Meet our Summer guest designer

Meet Tanya DeSilva-McKay our Summer guest designer. Being a professional designer she didn’t need any mentoring from me at all. In fact I think she could teach me a thing or too. Her work is so rich, I love how she totally reworked this issue and made it her own with a fresh new look. We’re so pleased to have her as part of the team.

Tell us a little bit about your creative journey?

My creative journey began when I was small where I loved books and illustrations and honestly – stationery! I played with whatever I could get my hands on. Fancy pencils, graphite, textas, fineliners, calligraphy pens, different papers and all the things I could draw a mark and communicate with – admittedly these things make me very happy now!
Design with my Bachelors degree further down the track enabled study in photography, graphics and illustration but I also got to create three-dimensional work where I made objects such as furniture and experimented with different materials. Now, I work as a freelance Art director and designer where I mostly design books, magazines, and other collateral such as logos and digital content.
I also started a digital film postgraduate course doing motion graphics and animation. Over the past several years I have also renovated homes with my husband – so I have drafted plans for kitchens, bathrooms and have staged homes for sale, working in a physical space in the capacity of an interior designer.
Otherwise… I miss using my hands and spend many late nights after my childrens’ bedtime doing more tangible work such as drawing and painting. My journey seems to be one that keeps unfolding which is exciting. I am still not sure where else it will lead but it is all fuelled by curiosity!

Why did you want to become an artist/designer?

I didn’t necessarily set out to become a designer – it was just a drive to pursue creativity and have an outlet which became a career. I just enjoyed seeing an idea come to life that was purposeful and beautiful. Creative communication in all the different mediums such as graphics, motion graphics, drawing and painting are fulfilling and energising.

Did you study art/design?

Yes, I initially studied film and television in a Contemporary Arts stream at University before shifting and graduating with a Bachelor’s Degree in Design at Monash University. I’ve circled back to further Postgraduate study and I am keen to see where it will lead.

How did you become involved with the hillscene?

I’ve always seen the magazine in my travels and saw the opportunity to be a guest designer and was excited by being involved in a publication that was local and community-driven.

In what ways, if any, do you engage with the hills community?

I engage in the community mainly through my activities with my family and just living here! There are so many things to do and we use as many local businesses and services as we can and spend most of our time on the mountain.

What do you wish you knew about being a designer/artist before you got started?

It is a hard task getting into the industry, you get paid very poorly (especially starting out) and it requires more grit and passion than you feel you can sometimes summon. This is mostly due to doubt you may feel with your abilities and the comparison you have with other very talented people. You need to move beyond it, acknowledge your capabilities, be open to feedback to improve, continue to learn and remain humble.
Being driven by pride is also a good thing in the sense that your name is attached to what you produce. Regardless of how small a job, it’s true value is your work and your attribution, not how much money it made or how much it is seemingly worth to others. It’s valuable and it represents your standard and you.
Also, whatever strikes you as interesting, pay attention to it, and record it as often as you can. I wish I kept a better visual and written record of all my ideas. More importantly, is to not be afraid to explore these ideas sooner rather than later.

Who are your creative heroes?

I have many heroes spanning many different disciplines so the list is extensive… I admire Saul Bass and his clever use of graphics and motion graphics, to current designers such as Chip Kidd and Aaron Draplin. The art of Roy Lichtenstein features on my walls at home and I also love the art and sentiments of Vincent Van Gogh. Elsewhere, I love Wes Anderson films and his distinct style, have a particular obsession with beautiful chairs (particularly those of Hans Wagner and Charles and Ray Eames) and I admit to collecting too many books (if there’s such a thing)… particularly those books with stunning illustrations usually reserved for children. I will eternally adore children’s books – they are so succinct and poetic.
In saying that, I do love whimsical work by Jane Newland, the vivid colours in Clair Bremner’s art and landscapes, to the distinct folk art by Dinara Mirtalipova.
I also admire many colleagues who I have been privileged to work with and learn alongside over the past several years.

What do you enjoy about living in the Dandenong Ranges?

