Meet Scott Lee, a dynamic Sydney artist in many ways. As part of the City of Sydney's initiative to promote the creative arts in Darlinghurst and Surry Hills; a great opportunity beckoned to allow Scott to be my artistic tour guide for two hours. In this art crawl, Scott will take you on an amazing tour of some of the top art galleries in Surry Hills and Darlinghurst. For the record, you're in really good hands.
His charm and positive energy grabs you the moment you meet him. He takes all things art seriously without taking life too seriously. In two hours, you will be immersed and you will walk away with a greater appreciation of Sydney, the city's arts scene and for art galleries being in existence in the first place.
You might be asking the following question right now, and within good reason too. What qualifies Scott to be conducting art crawls in the inner city? Scott is not a fly by night artist. He is grounded and true to his passion for all things art. Prior to hosting art crawls with Arribaa, a dynamic lifestyle company that hosts life changing experiences; Scott was a stencil graffiti artist and a respected street artist back in 2004, and only two years after street art started here in Sydney. Scott also has an architecture degree, and his HSC artwork made it into ARTEXPRESS. Achieving the latter is no easy feat. I know because I also studied visual arts when I did my HSC, and truth be known I sucked at it. Currently Scott also runs his own graphic design consultancy. Although Scott currently runs this art crawl during daylight hours, he has plans to expand into running night time tours for us Sydney night owls in due course. Apart from art, Scott's other hobbies and interests include exploring and enjoying some of Sydney's small bars, and of course bike riding.
We met at the start of Oxford Street on a glorious Saturday morning. The first gallery we stopped at was at He Made She Made. Amazing, yet inspirational home decorating ideas were observed. Awesome ambience and décor. If I say any more, I might ruin the surprise for you. Contemporary arts at its best. The Q&A sessions, in tandem with the awesome conversations, as we were walking through the most popular streets and lane ways of Darlinghurst, only meant that quality conversations were enjoyed. Scott Lee is someone who is passionate about art big time. During the tour, Scott also confessed to me that it was the 'architecture parties' he was invited to as a uni student boosted his enthusiasm to work with art.
The design of this house (according to Scott) is also art
The next gallery I visited on this art crawl was at the Liverpool Street Gallery, and therefore saw the Aida Tomescu: Milky Way 2012 exhibition. Fellow art enthusiasts were in awe as much as we were. Divine paintings. Between this pit stop and the next, I found out that Scott worked for Apple at one stage. He was involved in their leaders program, and although he found that being a store manager at an Apple store was not his forte; he found their shopfronts art in itself. Little Burton Street itself, and some amazing houses along the way also became an oasis of art appreciation for Scott and I. Not bad for someone (yours truly) who ended up being in the bottom 20% of the state for visual arts when I studied it for my HSC, yet I am freelancing in the arts profession as a writer today. Go figure.
Furthermore, I then popped that most critical question to Scott: "what is art?" Scott admits that this question (at first observation) was a bit full throttle, yet for this Surry Hills/Darlinghurst art crawl host that has called Waterloo home; he believes art to him is self expression, sharing and an investment. This is why Scott has set up this Surry Hills and Darlinghurst art crawl through Arribaa. He wants to share his creativity with fellow Sydneysiders who like and appreciate art in all ways. He has finally 'found his Waterloo' having lived in Cabramatta prior to moving closer to the city. It's art. Art is life, its an amazing life. Something would be so wrong if you weren't infected by his passion for all things artistic.
As I continue my Surry Hills and Darlinghurst art crawl with Scott, I found that his passion for taking photos on his iPhone is his passion as much as it is mine. "Photography is art too." According to Scott. I asked him if he believes that a 'picture' is worth 1000 words or more? "Absolutely" was his immediate reply. A couple more galleries were visited. One of them sparked an interest in me to fly to Antarctica, and go on one of those plane tours that Qantas conducts to the South Pole. The sizzling surprise awaits. After two more gallery visits, I discover a 'fresh off the press' business card printing press, and to Scott this is amazing art in tandem with visiting a bike store near Stanley Street. "Motorbikes are also art" according to Scott.
Over an amazing lunch and a caffeine hit at a nearby (funnily enough) art deco cafe, Scott and I get to know each other so fast, we easily lost track of time. The TAP Design and Exhibition centre was a real treat. We got to meet Al, one of the galleries most prominent photography artists. A great space for theatre and comedy acts, as well as giving new and emerging artists in Sydney a greater chance of artistic success.
The final stop was Platform 72. We're now back onto busy and popular Oxford Street in Darlinghurst. A piece of mirror art designed by Ged Lardi made way for a fitting finale to an amazing and interesting art crawl experience with art connoisseur Scott. The frame is so creative and colourful. A combination of old Happy Meal and other promotional toys were used. I would have no hesitation to have this mirror anywhere in my home. Great art space with an abundance of home decorating ideas on tap. Phew, what an amazing day. Some of my friends have asked me since: "Justine, if given the chance, would you go on Scott's Surry Hills and Darlinghurst art crawl again?" My response: "absolutely. This experience is worth its weight in artistic gold, and then some more." Sydney art rocks and lives on. Carpe diem.
Arribaa is a community based portal that enables locals in Sydney and many other cities to share their passions. In other words they choose to run their own business through Arribaa as 'hosts.' Hosts are like companions who guide you, and they can take you anywhere from bike riding to the coolest pubs and art galleries in town, and of course this depends on your lifestyle interests.
Arribaa are on the hunt for more talented hosts to share with the world their leisure and lifestyle passions in and around Sydney. If you believe you have what it takes, then go to their website for further details.
Justine Crowley would like to thank Arribaa and Scott Lee for this special writer invitation.