Alaska Journals, 2016

In 2016, I spent four weeks traveling through Alaska with Alizon Gray. We camped for two weeks in the wilderness of Denali National Park, and drove around what small parts of the state as are accessible by road. I documented much of the trip in my sketchbooks, or in drawings I developed upon returning to my studio. Some of these can be bought as prints from my online store.

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Under the Wires, 2017

This is an ongoing practice of drawing urban scenes, including power lines & all kinds of overhead wires. It gives me an excuse to draw the particular kind of cute buildings that I like to look at as I cycle to and from and my studio each day. It also keeps me in practice for the work I am most often receive private commissions for: house portraits.

Having worked on my exhibition Pyrite Radio in 2015, and having always had an interest in radio in general, I also like to draw antennas and satellite dishes and the like. I like to think about how the metal around is (not just antennas) is permanently receiving radio waves (as are we), it just doesn’t play them back. I also like to think about wires being cut or crossed — and often I intentionally disconnect wires or otherwise fragment the drawing. This is in part inspired by a hard drive full of corrupted image files of photographs I took years ago, and in part by the fragmentation of images as they are sent electronically along those wires.

Do not adjust your set! Suggested listening while viewing: The Cramps – Under the Wires.

Some of these can be bought as prints from my online store.

© Simon O’Carrigan 2016–2017
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Wilderness Heart, 2016

Throughout 2016, I worked on a series of drawings of mountains and other wilderness areas. Much of this was to get some practice in before taking my own trip to Alaska. Having grown up in the Blue Mountains of New South Wales, I do like to draw forests and mountains when I can!

Buttermilk Mountains: Reference Watercolour on paper 20 x 30 cm 2016

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Picture Book (work in progress): Flight Paths, 2017

In 2017 I was very grateful to be awarded with a Copyright Agency Cultural Fund mentorship, via the Australian Society of Authors (ASA). Through this, a leader of the field is sponsored to give me regular mentorship throughout 2017, as I develop my picture book, Flight Paths. I am very luck to be working with the inimitable Sue deGennaro.

The book I pitched for the mentorship is already, five months later, almost nothing like what I started with — which is great! It also means I won’t write much about it, because it will all change.

The one thing that I am (almost) certain of, is that the book will star Norbert, the Norwich Terrier, who accidentally flew.

The pictures shown here are a selection of the artwork I pitched for consideration of the award, and some sketchbook roughs.

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Animation: The Mighty Apollo, Plot Media

Plot Media hired me to animate 2 minutes of footage for use in their pitch / proof of concept teaser trailer for a forthcoming documentary, The Mighty Apollo. The film tells the story of an Australian strongman Paul Anderson (The Mighty Apollo) who survived a horrific accident, and later went on to perform even more death defying feats. The brief was for hand-drawn, 2D animation, that would recall 1930s cartoons, and Ari Folman’s Waltz with Bashir.

The film  examines Paul’s psychology, and I was asked to help convey the less conventional aspects of that part of the story. The animated scenes tell the behind-the-scenes story of Paul’s relationship with his alter-ego, which changes from benevolent to threatening.

I worked with Nick Barkla (Director), and Jamie Houge & Virginia Kay (Producers). From a script, I created storyboards and character designs for approval before beginning work on the animation.

The animation is made with ink on paper, and digital tones added. I animated at 12 frames per second, using a number of layers in After Effects depending on the requirements of each shot. The animation was produced in around two months, and later the production team at Plot added voice overs, SFX, and cut it into a full trailer.

For now the full trailer and details about the project are under wraps, but I can’t wait to show the wonders that the Plot team have pulled together: it is Really Very Good. So it’s nice to have my work included in it. In the meantime, you can watch the parts I animated, sans soundtrack, on this page or on Vimeo.

In addition to the animation I made storyboard art and animatic sections for other parts of the trailer. You can see a few examples of this content on my website here.

2 December 2016

Private Commissions

I enjoy working on private commissions, as they afford me a chance to dedicate a block of time to one artwork, and to use the best materials I have (that I often wouldn’t use for art that is designed for reproduction).

I am often asked to make a ‘house portrait’ to capture a much loved home with more life than a photo. I’m also asked to reinterpret photographs of locations the client has been to, and put a bit of my usual energy into it!

For a quote or to discuss an idea, get in touch!