There are so many things to enjoy living up in the Ranges. I love the quiet, community-oriented, open-minded, accepting and friendly community of the hills. 
I love the smell of the rain and the fireplaces in the winter, the vibrancy of all the green, the sounds of the kookaburras, the glimpse of the colourful birds in the trees and their little songs, and of Puffing Billy rolling past my house daily. Not to mention the general feeling of comfort and peace of my home and the view every day. Especially on those misty ones, they are truly the best.

Where can people find more information about you?

I have a website and am on the socials. I post where possible – specifically tdsmdesignmedia.com.au, www.linkedin.com/in/tanyadesilvamckay and @tanyadesilvamckay do stop by!

What are your plans for the future (immediate or long term)?

I intend to keep on making – learning, and learning some more. I’m looking forward to expanding my practise in all the different ways I am compelled to explore. I hope I get better with my craft in whatever direction it goes. I am open to the path unraveling, so for the moment, I will just continue to make.

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Meet the Summer guest editor

Meet Lisa Ford our Summer issue guest editor. She has previously written articles for the hillscene so I was very pleased when she decided to be our guest editor. She’s decided to donate her earnings from doing the hillscene to the bushfire fundraising efforts. What a legend.

Tell us a little bit about your writing journey?

It all started when I was just a slip of a girl at school: I used to write my older sister’s English essays and was encouraged by the As ‘we’ used to get!. I majored in English Literature at university and worked as a journalist before the 1990s recession took my career down a different path. Two decades and three children later, my withering creative urge prompted me to study creative writing for a couple of years at Coonara Community House, where I wrote for the Foothills mag before jumping to hillscene.

Why did you want to become an editor/writer?

I love words and working with them in any capacity. After my toe-dip into writing, being an editor was always on the bucket list to satisfy my passions for grammar and spelling (nerd alert!) and for a sense of finally being the conductor of the orchestra.

What is an editor’s role in this era of fake news and alternative facts?

Ah, the era of fake news and alternative facts is a logical outcome of the seemingly benign Age of Relativism, in which the truth is now just one of many casualties of humankind’s mad march to idiocracy, along with the planet’s environment, most species except our own, democracy, science, reason etc. (don’t get me started!) In short, it should be the editor’s role to ensure the truth is told. 

How did you become involved with the hillscene?

 I have always enjoyed reading hillscene at local cafes and am a huge fan of the arts, the performing arts and Burrinja. It seemed like a great fit for me. 

In what ways, if any, do you engage with the hills community?

Our kids went to school locally for 12 years, played various sports, joined voluntary organisations such as scouts and CFA Juniors. I have also joined writing groups, tai chi and yoga classes and am an avid fan of plays, performances and art shows at Burrinja, the 1812 and Cloudehill.  Every experience deepens my connection with the community. But even more than that, I love the human scale of the hills, where I can exchange ‘Good mornings’ with a stranger in the street to fleetingly recognise our shared humanity.

What do you wish you knew about being a writer/editor before you got started?

I wish I had the hillscene style guide, because I missed a few things – sorry! 

Who are your creative heroes?

It has to be Shakespeare for literature and Puccini for opera. Both make me swoon.

What do you enjoy about living in the Dandenong Ranges?

Nature, wildlife, the earthy arty people and our fabulous townships 

What are your plans for the future (immediate or long term)?

I want to do a 10 day Vipassana silent retreat this year.   It’s time. 

Something else you want us to know? Here is your chance!

My hero is Greta Thunberg. We need young people like her to save the world. 

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Meet the Spring guest designer

Meet Tiffany Morris-North, local artist and foodie. She’s been our cafe tart for many years and was the first artist featured on our cover. I’ve known Tiffany for many years as our kids went to school together, I’m lucky enough to work with Tiffany and she’s always got great stories and fantastic recipes to try. She shares some of her stories here.

Tell us a little bit about your creative journey?

I don’t feel like I’ve been on a journey. Its just a part of me. I think my creativity is what keeps me grounded, it’s like a meditation and helps me to relax. I love learning new things, experimenting and attending workshops. 

Why did you want to become an artist/designer?

It hasn’t been a decision I’ve ever made. I’ve just always drawn pictures, painted, crocheted. Maybe I dandy have a choice.

Did you study art/design?

After Secondary School I studied an Art and Design Certificate at TAFE before working for a graphic designer, which I hated!!I then travelled overseas and studied prop-making and visual merchandising in London.

