Season One – Yandell Walton

Yandell Walton

Season 1 – Episode 2


Instagram handle @yandellw


Kiera Brew Kurec 0:00
Hi I’m Kiera Brew Kurec

Nick Breedon 0:12
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, and thank you for joining us today Yandell Walton is in the studio with us. Yandell’s practice investigates the impermanence of life, addressing the relationships between nature and mortality through environmental, political and social experiences. Through creating immersive works that connect to the viewer, she aims to engage and inspire action from individuals towards a collective consciousness with an ever changing an increasingly damaged planet. Using technology to highlight the ephemeral nature of our existence. Her works often utilize projection and architectural spaces to blur the distinction between the actual and the virtual. Yandell has exhibited regularly in non-traditional and public spaces, both in Australia and internationally. In 2015, she completed a Masters of Fine Arts at the Victorian College of Arts recent public art Commission’s include Departed in regional New South Wales, where she worked with 3d scanning technology to create a public engagement project, Absent Presence in Townsville in an interactive public artwork and Transition in Melbourne, a public art intervention. In early 2018, she undertook a residency at Phasmid studio in Berlin, awarded by the Victorian College of the Arts. During this residency, she focused on learning new skills to bring concepts to life with innovative 3d scanning and printing technology. Her work has been part of Art + Climate = Change festival, Light City, Baltimore, Digital Graffiti Florida, Experimenta Speak To Me both in Melbourne and Brisbane, Public Festival in Perth, Melbourne Festival, Vivid festival in Sydney, ISEA which is the International Symposium of Electronic Art, and White night festival in Melbourne. Thank you so much Yandell for joining us.

Nick Breedon 2:12
Thanks for joining us in studio.

Yandell Walton 2:14
Thanks for having me.

Kiera Brew Kurec 2:15
It’s great to have you here. So we’ll kick off the ball with asking, how did you get to where you are today? And what has been the story of your practice so far?

Yandell Walton 2:27
Yeah, well, I suppose. Firstly, if you’re looking at my history, firstly, my bringing up I suppose. So I was inspired by a lot of people around me. I was always being encouraged to take the career path of an artist. So back when I was growing up in in the 80s, my Mum was a publisher, and ran street press. So we had a lot of creative people around. So a lot of musicians, performers, comedians, artists. So yeah, I always felt like when, you know, when I was young, I’m talking, you know, 6,7,8 9,10, you know, I had a lot of creative people around me. I always felt like I could choose that as a career path. I And I was also really, really encouraged by those people. So they were very big in my life, Mum was a single Mum. And she relied on her friends a lot to look after us. And so you know, we were around these people a lot me and my sister, so yeah.

Nick Breedon 3:46
Was there any kind of kind of moment where you sort of went from having or being in that kind of like, really creative environment and community where you were you just sort of had that moment of being like, I am going to be an artist or I am going to pursue the arts as more formally? Or was it just kind of like a long process of like, you just kind of, you know, ended up there?

Kiera Brew Kurec 4:06
Yeah, I can’t remember. I can’t remember being young and thinking that I just felt like, I was just very drawn to drawing and being creative. And I didn’t think it was any different to any other career path to be honest. And then I suppose when I grew up, I understood that it was a bit different to choose that as a career path. But when I was a teenager, I mean, the other major thing, I suppose is, it was a very, it was an outlet that really saved me when I was going through trauma as a young person. So I kind of had to do it. It was the only way that I could express very intense emotions. I suppose. I felt like I couldn’t really express them verbally. So through my art, I could really have an outlet. And then, I suppose after that, so I was, you know, a teenager at that time, and then, you know, you kind of you are considering what you can do you know, where you’re going to go, what you’re going to be all that sort of stuff. And, yeah, I mean, very close person, in my life passed away, in a really sort of sudden, you know, full on accident. And I found it really difficult. And I feel like, art really helped me deal with that. And that, you know, those ideas of around death mortality are concepts that I was drawn to, throughout my practice, even sort of to now. So there was a time when, yeah, I think it was year 10, I think I sort of was struggling a lot. And I left I left high school, and I came down to Melbourne, my sister was living back down here, because I had been in far north Queensland. I came down to Melbourne and I remember visiting all the art galleries, you know, NGV, you know, all the large sort of art galleries, and really kind of contemplating on, you know, if I really did want to be an artist, would I need to go to university to study, if I needed to go to university study, I have to go back to high school. So it was then I went back to Cannes back to far north Queensland, I had a meeting with the principal at the school that I was expelled from, and say, and just asked me if I could come back and do their CAD course, which was a an art sort of program for year 11 and 12, which was like 15 periods of art a week. And that’s when I thought of, when I kind of was like, Okay, this is what I’m gonna do. And I’m gonna make this happen. And yeah, I did it.

And then where did you So did you go on from when you finished high school to study at a tertiary level straightaway?

Yep, Yeah, I think because I had that year off in year. 10. Or it was, yeah, it must have been the start of year 11. or end of year 10. I can’t remember. Yeah. And I had that year off. So when I went back, and was very committed to this career as an artist, I chose to do that year 11 and 12. And do the best I can and then apply for University here in Melbourne, because I had grown up earlier here and had, yeah, connections here.

