Ways to Challenge Yourself as An Artist

As an artist, it is common to feel stuck in a rut or creatively stunted. When this happens, it is a good idea to open yourself up to new challenges that will make you learn and discover important knowledge – not only on the arts itself, but also yourself as an artist. Here are a few ways to nurture, develop and expand your artistic instincts.

Enrol in a Course

There is always something new to learn. Try something outside your general field – so if you’re an illustrator, do some vocal or drama courses. Chances are, you will learn something new and inspiring to bring back to your regular work.

Limit Stimulations

Kind of the opposite from the previous tip, but still works just as fine. In a world where Internet reigns and every kind of content can be found with a tap of finger, it is very easy to become overstimulated. Try to cut down on unnecessary content and focus on your work. To make it easier, you can also opt to produce works based on just one theme for a certain period of time. For example, writing flash fictions exclusively for a week or using just one colour family for your design.

Do a Public Challenge

Ever heard of NaNoWriMo? It is short for National Novel Writing Month, which is an Internet-based creative writing project held every November. Online challenges like this not only help you stay accountable, but the community behind them will also keep you motivated, with other artists to share your experiences with. This also brings us to the next tip…

Meet Your People

Wherever possible, meet up with people of similar profession and/or passion to you – not just to gain the newest updates in the industry, but also to expand your network and find opportunities for collaboration and gigs! Getting to know other people’s projects can also give you the inspiration you need to get started on your own.

Enter Contests

Getting a passion project done and being in the running for monetary prize – why not? It indeed can be daunting to participate in a competition, but you can always learn something new by exposing your work to a fresh pair of eyes.

How Being in the Nature Can Make You A Better Artist

Nature provides some of the greatest arts that humankind has ever seen through unique objects and visual experiences. Because of this, spending time in nature is beneficial for designers, illustrators, sculptors, painters, photographers and other creatives alike. Here are a few reasons why natural arts can help artists grow and improve in their works.

Health, Mental and Spiritual Benefits

Being in the natural world has been proven to bring health benefits and promote mental and physical well-being. Studies found that being outdoors not only helps in reducing stress levels and controlling blood pressure, but it also is potent in relieving mental fatigue, decreasing anxiety and depression, as well as generating a sense of awe – all of which are supportive of your artistic endeavors.

Inspiration for Artworks

Stuck in a creative rut? Beautiful natural objects and landscapes are a great source of inspiration and new perspectives. “Artwork based on nature is aesthetically pleasing and deeply calming, and in some cases, it can evoke more rushed emotions when based on powerful forces of nature,” says Fine Art America. “Art inspired by nature works to remind humanity of its connection with the universe that surrounds it.” Need some proof? Check out the works of environmental artists like Andy Goldsworthy or Agnes Denes.

A Study in Material

An hour of exploration and observation in the nature will expose you to various materials, textures, colours and other visual elements, all of which can serve as a reference for your next art project. You can also learn more about ways to use natural materials sustainably.

The Lowdown: Australian Copyright Laws

Ready to learn?

Let’s start with what is copyright? Basically it is how a creator can protect their labour and creativity legally and can sometimes extend beyond economic loss however there are some differences between design and general copyright protection:

  • Protection under the Designs Act 2003 (Cth) requires a formal application for registration before rights are obtained. Before you can pursue anyone for infringement of a registered design, it must be examined and certified by the Registrar. Unlike enforcing copyright, which does not require any formal registration or certification process.
  • Design registration requires a  fee whereas copyright protection is automatic and free (yay!).

Copyright Protection

What must be met for copyright protection:

  • Product meet the definition of ‘artistic work’ (such as a painting, a  drawing, sculpture or work of artistic craftsmanship).
  • The work must be in material form. This means it cannot be a mere idea or theory.
  • The product must be original, artistic work, meaning  the work cannot be copied from another person. If you are claiming copyright for it, it must come from you.

If your work/product meets the above then registration for copyright is not necessary as it is automatic. Keep in mind though, you will need to have proof that the work is originally yours so things like progress images, prototypes etc. help disputes of copyright ownership. After all, there’s no point getting the law involved if you can’t prove your background and claim is legitimate.