© Simon O’Carrigan 2016–2017
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Pyrite Radio - Installation View

Field Test, 2015

Field Test, 2015
Oil on linen
22 x 18 inches

Pedal, 2015

Pedal, 2015
Oil on linen
10 x 14 inches

Pipe, 2015

Pipe, 2015
Oil on linen
10 x 16 inches

Pyrite Radio - Installation View

Pyrite Radio

May 20-June 6, 2015
Rubicon ARI
Level 1/309 Queensberry Street
North Melbourne VIC 3061

Hanging on the wall are scraps of dowel, lashed together into crosses, and strung with red wire like a spiders web. Below them, on a makeshift shelf, are strange contraptions made of scrap wood, cardboard tubes, tin foil, masking tape, gold enamelled wire wound around bottles, and some parts with labels that suggest you try turning them.

There are several devices of this kind. Some have antiquated headphones attached, or a tiny little earpiece seemingly made out of Bakelite, or an origami gramophone horn. There is no power plug, no battery connected, and yet, if you listen closely you can hear different radio broadcasts emanating from each makeshift device.

For this exhibition, Pyrite Radio, Simon O’Carrigan has built a selection of homemade ‘crystal set’ radios: an invention first considered at the turn of the century, and popularised through the 1930s and ‘40s. These radios used a crystal such as pyrite to convert radio waves into a very weak electronic pulse — just enough to make audible sound. They work only with analogue broadcasts, and then, only on the AM dial.

Alongside the makeshift radios are oil on linen renderings of archival photographs: just as eccentric as the tin foil and masking tape devices in the room. A woman in 19th century garb sits at a desk, her feet on jerry-rigged bicycle pedals, providing power to the radio she operates. A man sits for a portrait wearing a shoulder-mounted antenna connected to a crystal set conveniently mounted in a tobacco pipe, feeding sound into his headphones. “How do you tune it?” the article read. “I just turn my head” was his reply.

The works on show were made with no electronic knowledge or training, just a handful of research and a lot of late nights (reception is clearer at night, go figure). The result is an exhibition that looks like the apocalypse backup plan of a crazed survivalist, with a sprinkling of modern black magic woven in. Analogue radio broadcasts will soon be phased out, and with them, the ability to communicate without the pay-per-moment microtransactions of modern wireless life.

The audience is invited to tinker with the devices on show, and take home instructions to build their own.

Bureau, 2015

Bureau, 2015
Oil on linen
14 x 10 inches

Wallpaper, 2015

Wallpaper, 2015
Oil on linen
14 x 10 inches

Pyrite Radio - Installation View

Crystal Radio (Safe Clean Up Set), 2015

Crystal Radio (Safe Clean Up Set), 2015
Scrap materials & electronic components
Dimensions variable

Resonance, 2015

Resonance, 2015
Oil on linen
18 x 24 inches

Crystal Radio (Golden Pillar Set), 2015

Crystal Radio (Golden Pillar Set), 2015
Scrap materials & electronic components
Dimensions variable

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Pyrite Radio - Installation View

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Crystal Radio (Paper Horn Set), 2015

Crystal Radio (Paper Horn Set), 2015
Scrap materials & electronic components
Dimensions variable

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Pyrite Radio - Installation View

Crystal Radio (Time Bomb Set), 2015

Crystal Radio (Time Bomb Set), 2015
Scrap materials & electronic components
Dimensions variable

Pyrite Radio - Installation View

Crystal Radio (Mystery Bottle Set)

Crystal Radio (Mystery Bottle Set), 2015
Scrap materials & electronic components
Dimensions variable

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Pyrite Radio - Installation View
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Crystal Radio (CSIRO Set), 2015

Crystal Radio (CSIRO Set), 2015
Scrap materials & electronic components
Dimensions variable

Pyrite Radio - Installation View

Laboratory, 2015

Laboratory, 2015
Oil on linen
18 x 10 inches

Rocking Chair, 2015

Rocking Chair, 2015
Oil on linen
14 x 10 inches

Family Hour, 2015

Family Hour, 2015
Oil on linen
18 x 10 inches

Parlour, 2015

Parlour, 2015
Oil on linen
16 x 10 inches

100 Banners, 23.5 Million Whispers

100 Banners, 23.5 Million Whispers is a collaborative art project by Alizon Gray & Simon O’Carrigan. You can be part of it! Find us at one of our banner making locations and contribute your own banner to the project (using the materials we provide). For future iterations of the work keep an eye on the blog at 100banners.blogspot.com.au and send us a message of encouragement!