And then from when you were studying, did you start exhibiting straightaway? Or did you take some time off to follow other pursuits? It sounds like you’re already so committed to building a practice.

Yeah, I was always very young. I was only 18. But I was extremely committed. And I remember. Yeah, I don’t know. It’s, I mean, it’s so long ago. Also, back then, you had sort of three disciplines that you could choose between, and they are very, they weren’t very cross disciplinary. So I was never really good at drawing actually but I express myself a lot through maybe using sort of photographic techniques they were even non-traditional sort of photographic techniques. And I remember choosing printmaking, as my discipline and kind of using non-traditional sort of using photographic printmaking photographic techniques that weren’t very big back then. We also didn’t learn, you know, computer computers at all. So we weren’t, you know, using Photoshop or anything back then so it was really interesting. I remember probably, second, third year, yeah, just always really striving to do better and better. And if there was any kind of group exhibitions that I could, you know, put work in, I was always, you know, applying for those. And, you know, small grants t through the university, stuff like that, and that was always, you know, very, you know, in the back of my mind, I was always putting in applications. And then I really wanted to do honours at RMIT because they had in their printmaking department, they had a lot of female print makers as lecturers and I was really drawn to their practice, they were sort of pushing the boundaries of printmaking a lot more than traditional sort of etchings and lithographs, I felt like a lot of the print makers were doing more spatial kind of installations and stuff. And I applied for the honours at RMIT. And I didn’t get in, and I was really upset. And then I had a year off, and went overseas to London and came back and applied again and didn’t get in again. And I remember just knocking on the head of departments going going up to the head, head of departments at RMIT, I won’t say whose office it wasn’t like, knock, knock, knock (Laughter). Hi, you know, blah, blah, blah, can I come in and have a chat. And she was kind of like, Oh, I’m actually really busy I said I’m sure you’ve got five minutes and just sort of came in and sat down in the nicest possible way, but very, very forceful (laughter). I cannot believe I even did that. I remember, my my, one of my best friends, Joe Wilson, who’s been awesome. I think she dropped me off, actually. And I remember having really full on butterflies, and I’m like, I’m gonna do this, like, what have I got to lose? This is second time they said, No, why would they say no? Oh, my God, I’m losing it anyway. So I went in there. And she basically said, you know, we’ve had to offer the small amount of places that we’ve got to students that have gone through RMIT first, I was like, sure, what can I do? I’m happy to find money, like whatever, blah, blah, blah. I didn’t know. But really, I’m really glad that I sort of did that really showed my initiative, and my passion and my drive, because two weeks later, she called and said that one of the people didn’t take the places so they’re offering to me so I ended up going there. For my honours year and a Masters by coursework. Yeah, so I spent three years there. And I remember buying a whole lot of copper for etching, and lino for the prints to make prints. And they were fantastic. They really just told me not to bother (laughter) and to pursue to be seeing my photo media, more contemporary kind of way. And yeah, not to necessarily make prints the traditional prints out of it, which then led to using the lens.

Nick Breedon 12:29
So at what was the point where you sort of started kind of, maybe going from like, photography as a medium to kind of jumping into like projection or like, you know, public spaces, but also like digital, rather than so much like the analogue, so you’re still using the lens, but like stepping through into that kind of digital medium.

Kiera Brew Kurec 12:52
So it was definitely at that point. Yeah, all the lecturers at RMIT really encouraging me to pursue photo media, rather than photographic techniques within the printmaking discipline. So I started really exploring photo media, through a lens, which, you know, even if it was a still lens, photographic lens. I picked up my first video camera, though, you know, it was quite accessible didn’t cost that much. I think I got one second-hand. And I kind of so I was pushing this, you know, these these works into more of a spatial context anyway. So in the more installation, I’m using multiple screens, and then that just progressed into projection using projections, projecting the video, the moving image. And as soon as I did that, I knew that this was where I wanted to go with my work, like I was really interested in how spatial, the works could be, you’re really integrating actual space with the virtual and also, the layering, it was almost like, even back if I think about it, all my traditional prints had so many layers, and then even the the photo media stuff had so many layers, and then all of a sudden I’m dealing with actual architectural space and layering imagery over the top of that. Yeah, a lot of my work is very site responsive to like these spaces mean something they are conceptually related to that, you know, the overall work.

Was that kind of the point as well, where you kind of started putting work into the public space and activating architecture in through your work, or were you still projecting in gallery environments and creating work to be situated within the gallery?

It all happened pretty quick in terms of well I mean I was still at university. So I didn’t have a lot of gallery exhibitions or Yeah, I mean, working very spatially within, you know, the gallery. But I think as soon as I started working with projection, it was very quick that I was kind of looking at architecture from the inside and outside. So whether, you know, maybe projecting from the inside, but you’re viewing it from the outside, I use the window a lot as a motive for this idea of a psychological space inside outside. So the viewed is outside the, you know, a projected figures trying to get out of the window or something like that. So it was pretty quick that I was working with public space, I think I am, I did a project for Next Wave when I was I, yeah a young artist that was a public artwork, utilizing one of the big windows in the Nicholas building. So that was a significant public artwork. Yeah, that was supported by Next Wave. So it was, I had time to develop that.

that’s such a great way that you had the support of Next Wave, because often making that transition from the gallery environment into the public environment, or spaces outside of the gallery is, it’s a hard transition to do and often isn’t taught at university or like those resources are made available in the same way that you’re kind of expected to go into like a traditional gallery environment and show work that hangs on a wall. So making that transition through having the support of Next Wave, I think Nick had a similar experience where their first public work was through Next Wave and the support of facilitating…

Nick Breedon 16:42
Just kind of opening up those kind of pathways you know there is a documented pathway that goes from universities into galleries, but less so into the kind of public realm.