Design Protection

An important thing to note is the differences between design and copyright protection:

  • This protects a product’s appearance but not it’s function.
  • However if the function is related to a product’s appearance will not disqualify it from registration.
  • It must be distinctly different to existing product designs publicly used in Australia, or published in a document anywhere.

Important Things To Note

  • Unless dual protection (copyright and design protection) is possible, copyright protection is lost when a design is registered.
  • Once a product has been reduced at industrial quantities, copyright protection is lost and it is also no longer possible to register the design.

Digital: Best Software for Producing Music

Alright! So you want to try your hand at producing music, you’ve got your basic gear but what  about the software? DAWs (Digital Audio Workstations) are a type of software that basically works as a blank space in which you can drop your audio and start playing from there! But this type of thing can also be fairly pricey so this list will give you a healthy spending range no matter how deep that wallet of yours is:

Ableton Live

Experience level: Moderate – Expert

This one is pricey, I’ll admit but for those who are in it for the long run, this is quite worth it. It has unlimited multi-track recording, seamless MIDI sequencing software and hardware and no uh… troubles with their MIDI controllers getting mapped to the sounds through the DAW. Oh and another big bonus; sound packages ARE included!

Avid Pro Tools

Experience level: Expert – Pro

A more or less industry standard, you can compose, record, mix, edit, master, etc. its own Avid Audio Engine which gives you some dang fast processing with the addition of a 64-bit memory capacity for lag/freeze-free sessions.

Propellerhead Reason

Experience level: Kinda Beginner – Kinda Pro

A fairly zippy piece of software, that’s about half the price of Avid Pro, drag and drop-able for your convenience and even includes amp and speaker plug-ins for those of you who want to record and drop in your own guitar sound bites. And a bonus for the lazier of us; auto trimming wooh!

Sony Acid

Experience level: Beginner – Nostalgic

An oldie but a goodie, many of us started on this one so it’ll always have a special place in our hearts. This is where the beginners can learn, with a fairly intuitive interface and, although the older version were a little uncooperative with the MIDIs, nowadays they’ve fixed that up pretty well making it a solid tool for beginners all the way up to the experts.

PreSonus Studio

Experience level: Moderate – Semi Pro

Something that has all the essentials is PreSonus, it’s your very own all-in-one workstation with MIDI, VST, buses and FX channels, drag-and-drop (of course), mastering integration, unlimited tracks and more. If you feel you’re getting more serious but still want to keep things relatively simple then this is a good choice.

Graffiti: Vandalism or An Art Form?

What is “art” really? And how can we define the term? To put it simply, “art” is a form of expression. Anyone with a background in art can tell you that, regardless of the medium or the canvas. But where do we draw the line with street art? Graffiti has been a controversial topic of discussion in the art world, with many conservative audiences arguing that it is a form of vandalism. Let’s deconstruct the legal implications of graffiti.

Let’s say someone has painted over your car or your house without your permission. You wouldn’t be very happy about that. But would you feel the same if the painting was a beautiful work of art rather than a street tag? Do we discriminate the artwork based on its style or skill level? Or do we disregard the painting altogether because it’s someone’s property?

According to Angie Kordic from Wide Walls, “the excitement of being a renegade and the fear of getting caught is what many artists consider the very core of graffiti culture, especially during the days of rough, growing competition and the willing to become as good at drawing as you possibly could. When caught in act, however, the writers get charged with vandalism, fined, and given community service hours during which they help clean up graffiti. By definition, it is “an action involving deliberate destruction of or damage to public or private property”, and while we can’t argue that graffiti (mostly tags, considered a reductive form of art within graffiti community itself) often end up on someone’s walls, we do have to wonder if it really is “destruction” and if, perhaps, we’ve been asking the wrong question the whole time.”

What do you think? Is graffiti a form of vandalism?

Sources from:

Music: David Duchovny Announces 2018 Australian Concert Tour

The X-Files star David Duchovny is coming to Australia… to sing. Yes, you read that right.

Duchovny has announced his 2018 Australian concert tour with a new album, which is set to be launched later this year.

