Text by Juliet Rowe, Kim Brockett, Nella Themelios
Transcript excerpt of conversation
NT. Juliet, let’s start with the work that you’re making for the space.
JR. Well, at the moment the work for Bus Projects I’m building a close enough to life cardboard and paper mâché car that is inspired by an early 1980s Porsche 911 Carrera convertible - I think they’re call cabriolet when they’re convertible. It’s inspired by it, so it’s not a copyright infringement.
NT. But is it to scale?
JR. Yeah, it’s to scale. It’s a bit smaller to how big it’s meant to be. I don’t know how, because I feel like it’s massive, but supposedly when I measured, it’s a little bit smaller. But its life sized enough – I can sit in it.
NT. Oh wow, so it has an interior as well?
JR. It has an interior. In my original idea I was going to attempt have it so the engine is in the boot, so it popped, but it was just unnecessary and it looks good as it is. So it’s a luxury car made out of gleaned materials. I have actually been learning to drive, so that’s why I have an interest in cars, because I haven’t had much of an interest in them before. But I’ve been learning to drive and because I work full time and my brother is at Uni, he’s the one who’s teaching me, generally I can only drive really late at night and essentially find cardboard boxes – so it’s the kind of weird, ‘learning to drive to build my fake car’. It kind of feels weird, because we’ll go to Coburg market and hang out behind, in the carpark, searching through all the skips and stuff.
NT. That’s a good place to find material.
JR. Yeah, I went to regular Vic market and there was nothing there, and there were too many security people around as well.
KB. So, with the scale, how did you get all the measurements and details?
JR. There is heaps of stuff like that on the Internet because people build them.
NT. So, you don’t have access to actual Porsche?
JR. No, the closest I come is that I work in East Richmond and there are a lot of them around. Someone owns one really close to my studio space, so there has been a few times where I have gone with the tape measure, just to get an idea. But I also didn’t really want it to be an exact replica, I always wanted it to be a representation of weird – I keep calling it a cartoon version, but
that’s because I come from a drawing background, so when anything is a bit dodgy, it’s a cartoon.
KB. It’s a good pun though.
JR. There are so many puns - it’s made out of cardboard. It’s called Porsche mâché – full of puns.
KB. So what details are you flexible on?
JR. In the actual building of it? The doors don’t open, for one - originally I wanted them to but then just construction-wise, a bit too difficult. Also, it a convertible, for the sake of getting it out of my studio and into other space. There are some things that are exaggerated, like the wheels are massive and they have real thick treads on them - it’s comical. I’m now finishing off and am deciding this weekend whether or not I am going to paint it, or actually use paper as a way to make it coloured. So working out all the finishes and keeping everything ‘lo-fi’ or DYI.
NT. So how do you even begin to build a replica car?
JR. I drew like two sketches and pretty much have been treating it like a sketch and being pretty loose with it. When I first started doing it, I knew I would never really get it spot on or even really neat, just knowing my practice and how I can rush things because I get bored easily, so I like to keep things on a short timeline – ‘fast and loose’. I built the wheels first, then the dashboard and everything was like piece by piece, and some things weren’t the right size, so you just add more cardboard and it builds itself up.
That’s why I treat it more as a drawing than a sculpture – because there wasn’t a formula to it really, which is obvious in its construction.
KB. So who’s helping you?
JR. Narelle? is helping me. Well, originally I wanted to do it because I started learning to drive and then got this crazy idea in my head with being a driver that I have to get a car now, and I have to get a good looking car, it’s all about the experience. So then convinced myself that it was plausible and acceptable for me to buy, originally a BMW convertible, then a Porsche instead. Somehow in my mind, I got wrapped up in it all and decided it was completely acceptable for me to buy a two-seater, retro luxury car that was going to cost me more than a new car today, and that I would never be able to afford to service. I had these few days that I thought that it was completely acceptable and I was really wrapped up in the idea of living this lifestyle, completely fetishising the idea... So the only way I could really have a Porsche is if I made it paper mâché. Originally it was a joke, but then I got offered this show and it was too good because the Porsche dealership is down the street and you’re called Bus – and I like puns and word associations, so it became a thing as well.
- Juliet Rowe, Kim Brockett, Nella Themelios
Written in conjunction with the exhibition and publication series, 'Not Only But Also', which invests in the creation of innovative works by 24 young and emerging Australian artists and writers, forming an integral part of Bus Projects’ inaugural artistic program in its new galleries on Rokeby Street in Collingwood.