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When I told people from home at the end of 2018 that I was relocating to London to pursue a career within the art market, I was met with a variety of responses. Typically, it was confusion. Why would someone want to move somewhere where the days are colder and darker, the pound in comparison to our dollar is almost double, and the only real beach within driving distance is Brighton, which upon inspection, is hardly a beach at all by Australian standards.

In hindsight, relocating in the lead up to the Christmas frenzy, and basically going from winter into winter maybe wasn’t the smartest of choices. Whilst watching instagram stories of my sun kissed, rosé sipping friends galavant around Melbourne, I was settling in and setting up. In the very brief period I had between leaving home and diving head first into work in this nocturnal city, I wanted to see, do and most importantly, eat, anywhere and everywhere before the craziness of the working year really began.

Now as we are suddenly welcomed by March and the dreaded feeling that the year is already escaping before our eyes, I can pretty confidently say I am getting the swing of things. I have mastered the ability to dart through the bustling crowds of the London underground whilst sending emails from my phone, and managed to quite happily secure my new ‘local’ for good coffee and free wifi. It is said that New York is the city that never sleeps, however in reality, the word sleep isn’t even a part of London’s diction. No matter the hour or the weather, there is always something happening here, so I have compiled my very own snapshot guide to London so far…

Around Me…

London is sprawling, with every suburb engulfed in its own identity and microclimate. Brixton is where I now call home, and let me tell you, it is the furthest place from the refined elegance of what I had thought London was to be. Brixton is a creative boiling pot 15 minutes out of the central madness of London with some of the best Ethiopian food and many popular emerging foodie hotspots. Brixton could be described as an eclectic mix of shabby chic, where quite frankly, anything goes.

If you want a KILLER coffee, as well as a great spot to fire up your laptop check out Stir Coffee. This is my favourite place to get work done. It’s a fuss free cafe, with great coffee ( arguably better than my favourite spots in Melbourne.) Dog and laptop friendly, this spot is popular for good reason. My partner and I find Stir Coffee perfect on a Friday when we are both work from home, and need to get out of the house. ps. I must mention they have The best carrot cake ever!

Brixton Village is my next go to. Made up of approximately 100 local traders, this indoor arcade brings together cafes, champagne and cheese bars, local artisan stores and some of the best local produce in the area. On my favourites list is Burnt Toast Cafe, with a sibling cafe being in Melbourne. If you’re looking for a cosy glass of Red wine to finish the week and a killer cheese board to share for £20, go no further than Champagne + Fromage. This place is humble and understated, like you’re stepping through to a small bistro in Paris.

For a slightly more vibrant and buzzing night spot, I’d head to Canova Hall. Set to the backdrop of its very own micro distillery, Canova Hall is my recommendation for delicious wood fire pizza and a cocktail. Saturday nights here will find the place buzzing and always boasting a crowd, but come sunday mornings, you will find the booth style tables adorned with proseco and smashed avo. Its a bit of a jack of all traits, and surprisingly, it ticks all the boxes.

Just a tube ride away…

As Brixton is only at the end of the Victoria Line, my journey into neighbouring areas is super simple. Most weeks, Im darting to Old Street, Shoreditch, or into the mayhem of Piccadilly Circus. Here I’ve listed some of my must do’s in London.

Art:

Here my days are filled with art; working with Otomys Contemporary  my spare time is spent exploring the big guys over here: The Tate Modern,  The Tate Britain, The Serpentine and The National Gallery… but what I’ve found to be most interesting is the smaller galleries. They are at times hard to spot but are like little nuggets of gold when you stumble across them. I was recently introduced to the app ArtRabbit, which for me, has been invaluable. Determined by your location, the app tells you what’s on and around you, and then gives you snippets of info into the galleries or exhibitions. It’s great for exploring the London art scene including art talks and events on any given day.

Do:

Every Saturday morning, in almost every park around the U.K is a fantastic free event called Park Run. Started as a way so promote a healthy active lifestyle throughout the country, Park Run is a free 5km run open to any level and age. Doing the run most Saturday mornings has become somewhat of a routine for me now. Its a way to really kickstart my weekend and do something active. I recently ran the Hyde Park route, and it was spectacular running through the park past the incredible architecture that scatters itself along the perimeter. Kicking off at 9am, the fun run is a fantastic way to meet people and see neighbouring areas.

Go:

My favourite place to visit; Shoreditch. Filled with the coolest of the cool, Shoreditch is home to some of the best restaurants, cafes, bars and shopping (in my opinion) in London. For great shopping head to Redchruch St for brands, or check out Goodhood for the best collections of curated streetwear and cool things for your home, that you didn’t realise you need. Not to far away is the iconic Brick Lane Beigel Bake where you can pick up a smoked salmon and cream cheese beigel for £4. Shoreditch, much like Brixton, has the appeal of not being too precious but also boasting some of the best design and art conscious hang outs. If you’re in the area, check out The Ace Hotel London. The Ace, second to its partner hotel in New York, is truely a spot for people watching. Whether you park yourself in the Lobby with your laptop, or pull up a chair in @hoipalloi for brunch, this place is always buzzing. Recently I had the pleasure of meeting with Otomys artist Ian Rayer Smith here and we brunched to the backdrop of a string quartet playing Beyonce, what more could you want on a Saturday morning?

