Elyssa Sykes-Smith Interview: School Holiday Workshops

Elyssa Sykes-Smith Interview: School Holiday Workshops

This school holiday, local Sydney artist Elyssa Sykes-Smith, graduate of NAS and Sculpture By The Sea prize winner, will be leading workshops in East Village Shopping Centre for some artists in miniature (alongside their parents).

The arts and crafts activity will involve the creation of designs on timber letters, to later be installed on Mirvac and UrbanGrowth NSW’s hoarding at Green Square Town Centre. Mini artists and parents are invited to come see their handiwork once the artwork has been installed and grab a free hot drink from The Social Corner.

Why are kids so great to work as an artist?
I think the biggest reason why kids are so fun to work with  is that they’re not controlled by what is wrong, and what is right, and they’ll join together dots that we would sometimes stop ourselves doing as adults. So they can come up with amazing , creative combinations and ideas that just flow so naturally. And you can see that just with the artworks they made today. They approach it completely differently than I would and it’s really refreshing.

Do you try and incorporate this approach into your practice?
I think the more you’re around something, the more it rubs off. So that approach means I’m learning from it and it's an exchange. I think people often get too trapped into thinking we’re teaching kids things - but really we facilitate experiences for children and then we learn from them.

Any breakthrough creative moments when working with children?
Sometimes. Sometimes we’re just having a little chat about something and I’ll suggest they draw something - like a flower. And they’ll be like , “What?! Flowers? That’s so yesterday”.  Or they make the flower into something else that we were talking about, like a dragon, and they go on a creative journey.

It’s A Wrap!: Filming For Creative Industries Knowledge Hub

It’s A Wrap!: Filming For Creative Industries Knowledge Hub

Art Pharmacy Consulting & Culture Scouts recently made a cameo on The Creative Knowledge Hub’s new video production.

Alongside the renowned creatives behind Priscilla Queen of the Desert, Vogue Australia, Frida Las Vegas, and many more, we explained why meaningful collaboration between creatives and other industries is so important for Sydney, and wider NSW.

Video here:

About CIKH
In today's hyper-connected world the capacity to iterate and develop new ideas and products is key.

There is a strong link between creativity, innovation and growth. The CIKH, set to launch in mid-July, is an exciting new Knowledge Exchange for creative practitioners focus don the Business of Creative Enterprise.

Private Client - Sydney

Private Client - Sydney

Art Pharmacy Consulting recently worked with a private client to create a bespoke artwork for their home.

For this project we worked with a four week deadline, and were able to work with the client efficiently to come up with a creative brief based on their personal tastes, as well as the space itself. From there, we were able to connect the client with various artists, before deciding on the work of a bold, mixed media artist.

Drawing on her background in fashion illustration, the artist was able to create a striking piece using Pantone colours. As stylish as it is humorous, the piece subverts traditional fashion illustration tropes, using unconventional materials and the artist's signature wit to full effect.

The end result is a thoroughly unique piece which will bring joy and vibrancy to the home for many years to come.

Canadian Pension Plan

Canadian Pension Plan

Recently, Art Pharmacy worked with the Sydney branch of Canadian Pension Plan – one of the biggest pension plan funds in the world. We collaborated together to find pieces for here rooms in their Sydney office. These works were to echo their Canadian roots whilst reflecting their Australian surrounds; symbolizing the global approach of their organization.

The first works, a bright etching series created by a local Australian artist, were placed in the office. These works featured typical yet beautiful scenes from Sydney life. They are decidedly evocative and reminiscent; highlighting structured, shapes and details of familiar yet forgotten objects.

The other spaces of the meeting room and office space featured artworks by a Canadian artist. These large-scale photographs featured large swathes of the expansive blues of Canadian water, reminding onlookers of the immeasurable relationship between humanity and nature.

Tourism NZ

Tourism NZ

Art Pharmacy Consulting worked with Tourism NZ and artist Gabby Malpas in a commission of 4 postcards to create sketches of iconic New Zealand locations for you to unleash your creativity onto. The North and South Island images include a couple exploring Waiheke Island, Cathedral Cove, Hobbiton™ Movie Set and Milford Sound.



Deloitte - The Art Of Ageing

Deloitte - The Art Of Ageing

Deloitte has long understood the rapidly changing nature of the workforce to be an opportunity to grow and develop as an organisation. As a company, they have gone to great lengths to understand the changes that are occurring, and working to develop a diverse and modern workforce.

One of the changes that they company has observed is the influence of the ageing population on organisations. They have found that increasing numbers of mature employees are less likely to retire, and see this as an opportunity to capitalise on skills accumulated over long careers.

