Back in 2006 when I got back from London, I worked in a design studio in the city (right in the centre of Melbourne). I used to catch the tram to work along Brunswick Street (that’s Fitzroy to non-locals), and every day I’d go past a large format art paste up of two children inside a bear suit, the head and feet propped up with sticks. It was by an artist called Ghostpatrol, aka David Booth.
Seeing it became part of everyday life, and I’d sit on the right side of the tram so I could marvel at it. During that time I went to a group exhibition which featured some of David’s work. And lo and behold, there was an art print of the very same paste up! I had to have it. And that was my very first Ghostpatrol piece.
The following year, David held an open studio where I snapped up a couple of smaller art prints and books. I find it a little nerve wracking meeting people I really admire, but I walked up and quietly introduced myself to David, who was shy, polite and totally unaware of how ace he was/is!
A couple of weeks ago my girlfriend Gerri picked me up and off we went to the opening of David’s latest exhibition. It was called the Matisse Fan Club.
I’d read up about the collection which pays homage to David’s private pilgrimage to France to visit the Chapelle du Rosaire de Vence, which was designed by Henri Matisse.
So we walk inside the warehouse space and we’re a bit confused as to where the pieces are. Then we realise there’s an installation and the pieces are inside. And it’s not just any installation, it’s a life size custom designed chapel, built entirely from heavy duty cardboard. WOW!
There’s a small door on one side of the chapel and on the other side are faux stained glass windows which are lit to showcase a beautiful botanical motif.
So in we walk and the pieces are incredible, mostly pencil and watercolour creations in a variety of shapes and sizes. And there’s an altar (also made of cardboard), which is covered with the most amazing sculptures.
Gerri and I are blown away and walk around with wide eyes. On a whim, I tell her I have to have one of the pieces and we walk around to all of them again. I decide on one and go in search of the gallery dude.
Not knowing who the gallery dude was, I find David and politely interrupt him to ask if I can buy a piece. I tell him which one, but alas, it’s already been sold. Bugger!
So Gerri and I go back into the chapel and I choose my second fave, called Matisse Floating Monument. I find David and then meet Andrea, the gallery dude, and we talk business.
I was beyond excited that this incredibly amazing piece would be mine. Gerri and I chat to David about the collection and he gives us both a limited edition pin, on a backing card which reads ‘Consider Yourself a Member of the Matisse Fan Club’. How rad! We both walk off with the biggest and goofiest of smiles on our faces. Total groupie moment, ha!
We have one last look at the collection, take a walk right around the outside of the chapel and off we go. I’m so glad I took Gerri with me, as I know how much she appreciates creative stuff. She too is super talented, graphic designer by day and illustrator in her spare time. I’ve known her for 16 years, and over the years I’ve collected the creations she has made for me, and for Ava too. Lucky us to have her in our lives!
The following week I head out to collect my piece, and I meet Andrea (the gallery dude) again, at the warehouse. We talk about our mutual love of David’s work and swap stories about which pieces we both own. It’s so great meeting passionate people who just get it.
That was the last day of the exhibition and I was super chuffed to be able to see it again. I’d forgotten my camera on opening night, but I took it with me and managed to snap these shots.
So if you scroll down you’ll see my new treasure. I cannot wait to hang it!
Thanks for reading,