How Are You Today – Josephine Mead

Josephine Mead

How Are You Today – Episode 4


Instagram handle @josephinemead
Instagram handle @Draw_in_


Kiera Brew Kurec 0:04
Hello and welcome to Pro Prac. I’m Kiera Brew Kurec.

Nick Breedon 0:06
And I’m Nick Breedon. You’re listening to how you today a spinoff series where we’ll call an artist and check in with how Coronavirus is affecting them mentally and physically and ask them to share their worries and their hopes for the future.

Kiera Brew Kurec 0:27

Josephine Mead 0:28

Kiera Brew Kurec 0:28
Thanks Josephine for speaking with us today, How Are You Today?

Josephine Mead 0:33
I’m good. I think. I know, I feel pretty good today, I think I’ve been having ups and downs, like everybody. And feeling pretty sad when I think about sort of the collective global grief that’s happening at the moment, and anxious, and with how much uncertainty we’re facing. But I also feel really lucky to be where we are. And, you know, we’ve miraculously done a pretty good job in flattening the curve so far in Australia. So we’re in a pretty lucky position, then we’ve got relatively the wealthy healthcare. So I’m feeling pretty fortunate. But also pretty, I guess in flux, like everyone.

Kiera Brew Kurec 1:22
I’m wondering if you are able to share with us how you have been affected by the situation?

Josephine Mead 1:29
Yeah, well, I am had moved to Berlin, at the end of January to do this ZKU residency for six months at centre for kunst and urbanistics. But obviously, I am now back home, and I decided to fly home in mid-March. So my plans have changed quite a lot, because I was going to be there for six months. So yeah, I guess I’m sort of getting my head around being back in Australia. And it’s sort of thrown my creative plans for the year to some extent, as well. So it’s strange. It’s nice to be home. But it’s also been a big shift.

Nick Breedon 2:17
Yeah, probably nice to be home. But also when you’re not expecting to be home so soon as a sadness and a grief attached to it.

Josephine Mead 2:24
Yeah, a little bit.

Nick Breedon 2:26
I noticed on Instagram that you’ve been working on some drawing projects. Do you want to talk us through what you’ve been doing with that a little bit?

Josephine Mead 2:34
Yeah, I’ve been working on a few different projects lately. I know from talking to different creative friends, I found that either people are making a lot at this time, or not really able to make anything with the way they’re feeling, which I think are both, you know, valid and understandable reactions. But I feel lucky that I’ve been in the earlier group of being able to make quite a lot. And one of the projects that I’ve been working on since getting back several weeks ago, is a series of COVID drawings, and their digital drawings that I’ve been making quite rapidly. Really, I guess, as a way to sort of process how I’m feeling and get my head around the pandemic. And just my, I guess, emotional reactions to it. They’re quite a departure from my previous work, which has consisted more of photography, and often film photography in the last few years, and sculpture, and they’re all quite digital and all produced digitally, and I think, have sort of a different aesthetic, which was very much a part of the conditions I was making them in, because I came home. And I’d gotten rid of a lot of materials before going away and also spent my first two weeks of getting home and self-isolation because I’d been overseas, so didn’t really have anything physical with me to work with just had my laptop. But I’ve produced about 50 of them now. And it’s sort of interesting how they’ve shifted the ones that I made firstly, when I was in self isolation, sort of have more of associations to like, graphs, or that sort of marking sense. And I think, you know, back then, several weeks ago, it looked like our transmission rates were going to grow quite rapidly, and there was a lot more things that we weren’t sure about. And so it was probably more of an anxious time for me and I was spending a lot of time focusing on the news and reading graphs and stuff. And then the more recent ones that I’ve been making just in the last couple of days, with that, intentionally trying to make them look like Australian native flora, a lot of them have taken on that visual connotation. So I think it’s my subconscious sort of getting my head around being home, I guess. So yeah.

Nick Breedon 5:13
The Betoota Advocate had a thing that was like, you know, “guy who loves loves graphs doesn’t want this to end”. (Laughter)

Josephine Mead 5:22
I know I’m having to cut myself off.

Nick Breedon 5:27
What about the news? as someone who, who was very much cut off from media for a minute, maybe the last one or two years? I have been binge reading the news like crazy, like, how have you sort of been finding that kind of experience?

Josephine Mead 5:43
Yeah, I’ve been a same. And I’ve also had to try to come up with some boundaries and sort of cut myself off to an extent because I was just, yeah, getting too consumed by it. So I’m trying to limit it to like a certain part of time of the day and trying to sort of keep it in one section of the day. So it’s not too much.

Kiera Brew Kurec 6:06
Is there anything else that you’ve been working on, other than the drawings?

Josephine Mead 6:12
Yeah, I’m working on a new research project called An Act of Deep Listening, which sort of carries on from stuff I was beginning in Berlin. I was thinking about sound and the relationship between sound and images and thinking about needs for deep listening. And I guess, in light of everything that’s happened with a pandemic, that seems much more pertinent now. And I’m working on an online project, which I think will take form in a website, which will be called An Act of Deep Listening. And I’ll pose some questions on the website about how people are listening or not listening to themselves at the moment and seek responses. And then I’ll make poetic responses in the form of images and texts, and probably sound works to those submissions and sort of upload them as like an ongoing, I guess, sort of like a visual diary, but like an ongoing interactive work. So I’m working on that at the moment, but I haven’t really figured out a platform for it yet, or how I’m going to bring it together. So I’ve got a few irons in the fire at the moment.