They enlisted the help of Art Pharmacy to curate and install the Art of Ageing exhibition, created by photographer Louise Hawson, of 52 Suburbs fame. The series, much like Deloitte, aims to reframe the public’s perceptions of ageing by presenting a series of large scale portraits that give insight into the experiences of a diverse range of mature aged Australians.

Displayed in the foyer of Deloitte’s CBD office space, each portrait is accompanied by a short interview with each subject, discussing their lives, careers and the impact (or lack thereof) that ageing has had on their outlook.

Working with Deloitte and the Department of Family and Community Services, Art Pharmacy arranged for the series to be transported to the Deloitte offices, and curated the photographs, highlighting the features modern, carefully designed space, as well as presenting employees and clients with a striking and fascinating story about the complexities and changing face of ageing.

Step Change, Sydney

Step Change, Sydney

Creative marketing agency, Step Change collaborated with Art Pharmacy to create two murals for the Strategy and Library rooms in their  CBD office space. The two works reflect the company’s commitment to creativity and innovation, as well as their business acumen, functioning as pieces that are both decorative and functional.

The first work, located in the Strategy Room was large scale, yet subtle piece. We worked with a mural artist to develop the piece, which used soft, grey tones to create a sprawling, graphic depiction of the creative process. The artist’s use of fine, almost transparent line work, gives the mural a three dimensional quality, again, reflecting the complexities and depth of Step Change’s work.

For the library, Step Change was eager to incorporate typography into the piece. The result was another large scale, graphic mural  which similarly reflected both the functionality and creativity that characterises the company. The quote, which reads, ‘The secret to life is to keep living’, is in keeping with the tone of the room, which is one of quiet contemplation, research and creativity.

Private House - North Ryde NSW

Private House - North Ryde NSW

Art Pharmacy was recently commissioned to curate the artworks for a newly renovated private home.

The abundance of natural light lent itself perfectly to Gillian Hughes’ contemporary interpretation of Australian nature. She, along with John Scott created bespoke pieces, specifically for the space.

Meanwhile, downstairs in the games room Art Pharmacy was able to arrange for artist Luv Sic to work in the home to create a striking mural for the games room. The expansive piece spans two walls, and took two days to complete, imbuing the games room with a bold colours and a sense of vivacity.

John Scott #5 - APC.JPG

Mirvac - Rooster for CNY

Mirvac - Rooster for CNY

In the build up to Chinese New Year, shoppers at Mirvac owned shopping center, Broadway Sydney, had the unique opportunity to observe acclaimed figurative sculptor Elyssa Sykes-Smith constructing a giant rooster in celebration of the Year of the Rooster.

Sykes-Smith's work, which has previously has been featured in Sculptures by the Sea, is often site specific and this piece is no different. Making full use of the expansive shopping center, the rooster stands at almost 3 meters high. Her signature, innovative use of recycled materials was similarly well suited to the project. Invoking ideas of regeneration, and renewal, her choice of materials perfectly captured the sentiment of Chinese New Year.

However, the community element of this piece was new ground for Sykes-Smith. She recalls, ‘I was trying to think of different ways to do that so I could still have compositional control of the project, while also incorporating the kids work’. In the end, she cut-up hundreds of pieces of timber, which children can paint on site, which were then incorporated into the structure of the rooster.

This community involvement resulted in an enchanting space, set up in the shadow of the Rooster, illuminated by fairy lights and cherry blossoms, where children could enthusiastically sit, talk and create. Their work reflects the wonderful diversity of Broadway Sydney, with children writing in Indonesian, Chinese, Japanese and many more.

The interactive element of the project proved to be fertile ground for Sykes-Smith. She explains, ‘Usually it’s more showing it to the community, whereas now they’re having some direct artistic influence, which is really nice...it’s nice not to have complete control over something’. Her young collaborators seem to be equally inspired, she noted that, ‘they like the idea of it, that they can write their name of a bit of wood, paint it, and it’s going to be part of something bigger’.

Not wanting to deprive participants of a souvenir, Sykes-Smith has also had miniature roosters laser cut, which children could take home.

Queen Victoria Building - Rooster for CNY

Queen Victoria Building - Rooster for CNY

The QVB Rooster
19 January – 12 February 2017

In celebration of the Year of The Rooster, the QVB commissioned the creation of a bespoke public art piece curated by Art Pharmacy Consulting. The result is a unique large scale installation of a rooster that combines the work of innovative Sydney artists, designers and makers.

