We caught up with Daniel Baranowski and talked ‘Snap Frozen & Still’; his solo exhibition in the Blue Mountains. Influenced by his trip to Iceland, and the landscape their, Dan talks more about his inspiration and practice.
This Thursday the 9th August from 6-9pm we will be hosting an exhibition here at Nauti. An unusual exhibition. This exhibition will be the unveiling of Kris Perry's latest creation. A large wooden mechanical sculpture powered by people. I asked Kris some questions about his practice and projects so that you may delve into the mind of our resident inventor.
How would you describe yourself and what you do to people who want to know more about you?
I'm the guy who scavenges your broken appliances off the street so I can take them apart and figure out how they work and maybe try and fix them. And if what you threw out isn't actually broken, I'll probably try and fix it until it is. I'd rather have a house full of stuff I found and fixed than stuff I bought.
Have you always been a maker/craftsperson?
Maybe. When I was a kid I went to a summer camp where each day they gave you a choice between making crafts or playing a sport. I wasn't necessarily against playing sports, but I'd always choose to do crafts because my logic was "I can't take a sport home and put it on display". So yea, early hoarder mentality maybe.
What inspires you and your work?
People who graffiti things. People who vandalize other people's graffiti. People who vandalize other people's vandalism of someone's graffiti... well you get the point.
Who taught you woodworking, engineering, metal working?
I'd have to give my Dad credit for at least exposing me to tools and the 'anything can be fixed' attitude. He's always been a guy who's interested in how everything works and I never really thought that rubbed off on me until later in life. Also, mates, youtube videos, and just giving it a crack are all great places to start.
What is your favourite material to work with?
I love the challenges of wood. I think woodworking is one of those things that you can truly spend a lifetime trying to master. It's an organic material so every piece is unique. It shrinks, swells, twists and bows depending on it's environment, so a good woodworker must know how to work "with" these factors, not against. Of course I have no idea what I'm talking about. I cant even identify most hardwoods. But hey, I never claimed to be a modern-day Antonio Stradivari or anything. I'm just a guy who's impressed by people who are really really good at making things. Especially from the pre-power tool era.
You have an exhibition coming up at Nauti Studios on the 9th of August. What will you be exhibiting?
My exhibit is called 'Practically Useless'. It's a large interactive wooden sculpture with lots of moving parts. Hopefully nobody gets their hair snagged or fingers crushed. I think people are impressed by things that are physically bigger than themselves. My sculpture is bigger than the fattest person on earth.
Who inspires you as an artist?
Mostly I'm inspired by the countless people you've never heard of who designed and created pretty much everything around you. I think engineering is a form of art. It's just not admired in the same way unfortunately.
What's the best art piece you've ever seen in person?
Once at burning man someone made a dick farm. It was just rows of rubber dicks sticking out of the dirt with a sign saying you could 'harvest' them. Every evening the artist would return and replenish the missing dicks with new ones. I never did find out who the artist was or how they got access to so many rubber dicks. I wonder if by the end of the festival replenishing the dicks became more of a chore than a passion. I guess that's kinda like art. You think it's a great idea at first but eventually you find yourself in the desert holding a box of rubber dicks asking yourself "is this what I should be doing with my time?"
What is your vision for your practice in the future?
It'd be great to make something big and indestructible for a public space in the city. I'd then want to get it mentioned in the daily telegraph and have it called a "waste of tax payer's money" or "a testament to the incompetence of [some government figure]"... #lifegoals
Which artists most influence your work?
Ones that don't ask permission to do what they want and then do something so insanely good that people treasure and protect it.
And finally, if you had to choose one nautical creature to best describe yourself in metaphor, what would it be? Why?
I would be something that lives deep in the ocean that scientists haven't discovered yet. Why? Because the oceans deep man, we don't know what we don't know.
Join us this Thursday 9th August, from 6-9pm, to witness the great unveiling, and interrogate Kris further.
Monthly Life Drawing Classes at Nauti Studios!
After a brief break, Nauti Studios are excited to be bringing back by popular demand our monthly life drawing classes, held the first Thursday of each month!
Beginning on Thursday the 2nd of August from 6.30 - 8.30pm, these 2 hour life drawing classes are for people of all different experience levels. Beginners can master new skills and techniques for learning photorealism, amateurs can refine their drawings with new techniques and professional drawing guidance, and pros can choose to do their own thing or revisit foundation techniques.
Tickets are $20 at the door, or available for purchase online here.
They'll be taught by Nauti newcomer Elsa McGrath, a super talented and creative artist. Read below to find out more about our new teacher!
Elsa Isabella McGrath is a visual artist based in Sydney.
Her painting practice explores the everyday - moments considered banal are seen through a unique lens, transforming space from the ordinary to the extraordinary, and nestled organically within are human forms.
Tell us about yourself and your drawing!
Drawing was absolutely my first passion in life, and as I grew older and began to develop and discover my art practice through painting, drawing gave me the structure and knowledge about how to translate my own style to different mediums.
I think growing up in a very nature-heavy environment solidified my love for charcoal as a drawing tool. I'm really drawn to its looseness and ability for high tonal range.
Why were you drawn to art? How long have you been doing it?
Like most creative people, I can't remember a time when I didn't have a pencil in my hand - it seems like art has been in my life since day one.
I am an introverted person, and art gave me an avenue to feel bold, brave, and expressive. I draw when I'm sad, happy, anxious, tired, lonely - it is absolutely my one true love.
What is your favourite type of art?
Though my tastes sway and change I think my main love has always been a painterly mark with a strong sway towards impressionism.
I also adore graphic novels!
Do you find yourself fascinated with one theme or motif throughout your work?
Definitely the motif most present in my art is the human figure. It forms the base of the majority of my work. The human form is something that is forever explorable, moldable, and open to interpretation - it can be relayed in anatomical detail, broken down into two dimensional shapes, pure line - the options are endless!
The human form is something of extreme beauty in my mind, there are no two bodies alike so each chance to depict that is really exciting!
You studied at the National Art School – what was that like?
It was a great experience! I graduated last year majoring in painting with my main body of work exploring the human form through varying abstraction techniques.
Something I really loved about NAS was the weighted importance placed on life drawing as not only a crucial activity to participate in, but as a foundation for truly seeing what you're drawing, with the idea that you can carry those skills to any other art form.
What are your favourite mediums?
Charcoal and oil paint! Separate, and together!
What do you like about teaching?
I believe strongly that drawing is the foundation of all art. I love being around likeminded people coming together to learn, grow, and explore their own art practice. I've been involved in all facets of life drawing for over a decade as a student, model, and teacher.
My drawing comes from a classical draughtsmanship stance and I believe that learning how to truly see what you are drawing is crucial to grow as an artist - through measurement, perspective, tone, line weighting, and mark making. Only then once those laws have been learnt can you break them down and rebuild to suit your style.
What are you most excited about for the Nauti life drawing classes?
Immediately, the space itself is incredible! Open, airy, light-filled - perfect for life drawing!
I'm really excited about meeting people beginning their journey with drawing and art, as well as those who have established themselves and are wanting to further their skill base, or just relax for a few hours, let go and draw!
Finally – if you were a sea creature, which would you be and why?
A Dumbo Octopus - mostly because they are little, shy, and swallow their food whole, and I'm a notoriously fast eater.