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ArtStarter Focus: Matt Tierney

Aug 16, 2013

When Melbourne-based media artist Matt Tierney applied for an ArtStart  grant in 2012 he knew exactly wanted he wanted to do: expand his career internationally, and establish a community arts space in Melbourne. Fast forward a year later and Tierney is realising both these goals.

ArtStart funds enabled Tierney to plan and embark on a survey trip to New York to visit media arts venues and engage with the international media arts community. He secured accommodation at CAVE, an interdisciplinary arts venue in Brooklyn, and an artist residency at Harvestworks (Digital media arts centre). Here, he concentrated on the expansion of his arts practice and development of new work, exhibiting in the audio-visual performance festival IN/OUT and alongside fellow ArtStarter Bonnie Lane, in an exhibition at Harvestworks . Matt also took the opportunity to further develop his computer programming skills by taking classes whilst in New York.

In connecting with a range of other artists, curators, festival organisers and collectors, Matt describes this experience as allowing him to “focus solely on networking and his creative practice, walking away with lifelong global connections”.

Previous collaborations and common passions of media arts has seen Matt join forces with two other ArtStarters James Wright and Nico Reddaway in establishing The Food Court, a community media arts space in Melbourne’s Docklands district.

Traditionally a more solitary arts practice, Matt saw the potential for media artists to develop their networks and work by connecting with other artists in a physical as opposed to virtual space. His vision was, through the establishment of a free, public space, for artists to share ideas and collaborate in developing a program of exhibitions, screenings, performances and talks.

In July 2013 this vision was realised through the assistance of Docklands Spaces  (Renew Australia) and The Food Court opened in what was once a bona fide food court, disused for three years until Matt, James and Nico moved in. They have been working with a fast growing group of volunteers including a fourth ArtStarter, David Short, in opening and now running the space.

Matt is building on the outcomes of his ArtStart grant in realising his goal of unearthing a landmark media arts venue in Melbourne, drawing on site surveys and research he undertook whilst in New York.

His advice to future ArtStarters “Dream as big as you can, go for the dream that’s been inside you since you were a kid. Bite off a big project and plan hard, because once you get the grant that’s only the first step – now you’ve got to make it happen!”

The next round of ArtStart applications close on 23 September 2013, for projects to take place from 1 January – 31 December 2014.

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