adelaide's ones to watch

Meet the creative kids from South Australia's capital making a loud noise in a quiet city.

by i-D Staff
10 August 2016, 4:15am

Name: Miles Smith

Occupation: I'm a musician. I produce electronic music under Arthur Miles and play in a band called Hummingbird. I, along with some other friends (Babicka, Hvck, Mic Mills and Freddie Norwood) started Untzz recordings out of a shared creative space a few years ago. Since then I've been releasing recordings, including a self-titled album which after a very long marination period is finally out.

What are your biggest influences? My mother and father have inspired me by passing onto me some great records and a love of music and art. My friends have inspired me with music, photos, conversations and everything else. It's great being part of a group of friends where everyone is constantly creating in some respect. I'm sure watching Game of Thrones reruns is influencing me somehow also, but that's yet to show itself.

What's something people don't realise about Adelaide? Apparently we're a 'city of music' according to UNESCO, which is cool. It's hard sustaining a lot of underground scenes in this city of just over a million people but I think we do well.

What sets Adelaide apart creatively from other cities? It sounds very cliched but I guess it's a nice size so it doesn't take long to know a lot of the people in a particular scene, but it still has the depth that it is constantly interesting and inspiring. I'm really happy that we've had, and hopefully still have, Unsound Festival. It's part of the Adelaide Festival and tours amazing artists, helping to expose a lot of different people to the more experimental side of music.

Best advice you were ever given? A bad song isn't going to be good if you spend half an hour compressing the snare drum. It's really easy to get caught up on sonics when making music but I think a good piece of music should be able to translate to any sound and still have some kind of charm or feeling - even if it is very rough around the edges. I think this holds true for a lot of different things, not only music.

Name: Tracy Chen

Occupation: Musician

What are your biggest influences? At the moment I'd say my mum, myself, seeing other people sing and dance, P-Pop boy bands, having a good meal and a warm drink. I'm not a very complicated person, I'm pretty easily touched and try to take in whatever's around me. I think that's a healthy thing. I barely feel bored.

What are you passionate about? Lately I've been feeling a bit mellow and not as directly passionate about things. But it's not particularly negative. I think it's fine to acknowledge that we don't necessarily feel stimulated all the time. I'm getting back into doing things at my own pace, but I know I care about making and performing. I care about expressing myself.

What are you looking forward to? I've got a new song called Eggs coming out on a fundraiser compilation put together by TEEF Records. I'm also preparing to study abroad in Leeds in September so that's pretty cool.

What's your proudest achievement? I think just developing the confidence to put out music and be honest in my songs. I used to get more distracted, thinking I had to maybe make a point of difference or be more "interesting". But then you just end up just doubting ideas you naturally have. I've learnt to just go with what I respond to and people seem to respond to my music too which is cool....not that they have to for what I do to be valid.

What sets Adelaide apart creatively from other cities? I don't know much about other cities, but I think a nice thing here is it's relatively easy to get involved as a new musician without being part of a particular clique. We have communities like Paper Garden and Futuresounds organising weekly and monthly electronic music gigs and they're always keen to get new artists on their lineups. These shows are really relaxed and don't expect you to fit a certain style or image.

A piece of advice you wish you were given? If you're kind and honest then you're cool.

Name: Tsering Hannaford

Occupation: Painter. I'm a full time realist oil painter. My point of difference is that I paint from life and this means I'm really engaged with my subject. I'm out there on a hill in the wind or the sunshine or I'm spending hours chatting with my sitter and getting to know them in my studio.

What are your biggest influences? I'm influenced by a lot of Australian artists, past and present. I admire artists like Dorrit Black and Margaret Olley and the Australian tonalists. My father is also a realist painter and I've been influenced by his work too. I also admire my peers — other artists who are out there doing their thing, trying to be the best that they can be. It's not easy being a painter and it takes a lot of courage to pursue a left of centre career. You need to believe in yourself above all else.