Nick Breedon 7:22
Is there anything that you’re kind of particularly worried about in terms of what’s happening in the world right now?

Josephine Mead 7:28
Yeah, I guess I’m, it’s just so worrying to think of how many people are dying and how many people are losing loved ones. And, of course, I’m anxious about the rates here, even though they’re relatively good at the moment, we’re not out of the woods. And it’s because how quickly things can change. My mom works in ICU. So that makes it a little bit more nerve wracking for me. But I guess it’s I mean, in a smaller sense, it’s pretty sad to see some of the beginning effects of it all on our art scene. And, you know, seeing, you know, important organizations last few weeks lose their AusCo funding, like Liquid Architecture, and West Space and La Mama. And to see Carriageworks go into voluntary administration yesterday. I think you know, that sad those cultural institutions are really important and really deserve support. But I also think, you know, making such a resilient force, and we’ve seen throughout history that artists will always continue to make, even though dire times. So I think I’m also drawing a lot of hope from that. And I’ve been looking at a lot of work that people locally are making at the moment and feeling inspired by that and feeling like how Melbourne arts community is really strong. I think it was really illustrated during the bushfires when so many Melbourne makers and creatives banded together to put on fundraisers, and sell works and stuff for bushfire relief. So it’s nice to see, you know that our community is really strong.

Kiera Brew Kurec 9:10
I think he kind of already just answer the question I was about to ask you, which is what are you hopeful for?

Josephine Mead 9:18
I guess yeah. Just hopeful for I mean, I don’t know if things will go back to normal but I think the main thing that brings me hope is artwork and making it and also experiencing it. Actually have a little list of a few things I’ve been being inspired by lately. So well, I I’ve been listening to a lot of stuff. I’ve been finding it sort of hard to read and hard to focus because I’ve been feeling distracted. So more been listening to stuff, have been listening to old recordings of Clara Rockmore the theremin player Which is beautiful, particularly her playing Tchaikovsky. And I’ve also been listening to my dear friend Justin ….. project Nuevo, which has brought some lightness to my last few days and I’ve been inspired by a lot of work coming out of Melbourne at the moment I’ve been loving Christine McFetridge’s new lumen prints that I think really showed the resilience of her art practice. She’s having to sort of reconfigure ideas for her Masters in light of the restrictions and I also don’t know if you guys are aware of Amelia Dowling’s new work A Compendium of Hugs, which is sort of like a love letter she’s written about people in her life she loves that she’d like to hug even more, its actually hanging in the window at the moment of Study which is a new space art space in Brunswick has been founded by Sophie Morrison ….. and was just opening and as lockdown happened but they’re using, it comes with a window space so they’re using that at the moment even though they’ve you know plans will have shifted with everything going on I’m sure this space will do amazing things so it’s worth keeping an eye on it.

Nick Breedon 11:19
On the way to the supermarket (Laughter)

Josephine Mead 11:22
In your allotted exercise and supermarket time, don’t stand there to long, just looks great, but don’t stop, (laughter). Sara Lindsay has been rethinking her skirt project for a new project that is in line with everything that’s going on. I haven’t had a chance to talk to her properly. But I’m sure it’ll be beautiful. And Kari Lee McInneny-McRae and Bridget Ryan have started Draw In online drawing but not online in real life drawing exchange where drawings posted between artists but then they’ve been posting their outcomes online. And they’ve been Yeah, really beautiful. I think Instagram accounts just called Draw In. And last week I listened to Super Sleep: We Cannot Stay Still a radio program by Anabel Lacroix, that was presented by subtexts and have been listening to a lot of the archived programs as well. And also I’ve been listening to Bus projects radio quite a bit, and in particular, Jazz Money’s, poetry readings, and yeah, so I feel lucky to have lots of good stuff on the other end of my computer.

Kiera Brew Kurec 12:45

Nick Breedon 12:45
Melbourne’s got the content.

Josephine Mead 12:48
It does, it does we’re very blessed.

Kiera Brew Kurec 12:50
Yeah, for sure.

Thank you for sharing all of those, and for the people listening who may not follow you, you have been posting your drawings on your Instagram account. Do you mind sharing them and your website if you like, so people can look up what you’re doing?

Josephine Mead 13:13
Yeah, my Instagram name is just Josephine Mead. And my website is

Nick Breedon 13:20
Thanks so much for your call with us today and sharing always great resources.

Josephine Mead 13:25
My pleasure.

Kiera Brew Kurec 13:25
And I look forward to continuing to see everything that you’re making.

Josephine Mead 13:29
Thank you.

Kiera Brew Kurec 13:29
Thanks, Josephine.

Nick Breedon 13:33
We respectfully acknowledge the traditional owners of the land the Wurundjeri people of the Kulin nation and pay respect to their elders past, present and emerging and the elders of the lands that this podcast reaches you on today. We extend that respect to all First Nations people listening today and acknowledge that sovereignty has never been ceded.

Kiera Brew Kurec 13:51
How Are You Today? has been generously supported by the city of Melbourne’s quick response grants. Follow us at propracpodcast on Instagram or email us at If you haven’t already, please subscribe on whatever you listen to podcast on.

Nick Breedon 14:06
Please stay in touch. We’d love to hear what you’re up to as well.

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Pro Prac acknowledges City of Melbourne’s generous contribution to How Are You Today? through their Quick Response grants program