Interview: Corner Galley – hipflask

Interview: Corner Galley

The Corner Gallery has sucessfully cemented its self in the local scene in more ways than one.
Hosting numerous gigs, exhibitions and parties of all sorts since its inception a couple years ago, Alex & J’aime have created an amazing space like no other where the creatives of Perth can network and come together to make more sweet things for us to see, hear and appreciate.
Over the weekend, I attended Little Wing Corner Gallery’s 9th Photo Bomb; a unique display of photography, live art and live music with a vibe to be envied.
The guys were kind enough to answer some q’s for me, giving us an insight to how this collective begun…

What is the history behind the gallery? How did you guys start working together?
a: J’aime and I worked on a few photo shoots and videos together, then I saw his fakie 360 flips (ooof smooth as butter) and then we started skating together. We wanted to hold a large scale group exhibition in a new space that no one had really been to, which is when we found what came to be “The Grey Gallery”, th e old S.CHUGG building next to Jus Burgers in Subiaco. The owner of the building said we should have an after party at this other building he had, which is when we were introduced to “That big pink building on Hay Street” ­ The Corner Gallery. Suddenly we had the best team in the world helping us out to clean it out and get ready for the big opening on April 27, 2013 (Cam Campbell, Rob Jenkins, Kennaz, TK, Adam Oliver, Aaron Nannup, Alex Halsey, and everyone else you know who you are). It started out as a warehouse for parties not many rules at all, then the council came and shut the whole thing down threatening us with a fine in the six figure region because of this, that and the other. Months had passed until we were finally able to reopen the doors with a whole new Corner Gallery.

You kind of have a melting pot of things going on here, the art/photo/gallery side then the live music, the bar etc. was this natural, or was it planned?
j: Nothing was planned, it was all organic and improvised as we went along. Basically we wanted to create a space that would want to hang out in and music and art are both things that we are passionate about. I didn’t think back to any of the influences until the space was already well and truly established but I had been over to Sydney not long before we got the space and seen one of Beastman’s exhibitions where he painted the whole inside of a warehouse and had a white walled gallery next door to it. I had also been hanging out at a skate/surf/motorbike shop in Byron Bay called Bone Machine owned by a local lord. It had a great vibe and layout which included a rug with a drum kit on it, some guitar amps and there were weekly parties/gigs in the shop. I don’t think it’s there anymore but it was a great little space which held some amazing parties.
I’m sure that was in the back of my mind somewhere along with both our other various influences and inspirations. Alex and I didn’t really talk much about any of those things when we got the space we just threw ideas around and one thing led to another. We added things as we went along as well for instance the bar area used to be in the kitchen where we served drinks out of the doors which we cut in half. Lots of trial and error and adding things as we went along. We also didn’t have much money at the time so we had to utilise whatever we could find or was given to us.The space has had so many different variations and what we hope are improvements added. It’s strange though. We put carpet in the band room and a little tiny curb high stage and it’s weird how something like that can change the feel. It seems more like a small intimate venue now and less like a house party warehouse space. The sound in the band room is definitely better for it. It used to sound like a bit of a tin can in there.

Why do you think it’s important for Perth to have smaller venues such as this?

a: I think the smaller venues and promoters can tailor their events or nights to certain crowds and have a full room of loyal customers every night that they hold one. Also there’s groups of people who like socialising in certain environments, say a group of younger dudes who like fancy spirits might go on a mission to find Sneaky Tony’s or a group of rich older people might all catch up for a drink at The Print Hall. So there are these places that offer certain things or ideas/environments that you can go feel comfortable in. Where as you have the bigger establishments like Capitol, Little Creatures and Metro City, they offer something for a much wider crowd because they know that their environment suits a lot of people’s tastes.

How do you feel about the local arts and creative scene at the moment?
It’s great to see so many local artists getting regular commissions, opportunities and some being able to make a decent living off their artwork. People might be surprised to hear but I do personally wish there was a bit more artwork that pushed the boundaries socially, had a stronger message or made you think a bit deeper but that in some way seems to be the trade off for becoming popularised. The more popular an underground movement becomes usually the more people it tends to appeal to and the less edgy or confronting it seems i.e Hip Hop, Punk Music & Skateboarding. However there will always be those who will keep pushing the status quo and doing something different. You can’t blame someone for trying to make a living off their creative talent but I think the art can suffer if money’s the motivation. As much as we all like to see more artwork in the streets and in the city I personally believe that Perth needs more art initiatives which are created by groups of young creatives and less government or council controlled.

In regards to networking and connecting to people around you, what has come to fruition from purely interacting with different individuals?
a: I’ve met loads of amazing people since we started this thing. Artists, photographers, musicians, actors, event organisers, promoters, managers, venue owners, charity workers, journalists. Most importantly I met my bands Red Engine Caves and The Southern River Band.

There’s been a bunch photography jobs come up for myself, and filming and photo jobs for J’aime. One of the best jobs we worked on was to hang out with Lister while he was here and just shoot photos of everything he did. Another interesting one was to document the insanely talented aerosol artist Jackson Harvey paint this giant warehouse over 3 days. The work he produced in that time was mind blowing.
A lot of restaurant/cafe/shop owners and other local councils come to us to find artists for commissions and a lot of the time I’ll go “Oh remember that guy who came in and showed us his work the other day, that will work for this one.” So basically the more you put yourself out there and interact with other creatives, the more chance you are giving yourself to line up opportunities and jobs.

What’s coming up?
We’ll be hosting Photo Bomb events, group shows and might even do a show with our pals over at The Axiom. For the kids we will be hosting workshops that cover aerosol, drawing and painting over the summer school holidays.

How can people get involved?
They can message us directly through our facebook page, email us or just wander in and have a chat if we’re in at the gallery.

I urge you reader, keep your eyes peeled for future events they have in store for us on the hipflask app and also on their Facebook here.

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