Season One – Michael Candy

Michael Candy

Season 1 – Episode 5


Instagram handle @mcandy_


Kiera Brew Kurec 0:11
I’m Kiera Brew Kurec

Nick Breedon 0:12
and I’m Nick Breedon,

Kiera Brew Kurec 0:13
And you’re listening to Pro Prac podcast where we explore the professional practice of artists and hear their stories.

Hi, everyone. Thanks so much for listening today, you might be able to pick up on the sound difference already as today we are out of the recording studio in Carlton and we’re actually up on the Gold Coast in the studio of our guest Michael Candy.

Nick Breedon 0:38
Michael Candy is an emerging kinetic and new media artis his work centers on small hand built robots through which he examines ecological and social systems. Candy’s work elicits playful animism, as he transforms inanimate machines into autonomous and effective subjects. Often his video was filmed from the perspective of the robot offering cautiously object oriented view of the world. Many of his recent projects have additionally sought to mimic natural phenomena through technology. Candy has shown nationally and internationally notably at the Kathmandu trienniale, Pratt Manhattan gallery, The Forum of Sensory Motion in Athens, The Instrument Builders Project + Hackteria Lab in Yogyakarta, Indonesia. In 2015 he won the WRO award as part of the 16th Media Art biennale in Poland and later Prix Cube, Paris, France with his work Big Dipper.

Kiera Brew Kurec 1:37
Thanks so much for having us here today, in your bedroom (laughter)

Michael Candy 1:42
Yes my sound studio (Laughs)

Nick Breedon 1:47
So as always we start the podcast by asking how did you get to where you are today?

Michael Candy 1:54
When I graduated high school, I didn’t really know what to do. I kind of spent a year just kind of sleeping. And like, I got pretty good at sleeping, like I got really into like lucid dreaming and like researching how to sleep better. And then from that it kind of weirdly, like I did art in high school. And it was definitely It was probably the only thing I excelled in, in high school. And I was using it as an excuse to kind of create very weird experiments and robots, but I mean, it was very high school, of course. And so that following year of just like kind of taking time to think about stuff, I started to just experiment again, like, without really thinking about it, and was inspired by all sorts of weird media, like secret life of plants, and like these kind of pseudo-science experiments that that became quite popular recently, I guess. And well, you know, became relevant again, I guess. And so yeah, I started just tinkering. And then I actually wanted to study industrial design, because my like, GPA associate in high school, I had to do a portfolio based application to university. And my plan was to get into Visual Arts do that for a year, and then transfer to industrial design. And so I actually did that. And I enrolled in Visual Arts did it for a year, I moved to Brisbane at the end of that year, and (magpies on the roof) moved to Brisbane at the end of that year, and then transferred into industrial design, and minored is in visual art. And so I did industrial for like two years. Kind of minored n it the second year because like, I really struggled with that, that course a lot more than visual and not for technical difficulties. But for kind of the focus was was very, it was very consumer focused, like everything was had to be designed where I was trying to push concepts that were more like open source or shared and like not not so much product, but in engineering devices, I suppose. And it didn’t really comply with the course structure and I’m not very good at just kind of doing what they want. So so like I came back to visual arts, it’s like really excited to build and explore without any commercial purpose. Much to my detriment now (laughter). But yeah, so then I finished undergrad in Visual Arts.

Kiera Brew Kurec 5:10
What year did you graduate?

Michael Candy 5:12
I think it was like 2013. And then it was just kind of from there it’s kind of like a roller coaster like I’ve moved out of my Brisbane house in 2014. And was somehow, like bouncing between residencies and tried to move to Melbourne and I was just all over the place for like, three or four years, I don’t know,

Kiera Brew Kurec 5:36
You had already been showing and kind of participating in a lot of things before you must have graduated then? Like back in 2011 and 12, as well. So you’re already kind of producing a lot.

