Above (Wild Roses growing on the frame of this Sardine Can Shrine)
I don't know what inspired me to make Tealight candle roses, at the time i was living in Norway and my art studio was in the basement and i was always burning tealight candles because i like the slight flickering the light they gave off, it was welcoming and reassuring especially when it was pouring snow outside and long dark nights. So after a while i began to collect the used metal cases (being an artist it is an excuse to hoard anything because you think you can use it for something). I did start adding them into artworks and i wish i had an example but the pictures are on some hard drive in the cupboard somewhere. But anyway from there my creative mind was just playing around with the idea and all of a sudden i had made my first metal rose. From then on i knew i was onto something!
I love the idea that they are handmade, each one takes time to craft and shape AND no two are ever the same. Also i am recycling and repurposing the metal and breathing new life into it which always excites me.
So this is my latest painting that i am working on using my Rhino Stencil design.
So that is it for this blog post. I hope it has inspired you to get out your Assemblages or paint brush and just have a play. I often hear people say i don't feel inspired to paint or create, i need motivation. That is an excuse i have found, because it is when you DO the work and just start, you will be surprised what happens.
Group Show Opens 15 May- 4th June
This year i am entering 3 small artworks into the Small Works Exhibition at Brunswick Street Gallery. The only stipulation is that the artworks are to be no more than 30cm x 30cm inc frame. Have entered this show several times over the years and have enjoyed it because there are so many artists who go into it (300+) and you really get to see how amazingly creative and talents artists are. So if you are in the area come check out the show.
Above is just a close up of one of the works i have entered into the show. The size of this work is 250mm x200mm x20mm. Mixed media on board. Really happy with how this work turned out, there are some really great things happening and some nice colours which have emerged.
Above is the 2nd artwork i have entered into the show and this piece is a marriage of vibrant colour and texture with natural earthy elements of rusty goodness. The size is also 250 mm x 200mm x 20mm. Mixed Media on board. A good combination of contrasting textures and colours and a feast for the eyes. Very satisfied with this piece.
This is the last piece in the show, the title for this one is 'Pouring my heart out'. Size is 250mm x200mm x40mm and is mixed media. This is probably the artwork i am most pleased with as there is a nice balance of textures, colour and contract.
All works will be for sale and i am also open for commissions in any of the styles that you see.
Other works in the pipeline
Above are some other works i am playing around with. Click on the images to enlarge.
August Youtube Update Video
Out of the Box Course
Small Works Exhibition 2014 (Brunswick Street Gallery)
New Works New Circular Direction
Customised Cushion and Products on Society 6
Awesome APP of the Month - TANGLED FX
There are so many awesome APPS coming out at the moment which I believe can really help an artist open themselves up to new and exciting ways to push their art.
Recently I came across an APP which I love using and so I thought I had to share it with you all. The APP is called Tangled FX and the effects it create are wonderful. I found the APP very easy to use and the results you can get with just a tap of a button are visually stunning and exciting. Tangled FX has 16 different effects but you can also customize the colour, contrast, gamma and Hue using a sliding scale. Yes the APP does cost $2 bucks but for me it will 2 bucks well spent.
Just click on the images below to see the before and after effects on a just 3 of the effects the APP offers.
New work in progress
I started working on a new painting this week and it is my plan to do a little everyday until it is complete. This piece is very intuitive and I am not sure how it will end up but I am happy with the direction it is taking. So i am putting down an under painting to start with and then I will come over the top and begin to change the layout and imagery. When I am starting out with the base painting it is all about getting to 'know' the painting. As I start to lay down imagery and colours it is like a first kiss, its unsure yet exciting and there is a need to explore and get to know the surface better. You could say each new painting is a new lover, every new painting is different, unique and you have something to learn as you explore your relationship with it. Sometimes that relationship ends suddenly and tragically with the 'painting over' or eradication of the image, OR you persist hoping that your relationship with it improves and deepens... to be continued
Merchandise and SOCIETY 6
A few months ago I decided that I wanted to put some of my designs onto functional products - Cups, pillows, t-shirts, plates etc. I had mentioned on Facebook that i was currently looking for a company who could take my designs and create a range of merchandise. As it happened someone mentioned Society6. So i checked the website out and I really liked the layout and how easy the site was to navigate. I uploaded high quality images of my art and hey presto, they do all the work. As the artist i get to keep copyright of my work, i get to decide how much i get from each sale and they do all the work. So if you want to see the variety of merchant click on the banner below.
