Tuesday, November 27, 2012

New to our BIG team is Ruby, age 13

Our BIG kids do such an amazing job. Some shine behind the scenes and others on the printed page. Ruby is our latest edition, and at age 13 has already made her mark in the BIG team with a published article in her school magazine (about BIG of course!) She is an intrepid reporter and a BIG thinker. We loved her thoughts on FRIENDSHIP and moving from primary school from high school:

Self portrait by Ruby, age 13.

This year I started at a very big, 
very busy place, this place is called high school. Coming from a school with 59 students I wasn't sure how a place with over 1000 students worked (especially ones who were so much bigger than me). There were only 5 year sixes whenI graduated primary. When I started high school I knew one person. Over thecourse of the year I have tried to find a 'best friend', I have made lotsof 'just friends' along the way. Turns out, my best friends are all still at my primary school. My best friends are both in year 5. I just really want kids everywhere to know that its ok not to have your best friend at school with you. Your best friend doesn't have to be the same age,same look, live in the same area. Nothing! Your best friend is the person who laughs with you, smiles with you and has a great time with you. One of the most important things to me is that kids everywhere know that its ok to be friends with whoever you like, regardless what other people think.

Bravery is...the courage to say what you think and letting nothing stop you from doing what you think is right.
Imagination is...seeing thinking nobody else would dream of.
Generosity is...helping people be brave and imaginative.

Friday, November 23, 2012

We Don't Need A Map

Co-curator Erin Coates gives us a small insight into the highly anticipated exhibition We don’t need a map: a Martu experience of the Western Desert that opened at Fremantle Arts Centre with a bang on November 16 and continues until January 20, 2013:

What a journey it’s been - more than two years in the making. With over 1,100 people at the opening, we were completely overwhelmed with the amazing response.

Bringing the desert to the city, We don’t need a map features the distinct and lively work of more than 30 Martu artists from WA’s Western Desert as well as collaborations with other nationally acclaimed artists.

This enormous, gorgeous painting is by sisters Amy French and Lily Long. Karlamilyi is a complex and layered work, brimming with knowledge about native animals and plants, journeys through country, ancestral beings, waterholes and landforms. French and Long's distinct visual language challenges notions of desert painting, blending figurative and abstract imagery to present an energised landscape that is filled with elements of the seen and unseen world. 
Writers and senior Martu translators worked with the artists to generate interpretative information about the stories and knowledge embedded in this significant painting. Karlamilyi is presented with an interpretive wall diagram and accompanied by recordings of French and Long singing. (A BIG note: watch a brilliant short film of the artists in process here)
One of the hits of the exhibition is a giant inflatable bouncy basket which is based on a hand-woven basket by Martu artist Thelma Judson. Kids and adults alike have taken to this giant playful structure.
Also popular is Yunkurra Billy Atkins’ collaboration with animator Sohan Ariel Hayes (A BIG note: Sohan's work also features in Issue 3 - Game On!)Cannibal Story brings the senior Martu artist’s striking paintings to life. It’s an evocative animation which depicts armies of honey ants, goannas, Martu weaponry and cannibals descending upon Kumpupirntily (Lake Disappointment).

Sunday, November 18, 2012


"Kids Inspire us. They are curious, impulsive, in awe of the world around them, whimsical and funny. We are awed by their ceaseless originality, courage and exuberance. The creative spirit inspires us. We are compelled by the impulse to imagine, the ability to conceive and actualize, and the discoveries that occur within the process of creating." Mini & Maximus

The Falling Icebergs owl from Issue 1 of BIG Kids Magazine has taken flight with the wonderful
MINI & MAXIMUS.  We are thrilled that Sophie and Megan stumbled across and LOVED our image enough to include it in their BOOYAH COLLECTION of very cool sweatshirts, t-shirts and a super cute onesie...(we have already got a couple of new mother-artists in mind for a BIG pressie!)

For a moment we wondered if this was the right direction for our BIG work as we have strong feelings about some contemporary fashion options for children that take them so far beyond their years, or strongly stereotype them by gender. We LOVE Mini & Maximus and as you can see they are far more than a fashion line -  drawing inspiration from children and artists, and creating an incredibly cool eco friendly product that is made for real life PLAY.

