Gratitude & Acknowledgment
This is the beginning of Grace Noel Art’s Australian Art Tour with RAW Artists and the production was called Oasis: RAW Australia Oasis. The tour was made possible by so many patrons around the world and RAW Artists. Thank you to those who made Grace Noel Art’s Australian Tour unite the world through a magical rainbow journey or art. Production of this tour began in Jan 2018, when I was preparing for my first RAW Denver show. During that time, I was preparing for exhibition also at My Hair Trip Salon, Spectra Art Space, Englewood Library, and Denver Art Society. RAW shows are ticketed at $22 and the artist must sell 20 tickets to reserve a spot at RAW. Once the Artist sells enough tickets, they receive one free RAW showcase nationally or internationally. Thank you to those who purchased tickets and art for the Feb 2018 RAW Denver Show which led to a successful March booking dates in Australia. Thanks to Kristen Wehlow of RAW for helping me book show dates. April onward meant airplane tickets, logistics, and promotion until a launch date on Nov 10, 2018. This tour premiered the Chinese Zodiac Four Element Series (metal prints) while the originals premiered in Denver Nov 1, 2018 with RAW Denver.
Thank you to my family for the foundation your provide, so much is made possible because of you.
Nov 10 -17
Today is Nov 14, and we are four days into Grace Noel Art’s Art Tour through Australia. Of course it takes 2 days to arrive in Australia with the time change, 14 hour plane ride, and 3 hour commute from Denver to Los Angeles. I had quite the adventure getting on the airplane in Denver however. When I arrived to check in, I learned of the electronic travel visas needed to enter into Australia. No one could check me in until the visa was purchased, in short, thank goodness for smartphones! I was able to purchase an expedited travel visa, leading to a successful flight check in and bag drop, then off to the Southern Hemisphere! Of course I thought I was going to miss my flight but thankfully made it to the terminal with time to spare. To my great luck and surprise, the plane to LA was full of artists! Wearing my limited edition leggings, I hit the ground running networking and making friends.
Mom was with me on this first two weeks of the trip. We went through the rigors of checking in and the strange part was our email confirmation had mom and I were booked on the same flight through Los Angeles and then to Sydney. Some glitch in the system made it so mom was booked through San Francisco and I went through LA. Nonetheless, we were close to missing our flight so we proceeded to security. Mom went to her gate and I went to mine. We flew separately and met in Sydney Airport at the gate for Canberra. I reflected on the logistics and amount of airplane rides to this point and realized the tour totaled in 12 flights for me and this four week tour Down Under!
When booking this trip, it was important for me to see all the attractions I had missed the last two times I had visited my family in Australia. I wanted to see Uluru, Ayers Rock, and New Zealand for an itinerary as follows:
Nov 10-14 Depart Denver and see family in Canberra
Nov 14-17 Brisbane and RAW Oasis Brisbane Showcase on Nov 15
Nov 17-20 Alice Springs and Uluru
Nov 20-24 Perth and RAW Oasis Perth Showcase on Nov 22
Nov 24-30 Sydney and RAW Oasis Sydney Showcase on Nov 29
Nov 25 Mom flies to Denver from Melbourne
Nov 30-Dec 4 Auckland and the North Island of New Zealand
Dec 3-Dec 7 Melbourne and RAW Oasis Melbourne Showcase
I feel so blessed to be in Australia to see my friends, family and show my art. We arrived in Canberra Nov 12, my Uncle Ned welcomed us and brought us to his wonderful home in Wamboin the bush outside of Canberra. My Aunt Diana and Uncle Ned had recently adopted the most wonderful puppy, Dibbs, an blue heeler cattle dog mix, who turned out to be my dream dog serving as sweet medicine for Sage’s passing eight months prior. Uncle Ned, Anty Diana, Dibbs and I went for a hike down the rural road from their house. We climbed a hill that gave us great views of the undulating eucalyptus forests and savanna grass. The cell phone towers placed prominently into slate hillside streaming in the November late spring winds.