How did you become involved with the hillscene?

I have always had a small interest in the hillscene from the beginning. I’ve contributed photos, written cafe reviews and also had a painting featured on the cover of the premier issue. So I’ve been part of it right from the start.

In what ways, if any, do you engage with the hills community?

In the past I have been a part of Open Studios, helped start a local business (Leaf studios in Kallista), been part of local art exhibitions and initiatives and sold my wares at local markets. Because of this I’ve met many locals and artists and we continue to talk and share local interests and events.

What do you wish you knew about being an artist/designer before you got started?

I wish I knew more about the business side of things and marketing myself. Although these things really don’t interest me, I just wish I knew stuff.

Who are your creative heroes?

My heroes are the friends and artists I’ve met along the way who can fit their creativity into their work and family life as well as all the other surprises along the way.

What do you enjoy about living in the Dandenong Ranges?

I love the trees, the colours, the space and hearing the birds when I get home from work.

Where can people find more information about you?

I’m on facebook, instagram and have a website.
Facebook: Tiffany Morris-North Artist
Instagram: tiffanymorrisnorth_artist
www.tiffanymorrisnorth.com

What are your plans for the future (immediate or long term)?

Nothing definite. I’m always planning the next painting even if it never eventuates. I’m always on the lookout for a class or workshop to learn and have fun.

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Meet the Spring guest editor

Meet Melanie Bateson, our Spring guest editor. We met many years ago when I had a clothes swapping party at my house. Her humour comes out in her writing and I’m glad she has joined our team as an editor.

Tell us a little bit about your writing journey?

I have always loved writing and reading stories.  My Mum read to us as children, which fired my imagination up. I still have a couple of little stories and poems that I wrote in primary school, which are pretty cute. I was encouraged by two particular teachers at secondary school, and enjoyed developing my style while at Monash Uni in the 1990s, particularly through the study of film. Having teachers who see your talent and know how to tease it out of you is an amazing gift, so thank you to Mrs Jones, Ms Bruzzese and Liz and Heather!

Why did you want to become a writer/editor?

Being a writer is not a conscious decision, it just is. I was encouraged to apply for the guest editorship earlier this year and was successful in my application. I suspect I was the only applicant…I have found myself glowing a little since undertaking this role, which is all kinds of lovely.

What is an editor’s role in this era of fake news and alternative facts?

Keeping content genuine and grass roots is a passion of mine. Getting to the kernel of truth via the human story is my idea of real news and actual facts. The human story is everything.

How did you become involved with the hillscene?

After having children, I realised that writing was a compulsion for me, and was provided an opportunity to write for the Hillscene by Adriana as a result of our offspring attending the same local kinder. After a bit of a hiatus, and a loss of self-belief, I decided at the beginning of this year to get back into it. As a result, I have had an article picked up by the AFL website, and online magazine Mamamia. None of this would have happened had I not been encouraged by Adriana.

In what ways, if any, do you engage with the hills community?

Most of my engagement with the Hills community has been via my children, and the people I have met through their kinder, primary school and sporting exploits. Meeting artists, of all ilks, this way is a wonderful point of commonality, lending itself to a connection that is personal rather than professional. Half the time, none of us know what the other “does” until a lengthy time into the friendship.

What do you wish you knew about being a writer/editor before you got started?

Everything! I feel so lost in this world, as I have only recently decided to give it a real crack, and there is much to learn and navigate. A glaring example is how do writers get paid? This appears to be largely arbitrary. Why is this not already sorted out? The best part of it, however, is the support and encouragement afforded by other writers. They are utterly generous.

Who are your creative hero’s?

Stephen King, Danny Katz, Catherine Deveny, and anyone who has made their creative endeavour their profession.

What do you enjoy about living in the Dandenong Ranges?

The close knit community

Where can people find more information about you?

poopnbumpublishing.com

What are your plans for the future (immediate or long term)?

To continue writing articles, submitting them to various publications for publication, and observing the world through my own lens.

Something else you want us to know? Here is your chance!

Be yourself, maintain your sense of humour, it may even save your life.