The actor’s debut studio album Hell or Highwater was released two years ago, featuring alternative rock sounds inspired by Bob Dylan, R.E.M, Leonard Cohen, and the Flaming Lips.

Duchovny will be touring Australia throughout February and March 2018, with shows in Melbourne, Sydney, Newcastle, Wollongong, and Brisbane.

Pre-sale begins on Wednesday, May 31, while ticket sales to general public start on Friday, June 2. For more information, visit Select Touring website.

Visual Arts: Artist To Watch – Furry Little Peach

Furry Little Peach or Sha’an d’Anthes is an illustrator and visual artist based in Sydney, Australia.

The 24-year-old specialises in watercolour and ink, and her illustrations often feature animals. “I first began posting on Tumblr when I should have been preparing for the HSC,” d’Anthes told Creators. “I must have been 16 or 17 when I posted my first drawing online, and then discovered that the Internet was a great place to connect with both your audience and other creatives.”


d’Anthes often shares her work through Instagram and vlogs, where audiences can watch her working process in the studio.

Currently d’Anthes is selling artworks, enamel pins and sticker sets from her website. She is also participating in a project called “Fragments: Raising Fund for Syria”, where all proceeds from her new series of artworks will be donated to Care Australia for Syrian refugees.

Explainer: What is Experience Design?

Faye Miller, Queensland University of Technology

“It’s not just a _____, it’s an experience.” The Conversation

Substitute the blank space above with just about anything these days (car, meal, city, website, course, concert, charity, therapy), and you get the unofficial catch cry of the early 21st century.

Whatever you have to promote to the world – among the endless options in category X competing for attention – is not desirable without it being an “experience”.

But what exactly does that mean? And what does it mean for the two groups of people who potentially collaborate to provide it – the creative types and the business types?

Experience and design

Experiences are ultimately about human perceptions, memories and impressions. Psychologically speaking, how a person experiences an event or phenomenon is an emotional and rational response to an outside stimulus.

Once lived, an experience can be stored as a memory within a person’s mind – and we all know we like to keep pleasant memories that “stick” for the right reasons.

Design usually falls into the domain of the creative types; but “design thinking” is becoming an acceptable and popular practice for just about anyone. As Tim Brown, CEO of global design firm IDEO put it:

Design thinking is a human-centred approach to innovation that draws from the designer’s toolkit to integrate the needs of people, the possibilities of technology, and the requirements for business success.

That means anyone who wishes to innovate can design – that is, visualise, map, conceptualise, sketch – solutions based on gathering knowledge of how people behave in terms of technological use or non-use, and how this knowledge can advance the aims of an endeavour.

When we talk about designing experiences, it is important to first understand how certain types of people experience something in context, and then design or facilitate experiences that make a positive difference for people.


In the US and Europe, the so-called “experience economy” (also known as exponomy) is on the rise as a potentially transformative concept for businesses, consumers and society in general. The idea can be traced back to 1998, when B. Joseph Pine II and James H. Gilmore of Harvard Business School introduced a new way of thinking about commodities not just being about goods and services.

Commodities were, the pair argued, more about human experiences that are highly memorable and emotionally engaging enough to sustain long-term value and relationships. Such experiences were powerful enough to change the ways in which people lived and behaved. In short, Pine and Gilmore believed people were willing to pay more for the commodity with the X-Factor.

This suggests companies need to pay much closer attention to the design of experiences co-created by their customers. Businesses need to provideopportunities for customers to participate in experience design through user research. Similarly, a collective mindset needs to be cultivated that allows businesses to realise the interrelatedness of different companies and industries.

This would help them design for experiences that are collaborative across different sectors. For example, a major fashion event would collaborate with the entertainment, media and tourism/hospitality industries to provide an audience with a lasting impression through a multi-sensory experience that is both enjoyable and prosperous.

In recent years, “experience” related positions such as User Experience (UX) Designer/Researcher and Chief Experience Officer (CXO) have increasingly become more visible in organisations of all types.

While some creative positions have a narrow focus on designing digital experiences for website users, others at the senior executive level, such as CXO, aim to plan and maintain a more holistic user-business-technology experience, including “blended” experiences online and offline.