Kiera Brew Kurec 16:53
I agree yeah, and the Gertrude street projection festival, I was feature artists in 2009 for the Gertrude Street Projection festival, which was the second year that that was ever happening. I’m very involved now as you probably know. Um, but yeah, I was quite a young artist that I hadn’t, I hadn’t actually produced that many public artworks, or with that much sort of equipment or technology access to, you know, really big, bright projectors. And I remember being awarded the feature artists for that second year, and having access to a massive project and technical support and, you know, like, I was so new to the technology, really, and it wasn’t it wasn’t so available either.

the technology was new itself.

Yeah. And that was fantastic. And, you know, I did a massive projection that was, you know, it was just a shadow projection actually replicating what was existing in the space, but then introducing these other shadows, to kind of, yeah, represent a kind of psychological space almost, which was really subtle, but really obvious as well. It was a beautiful work nut that needed a massive projector. And that was the so that was the first time I sort of did a large sort of public artwork, I think, that was very supported technically.

Nick Breedon 18:20
I’m just going back to what Kiera said about sort of development of technology. I think we’ve, I mean, yeah, the three of us have all kind of been practicing throughout that, that really interesting kind of point in history where technology has become such an integrated part of our practices. Yeah, have you seen a real change in the kind of landscape of what what is being made today in terms of like the, well the accessibility of like technologies? Do you think that’s kind of changing the way that artists are kind of making work now?

Kiera Brew Kurec 18:52
Definitely, I think, I think mainly the accessibility of, like, you know, the smartphone, and people, I feel like that is the most obvious for me, artists really tapping into what is accessible to them in their, you know, on their person right now and creating work. I mean, the iPhone, I did a residency in Berlin last year and didn’t take my digital SLR. I documented all the work that I kind of was testing or projecting their large scale projections and I filmed and documented it all on the iPhone, and it looked fantastic. It’s just like, oh my god, you know, it’s crazy. It’s amazing. You know, like, just thinking about what we kind of had access to 20 years ago, was clunky, you know,

Nick Breedon 19:54

Kiera Brew Kurec 19:55
expensive, clunky video cameras that you needed tapes in there. And you know, it’s like wow, how can you just have your personal phone?

and that you can edit on the phone. You don’t need an editing suite, you don’t need to physically go into a place and cut tape and all of those things that used to have to happen to create those works.

So yeah, the way contemporary artists are utilizing technology is really interesting. And it’s really, it’s really obvious the change for sure.

So after moving into these realms, when was the point where you decided to go back because you studied your masters as well. Was that at a point where you felt like you needed to reconnect with your practice in a certain way? or explore a different theme? How did that come about?

Yeah, good question. I so I was probably practicing, I don’t know, the timeline, maybe eight or 10 years, like, so basically, that was, you know, pinpointing sort of concepts and ideas working out where to find funding, applying for the grants. If I am getting funded, I can do the project, if I don’t get funded, I can work out if I can still do it or not do it. So it was kind of you know, a lot of a lot of admin, I felt like, I actually felt like I started to come up with ideas that were like, potentially fitting criteria. And then I was like, well, that’s not that’s not the way it should be working. I should not be thinking about ideas or re working existing ideas to fit certain criteria. I got worried that my practice was not necessarily my practice. If you know what I mean. It’s more ticking boxes.

Yeah. Fulfilling briefs

Nick Breedon 21:50
yeah, and hitting those hitting those sort of like selection criteria.

Kiera Brew Kurec 21:53
Yeah. And so I thought that it would be a really positive step to take two years off, applying for anything, and doing and do a research project at VCA In the masters. Yeah. So and, you know, they offered scholarships that you could apply for back then probably more readily available than now. And I just thought that would that would be a really beneficial way to recalibrate, and do a research project and then yeah, not be thinking about the criteria. Yeah, yeah. And it was fantastic. It was really great. Also, I do work project a project, you know, as an artist, I’m project to project to project, very rarely have studio time to, you know, kind of reflect and develop and research. So that two years was really about researching and having time to reflect.

Yeah, it’s, it’s a real shame that those scholarships aren’t as readily available.

Yeah, yeah. I mean, that was fantastic. Because Yeah, I mean, I wouldn’t have done it probably. Yeah.

Yeah. That’s kind of as much as the facilities of a university but having the time is such a huge thing. Because we are often so like, yeah, balancing projects, balancing life balancing day jobs. So yeah, it’s a real shame, they aren’t available at the moment. In that what have been some of the biggest challenges that you’ve had to overcome to kind of continue maintaining this very strong practice and in terms of your commitment, and also like you, your output is always astounded with how many projects you have undergoing?