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It takes a village

The Patch Primary School will be hosting their 2nd annual PatchFest this Saturday October 19th from 12 noon til 7pm. It is shaping up to be bigger and better than last year, which was a huge success and attracted over 2,000 visitors to this unique and wonderful school in the Dandenong Ranges.

The festival aims to bring the vibrant hills community together through live music, games, Art, food and drink. Two stages will host performances from local bands, including Lost Canoe, Parkville, Tracey Roberts Quartet, Merks ‘n’ Quims and Al MacInnes as well as fabulous performances by the students from The Patch Primary School. There will be a wide range of activities for all ages, including sponge throwing at teachers, a sideshow alley full of games created by our 5/6 students, a handballing target, tennis shots, lucky jars, coin toss chocolates, an up-cycled jewellery stall, second hand books and toys, handmade crafts, mandala painting with a local artist, nature weaving, a belly dance performance and more.

Lost Canoe.

There will be a range of delicious food on offer. Paella by ‘The Independent Gembrook’, food prepared by professional chefs, vegan and vegetarian options, wood fire pizza’s (oven supplied by Pizza Yolo and The Patch store), mulled wine, devonshire tea, sushi + PatchMade spices, jams, bread and cakes as well as beautiful coffee from Oscars coffee van.

PatchFest will again have a licenced bar and beer garden with all wine being supplied by Helen and Joey’s Estate. The day will continue into the evening with the Grade 6 mask parade, and culminating in a community bonfire facilitated by the Mountain Men. It’s set to be an amazing day of fun and entertainment for all ages!   

Students at the school are very excited about the upcoming festival with many of them counting down the sleeps. The Prep students are busily preparing for their up cycled jewellery stall and have started creating handmade beads for people to use on the day as well as collecting old jewellery to be repurposed, in keeping with the schools sustainability philosophy. Year 1’s and 2’s have spent the past few weeks making pom pom creations to sell as key rings and various items.  

So be sure to get along to The Patch Primary school, with your own picnic rug, or find a nice spot on one of the bean bags or deck chairs scattered around the oval and be part of the amazing afternoon that is PatchFest. All proceeds raised will go towards The Patch Primary School for their reading support program and audio visual equipment. But PatchFest is more than just a fundraiser, it is an opportunity for this wonderful community to come together perfectly illustrating the phrase “it takes a village.”

When: Saturday October 19th from 12pm – 7pm
Where: The Patch Primary School, Kallista – Emerald Road The Patch.

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The secret treasure of Kalorama

For many of us, when we think of the Dandenong Ranges, we think of mountain tops with picturesque views, luscious temperate rainforests, charming gardens and a great community of inspiring artists. What would you say if I told you that for two weeks in October, you only need go to one spot to experience all of these things?

‘Art of the Mountain’ is an art exhibition held at Karwarra Australian Native Botanic Garden and Plant Nursery in Kalorama. The exhibition will celebrate the beauty and diversity of the Dandenong Ranges by exhibiting artwork by local artists inspired by Australian native flora and fauna and the stunning natural landscapes of the region. The exhibition will be held between Saturday 5th and Sunday 20th October, in the height of spring, when you can see the native botanic garden flowering in the lovely weather.

Eastern Spinebill by IT-HAO.

Over 70 artists are contributing works to the exhibition including renowned botanical artist Marta Salamon, who is inspired by the awesome structures within nature, both in creatures and plants, and award winning ceramicist Eva Glac, with her heart-warming ceramic sculptures of the intricate details in Australian native flora. You can also see beautiful watercolour renderings of native birds such as the Kookaburra and the Eastern Spinebill by local artist IT-HAO, a regular teacher at Sherbrooke Art Society in Belgrave. There will also be pieces by unexpected artists such as knife-maker Matthieu Dechamps, jewellery crafter Helene Campbell (of Tall Trees Studios) and poet / illustrator Cameron Semmens. 

The exhibition will burst beyond the walls of the gallery, featuring abstract and figurative sculptures placed in the gardens created by skilled artist duo, Juet, who work with recycled steel, wood and stone.

Juet with one of their sculptures.

Lee Goller will be facilitating a free pottery demonstration / workshop for those that want to get their hands dirty on Saturday 19th October. 