Eat:

Its hard to just pick one restaurant to recommend in London. If I had to choose a place that would be suitable for a work lunch, visiting relatives, a date night or even just a quick bite before heading to a show, it would have to be Dishoom. Scattered all over London, Dishoom is a modern take on traditional Indian, with a bubbling and electric atmosphere to match. The food is delicious, the wine list is full but not over the top and for London, it is very reasonably priced and open for breakfast, lunch or dinner. Like most of London’s restaurants, walk-ins only at dinner means a bit of a wait, but they certainly make up for it with the complimentary spiced chai tea in line whilst you wait.

Drink:

Slightly outside of the central London area is a neighbourhood worth visiting for a night – Clapham is home to the discrete and seductive Wine and Charcuterie Bar. Transformed from an old toilet block (hence the clever double title and abbreviation) W.C is a moody, dim light wine bar, right next to the underground entrance. Warm and inviting, this little gem has nibbles on the menu too if you get too comfortable to leave. We visited here with friends late one Saturday and found this to be the perfect spot for a rainy afternoon.

Honourable mentions:

Kricket – Similar to Dishoom but without the wait and the fuss, this place was designed by the team at Run For The Hills and is another favourite spot of mine for dinner with restaurants in both Brixton and Soho.

South London Gallery – Situated just outside of Peckham, this gallery is split over two locations and always has interesting and thought provoking exhibitions.

Colombia Road Flower Market – What better way then spending a Sunday morning stopping to smell the roses?

Afternoon tea at Claridges – The traditional afternoon tea of London in the heart of Mayfair. Booking ahead is essential.

 

Written by Bethany Woolfall, Otomys Contemporary London Art Consultant.

Otomys is delighted to introduce new works by Sydney-based Artist, Celia Gullett.

Gullett’s masterful Geometric Abstractions (Oil on Panel) are a construction and deconstruction of arrangements. In this series, Gullett explores the interplay of colour and compositions, creating a lively dialogue within and between the works. A recurring motif features within many of the works in the series – these pieces play to each other in a sympathetic vibration of sorts. Viewing or procuring the works as a pair or collection highlights the striking conversation between the shifting shapes.

Gullett’s Raga Series (Oil on Linen) examines the confluence between painting and music in the Rajput tradition of Indian culture. Within each Raga, Gullett explores colour and layering, making reference to melodic structure and spirituality in the Raga tradition. As such, each Raga seems to possess distinctive notes and energy levels. These are deeply peaceful works. The immersive quality of the Raga series is strengthened by their large scale and highly textured ‘loom state’ linen.

We visited Gullett’s Sydney studio – a large, collaborative studio space shared with five other artists – to view her works in progress, and catch up on her most recent influences.

Celia, thank you for having us at your studio! Please tell us about your recent inspirations and processes?

What propels my work is a fascination for colour and surface. I’m interested in working with colour. It has meaning. It has structure. It can be elusive, it can be emotive. But as a single entity, it’s really limitless. In terms of colour, my inspiration comes from observing. Anything can trigger a painting – an arrangement in nature, or a partnership of colours I might find in the non-natural world. Light and its effect on colour is vital to the way I observe. Surface is something that can in itself be seductive, but surface is affected by how we apply the matter, the substance of paint. The way a brush delivers paint to the surface is really the hand writing, the mark making. This mark making is such an important part of my practice, it’s a language I am constantly developing.

In both my Colour Fields and my small geometric pieces I am investigating colour and surface. The Colour Fields works are nearly always inspired by a desire to dialogue with one colour. Within this one colour there are many versions, so I tend to layer versions of, for example blue, until the work has enough depth. Generally, when the depth is right, the painting is finished.

The Geometrics are a little different, in that there are more colours. It’s about composing – balancing those colours within a motif that supports the colours. Often one colour calls for another, in a certain tone or density. In this way, I can choose between a discord or a harmony, depending on what I am trying to explore.

The panels I work on give a very different surface to the effects of paint on heavy linen. Multi layered, glazed, altered until everything sits perfectly together. I’m totally inspired by my trips to India. The Ragas have a strong connection to the culture and history, in particular the music. This led to a need to harmonise or make each colour speak to the others in each painting, creating a narrative in colour.

Please tell us about your new work? What are you exploring? Is it linked to your previous work?

My new work is a continuation what I have been doing. I’m inspired by the works of Fra Angelico, not so much in terms of their religious subjects, although I think they go way beyond the Christian beliefs and go closer to pure painting, pure spirit. The palette is limited by the pigments that were available at the time. The extraordinary use of these colours is wonderful. I find so much relevance for this use of colour in my own work, it speaks to me.


