Updated: Oct 11, 2019
00:00:28 Welcome back to Episode 11 of the Arty Anglais podcast. This is a podcast where I talk about all things arty to help you learn and listen to English. I'm your host, Tara and I'm an Aussie English and Art Teacher from Australia. I teach art and English together in Montpellier in France, and I absolutely love my job. The two main parts of what I do are I teach kids in workshops using art as the subject area and secondly, I make this podcast about all things arty for teenagers and adults who are intermediate learners of English. I am someone who is intensely motivated by art, artists and creativity so I want to share as much as I can about everything I know with you.
00:01:23 If you've been listening to the podcast you know that I am also myself an artist (you can see my work on Tussock Studio and I've worked as a landscape architect so creativity has always been a big part of my life. So if this is your first time listening, welcome to the Arty Anglais Podcast. Here we talk about art, culture and society and interesting subjects so that you can listen to English naturally. Here I talk about things like art, artists, exhibitions (ones that I've been too or maybe ones that are coming up), different art styles, questions about art and I also like to talk a lot about the type of art that I'm really interested in which is Urban Art and Urban Sketching and the reason I love these two types of art is because I feel like they are so accessible to everyone. With urban art, you can see examples of urban art everywhere on the streets, especially here in Montpellier. And Urban Sketching for me is a little bit like my therapy because I stay in one place for a long time, and I focus on what's happening in the present moment and what I can see around me. So really I just love any art that has to do with being on the streets and urban spaces. I really like meeting people when I am doing urban sketching when they come up to me and they want to have a chat with me. I really like how art can connect people. So I talk a little about these two loves in Episode 2 and Episode 3. I'm sure I'll probably talk about them more in future episodes as well.
00:03:08 If you've been listening can you please do me a little favour and just give the podcast a review on whichever platform you're listening on because this really helps for others who are learning English and who might also be a little bit creative and they want to learn English. So it helps them to find the podcast. Also, if you have any ideas about podcast episodes or things that you want to know more about you can send me an email or a message on Instagram. Maybe you know an artist or maybe you're interested in something that you've seen or an expression that you've seen written somewhere. I'm open to anything and different ideas. So go ahead and just send me an email. My email is firstname.lastname@example.org
00:04:03 So, wherever you're listening from I hope you're really well! Did you listen to Episode 10? Did you enjoy finding out about some places in Australia? If you haven't already listened to Episode 10, I suggest you do as today we'll be continuing on a journey around Australia. Today we'll be talking about my home state in Australia - which is Victoria. Then we'll hop over to the island of Tasmania to visit some really interesting places.
As I said in the last episode, it was hard to pick my favourite places just because Australia is huge it's so big! However, one of the places I'm talking about today Melbourne is, in my opinion, the culture capital of Australia. So, some people might disagree with me, especially people who live in Sydney. However, Melbourne is home to some of the most fantastic coffee and brunch (brunch is the meal you have when you want to eat breakfast and lunch in one go so normally at about 10 o'clock or 11 o'clock). Very often in Melbourne, people eat brunch on the weekend in Melbourne. So on a Saturday or a Sunday, you'll find a lot of bustling cafes with a big line out the front with a big line of people trying to find a table.
00:05:25 Melbourne is also home to a world-famous street art culture, many performing art theatres, art galleries and some spectacular natural scenery, especially outside of Melbourne and not very far from Melbourne either. It is also the home of Aussie rules football, and it's almost time for the grand final on the 28th of September. So if you're listening to the podcast in Melbourne, I hope you'll enjoy the football fever that's coming up! That is something we say in Melbourne a lot. When you're enjoying the football finals or the football culture - you're enjoying the football fever. So anyway let's start our journey from where we left off in Canberra.
