They moved in a while ago, we know, but we’re finally getting around to introducing you to the two new artists working from the Northcity4 studio spaces; Andrew Phillips and Michael Wong. We first caught up with Andrew Phillips and asked him a few questions about his practice and might we say that anyone who thinks jewellers are sexy and cool is welcome any time at Northcity4 (Humphrey really likes him too!)
You are currently a lecturer at NMIT. What do you hope to get out of working in a shared studio?
I don’t fit very neatly into any specific discipline so the fluidity of an open studio suits the way I think about and make work. Teaching over the years has reinforced my belief that creative practice is first and foremost a learning opportunity for me, and this is more dynamic in a shared collaborative environment. Jewellers are also very sexy people to hang out with. All those skills and tools and their innate reverence for physicality. Actually I’m at Northcity4 hoping that some of their coolness will rub off on me.
Can you describe your practice to us?
I have been steadily developing my practice in a committed way since 2003. In this ten year period the focus has shifted from traditional mixed media objects to performative works and the documentation of their processes and materiality. My ideas seem to be comfortable in low relief spaces and film is a natural domain for this kind of physical and temporal compression. Essentially I make small objects and maquettes and use them as theatrical constituents for films and performances.
Where do you get your inspiration from?
Connections inspire me. Whilst I haven’t actually read The Dice Man, George Cockcroft’s 1971 cult classic about a psychiatrist who begins making life decisions based on the casting of dice basically sums things up as far as the idea of being in the moment goes, although I think he had more sinister overtones. To be unencumbered by obsessions with the past or the future, so that you are able to look for clues as to what might happen next in the present. It makes life a game that can be subtle or off the charts. Give up control. Go on.
What are some of the themes you like to explore in your video work?
I guess to follow on from that I’m broadly concerned with the impacts of identification. Specifically my work looks at public and private exchanges predominantly through role-play. I’m trying to constantly develop characters, scenarios, and narratives that will explore the idea of a variegated identity as a strategy to attack homogeneity. Down with sameness, although stereotypes can be such fun can’t they!
Can you tell us what you’re working on?
In 2011 I took a video of myself making ephemeral sculpture with curb-side junk at a public bus station in Kuala Lumpur. As an idea it’s been on the shelf for a while due to life getting in the way but it excites me. This is why I wanted to get in with the Northcity4 crew, to get back into creating and making the things that are going on for me. Watch this space.
What is your favourite tool or piece of equipment and why?
I have a lovely piece of copper pipe that I use to read compost temperature. Keeps the muck off the thermometer but is obviously great for transferring heat evenly. Something I learnt playing around with biodynamic agriculture. In fact I think many of my favourite tools are garden related. Long handled fork/shovel, post driver, sieves to name a few. It’s all about the growing.