While there have been successful Botanical and Wildlife exhibitions at Karwarra in the past, the ‘Art of the Mountain’ exhibition will showcase a more flexible interpretation of Australian flora and fauna. This ‘passion project’ of The Friends of Karwarra is lead by Committee member Helen Beck. When Helen moved to the Dandenong’s, she was immediately attracted to the beautiful Karwarra Gardens, and with her long history of working in art and tourism, she saw the potential for something amazing to happen. “We started with teapot cosies.” Helen says. “We asked local artists to make teapot cosies that responded to our lovely flora and fauna, it was a great laugh, with some of the artists really playing and having fun with the theme and their quirky sense of humour, but we saw that this was just the beginning.” That exhibition premiered last year as a much smaller exhibition. “This year, we went big.” 

Lyrebird in Dandenong Ranges’ by Marta Salomon

Helen and the Friends of Karwarra see ‘Art of the Mountain’ as an opportunity to promote the gardens and the gallery. The exhibition is a chance to further Karwarra’s exposure to the community. As part of the preparation for the exhibition, Helen contacted many well-known local artists to promote the opportunity. She went on to explain that “so many of the artists that I contacted to come see the garden, for inspiration, had never been here before and are returning with friends and family.”  Helen hopes to see an increase in membership to Friends of Karwarra as more people in the community find out about this little treasure. 

Annual membership is only $10 for an individual, and includes invites to special events such as the opening of exhibitions and ‘Breakfast with the Birds’. Members can learn to look after a native garden, help with weeding, raking and propagation. If you are not so interested in the practical side of the garden you may have skills and interests that you can bring to The Friends.  The garden has a small retail native plant nursery open to the public during normal Karwarra opening hours.  

Artists looking to exhibit in the Karwarra Gallery at other times of the year are welcome to contact Karwarra for more information. The fees are very affordable.  All exhibitions must be in response to native flora and fauna to be presented in the gallery.

Karwarra will also be the venue for this year’s hillsceneLIVE Festival Shifting Thresholds to be held on 9 + 10 November. The festival sees 16 live art makers create experimental art and performative expression that delves into our shared human experience as they unearth the lineages of our collective past and move towards our shared future.  

‘Art of the Mountain’ Exhibition
Saturday 5th – Sunday 20th October
10:00 – 4:00pm Tuesday to Sunday
Karwarra Australian Native Botanic Garden
and Nursery –
Kalorama Memorial Reserve
1190-1192 Mount Dandenong Tourist Rd, Kalorama
Ph:
03 972 84256
facebook.com/FriendsofKarwarraGarden/
Instagram friendsofkarwarra
Friendskarwarra@gmail.com

To find out more about the hillsceneLIVE Festival – Shifting Thresholds go to www.hillscenelive.com

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The writer within

Hillscene mag in partnership with Writers Victoria presents “Unleash the writer”.

Write an essay. My stomach clenches and I wonder why I would volunteer to say yes to that. Like me the essay format may be one you associate with long word counts, looming deadlines and late nights studying to get your degree. Not all essays are created equal. Essays are also ways to tell your story, or another’s story, or the tale of an experience, or express a deep insight into a problem in the world. Essays expand us and our knowledge, they open doorways into experiences and ideas expressed by real people, in real life. They have the potential to give light to a seemingly mundane and ordinary observance, to unleash the ordinary and make it extraordinary.

Here is your chance to explore the form of the essay, to learn from award winning writer Fiona Murphy at this exclusive workshop on writing personal essays and stories. Master the art of getting started, how to research your idea and how to pitch your work to the right people. This insightful three hour workshop will provide practical insight and skills to all writers, whether you’re emerging, emerged or somewhere in between, it is bound to get you inspired.

Fiona Murphy

The workshop is presented by the hillscene maga’zine’ in partnership with Writer’s Victoria, thanks to funding from Yarra Ranges Council. The past few years has seen a bevy of special guest editors and designers taking the reins at the hillscene and creating some really great issues. The hillscene, with the support of Writer’s Victoria, is now opening its doors to offer local writers and writing enthusiasts the opportunity to participate in this insightful workshop with an award winning writer. Re-invigorate your creative practice, dispel your writers block and be inspired by Fiona Murphy.