Watch out for a BIG Mini & Maximus giveaway COMING SOON!

Image by Lilly Blue
"He uses his words to protect
himself from falling icebergs" By Luca, age 9

From Issue 3 of BIG Kids Magazine
Game On! 

"We believe we are all in this together, that this world belongs to all of us, and that our choices should reflect our concerns for the future. We believe we all need to nurture and care for the world we share. We like the forefront. We like trailblazing and pushing ahead. We like shaking things up, thinking outside the box and re-considering the status quo. We like keeping things fresh, vibrant, playful and unexpected. We want to inspire the little rebels that have inspired us; the ones that smudge food all over their face, draw all over our walls, and always help us see the world around us in new way." Mini & Maximus

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Boekie Boekie

We are thrilled to have been invited to create a work for the very beautiful Boekie Boekie, a Dutch children's  magazine that has been running for 21 years and has 88 published issues! The creators of the magazine have also created a wonderful project called Poem Express where children from all over the world make Poem Posters. 

Together we worked responsively to develop words and an image inspired by the theme of Pinocchio/Pinokkio that will be featured in Issue 89.  

No Strings Attached

walk me into the world 
and wait while I think

breathe into my bones 
so I can speak

give me time to stand up 
after foal-like sink

carve space in my joints 
to new worlds undone

attach strings to my heart 
and see how I run

Concept and content for images, words and the space between them by Lilly Blue and Jo Pollitt.Copyright 2012.

Friday, November 9, 2012

The MAN Festival Day 6 - Multi-Tasking Mother Artists

In a permanent state of multi-tasking, as mother artists we are often overwhelmed by the conflicting demands we feel from family and artistic lives. And each of these twin selves also contains its own conflicting needs and demands. Despite all these competing demands we continue to undertake creative work because if we didn`t we would be denying ourselves and depriving our children of an essential aspect of who we are.

Each feature in the MAN Festival has shown how these twin selves can also feed into each other augmenting and developing rather than dividing and destroying our parenting and artistic roles.  

As mother artists we live in an alternate time frame to the rest of the world. Everything takes longer despite the fact that you are moving faster than you have ever gone before. I am very drawn to Frank Partnoy's idea from Wait: The Useful Art of Procrastinationof  how we 'manage delay'  in order to expand time:

The best time managers are comfortable pausing for as long as necessary before they act, even in the face of the most pressing decisions. For good decision makers, time is more flexible than a metronome or atomic clock.

Viv in her Looking Glass project

In wrapping up this week with the BIG MAN, I have truly enjoyed spending some virtual time with each of the artists featured in the Festival and all the other artists I have come across in the process. What a rich and multi-dimensional experience! Ideas are coalescing and a Phd proposal is making its way onto paper to be submitted at a time somewhere in the future. Virtual presence is being reassesed so I too can participate in the magnificent community of artists of all disciplines who dance the weft and weave of motherhood and arts practice.

Thankyou to Jo and Lilly for providing a platform to connect, discuss and celebrate art, creativity and motherhood.
Bravery is…  accepting change
Imagination is… core to resilience
Generosity is…  allowing your self to expand
Viv juggling rehearsals for her Quiet Spirit film project
BIG Editors note:
As two mother artists we live all of it at once.  BIG was built in the sleep hours and habits of our littles. You cannot undo being an artist or a mother. You just are.  Scroll through the posts below to find a week of links to mother artists and projects inspired and true. There are many more coming. If you want to join the MAN party send us an email to info@bigkidmsagazine and we will do our best to position you in the mix of our next curated MAN Festival early next year. Here we extend our huge thanks to Vivienne Rogis who has done a wonderful job working within our immediate and madly responsive BIG process as guest editor. We look forward to welcoming you into the blogosphere Viv ;) 

The brand new issue (3) of BIG kids Magazine just been released called Game On! We have a feeling both you and your child just might love it! We also thought to point you Into The Dark in the hope you might like to CONTRIBUTE a little something side by side with your child. 