1. Border Towns - Albury & Wodonga So, If you were to drive from Canberra to Melbourne, it would typically take you about 7 hours. However, along the way, to break up the monotony, you could stop off at the two towns on the border of Victoria and New South Wales. You could stop in Albury which is in New South Wales side, or you could stay in Wodonga which is in Victoria. Both these towns share a border with the famous Murray River. It was of course named after George Murray, and it is Australia's longest river. In my research for this episode, I came across the artist Chris Ellis. At the time of writing this podcast, he was showing some of his paintings at the MAMA Murray Art Museum in Albury in an exhibition called - Moments on the Murray. The display is a series of paintings which depict many different interesting views of the beautiful landscapes around the Murray River in particular in Albury. I like his painting style. It reminds me of a lot of the work of Hokusai (the Japanese Artist) and also a little bit of Monet. However, what made me feel nostalgic while I was (watching is not correct - it's better to say looking) looking at his work was some of the beautiful reds and greens of the Australian landscape which is something that it's really hard to explain in France or in Europe. It's a particular type of landscape that I miss. So I've put a picture of Chris Ellis' Art on the show notes for today's episode. You can see some of the ways he represents the landscapes. He uses lots of lines and dots and bright colours to represent some of the landscapes around the Murrary River.
00:08:40 So, I lived in Albury when I first graduated from University because I was working as a landscape architect, and I absolutely loved living in Albury. I used to ride to work most days, and it would only take me 20 minutes. But some days it was really scary because the magpies, which are the native birds in Australia, they're black and white native birds they would swoop you as you rode your bike because they were trying to protect their nests.
And so one day I was riding to work and I was screaming at the top of my lungs to a bird to 'leave me alone' and I'm pretty sure I was cursing and swearing and saying all sorts of things to this magpie. Then I fell off my bike and I rolled down the hill. When I finally got to work I was covered in bruises and I had scratches all over my face because I had rolled for quite a while down the hill. Somebody asked me 'what happened to you?' and I replied - Oh, It was a magpie and they understood exactly what I meant because magpies in Australia are dangerous! Ask any Australian and they will tell you that magpies are very dangerous just like all the animals in Australia.
00:09:58 If I ever drove to work it would only take me 10 minutes and sometimes I drove because I was afraid to be swooped by these magpies. I would only have to pass through one set of traffic lights so it was really easy to get around in Albury. But one thing I used to love doing in particular in Summer was floating down the Murray River on an inflatable boat or a canoe. It was easy to get in the river at a place called Waterworks or Mungabareena Reserve and that was upstream and then you would float down the river to the park close to the town called Noreuil Park and the good thing about the Murray River. You also don't have to worry about being eaten by crocodiles when you swim in the Murray River. You do have to be careful because as you can get caught in a current and a current is when the water is flowing very fast and it can pull you under the water so you just have to make sure you be safe in the water. You just have to make sure you go with people, and you know where the river is going to flow to and where you'll end up (where you will finish).
00:11:07 About an hour from Albury you'll find the town of Glenrowan. I used to stop here every time I drove from Albury to Melbourne. Although it's not a big town, it is home to the famous bushranger - the most famous bushranger in Australia called Ned Kelly. He was depicted in a lot of paintings by one of Australia's best-known artists Sidney Nolan. Ned Kelly kind of like a Robin Hood-like character outlaw who was a bushranger and he stole things from people and he had three companions, and they defied (tricked) the police and army of Victoria for two years until he was finally caught and executed at the age of twenty-five in 1880. The final siege (the final battle) between Ned Kelly and the police of the four men occurred in the hotel in the town of Glenrowan. Sidney Nolan, the artist, painted many scenes in a very surrealist style because he was trying to depict the stories of Ned Kelly and his gang. The gang are the people that helped him. His paintings (Sidney Nolan's paintings) from 1946–47 on the theme of Ned Kelly, I believe they are probably one of the most excellent series of Australian paintings of the 20th century. I think it's really impressive that even though Ned Kelly wasn't a very good or a very noble person, he has still managed to become perhaps one of Australia's most famous persons. Nolan's Ned Kelly series will be travelling to venues across Australia until 2020. It was showing recently I think in Albury, and then it will be going to Darwin and Cairns.
00:13:23 When travelling from Albury to Melbourne, it's easy enough to drive four tedious hours on the Hume highway and I've done it lots of times and believe me, it's not fun. There's not much to see. However, if you're feeling adventurous, you could take a detour through some of Victoria's rural towns. If you do, you will be able to find some of these amazing, breathtaking and spectacular examples of Australia's world-famous silo or water tank art. You'll most likely also see Kangaroos or perhaps a wombat in the fields around the country roads. Between Albury and Echuca, there are quite a few examples and places to stop. You could stop in Benalla where there are over 40 different murals painted by some very well known artists including Adnate and Anthony Lister and Cristen Brunner who is also a tattoo artist.