Fiona Murphy is a Deaf poet and essayist. Her work has been published in the Griffith Review, Overland and Kill Your Darlings, amongst others. In 2019, she was awarded The Monash Prize for creative writing. In 2018, her non-fiction manuscript, ‘The Shape of Sound’, was shortlisted in the Richell Prize and highly commended in the Next Chapter Fellowship.

Writers Victoria is the state’s peak body for writers and writing, a leading provider of information, resources and skills development for the literary community. With 3,000 members, Writers Victoria is the largest of Australia’s writers’ centres and a significant employer of Australian authors and industry professionals.

This incredible workshop is free, but bookings are essential. This worlshop was so popular it is already booked out, it filled up within an hour of it being advertised. However, we will be taking names for a waiting list and you will be contacted if a spot becomes available.

When: Saturday 14 September 1:00 – 4.00pm
Where: The Black Box, Burrinja

To add your name to the waiting list, head to the Burrinja website http://www.burrinja.org.au/art

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Proudly supported by Yarra Ranges Council.

Scratching an itch

Enjoy live art alongside wine at ‘Scratch it up’, a sneak peek into this years ‘hillsceneLIVE’ art festival 

Hosted at the creative space of Two Floors studio in Belgrave 25/08, ‘Scratch it up’ will give you a glimpse into this years ‘hillsceneLIVE’. From dance to circus, storytelling to interactive performance, this event will introduce many of the artists who will be performing at the festival later this year.  

The 2019 hillsceneLIVE (HSL) theme is that of “Turbulent lineages to shifting thresholds” and the artists present at ‘Scratch it up’ will showcase a variety of pieces inspired by the phrase. Gulsen Ozer describes her work as one of highs, lows and love and through her storytelling, will focus on the personal story of family and life experiences. Katie Lohner will join alongside with her story of an intimate human act, one of tradition, isolation and addiction. Eating! 

Dani-Ela Kayler’s piece is described as visceral, playful and intimate and explores our changing realities through contemporary dance. Fellow dancer Kathleen Renehan also aims to test the theme through her piece which will challenge the vertical limits that currently defines dance. 

Physical theatre will be present through The Contingent, nuanced and bittersweet notes through dance, clown and creative writing improvisation. Interactive Art is showcased by Champagne Glitch, exploring the uncertain future and the Pandora boxes we may be opening today, questioning what we will do next when confronted with conflict and realisation. 

Journeying with Cheryl Ho and Sze Min, attendees will experience the timeline of GIRL and her ancestors. Using audio to transcend time, place and history, they will delve into where we are from, where we have been and where we may have to go. Brigid Morgan presents a durational solo performance with themes of ‘kintsugi’, the celebration of flaws. Their work is realised through voiceover, reflections of motherhood and the fractured relationships healed by becoming a mother. 

In line with the hillscene program, artists come with their abstract and potentially confronting ideas in which they are given the opportunity to develop and explore themes not possible through other means. These ideas will be realised and performed at the eighth HSL festival. 

The art showcased at ‘Scratch it up’ are not completed pieces, yet will provide a taste for what is to come at this years HSL festival. This free Sunday session is for those who like some adventure with their wine and will start from 5:00 pm at the Two Floors Studio. Feel free to stick around. 

Book your place by contacting hello@hillscenelive.com. For further details on this years festival see: http://www.hillscenelive.com

When: Sunday 25 August at 5:00PM
Where: Two Floors Studio 
1662 Burwood Highway, Belgrave (Enter via Blacksmiths Way)
Cost: FREE

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Meet our Autumn guest designer

Tell us a little bit about your creative journey? 

As a designer I began designing marketing materials for friends and family when I was in high school, the first being fo the Tai Chi Classes my mom was teaching. All done by hand.

Why did you want to become a designer/artist/creative person?

I guess I’ve always been a creative person but really owning it, and making it my career has been a process. What made me finally decide was both my parents passing away within 6 months of each other, and they both said, almost verbatim, “I thought I’d have more time.” This struck me so deeply, what was I leaving undone because I thought I would get to it eventually? Being creative in my work life.

Did you study art/design?

Yes, I am still finishing a my degree in Media and Communications, though with the design side of things I am essentially self taught.

How did you become involved with the hillscene?

Through my work as the Marketing Manager at Burrinja.

