20 December 2012

14 December 2012

December exhibition x 3

December?  Busy?  Nahh... there's plenty of time to go and check out some exhibitions!

Showing until December 19
66 McCrae Street, Dandenong VIC
Hours: Mon - Fri 10-4, Sat 12 - 4

Opening Tuesday, 18th December 6-8pm
Showing 19 - 22 December
Level 2 Nicholas Building , 37 Swanston Street, Melbourne VIC
Hours: Wed-Sat 11-5

and then there were five at fortyfivedownstairs
This show has been extended to December 21!
45 Flinders Lane, Melbourne VIC
Hours: Tues - Thurs 11-5, Fri 11-7, Sat 12 - 4

I promise you'll find it way more exciting than my two year old did...

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07 December 2012


Jumping in the creek for this piece was THE FUNNEST thing I've done for ages!  My recent self portraits have been little adventures and not surprisingly, this one was too...

It was a super stormy morning and I had limited time but I decided to take a chance, so off I went to the location which is a creek just around the corner from where I grew up.  When I arrived the clouds were still holding onto the rain (yay) but there were horse riders around (not so yay as I prefer to avoid audiences when shooting self portraits!).  I was really hoping to do a shoot that day so I got brave and trudged on.

As I walked through the bush orange butterflies danced out of the long grass with each of my footsteps which was quite... magical.  I didn't even attempt to photograph them as I knew I wouldn't be able to capture the wonder of that moment and chose to enjoy, and absorb, it instead.  The closer I got to the creek the darker those clouds became.  They were quickly turning black, then along came the thunder and lightning.  And not just little rumbles and flashes either...

I picked my backdrop for the piece and danced around it a little, deciding how the composition was going to work.  The storm was almost directly above me now so I put my camera in a highly technical cover (a plastic bag) to protect it, ripped a hole for the lens and into the creek I went.  I wore my flipflops in at first as I wasn't sure if there would be yabbies in there but I soon broke one, so as usual I was running around the bush barefoot in a frock.  Which is, as I keep saying, when I'm happiest.

Creating this piece was such a joyous experience for me, it was hard to wipe the goofy grin from my face!  Barefoot in the mud, splashing in the creek, in the middle of a storm, getting drenched in the rain, listening to birds singing as I worked, with no presence of time.  So.  Awesome.

A couple of outtakes below;
I really like the stance of the figure on the left but I find the lines of the rock behind the face distracting.  And the image on the right is just me hanging out in the creek with potential yabby friends.

Here's one of my singers providing the background music, and I had to get a shot of the amazing clouds on my (soggy) drive home!
Ps. I don't normally use words like magical and joyous but they seemed appropriately goofy for this post...

Pps. When I told Dad about my adventures he suggested I should start doing landscape photography or get back to 'my painting'.  Sorry Dad.
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19 November 2012

portfolio reviews, an exhibition, & skype aka exciting stuff!

It's normally around this time that I'm starting to wind down, and focusing on getting organised for christmas so I don't have to go near the shops in December.  But this year it'll be a mad dash to the finish line!

This Saturday I'll be doing portfolio reviews at Wood Street Arts Space (Laverton) as part of the Open Studios in the West weekend.  I love a good chinwag about art so bring your work along and say hi!

I'm also really excited (okay that's an understatement) about exhibiting with Sharon Billinge, Celeste Chandler and Erika Gofton at fortyfivedownstairs in December!!  I'll be doing an installation of the Dance, Sucker. series so if you missed the Substation show last year come along!  We'd love to see you at the opening on Tuesday 4th December 5-7pm.

And lastly but not leastly, I had my first skype mentoring session this week!  An artist in Perth is working towards his first exhibition so I was able to share what I've learned over the years and pass on lots of handy tips.  I have to say I'm absolutely loving mentoring, it's something I'd never considered until another artist approached me this year so thank you fate/universe.  Mentoring is the bees knees.

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09 November 2012

tracings of you {exhibition}

Last year I was Heritage Hills' first Artist in Residence where I spent a day running around the home taking photos and filming.  The work I created that day became the series tracings of you which consists of digital and film photography, and a short film.

I've written a guest post for Heritage Hill's blog about my experience, which you can read here: http://bit.ly/VJy6be.

The works are currently showing at the heritage home until November 29.

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06 November 2012

The White Cube Workshop - registrations closing soon!!

huge thank you to Beat for the beautiful write up about The White Cube Workshop!

If you'd like to find out how I got my work featured in the local papers, Beat, Trouble, Art Almanac, Art Guide, frankie and Harper's Bazaar Australia, AND learn all about how to host an art exhibition AND get nuggets of advice from established artists AND have a portfolio review AND ask me anything in a Q+A AND join my mentoring group for continued support AND eat yummy food AND make new arty friends then this is for YOU.