Mom and I truly enjoyed my Aunty and Uncle’s off the grid visionary home and there’s nothing like staying with family and friends when traveling. Our power was supplied from solar panels and water collected from the roof. Drought times in Wamboin have balanced the bills in favor of the water supply truck which fills the cisterns at the top of the driveway. Diana’s childhood recollection of waist high kangaroo grass and flowing farm ditches attest to climate change, just in her lifetime. Now looking at young spring grass but no need to mow due to depleted groundwater and hungry kangaroos well, I guess there’s always a balance and change motivates growth which motivates...change. It’s a cycle.
My family graciously showed mom and I around Australia’s capital city, Canberra. We saw the parliament and embassy buildings decadent in the traditional architecture of each nation. Later we met my cousin Will for a family dinner and our final night together. It had been years since I had seen my cousin but once together, I couldn’t tell any time had passed; we shared the same connection. We enjoyed a dinner at the Elk and Pea restaurant in central Canberra and on our way home, saw dozens of Kangaroos hopping around the indigo night, stomping out a creamsicle sunset for in a dry and hot place, that is only becoming more dry and hot, its best to be active at night. Nov 14 was particularly uplifting given our pending departure from a comfortable home with family, kangaroos, cocatials, and pink parrots. My Aunty Diana has asked for my consultation in creating her new garden bed. She has a fantastic 5 acres in Wamboin outside of Canberra. We surveyed the three locations she was considering and decided on a suitable spot close to the house and swimming pool. This is an ongoing and exciting project for me because I get to use my permaculture, chemistry, biology, and landscaping knowledge to design a garden to feed my Aunty and Uncle’s off grid prairie palace, hopefully for years.
It was hard to leave Wamboin; night time and early morning are beautiful in the sounds they make. While the stars seared bright and fluffy pink clouds emerge dripping golden sunshine of morning’s rainbow dew drop tears. Aunty and Uncle treated mom and I like royalty! On Nov 14, Mom and I left for Brisbane where Grace Noel Art was presenting in the first of four showcases of RAW Australia Oasis. Aunt Diana and Uncle Ned dropped us at the airport, staying with and touring the installation art of the Canberra Airport. We said our Goodbyes are always difficult at the gate until it was time to board our flight. Mom and I knew we would see them again in Alice Springs and Uluru in a few days on Nov 17.
Upon arrival in Brisbane, Mom and I took the train to South Brisbane. The public art at the station was a large scale grid of flapping metal plates. This shimmer and wave effect translated the physicality of wind while welcoming a heightened visual of really what was just a parking structure. The train ride to south Brisbane was really my first exposure to Australia’s street art and murals. I was impressed and moved by the styles around me as they followed us to the ninth floor of the Arena Apartments in South Brisbane. The view was spectacular from the balcony and we were definitely in the hip part of town. Bohemian coffee shops, book stores, people from all over the world and students eating at restaurants. So many beautiful murals danced along our commute to the Arena Apartments along the train ride from the airport and we continued to see them over the three night stay in South Brisbane. In an effort to save money, sandwich supplies were purchased at Coles, the national grocery chain. BLT’s were the theme meal if we weren’t eating out. Passion fruit, bananas, mangos, papayas all in season and part of each meal. The night of the showcase was rocky for me and it all started with making some assumptions that did not come true and the last minute scramble to find supplies. Thankfully, the artist displaying next to me, Eri Yamaguchi, was friendly and helpful and yes, mom saves the day! Bringing mom on tour was so helpful, fun, flowed. On her smoke break, she went walking around Chinatown and found “the cheap store” kinda like a dollar store and magically she found the much needed “S” hooks for purchase. I had not brought with me but the limited edition aluminum prints only hang by french cleat or “S” Hooks. They were crucial to hanging the metal prints of the Chinese Zodiac series. A highlight was for the first night of the premier tour of the Chinese Zodiac 4 Element Series, RAW Oasis by the Met Nightclub in Brisbane which is located just outside China Town, Nov 15, 2018 on Wickham St. Rookie mistakes still happen from time to time and for this showcase, they kept happening. My lack of price tags came through in sales but I had many meaningful conversations.