To check out my very own range of merchandise click on the banner above to go to my shop at society6
So I end this blog with saying thankyou for your support, comments and emails. I wish you all the success and happiness in your own creative journey.
2012 and 2013
So 2012 was a big year for me. After leaving Norway in December 2011 I arrived in Melbourne. 7 years in Norway and I chose to walk away from a 7 year marriage with nothing but a broken heart and a suitcase. On the flip side I did bring with me a lot of experience, wisdom and a determination to succeed.
Admittedly the first few months were pretty tough but a combination of drinking, partying and meeting new people seemed to absorb some of the pain. 3 months thereafter i decided it was time to focus on getting a job as what money i had left was running out.
As luck would have it I landed the first job i applied for and that was working as a social worker for an aboriginal child welfare organisation. Within the same month i had secured an art studio space right in the arty area of Melbourne and also was invited to participate in a group show all about street and graffiti art.
Over the following months I took time to develop some new work, imagery and themes and as a result I now have around 25 new works which are in different stages of completion.
Hopefully I will have them up for sale in February.
First things first, 'THE NAME CHANGE'. So as a lot of people don't know, when i moved back to Australia in December 2011 I began calling myself Tobias. I had never liked 'Gary' and since i was moving to a new city (Melbourne) and only had 2 good friends there who knew me as 'gary', i decided it was the perfect opportunity to make the switch. Even when i applied for a job (Social worker for an aboriginal child welfare organisation) I told them my name was Tobias. Of course once I got the job i did tell them officially i was still Gary however once i had been living back in Oz I would change it legally. So from then on i introduced myself as Tobias.
HOWEVER, saying that I will be keeping my artist name the same only because i have built up a reputation and following under Gary Reef. However, I will be making a small change from that name and will be just referred to as Greef. It is simple, easy to remember. So i ask that if you mention me in any blogs, posts etc that you please refer to me as simply Greef from now on.
So WHAT NEXT for Greef?
WORKSHOPS WORKSHOPS AND MORE WORKSHOPS! That is right, this year is about making a comeback and focusing on teaching art techniques. I am busy applying to teach all over Australia and hopefully I will have a list of cities and towns where I will be teaching fairly soon.
I also will be starting up a new youtube channel so i can once again share my journey.
So that is it in a nutshell! I am looking forward to what this year holds and I want to thank you for your support, emails and kindness. May you always hold in your heart whatever it is your passionate about and take steps to make your passion become a reality.
This month has been pretty busy for me in terms of getting settled and organised. The reality that I have to start earning a living from my art has finally sunk in! Being a self employed artist is not easy and for those of you who are brave enough to follow your passion and dreams, I applaud you! The road is long, the climb is a steep and for many of us, it will prove too much.
I believe the journey I am on is not just for me, and that is why I feel it is important that I share it. By documenting my story, my ups and downs in this coming year, I believe it will help many of you in different ways, more ways that I will probably every know!
All I hope, is that my journey inspires you to follow your own dreams!
I thrive on a challenge and I know I have the talent and ability to bring my dreams to fruition! You really have to believe in what you are doing 100% otherwise you will fail. You have to hold your passion in order to succeed, and take every opportunity which comes your way. Have faith in your abilty, hold your passion, be dedicated, committed and devoted to your calling! If you do all of that you , YOU WILL SUCCEED! I KNOW THAT! I BELIEVE IT!
