Grace Noel Art’s RAW Oasis Australian Art Tour was an incredible experience. The last blog post, 2 of 4, shared adventures through the Australian Red Center, Uluru and RAW Oasis showcase in Perth along the Indian Ocean. The morning after the showcase, mom and I shared a delicious breakfast buffet and then was off to the airport. I had the day to explore Perth. I started out on an adventure to find a bag of potato chips and a lighter. I began with a walk along the Swan River where I saw the black swans native to Perth and people taking camel rides in the strong November winds.
From the river, I turned right then walked through magnificent gardens in the parks surrounding the Supreme Court. I felt the rumble of downtown as the lunch rush crowded the streets. I was hungry and started scouting my options on my way to the Hay Street Mall. Hay Street Mall is a pedestrian only mall with several blocks of shops stacked stories tall. It contains fantastic public art and was all lit up for Christmas. I made my way to the Bus Station where I met back up with Jason DCuna who had spent time in Perth’s Chinatown chasing down street art. Born and raised in the Perth, he knew all the great spots and led me to Old Shanghai, the Chinatown of Perth. I was in love with this part of town! Dumplings, stir fry, boba tea, and bowls are everything I love to eat. We enjoyed dim sum and beers at a food court full of different nationalities of Chinatown.
Jason and I parted ways and I found my way to the Perth Arena. I had driven past this building and was amazed by its architecture each time! I really wanted to get a photo because the architecture was so unique. From the arena, I wondered up King Street, the high class part of town. King Street flashed stylish eats and drinks, classy cars, and a line outside the Gucci store for Black Friday sales! The spectacle was fun to experience and I learned that Black Friday is celebrated in Australia as well; no wonder Hay Street Mall was so crowded!
I began my walk back to the hotel, in need of a recharge by the pool and yoga. After evening meditation, dinner was my excuse to enjoy the Friday nightlife of Perth under a full moon. My intention was to find a busy dinner spot back at the Hay Street Mall and I set out into the night. Expecting Perth to stay up a bit later, I started out at 8:30 pm only to realize restaurants were already closing! I arrived at the mall to find the crowds I was looking for, now where was I going to find dinner? As I walked through all the late night shoppers of Black Friday, I followed the flow of people to a street food market, lucky me! Foods from all over the world were prepared by 50+ booths. Most of the booths were selling out quick and there were thousands of people dining under a full moon. I ate at Vietnamese, Tibetan, and Central American vendors. Right after I finished my meal the vendors closed and were sold out of their food for the evening. Thank goodness I made it just in time! I walked home under the Taurus full moon excited to leave for Sydney in the morning. As mom left the day before, John Noggin was enroute to Sydney arriving the next day to help with the second half of Grace Noel Art’s Australian Art Tour.
The morning of Nov 24, I enjoyed a full buffet breakfast at the Hyatt Regency in Perth. I packed a sandwich for the airplane and caught a taxi to the airport. Worried the intense winds would delay my plane, I arrive at the airport to find a seamless experience. I have enjoyed the reduced security of Australian Airports, a lot less hassle than the USA. Qantas has been my airline of choice while touring the country. The airline still feeds customers meals with complimentary beer and wine, what service! The flight from Perth to Sydney is nearly 5 hours with a 3 hour time change. These frequent airplane rides have been a great time to write blog posts and learn the Adobe Creative Suite on the new iPad Pro I purchased before the trip. The iPad Pro, Apple Pencil, and keyboard are a perfect travel studio for a freelance artist such as myself. Couldn’t be happier with my purchase!
Nov 26-Dec 2
Today is Nov 30, I am leaving for Auckland, New Zealand. Last night was RAW Sydney at the Orion Function Center, accessible by the Campsie station by rail. I met back up with my friend Sly Skeeta, a rapper from Winnipeg who is doing a similar tour as Grace Noel Art, minus Perth. We will reunite again in Melbourne for our final showcase on Dec 6. The entire tour is documented on social media through Facebook and Instagram, please like, friend, and follow @gracenoel.art.
The showcase was full of up and coming artists made up of visual and performing artists and fashion designers. I had success making connections and leaving Grace Noel Art’s mark on Sydney.
My first day in Sydney, I visited Chinatown and walked through the shops, finding hair clips, fried fish, lip gloss in a llama shaped holder, and good luck ornaments for the house. I enjoyed a meal and looked for the oldest bars in Sydney and it turns out bars are called “hotels.” That afternoon, we found my way home to Wolli Creek, a “New China Town” with wonderful dumplings, asian restaurants, markets, and cafes. On the way I traversed through a crowd just getting out of the cricket game with a win by India against Australia. The train led us to a common area of a dense housing complex at Wolli Creek. I was one stop from the International Airport Terminal and two stops from domestic. The accommodations were booked through Airbnb based on affordability, location to public transit, and the beach!
Day 2 of touring around Sydney was time to dive into the art scene. As for creative districts, I couldn’t find any designated art districts but found an exhibit at the Carriageworks exhibition space by American Born Artist, Nick Cave. The exhibit had a massive chandelier decorated with everything you’d find at a second hand store and prop room. The chandelier could be viewed from either below or above on fifteen foot ladders to look on top the massive hanging sculpture (the images are all documented on Facebook and Instagram). The installation also had a forest of spinning wind chimes that filled a large exhibition room with tall ceilings. There was a video installation in another room. This used 8 projectors and 4 speakers to create moving sea foam on the floor and dancing bird mask with dolls on the walls. There was a large lifeguard platform in the middle of the room built from 4” x 4” wooden beams. Our final room was a grand installation of plastic pony beads woven into nets stretching back 200’ with 40’ high ceiling. The art installation also had in this room a large 8’ x 32’ panel with streamers blowing in the the wind and spelling the word FLOW. Next to the FLOW was a beaded net of pony bead on black shoestrings knotted together. These nets were suspended from the ceiling scaling 15 feet and backdropped with cement walls. The final stop at the Carriageworks was Awavena, a virtual Reality film by Emmy and AACTA award-winning artists and director Lynette Wallworth. This special showing started the month of November and ends Dec 19, 2018 and was fully booked so I hope to see it on its journey through the United States whenever that may be. The Carraigework’s impressive exhibition space occupied a refurbished industrial warehouse where train cars were maintenance. It’s located in Red Fern, where “its different” than the rest of Sydney in the way the artsy part of town goes.