Yeah, I think the main challenges are always how to fund projects. For me, for sure. Especially because I am using new technologies and expensive equipment. But in saying that, I have always put my practice first. So I, you know, for for years and years and years, I have worked other jobs and stuff like that too. And then you know, poured all the money back into my practice to make things happen, putting everything on the line. Like that’s just kind of still how it is now. So yeah, definitely. to fund What else? Oh, yeah, I mean, the way I choose to live is also really conducive to my arts practice. So 10 years ago, I took on two warehouses that were next to each other in Collingwood it was really rundown warehouse really cheap, signed a long lease and one of them I live in and the other I made studios, for other artists, so I’ve always got a really great community around me. But it helped because the you know the rent from the studios helps subsidize the large space that I had. So I’ve, you know, I’ve I’ve made, you know, there’s there’s still a sacrifice, it’s an awesome space, but it is still a sacrifice to live in a warehouse even though I love it, you know, it’s cold, it’s dusty, and, you know illegally, probably still could get kicked out anyway, you know, all these sort of things. But it is so conducive to making art / being creative. Mm hmm. You know, I have the space to set things up, I have the space to do shoots, all that sort of stuff. So and I have got, you know, creative people around without having to live in a shared house (laughter). So yeah, I think my whole Yeah, it’s, there’s a lot of challenges, but I suppose yeah, my whole life has been about being an artist.

Nick Breedon 25:53
so talking about talking about your practice in your warehouse, like, what does it What does a successful practice mean to you?

Yandell Walton 26:02
Um, for me, success comes with creating works that speak to a broad audience, actually, um, yeah, I’m not making the work for me, I’m hoping to connect to the viewer. Also, I suppose another big thing for me about the, you know, having a successful practice is pushing the boundaries of my work. So constantly working with new technologies or working with, you know, different people to create work, you know, new works that are really pushing the boundaries of past works. Yeah, taking risks. Yeah, working with new technology.

Nick Breedon 26:53
Yeah, I’ve always known you to be an artist that does that does really kind of push that sort of edge of what’s kind of coming out in terms of technology. But you also, you also are someone that kind of pushes themselves in terms of learning new skills and learning to use new kind of technologies and, and even old technologies, but like integrating those kind of things into your practice. If you can talk about that a little bit.

Kiera Brew Kurec 27:22
Yeah, I suppose I don’t necessarily strive to learn about new technologies. I feel like if I have, I’m drawn, I am drawn to working with new technology. I’m not sure exactly why. But I think more so I’m interested in learning about the technologies. So I understand the limitations and possibilities. So for example, I had an idea to create this sort of life sized, 3d printed figure for a work that’s really that’s a, that’s a print of a scanned figure, but the scanning through mobile, like sort of mobile scanning technology, so it’s really sort of low fi. So there’s a lot of there’s a lot of sort of breakdown of data, which for me is like this sort of degradation effects of the mobile scanning technology, the sort of breakdown, and I’m wanting to print these, which obviously, it’s very difficult because they’re not proper mesh to print. So I’m kind of pushing the boundaries on this. I’m not using it as a fabrication tool, you know, I’m not using the printer as, you know, a printing sort of fabrication tool. I’m using it as a creative tool. And yeah, I don’t know why I sort of chose to do that. So

it was really a you’re actually using print in as like a from a printmaking practice, again, like it’s a bit full circle

Nick Breedon 28:56
like a printing practice

Kiera Brew Kurec 28:57
you think? but it’s not really printmaking is that it’s more like sculpture

Nick Breedon 29:01
But it is it’s layers?

Yandell Walton 29:03
Yeah. So interesting

Kiera Brew Kurec 29:06
I think it’s interesting how sometimes I still, if people ask me what I do, I kind of give my little like spiel, but then I also kind of, I will always say I came to it from a painting background, or I studied painting because I still think of my practice within a, like, painting history or that the way that I approach making performances often comes from the lens of a painter. So I think that you know, it’s interesting to see that there’s these links that kind of come up and even though it is just you know, using the word printing, but there is these things of layering and physically augmenting the the process of what the printers capabilities are, which is kind of feeds back into what you’re saying earlier about, like, expanding the printmaking practice.

Yeah, and I also probably could have worked with someone like a designer that could help make the meshes perfect. And I could have maybe even potentially sent away these scans to be printed life size potentially, like there would have been a way that I could have worked correctly with the, with the technology to make this life size figure, but I’ve decided to Yeah, you know, when I was in Berlin doing the residency at Phasmid, I was learning about sort of 3d printing there and really trying to understand the limitations and possibilities. And there’s so many It’s so frustrating, actually. But it’s Yeah, this, you know, this sculpture will be really interesting. I have pushed the boundaries of that technology, I suppose.

So during your process, using these new technologies, also, like facilitating studio spaces, for people, and expanding your own practice, what have you found to be some of the biggest resources that have assisted you in your practice?