What are you looking forward to? Turning 30. I remember one of my primary school teachers telling my class we'd be running the country in our 30s, I've always remembered that. I think 20s are great for experimenting and figuring out who you are and what your interests are. 30s and beyond are the time for sinking your teeth into life!

What is your proudest achievement? Teaching myself to walk on my hands and being a finalist in the Archibald Prize the past two years.

What sets Adelaide apart creatively from other cities? Adelaide is an incredibly affordable city to live in with so much space. Finding an affordable studio is much easier here than in the bigger cities. What you might not get in networking and being part of a larger community you make up for with dedicated studio time.

Who inspires you? I'm inspired seeing by my friends and peers pursuing what they are passionate about and further than that I'm really inspired by strong women who have a positive voice for change and awareness. People like Malala Yousafzai, Rosie Batty, Susan Carland, Jane Goodall to name a few.

What makes you hopeful for the future? I used to always think that things would be better in the future but I've come to realise your life is what you're living now. I think we're conditioned in this culture to always want more, want the latest thing, to feel like what we have isn't quite good enough, but it's good to be happy in the present. It sounds cliche but you never know when your time will end; I'd like to look back and think I've enjoyed my time here.

Name: Peter Drew

Occupation: Poster artist

When someone comes to town where do you take them? Africola, but only if I'm really trying to impress them for some reason. Otherwise I'd just take them to a bakery. Adelaide has better and more bakeries than any other city in Australia.

What sets Adelaide apart creatively from other cities? Nobody cares about Adelaide, and that's good. It's our secret... Move on, nothing to see here!

What inspires you? Honesty. I feel inspired whenever someone exposes some truth about themselves that leaves them vulnerable.

What do you do when you feel like you've run out of ideas? My ideas come out of my frustration with the world, so occasionally I dive head first into that cauldron of hate we call the Internet. Then I'll walk around feeling frustrated and bad tempered for a few days, until suddenly a new idea pops into my head, and I'm back to work.

What makes you hopeful for the future? When you walk down the street and look at all the different kinds of people getting along 99.9% of the time, you can't help notice how everything's fine. We're going to be fine.

Best advice you were ever given? Irving Welsh once told me that you've got to respect people's right to not give a fuck. He was making a point about being daring, because, chances are, nobody will give a fuck about your voice, so why be afraid to use it? That's his style; inspiration through pessimism.

Advice you wish you were given? I'm only 33. Ask me again in a decade or two when I've lived long enough to have some regrets.

Name: Haneen Martin

Occupation: Artist and curator

What are you passionate about? So many things! Everything! My pet rabbit, my friends, my work, food, GRLPWR.

What are you looking forward to? The biggest Zombie Queen Zine Swap yet, a residency later this year here in Adelaide and an international project lined up for July 2017 that I'm going to keep to myself for now.

What sets Adelaide apart creatively from other cities? People are great at connecting here. Adelaide has the best small businesses run by people who just want to support each other and give like minded people a chance.

What would you like to do more of? Sleep. Meet more people. Throw myself into something else I haven't done before.

What makes you hopeful for the future? The reception of @putrinasi - a project a friend and I have been working on to highlight the pros and cons of being biracial in Australia.

Best advice you were ever given? "I think I can, I think I can, I think I can" - The Little Train That Could.

Advice you wish you were given? Spend more time trying to find people like you than worrying about standing out.

Name: Format Collective

Describe your set up: We're a loose collective of artists, writers, designers, musicians and party technicians based around a gallery and a sort of deconstructed retail space on Hindley Street.

What do you do there? Long answer: we put on about twelve experimental art exhibitions a year, a ramshackle DIY arts festival, sick dance parties and weird little nerd concerts to pay the rent. Short answer: Google image search a dog trying to lay bricks.

What are you passionate about? Art, easy listening classic hits, tanks, E-Flux, deconstructed quiz nights, facebook chat basketball, Dave Blumberg's mullet, Club Sync, Ken Bolton R.I.P, Paul Greenaway's fedora, dogs (dogs!), succulents, weird throbbing humming sounds, butchers paper.