The first finished version of the work was shown at the 2014 Toyota Community Spirit Prize from 19 November, 2014 running until March 2015. We were awarded an honourable mention and second place in the prize.

Check out where we will set up next, and what we’ve done so far, via our Facebook event page. (This event will be updated for each new banner making session!)

What’s it all about?

Protests build community whilst voicing opinions on leadership decisions that will impact upon local, national and international communities. Often such decisions are irreversible and have far reaching implications. Though the aims of various protest movements may differ, many cite the core issue as being lack of public consultation and the feeling that the voice of the people is not being heard. Raising petitions and protesting in the street has long been an essential constituent of our history and democratic free speech. However, in Victoria there are now laws that can be used to sentence peaceful protesters with gaol time. This artwork is a timely and poignant reflection on the changing social and cultural situation in Australia and around the world: it can feel as though our democratic rights and proportional representation are being challenged.

Before installation of 100 Banners, 23.5 Million Whispers within the Toyota grounds we invited members of the public to ink messages onto calico and then we immediately washed the words out. The ink slightly stained the calico so that only a hint of the message is left. Washing away the slogans reflects the muted protests of citizens; the erosion of the opposing voice. Rather than focus on any one issue or cause, this artwork captures the emotional groundswell of discontent when the voice of community opposition falls on deaf ears.

A huge thank you to all who helped us with this project!

Scroll for shots of the first install, at Toyota HQ, and then documentation shots of our community banner makings days!

100 Banners, 23.5 Million Whispers

Installation shot of 100 Banners, 23.5 Million Whispers

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10 November 2014
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100 Banners, Community Banner Making Sessions

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100 Banners

100 Banners Community Banner Making Sessions

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100 Banners Community Banner Making Sessions

100 Banners Community Banner Making Sessions2014

Icons

March 6–23, 2014
3 Contemporary Art Space
Abbotsford Convent
1 St Heliers Street
Abbotsford VIC 3067
Australia

Download exhibition catalogue

Icons is a series of small oil on linen portraits, executed in a traditional academic realist fashion. The subjects are not religious figures, but almost-modern icons of worship: rock stars from the 60s to the 90s. In the current millennium, this no-longer-so-recent collection of rock figures still command worship by fans, and influence current musicians. The subjects achieve this despite their failings (and sometimes
because of them). They have become, and remain, canonical figures.

The subjects are musicians from the canon of 60s counter-culture (Keith Richards, Neil Young), heavy metal (Ozzy Osbourne), the early CBCG’s scene (Patti Smith, Lou Reed), hardcore punk (Ian MacKaye of Minor Threat, Henry Rollins of Black Flag), and grunge (Kurt Cobain). All genres that typically were skeptical of the media at best, and scathing at worst.

The icons on display chose a career prominent in the public spotlight and walked the promotional tightrope at times with aplomb, but more often, with no support net below. Frequently losing their words mid-interview (or speaking unintelligible gibberish), the image of their expression spoke their thousand words for them.

Following on from the exhibition Duets at Rubicon ARI in 2013, the series examines the visual communication that can be more clearly read in televised interviews than the words spoken. The imagery is drawn from the now vast, museum-like archive of YouTube that ironically preserves what was designed to be a temporary medium.

5 March 2014
I still hear myself screw up, so I still have to concentrate. (Kurt Cobain).

I still hear myself screw up, so I still have to concentrate. (Kurt Cobain).
Oil on linen, 26 x 46 cm
2014

I understood it as being something that had to do with my future. (Patti Smith).

I understood it as being something that had to do with my future. (Patti Smith).
Oil on linen, 26 x 36 cm
2014

I guess the older you get, the more we gotta go through this. (Keith Richards).

I guess the older you get, the more we gotta go through this. (Keith Richards).
Oil on linen, 26 x 36 cm 2014

It’s a very tight ship my face keeps. (Henry Rollins).

It’s a very tight ship my face keeps. (Henry Rollins).
Oil on linen, 26 x 36 cm
2014

I just wanna be a reflection of what’s going on. (Neil Young).

I just wanna be a reflection of what’s going on. (Neil Young).
Oil on linen, 26 x 26 cm
2014

...and I thought it was a plastic bat. (Ozzy Osbourne).

…and I thought it was a plastic bat. (Ozzy Osbourne).
Oil on linen, 26 x 26 cm
2014