Michael Candy 5:51
I was, yeah, I’m super impatient. I’m more patient now. But like back then I was just like, let me get like I wanted. I was like, doing things way outside of my scope. And just, I mean, I don’t really have anything else I like to spend money on. So and my work is very resource intensive, because it’s all robotic components and stuff. And back then, I guess, in like, first second year, all my all through my degree as much more resourceful because I didn’t really have anything. So everything kind of had this crappy sort of steampunk look to it because it was just made out of junk. Like, I don’t know, it’s, it’s hard to kind of pursue like a contemporary practice when you can get like, shoehorned into, like looking like a new media or like kinetic artist. And it’s Yeah, it’s something I really struggle with, like, even like technology, I feel totally betrayed by it like this modern, you know, pretty much everything digital is just so sneaky and doing horrible things behind your back. And so I have this weird love hate relationship that really drives me with pursuing new work. It’s like, a future that I feel like we never really, we just had the rug pulled out from under us. And now,

Kiera Brew Kurec 7:20
yeah, I wonder if I’m, in the years, even though it is not a huge amount of views since you’ve graduated. But I wonder if the way that industrial design, and different engineering is actually starting to shift to think about the different potentialities of things rather than it being kind of just product design or that we are in control now that there is such a shift in what technologies are capable of, and how we need to kind of be preparing ourselves in different ways for the different like possibilities of AI and yeah, and I’m wondering if the university structure is starting to like accommodate for people to kind of be exploring that a bit more. Then possibly back when you were studying?

Michael Candy 8:10
Yeah, I think it totally. Yeah. I think it was even starting while I was there, but yeah, impatient me just wanted to get the hell out of universities.

Nick Breedon 8:20
I’m going back on what you were saying before about. The you mentioned like the word kinetic and how kinetic is something that is applied to your practice quite often. How do you how do you kind of relate to that sort of labelling? Do you find that frustrating kind of term or a totally comfortable being labelled as someone who’s like a kinetic artist.

Michael Candy 8:43
I feel like kinetic art happened already. Like, it’s for me, it’s like, I just think of like playground equipment. You know …. like, just did it to the max and that was it like it should have stopped there. And you can do it at Burning Man, but I don’t know (laughter). That was something you actually like, really I never forgot that. It was that Splendid. Where we met that artist residency. You we’re like, careful with this word. Like, actually, yeah. This kind of sucks, like, and there’s also like, with the new media art, as well, I mean, new media is really broad but there’s also like …. electronica and there’s like a you know, I built it not the robot Arduino does this and like responds to this and turns into sound usually, that’s what everyone does and it’s like, it’s just this weird community that just hang out in like, comfy European countries. And it’s like, jeez, I like I they are lovely the guys I meet these people and like, it’s a really cool and supportive community. And it has been like, this weird way for me to like it’s an avenue for like promoting my stuff, it’s like I’ve done this thing, it kind of applies. And then it can do really well in those circles, but I don’t want to end up trapped in those circles. So I think like, I don’t know, keeping conflict in every aspect of how I do things is something that drives me.

Kiera Brew Kurec 10:18
And also, I guess, like working with the materials that you do and the cost of those materials and getting funding to be able to experiment with these technologies and having to maybe use both, like a contemporary art funding streams alongside other different kinds of funding that might be more reserved for technologies. Is that something that you have to do in terms of like struggling between having an art language kind of spiel that you give to people and also I kind of spiel to maybe more different companies to invest? Or to that could possibly fund like a project for something. Is that something that you’ve ever had to do?

Michael Candy 11:06
I pretty much stick to like the art world with things. But yeah, like I I was recently in the States, and I went to like an engineering college just did like a guest presentation. And it was weird, because normally, like, when I present work, and I talk about it, I just like, you know, give the art spiel, but everyone, all the students that were engineers, and I was just like, now use these servers, and this microcontroller, I could like nerd out and it was so much fun, but it was like, yeah, it’s weird. It’s something that I like, reserve. I don’t, it’s not necessary for like, General conversations

Kiera Brew Kurec 11:42
Yeah, yeah. It’s interesting. It’s also I think, you know, everyone does that with their practice. They have their kind of spiel that they give to artists and or put it in funding applications. And then they have this field that they say to their Auntie over the Christmas table. Like this is what I’ve been making. Yeah, like you kind of, not to dumb it down or anything, but to actually make it kind of relatable in the context of your life

Nick Breedon 12:06
rather than activity based.