What's something people don't realise about Adelaide? Apparently Don Dunston's wife ate a human a body part to keep herself alive.

When someone comes to town where do you take them? Jerusalem Cafe and/or the Australian Experimental Art Foundation.

What sets Adelaide apart creatively from other cities? Adelaide strikes a nice balance between knowing everyone and not having slept with everyone yet.

What do you do when you feel like you've run out of ideas? We never run out of ideas. We're made out of ideas. Ideas, naivete, confusion, criticism, pink cellophane, contemporary RnB, hot chips, gravy and the opposite of relational aesthetics.

What would you like to do more of? Modafinil.

If you could change one thing about the world what would it be? "Fuck empowerment, we need more criticism." - Rosalind E. Krauss.

Name: Georgina Amanda Solomon

Occupation: I own a brand called LASSKAA and run an e-commerce site, which I use as a platform to sell my designs. I work on that everyday and thrive off all the creative elements such as designing, marketing, styling, directing and photography. A couple of times a week I work at HYPE DC. It gives me the break and freedom I need from my label to maintain a healthy and balanced lifestyle. I get to connect with the local community and meet influential people. I've formed the most incredible friendships whilst being there and I get first dibs on sick kicks. I'm also a full time Siberian Husky mum. I have an adorable pooch called Biggie Smalls who keeps me very active.

How old are you?
30 + 2 this week.

What are your biggest influences?
My influences constantly change depending on what I'm into. It can range from any 90s flick or music video to a modelling muse. Visually I'm stimulated by the power of the Internet and social media. I can explore for hours. I will often screenshot influential women and their personal style. I really dig Korean and Japanese culture and appreciate the impact they currently have on the fashion industry.

What are you passionate about?
Creative direction and photography! Executing a photoshoot and being able to capture every essence of my vision in a single frame shot is so incredibly rewarding. I'm also really proud of finally getting all my work together to form an entity called SSOL.

What's something people don't realise about Adelaide? That there's loads of phenomenal talent here.

When someone comes to town where do you take them? The Central Markets are always a good place to chill during the daytime and the beach and coastline over summer is always blissful. If they're into op shopping I always swing by Swop Vintage Exchange on Hindley Street. There are so many quirky lil' bars popping up in and around all the back alleyways but alternatively, I'd invite them over to my studio to have a tea and hang with Biggie.

What or who inspires you? My ultimate girl crush is model Sita Abellan. She's so bold and fearless; I just love everything about her. Jason Lee Parry and Brydie Mack both inspire me as a photographer. I like the rawness and effortless imagery they both create. Kate Moss is my forever beauty Muse.

Best advice you were ever given? That with every problem there is always a solution.

Advice you wish you were given? How to say, No!


Name: Sanja

Occupation: Writer

What sets Adelaide apart creatively from other cities? The rent is cheaper so people talk about money less, which is refreshing.

When someone comes to town where do you take them? The Exeter (a pub). The standard pour at the Exeter is double everyone else's, you can buy half a carafe of red wine for $8. and I was sitting there the other night whilst a guy paced up and down blasting heavy metal from a legitimate boom box yet nobody batted an eyelid, which I respect. It remains completely unaffected by the gentrification all around it.

What do you do when you feel like you've run out of ideas? I watch Youtube clips of Fran Lebowitz; it is comforting to know that she exists. And I read Andrew Bolt as a reminder that there are terrible, but more productive, writers, so one must carry on.

If you could change one thing about the world what would it be? I'd like our homework for living on this earth to involve reading books. History, fiction, science, gardening! We'd be less likely to be so awful.

What's the best advice you were ever given? Something about the importance of perseverance, the irrelevance of ego. In the eternal words of Aaliyah, "Dust yourself off and try again."


Photography Sia Duff

This piece has been updated to remove the full name of some subjects at their request.

ones to watch
Format Collective
Tracy Chen
georgina amanda solomon
haneen martin
mark drew
miles smith
tsering hannaford