I was so excited to head down to the MAKEit MADEit conference in Newcastle. The weekend started out with a road-trip from Brisbane, with some of the awesome Design Kids along for the ride and an obligatory stop at the Big Banana on the way. Just 800km of driving later, we made it to Newcastle and the conference didn’t disappoint!
As the day got underway, it was clear there were some themes among the talks. Like adapting to spaces. Whether it was Michael Bell making a temporary studio home on the verandah of a hotel in Bangkok; Sha’an D’anthes graduating from working on her living room floor to a totally Instagram-worthy studio space; or the conference itself, which has grown from humble, but aspirational beginnings and was this year hosted in the pastel surrounds of the Newcastle Conservatorium (which felt a little bit like being on the set of a Wes Anderson film!); the common thread was that it doesn’t matter where you make work – what matters is that you make it.
Pressing ‘reset’ was another idea that kept coming up; starting again... and the challenges that come with it. As creatives, we are often looking for a way to make our work new or to do something different, but that can sometimes be uncomfortable. Sha’an D’anthes put it well when she said that ‘once we become experienced in one area, we are reluctant to be inexperienced in another’. But that is when the fun happens and embracing that unfamiliar territory keeps our work fresh. We should all be prepared to be noobs!
And last, but not least, get out there and talk to people! Everyone who took to the stage highlighted the benefits of putting yourself and your work out there. Talking to people face-to-face. For me, Emily Devers’ talk was the highlight of the day. Not only is she an awesome artist/muralist/person, but she has a great ethos behind her work too. I loved hearing her talk about the Seawalls project, which is built on a strong community of artists and inspires conversations not only about art, but also about important environmental issues. Yeah!
All up the weekend made for great people, great work and great vibes. Cheers to The Design Kids for the free ticket and to Brett Piva for organising a kick-arse conference. I came away excited and inspired.