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I Love Melbourne

July 20, 2010

Felix and Switch

July 6, 2010

New project, new thing to stress about, make lists about and be consumed by. 

I got into the market. I’ll be there every Sunday in August playing shopkeeper, prancing about in an apron, drinking tea and giggling. 

For more info on F&S head over to felixandswitch.wordpress.com

Random Tuesday

June 29, 2010

It’s too cold to write about anything too deep. My fingers are all dried up and wrinkled from the cold, even my nails have gone blue!

Oh wait… That’s just my nail polish.

Random notes from Chez Bonheur (soon to be renamed The House Of Cake)

Two heaters on and electric blankets warming. WINTER I LOVE YOU even though I had so many heaters on and electrical equipment running that I shorted out my power-board while ironing and watching DVDs

I just worked out how to have all my emails directed into my computer’s mail client. AMAZING! It even makes a wooshing noise when mail’s sent off. It satisfies the deepest and most childish parts of myself

Reading. When I was doing my degree I did nothing but read. Problem was, I didn’t do it for enjoyment. Seriously, I only just started to read and buy books again, it’s amazing. You can’t expect to create or be insightful in a vacuum. You need to have the raw ingredients to process in order to produce something original.

Things I’ve been reading:

  • Troublesome Words: Bill Bryson
  • Frankie Magazine, piles of it in fact. 
  • Lessons of a Lipstick Queen: Poppy King
  • The Culture Club: Craig Schuftan- If you are interested in music, art or simply interesting ideas, then you have to read this book! A discussion on how modern art influenced modern music and back again.   

I love setting up my new accounting system. For a three pronged business such as the one I’m developing I went high-tech. I bought a teal blue notebook from OfficeWorks, divided it into three sections (Writing, Craft, & Web), ruled one side of each page from income, and ruled the other for expenses, decorated with pink text and stickers, and admired it! Now I’m gunning to get some income to record in it! Bring on the New Financial Year!

I love my city. I love my city so much that I made these:

I got crafty

From left to right: Eureka Tower soft toy, My Ear, Melbourne Central Batman building soft toy and the Eureka Tower pin-cushion 'cushion'.

 

Eureka Tower- Melbourne

Eureka Tower- Melbourne

 

Melbourne Central- The Batman Building

Melbourne Central- The Batman Building

 

Part of my GRAND PLAN, the one I mentioned last post, is to have a weekly market stall, and sell things that I design and make. This is so that I can cover every aspect of my creative self, and have a variety of income sources, hopefully making poverty and living on  noodles and broccoli much less likely.

These are part of a collection that takes the doily concept from the Linden exhibitions and expand on it. Expands until it totally a different creature altogether. I declare that it shall be grand and amazing. Look out of me freezing my arse off at a market near you soon. I’ll be bringing a variety of nanna-style Melbourne-love-trophies of various sizes and prices points, and …lollies!

I’ve got so many great ideas for this project. Stay tuned!

 

 

The Big Freeze

June 24, 2010

credit

An accurate representation of the inside of my brain. 

For the past three weeks or so I have been mulling over an open notebook trying -TRYING- to come up with something to write about. And for a moment there it seemed as though the words weren’t coming because I had nothing to say.

Well clearly that’s not true. I could talk the leg off a table. My malady seems to be restricted to the written word. Talk: I’m full of it.

What we seem to be dealing with here is a rather massive case of writer’s block. Symptoms include: the inability to take a good idea beyond the first blush; jealousy; procrastination and a variety of aversion tactics; and visions of all your dreams being for naught. Conveniently these symptoms started to manifest themselves right about the time I actually started to set foot into ‘make-your-dreams-become-reality-and-not-just-remain-dreams’ land. MYDBRANJRD for short.

I mentioned a few months back that I was seeking gainful employment of the officey type. Then a few months after that I mentioned that I was getting nowhere. Cue: work experience. After a couple of months helping out with the admin side of my current job I had a realization. I had wanted an office job because I was sick of working nights and weekend, so I tried 9-5. And I hated it. HATED IT. 

So if I hated working nights and weekend, but I hated working 9-5, what was left?

I made the decision then that I would do anything I could in order to make a living using my creativity. I would sew, take photos, write copy, research, write articles, set up websites, design, write books, craft, markets, ANYTHING. Sort of a creative odd-jobber. With an overall plan to be an Arts writer.

