Art Camp at the Studio

For over two years, my camp in the Flinders Ranges, has been a safe creative space for me. It’s allowed me to work at a ferverish pace, ready philosophy all day and night or settle in with the fire and make drawings for new scenes yet to be born. In the protected silence of the gorges clarity presents itself without effort or request. Driving out from the winding, rocky creek beds, my phone lights up. Ok now i’m in range. The outside world waves and raises his brow, in an attempt at reciprocal attention. Well i’m here now I best see what he wants.
Watching society from the sidelines is hard at times. I really feel for everyone being tossed around and demanded of while the baseline oxygen of an artist (creativity and expression), lays dormant.

I’n the past two years i’ve hosted artists in one on one unofficial residencies. Sometimes to collaborate, sometimes just to share ideas and the washing up. Stepping into the deep end has proved a way of pushing myself into new experiences, and so with that in mind I put the invitation out to eleven SA artists to camp over four days at the hut.

The main challenge was transforming the space from single purpose use to accommodate such a large group. I only have an outside shower so that was going to be the first issue and a shower needs water. Luckily my best mate Greg was on hand installing a temporary inside shower and bringing up a thousand litres of town water. The next things was shelter and wind breaks. Over two months I built these structures from found materials. Some from along the railway, others scavenged closer to townships.

Thanks to the Regional Art Fund I was able to get some money to put on the whole show and begin to design a set and setting that would respect the artists time and effort. The drive from Adelaide into the camp is quite a commitment to make. The troopy made for a good pack horse and Denis Smith helped shuttle the artists into the creek bed driveway. By the time everyone arrived it was well dark. I had to smile when I drove in bringing up the tail of the convey.
The space had really sprung to life and with the help of Jeff (woodsman and helped with a lot of the building) and Toni from Quorn who came up to do the gourmet bush food.

Nadia Suartika, Corrie Hosking and Kim Thomson by the fire sharing ideas and concepts together.
photo Denis Smith
Artists inside the hut having dinner by the fire.
‘nothing is really difficult’
photo Denis Smith
Welcome to Country with Kristian Coulthard from Wadna Yura
Adam and Corrie Hosking explore the surrounding creeks.
photo Jaya Suartika
Asher Milgate on the easterly range behind the camp
photo Jaya Suartika

There were multiple moments over the four days that surprised me and brought warmth to the soul and I don’t think i’ve ever eaten as well as I did.

Asher Milgate, Clasina Forest with Corrie Hosking
photo Denis Smith
Presenting the development series Into Other Worlds
iphone photo Jaya Suartika
Artists enjoy a full gourmet breakfast of native bush foods by Toni Bauer

The moment I realised this was going well was as people shared one onone about what the place had given them. Everyone seems to have taken something away, and yet no one story was alike. As a self check, this feedback of the process of existence, was invaluable. This existence i’d intentful walked headlong into wasn’t an escape or a retreat. It was a quality of input, a violent curation of the external to the extent that not much enters this space without considered invitation.

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