Yeah, that’s an interesting question. I feel like feel like what I feel like, now, one of my biggest resources is my partner, Lauren Dunn, who is also an artist, because we can discuss our individual works, flesh it out, without judgment, or, you know, like, yeah, without sort of, with you know, with total respect, and yeah, judgment. Which is so fantastic. Like, you guys probably know that because you’re both artists. And I feel like, as an artist, you’re so in your head, you know, you’re constantly thinking of these ideas, you’re fleshing them out, you’re researching, you’re doing all this stuff. And unless you’re in institutional hat, or seek out, you know,

Nick Breedon 32:06
like a mentor or something to get feedback

Kiera Brew Kurec 32:08
yeah, or group or if you’re going to a reading group, or you’re having tutes with your studio mates or stuff like that, which sure that can happen. If, you know, if you don’t have that you are really in your head. And if your partner’s not an artist, they probably don’t want to hear about everything all the time. But if they’re an artist, they understand,

they might still not want to hear but at least if they listen

you have to hear (laughter). So yeah, I really think that that is, you know, an incredible resource. Always, yeah.

So what does your kind of day to day look like? And how does your practice fit in around that? Or a week?

Yeah. So yeah, I suppose if you’re talking about day to day, you know, I would walk the dogs, have breakfast then a coffee generally with my partner because she’s an artist as well. Talk about what we’re going to do for the day, and then have studio time creating or admin or whatever is on the cards.

Because your studio is often in the same places where you live, sometimes you utilize other spaces. Do you have to make a conscious moment where you like walk over into the other part of the space? Or is it kind of you’re constantly flowing between the, you know, the living space and the working

Nick Breedon 33:36
Or is it a time sort of thing?

Kiera Brew Kurec 33:38
Yeah, that’s a really good question. I have always, always lived in these sort of weird spaces, like a lot of warehouse spaces, that my studio is in the same space. And I would never really stop working. It’s only been more recently, where me and my partner have really decided to have time off, proper time off. So you know, when we’re walking the dogs, and when we’re cooking the dinners, and really separating ourselves from our practice. And it’s really important to do that, to have that time, I think. So, but when I’m doing studio time, I quite like because I love multitasking so I really quite like, you know, having an app look like having an application open that I’m writing plus, you know, there’s a shoot set up over there that I’m kind of playing around with plus, I’ve just left the dishes from breakfast because I want I want to do them when I’m having a break of about 11. Like, I am really good at that sort of stuff. And I’m kind of like that gives me energy, multitasking. I don’t get freaked out by it in the head. I’m like, Yeah, yeah, yeah get more done.

Yeah, that’s amazing.

Nick Breedon 34:56
And so obviously from that you don’t really have a separation between like You know, do my admin first and keep it separate from this is just all in.

Kiera Brew Kurec 35:03
No, but in terms of my practice, overall, I feel like admin is 50% of my practice for sure. I mean, as I said, before I work with technology, I mean, you know, I’m not an artist that is necessarily having gallery exhibitions and selling work to, to, you know, pay for projects, I quite often have to secure commission’s or grants to make these projects happen. So a lot of effort has to go into grant writing or proposal writing

I have had the privilege to view some of your applications or proposals for, for different works. And I remember the first time I saw one, I was so astounded at how beautifully put together it was, but also how researched it was and the level because you’re often kind of pitching towards a festival environment or, you know, an organization. And how did you learn about that process of applying and how to put together a document that is really succinct and also like, shows all these different parts of practice, because often, within the kind of gallery environment, you get told, like a PDF with, you know, one page PDF with your bio, your statement and what, like what we’re going to see in the gallery space and 10 images. And when I first saw one of your packages, I was like, This is amazing.

Nick Breedon 36:31
Yeah. It’s more than that.

Kiera Brew Kurec 36:34
I think, um, I think I’ve asked for help a lot. Like I even remember back in the day, Nick even sending through some help for an application I did, I can’t remember what it was, like, I’ve asked a lot of people for a lot of help

Nick Breedon 36:50
I don’t even remember that

Yandell Walton 36:51
Yeah, I remember getting help from you at some point for something like and you know, take that all on and all the you know, if it’s a large scale public art commission, that is site specific that is, you know, that you’ve been shortlisted for and they pay you $3,000, to then put together a proposal, it’s going to be a lot more extensive than, you know, another proposal, you know, or, , you know, funding from Creative Victoria Aus Co that gives you, you know, very small amounts of words to respond to things

Kiera Brew Kurec 37:25
2700 characters or less

Ridiculous! kind of good kind of not. Yeah, so, and I think getting to that stage, those extensive, those extensive proposals are Yeah, always asked for a lot of help, too. And I also was on a past selection panel for the Laughing Waters residency in Eltham. I did that residency, and then they asked me, I think the following year to be on the selection panel, and I remember reading through all the applications, and thinking how most of them were so badly written that I couldn’t understand visually what people were talking about, and all that sort of stuff. So that was really helpful. Yeah, to then be able to articulate and, you know, my projects, and then also, how important visual, you know, visual mock ups where and all that sort of stuff. So that was really beneficial in that was when I was quite young, too. So I remember that was really helpful.

Nick Breedon 38:27
So do you have an actual discrete time that sort of like tools down, then in your day where you’re like, no, it’s time? You know, is that a is that a kind of actual time?

Kiera Brew Kurec 38:39
Not so rigid. But definitely, it’s really important that we have family time with the dogs in the morning, and then family time at night with beautiful cooking, and food, but that also could be a glass of wine, talking about our projects in the courtyard, like totally, it’s not so rigid. You know, being an artist, you’re always actually an artist aren’t you, you are always thinking.