I’m happiest when I have a day spread out in front of me and several projects to be tackled, when I’m in the library with a stack of books and a topic to research, or when I’m taking an idea and working out how to make it happen. I want to feed myself and pay my rent from the proceeds of what is, to me, the most natural activity in the world.

The problem now is with the writing part of my plan. The most important part. The moment I started to plan articles, to look at submission guidelines and to imagine the acceptance letters that would come flooding in, that was when I lost it.

None of my ideas seem good enough, I think my writing’s not good enough, and there’s a high-pitched squealing burst that runs through my body at the thought of sending off an article. That anxiety has blocked my ideas process. It stops me from even starting to write anything, and it has spilled over here too. Hence no posties. 

The minute I place some importance and value on my work I was no longer able to do it.

Self-sabotage strikes again.

I’m telling you all of this for three reasons

  • I need tips for dealing with creative anxiety and creativity blocks.
  • I need advice and encouragement
  • I needed to break the ice over my big freeze. 

I want my plan to become a reality. I want to support myself*, mostly, by doing things I love, and by doing them on my terms. Of course there were going to be hurdles, but I don’t honestly think I expected them to come from within.

How do you deal with creative blocks, fears and the problems of starting?

* I feel that it must be noted that in my plan I am keeping a part-time job, three days a week, in order to keep my apartment and continue living by myself. I don’t know why you need to know that, but I just feel that it’s important. Cool?

A Regency Courtesan’s Tips for Self-Promotion

May 31, 2010

In the lead up to my major career change (more on that at a later date) I’ve been struggling to find some sort of guide, step-by-step instruction booklet, or map that leads the shy girl to the land of super-mega-outgoing-hustler type person. But so far, not so good. Self promotion seems to be at once a basic concept, but also quite bewildering. The world of social networking has resulted in information on this topic being all Trees when I’d rather it be Forest. Don’t tell me how to use Twitter and Facebook effectively, I just want to know the secrets of those people who get out there and find people to help them or create projects. I want to be a Real Hustler. I found the insight I needed in the last place I expected, the memoirs of a Regency courtesan named Harriette Wilson.

Know what you want to gain from the promotion-a one night stand or long-term couple status

For courtesans like Harriette the main aim of the game was to find a protector- a long term lover and patron. But that didn’t preclude them from seeking out one-off liaisons with grateful and generous gentlemen who may not have the means for an ongoing relationship, but were willing to shower the courtesan with money and present for a short time only. These two sources of business hang out in different circles necessitating different tactics for sourcing.

Before you begin spamming the Twitter feeds of all and sundry, you first have to decide what you want to achieve out of your efforts. Do you want one-off sales/visits/clients/johns, or do you want to build on-going relationships? Is your goal notoriety, or building a great and long-lasting reputation? Knowing what you want to achieve will shape the way you go about your self promoting, and narrow the field in which you expend your efforts when you move on to tip #2.

Find your audience and then parade shamelessly while looking over your fan in a coy manner

The courtesans marketing tactics? Parties, promenading and presentation. This is all about being seen by the right people and in the right light. The sort of relationship they were looking to form (a cheap and quick roll in the hay or long-term couple-dom) informed how they approached the three Ps. The majority of a courtesan’s self promotion involved beautiful dresses,the appearance of propriety, carriages-rides and walks in parks, all in the aim of being seen by the right people. So go and get yourself a carriage and a footman… um…

Ultimately self-promotion is about being seen and drawing attention to yourself in the right way, and for the right people- potential clients/customers/mentors etc. That can be done is a variety of ways, not all of them appropriate. Now that you know what you want to achieve, you can tailor your attention-seeking to that purpose. Do you want high paying clients? Then tailor your brand and products towards that market, and get yourself/your name/your brand some attention. 

Offer value in some form even if it’s a witty turn-of-phrase and a sassy attitude

I supped once in her society. . . She was far from beautiful, but a smart, saucy girl, with good eyes and dark hair, and the manners of a wild schoolboy.  

 Sir Walter Scott in 1825, on Harriette Wilson credit

A courtesan could parade about, dress as finely as any society lady and go to all the right parties and still wouldn’t make a living if she had nothing to offer. Brains, sexual skills and beauty being the three requirements, though as the quote above suggests, beauty was negotiable. 

Just like our Harriette you need something to offer in order to successfully promote. Otherwise, what the hell are you doing? 

