Simone’s TiNA Festival Wrap Up

Well, it is a rather sullen moment when you realise you have to wait a whole year to see This Is Not Art (TiNA) again. Luckily, we each have a collection of unique TiNA memories that will get us by until our next creative long weekend. As a TiNA Festival Director it can often be tricky to see events, as being on call to help the festival team is always the first priority, however I was lucky to really be involved in some events this year and I would like to share my TiNA experience with you all.

With managing the Creative Partnerships Australia MATCH Funding Program I was lucky enough to have the chance to curate some local Newcastle projects. It was great to see some local artists have the chance to present new works at our festival.

Ben Mitchell’s Don’t Panic comic reading at The Edwards on the Friday evening featured some brilliant character voices, accompanied by his friend Phoobs.


Ben presented a sneak preview of his new graphic novel, Don’t Panic, with an exclusive reading and behind-the-scenes talk. Entry came with a complimentary Zine Fair mini-comic (Ben, you own me a comic as I didn’t have one on my seat!) and it was a packed house, with standing-room only. I am really excited to see the end product and not just because I am personally drawn into the comic as a character!

Ben’s work fitted very nicely into the TiNA program, providing an element of visual art and design, whilst also employing story-telling and written verse as an art form. The additional of a cassette tape with music created by himself and a friend, the story becomes real (analogue) life! Ben is a talented designer, university lecturer, illustrator, photographer and more. You can find out more about him here.

Newcastle Mirage created a Special Colour TiNA Edition of their local arts and culture Zine, featuring an article from yours truly. You can find the local business locations to get your ultra hot colour copy here.


The Newcastle Weekender Festival hosted over 50 music acts from; local and interstate, across the four days of the festival. On the launch evening I went to see Jenna Blayden perform with her husband Darren (your only husband and wife news team) under the pseudonym ‘Shatface’. This duo will take you on a magical journey, yet don’t get too comfortable, the ride will be full of brain and electro glitches that will have you jumping for joy, or running home to your mummy. Check out the snippet of video I got here.

The Madhouse Podcast Party at Hamilton Station was really going off on the Thursday evening when I dropped by. I didn’t stay for long on the night but have a listen to this track to hear the great sound quality of the live recording from the night. Micks King from Madhouse Radio will be using content collected on the night to create a two part TiNA special podcast.

The Friday night marked a significant moment for TiNA Festival a special event hosted by Mark N to mar the ten year anniversary of the closure of Bloody Fist records. Mark N has curated Fistography, an exhibition featuring Bloody Fist records from 1994-2004. The exhibition is running until Saturday 11th October at The Emporium (185 Hunter Street, Newcastle). Be sure to get in to the space to see phsyical media, ephemera, equipment, bounced cheques and some very assertive fascimilie replies. I found this exhibition particularly interesting as the work Mark N was doing withBloody Fist was prioir to myself moving to Newcastle. It has been really special to learn about the hardcore music scene that Bloody Fist created for Newcastle, as well as the International scene it became part of. I am particularly enthralled by the book Mark has written which covers some very special Novacastrian details and I feel reveals itself as a very significant cultural mapping document. Maybe I am giving it too much ‘arty’ jagron but any book that has the words ‘DIY OR DIE’ on the insert is my kind of book.



I also stopped by The Terrace on the Friday just to see how the Bloody Fist event was going. It was going off!!! The floor was shaking, arm flying, fists pumping and massive grins all around. It was nice to have a moment where you knew everyone who was at that event was absolutely beaming to be there. That was a special moment for me. Then I had to leave the noise for bed. Here is the little grab of video I got during my cameo appearance.

National Young Writers Festival’s Pop Up Poetry outside The Lock Up was a pleasant surprise to stumble upon. That is actually the best part about TiNA, the happy accidents. Like any festival, it is important to roll with it. Their might be venue changes, time adjustments but as long as you are immersed with the attitude that ‘the show must go on’ you will be sure to find something interesting. Check out the snippet of video I grabbed here.

Three Wishes, by Josephine Were and Matthew Gregan, is a work that has had a direct influence on my ideas as an artist whom is interested in interactive works, technology and site specific installations. I happened to meet Jo when she was in Newcastle in June. This lovely young woman approached me and asked me if I had three wishes for Australia in ten years, which of course, I did. So my interest in Three Wishes began the moment I began wishing with Jo on Hunter Street, my own local neighbourhood. This work, which interacts with public spaces and the people using them, asks people to think about the future. But not just think, maybe to dream. The responses from people vary from fun to shocking to just plain silly. The audio tour guides you gently with an ambient backdrop of music, aside from being a beautiful musical score, it also helps you block out the day-to-day happenings that are going on around you, taking you to a dream-like state. It was really funny to see people watching us; a group of fifteen people (with headphones on) who are all looking around in the sky, seemingly looking at nothing. I am hoping I can help Jo to set the audio tour walk up so that all visitors may embark on a dreamy journey that leads you to Newcastle beach. Have a peep at this article to read more about this work and other Crack Theatre Festival performances.

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The Sunday night with Madhouse presenting their Hip Hop Showcase was a great night with all the artists having so much fun performing to an excited audience. All I can say is thank you to everyone for bring the fire to the closing party!


It is always hard to pick a favourite but I can safely say this moment of the night is still blowing my mind out of this world. Thanks to all the artists of the night for making it the best party I have been part of at TiNA. It is truly an honour to bring local hip hop BACK to TiNA and I hope that this is kept as a priority because the Newy Hip Hop is a really strong local music scene that deserves more support.

The mural created by Blackbook Ink, which was commissioned by Octapod with support from Panthers Newcastle and The City of Newcastle’s Pride of Place (PoP) Program. I have been a PoP member for many years and I was lucky enough to have PoP match funding by NSW Clubs and Grants with support from Newcastle Panthers. The theme ‘This Is Not Art, It’s A Lifestyle’ of the mural was conceived by myself after lengthy discussions with a local colleague about what is means to be involved with TiNA. The mural represented the commitment of being a creative person in Newcastle. The artists SEKT, PUKE and ASONE really got creative with the typography and designs, even featuring Yahoo Serious as a portrait! We hope Yahoo finds out and lets us know his thoughts. We are really proud to have commissioned such a large (seventy metres long!) wall for such as vibrant and significant art work. TiNA has a long history with graffiti, even taking it’s namesake from a tag on an empty building, so it is a nice moment to pay homage to our past, as well as DIY arts.


This project is of special significant to me during my first year as TiNA Festival Director I obtained a grant to create a public art walk, walkARTbout. The project employed a curator and many artists to create permanent and temporary artworks in the Newcastle CBD, linking the TiNA venues with large scale public artworks. This project was very well received and inspired me to run my own creative business Street Art Walking. I would just like to take this moment to thank Octapod for the opportunity to really allow myself to think BIG and to have a chance to run a creative venture alongside the TiNA Festival; in 2010 and 2014.

It has been invaluable to have the experimental playing ground that is TiNA to test ideas and have a chance to employ artists, whilst also beautifying our city. TiNA and Octapod have helped me foster the confidence to work as a self-employed creative producer for the past four years and the experience has been amazing!

Newcastle is a special place that also fosters an environment of experimenting, trial and error, and I have been lucky to be involved in a number of brilliant projects over the past ten years. Yet, it is time for this little artist, placemaker and creative producer to leave town for the big smoke. I have recently been engaged in a position with a Sydney council and I am looking forward to whatever art adventures will find me!

So it is more than just a wrap up, it is a farewell. May TiNA continue to flourish for another 17 years and beyond!