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Published April 16th 2017
Modern people, modern art, that's all too weird to explain
What do almost two dozen or more struggling young artists do when they are needing to be a part of the community? This group of young talented people formed an art collective and leased an old shop front in Hindley Street, where they have now have a happy home. This is a place where they can work together and invite the public in to see what they do. Although the lack of information on the shopfront window gives no hint to what lies within.
The shopfront in Hindley St is home to Format Systems Inc. Image by Out and About.
It was a strange turn of events that led me here. Walking down quiet Hindley Street early one morning on my way to somewhere else, I stopped in my tracks and peered in the window. "What is this place?" I thought to myself. It was only just after 10am and there was no sign of life. I could not work out what sort of business it was. The name gave me no clue. It turned out that later in the day, while I was on a SALA art tour I ended up here. I was surprised when I was lead indoors and all was revealed.
Some of the artists having a chat after a busy day. Image by Out and About.
When I visited, three members of the collective were exhibiting their current works. The gallery space is upstairs in the heritage shop. Up the old wooden staircase I climbed. In the olden days, the second floor would have been the shopkeeper's living quarters. My eyes were in surprise at what I saw. This is contemporary art at its most unusual and quirky. The artists here are using very different and unusual mediums. They have, in their own words, moved on from paintbrushes and canvas and are exploring innovative ways to express themselves. I have no idea what goes on in an artist's mind, but the result is totally out there. It is like nothing I have ever seen before, however viewing their artworks certainly made me curious to look a little closer.
One of the artists showing her innovative art work. Image by Out and About.
Artist, Tara Rowhani-Farid, pictured here, was at the time of my visit using the hardware product Gap Filler to make her artworks. Yes, that's right, the same stuff builders use to fill up a gap between a skirting board and a wall! It is made of some sort of plastic substance and when dried it can be folded and bent into different shapes. Her artworks had rope melded into them which is then used to hang the large white plastic pieces from the ceiling. The gallery space is ever changing and will always be showing something unique. Another artist in the group was working with wax. These works were almost as intriguing. I wondered how that would pan out in the summer. Would they melt all over the floor?
The bar and space for performance art. Image by Out and About.
This venue has a workspace in the basement, a bar with sit down tables and chairs on street level and the gallery space upstairs. There is always some sort of happening going on here. I have coined the term 'happening' from hippie jargon of the 1960s when something creative or musical combined with a party was going about to happen. Arty happenings are scheduled here when one of the artists does some sort of performance art, which apparently is the latest thing in the contemporary art world. At such an event, you can see for yourself how the artist uses the medium of choice to make their creations.
Quirky? If you love contemporary art that makes you take a second look, pop in here. Image by Out and About.
Being true non-conformists the artists said, "oh we just happen to have an exhibition on now, it's not for SALA." Are they aware that SALA is made possible so artists today can gain recognition and show what they are doing? Perhaps next year they can be a part of this art festival and show more people what they are all about. I do hope this group learns some business acumen in order to survive. I suggest they start with the front window as this is the main selling point of the place. It offers no clues as to what lies beyond or what they are about.
It seems this group have a new way of looking at things and it is amazing to learn what they are up to. They are a bright exuberant group of young people who radiate a glow of positive charm. They were happy to chat with this ageing hippie chick and talk about their venture here at Hindley Street. A place where entrepreneurs have been establishing their enterprises for over 170 years. But to keep the wolf from the door, they need to keep the place running, so pop in sometime, order a drink and have a chat. Better still, purchase a very unusual piece of art.
Oh, and if you are a marketing student, please go and make friends with them and offer some tips. They really need it. At least I feel they do. My mothering instinct is concerned for the poor dears. They have talent and they have gumption. And I applaud them as they do get up out of bed every day and have found a purpose in life. After two years they are slowly finding their feet, they have a following and are making friends in the art world. Let's hope a friendly patron or benefactor as well.
The artist's collective has a Facebook page here and here you can check out the latest of what is going on and check the opening times. "Now that was really quirky", I said to my friend after we left this place. She just nodded her head. There is no other word to describe it. Well, maybe weird, could also suffice.