Culture Scouts was very excited this Friday to be taking a media tour group around Devonshire Street, Surry Hills on an art tour, on behalf of the historic Surry Hills Neighbourhood Centre. The party of both Sydney-sider natives and visitors made their way through established businesses, up-and-comers and community projects.
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Brett Whiteley Gallery
No creative trip to Surry Hills would ever be complete without a visit to this institution of Australian Art. What was once Brett Whiteley’s studio, is now run by Alec George of AGNSW in consultation to Whiteley’s widow, Wendy. Tourers were invited past the iconic burnt match, through the gallery with its luminously evocative ‘Bathroom series’ paintings, and upstairs to the celebrated artist’s studio. Preserved closely after his death in 1992, the walls were scrawled with graffiti; dumbbells and records scattered on shelves and on the floor.
Special Group are an independent creative company, who work with such creative giants as R.M. Williams, King Living, Pet Barn and Qantas. Boasting a beautiful collection of art, they are currently hosting Pool Grant winner, Alama Holmberg’s photographic collection, Resist Laughter. A series based around the then Turkish Prime Minister’s, Bülent Arinç, comments that women should ‘resist’ laughing in public, Holmberg photographed women’s rights activists.
Bourke Street Bakery
As everyone knows, art cannot be really appreciated on an empty stomach. In the case of this tour, tourers were given a whole pastry selection. Bakers, David McGuiness & Paul Allam, started the Bourke Street Bakery in 2004, and are now running eleven shops. Known for its buttery croissants, melting pain-au-chocolats, and extraordinary ginger brulee tarts (yes, it’s a thing), Bourke Street has become a staple of Surry Hills. And David’s favourite pastry? “The classic”, he smiles, gesturing to the goodies on display: “the pain-au-chocolat, the croissant”.
The Pottery Shed
The Pottery Shed is exactly how you’d imagine a seventies California pottery workshop. It’s an oasis of calm in a busy existence (albeit a modernised one). Located on Nickson Street, just off Devonshire Street, Surry Hills, The Pottery Shed has a warm interior, with glowing tea cups, bowls and vases sited carefully on every surface. Joe Darling, the founder of the establishment, welcomes the guests inside and after an explanation of how the classes work, sits us down for a hypnotising pottery wheel throwing session. “[Pottery] draws you in,” Darling explains, “restricting other thoughts; pulling together your centred-ness and focus. It would have been the thing that would have kept me out of my possibly troubled youth.”
Our interview with Joe Darling can be read here
Next the group walked along to performer’s Astra Howard’s public artwork, Village Voices. Created as a work that can be changed often, Village Voices selects texts submitted by the public through a drop box at Surry Hills Library. They are then displayed at the Wiltshire Through Link off Crown Street. Through doing this, Howard hopes to tell both local and global stories to passers-by.
A logo designed by the radical pop artist, Martin Sharp makes an unforgettable impression as we walk through the doors of ACME Framing. The entry room boasts an array of different frames. One wall is taken up corner frames that when put together, looks like golden dragon scales. Director, Geoff Bracken, explains that all artworks have different needs, as we admire the collection.
Read Art Pharmacy's framing tips here
The Standard Store: Nicola Reindorf
Coming to Australia almost two decades ago, Reindorf has maintained an all-encompassing love and respect for quality clothes and design. With a ‘tightly curated’ collection, Reindorf stresses that their focus is on being more than a place to buy clothes. “[Customers] get to know us,” she says. Between the tactile nature of the TSS’s fabrics, and Reindorf’s bubbly dog, Honey, we could not agree more.
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