00:14:32 These murals exist because of a festival called The Wall to Wall Festival in Benalla is an annual street art event which brings together a combination of local, national and international artists who create these new murals in Benalla. In 2020 The Wall-to-Wall Festival will commence on Friday the 3rd of April. I look forward to following some of the results of the festival and seeing what happens and some of the murals that come out of it. To track some of the work of the Silo Art Trail and the Wall-to-Wall Festival, you can follow the Street Art Agency who are the founders of both called Juddy Roller.
00:15:30 If you were doing a tour of the water Tank art You could also stop to find: Winton Wetlands Water tower Devenish Art Silo by Cam Scale which is of a World War 1 nurse and a female military medic (doctor). It's interesting because it shares an important message and depicts the changing role of women in the military and society in general. There is the Rochester Silo painted by Jimmy D'Vate and this is a Possum and a Kingfisher bird which are two native animals in Australia. There are plenty more examples in Western Victoria, including the Silo Art by Adnate in Sheep Hills. Rather than me telling you about all these examples, the best way to find out about all these different Silos and to find them is to use the interactive map on either The Silo Art Trail or the Australian Art Silo map webpages. You'll find examples of these silo art murals and water tank art in every state of Australia. Some travellers who come to Australia to Australia even try to make a road trip out of it! So they get in the car to go and see all the tanks and Silos to see the amazing artwork.
00:17:15 If you decide to make a stop in Shepparton which is about two hours by car from Albury you've got to check out some of the Mooving Art Project. It's called the Mooving Art projects because it's a play on words because what it is, is an ever-changing public art exhibition of life-size 3D painted cows! Hence this is why it is called the Mooving art project. It's a really important project in Shepparton because it supports several local artists. There are over 90 cows in total and they are all painted in bright colours and scattered throughout Shepparton and surrounding towns in public places. You'll find examples of cows painted like Nemo from Finding Nemo, Spiderman, there's one dressed in an Australian flag and there's even one decorated with strawberries and cream! But why the cows? Well, The Moooving Art project pays homage to the dairy industry in Shepparton. So it honours the dairy industry, which is probably the most vital part of the economy of the town. You can see some of the examples of the cows on the website and also the Visit Shepparton Instagram and Facebook pages.
00:18:47 Finally, we arrive in Melbourne. After arriving in Melbourne city, there are so many cultural and creative things to do! My favourite website for finding inspiration is called The Culture Trip, and here you'll find so many ideas. For example, you might look up the best coffee in Yarraville in Melbourne or the best Thai restaurants in Melbourne. There is a million different lists of things you can find on The Culture Trip so I highly recommend going to that website if you really want to go to Melbourne. You can use it for places all over the world. My favourite building in Melbourne is the Flinders Street train station which is a very iconic building in Melbourne. Iconic means that it's a well-known building that lots of people known about in Melbourne. It was restored recently and repainted, so in the photos for today's show notes it's looking very striking and very pretty I think in the images in today's show notes.
00:19:58 In Melbourne you also have heaps of Museums and Galleries to choose from:
Museums and Galleries
00:19:58 There is the Melbourne Museum, which is one of my favourite museums to visit in the entire world I think. I particularly like the Forest Gallery, which is home to some real examples of Australia's native rainforest trees and at the museum, you'll also find the most informative Aboriginal cultural centre. Birrarung Gallery At Bunjilaka Aboriginal Cultural. At Bunjilaka Aboriginal Cultural Centre's you'll have the opportunity to get an insight into the lives of Victorian indigenous people. The most incredible feature piece of the gallery is called 'Wurreka' and it contains 74 panels of etched designs and it goes along a wall and they each reflect imagery from Aboriginal heritage and landscapes of Victoria. So it's a very important piece, it's a very important gallery to go and see. The Birrarung Gallery hosts three exhibitions a year as part of the Community Art Program which range from things like photography, sculpture and works on canvas to digital media and installation. Anytime anyone asks me about where they should go to Melbourne, I always tell them they should go to the Melbourne Museum and they should go to the Cultural Centre.
The National Gallery Victoria
00:21:40 The most well known of the Arts precincts in Melbourne are the Arts Centre and The National Gallery of Victoria which are both located in Southbank. Then you have the Ian Potter Centre which is located at Federation square. At the National Gallery of Victoria I've seen really amazing exhibitions actually including I recently saw (two years ago now) the Vincent Van Gogh and the Seasons and Hokusai. The National Gallery of Victoria is where I was also introduced to the artists Alexandra Kehayogolou, an Argentinian artist who makes hand made rugs and tapestries of landscape scenes.
