Portrait photography by Nicole Reed. Liverpool photography by Shane Parsons.
At CURVY we acknowledge that there are brilliant guys out there, doing great, supportive things for women across creative industries. Naturally CURVY unites the female creative community – but we love to see guys feeling invited to be part of it as well.
Welcome to a new content series entitled ‘Guys Who Dig Girls’ – profiling the guys we love and the women they feel are causing a creative stir.
First up in the series is the wonderful Eddie Zammit, art director, curator and founder of T-shirt culture bible T-world. Over a number of guest posts, Eddie will be introducing his favourite female creatives in Australia – starting with artist and painter, George Rose.
Eddie Zammit x George Rose
Hello, my name is Eddie Zammit. I’m an art director and curator of projects with wide mass appeal. My true passion is T-world – a journal dedicated to T-shirt culture, with an emphasis on streetwear. It’s a 10-year project born from a 20-year career in design. Recently I’ve curated projects including; the ‘MAMBO: 30 years of shelf-indulgence’ shows which travelled across three galleries; the ‘45th Anniversary of MR. MEN & LITTLE MISS’; and ‘Streets Ahead’. In the T-shirt game, it’s an 80% to 20% male-dominated industry and it’s refreshing when you come across creative women producing tees. Of course tee graphics are not the only creative discipline that drives me – a lot of the people are artists, designers or illustrators in their own right. T-shirts just end up being the canvas. As a result of the percentage ratio, I always try to dig deeper, and over the years, I have witnessed a resurgence of a new generation of local women rising to the top.
Meet George Rose. I met her in May 2015 and have since worked with her on a few projects, so I know first-hand how hard she works and how good she is in front of clients.
George Rose is happiest when she’s painting typography or textures, or a mixture of both, on a wall larger than her guy counterparts. She might not openly admit it, but she has a drive that is well beyond her years. For me at least, George is a fresh change to the constant mix of ‘same’ names in group exhibitions and street art festivals. Her art is nothing short of bold, colourful and striking. There is no doubt that George Rose will be one to watch in the coming years – and I certainly dig her art and her tone. What I like best is her quest to conquer the concept.
Here’s an interview I did while she was in Bali, and I was in Las Vegas!
Eddie Zammit: What drives you as an artist?
George Rose: I’ve never seen any other way to exist. Art is a language I can use freely and it has always been a natural form of communication for me.
EZ: How do you differentiate yourself from your peers in your chosen craft?
GR: I think it’s always good to focus on your own work and not to compare it to others – I don’t find it a healthy practice. I think constructive criticism is really useful and it’s good to figure out what is and is not working within your art practice.
EZ: In 2016, what does ‘girl power’ mean to you?
GR: For me, this saying ‘girl power’ is intended to be such a simple, harmless narrative, but I actually think it can perpetuate a deeper, more dangerous idea. I’m not wholly sure how useful the term ‘girl power’ actually is in the sense that it can cause a divide and split the sexes down the line. I’m quite passionate about equality and the way women exist and are perceived within society. I believe in being yourself. Everyone should be on an even playing field, especially when we have a long patriarchal history in our culture (aka the West), which is still thriving and alive today.
EZ: Name an artist that you have been watching from afar who you think has what it takes to make it in the long term?
GR: The first person that comes to mind is a Sydney artist named Nadia Hernandez. I think she’s got longevity because of the motivators that drive her art practice, paired with her ambition and a unique style.
EZ: What is a risk that you have taken in your career?
GR: Being an artist is a pretty risky move to start with. Initially I gave up any form of steady income and moved to a new city. There was a huge risk that I would not be able to support myself or succeed, and to be honest, it’s been a long and steady climb involving a lot of hard work. The bigger the risk, the bigger the payoff, right? Everything is a gamble when you’re an artist, because there is no one set road or one right equation.
EZ: What’s important to your craft?
GR: I think it’s important to know who you are, what you make, and why you make it. You can have the most varied practice in the world or the most specific art form, but the more you understand yourself and why you create, the better you will be at your craft.
EZ: Is age an important factor? Does it matter how young or old you are, doing what you’re doing? Why?
GR: On one hand I want to say that it does not (and nor should it) matter how old you are. However, I think our society does have an obsession with age, as we tend to use it as some sort of measure or indicator by which others will be judged. If a person has achieved something astounding by a young age, it’s really perceived as something grand and amazing, but age tells us nothing of a person’s back-story.
EZ: Describe a recent project and its challenges. How did you overcome those challenges?
GR: One project that comes to mind is an install I’ve been working on in Canberra, at the Youth Hostel. It’s an amazing opportunity, but along the way it’s become clear that the logistics of the install have been quite a challenge. As much planning and preparations as I’ve tried to get done for the job, I seem to be fielding a lot of curve balls. There are certain things I couldn’t organise remotely from another city, such as scaffolding/ladders for one area, as the area itself was really awkward and high, but the access point is up three flights of stairs or in a tiny lift. It’s also been hard to get a solid chunk of time installing the work, so I’ve been travelling back and forth over the past couple of months. A good support team is always crazy helpful.
EZ: How do you know when to stop in a piece you are creating?
GR: It will always depend on the work and the style. I am a planner and planning is just as important in my work as the painting. Some people skip this step and will improvise straight onto a wall, but my experimentation will take place in the early stages before I get to a wall. I’m slowly learning what process and method I enjoy employing with my work, and I think that is an important tool to learn.
EZ: How far are you willing to go for your art?
GR: If art is already who I am, maybe the question is not how far are you willing to go, but where to from here?
George Rose – @george_rose
Eddie Zammit – @eddiezammit