It’s not every day I’m happy to put up my hair, take off my Tom Fords and don a pair of unflattering overalls from Bunnings. But in the name of art? Maybe.
Welcome to T Australia’s inaugural Culture issue. Driven by the theme of “Renewal”, this edition looks at the regeneration of art in Australia and beyond, as seen through the eyes of early career artists as well as established arts identities.
As I drove to our cover shoot, I wondered what the day would hold, how the team’s chemistry would shape the experience and how well we could capture the magic. On set, there would be big personalities, a complex creative concept (think a dancer in constant motion, wearing hundreds of thousands of dollars’ worth of garments and jewellery, with paint flying all around him) and an art lesson in said overalls. What could go wrong? Despite a few gasps, it turns out … nothing.
Our cover star, Rhys Kosakowski, is one of a kind and the true epitome of what T Australia is about. He’s best known for being a key player at Sydney Dance Company, but this shoot wasn’t his first rodeo. Also a model and content creator, Rhys has excelled in many areas (he was previously a makeup artist) and is now turning his creative energy to fashion. His positivity, curiosity and ability to pivot during challenging times shines through in the story and photographs, which was styled by Virginia van Heythuysen and shot by Levon Baird.
The incredible art you see in the shoot is the seemingly effortless work of Harold David. Oh, how I envy you, Harold. You put brush to canvas and create something extraordinary (and commercially desirable) in just a few hours. Whereas, as you can see in the latest instalment of Teach T Something, that’s not quite the case for me. According to Harold, it’s all about using your “negative hand”, starting somewhere and embracing fear. If you find our painting lesson helpful, please share your creations with us — I’d love to see them.
Harold describes his cover shoot artwork with the following artist’s statement: “The fluxus was real. The dancer, the music, the spirit and the painter, all in one room, inspiring one another and thusly ‘Thigh High and Safety Net’ was created. It was my response to what was happening in the studio. As an abstract expressionist, I am exploring those connections and my feelings.”
The rest of the issue is an equally arresting, lush visual creation with deeply layered tales of inspiration, ingenuity, reinvention and the strength of the human spirit. The author Kathy Lette reveals the private side of her close friend the acclaimed artist Cressida Campbell. Lee Tulloch profiles four Australian women at the vanguard of ceramics. And we track down that very 2022 cultural player, the celebrity book stylist.
The arts and culture are very close to my heart, so I’m extremely proud of the stories we were able to find and tell. I hope you enjoy this special issue.