Kiera Brew Kurec 12:08
Yeah. Or just, you know, that you’re human sitting around a table, not just like a, you know, a form that someone reads at Aus Co without a name or a face or anything, you know, just a number and these kind of like, you know, really key words that are like that are about how to activate community.

Michael Candy 12:27
yeah. ticking the boxes. Yeah.

Kiera Brew Kurec 12:29
Like, my auntie Mary doesn’t care about that.

Michael Candy 12:31
Yeah. Yeah. I normally like if if I really have to explain it to like someone from outside the arts. Yeah, it’s just like, I just make robots for art. And they’re like, that’s generally like scary enough that people leave me alone.

Kiera Brew Kurec 12:50
So what have been some of your biggest challenges that you’ve needed to overcome to continue your practice? Has there been anything that you’ve had to negotiate to be able to be working? Are you working pretty much full time at the moment?

Michael Candy 13:07
Somehow Yeah. It’s really yeah, it’s really tricky, because I’m not financially smart. And I do, like, if I’m going to make something, and I can afford the best components, I get them. Because that’s the other thing is, like, people think they’re gonna buy your moving sculpture thing. And it’s just gonna work. And it’s like, No, I’m built that out of stuff from the tip shop, it’s, it’s gonna break down. And it costs money to make things more reliable. So like trying, trying to pursue new works, where I use my skill set, and sort of reuse components to build things, and create video work. Because that, of course, is like, you know, everyone knows how to play video work, but it can be of the work itself. And a lot of people only really see my sculptures through online documentation, which which kind of sucks as well, because they’re unintentionally kind of ephemeral. Like they break down. And so I guess that’s one of the major challenges and, yeah, I mean, I got lucky with like a few art jobs like commissions for other artists to make machines because like, I have the skill set. I want to make this thing do this. And I can totally do that. And then I get written into other people’s grants and the odd project here and there has totally like, got me through.

Kiera Brew Kurec 14:45
sorry to interrupt your training in how to build these robots. Was that through studying industrial design, or was it just self-taught?

Michael Candy 14:56
That was something I’ve always done since being a kid, I just took lots of things apart to kind of figure out how they work. And like, you know, when engineers see my things, they they know, the very small skill set that I have, because it’s very limited. I’m not an engineer, I’m not a programmer. So like, I kind of find very weird and arbitrary avenues to like, accomplish the end goal. So and I think, you know, if you are super professional, in whatever your focus is, your, your outs, art is not as interesting. Yeah, you gotta, you gotta be a little bit crappy. So embrace the crappiness.

Kiera Brew Kurec 15:47
I think it was Sanné Maestrom said in an artist talk once that she uses these different mediums, and she’s not really interested in becoming the best at them. She uses them for what she needs, rather than, you know, to become the master. And I think that that’s really interesting in kind of our age today that and then when you reflect on art history, how it was all about, like mastering your medium. whereas now, I think we have the luxury of being able to, like, use them for what we want, and then be able to, like, also abandon them as we need to.

Michael Candy 16:24
Yeah, well, like the term hacking kind of becomes continually, like, broad as it covers different mediums. But like, I think modern art like, the same way, you can’t be a female artist and not be a feminist, you know, you can’t be a modern artist and not engage with technology in some way. And artists are kind of, there’s always this cool thing with art, where it’s like you, you just kind of abuse systems and find their limits. And like, artists use technology in that way, whether it’s social media, or like, the medium of the practice, I find, like people find very hacky, or like, you know, disused ways to still use technology. Yeah. And that’s, that’s something that’s really interesting to me is just like, you know, how do you make a coffee with a toaster or whatever it is? This, like, there’s some kind of hacking term there that I’ve totally forgotten, but

Kiera Brew Kurec 17:35
we spent a lot of our new year’s discussing how to make the best toasted cheese sandwich in a toaster.