Moving into my new Studio Space
So I finally moved into my new studio space. In this building there are 8 other artist studios , some are lockable and some are more open plan. I really like the space i have because it is pretty private and to look inside you really have to step into the space. I also love it because it has a huge window which always keeps the space pretty bright (something which i am not use to). It is a perfect size for me to start with and I should be able to produce a lot of work here! It has a great feel about the space, light, relaxed and airy. I also have 24 hour access and there is a 7 Eleven downstairs on the corner, so if i am painting late and need a coffee or something to eat then i don't have far to go. I am going to buy myself a kettle and a microwave too LOL
I picked up the keys on Saturday and started moving some of my stuff in, I still have another car load of materials and art to transport but that will happen this weekend hopefully. So now i can get cracking!
I would love to hear your thoughts :)
Upcoming Group Urban Art Show at the Brunswick Street Gallery
So my first group show in Melbourne Australia is coming up on the 16th of March, and it is going to be at the Brunswick Street Gallery (Just click the highlight to go to their website).
I have not decided how many works i will be putting into the show but hopefully will be around 10 artworks. I have until the 14th to finalise works, so I guess I will be burning the candle to get them resolved!
I am pretty happy with how the works are developing especially since i haven't really painted for the last few months (due to my moving to Australia) but so far so good!
The opening is on friday the 16th of March at 6pm, so if you are in Melbourne and can make it, I would appreciate the support :)
Stencil Store and New works for sale
So last week I finally got a chance to put up some artworks for sale! I also opened up a stencil store where you can purchase and download some of the many designs i have created over the last 7 years!
Thank you to those of you who have since purchased artworks and stencils, I really appreciate the support! It has allowed me to go out and buy more materials etc!
I will be adding more stencil designs over this coming year and if you have any suggestions please don't hesitate to contact me!
Also if you would like me to make a stencil portrait of either yourself or a family member/ pet then get in touch for a quote (email@example.com) All you need to do is send me a photograph and leave the rest to me! ;)
The Pulse of Mixed Media
_Seth Apter's book 'The Pulse of mixed Media: Secrets and Passions of 100 Artists Revealed' has now been offically released.
As many of you are aware I am one of the 31 lucky artists to be spotlighted in the book!
This month (march) on Seth's Blog 'The Altered Page' he is featuring daily the 31 invited/spotlighted artists from the book, so please check out his blog if you would like to find out more about the 31 spotlighted artists! I am scheduled for the 26th! So look out for my 2 cents worth!
So just click on the highted sites below to go directly to where you can purchase your copy. It is definitely a great book to get your hands on especially if you are a mixed media artist. It is now shipping from Amazon, North Light, and Barnes & Noble
Have a great week and remember to take your passion and make it happen!
Right place right time
I have always loved to critique art, i spend a lot of time looking at it whether it is online, in magazines or in galleries. I have a constant stream of email request to view art, critique it and give advice as to the direction an artist can take it. I am a 'pusher', I like to push people forward, it is what I do and what I enjoy. I have been fortunate enough to help many people start their creative journey whether it is through inspiring them with techniques, my philosphy on life and art or whether it is through sharing my own journey and art via youtube.
So an opportunity arose late last year to be a guest judge at St. Monica's Catholic School in Melbourne in March. I will be judging grades 8 till 12's and presenting awards etc.
_It was a great opportunity and an honor to be asked and I am really looking foward to the experience. So last week I met up with the co-ordinator of the Art Prize, Zion Mitchell, Curator Lucy Di Lerenzo and fellow art teacher Gerard Mahoney to have an informal meeting and to show my work. I took my little 'Works on Paper' folio to show them examples of the style of art i make. During the 'showing' (this took place in a restaurant in Fitzroy Brunswick area- The arty farty area of Melbourne) our
_waiter proceeded to say how much he really liked my work and that he was an Art Agent on the side and that he would like to give me his card. He went on to say he represents Mike Parr who is a performance artist who became 'known' when he proceeded to cut his arm off during a press conference (previous to the conference he strapped his real arm to his body and made a prosthetic arm and stuffed it with meat). Apparently it caused several members of the press to faint! So I took his business card and we shall see where that 'journey' takes me.
