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Home BLOGS Jeff Soto Jeff Soto: Melbourne Part II

Jeff Soto: Melbourne Part II

Written by Jeff Soto   
Thursday, 05 November 2009 08:50
Jeff blogs the 2nd half of his trip to Melbourne to speak at this year's Semi-Permanent.

The Urban Hotel had good room service food. Almost every day it was easier to order something in the morning and get started with some energy, than to look around St. Kilda for a quick breakfast. "Crispy Bacon" in Australia (as well as the UK) seems to be "soft floppy bacon" to me. I guess in the US we crisp the hell out of it. I like both varieties, bacon is just good. This was the first day of the Semi Permanent conference. It's a seminar series with speakers from the design world, photography, motion graphics, film, special effect, and of course, illustration/art. I had such a good time hearing the different speakers, we're all connected through our visual culture but each of us comes from very different worlds.

This was the first year they held it in Melbourne. The convention center looked pretty cool. Slanted lines everywhere. Melbourne seems to have lots of crooked architecture, diagonal lines and futurism mixed with... something (remnants of British colonial style??).

This is Luke Lucas. The first speaker and one of my favorites. He is responsible for the magazine Lifelounge, if you have not seen it, get a copy now! Luke is a master at working with type, he does very inspiring and clever work. Great to meet him!

In between speakers I explored the convention center and found more futuristic rooms.

Burger Rings? I was tempted to try them, but decided against it. Also Cheetos Cheese & Bacon Balls. Different. I decided to pass. Snacks are expensive in Oz...

More diagonal architecture around the convention center...

Bathroom shot.

Tara McPherson gave her talk in the afternoon, very cool to see her story and her process. We are old Art Center buddies, so it was neat to see how far we have come.

More weird and cool architecture. Southern Cross Station... Sometimes I kinda felt like I was in the city of Macross.

Then the next day came, I did my talk, threw out some stickers, cough drops, toys, and candy to the audience. Helped me loosen up, and I think it warmed up the crowd. The talk went good, I think.. yeah, I'm sure it went good. I felt a strange clarity up there on stage, like I was in control of my destiny and 100% not nervous for the first time talking in front of so many people. Maybe I am just getting used to public speaking over the years. Took a quick iPhone craptastic picture of the audience. This is just the middle row, there are rows to the side and a whole upper deck area. Thanks all you attendees for the warm response I received! I had a blast and met some great Australians.

Alex Jaeger from ILM was the last speaker. On his way over from LAX their 747 hit a bird which smashed the nosecone and took out their weather radar. They had to dump the fuel and return. Read about it here. Very interesting talk, I'm always fascinated by special effects and entertainment design. Alex had some great work to show the audience, and of course ILM has such a rich history and has been so inspirational to artists over the years. I really respect these guys. For a while it was my goal to work in that industry, and about ten years ago I made a decision to pursue painting and illustration rather than entertainment design. Still a lot of love for all that though..

After the conference I ate a weird meal. Some sort of cold chicken/ham/pistachio loaf. Pretty much the funkiest meal I had there. I should have asked what it was before ordering haha! Wasn't terribly bad, but I was cold the whole time and a cold meal was not what I had in mind!

Martin McIntosh is the best. Thanks again for all the rides!

Went to the Semi Permanent after party. The band was pretty dope- The Scare. Singer was doing some crazy shit. I don't see much live music being a family guy, I like shows but would rather be at home with the kidlets. So it was nice to feel the loud music and drink a few beers.

The party was down this seedy alley. Very Motley Crew...

A Luke Lucas poster. Hells yeah..

At first I was confused- is this Jack in the Box or Burger King? Definitely the BK logo.

Parrots are all over. Found this on the ground.

Tim Tams- very good!

The next day I had a signing with Tara at Outre Gallery. Didn't get any good pics. Anyone out there have any?

The day before Tara suggested the Eggs Benedict breakfast. I'm always a little freaked out by yolk. Everyone thinks I'm crazy- "Yolk is goood!" they say, but I dunno. It's weird man. So runny. Yolk. Even the name is weird. She was right though, this was very good! I think the rocket added some nice flavor to it.

Put up stickers all over. I am such a vandal haha...

Never heard of these... they were like Cheetos but a little different.

More food. Vietnamese. I never did get to eat a proper Australian meal. Went to a place that had Kangaroo steaks but they were all out. Apparently, they don't raise them as food, they actually have to go out and shoot them in the wild. I asked somewhere if they had Koala meat and they laughed at me.

Angelique Houtkamp and her husband Peter were in town for the opening of her show at Outre Gallery. Very nice people, and Angelique is a talented watercolorist. It was nice spending time with them.

Along with them was Dutch photographer duo Fotofloor!

This was the next morning, a view out my window. My last day. I was supposed to paint at Hosier Lane, but the news said it'd be raining all day. It was cold, windy, and I needed to find spraypaint and acrylics, so I decided against it. I am from Southern California, I am a wuss when it gets colder than 50 degrees.

Ordered some breakfast and watched some TV.

Decided to get some artwork done. I brought a bunch of supplies but hadn't had free time to make art till the end. Inks, watercolors and acrylics. Nice diffused lighting from the overcast Melbourne sky. Worked in a lot of geometrics- triangles, diamonds, diagonals- I guess reacting to my surroundings.

After a few hours I needed to get out, rain or shine. No fun to stay cooped up in a hotel in a new city.

Took the tram into the city, explored a bit, and went to Rialto Towers. It is the second tallest building in Melbourne and has an observation deck. I'm a sucker for high up places like this. I have a feeling most Melbournians have not been up here, just like most NYers have not been up the Empire State Building. It was pretty neat, and cold and windy.

Walked around St. Kilda some more...

Finally it rained. I made it back in time and modeled the koala mask I got for Shannon.

Worked on these pieces a bit more...

Next morning, on my way back. Qantas was nice to fly with. They call you "Luv" and ask for your "rubbish". I watched Star Trek on the way home but fell asleep somewhere in the middle. I was away one week. I was really missing Jennifer and the girls. Always good to return home to hugs and smiles! That's what it's all about... and it's also all about bringing home weird foreign candy bars.

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