Nick Breedon 17:41
Oh, yeah, you can put a toaster on its side and like, make a grilled cheese.

Michael Candy 17:46
Yeah. that’s hacking.

Kiera Brew Kurec 17:47
If you need to boil an egg and you don’t have a stove and you can like, keep your kettle, you know, if you leave the top open, it just continues to boil because it doesn’t have to switch to know that it’s reached boiling point. So you can boil your eggs in that (Laughter). Important breakfast hacks.

Nick Breedon 18:09
So another question we have, which is quite broad, but it’s what does a successful practice mean to you? or What does being a practicing artist mean to you? And we asked that to everyone, because we think it’s really interesting, the way that people kind of quantify what a practice actually is.

Michael Candy 18:28
I’d say if you can yeah, I’d say if you can, like shout your friends dinner, and you have the time to do that you’re doing all right. Like, that’s, that’s pretty good. But, you know, you can still be successful and not financially successful. But it’s kind of this weird, like, I still hit rock bottom, like three times a year, probably where it’s just like, I have no money at all and have to ask friends for work and like, go do a few side jobs, and then something will come through and and it’s this, it’s like a total roller coaster of like, Oh, I have like $25,000, you know, like, but I have to do this project that’s 15 grand, and then somehow live off like 10 grand for a year. And it’s just like, it’s Yeah, and the money just goes down. And it’s like, you’re not paid for your hours, even though you wrote it into the grant. Like, it’s like, you cannot have that hourly wage, even at the lowest rate.

Kiera Brew Kurec 19:36
Sometimes I just shove it to the back of my mind, because I don’t want to figure out how much you know, when there’s some projects that you’d be like, wow, I probably got paid like less than 10 cents an hour, the amount of hours even though you’ve gotten a grant for it, and there’s so much extra time than what you can actually be paid for.

Nick Breedon 19:54
It’s quite interesting that you said that you can shout your friends do but also be able to go to dinner. Because it is kind of like there is that Flipside to like you’re either you’re either like idle and you have no money or you’re like working way too much way too hard and you have no time. It’s quite an interesting sort of like, yeah, rollercoaster, as you said, of just like, yeah, no time no money no time no money..

Michael Candy 20:22
Yeah, and then you throw traveling in the mix as well. And it’s just like, I’m not here, like, I can’t do it. But that was one of the other interesting things is like when I did travel a lot. And, like, I’ve always been envious of video, like artists that specifically work with video, like, you know, web based artists and stuff. And it’s like, all you need is a laptop. Like, that’s so cool. And I’ve been like, I can’t do that. But now it’s like, why can’t I do that. So like, I’ve like built a small 3d printer and like, have this mobile kind of studio set up. And like, I just can go anywhere. Like I was in Thailand recently. And like just making stuff on an island there. Like, all I need is electricity. I’ve done build works in my hotel rooms in Paris and stuff. And it’s kind of, you can’t really just think like that you need to like push yourself to explore how you can create in very uncomfortable situations.

Nick Breedon 21:20
Out of curiosity is you know, we are called Pro Prac. But what’s what’s actually in that? Like, what’s your setup for your mobile studio? Like, is it in a case like what do you have in there?

Michael Candy 21:34
So like, I tried multiple things, so I like different tool bags and stuff. None of it really worked. And then when I went to Nepal, I really wanted like a big Pelican case. But the ones with wheels. I mean, there’s not even like most of the roads or gravel and stuff. So I bought like the strapping section of a hunting backpack. And like like it was like made to fit like it’s like really professional. And I made it like clip to this giant Pelican case. So it’s like a pelican backpack.

