Chris Brown

Friday, May 16, 2014

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Photo – Chris Brown


Chris Brown’s exhibition Everyone I Know, Everything I’ve Seen opens Friday 16 May, 6:30pm at Diamant Coffee (formerly Churchkey Espresso, 488 Hunter Street, Newcastle). Check it out and drop by Watt Space for Art City and Newcastle Art Gallery for Novocastria at the same time.




Condensed CV:

Artist based in The Hill, working in film and digital photography. I have exhibited regularly in several galleries across Newcastle and sydney, participated in artist in residence programs , and have won several awards. I am a graduate of the University of Newcastle in Fine arts, specialising in digital and film photography, with a passion for alternative development techniques. I’ve been published in several Magazines including local publications  Newcastle Mirage, CUBS and Reverb.
I am a passionate advocate for community gardens and I currently work at Belmont Neighbourhood Centre as the Community Garden Coordinator – possibly the best job in the world.


What has been your most memorable project?

Definitely my film based projects TreeFingers and FlowerFace. These works were created in my final year studying Fine Art at the University of Newcastle. They were created using medium format colour film, employing negative sandwiching and double exposure techniques which created dreamy, fuzzy, layering effects. The project was so serendipitous – double exposures are difficult to predict because you never know how the film will react to different colours and intensities of light, but they came out perfectly!


What would be your dream project?

My dream project would have to be large format black and white photographs. By large format, I mean prints that are 10 meters high and 15 meters wide. Detail and texture of that magnitude is so immersive! Seeing something like that hanging at the MCA in Sydney would be pretty spectacular.



Photo – Chris Brown



Photo – Chris Brown


What do you consider your greatest achievement?

Probably what I am doing at work. I coordinate Habitat in Harmony Community Garden at Belmont Neighbourhood Centre and over the last 3 years have seen it’s transformation from a weedy mess, into a bio-diverse, engaging, safe, productive and loved place for the whole community.


What is your most treasured possession?

My plate camera, ‘Percy’. She is 101 years old and takes the most spectacular images. The negatives are made by hand on pieces of glass which are treated with an array of different coatings and chemicals.  It’s a labour intensive process, but it’s worth it.


What does a typical day at work involve for you?

Quickly checking emails and a cup of tea, then I head into the garden and help organise the jobs for the day with our volunteers. After that I could be doing anything from turning compost, planting potatoes, writing management reports to teaching a permaculture class. It’s a very dynamic (and BUSY) place to work.



Photo – Chris Brown



Photo – Chris Brown


Where do you derive creative inspiration?

From people, largely. There are few things as inspiring as someone with a positive outlook on life. I often find myself searching for a certain mood, which could be found in a song, a landscape, in a person, a story. I would describe that mood as being a mix of peace and chaos, confidence and vulnerability, fleeting glances and expressions, and what I like to call ‘exhale moments’, times when you just stop, take a second to have a deep breath, withdraw into your own mental space and say to yourself “Oh my god. Okayyyy, keep going”. Like a 2-second head space recombobulation.


Which other designers, artists or creative people are you most inspired by at the moment?

I am  very much inspired by my friends in the local art community. Neal Booth, El Hanlon, Rebecca Noel Holmes, Philip Solman, David Hampton, Kate Parker, Helena Smithe, Artist as Family, Beau Idaho, Belinda Howden, Brian Fuata, Andrew Johnstone and a zillion others.


What are some of your favourite websites or blogs?

It’s Nice That, but does it float, Synaptic stimuli, Today and Tomorrow, 50 Watts, I like this blog and AdBusters among many others. I keep my bookmarks in a folder I call ‘brain food’.


Apart from your work, what other interests, passions, hobbies do you have?

I am a passionate community garden advocate and I love sharing and absorbing knowledge relating to how we are going to navigate through the shit-storm which will be the end of cheap fossil fuels. I love permaculture, urban agriculture, native bees, swimming at the ocean baths, freecycle, couchsurfing, travel, tea cosies and nanna blankies.



Photo – Chris Brown


How long have you been a Novocastrian?

Since I was 2yrs old.


Newcastle in a word?



What do you love and hate about living in Newcastle?

I love it’s scale – it’s so bicycle friendly.

I dislike negative nancies. This place is so beautiful! Go and see the world and get a bit of freaking perspective.


How is Newcastle different to anywhere else?

Newcastle has this fantastic balance of city/country town. The CBD isn’t filled with gigantic high rises (YET!) and people are friendly and relaxed.


glen rock conservation area

Photo – Chris Brown


Where are your favourite places in Newcastle / Hunter to:


+ eat

Delucas  Pizza (159b Darby St, Cooks Hill)


+ drink

The Lass O’Gowrie Hotel (14 Railway St, Wickham)


+ shop

I vehemently detest the big supermarket chains and I avoid them like the plague. The organic fruit and veggie guy in the Hunter St Mall (Wed to Sat, 8:30am – 3pm)  is fabulous, and so are the Newcastle City Farmers Markets (most Sundays, Newcastle Showground, Broadmeadow).


+ play

Various green spaces across Newcastle and the small but beautiful coral reef at Nobbys Beach.


+ relax

At home surrounded by my many indoor plants and precious things.


What is Newcastle / Hunter’s best-kept secret?

The spectacular view and native species living on Shepherds Hill Reserve.



Photo – Chris Brown

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