Interview: Joseph Allen Shea
We talk to the Sydney-based artist, curator and publisher.
Glebe's Toxteth Hotel will soon be satisfying more than just beer and parmy cravings. Upstairs from the main bar, The Tate is a new art gallery that will provide free exhibition and studio space to local artists to support Sydney's art scene. In particular, The Tate will be aiming to help Glebe get back to its boho glory days. The group behind the endeavour have done similar good deeds with Sydney's Lo-Fi Collective, as well as The Standard, Go Font Yr Self and Self Est.
To launch the whole shebang, there will be an exhibition called 'There Goes The Neighbourhood' opening this Wednesday on March 14. The group show, featuring mixed works by artists and friends of the curator's, Marty Routledge and Chris Loufty, will include Numskull and Beastman, 6-year-old Max Treffkorn, Robin Hearfield, Luca Ionescu and Toko Design Studio, Kyle Montgomery, Damian Aisotrophe, as well as the curators themselves – not to mention prolific Sydney artist Joseph Allen Shea. Joseph has turned his hand to everything from graphic design to publishing to zine making and curation from the confines of his publishing house, Izrock Mixed Business, which takes its name from Sydney's many convenience stores and their open-ended promises of 'mixed business'. We caught up with Joseph and chatted about his part in 'There Goes The Neighbourhood'.
Melissa Kenny: I like that Izrock was inspired by Sydney convenience stores that specialise in 'Mixed Business.' Any tales of weird purchases to share?
Joseph Allen Shea: Nothing so weird, but I do love that it's not unreasonable to leave a convenience store with a Keffiyeh when all you really wanted was a King Size Twix. My infatuation was really with the majority complacency that the signage be so non-descriptive, so open-ended. Why doesn't anyone want to specialise these days? Well, me included – I liked that I didn't have to make Izrock just one business. I could do a bit of this and a bit of that.
So Izrock covers graphic design, art direction, publishing, curation, zine making, as well as 'general art tom foolery'. What is your favourite miscellaneous art form?
When I wrote that I must have been much more light-hearted, rather than the joyless curmudgeon I have become. My favourite miscellaneous art form is cooking ? the most useful art form.
Any hints as to what we might expect to see in the upcoming show?
I am showing some works that I made a couple years back (see below – these will be on sale on the night). They are single colour silkscreens that sit with my obsession with death and finding the lightness there.
What's the vibe at The Tate?
From what I can tell, this venue is going to be really great. I would say the vibe is 'community' and 'supportive' without any nauseating warm fuzzy feelings. Just a true belief in nourishing the arts in Sydney.
It's free for artists to show, and the studios are rent-free. It's a nice thing to see the scene being nurtured like that, y'know, giving people breaks... What, in your opinion, are the biggest challenges faced by young artists in Australia?
Here's a sneak preview of The Tate at The Toxteth. Stay tuned for our interview with Max tomorrow!
'There Goes The Neighbourhood' will open on Wednesday March 14 from 6-9pm running until Sunday March 18 from 3-8pm. The Tate at The Toxteth is located at 345 Glebe Pt Road, Glebe.
Introduction: Alanna Bromley