The QVB Rooster stands proudly underneath the centre’s historic dome at over 4 metres high. It is constructed of an elaborate metal framework, with the body hand-wrapped in fine fabrics, and the head, wattle and tail adorned with intricate paper details. The QVB Rooster faces the direction of the sun rise in the east, alluding to the rooster as a sign of dawn and awakening.

The artists’ collaboration in creating the QVB Rooster encapsulates the traits of the tenth animal in the Chinese Zodiac – Hardworking, Resourceful and Talented.

View the installation from every level and delight in the design, scale and unique interpretation of this Lunar New Year’s zodiac animal.

3D Render of the Rooster for the design phase of the project

3D Render of the Rooster for the design phase of the project

Corporate Client, Sydney

After recently relocating, this corporate client sought the help of Art Pharmacy Consulting to reframe their enviable collection of photography and art to reflect their contemporary new offices.

Art Pharmacy Consulting Director Emilya Colliver worked with the client to create a sleek new design for the framed artworks that line the walls of this innovative workspace. The result is a workspace that feels modern, while also retaining a sense of history and character.

Chubb Insurance

Chubb Insurance

Art Pharmacy Consulting recently completed an exciting new project with Chubb. As the international insurance firm moved into their new Australian Head Office, Art Pharmacy Consulting developed their contemporary art permanent collection. Residing on Level 38 of the Harry Seidler & Associates designed Grosvenor Place,  in Sydney, the new collection focuses on the unique beauty and diversity of the Australian landscape.

Working closely with the insurance firm, Art Pharmacy Consulting director Emilya Colliver said she was given a lot of freedom, ‘ Chubb were great to work with, they had a strong idea of what they wanted - Australian landscapes - but also gave me a lot of freedom in choosing artists and artworks for their new permanent collection.’

The collection consists of magenta-filled skies around Uluru, as captured by Scott Leggo, camels on Broome’s Cable Beach, photographed by Jarrad Seng, Dave Gleeson’s images of Noosa, and stunning images of Snow Gums at Falls Creek, Mount Buller and Bogong High Plains, as shot by Tom Psomotragos.

There are further artworks by the acclaimed Ilya Genkin, Andrew Pavlidis, Elise Hassey and Sophie Argiriou of landscapes as diverse as South Australia, the Great Barrier Reef and the Victorian coastline.

‘The project was a big one,’ Emilya Colliver said. ‘Building a new permanent collection is always a huge, but exciting, task and it’s terrific that Chubb are actively supporting Australian artists through developing such a locally driven collection.’

Step Change

Step Change

Who: Step Change – Sydney Marketing Agency
Where: Murray Street, Pyrmont, NSW

Brief: A 13.3m wide x 3m high mural to encompass the concept of “two worlds colliding”. Was to use cool, crazy doodles to represent characters, made up of opposites, but who still all coexist in harmony.

What: Art Pharmacy was asked to find an artist who could complete this feat – and instead we got two! The eclectic pair of Newtown based artists came up with some awesome preliminary sketches to be fleshed out more fully on the Step Change wall. The final mural was created with a quick three-day turnaround. The result? A fantastically kinetic piece of art that gives visitors and staff to Step Change something new to discover every day.

The Italian Talkative Square – La Piazza Parlante, 2016

The Italian Talkative Square – La Piazza Parlante, 2016

The Italian Talkative Square is a public, site-specific installation created by Italian visual artist Marta Ferracin. It consists of acoustic and sculptural elements.

Both components aim to represent Italian culture, which is the largest cultural group in Five Dock and it’s surroundings. The acoustic element aims to stimulate the imagination of the listener through one of the oldest form of communication: the oral tradition. In order to highlight the Italian cultural heritage of the Five Dock community and add more authenticity to the unique stories presented by each participant, some of the musical and theatrical voices within the recordings have been left in their original language. The sculptural component of the work leaves space for the viewer to find hidden clues to the stories.

As well as encouraging a revival of Italian cultural traditions in Five Dock, The Italian Talkative Square is a way to reflect on the contribution that this community has made in transforming Australia, economically, socially and culturally. Many members of the Five Dock Italian community arrived in Australia during the post-war emigration (between 1950 and 1970) with only a pair of shoes, trousers and the shirt on their backs. Some didn’t know how long the trip could last believing it was just 2-3 days when they boarded the ship. Others travelled alone or had a chaperon. Many shared songs and dance, hoping for a better future. Although they were initially seen as different people in a new country, Italian emigrants were able to rebuild their own futures, as well as those of the next generation, thanks to hard work, will, creativity, friendship and family values.