Walking back to the train along the main road there were shops, cafes, and dim sum, inbetween artist studios as. Murals projecting the Aboriginal voices of the neighborhood lined the bridge to the train station. From here, I headed to Darling Harbor in search of Sydney’s oldest hotels (bars) as a way to understand Sydney’s people’s history. As a side note, my uncle Tom Noel, Dr. Colorado, wrote his PhD thesis on Colorado’s Liquid History, documenting how bars were a place to get refreshed, get up to date information, and rest after days without services. The Fortune of War was first on the list, I snapped a few pics of the Sydney Opera House across the harbor from the Fortune of War which claims to be the longest continually licensed bar in Sydney given its short walk from the water. I enjoyed a few drinks and admired the visitors on a Monday spring afternoon: watching the locals alongside travelers from the United States and down under. Argyle Street provided the Argyle Hotel, another continually licensed hotel in Sydney. As I passed a collection of bars and restaurants, I took pictures of the grand bridge, the “Coat Hanger,” connecting hundreds of Sydney’s commuters traversing Darling Harbor not by watercraft.
From what I could gather, the Argyle Hotel had been been renovated to house newer eateries of the last decade. The Lord Nelson felt and looked like an old castle was the next oldest bar that was a short walk down Argyle street. The wood floor was well worn stone walls and period chandeliers. At this point I realized the advantage to the “schooner” sized glasses which are smaller than pints, and cheaper. I sampled Australian beers on tap since you don’t get much of a price break buying beer in the liquor stores. Truly, Australia is wine country, wine is cheap in the liquor stores and while dining out. My allergy to casein kept me from exploring much wine so I stuck to the beers and cocktails. My favorite Australian alcoholic drink was an ginger beer by Brookvale Union. It tastes like a handcrafted ginger beer and hardly any taste of alcohol which makes the drink refreshing for a traveler’s stomach, gluten/casein/dairy free, and provides a nice buzz.
After the Lord Nelson I returned home to Wolli Creek but not before walking through Sydney’s CBD. High end retail shops were still promoting the sales from Black Friday the previous weekend and early evening shoppers were on their way home from work in Sydney’s financial district. We window shopped amongst skyscrapers and crowded sidewalks at rush hour. We walked the streets orienting ourselves using the landmarks of the Sydney Mint, Parks, and Churches to find a train station. Google Maps and all apps that use data were only available on WiFi (which was another reason to research Sydney’s liquid history). Directions could only be downloaded before heading out but I liked the adventure of going with the flow to immerse myself in Sydney’s day to day. It was not hard to find my way around the Sydney’s Central Business District and, in fact, public transit is free in every CBD in Australia.
During the week, Google kept warning of bad weather on Wednesday so this meant hopping around the city and beaches would be for Sunday through Tuesday. Day three, Tuesday, was spent on the Manly Ferry which went from Darling Harbor to Manly Wharf and Manly Beach. I was excited to spend the day surfing at Manly Beach. The Manly Beach Corso reminded me of my first visit to Australia in December 2000 for the end of year holidays with the Australian family.
At Manly Wharf, I walked the Corso passing souvenir shops, restaurants, cafes and swim shops to arrive at Manly Beach. Tuesday was the best weather day with a high of 25 degrees and sunny. I rented a surfboard on the beach for $30 for 2 hours and there was no need to rent a wetsuit since I brought my own Hurley colored blue, the 2015 model I had wanted since it came out. This tour was designed to practice one of my favorite sports: surfing. Manly and Scarborough beach are the two spots I surfed this trip. The waves and surf were great and my wetsuit kept me warm in the southerly seas. After surfing, lunch was at Jipang, this Japanese country style restaurant which had been in Manly since 1993 and it was friendly and delicious! Later I took a walk to the St Patrick’s Estate of Manly, the college high on the hill of the town of Manly. By this point the clouds rolled in and it was time to head back to Sydney to see the town at night. Choppier seas and wind gusts whispered of the bad weather predicted for Wednesday.
Sydney’s darling harbor deserved one more visit and this time to the Palisade hotel, which was a few blocks further from the Lord Nelson. The Palisade hotel had beers for a good price on tap and a 2 for 1 dinner special on Tuesday night. After enjoying drinks, fish and chips, I walked by the gardens on the way to the train station. Sydney shuts down by 9 or 9:30 during the week like the rest of Australia and the skyline shimmers like stars in the harbor next to the cream colored seashells of the Sydney Opera House.
Day 4, Wednesday was a storm to remember. The bad weather predicted by Google turned out to be once in a 100 year event that flooded Sydney’s streets, killing one, and resulting in a loss of power in some areas. I stayed home this day feeling grateful for my Air B&B’s location for food and necessities to weather the storm.
Day 5 brings circles back now to the beginning of this post with RAW Australia: Oasis in Sydney. Ultimately, the night was a great success and its been an honor to premier my new Chinese Zodiac Series throughout Australia! Thank you to all my friends and family for their support to make this tour possible. Thank you to all the friends and followers I have made along the way for your support and enthusiasm for artwork by Grace Noel Art, LLC.
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.