Nick Breedon 22:10
That’s so cool.

Michael Candy 22:11
And, and so like could we rode like up into the Himalayas on motorbikes and stuff with this, like carrying all these robots to like film in these different locations. And inside there I fitted like, I have a small foldable 3d printer, and like I packed just basic electronics that that would be hard to find. And, you know, soldering irons, batteries, that’s something that’s like a finite resource. I travel with drone batteries, regardless of if I have a drone just because of the high energy like, can’t really get them anywhere. And on a lot of occasions, I take my drill, actually, because like, a lot of places just have really crappy drills. And it’s like what I’ve a tattoo on my butt off my drill. I love my drill.

Nick Breedon 23:03
I feel the same. Yeah it is an extension of your arm.

Michael Candy 23:07
Yeah. Yeah. It’s also, you know, a poor tradesman blames his tools, but that’s total bullshit. You need good tools. Like it’s if you’re working with stuff every day, like, I don’t know, I have I had this conversation with my housemate. And he’s like, on his computer, drawing things every day. And I was just like, he’s on this like piece of shit computer and his chairs terrible. And like, just get a nice chair, like you spend 12 hours here, and you make money, like, just get a nice, I would not compromise on something like that. It’s like, this is part of my lifestyle. Like, I don’t know. Yeah, it’s it’s not worth compromising. If it’s something you’re actually going to keep using.

Kiera Brew Kurec 23:55
I think I’m back to making a portable studio. I think that that’s a really important thing and something that I learned soon after I graduated from my undergrad, I went and was living in Berlin and was doing residencies. And at that stage, I guess, of my like, career straight out of school, I didn’t really think about what I need for a studio setup. But I think it also allowed me to realize what I do need and that you don’t really need much at all, and that as long as I had something to record myself on, whether it was my computer or back in those days, like just a little crappy camcorder, that that was enough. And that you can make a studio wherever you go, and that you can like, collect pieces and then make sure that you can also just like have it somewhat ephemeral as well and be able to like disperse them back to wherever you are, and then recollecting in different places. And I think some people, you know, get really fixated on having like really permanent spaces and to have all these different things and I think it can be a really great exercise to actually think about what you need to sustain your practice, in terms of equipment, and can you actually push your conceptual ideas into ways that you can use different materials in different spaces to achieve the same result or explore that concept, rather than just relying on the same set up over and over again, with a new kind of home or studio that he always have on hand? So yeah, I think it’s a good exercise for anyone to kind of like go through and kind of take inventory about what they actually need to have a practice.

Michael Candy 25:35
Yeah, totally. Yeah.

Kiera Brew Kurec 25:36
What does your practice look like on a kind of day to day basis, like, or a week in the life of your practice?

Michael Candy 25:47
Ah, well, I guess in the studio is probably the best reference for that. I have kind of always like worked, where I live. And like, my studio, in Brisbane, when I was in university was like, in my bedroom in a Queenslander, and like, I did everything from like, welding to like casting lead in my like bedroom in like a wooden house, which is just such a shit idea. And yeah, it’s weird, like, even here when building these sort of areas, like the sleeping areas or “napping areas”, not bedrooms, because that’s not legal

Nick Breedon 26:35
Like soundproof area,

Michael Candy 26:36
yeah, sound my sound studio with a bed. And clothes. We kind of like I was, because I built it with my housemate. I was like, let’s just make the smallest living space possible. Because like, I just, I don’t really know what people do in rooms, like, you watch things on your laptop and go to sleep, right, or like read a book, go to sleep. And it’s kind of, I don’t know, I don’t think I’ve really had known how to do normal life. So for me, studio is like priority. And here, I kind of get up, make a coffee. If I have computer work, which I dread, I hate being on my computer so much. Like if I if I have like emails, grants or something that I need to work on, I try and do that and finish before midday or like cut myself off before midday. And then I’ll spend some time in the workshop, working on whatever it is there is always something to be working on. And, like, I try and go out at midday every day, around midday or at least once a day. Either for a swim or to like just go for a walk somewhere. Because we don’t really have windows in here, I need fresh air. And it can get pretty depressing even though we get a lot of light in here. So like, you have to leave the studio at some point in the day. That’s one of the problems of living there. I guess if you don’t live there, you cannot do that. And then yeah, if if the workshop gets a bit too hot, or whatever, I’ll probably like stop it three or four, and then do a bit more computer work and call it a day. It kind of sucks. How much like admin starts to consume your actual time as an artist like yeah, and grant writing and stuff is like something I’ve never really improved on. So it’s always a last minute kind of forced thing.