Like you might be out of your studio but you are still thinking

Yeah, but it’s trying to get away from the computer or, but I mean, at the moment, I’m producing a work for Shifting Surrounds, which is a major solo exhibition at The Substation this year. And one of the works, hopefully, it all turns out, but one of the works is actually shooting on location every night at sunset, and I need to film like at least 12 nights, but that could actually be 24 because, it might not work, blah, blah, blah, blah, sort of thing. But, um, so and at the moment, that is between eight and nine pm. So you know, that’s quite disruptive. But, you know, that might only just be for this month. So it’s not totally rigid, but yeah, it’s really about definitely having downtime and not working 24 seven because when these projects do arise like you know, the Gertrude Street Projection Festival or projects you know that are outside that are using projection you are there till really late you’re there testing you’re there over and over and over every night you’re there every night when the exhibitions on making sure it turned on.

I know and I recently did a like last year projection project and I was so paranoid that I would like be up at like 4am just to like make sure do a drive by to make sure the projectors are all still in the right spot nothing happened overnight that they did turn off.

It’s raining oh my god, (laughter) Story of my life.

Nick Breedon 40:44
Also like you know, I guess like scheduling, you know, projectors and equipment that can do scheduling has been really, you know, important facet for development.

Kiera Brew Kurec 40:53
Yeah. Totally. Especially public artwork. Using yeah, projectors. Yeah some of the new projectors, yeah, have scheduler settings in there. So you don’t have to rely on other outsource other technology to try and turn projectors on and off. Back in the day with the Gertrude Street Projection Festival, we would definitely be going up and down the street turning things on that hadn’t turned on. Because the technology wasn’t as as advanced.

Nick Breedon 41:30
Going back to sort of what you’re saying for about, you know, family time. Do you have any kind of like, adjacent practice that you kind of have to make sure that you maintain to sort of like stay, you know, at the top of your game, or kind of being able to have a sustainable practice that something that you kind of keep going like exercise or anything like that, or whatever it might be?

Kiera Brew Kurec 41:49
No, not, I mean, just really, you know, what, like walking with a dog down on, you know, beautiful areas down like Dight Falls and Studley Park and stuff like that. And that’s extensive, you know, that might be one or two hours a day, depending. And that’s more recent. You know, we’ve had dog for a year and a half now. And I yeah, it’s really obvious to see that difference. And, you know, not just getting up and getting straight into it. It’s like, No, no, you don’t have some time and then.

Nick Breedon 42:22
yeah, so much Incorporated in that too like fresh air, sunshine, you know, nature.

Yandell Walton 42:27

Kiera Brew Kurec 42:29
It sounds like your days are so filled with your practice. Do you have to work on the side? Obviously, there’s been times where you are funded through your projects, but do you have a certain way or certain jobs that you try to go for so that you can be focusing more on your practice? Or how does that work for you?

Yandell Walton 42:50
Yeah, I think, apart from my practice, for quite a few years now, I have been teaching in the form of sort of master classes, workshops, even one on one mentoring, all really focused on projection art. So I kind of see it as an extension of my practice. It’s not really separate. Yeah. I’ve worked, you know, with a diverse range of people too. So everything from, you know, youth, young people, which I love. I love doing workshops with young people in collaboration with groups from refugee backgrounds, local indigenous community in City of Yarra, The Parkies, who else like, yeah, number of projects, one on one mentoring, which is really beneficial and rewarding. I do a lot of projects at Signal in the City of Melbourne. So, you know, there’s a handful of these sort of projects a year that, you know, pay well, they’re really rewarding. It can, you know, I can sort of go in and focus on those projects, and then, you know, free up some time for my own projects with some some money. And apart from that, I am on the multimedia team at National Gallery of Victoria, where I am employed casually, so when, you know, I’ve got time, and they need me, which has been awesome. That’s been for quite a few years now as well. That has been amazing. It’s so great being around all the art but not being on the multimedia team I’m constantly learning about the new technology, ways of ways of presenting works with technology. So that obviously benefits my practice. Yeah, so it’s really it’s really beneficial. So that’s been good. Um, yeah.

Nick Breedon 44:52
As a sort of workshop facilitator and somebody who has acted a lot as a mentor to various people, me included. I think so anyway, I like to think of you that way. What, what advice would you sort of give like a young artist that’s kind of starting out? You know, right at the beginning of their practice now?

Yandell Walton 45:13
Definitely determination. Yeah. So just to, yeah, don’t stop. Also, like I said earlier, I think, to take every opportunity that they can, so especially if they’re, you know, very young, and their CV you know, they don’t have many things on their CV, look for smaller things, I think. So I remember, you know, applying for small residences, and small grants, like even University Grants, or $500, and stuff like that. It’s a lot easier to get larger things, larger grants, larger residences, when you’ve already been awarded. So yeah, and yeah, just don’t stop determination. Also, funding through local councils are great, I feel like and a lot more accessible, potentially, they’ve got small grants, a lot of them, they’ve got quick response grants, often.

Kiera Brew Kurec 46:08
And can go in and speak to a Grants Officer as well, which is really handy, which you might not be able to, I mean, you can call up Aus Co, but it’s not the same as actually being able to go and speak to someone.