See you there, Jo and Lilly xx

The Mother Artist Network (MAN) is an initiative of Jo Pollitt and Lilly Blue and BIG Kids Magazine. This inaugural mini MAN Festival has been curated in collaboration with guest editor and mother artist extraordinaire Vivienne Rogis

Thursday, November 8, 2012

The MAN Festival Day 5- Artist Lily Mae Martin

Lily Mae Martin is an artist, mother of a two-year-old, and nomad who after being based in Berlin has moved four times since her daughter Anja's birth - from Cardiff, to Melbourne, back to Berlin, and most recently back to Melbourne.

In her drawing and writing project Berlin Domestic  Lily Mae, like Mary Trunk's work, has drawn inspiration from the everyday, actively seeing her life as mother & artist, weaving them together as she can, and sharing it with the world through the blogosphere. Her recent article on Motherhood and friendship appeared in Killing Your Darlings and her blogs Berlin Domestic & Lily Mae Martin explore the territory of the mother artist with insight. She was featured on The Rachel Papers just last week and here she contributes her experience to our MAN:

I think 'a Mother' is seen as something a woman becomes - 
A woman before she has a baby is everything she is then she becomes a Mum and that is all that she is. Which isn't true, Motherhood isn't an end. It's just change, a beginning.

Images from the project Berlin Domestic 
While I was pregnant I had no idea what to expect and I was afraid I would stop making art. However when I became Anja's mother I found a new and stronger voice- I realised that art was a great way to express everything about motherhood- the pain, the joy, the fear, the sleeplessness, the isolation. I decided to start Berlin Domestic as I needed to work out a new way for me to draw, a way I could draw when I was with my daughter. It also helps me because when I feel completely overwhelmed and utterly alone, I know that someone out there will read my writing and see my drawings and connect with it.

My creative process is something I have been developing and refining for years. I'm mostly interested in drawing but lately I have been exploring painting and writing as well. Being an artist is tough, there are a lot of set-backs and it`s very undervalued, but I enjoy it. 

After I recovered from Anja's birth and could focus enough to read a book I read The Divided Heart. It was so interesting hearing about women so driven by their practices and a lot of them moving away from their families with a small child, like I ended up doing. 
I have to admit it took me some time to really understand the book. My baby was only a few months old and while I still managed to make some work I didn't have any artistic demands. When we moved back to Berlin, when Anja was only 6 months old, that was when I began to understand the division. I had to fight to get time to make my work, to get the space to make my work. And I encountered more issues with this as well. People were seeing me as a singular entity and demands were being made on me to participate in things on a level that does not work when you have a kid. I thought; there must be a better way to do this, so I left my studio space and began working from home. As a family unit we've all learned to balance this, it took 18 months to work it out!

I think MAN and BIG are great ideas and places for women to no longer feel alone. I struggled a lot with becoming a Mum and still being an artist. I felt a lot of the time Anja and Mothering wasn't something I could bring up in regards to art things. I did a few interviews after having her where I don't even mention anything about pregnancy, birth, babies, poo - you know, the things that my life mainly consists of now. So finding groups and networks that do talk about this is refreshing. Being able to connect with more parents who are artists is enriching. Being able to talk about concepts, paint, process and nappies, sleeplessness - it's a lifeline. 

Bravery is… following your gut.
Imagination is… crucial to a person`s development.
Generosity is… being able to accept things, even if it is different to you.

The Mother Artist Network (MAN) is an initiative of Jo Pollitt and Lilly Blue and BIG Kids Magazine. This inaugural mini MAN Festival has been curated in collaboration with guest editor and mother artist extraordinaire Vivienne Rogis  to whom we are so grateful! 

The Mother Artist Network is a place that invites BIG ideas and discussion about creative practice and motherhood. Through a forum of ongoing blog posts the MAN will feature voices of mother-artists at all stages of artistic engagement and motherhood.  We very much hope you will contribute to the conversation by commenting below or emailing us at info@bigkidsmagazine to add your story to the mix.   

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

The MAN Festival Day 4 - Independent Producer/Dance Artist Sandi Woo

Mother Artist Sandi Woo is an independent producer/dance artist based in Broome WA who has had a wildly productive and creative year with many upcoming projects set to continue her amazing mix of art and motherhood.

Sandi Woo and son Eddie Mailer Photo by Kathryn Santospirito September 2012 - Broome, WA
What do I have to say about juggling arts practice and parenting? More like - what don’t I have to say and where do I begin?