Over a three month period Ferracin has collected auditory material generated through chance encounters on the street with the Italian community living, working, shopping and spending their free time in Five Dock. As she is familiar with Italian culture, Ferracin has been able to locate important community meeting points such as the Fred Kelly Place, the Catholic All Hallows church and RSL club. She has also attended important celebrations and festivities such as the Sicilian Trinacria Associations’s 40th anniversary and Ferragosto, in which the well known Italian singer Maria Venuti participated.

The Italian Talkative Square is a collection of stories, from both the past and the present, told by the older generation who mainly come from Sicily, the Aeolian Islands and the central and southern regions of Italy. The sonic pieces, told in both English and Italian, consist of stories, traditional music and field recording organised into three cultural themes and acoustic compositions. Each is fifty minutes long and is looped and transmitted through three pairs of stereo speakers. The speakers are installed within the sculptures and on top of existing public poles in Fred Kelly Place.

One pole is positioned closer to the Great North Road. It is dedicated to Italian traditions, celebrations and festivities such as food, the procession of saints (who are seen as the protectors of Italian villages), and Ferragosto. The second and third poles are found within the children's playground area in the same square. One pole at the entrance is dedicated to legendary characters such as the Italian-Australian show band musician Jack Patane’. Others feature community members that have used their creativity to make Five Dock a vibrant and memorable place to live. Another pole hosts emigrant stories including the post-war ship trip, the arrival of the immigrants to Australia, and their settlement in Five Dock.

Three coloured, clustered sculptures are gathered around each pole, directing the visitors’ awareness to each different cultural theme, and making the acoustic experience even more immersive. The sculptures are made of recycled, everyday objects, collected as memorabilia and inspired by each individual story. From looking at the vibrant objects and listening to the narrative threads, viewers become immersed in popular Italian cultural knowledge, laughter, traditional music and recipes.

Capturing the curiosity of people that are passing by, this public artwork is surprising, charming and educates the audience as they sit on public benches or have a daily break. It also provides an opportunity for a younger generation of Italians, and other cultures living in Five Dock, to acknowledge their grandparents contribution to the history of multicultural Australia.

The Italian Talkative Square is transmitted during timed hours of the day and will continue to be on for two years (December 2016- December 2018).

Created in association with Art Pharmacy Consulting.

8 December 2016 – 2018
Thursday – Friday – Saturday
11.00 – 11.50am / 4.00 - 4.50pm / 6.00-7.00pm

Marta Ferracin
The Italian Talkative Square – La Piazza Parlante, 2016

public site-specific installation
3 pairs of outdoor stereo speakers, 3 mp3 players, digital power switch with timer
duration 50:00 minutes each

3 clustered sculptures
various recycled and everyday objects

- installation designer Interactive controls Dean Stevenson
- sound designer Marta Ferracin
- ocean and birds field recording Gary Warner
- life recording Five Dock Ferragosto celebration 
- instrumental music Emilio Lomonaco, Cristoforo Garigliano, Francesco Pavanetto, Officina Zoe’, Jack Patane’, Donato and Carmine Rocco Scelzi
- credit voices and sound recorded with Gioacchino-Jack Patane’, Maria Venuti, Emilio Lomonaco, Cristoforo Garigliano, Pino Catania, Ada Biazzo, Nancy and Joe Murdica, Lucia and Giuseppe Remollino, Rony Raspolich, Carmine Rocco, Maria Iolanda, Lucy and Donato Scelzi, Rosy Pietrobon, Odelia Portelli Restuccia, Antonio di Giuseppe, Baby Block (Antonio di Giuseppe’s budgie pet), Antonio Garozzo, Giovanni, Wanda and Augusto de Romanis, Vittorio Favorito, Gail Castedline, Franca Antonucci, Marie Piccin, Nicola, Antonia and Nina Rando, Marilena Mastrangelo, Lisa Sestito, Ines dal Molin, Rocco Mirarchi, Loredana Sofia, Christopher Verheyden and Marta Ferracin

Private Client in Dubai

Private Client in Dubai

This beautiful painting was commissioned by a private buyer living in Dubai.


Wyong Shire Council

Wyong Shire Council

Art Pharmacy Consulting / Wyong Shire Council / Deep Sea Astronauts

On a blustery Saturday, approximately 30 children from the local Maori community gathered by the shores of Wyong Lakes, attired in traditional dress. They learnt some dance moves, added some streamers to their costumes, and got ready to celebrate their cultural heritage and the area’s multiculturalism.

The afternoon parade of colour, culture and heritage was the result of the 'Folklore' themed Artist in Residence program for the Wyong Lakes Festival. Alli Sebastian Wolf, founder and creative director of Deep Sea Astronauts, collaborated with Art Pharmacy Consulting and Wyong Shire Council in order to bring together local Maori and Philippine community members in order to explore storytelling from a community perspective.