Yandell Walton 46:19
And I will also wanted to mention, no matter what people are saying about the state of arts funding, still put in the applications, you know, even if you’re not successful, writing the applications are still so important for your practice, you’re, you know, you’re articulating your ideas, you’re doing research, you’re getting closer to, to the to start in the project.

Kiera Brew Kurec 46:49
Totally, I think so much of my professional development has come from the writing of grant applications, even though they’re unsuccessful, it’s, yeah, putting together that research and being able to pitch it and making it make sense in your own words.

Nick Breedon 47:02
Clarifying it and being able to articulate it, it forces you to be able to, you know, see it and encapsulate all in writing.

Kiera Brew Kurec 47:11
and then being able to like, look at your images of your work and kind of curate a, you know, presentation or PDF, or whatever it is of work that supports that makes you really kind of Delve and reflect on your own practice and what you have been doing. And just to kind of follow on from that. I think, as an artist, you put out so many applications, but often you will get 1000s back, but just say any like scan for that, unfortunately (laughter)

Yandell Walton 47:38
yeah yeah yeah oh there it is damn it. (Laughter)

Kiera Brew Kurec 47:44
but I would say on that just from some experiences, just because especially when it’s for having exhibitions, the people that read that they’re still reading it. And so they’re starting to get a gather an idea of what your practice is and what it looks like. And that might be “unfortunately” that time, but it might also mean that they’ll keep you in mind for something else, or when you get introduced to them they’ll be familiar with what your practice is.

Yandell Walton 48:12
Well on that on that note as a response to that, which is really interesting is that, yeah, don’t be disheartened because you might just apply that next time. And, you know, because those people are aware of your practice, and they’ve seen the development from six months previously, you will maybe get a look in. I mean, yeah, I think I have, yeah, I have, maybe are put in 10 to 20 applications a year and might get one back two back that are successful like that’s a lot of No’s. And it is hard not to be upset. But if you’re Yeah, if you if you don’t look at it, like a negative thing, and you get some feedback, and you just keep trucking on, you know, you will get you will have success at some point, I’m sure you know, um, and, ah, there was something else I wanted to say.

Kiera Brew Kurec 49:09
I think while you gathered that thought, I think we have kind of brought this up before but not attaching so much worth to the yourself worth to the project so that when you get a rejection that you’re not feeling as rejected as actual proposal and being able to kind of protect yourself that way so that you’re learning to separate where you are and where your practice is so that you’re not just kind of crushed each time you get a rejection letter.

Yandell Walton 49:39
And somehow creating work or getting work out there that is that is kind of propping you up that’s making you proud that’s you know, not relying on an Aus Co Grant to make your whole practice viable, because you may never get one too (laughter) so you have got to somehow work it out. And there is so many other avenues these days to fund projects. So yeah,

Kiera Brew Kurec 50:15
you’re currently working on a really large project that will be exhibited at The Substation in Newport. And it is a really large, extensive project filled with research that you’ve ended up doing and residences. Can you kind of talk us through what the process of working on such a large scale project looks like?

Yandell Walton 50:35
Yeah, sure. So I suppose it’s been 18 months in development. And it started with an invite to do a residency at the substation in 2017, and they kind of invited me to come in for a month long residency, and come up with some concepts for site specific work or works. And during that residency, I mean, I love the I love The Substation so much. It’s such an unusual space. It’s obviously an old substation, very raw, gallery space, some of the spaces are extremely raw and a really non-traditional, and that’s kind of what I love

Nick Breedon 51:25
Like classic Yandell

Yandell Walton 51:26
Yeah. I love it. I love it so much. I think back in 2009, or even earlier, when the substation opened up as a multi arts space, they I think they did like a series of curated exhibitions over three months. And I was invited as one of those artists. And yeah, I was like, wet my pants over the space, it was so great. And I created an installation that was kind of underneath, underneath inside the, you know, floor, inside the architecture. So I’m hoping to create another work that’s in one of those spaces as well. Anyway, so yes, I developed concepts over the month, responding to the spaces. And then I did a residency in Berlin, where I focused on developing my practice, using new technologies that was really important to really push the boundaries of my work, specifically with 3d printing, scanning and printing. That was over three months. And then I came back and did and I was producing work with an animator one of the works so I am creating four site responsive works. And one of them’s working with an animator and sound artist. And then I was doing another residency at Substation, this residency really was to bring projectors in and test the work. So what’s working, what’s not working. Meeting the animator on site, meeting the sound is on site, meeting, other people getting feedback, all that sort of stuff. Meanwhile, throughout that whole year, I was applying for about 10 funding applications. One of them came through, no maybe more (laughter). And then more recently, I developed a fundraising campaign because I didn’t have enough funding for the presentation of the work. So I’ve sort of developed my first fundraising campaign through ACF. Which has been great. And then yeah, sort of working with the animator, sound designer, on shoot, you know, on site shooting for this for a tree work. Yeah. And then back, I’ll install in April over two weeks. So I’m also researching the technology that’s going to play like a four channel immersive in installation. And in sync with sound. Yeah, that sort of stuff.

Kiera Brew Kurec 54:10
Is there someone that you kind of go to for like different technologies? Or is there relationships that you’ve built with people that have allowed you to kind of learn and keep up to date with what is currently coming out?