View Celia Gullett’s Online Gallery, or make a time to view the works within our Melbourne and Tetbury Gallery spaces.

Contact studio@otomys.com to make an appointment to discuss these works with an Otomsy Art Consultant in your state.

If Mark Roper wasn’t already on your radar, he most definitely is now. Originally hailing from the UK, Melbourne based Mark Roper isn’t just an artist, but a brilliantly versatile creative. With an extensive portfolio including food, travel, lifestyle and interior photography for both editorial and commercial projects, he is undoubtedly well regarded in his industry. However, Mark’s latest venture was one of a more personal journey.

Chronicles got talking to Mark fresh from the opening night of his new photography series ‘Arcane’.  In his limited edition debut collection of 8 Archival Lustre prints exhibited at Otomys gallery and online, Mark uses Polaroid film to explore the relationship between old and new, light and dark, chemical and digital.

Otomys: Tell us a little about your background, what did you study and what led you to where you are today?

  • Mark: I studied film and photography in the south west of the UK. I was originally going to take the path of film making but found I enjoyed the photography part of the course more, so ended up specializing in that.

Otomys: What 3 words best describe your work?

  • Mark: Moody, Layered, Mysterious

Otomys: What inspired your shift from traditional photographic work to polaroids, which forms your new ‘Arcane’ series?

  • Mark: My editorial and commercial work is all shot digitally. I love the control and precision of digital photography but missed the unpredictability of film, especially Polaroid.

Otomys: What did you love about experimenting with polaroids?

  • Mark: With Polaroid, when you peel back the film you’re never 100 percent sure what the outcome will be. The more I experimented with the structure and the chemicals in the Polaroid, the more unpredictable it became. I manipulated the chemicals found in the film with a number of different elements which produced new and interesting results.

Otomys: Can you give us a little insight into the creative process behind the ‘Arcane’ collection? Was there an intended message behind this work?

  • Mark: There’s no set message behind the work, I think they are the kind of pieces that people will connect with in different ways. I started my career shooting on film and Polaroid so I was excited to get back to my photographic roots. I’d been sitting on the idea for a while so am very excited it’s all come to fruition!

Otomys: What’s next for Mark Roper?

  • Mark: Now that Arcane is complete it’s inspired a lot more ideas. I’d like to complete a series using a mix of mediums, not just photography. Hopefully I can finish the idea by early next year.

Otomys: What would be your dream creative project?

  • Mark: My dream creative project would be to work with an interior designer and creative artworks for a hotel fitout

Otomys: Where do you currently call home?

  • Mark: I live in Caulfield, Melbourne. It’s a quiet suburb that is still close to everything with great parks and cafes.

Otomys: Can you share with us any best-kept-secret locations in a favourite neighbourhood around here?

  • Mark: There’s a great little cafe called Next Of Kin in Elsternwick which does fantastic breakfasts and coffee.

Otomys: What does a typical Saturday look like for you?

  • Mark: A typical Saturday for me, if I’m on top of all my work, involves a lie in, a couple of coffees and then spending the day with my wife Deb and kids Jack and Ella. We like to head out for lunch at our local or down to the park or the beach.

“The collection has given us such pleasure over the years and we want to share that joy with other art lovers,” – Charles Justin, founding director of architecture practice SJB.

And sharing is exactly what serious art collectors Charles Justin and his wife Leah have done.  In April of 2016, they opened the doors of their private Prahan residence to the public, in a bid to share the couple’s burgeoning collection of over 300 works of contemporary art acquired over the past 40 years…and counting!

Some 17 years on and the pioneering ‘Lyon House Museum’ in Melbourne’s suburb of Kew is still receiving international acclaim. Recognition that both Charles and Leah took as the final push they needed to swing open their own doors last year. Making Melbourne now home to two dedicated house museums.

‘House museum’ is a concept used across the globe. It’s used to describe a unique architectural combination of a private residence and private museum; where ‘museum’ and ‘family life’ are housed together under a single roof.

Enjoying retirement together, they now welcome visitors in to enjoy an authentic experience that is both intimate, personal and reflective of their own passions in the art world. Alongside more established artists, Charles and Leah turn their attention to emerging artists with a special interest in new digital and video works.

It’s been a family affair. Taking after her father, Charles and Leah’s daughter Elisa who is also an Architect, designed the customised the house museum. Located on a corner site in the inner Melbourne suburb of Prahran, the converted apartment block includes a gallery on the second level and residences on the third.

The museum hosts two exhibitions every year which are personally guided by Charles and Leah. With a vision, much broader than their own collection, the Justin’s dedicate one of these exhibitions to showcase art that is not from their collection. Currently on show is ‘Digital: The World of Alternative Realities.

Viewings are only available through pre-booked tours. JAHM’s exhibition ‘Digital: The World of Alternative Realities’ will run from 16th February until 4th June 2017. Bookings are essential and can be made via the museum’s website here.

Photography credits:Courtesy of Justin Art House Museum, Andrew Wuttke and Megan Dicks.