00:22:57 Something Melbourne is well known for is its urban art (Graffiti and Street Art). I think it's essential at this point to make the distinction here and to say that Urban Art includes both murals or street art (painting, stencils, paste-ups, objects stuck to the walls) and graffiti. After doing a few different tours, I've realised I'm sometimes the first to make a mistake sometimes of referring to urban art as street art. When I do that it means I'm leaving out an essential part of the urban art culture, and that is the graffiti artists. I once did a street art tour in Berlin and it was done (given by) a graffiti artist and he really made a point to tell me that it's urban art it's not street art. Graffiti and street art are two different things. They are two different cultures and he really made a point to me that he wanted to emphasise that. We'll talk more in a later episode about that history and what exactly is what in the world of urban art.
00:24:09 One thing I did a few years ago was to be a tourist in my own city, and I really recommend doing this in your own city because you find out things about your city that you didn't know existed and so I did this urban art tour with Blender Art Studios. The tour was excellent because it was given by a local artist who goes by the name of Junky Projects.
00:24:30 In a similar way to another of my favourite artists Bordallo II, 'Junky' use pieces of the rubbish that we throw away and turns them into fabulous art and he puts them up on parts of the street that you wouldn't even know where there. So it's very subtle Check out his stuff; I've put a link to his website in the show notes (to some of his commissioned sculptural works also). It's really cool and very clever. As a local artist, he was able to give a good insight into the urban art scene in Melbourne and explain the different regions of street art. In Melbourne street, art doesn't just exist in the main city of Melbourne, but it exists in many suburbs throughout Melbourne. Including St Kilda, Brunswick, Fitzroy, Collingwood and many other suburbs. You can learn more about the different regions on many blog articles and of course with Blender Studios on one of their tours. Doing one of the tours is also an excellent way to explore some of the lanes and arcades in Melbourne like Degraves Street, Hosier Lane, Hardware Lane and ACDC lane! You'll especially love ACDC lane if you love David Bowie! The arcades and laneways in Melbourne are a very important part of the Melbourne culture the street art and the graffiti are both important aspects of that culture.
00:26:29 The other great thing I found about doing the tour was I was able to visit the studio at the end. By doing that, I was able to see some of the incredible artwork which is being produced by the artists. Blender Studios is a self-sustaining project that puts the artists first and funds itself through social enterprises, and it means it creates one of the cheapest studio spaces in town. It allows the artists to be able to make more of the amazing artworks they make. The Blender has a high calibre of hard-working artists across lots of different mediums. About 80% of the artists at Blender make a living off their art through sales, gallery shows, workshops, various projects and the Melbourne Street Art Tours. For me, it was an important way to be able to get to know what some of the artists are doing and to also engage and find out about how I can buy some of their work as well. I learnt some really fantastic things from Blender studios on the tour I did and from reading on their website and asking the tour guide some questions. You will have the same opportunity if you do it also.
00:28:00 So some of the things I learnt were really important (I think) to get an understanding (have an understanding) of the culture. In 2004 a few things happened that changed the Melbourne street art (urban art) movement forever. The first was the preparations for the Commonwealth Games. So in 2006, the Commonwealth Games were in Melbourne, and this meant that the government and the City of Melbourne changed its graffiti policy. They set up this police task force they had to try and stop graffiti, and a big section of influential urban art was painted over. And some of the most prolific artists who were painting at the time went on the run. They are still on the run today, creating street art! On the run just means they are hiding from the police and the law. The interesting thing that we talked about on tour was how the Council makes the decision about which street artists to commission to do work, but on the other hand, they still paint over other street artists if they don't like it. I guess as an artist that could be disappointing, and frustrating so unless you are a well-known artist, your art might not stay on the walls for long. As an urban artist you probably also know that it is part of the culture. Hosier Lane is a great example of this. It changes so much from week to week. The paint on the walls is so thick! You can see little pieces of the paint chipping off the walls. So thick that Junky projects make colourful jewellery out of the pieces of paint that chip off the walls! As you can see you'll learn a lot from one of these tours! I highly recommend doing them. You could also do a tour on your own by using the City of Melbourne suggested guide. There is a suggested guide on their website. However, I think you'll have a much more enjoyable visit if you do it with an urban artist because you'll have an opportunity to ask the questions and also see the art studios of some of the urban artists working.
