South Melbourne Markets

South Melbourne Markets

Best markets in Melbourne

South Melbourne Markets are the best in Melbourne and quite possibly (because I am fiercely patriotic) the world!

South Melbourne Market Website

SoMe Space
The markets designer home-wares sector.

The Super Cool
Design Store

Paco Y Lola
Mexican Eatery

Beautiful home-wares

One of Melbourne’s biggest draw cards is its markets. From quirky design stalls to tables laden with gourmet delights. I adore them, more specifically I adore the South Melbourne Market, possibly the most beautiful and unique in Australia. It is no surprise to see TV crews running through the aisles in hot pursuit of ‘Block’ contestants searching for something to give their room reveal the ‘edge’ Melbourne is famed for. Similarly, I will usually be found scouring through vintage posters and artwork, admiring the work of graphic designers from generations past.

I am lucky enough to live on the 96 tram line from St Kilda beach to Brunswick. The markets are only 5 stops away. A traditional market visit will usually start in the fruit section with a fresh drinking coconut, macheteed (not a real word) right in front of me. It’s all very bizarre traipsing amongst the stalls with a festive island holiday beverage, but somehow it just seems fitting. Drink in hand, I mosey over to The SoMe design sector which is full of interesting jewellery, clothing, home wares, magazines and books… the mothership to Jo land.

If I am with a bunch of friends, I will usually take the opportunity to lunch at Paco Y Lola, a Mexican street food eatery which has the best blonde sangria I have ever tasted. You can buy it by the jug or as a single glass and it goes down beautifully with a chicken burrito. Other favourite menu picks include the chicken and fig salad and or the cumin roasted cauliflower with almonds and pomegranate seeds. It is a party for your mouth!

The actual market building is surrounded by quaint little streets filled with cute Melbourne-esque cafes, bakeries, restaurants and interior design stores. A few of them are wifi enabled which is great for me to take my iPad along, catch up on emails, do some research, write a blog post, all whilst chowing down on a delicious pastry.

My partner Remy, has a penchant for the deli section of the markets, the cheese room specifically. He is French and used to eating the kind of potent cheese that is unavailable for export to Australia due to excessive bacterial content (bless him). However they do have a variety of imports that my very Australian palate can handle. I have a few favourites including ‘Mature Aged Gouda’- so flavoursome and crystal ridden; Comte and Cantal – Specific to villages in the South of France and lastly the smoothly flavoured Swiss Gruyere cause you can’t bypass quality.

The South Melbourne markets have an impressive collection of indoor and outdoor greenery. I am a huge fan of succulents in all shapes and sizes. There is a smorgasbord to choose from. I’m obsessed with the Fiddle Fig Ficus plant which you will find in abundance. In my opinion throwing one of these beauties into a living room with a simple white pot can transform the space into a chic fresh and liveable area.

All in all, I 100% recommend visiting the South Melbourne Market. You will thank me for the recommendation!

Learning to love Abstraction

Learning to love Abstraction

Abstract art and the basics of visual communication

Visual communication can always be improved by a conscious analysis of the elements and principals of design. It will focus your message and emphasise its power. An appreciation of Abstract art is a perfect exploration of this.

The last 2 slides include a collection of images from my pinterest account.

I have always been interested in aerial photography and wanted to translate the colours and forms into an abstract art work. My first attempt at abstract painting. The whole experience forced me to question my style and ponder my change in attitude towards how I judge art and design.

Until recently, I never really appreciated abstract art (which as a graphic designer is a terrible thing to admit). I use to be one of those stunted individuals who would look on an abstract piece with a critical ‘that’s rubbish because a 4 year old could have done it’ mentality. It was an immature and somewhat snobbish way of looking at the industry because the truth is, a 4 year old could do it, but by no means should this diminish its merit.

No matter how good you are technically, abstract art can be created by anyone, a seasoned professional and/or a young child intent on decorating a roll of butchers paper. I like that abstract art is incredibly subjective and open to interpretation. Some people might love it as others may loathe it. Particularly in regards to interior design, a piece that you may not love on its own can be placed in context with other items that in some cases become the favoured item of the cohesive unit.

A very talented Creative Director I used to work for showed me something his kids had doodled very roughly on his iPad. As a whole image it was okay, you could see the inherited flair, but it wasn’t outlandishly special. However, as soon as he zoomed into the top quarter section of the sketch, I could see a pattern emerge and suddenly its relative banality disappeared to make way for a truly interesting and unique image based on a slight adjustment of scale and framing. It reminds me of the old aesthetic adage ‘Beauty is the point at which adding or subtracting visual elements is no longer an improvement’– not a direct quote, but I do remember my Dad saying something like that.

Most artists are familiar with the concept of the ‘happy accident’ where by experimentation and sometimes spilling of the inks can lead to revered work. An artist can take his or her messy drop sheet, crop a section and suddenly you have intriguing wall worthy imagery. The reality of this can be a hard pill to swallow for those who have been trained at the finest of art institutes spending hour upon hour, year upon year, honing their technical skills. The idea of ‘accidental genius’ used to irritate me which I now realise is stupid because it’s all part of a creative process. What irritates me now is hearing people say ‘I’m not creative’ or ‘I don’t have any talent’. I don’t buy it. If you just have a go, sit down and attempt, you may be surprised at what is achieved. Technical skill can be developed but creative expression is inherit in all of us.

At the end of the day, art and design is a combination of basic elements (Line, Shape, Colour, Texture, Scale, Direction) and principals (Balance, Proximity, Alignment, Repetition, Contrast, Space) to communicate a message or evoke an emotional response. All this tends to go on in the subconscious when immersed deep in the pursuit of technical perfection. Bringing the elements and principals back  into consciousness can help to focus the essential message, emphasising its power. Im no expert, but I do believe that an appreciation and practice of abstract art will bring you back to the basics, a place I believe every good designer should return to from time to time.