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Creative Subversion: A phone call with Speak Easy organiser Aaron Hull

Wollongong’s blossoming art and eat venues are beginning to bubble over with ever-interesting and engaging events. Following last week’s mini meander of t-friendly prints at Beach Burrito, a trickle of interesting dos will enter a decade-day existence behind the infamous Youth Centre.


The event in question is Speak Easy, a five-event quasi-craft take over of Project Art Space’s dynamic Keira Street location. Showcasing a semi-permanent smattering of on the wall visual and video art from Aaron Hull, David Hull, Greg Hughes and Jessica Cochrane throughout the life of the pop-up and recurring reverberations from a laundry list of Illawarra-n performers including We’re Wolf, Parkside, SheerKhan, Laze DJs and many more.

The event aims to fetch a crowd somewhat unbeknown to the local visual arts scene with promise of prominent beat makers and matchers on the night. The subversive intention of the organisers aims only to overthrow some perspective on the consumption of art in all its forms.

Horse had a quick chat with organiser Aaron Hull, hustling some who’s, what’s and why’s from the man of many talents.



H: In your own words, what is Speak Easy? Why have you chosen to spread it out over so many days?

A: I think it’s a multi-disciplinary event celebrating art, music and everything in between. It’s also an opportunity to engage in what the Illawarra has to offer in music and art over quite an intense number of days if you’re willing to go to a number of different events. It’s a rich kind of array of what people are actually doing here in Wollongong, and there are a lot of good things coming out of this city. I think that’s really what it’s about, a celebration of that if you will.


H: Is that why it is over so many days? To draw it out and kind of cover as much of Wollongong’s music and art scenes as you can?

A: Well in a way we’ve put it over two weekends, but the nature of the space determines that in a way also. I mean, we had this space for two weeks and had to ask ourselves the question “what do we do with it?”

Obviously, I can put some art up on the walls but we were talking about limited patronage of people coming to look at visual arts. I’m also a sound artist and musician, so working across a number of different disciplines this was an opportunity to do a number of different things in one space. That’s where the idea really took off, once we realised we had an opportunity to do a number of different things.


H: The range of different audio and visual mediums is quite diverse, with bands and DJs playing next to walls covered in visual and video art. Are you hoping for them to compliment one another?

A: I think that each thing compliments each other. I think that the work up on the walls kind of hold a similarity to one another, in a way. Greg Hughes, David Hull and myself all have similar approaches to the way we make our work. There is an under current, a similar idea in the art that we present.

Now, with the music I can’t exactly say the same, however each individual night the artist’s playing compliment one another. I wouldn’t say that the music and the art have a direct link; though, during the exhibition opening that could be the case. There isn’t really a literal link to one another, and I think I’ve always tried to avoid that with my work anyway – having visual and sound and having them evocative of each other.



H: So, when we spoke with you previously you used the word “subversive” to describe Speak Easy, what did you mean by this?

 A: Subversion in a way where, with this space, you have an opportunity for people to come and view work that wouldn’t come purely to look at some paintings or a drawing on the wall. So here is an opportunity for people to engage with visual arts and video art in a context that is within their comfort zone.


H: Would you say this event is subversive because of the diverse music acts that will be playing over the ten-day period and the crowds they will attract?

A: Definitely. For the visual arts? I think there will definitely be a bigger impact for the art that is on the walls than if I was just putting an exhibition up (laughs). But I wouldn’t like that to be seen purely as the drive behind the work, because I am involved in the music community – being a DJ, a producer of electronic music, a sound artist who does crazy experimental work – so really, being across all these mediums is more the reason why I have booked the artists that are playing.


H: So, who are the other visual artists involved in the events?

 A: David Hull, Greg Hughes, Jessica Cochrane and myself (Aaron Hull). Basically, Greg and I are deeply entrenched in video art and David is a mixed media artist, drawer and painter. Jessica is a painter. 


H: Will there be separate releases for the art?

 A: All the art is in the space at the moment, and present for the entirety. Except for Greg’s work, which we can only keep for the first three days.


H: We look forward to seeing it all on Thursday. Would you say you have a grand vision for Speak Easy?

A: No, not really I don’t have a grand vision for Speak Easy. This isn’t really a Yours & Owls venture where Ben Tilman, Adam and Allan have worked towards creating a more vibrant place (Wollongong), I think people are already engaged in that. This is more of a one off opportunity that quite literally like a flash in the pan that coincides with some of the other great stuff people are doing.


H: We look forward to exploring what is on offer over the next two weeks Aaron, thanks for your time!




Here are the list of events and performers, with links to Facebook:

Thursday 23rd October Opening Party
Clocks and Clouds, Benjiman Kingsman, Tarant Hill

Friday 24th October
We’re Wolf, SheerKhan, Ethan Blencowe, Laze DJ’s, Ellie Daniel

Saturday 25th October
Tommy M and The Mastersounds, Deadbear, Peaches and Gravy, Shaun Blisset

Friday 31st October Halloween Party
Audium, Mr. Bamboo, A-Wyre, Space Bare

Saturday 1st November
Parkside, Dobeil, Wolf Tide, Laze DJ’s, Disquette 83


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