Yandell Walton 54:23
yeah, I mean, that, you know, my job at NGV allows for that. So, every time I’m working, I’m asking the, you know, the people I work with, what would you do if you were me (laughter) okay, how would you do with the cheapest? All right, what if I don’t have NGV’s budget. So it’s interesting, because I haven’t received the funding that I need for the presentation. I am looking, yeah, it’s, it’s hard. It’s like I can’t afford to buy any more technology to present this work. So I have to utilize somehow what I’ve gotten, which might mean Upgrading, you know, older Mac minis and stuff like that. So I’m just trying to work all that out now. Or what can I borrow from people? It needs to, you know, with this sort of stuff. It’s a six week exhibition, it needs to also be what do you call it? stable! Yeah. needs to also be stable.

Kiera Brew Kurec 55:22
It’s not putting it up for a night and then taking it down again

Yandell Walton 55:26
which is really hard with technology. Yeah. With no money. Yeah, it’s really hot. But it’s, it’s all working out great.

Nick Breedon 55:34
Cool. Do you want to talk a little bit about the process of working through your first kind of fundraising campaign?

Yandell Walton 55:46
Yes. So I originally contacted the Australian Cultural Fund that is a platform for fundraising campaign that can offer donors tax deductible, donations, that then get filtered into your project. And they take a small admin fee, I think 5% or something. So basically, I unfortunately didn’t get presentation funding through federal or state funding. So I contacted ACF, and just before Christmas, I put out my first fundraising campaign, which was quite daunting in terms of working out. You know how to do it, they gave me a lot of support, but it was just more daunting. How am I going to film myself really, but it was awesome, because I chose to fit try and film myself by my by myself. So with no one, no one helping me, which was kind of hard even to get the focus. But once I got the focus, it was better because I felt more comfortable in front of the camera with no one else. Yeah, with no one else kind of in the space. And I downloaded a telly text app for my iPad and had that just above the just above the camera recording. And it was so easy. It was so much easier than having someone there trying to prompt me it really was just you know, everyone works differently. So it was good. Anyway, so I edited that. And I just quickly did it and ended up looking fine. So yeah, I’ve had help.

Kiera Brew Kurec 57:29
With ACF Is it kind of like pozible Do you have to reach your end target to get the funding?

Yandell Walton 57:35
No. So you get all the funding that you that you

Kiera Brew Kurec 57:39
that people put in?

Nick Breedon 57:40
Yeah, a fantastic resource. Yeah.

Yandell Walton 57:43
So it’s been good. I mean, it’s a lot of effort. But it is also great, because, you know, I think I’m 36%, towards the 9000 that I was asking, and you know, that every single cent is gonna go into the presentation costs and not out of my credit card. You know, that’s amazing.

Nick Breedon 58:02
Thanks, everyone.

Yandell Walton 58:03
yeah. So because, yeah, it is hard to, to secure other funding sometimes. And this is this, you know, I feel like this exhibition is for such a good cause, you know, it’s talking about climate change, it’s talking about issues that we all are concerned with. So, you know, hopefully people feel more inclined to support.

Kiera Brew Kurec 58:28
Yes, absolutely. And unfortunately, I think that your, this podcast will come out after you finish a date. So I still encourage everyone to go and see the exhibition and, and also maybe take note to like, if you can support other people’s practices, in whatever way that is, maybe it’s just even buying someone a coffee one day and asking how they’re going. But it’s a really nice thing to be able to support another person’s practice. Because then you have the opportunity to go and see what your money is actually going to help facilitate as well.

Yandell Walton 59:02
Definitely, definitely.

Nick Breedon 59:04
What’s the dates for those for that exhibition?

Yandell Walton 59:07
the dates are Shifting Surrounds. That is part of Art + Climate = Change festival is May 4th to June the 15th.

Kiera Brew Kurec 59:18
Fantastic, get along. And if people want to come and find you on another platform, your website is?

Yandell Walton 59:25

Kiera Brew Kurec 59:26
Fantastic. And you’re on Instagram as well?

Yandell Walton 59:29
@Yandellwalton, I think. (Laughter) Oh, yeah, I think that

Kiera Brew Kurec 59:33
Yeah, great. Um, thank you so much for coming on today.

Yandell Walton 59:37
Thanks so much for inviting me coming with that.

Kiera Brew Kurec 59:40
And also keep your eye out for Yandell’s master classes as well that pop up frequently. You do them through different city council’s and different platforms and they’re amazing and a huge resource for other people who are interested in working in the public sphere as well as using technologies such as projection. S

Yandell Walton 1:00:05
Definitely tap into my Instagram I’m always promoting them.

Kiera Brew Kurec 1:00:11
Fantastic thanks again.

Nick Breedon 1:00:13
Yeah thanks

This episode is recorded on the sovereign Land of the Kulin nation. We acknowledge the traditional owners of the land the Wurundjeri people and pay respects to elder’s past, present and emerging.

Kiera Brew Kurec 1:00:31
Thanks for listening to Pro Prac. You can listen to other episodes and subscribe to us on iTunes or wherever you get your podcasts. You can stay up to date with what we’re up to on Instagram at @propracpodcast or send us an email at