In what ways, if any, do you engage with the hills community?

I engage with the Hills community on lots of levels but mainly through my work at Burrinja and as a volunteer at 3MDR, which is amazing. To have the opportunity to support artists and performers is very rewarding.

What do you wish you knew about being a designer/artist before you got started?

How much I would love it, I would have done it sooner.

Who are your creative heroes?

My creative heroes are legion. Recent works that have really struck me and stuck with me are Jane Campion’s series Top of the Lake, the moodiness and use of colour as well as her composition. Neo Impressionist Paul Signac, particularly the work “Point of Difference”. I was entranced by Tracy Moffat’s work for the Venice Biennale.

What do you enjoy about living in the Dandenong Ranges?

The air, the people, the hush of the forest and the sense of community.

What are your plans for the future?

To keep creating, growing and engaging as a person and an artist, finish my degree, get my daughter through high school and dabble in some art.

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Meet our Autumn guest editor

Post by Adriana Alvarez.

Justine Walsh, our Autumn guest editor, is a familiar face around the hillscene and many other community projects. She has been both a writer and an interview subject in the hillscene for her varied talents. Justine has also been involved in the hillsceneLIVE festival and has a wealth of creative ideas she’s happy to share. She’s fearless and a huge advocate for creating and facilitating culture in the hills. We talk to her about her many projects and love of writing.

Tell us a little bit about your writing journey?

I have always written poetry and songs, making art with text and finding playful and experimental ways to use language. I also ran a poetry night in the hills for 5 years, To the Ends of the ‘Verse, which was beautiful and powerful in equal measure. 

Why did you want to become an editor/writer/poet?

As a young person I realized a big part of me was storytelling, which has over the years emerged in so many different ways. I’d say ‘artist’ works best as I have a broad set of skills, dreams and projects… I can’t say I ever aimed to become an artist as such, I just had to do it and I followed my nose, testing many forms and methodologies, learning my cycles of creativity and fallow periods, allowing for it to change as it needs.

What is an editor’s role in this era of fake news and alternative facts?

To be discerning but also to do your best not to flavour the stories with your individual values. And to fact check, of course. 

How did you become involved with the hillscene?

I was originally interviewed back in 2013 as a musician I think… I have done a few articles for the mag since then and still have a solid back catalogue in my possession!

In what ways, if any, do you engage with the hills community?

I work in a leadership capacity for the arts & cultural events of the Dandenongs, helping to run projects such as hillsceneLIVE, Belgrave Survival Day and up until recently, Belgrave Lantern Parade. It’s very intense and often unpaid (mostly underpaid) work, but I have done it for the love of the community and the arts, and have learnt unbelievable amounts along the way. I am so grateful for the community up here, there are so many artists and members of the public who have put endless hours into the arts in the region. I started out working on End of the Line festival 2012, began the poetry night, was an artist/mentor at tiffaney bishop COLLECTIVE, and everything unfolded from there… it’s been the most tumultuous and spectacular time I must say!

Who are your creative heroes?

People like Gareth Hart, Leisa Shelton, Tiffaney Bishop, Ross Farnell, Toni Main, Renate Crow, people who I am close to and work with tend to be the ones who inspire me the most. Pretty lucky to have such amazing friends and peers!

What do you enjoy about living in the Dandenong Ranges?

I can never get enough of that air. The moss and the lichens, the incredible worlds of forested beauty, I am always discovering new little tracks to walk. The land here has held me in such a deep and enduring way, I can’t express how grateful I am for these green places.

Where can people find more information about you?

You can find me on instagram @justinelwalsh and my website is www.entwinearts.com.au.

What are your plans for the future?

Well, I am very excited to be Co-Directing hillsceneLIVE again this year, and working on the committee of Belgrave Survival Day. Both of these teams are looking for new people to be a part of them too so get in touch!! 

Apart from my events work, I have been learning about herbalism and collaborating with plants! Very exciting to spend time with them in a new way. I have also been working with sound school to run and help organize free workshops for young/queer/POC/femme people to access resources and learn about sound, which is awesome and very important. Also I am working on some sounds to be released mid-year on bandcamp through my project radiant/resonant… and of course there are some other projects in the pipeline haha… always 🙂 

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