Some experience designers work as freelance consultants, either independently or as part of a design firm, for clients in a range of sectors.

Experience design globally and in Australia

In practice, experience design has grown to include the personalisation of experiences through better understanding of different types of human beings combined with unique, innovative ideas developed by company leaders. Perhaps the most well known example of a globally influential and transformative experience-based commodity is Apple.

Apple changed the way people experienced technology with simple interfaces, interactive gestures and memorable branding permeating the products through to their digital and in-store service. This design was a combination of user needs and behaviour which Apple designers perceived and their own creativity, as Steve Jobs himself put it:

Creativity is just connecting things. When you ask creative people how they did something, they feel a little guilty because they didn’t really do it, they just saw something. It seemed obvious to them after a while. That’s because they were able to connect experiences they’ve had and synthesise new things. And the reason they were able to do that was that they’ve had more experiences or they have thought more about their experiences than other people.

A lot of people in our industry haven’t had very diverse experiences. So they don’t have enough dots to connect, and they end up with very linear solutions without a broad perspective on the problem. The broader one’s understanding of the human experience, the better design we will have.

While the tech industry in the US seems to have embraced the experience economy (with US-based innovation firm frog this year declaring its “coming of age”), the concept has impacted upon many types of businesses and sectors across the globe.

Australian businesses are now starting to acknowledge the emergence of the experience economy with sectors such as (but not limited to) arts and entertainment, tourism, and higher education re-thinking their roles as key players.

Recently, the Australian independent music industry was explored conceptually for the first time using an experience-economy lens, acknowledging the complex relationships and interactions between music business entrepreneurs, musicians, music fans, and the digital and live music experiences.

While these elements usually work in isolation, the exponomy (and experience designers/CXOs who implement the concept) are able to unite them on common ground. Furthermore, exponomy highlights the fusing of industries towards increasing value for all stakeholders involved in a given venture.

A good example of this is the recent collaboration between Australian musicians and wine tourism campaigns, featuring a Nick Cave classic soundtrack for the Be Consumed at Barossa Valley cinematic multi-sensory advert (see above).

The ad won international acclaim as best tourism ad at Cannes and has succeeded in its goal of attracting more tourists to visit Barossa Valley as a result. This shows that real-life experiences can begin with audio-visual tempters designed to engage imaginations on a personal level.

In the same way, higher education in Australia as a major service provider is currently reframing its understanding of how to design for diverse experiences for students, teachers, researchers and research users.

Designing experiences that acknowledge, enthuse, inspire and potentially positively transform the whole person – not just the customer, employee, student or statistic – appear vital to sustaining long-term partnerships.


Faye Miller, PhD Candidate, Information Systems, Queensland University of Technology

This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.

What Workspaces Are the Best for Freelance Workers?

Agustin Chevez, Swinburne University of Technology

People who work in the gig economy can work from everywhere. But not all places are compatible with the contingent nature of their work, recommended health and safety guidelines or fulfil their needs when it comes to the social nature of work.

Temporary self-employment is not new, but online platforms like Upwork and Freelancer are enabling an estimated 55 million freelancers in the United States (35% of their workforce) to connect with those that require their skills. A 2014 study estimates 3.7 million (30% of workers) contribute A$51 billion to the Australian economy each year.

The sheer amount of freelancers and their significant contribution to the economy, make it important to consider what makes a good place for gig workers to do their gigs. While workspaces used by freelancers might have similar components (for example chairs and desks) as those used by full-time employees, historical differences make freelancers’ workplaces different from the office.

It’s important to remember that the office is an invention. Contemporary corporate workplaces are the result of conditions that have not only given us the office building, but shaped civilisations.

For example in the US, the office evolved from a variety of circumstances including increased trade produced by the railroad. People could no longer do their business in their heads and businesses progressively needed more space for managers.

Further management inventions, such as hierarchy and bureaucracy, shaped organisational structures. Other developments like a reduction of the cost of steel and the invention of the elevator shaped the physical structure of tall buildings in prime locations in New York City and Chicago.

In Australia, one of the first multinational corporations, the East India Company, contributed to the development of the early office building. In the early 1800s, the first Postal Act of 1825 enablied the New South Wales governor to fix postage rates and appoint postmasters outside of Sydney. This led to some of the first offices of Australia Post.