Figure out what you want to achieve, what your goals for your business are. This will help you to know who you need to be seen by. Find out who they are (market research can come in to play here) where you can contact or connect with them in some way. Scheme ways to get your name noticed, or be seen by them (in real life, professionally, and online), get involved in projects that connect with this group or demographic, flash an ankle, and demonstrate your value. Repeat.

One final lesson from Harriette- blackmail your lovers when all else fails

 

Wait.

 

Don’t do that.

Get her memoirs here

If you want more of the the good stuff- Alex Frazen wrote two AMAZING articles chock full of self-promotion and networking advice for Yes & Yes- here & here 

 

Artist Files: Caravaggio

May 26, 2010

The Taking of Christ 

Out of all the artists I’ve been researching lately Caravaggio is one of the only artists whose misdeeds are considered relevent to his works. I’ve been scouring biographies for tales of sex, crime and violence and apart from Cellini (who we’ll save for another time) and Caravaggio, the crimes of other artist’s, their twisted personalities and assorted acts of violence are very rarely mentioned. If the artist produces ‘dark’ and haunting work, and they happen to be violent then the two things are considered to be linked. But, as in the case of Bernini, if the works of the artist are pretty and light and attractive then their violent streaks aren’t even mentioned.

Uncool writers of art history, uncool.

David with the Head of Goliath. 1606.

Back to Caravaggio. The man had a life. A crazy crime filled and rumor fueled life that ended as dramatically as it was lived.

Rap Sheet: He was arrested over 12 times between 1600 and 1606. There were fights, concealed weapons, insults, aggression and violence. He murdered a man over tennis in 1607, went on the run ending up in Malta. Then he insulted some Knights of Malta, and went on the run again this time to Sicily.

In 1610 The Pope pardoned Caravaggio allowing him to finally return to Rome. Tragically on his way back to home and freedom after being on the lam for years Tuscan authorities arrested him in a case in a case of mistaken identity. THEN upon his release he discovered that all his paintings and possessions were gone (perhaps they made it to Rome) and finally he caught a mysterious illness. 

Destitute, alone, feverish and delusional Caravaggio collapsed on the beach at Porto Ercole. He died in hospital a few days later at the age of 38.

 

The Number One Most Ace Thing To Do To Get That Awesome Apartment

May 20, 2010

 credit

Or house. Or artist’s loft. Or palatial estate. 

Whatever

The absolute number one, most important, best thing ever that you can do to get that apartment is to get your application in first.

The absolute number one way to get your application in first? Have your forms all filled out, copies of ID attached and ready to roll before the inspection. Hand it to the agent when you first see the place. Within five minutes preferably. Ok, maybe 11. But you’ve usually only got 15 to decide. So CHOP CHOP.

Before going to an inspection visit the real estate agent’s website and download a copy of their application forms and fill that sucker in. As soon as you start looking for a new rental put together a folder containing all of your references’ contact details, photocopies of the kind of ID they usually want (utility bills with your name and address on them, driver’s license, passports, key pass cards, that sort of thing) and all the personal data you need for filling out application forms. The aim here is speed and having all your deets and attachments ready to go makes this processes much faster. If there’re a few of you all applying together put all everyone’s info in the one file so that whoever is off to look at the house that day has everything they need. 

Sometimes the agents wont have the applications on their websites (fools!). If this is the case go see the house/apartment/warehouse sub-division carrying your super-folder-of-important-application-information, then if you decide to apply, grab the form from the guy/girl in the suit standing in the lounge, fill it in while standing in the kitchen (I hope it’s nice!), attach required ID (which you have copies of in your folder) and march up to that agent with a smug look on your face -this is not optional- before thrusting the completed application right in their face. RIGHT IN THEIR FACE. Ok, perhaps don’t be that aggressive. (Maybe at this point, if you think they might have more places you might like, ask them for a couple of extra forms, you can photocopy them so that next time you’ll have your application ready when you walk in the door. DON’T THANK ME. I know I’m awesome) 

Time is money. The agent isn’t going to hunt through all the applications to find the tenant who is JUST RIGHT. Get your application in quickly (preferably first) and provided the landlord doesn’t decide to give your dream home to his nephew who’s moving to the city to do vetinary studies, you’re already in with a 35-50%  chance rather than one in ten. Getting in first makes your life, and their job easier.

My other hints?

Wear great shoes. Compliment their taste in business wear/earrings/pens. Bake cookies. 

Maybe that’s just me.