_After our meeting Gerard took us to his studio which was just around the corner from the restaurant on the top floor of a 2 story building. There were 8 artist spaces on the top floor and also an exhibition space to show potential clients artwork. When he was showing us around i was thinking OMG this space is perfect, it felt light and airy and each space was around 4m x 4m roughly. The spaces were manged by Brunswick Street Gallery and so i asked if there were any spaces available, Gerard said we should go over to the gallery and enquire. The spaces had such a great vibe, they were a perfect size and the location was amazing, right around the corner from the gallery and also in the heart of the art area. It felt like destiny. So we went over to the gallery and i met the Assistant Director Joanna Gould who was really lovely and friendly! She told me there were no spaces available but would put my name on the waiting list. I gave her my business card and being the self promoter that i am, i whipped out my small folio of works on paper and proceeded to show her my work. She was like 'your work looks like it would be perfect for the Urban Art show' we have coming up in March! So she said she would email me the details (And she did and i am currently making work for the group show). Anyway we all went on our merry ways and a few days later i recieved an email from Joanna to say that a studio space had become available and that she was putting my name down for it and that I could come and check it out next week. I was thinking OMG are you kidding, how perfect and great timing as i was thinking it might be a month or so before a space would become available! SO I HAVE A SPACE to create and I am really happy about that, and i said a little THANK YOU to whoever is watching over me:) Youtube video to follow showing you the space!
Walking around the Fitzroy/Brunswick area you can certainly tell it is an artist area. All the side streets are filled with graffiti, symbols and writing! I happened to be especially drawn to this mural of an Aboriginal child with some pretty interesting Mondrian style birds. The childs face was amazing and i am not quiet sure if it is a little boy or girl but the power in the eyes was extraordinary.
So today Lucy and her daughter came over for a private class. We spent around 3 hours playing around just doing a bunch of drawing and painting exercises. Lucy did feel a little nervous and intimidated in the beginning, as she wasn't use to being taught by such a huge youtube celebrity artist LOL
The day was very casual and I just outlined a few ideas and techniques and also critiqued some of her work. Below are some pictures of the work she created during the class! Was fun and even though no masterpieces were created we all had a good time.
So i designed a poster to advertise both my online courses and also my live workshop courses. I think it looks pretty good and i have to say it definitely represents all of the styles of art I like to teach and create myself.
So I am just waiting for the posters to come from the printers and i am still working on the website (so for those of you who try to access the website you will be met with a password protection until the site is ready)
My intention is to send these posters to several friends around Australia and get them to put them up on shopping centre notice boards, University notice boards, community centres and anywhere else they think they would be visable. People will then be able to find out more info and register for one of my classes. Once i get enough interest in a particular city in Oz I will then organise a workshop:) Well that is my plan!
So on that note I wish you all a fantastic creative week ahead! Peace to your sexy faces!!
_One of the dangers for artists living in the city is the constant distraction of city living and life. Many an artist has succumb to drinking or partying away their talent due to being in such a busy environment with so much going on.
I know when I lived in London for several years early on in my artistic career, I hardly painted at all. Of course art is a permanent part of who I am NOW and although i am currently distracted by the city, I know I will buckle down and loose myself in my work once again.
One thing i have realised in this 'transition' phase is how important it is to keep focusing on your 'purpose'. I am always telling people to be consistant, dedicated and devoted to their art practice because it is only then you will make a difference and create an impact.
I revolve in many online circles partly because I don't want to be pulled into any one particular group and i also think it keeps you fresh, and there is sometimes that thing where being with one particular group of people for a long period of time...well it can become incesttuous, you know what I mean! So i think it is healthy for artists to constantly mix with new artists and form new associations.