I’m currently in the ‘gearing down’ phase of the busiest year of my life. I have delivered two community based projects in Broome and the Kimberley. YouTube Me Dance 2012 & Gallery Moves. Which are also written about here & here.

I am currently working on my third project for a local organisation – Theatre Kimberley – called Staircase to the Moon. A locally written, produced and performed music theatre production that will christen the newly refurbished Broome Civic Centre in early November.

Exciting. Exhausting. Exhilarating.

I have been doing plenty of soul searching about how to balance my creative yearnings and my family responsibilities. One thing I knew was my creative desires were more powerful BECAUSE of my family. But they were also the ones most affected by the ‘busy schedule fall out’ and stood right in the firing line of one frazzled and exhausted Mum.

Two young boys call me ‘mum’. Dear, sweet Eddie (4 yrs) who we think is forming strong aspirations to be a breakdancer, but is probably more of a contemporary performer. And Frank (1 year) who at this early stage is showing signs of being either a professional boxer, or just a school yard bully. Either way he enjoys moments of contact improvisation with his brother.

It would not be possible to write about juggling motherhood and creative practice without crediting my husband as the real reason I am still standing and the family is still (relatively) happy and healthy! Seriously. After starting work at 5am, he finishes at 2pm. This allows me to get a few hours of work in at the end of the working day. He hangs out with the kids from 2pm and helps to complete a large portion of the home duties too. It frees me up for rehearsals, meetings and important bonding time with my computer. He is also the sounding board for all the good and bad twists and turns we go through on the ‘project super-highway’. Oh, he’s a reasonable copy editor too! Thanks Darl!

Karli Linaker, Susan Rush, Sete Tele Photo by Abigail Workman(Man at Work Media)Sept 2012 - DACOU Gallery, Broome 
As hard as this year has been logistically and administratively, it has been the most creatively fulfilling year of my life. Possibilities feel endless and the rich and fertile community I’ve started to work with seem at the ready. All these wonderful elements converging and I have never been more ‘time poor’ in my life! It’s amazing how much you get done in 2-3 consecutive hours of uninterrupted work time. And lets not forget all the thinking time in between hanging out washing, folding washing, cooking dinner, feeding the chooks and packing up the toys (over and over again in a day). Not a minute of the day is wasted! Hang on, is Facebook time wasting?

Really, it’s not surprising that motherhood and creative practice go so well together. Both provide amazing, life changing moments you cannot plan for. And both require a ‘concept plan’ of some sort – an overarching vision – but you kind of work out the details as you go. You ride the ebbs and flow, you find yourself in a difficult moments, which make you relish the joyful bits even more. 

My next project combines motherhood and creative practice. I am exploring the relationships between children and their parents/grandparents. I want to test my own notions of parenting by building a creative environment where the children lead the parents. Why? Because of the seemingly constant requests I make of my toddler to live his life at an adult pace. Also, I have been inspired by the work of BIG magazine. I want to provide other parents (and grandparents) an opportunity to have a creative experience that is shared, led and centred on their children.  I’ve conceptualised a project so I can play in the studio with my own children. I will be mentored through this project by inspirational and talented Mother Artist- Felicity Bott.

My stomach backflips at the thought of what lies ahead next year. And, after reading Sally Richardson’s MAN article, of what lies ahead in the years to come. I am going to the post box everyday to check if my copy of Rachel Power’s The Divided Heart – Art and Motherhood has arrived. Excited much?

Thank you BIG Kids Magazine, thank you MAN.

Bravery is ... stepping out into the unknown and enjoying the ride
Imagination is… a wonderful gift
Generosity is… putting others needs before your own

The Mother Artist Network (MAN) is an initiative of Jo Pollitt and Lilly Blue and BIG Kids Magazine. This inaugural mini MAN Festival has been curated in collaboration with guest editor and mother artist extraordinaire Vivienne Rogis  to whom we are so grateful! 
The Mother Artist Network is a place that invites BIG ideas and discussion about creative practice and motherhood. Through a forum of ongoing blog posts the MAN will feature voices of mother-artists at all stages of artistic engagement and motherhood.  We very much hope you will contribute to the conversation by commenting below or emailing us at info@bigkidsmagazine to add your story to the mix.   

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