It's going to be an action packed day as we have A LOT to cover, and there is only room for TEN peoples so BOOK YOUR SPOT RIGHT NOW!!!  I am seriously super excited to tell you everything I've learnt over the years, including what not to do, so you can fast track to putting on exhibitions you are proud of.  I wish there was something like this when I finished my fine arts degree 15 years ago but instead I just had to learn the hard way and make (embarrassing) mistakes along the way, and that's why I'm bursting to HELP AND SUPPORT YOU! :D

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05 November 2012

facebook changes

If my posts haven't been showing up in your FB feed it may be because of this!  There's a couple of theories; that you need to select Show in News Feed and Add to Interest Lists and/or interact with people's pages by commenting or liking posts.

I'd love to keep hanging out in your news feed, please swing on by wwwfacebook.com/IlonaNelsonArtist and say hi!  And to make sure you don't miss out on any of the news subscribe to the mailing list where I send a newsletter every month or two xx

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01 November 2012

be kind.

The greengrocer gave me these flowers when I was buying some fruit and that unexpected gift made me happy.  Kindness equals happy times so be kind, everyone, especially to yourself :)

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a shadow at the seaside

Melbourne had a 30c spring day so the population swarmed the beaches, myself included!  The boys and I had a picnic dinner at the park then went across the road to the beach.  It was such a beautiful evening and I will never, ever tire of looking at clouds.  We had a fun time but the amount of rubbish left on the beach made me feel so sad.  Though I had to smile at J telling someone that rubbish is bad because it'll go into the ocean and hurt the animals :)

This last photo is straight from the camera, no editing.  I exposed for the setting sun and I love the darkness of it.

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23 October 2012

the muuuum (and dad) workshop - tips & tricks for taking great photos of your kids

I floated the idea on facebook about hosting a workshop for parents who want to learn some handy tips and tricks for taking great photos of your kids, and there's been lots of interest so I'm locking a Melbourne workshop in!  If there's enough interest in Bendigo I'm happy to run a workshop there as well - let me know if you're keen ilona@ilonanelson.com.

We will go over the basics of photography, bring your camera and we'll do an outside and indoor shoot, go through some editing, and have a Q+A.  The workshop will suit anyone who loves photography and wants to learn more, and the camera equipment you already have is all you need. 

Places are limited to 6 so book your spot today!!

Date: Saturday, 9th February 2013
Time: 10am - 1pm
Location: Yarraville
Attendees: maximum of 6
Lunch: provided
Models: provided
Goody bag?  I'll send you home with some presets for editing hooray!
Questions: buzz me on 0407 802 640
Cost: $200 inc GST

**all for a super special price of $150 if you book before the 25th of January!!!**

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17 October 2012

my heart of trees - Behind The Scenes

I turned into the driveway on auto pilot as I'd done a trillion times before.  But this time I wasn't coming home, I was knocking on the door of a stranger to ask if I can borrow a bit of the paddock to shoot a photo.  

M&D moved into town three years ago but I still feel like I should be pulling into that horseshoe driveway, I have to consciously think about where I'm going otherwise my body steers me to the bush. I"m not sure how to describe how it felt being home again.  It was interesting to sit back a bit and watch the different emotions float around me which was everything from I belong here, this is where I should be, to I wonder if I could buy the property when they move?  (my plans of winning tattslotto without entering hasn't come to fruition... yet)  I don't think I actually want to move there, it's more that I've been feeling a bit lost and nostalgic lately.  Running around barefoot in the bush sets me free and grounds me at the same time, then I'm back on my way again.

The new owner was more than accommodating and welcoming, and it turns out her teenage son is on his way to becoming an artist so we had a big chat about that.  She introduced me as a real live artist which makes me chuckle.  She also said she'd love to see what I created that day so I'll go and visit when I'm out that way again.  Which is kinda nice.

Anyhoo without further ado, here is a little BTS video I made of me shooting my heart of trees...

The geeky stuff...  The final image was shot on my 17-85 lens | f4.5 | 1/250 sec | ISO320

This is the photo straight from the camera;

When editing I didn't add too much to the image as with the light behind me it already looks a little surreal.  If I brought a lot more into the photo it looked like I had plonked myself onto the image in photoshop.  In a super dodgy way.

So all I did was add some texture and warm it up by adding yellow tones and this is the final result!

I did 103 jumps by the way.  My (lack of) fitness is no match for that and my muscles were not amused, walking wasn't an enjoyable pastime for a couple of days...

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11 October 2012

Thursday fun times

fun times = a tropical sunny spring day | taking the boys to see a strange imitation of Peppa Pig | playing at the NGV water wall | turning into Napoleon | lounging in my new lounge pants | marvelling at how amazing and awesome the golden hour is (it never fails to impress me) x

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10 October 2012

it was, because of two.

