.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Getting Beardy with Katie and Britt!

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Brittany Veitch and Katie Jacobs at the launch of Beardo!


We've been asking our Beardo artists some questions about their love of the beard.  Today we spoke to Katie Jacobs and Brittany Veitch who have worked collaboratively for this exhibition.

Tell us about yourself! Where are you from and what type of work do you do?
Katie:  I'm from Melbourne, I make narrative-based ceramic work about icons, Australiana and humour.

Britt:  I'm also from Melbourne and I'm a Toy Maker, soft sculpture artist, non-practicing Industrial Designer.

So what attracted you to make work about beards?
Katie: We got excited about our ideas in discussion of the theme. We like innuendo. We like Movember. Beards scare me. I have a beard.

Britt: My housemate repeatedly refuses to grow a moustache for my amusement, so I have to make my own.

Are you surprised by the reaction for 'beard related' art and how popular the beard is?
Katie:  No. Hipsters love the past. And back in the day, some dudes wore beards.

Britt: Yes, beards are creepy especially beaded/plaited beards.

What attracted you to take part in Beardo - the exhibition?
Katie: I like the idea of seeing images of old dudes contrasted with modern work.

Britt: Having fun with beards.

What do you think people will take away with them from seeing your work?
Katie:  A smile. Photographs of themselves with different beardstyles.
Britt:  Laughter, tears and maybe inspiration to grow their own.

If you want to know more about what Katie and Brittany do you can check out Katie's blog here and Brittany's blog here!  They are great reads so check it out!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Beards with Dave Mead


Dave Mead is our only international artist that is exhibiting as part of Beardo.  When we saw his amazing photographs we knew that we had to have them as part of the exhibition and they have been a very popular part of the show.  You can see more of Dave's work at http://www.davemead.com/ , also if you love the photos but can't afford the work, you can buy a calendar for 2011 featuring many of these beauties!

We asked Dave some questions...

Tell us about yourself! Where are you from and what type of work do you do?
My name is Dave Mead and I hail from Austin, TX, the live music capital of the world, which also happens to be the allergy capital of the world. When not eating Mexican food, I photograph people. I'm primarily a commercial photographer but occasionally shoot editorially. When possible, I like to incorporate humor into my work. I'm also a longstanding stage photographer for two of the largest music festivals in the U.S.: Austin City Limits Festival and Chicago's Lollapalooza.


What attracted you to make work about beards?
Competitive facial hair growing is serious business. But, to me, there's also something inherently funny about an elaborate beard or mustache. I have a natural desire to want to give each of these guys a high-five. And so a portrait series was a no-brainer.

Are you surprised by the reaction for 'beard related' art and how popular the beard is?
Wait. Is it popular? Dang. I thought this was a niche!

What attracted you to take part in Beardo - the exhibition?
I liked the idea of having my work exhibited alongside other talented artists...and being a part of a big ole hairy collective...in a land far, far away. Having my work on display in my hometown is pretty cool. Having my work seen on the other side of the world is a pretty powerful thing.

What do you think people will take away with them from seeing your work?
Really, I'm just hoping to provide the public with some interesting imagery. If I can stir emotion and/or create laughter, then i've done my job.

Well Dave, we sure have had some giggles and gasps of awe from patrons who have visited.  A big thank you for being part of Beardo!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Leo Greenfield talks about his Beards of Paradise

Leo Greenfield Beards of Paradise


Leo Greenfield talks about his series, Beards of Paradise.

If whiskers are a man’s diamonds, then a beard is a lad’s best friend. But in contemporary art practice what does a furry friend have to offer? And what does a time tested signifier of masculinity give to the creation of new drawings?

In building this body of work I became fascinated with the layers of meaning and the literal texture such manes have to offer. From the mythology of Neptune, to Noah and Knights, all the way through to alternative Bear culture. Beards grow on chins of all kinds; they are not just for those who exercise patriarchal control.

In order to expose the limitation of type casting masculinity, I set out to collect a ‘wunderkinder’-like collection of imaginary facial hair. As if taking on a biological study, I took to collecting beards, documenting them like botanical illustrations. Organising the collection as if one were classifying insects in museum vitrines.

Through this process I’m attempting to highlight how society pushes us into gendered pigeonholes.
Within this fanciful classification hair has replaced other revered objects. By doing this traditional masculinity is juxtaposed with objects that hold more feminine qualities; gem stones, lace and feathers. These are suggestive of the complexities of an individual’s gender and highlight the absurdity of fashionable dress.
The art of dressing and grooming is also examined in this body of work. Organisation and sophistication can only go so far: a clean white shirt still covers a beast. These drawings use the contrast between clothing and anthropomorphic creatures to remind us of this very human conflict. Elegance and the unruly are all embraced within the texture of the beard.

This collection of drawings seeks to re-imagine and transform our bodies. They hold a sense of wonder that may well encourage us to re-imagine masculinity and grow new gender qualities more fit for contemporary life.

For more information on Leo Greenfield please visit his ongoing blog project at http://www.thebridestrippedbarebyherbachelor.blogspot.com/