Coming together in a community puppetry workshop, the project connected Maori design and visual culture with the storytelling of the local community from the Philippines. The vibrant parade of herons, monkeys, water sprites, and a turtle, led by a sparkling dragon that wove its way through the main walkway area of The Entrance was the final result.

They gathered together and entertained the crowd with the story of the Monkey and the Turtle. Edna Wacher, representing the local Philippines community said for her the process began with community consultation – ‘The community was happy for me to mention that story of the Monkey and the Turtle’ – before working with the council and Alli; ‘and now we’re here!’, she said, surveying the children who were eagerly awaiting to act out the story.

Alli, from Deep Sea Astronauts, a theatre collective known for their puppetry and storytelling, said that the community and storytelling aspects of the project were essential. ‘This was a very community oriented program,’ Alli stated, ‘We met the community in the workshops where elements of the story were teased out.’

Indeed, the Costume and Puppetry Workshop, was attended by passionate and committed community members. They helped to design and make a lot of the additional puppets that added Maori visual culture to the Philippine storytelling. As Alli noted, ‘A lot of non-artists got involved with the project which made it really exciting and special.’

Art Pharmacy Consulting's founder and director, Emilya Colliver, spoke of how important public art is; ‘It’s so important that these strong relationships between artists, councils and communities are being built and nurtured. It’s great to see councils supporting local and emerging Australian artists, too.’

This immersive piece of folklore storytelling, full of passion and enthusiasm, depicted the importance of exploring and sharing cultural heritage, and deepening this connection through engaging with the arts.

Sofitel Sydney

Sofitel Sydney

Art Pharmacy Consulting have collaborated with Sofitel to bring bespoke art to the newest hotel in Sydney.

The Sofitel Sydney Darling Harbour is part of the new developments changing the face of Cockle Bay. The 35-storey hotel will open in 2017 and will sit next to the new International Convention Centre (ICC) that is set to open in December 2016.

Art Pharmacy Consulting worked with Sofitel, Accor Hotels and Lendlease, as well as private investor Jerry Schwartz, to bring original artworks to 555 hotel rooms.

As Art Pharmacy Consulting Director Emilya Colliver says, ‘the size of this project was huge, it was definitely our biggest project to date’.

Three specific clusters of artworks have been designed, each of which contains curated pieces from two artists. Continuing their emphasis on supporting emerging and local artists, Emilya commissioned Alexandra Ethell and Jenni Hare to create new artworks based on the idea of ‘South France Seasides’.

Alexandra Ethell is a young and emerging artist based in Melbourne. Specialising in digital collage, her pieces are known for their intricacy and the playfulness that fills the nature-based imagery. As she says, ‘My work has always been a little bit whimsical. For these pieces in particular, I wanted to create something with a sense of adventure, curiosity - and a little touch of Sydney - to entice fellow travellers to explore.’

Jenni Hare, meanwhile, is an Australian photographer currently based in London. Her work is graphic, bold and colourful. When asked about the inspiration behind her pieces for Sofitel, Jenni says, ‘The inspiration really came from the location. The Côte d’Azur is incredibly stunning and the light and scenery are incredible, so inspiration came quite easily.’

While based in London, Jenni ‘flew out to Cannes, St Tropez and Nice and spent days waking at dawn and shooting until sunset.’

Collaborating on such a large scale project was a new experience for both artists. As Alexandra says, ‘it was important whether [the artworks] stand alone or combined, our pieces would [need to] be able to talk to each other and tell a story.’

Jenni, meanwhile, found the process of working with Emilya exciting and inspiring - ‘It was brilliant working with Art Pharmacy to achieve the best outcome while still allowing me creative freedom.’

‘This project was a really good experience in managing stakeholders,’ Emilya says. ‘I’m really happy with how this project has turned out and am glad to see Sofitel, Accor Hotels and Lendlease encouraging and supporting young and local artists in this way.’

To see more, you’ll have to wait until the Sofitel Sydney Darling Harbour opens in 2017!

Cha Time Broadway

Cha Time Broadway

Cha Time Broadway

Who: Cha Time Broadway 

What: Art Pharmacy Consulting joined forces recently with Cha Time to bring art to the food court. Cha Time, the Taiwanese company that celebrates their nation's tea culture, recently launched a new store at the recently refurbished Broadway Shopping Centre food court. Art Pharmacy Consulting enabled the site to be decorated in the brilliant purples, aquas and greens that Cha Time is known for and the result is a fun and colourful expression of the Cha Time brand.