The night of RAW Oasis Brisbane was spectacular always showcasing local and international artists, fashion designers, makeup artists, musicians, and performers. I was not the only international artist on tour, Sly Skeeta (instagram handle is one word: @slyskeeta) is a hip hop musician from Winnipeg Canada who was also on tour, showcasing the same Sydney and Melbourne dates as me. Skeeta performs lyrically conscious hip hop with a nod to native roots and culture. He always made an incredible connection with the crowd as hip hop is still new to the Australian music scene. Freestyling flows virtuously told to friends, families, and followers supporting artist they love, the was RAW Oasis Brisbane. Other performers were four piece indie rock/folk band, flamenco dancers, and salsa diva with an unbelievable voice. So cool! A highlight from the night was I had a spot on stage to talk about my work to the audience. It seemed my daily challenge of growing my public speaking skill paid off and my message amplified felt right. Closing out the night was the fashion show. This show included robot and rave wear to balance the wedding dresses and casual professional clothing.
Tearing down the show ment disassembling the display. To begin, the four aluminum digital prints of the Chinese Zodiac were wrapped in thin foam wrap, then tied with cellophane. Then the paper prints were organized by fire, earth, wind and water element then placed in their box. Leggings and a scarf printed by Redbubble streamed rainbows on a silk like polyester across metal fence paneling. Everything fit into a suitcase along with my clothes and surf gear. I custom designed a skirt, dress, and bikini for the trip to promote Grace Noel Art’s vision of “We are all made of Sunshine.” Nicely packed up for the night, mom and I got a taxi into the neon city starlight night bedding down on the 9th floor of the Arena Apartments. We made it home safe, mom was tired and we had a big day.
The next day we woke up to the familiar sounds of the city; air condition airs and construction reigned a morning nearly lost to last night. Breakfast was at the corner cafe and we debated going to the Gold Coast. Australia’s late spring warms up quicker to summer given drought conditions and mom didn't want to be uncomfortable at the beach. Instead, we spent the day exploring Brisbane’s restaurants, museums, and river walk. It was a beautiful day, sunny and hot for learning the city, I handed out stickers, cards, and social media handles like a trail of breadcrumbs so we could find our way home.
The morning of Nov 17 mom and I retraced our way to the Brisbane airport. Murals painted along twenty foot retaining walls lined our path to the airport to go to Alice Springs. We were on our way to see Uluru, a famous landmark and icon of the Australia, center of the outback and sacred sight to the Aborigines. We boarded the airplane and were on our way to the red center, a place I remember learning about as a young child which budded dreams of a a sacred pilgrimage to witness such magical land. Arriving in Alice Springs ahead of us was Auntie Diana and Uncle Ned who graciously coordinated a rental car and accommodations for our adventure through the outback. Our first night was spent in the Desert Palms Hotel surrounded by palm trees. We took a walk enjoying the southern hemisphere desert flora and fauna of the botanic gardens then see the town. The road to Alice Springs is marked by a dry creek bed. These creeks show up on maps as blue flowing rivers but in actuality, are dry river beds serving as public domain for camping or “sleeping in the rough.” The dry river bed weave along the dessert roads lined with two meter measuring markers informing aquatic vehicles of safe passage. We followed the road and the longest trail of ants I’ve ever seen to art galleries displaying local art of indigenous talent. Dinner and beers were served at Epilogue Cafe and we finished our adventure at Woolworths where mom bought iconic australian postcards while I stocked up on $2 passion fruits, my favorite fruit so golden and juicy, a flavor burst that puckers cheeks with a sweet tropical perfume after taste.