Nick Breedon 28:48
I wonder quite often about like, you know, pre pre internet like how much you know, cuz I mean, we’re all are from the age of internet like what it was actually like for artists before then doing admin, you know, preparing I mean, preparing for grants must have been much harder and much more challenging but

Kiera Brew Kurec 29:11
sending in slides,

Nick Breedon 29:13
slides and phone calls.

Michael Candy 29:16
Phone calls are still awesome people forget that

Nick Breedon 29:18
I did for a long time but I’m back on them

Michael Candy 29:21
You get one of those stupid emails. It’s got like six dot points and your like nup I’m going to call you back.

Kiera Brew Kurec 29:29
I am so the opposite I’m like put it in text I need to read it but then yeah, I was collaborating with someone this year and they would at any chance and like if someone give someone a call and I would be still drafting an email

Nick Breedon 29:45
I mean I do I think that email really has its merits for like keeping track of like what was agreed on I really enjoyed that about especially like when I’m working freelance. It’s really important to have everything in text but like when people are texting you about random stuff that’s unacceptable.

Michael Candy 29:58
Like I have a few friends who are like academics and they send me emails, like twice a day now, like I met them at this conference earlier this year. And like, and then I was hanging out with one of them, and I saw she like talks into a keyboard. And I’m like, Nah, this is why you sent me like, these arbitrary emails about like, something that crossed your mind. You know, it’s, my email isn’t it’s like, I treat it like a letterbox. It’s like, Oh, that one took ages to arrive. I can’t. I mean, I really shouldn’t. I shouldn’t be saying this. (Laughter) But I mean, if something’s pressing, I cut off everything and do it. But if it’s just like, I don’t know, I’m just so bad at being social. Like, it’s like, it’s hard. I don’t know.

Nick Breedon 30:21
It’s very taxing.

Kiera Brew Kurec 30:45
Yeah, it’s, um, I remember someone saying how they dedicate one day a week to grant writing. Even if there’s kind of nothing, you know, that’s due in that month, they kind of start prepping for them, and so that they just have this one day a week. And I thought that that was really organized. And I tried doing that, but it kind of just ends up being like, taken over by emails, even then, like, it doesn’t even matter if you’ve got like a computer day scheduled. It’s just crazy emails.

Nick Breedon 31:13
Just that one crippling day of computer work, where you are at a desk for like, eight hours. It’s so crap.

Michael Candy 31:21
That’s, that’s my thing. Like, I hate technology. It’s like it’s designed to like, make you more efficient and stuff, but it actually just makes you able to do more work. Maybe I don’t want to do that much work. You know, like,

Nick Breedon 31:34
I can’t remember which economist it was. But it was like, they thought that by now, we would just be like working two days a week.

Michael Candy 31:44
Oh yeah I will just be going sailing today.

Nick Breedon 31:48
It’s like, no, it’s actually just like increased our productivity so now we just do more and earn more and spend it on.

Michael Candy 31:56
I don’t know if we earn more (laughter)

Kiera Brew Kurec 32:01
And also, in the corporate world, people like being told that they can work one day, a week from home or whatever. And I totally understand that for some people like open plan workspaces, and everything is really great. But I also feel like that is encouraging people to bring their work home with them in areas of workforces that probably doesn’t need to leave the office and then encroach on their family life and their life, their lifestyle by having, you know, what is pitched as this kind of really flexible work arrangement, and it’s actually just increasingly like encroaching more and more on people’s day to day life.