So today this blog is about refocusing on 'your purpose', about being dedicated or preparing and allowing yourself to be dedicated. I have noticed in a couple of online artist cirles of late, there has been great motivation in doing a painting or drawing a day! The great thing about this excercise is that it gets you moving forward, it gets you 'DOING' rather than talking about it. My mantra for many years was ' Think less do more' because many of us spend too much time thinking about doing something, and we get so caught up in the process of thinking about it, that the physical doing doesn't actually happen OR we talk ourselves around it. I think as humans and as artists, the biggest danger for us is to over internalise everything. You really just have to get it out of you physically by painting, drawing or dancing or however you express yourself.
__And in fact i have always entertained the idea of being placed in an unmarked grave or just wrapped in a white cotton sheet and tossed into a ditch LOL (and i have had this conversation with many of you and had a good laugh but there was truth and honesty in that humour). And that is why i think this song has been an important reminder for me personally, because I AM HERE and one day it will be because 'I was HERE' and what is it that i have given forward to the next generation, what purpose has my life amounted to? Maybe i am becoming sentimental in my oldish age which is something i never wanted and still don't LOL but thank you Beyonce for this song, it is a constant reminder of my purpose! And I hope it reminds you of your own journey and purpose and why you are here!
Being in 'transition' is a strange feeling, i liken it to what it would feel like to being a ghost. As i ride the train into the city I feel completely detached from everything and everyone. I feel like i am floating, and i watch people as they go past me and they are all occupied with their routines and lives, and then there is me, in transition. It is a weird sensation, that feeling of not really being apart of anything in particular, not having any real responsibility or routine to my daily life. I wish i cared, but honestly i don't at this point, and maybe that is a good thing or a coping mechanism. I think it makes it easier to deal with change when you just 'let go'.
It is like jumping off a cliff and free falling, i am not ready to pull the shoot yet because there is a freedom in the unknown and in the 'falling'.
Being a ghost in the city is my new reality for the moment and I am ok with it. I know i can't drift forever, but when you have gone through such life altering 'stuff' as i have over the last few months, giving yourself time to be 'everywhere and nowhere' is a good move emotionally. I know there will come a time soon when i will be ready to pull the rip chord on the parchutte and step back into 'reality' and that ghostly feeling will be become a distant emotion, but for the 'now', i welcome it.
_'Suck it up Reef' I say to myself as i come to the realisation that finding a studio space isn't going to be as straight forward or as easy as i had envisaged. The reality that paying for a studio space, rent, food and transport has been a wake up call, because now i have to actually view my art and everything which revolves around it 'in part' as a business.
It is a matter of survival now, i can't rely on a steady income from the cows anymore and the more i think about the huge wall which stands in front of me, and the more i examine the wall, the more i see it is going to take a lot of work and effort to lift myself up. I am looking for the small cracks and spaces to place my hands and feet because i am determined to climb this huge first big hurdle.
I do take comfort in the fact that I am one of those very fortunate people who seems to attract the right people into my life at the right time and over the years i have lost count of situations which 'had i not met a particular person' then I would not be where i am today.
I just have this unquestionable belief that everything I need will be provided in some way and that if i am truly meant to be an artist and follow this passion then 'life' will support me and offer up opportunities. And so far that has worked. I just want to add that i think it is a 'give and take' thing, just because i am meant to be an artist and opportunities are coming up, i still must play my part of 'giving' as much of my gift and of myself to 'serving' others as I can. The truth of the matter is the more you give and want for others, the more it comes back to you, so i am always aware of this fact and i try to serve others as best as i can.
_Currently I have no art supplies, no paints, canvases , paper etc but as fate would have it, the universe has brought a very special person into my life who happens to live in Melbourne and who happens to have a lot of used supplies AND has offered them to me. Ofcourse in return I will supply her with free private classes in anything she wants to learn, but it just goes to show you and show me that I am being watched over closely.
We are also going studio hunting this week as i need to start looking for a small space where i can work from and hopefully tutor a few students, so fingers crossed something comes of it. I have emailed a couple of places regarding studios but have not heard back, but that maybe because of the xmas new year period. I am anxious to get painting and creating again so hopefully something fantastic will appear soon!!
If there is anyone in Melbourne who has any advice or thoughts please get in touch 0452454294