The technological, economic and social circumstances fostering freelancing are in many ways different, if not at odds, with the context that created the office. However work is a social activity and professional isolation can negatively impact job performance and create adverse psychological conditions.

Another popular option for gig workers is the coffee shop. These have provided a social outlet and have hosted activities similar to today’s work activities –reading, writing and exchange of information – since the 17th century. However, these places are not sites for gainful or productive work.

If not a traditional office or coffee shop, then what?

Coworking spaces are shared workplaces utilised by professionals, mostly freelancers, who miss the interactions (and amenities) of the office but do not want to commit to long and complicated lease terms. These spaces allow freelancers to rent space in a casual fashion and in short terms, even by the hour.

Coworking also allow freelancers to work among others, even if not with them, in other words to “work alone together”. What started in 2005 in San Francisco by a software developer who wanted “the freedom and independence of working for myself along with the structure and community of working with others”, is now a multi-billion dollar industry.

Some spaces cater to specific professions, from fashion designers and writers to lawyers. Other spaces play host to every profession under the sun.

Some coworking offerings are based on the access economy, taking advantage of underutilised resources and making them accessible. For example, Spacious is looking into the more than 2,000 restaurants which are closed before 6pm in New York and aiming to open them for coworking during business hours.

Hoffice, an emerging model from Sweden, invites people to work from a more common “during-the-day underused resource: our homes”. In Australia, a bank is opening its lobby for clients to cowork.

Which codes or health and safety requirements apply when a restaurant, or home, is also being used as a workplace? As legislation evolves to protect the right of freelancers, design must strive to provide them with safe and good working environments.

Several studies from social and physical sciences on topics as varied as the influence of ceiling heights in creativity or the effects of smelling peppermint in typewriting speed and accuracy, suggest that qualities of the environment can affect work. Quantitative and qualitative studies also highlight the role of physical proximity between people in supporting interactions and transferring knowledge.

Even experiments with divers suggest that information is better recalled in the same environment that it was learnt (surface or under the sea). Working from a constant, purposely designed space to work with or among others might not only help to provide the necessary contextual cues to remind freelancers what they need to do, but the environment to do it better.

As the gig economy evolves, distinct places for gig workers are likely to change the skyline created by the railroad and busy managers. The advantages of freelancing such as casual and portable work should not come at the expense of a precarious work life without access to ergonomic, social and purposely designed spaces that take into consideration the uncertain nature of their work.

Kyla Lodewijk, Provisional Psychologist and Allied Health Consultant, also contributed to this article.

Agustin Chevez, Adjunct Research Fellow, Centre For Design Innovation, Swinburne University of Technology

This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.

Music: 2017 Big Pineapple Music Festival’s Lineup Announced

Big Pineapple Music Festival has announced its 2017 lineup, featuring Peking Duk, Birds of Tokyo, The Veronicas and more.

The fifth installment of the festival, which is set in Queensland’s Sunshine Coast, will also feature Vera Blue, DZ Deathrays, Cloud Control, Northlane, SAFIA, Ngaiire and more, spread across four stages.

The festival will also bring back Avant Garden and its live art, hoola-hooping, air brushing and DIY craft.

Camping will be available on Friday, May 26, the night before the festival. Tickets will be sold starting 9am on Thursday, February 9 at Moshtix.

For more information, visit the Big Pineapple Music Festival website.

Big Pineapple Music Festival 2017 Lineup

Birds of Tokyo
Peking Duk
Cloud Control
The Veronicas
City Calm Down
DZ Deathrays
Vera Blue
Alex Lahey
Boo Seeka
Polish Club
Sampa The Great
Bootleg Rascal
Jack River
Nicole Millar
Pierce Brothers
Citizen Kay
Bec Sandridge
Winston Surfshirt
Ocean Alley
West Thebarton Brothel Party
Gold Member
Hey Geronimo
Buck Dean & The Green Lips
High Tropics
The Hi-Boys
DJ Fro

Saturday, May 27, 11am-10pm | 76 Nambour Connection Rd, Woombye