Nick Breedon 32:42
outsourcing physical space as well in to people’s homes. Yeah, corporations aren’t like compensating

Michael Candy 32:51
you know that is the thing as an artist you can leave the studio but you’re still an artist. Like it comes home with you. Yeah, it’s like this bad stink you have for the rest of your life. I’ve always been envious of, like, you know, oh, 5pm I can have beers. Watch TV is like no obligations. I’ve never had that. And people are like you never had a job. But like, because like, I get these weird, you know, project jobs. But it’s like, I’ve never had a nine to five, but it hell it looks kind of good. I think there is redeeming aspects.

Kiera Brew Kurec 33:26
Yeah, absolutely. I sometimes, just want to be able to walk home from work and leave it behind me. Well, I also wonder, like, even if I made the decision to quit art, you can never stop.

Michael Candy 33:40
You can’t quit art

Kiera Brew Kurec 33:42
Like the way that you think and the way that you’ve been trained to analyse things.

Michael Candy 33:46
We all have the mind virus now

Kiera Brew Kurec 33:49
We just saw a Star is Born, which is a terrible film, but like, we wrote about 15 essays about like, different ways that the film was just like, just failed. And it’s like, you can’t even enjoy crappy film (laughter)

Nick Breedon 34:04
It has ruined all media for us forever. You can’t turn of the critic in my mind.

Michael Candy 34:12
That’s kind of good. Only the good stuff makes it through now. The ones that make it through like, actually, that’s pretty good. And then maybe there is a higher satisfaction. I mean, you got to keep up with pop culture, right? Otherwise you want to understand the minions.

Nick Breedon 34:32
What would we make art about (laughter)

Kiera Brew Kurec 34:37
So what has been one of the biggest resources that has assisted you in your practice?

Michael Candy 34:42
Oh, I can’t help but think of resources is something that like stays with me through my practice. But I mean, I guess this guy hasn’t but the workshop staff at university. That was where I learnt the most because they were from like, set design and stuff. And yeah, just really good at mould making and I like actually learned a lot of like, really cool ways to produce work. And I was also like, I would always think I’m doing things to the best of my ability, but it’s also like it, at the end of the day, it’s like, you need to just create it to do the thing, like, it doesn’t need to stand the test of time, you know. And that was a, that was very important for me to learn, I guess. And then I don’t know resources. I gotta say, I think being an artist, or being an Australian citizen, it’s a fucking awesome resource, because like, not a lot of other countries have kind of the avenues for funding and support that we do. And I’ve been, like, pretty lucky with quite a few things. But I mean, we all have ups and downs. But Australia does invest quite heavily in the arts, as opposed to a lot of other countries. And I think like, if you were a US citizen, it’s like, you need to be high class to kind of succeed I of course, can still be an artist, but it’s gonna be hard work. Like, you’re not gonna get government grants the way they’re available here.

Nick Breedon 36:19
We are incredibly privileged.

Michael Candy 36:21
Yeah. Yeah. And, and the other, I guess, I don’t know, resource. I think leaving Australia is also important on that note, because there’s, there’s a lot of like, very localized problems that we kind of focus on that aren’t actually that important.

Kiera Brew Kurec 36:47
That is so interesting, actually just discussing this in the car this morning, about life, path traveling, you can never really pinpoint, you know, when people come back from traveling, like, I feel like a different person. And you kind of can’t pinpoint it. But it’s just kind of this mind expansion of like, understanding yourself within a wider context. Or your practice within a wider context. So beneficial and so important.

Michael Candy 37:13
Yeah. And also, it’s generally cheaper to live anywhere else in the world, Australia. So like, as an artist, if you can figure out a way to travel, it’s actually, it can work out better for you.