I got lost.

I got lost in sleep deprivation and nappies and tryingtocrammoreintoeverydaythanisphysicallypossible.

I've been focusing on two words; simplify.  honesty.

Every time I listen to Bowie I love him even more.  (sorry, got sidetracked)

I have known for a very, very long time what lies in my heart of hearts, but I didn't admit it out loud until I told my husband a couple of weeks ago...  And that is, that I'm saying goodbye to Illy Photography to focus on fine art.

I didn't want to admit this for many reasons.  (It's crazy to turn my back on Illy when I have been building the business for so long!  I always have such awesome clients I'll miss them!  How is this going to work??)  But once I did I felt relieved.  A physical weight off my shoulders.  I cannot believe how much brain space and physical time it has freed up.  I had no idea how long I spent looking at wedding blogs, comparing myself, scrutinising.  I no longer have a list of gear I think I need, I already have plenty.  Resistance creates stress, as my kinesiologist says.  (Ps.  How awesome is kinesiology??  Wish I'd got on that train earlier!)

What does the future hold?  I have no idea which is ridiculously freeing and exciting.  For starters, I have 7 series' worth of work in my head so that should keep me busy for a while.  I'm hosting the first The White Cube Workshop in December which I'm also super duper excited about as I want to help emerging artists.  When I left Uni I was clueless about putting on an exhibition, marketing, grant writing and everything else that comes with it.  I've recently started mentoring which I love and can't wait to do more of.  I'm thinking of doing a workshop for parents who are interested in photography and want to learn handy tips and tricks for getting great shots of their kids (let me know if you're keen!).  There may be an e-book or two at some stage.  I want to keep pushing the limit of what people define a photograph as.  I'm petrified of shooting artist portraits so I'd like to do that.

Oh, and grant writing.  There will definitely be grant writing in my future.

Please stay in touch, you can find me amongst the inter webs here:

(I didn't really use Twitter properly so in the spirit of simplifying I have deleted my account)

Thank you, thank you to my lovely supportive supporters.  I hope you'll continue on this super exciting and fun and suretobefullofsurprises journey with me xxx

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studio space for rent at the Cotton Mills, Footscray (Vic)

If you're hunting for a studio, look no further!  

'Ok all you creatives in Melbourne, are you looking for an awesome studio space well we are looking for someone to share our wonderful, friendly, light studio in the Footscray Cotton Mills? We are losing one s
tudio member and have a beautiful space available. Its about 5m x 10m so heaps big enough to split between 2 or even 3.

If you want to find out more or to come and have a look please contact me by message (via www.erikagofton.com).  You'll love it!!!

more here!

03 October 2012

tough day at the office.

I had a tough day at the office on Tuesday.

Since having the boys I have my shoots planned in my head from the pose to the costumes, then when I have a chance to take the photos I'm totally prepared and can make the most of my limited time.  Tuesday was different.  I had an idea I wanted to try at the country tennis courts I used to play on when I was a kid, but it wasn't really planned, it was just an idea.  When I was out there it so wasn't happening.

My remote was running out of batteries so I was jumping and balancing on my ribs for way too long.  The beautiful flowers I wanted in the image weren't working either.  I couldn't find the right composition.  I wanted to shoot through the wire fence but again, the remote wasn't cooperating.  There were horse riders regularly passing by and I'm not keen on an audience when I shoot self portraits, I get a bit embarrassed jumping around in front of the camera!  It was a beautiful day but the light was too harsh for what I had in mind.  Finally the horses left and I felt I had some space to make progress, then some people wanted to use the courts.  I packed up.

These self portraits are just for me.  They're not for a particular series, exhibition or competition.  I feel like that gives me the freedom to push myself.  Like embracing the sun and shooting at high noon, and creating a 'straight' image.  The photograph above, free, is straight from the camera with only a touch of contrast and that's something I'm not normally comfortable with.  But for this image it was the only thing that worked as adding textures or introducing different tones was too much.  The harsh lighting and the performance within the photograph is enough.

When I was packing my gear in the car my ex neighbour turned up to tell me I could go to his family farm to do some photos if I wanted, but I had to be quick as they were putting it on the market very soon.  I drove there straight away as I didn't want to miss the opportunity and I felt relieved, like I'd been given another chance to get this idea to work.  The result is see (below).  I could have returned at dusk to capture that golden light but I wanted to keep pushing myself to use the sun and now when I step back to look at it, it's a very nostalgic photograph for me.  The bright blue cloudless sky, the tin, the daisies.  It all transports me back to my childhood, the freedom of growing up in the country.  Add the smell of the daises and my brain was about to implode with memories!

I still didn't get my idea to work.  It's tucked away for another day...

When I'm running around bare foot in the bush, I am free.