00:30:14 I've put just a few photos from my tour time, but it was so long ago now that I can't even be sure if these artworks are still there! But this is why to me urban art is so amazing! It's so fleeting. It's always changing, so I look forward to visiting Melbourne again soon so I can see some of the new pieces of art.
There is one piece of art that I really want to see which is an interesting Silo that was painted this year in Brunswick. It was painted by Loretta Lizzio. It's a mural of the Prime Minister of New Zealand Jacinda Ardern embracing a Muslim woman. This is a memorial to the fifty-one victims who were killed when a terrorist stormed two mosques in Christchurch in March and opened fire on the congregation. The artist says she and the organisers of the project are:
'just doing our best to inspire peace, love, hope and acceptance in any way we can.
I really look forward to seeing this mural when I visit Melbourne.
Birrurung Marr Sculptures
00:31:27 A vital place to visit in Melbourne is Birrarung Marr which is next to Federation Square and the Yarra River. It is called Birrurung Marr because it is the name given by the Wurundjeri people. They were the Indigenous inhabitants at the time of European settlement of the Melbourne area. It is home to some critical sculptural artworks including the semicircle of metal shields. Each of these metal shields represent each of the five groups of the Kulin Nations which is a collection of Aboriginal Indigenous Australian tribes from the southern States in Australia.
Birrarung Marr also includes Deborah Halpern's two-headed Angel sculpture (1985) and a pedestrian bridge which leads directly to the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) - the home of Aussie rules football! If you come to Melbourne in September, you'll be really lucky enough to see the football. The grand final is always in Melbourne and the day before is the grand final parade! It's so special to Melbourne that we even have a public holiday for the grand final parade.
00:32:44 I'm not going to talk much about shopping - it's not really my favourite thing. But I wanted to mention a few little shops. Of course, you can also visit Melbourne Central which is a shopping centre and you could take a photo of the shot tower.
The Melbourne Central shot tower is the most photographed place in Melbourne and when you see the picture in the show notes you'll see why.
But don't forget to visit some of the little shops too. The first one I want to mention is a little shop called Melbournalia - everything is made in Melbourne by local designers and artists. It's at the top of Bourke Street, close to Parliament house. You also will find lots more arty shops on Smith Street and Gertrude Street including The Melbourne Shop and Happy Valley - Smith Street Collingwood
Small or Hidden Galleries
Melbourne also has a lot of small or hidden galleries. Blindside is a not-for-profit, artist-run art space. Interestingly, the name blindside is an idiom. So if you blindside someone, it means you are startling them or surprising someone, with a piece of information or with something interesting. The Gallery says that it is, therefore, a place where you can expect the unexpected.
First Female Art Gallery in Melbourne
A new gallery caller Finkelstein Gallery just opened in Melbourne too, which is Australia's first female-only Gallery. This gallery is showing the work of an artist including one artist that I'm really interested in Louise Paramor who is well known for her large-scale public art commissions which are often brightly coloured objects.
Dirty Dozen - Campbell Arcade
There is also a little hidden gallery called Dirty Dozen is a mini Gallery underneath The Flinders Street train station called Campbell Arcade. One of Campbell Arcade's defining features is the series of glass cabinets which have housed artworks by local artists since 1994. It was previously run by a not-for-profit organisation called Platform Artists Group Inc then recently it was renamed the Dirty Dozen. Every year people artists can apply to have their work displayed there. People can see it every day when they walk past on their daily commute.
Melbourne is also home to the well-known trams. I talked about the Melbourne tram art project in Episode 6 so can find out more about that project and the Melbourne Street Artist Rus Kidd if you listen to that Episode.
Outside of Melbourne 00:35:47 Just outside of the main part of the city of Melbourne are some cool suburbs. You could even stay in these suburbs on a visit to Melbourne because they are not far from the city and a little cheaper.
Bendigo Art Gallery
00:36:13 About two hours from Melbourne by train you have the city of Bendigo which was once home to the Gold Rush in Victoria. It is also home to The Bendigo Art Gallery. The Bendigo Art Gallery is the largest, and one of the oldest regional galleries in Australia. The Gallery's collection is extensive and varied with an emphasis on 19th-century European art and Australia