Nick Breedon 37:29
What advice would you like to have received when you were starting out? or What do you wish someone would have told you about being an artist when you were just beginning it like, as a practicing artist?

Michael Candy 37:42
My gut says, Just don’t do it. Like, don’t do it. Yeah, that’s, that’s we kind of touched on this last night. But I guess, I didn’t really grow up in a situation where I knew this was even a career path. Like I kind of just thought, and sort of is, in a way, like art is just a rich man’s hobby, you know, like, it’s, I don’t know, like, How the hell did that you go to like a big gallery and look at things and you’re like, how did that even happen? Like, why and how. And so it was a really steep learning curve to kind of figure out that it is it is this weird microcosm that exists. And it is very broad and confusing, but there is ways to actually survive and be an artist. Um, and so I don’t know, like, going through university, the course I did, there wasn’t anything particularly focused on actually being an artist in the real world. And a lot of my peers just kind of graduated and got other jobs, nothing to do with the arts. And some some still are artists of course, but like, it’s, it’s kind of, it kind of sucked that there was not someone like I of course, had tutors telling me it is possible, but like, there wasn’t this clear, like course structure that’s like, this is how you organize your studio. And this is how like you organized clients and like. I think something that I’m not even very good at, but just remembering people like is the most important thing and like staying in touch with as many people from the arts as you can, is also very important because you’re as much as you want to be you’re not an individual, like you exist in this really dumb weird society of artists and you need to be their friends, and you need to exist in that. So I don’t know. I think just be friendly and I used to say, say yes to everything that used to be what I thought was good, but now it’s saying no to everything. (Laughter) Seriously, just don’t cuz you like, I don’t know how I had that much energy and I was just doing like, just wasting so much time on like shows that no one would come to and it was just just do things that are worth it, I suppose.

Nick Breedon 40:25
I feel like that might be the slip between like emerging and sort of emerging mid careers like say yes to everything at the start and then say no to everything.

Michael Candy 40:36
Yeah, yeah, totally. Cuz I’m just learning that now. And it’s still hard. It’s still hard. It’s like, hey, I’ve got like, 50 bucks in my wallet. You want to make me an art and I’m like ohhh I want that 50 bucks, but you know, the art is probably gonna cost $400 it’s kind of Yeah. No, we’re not I think Yeah. People are really make it in the big out there mega art world are just really good at finance. We’re just not.

Kiera Brew Kurec 41:16
and networking.

Michael Candy 41:23
And yeah, Another tip maybe to add sorry. This is like a really, I’ve just kind of gone all over the place. Don’t rely on social media. any of it. Like, even Facebook, adding someone as a friend doesn’t count for shit. Like you it is not relevant. Unless you actually are personally in touch with this person. Yeah, just always remember the virtual world doesn’t exist.

Kiera Brew Kurec 41:56
That might be a good note to end on. Thank you so much.

Nick Breedon 42:03
Do you have anything coming up that you would like to plug?

Michael Candy 42:09
You know, no like this year there’s a whole bunch of people that are like, yeah, we want something but it’s kind of still up to them whether it’ll happen.

Nick Breedon 42:18
Did you say no? (laughter)

Unknown Speaker 42:24
Michael Candy has nothing coming up this year because he said NO to everything (Laughter)

Nick Breedon 42:28
Make sure you check out Michael Candy‘s nothing later this year

Michael Candy 42:31
yeah, please come along. I’ve got nothing going on. Visit my studio, I guess. Come hang out.

Kiera Brew Kurec 42:41
Again, thank you so much.

Michael Candy 42:43
Thank you guys.

Nick Breedon 42:48
We acknowledge the Yugambeh people as traditional owners of the lands on which this podcast was recorded. We pay our respects to elder’s past, present and emerging.

Thanks for listening. You can listen to other episodes and subscribe on iTunes or wherever you get your podcasts. You can rate and leave us a nice review so people can find us. Stay up to date with us on Instagram @propracpodcast or send us an email at