Face Radio Live (2006)
Excerpt of an ABC Central Victoria Radio Interview
Broadcast 7:45am Tuesday 25th July 2006
Jonathan RIDNELL Well the who’s who of Radio across central Victoria have been getting a little visual makeover these last few weeks as Kieran Boland, Artist in Resident at La Trobe’s Visual Arts Centre tunes into the airwaves and creates images of the people he hears and - he’s also been taking requests. ABC Central Victoria’s Jo Printz has been keeping an eye on the unfolding works and was very pleased to see her request of her own overnight Presenter Trevor Chappell to make it onto the Gallery wall but she really wanted to know if Kieran was sick and tired of listening to the radio yet?
Kieran BOLAND No I could listen to it 24 hours a day - which I am!
Jo PRINTZ Hahaha! When you actually are listening and you’ve had a request from somebody where do you begin?
KB If we look at some examples - let’s say Jonathan - he’s got a kind of buoyant enthusiastic feel – especially for someone up that early in the morning - which is probably why they’ve chosen him for working that early. So he’s come out as a kind of… boy - he looks like a boy. We’ve just met him and he does have a boyish look to him. I imagined him – pictured him - being a bit heavier than he actually is. You can continue doing them endlessly and doing variations and go back to the same picture or you can start a whole new one afresh and eventually - maybe just like monkeys at a typewriter arriving at Shakespeare you might get an image, an actual image of the real person.
JP Well we’ve also had a look at the picture that you’ve done of Dave Lennon and we were saying it’s pretty close to the mark there.
KB Well Dave was talking to another guest – they were talking about haircuts and they both have clippers and so that was part of that image they were talking about there. Their hairstyles let’s say. Dave looks a little bit like he’s afraid of technology. So I actually put down words. What they say - exactly what they say - so that it relates to the moment when they’re drawn.
JP I was going to ask about that because in Radio words are obviously very, very important because there’s not a big visual impact there on the Radio so you do have various comments and words and things you’ve obviously heard on the Radio and that has helped you go in a particular direction for somebody.
KB It’s interesting it’s the only means that a Radio Host has whereas the only means someone making pictures has is a non audio version so the two kind of meet in the middle somewhere.
JP Are you surprised by the number of people and who they’ve requested? Have you had lots of requests for particular people?
KB Yeah it could be an Advertisement for the ABC actually! There’s a lot of static which is a bit difficult– the reception for A.M. in the studio which is adjacent to the Gallery is very crackly up there - the first one I just went with it and did a crackly version of Mark Colvin which is very blackened unlike the request for Lucky Oceans from the same frequency that appeared a bit later which is a little bit more pristine looking. I’ve had time to build up a picture of Lucky over the years.
JP It’s also very reminiscent of Radio in particular because we get a lot of people who call us and people who call in on the talkback sessions and we don’t know who they are we just know their names and a little bit about what they want and what they want to say and so it’s actually quite similar.
KB Yeah I like that aspect to it. I’ve got requests going out - they’re being converted into images just as we’re talking this is actually going back into a non-visual arena so there’s a to and fro and they’re kind of parallel activities. Artists sit in rooms and make images without knowing what the reactions to the images are and there are callers coming into Radio stations and they’re getting some sense of feedback so this is another way of getting feedback.
JP And have you had any feedback from the people that you have drawn?
KB: Well… (Laughter) Yeah we’ve just had a couple -Jonathan’s seen his image at first hand. As you mentioned Dave Lennon probably wouldn’t be so pleased to see himself - which brings up the whole thing of the Radio Presenter not being a Visual Identity – there’s that aspect to them – they’re very well known –you seem to have an intimate relationship with them but they’re like Clark Kent and can walk down the street without anyone knowing who there are. You feel like you know them quite well though.
JP Perhaps just a comment - you have been listening to the Radio for quite awhile what do you make of what’s going across our airwaves at the moment?
KB Coming from Melbourne I’m not used to hearing what’s going on in the country. I’m really fascinated with the Ads too on the community minded stations like KLFM. They do these wonderfully – they’re quite endearing some of these Ads, which probably annoy the Locals to no end, but I find them really cute.
JP Now I have come in a couple of times and they’re kind of like works in progress a lot of the time so you tune in and tune out obviously. So you mostly start off with like a pencil drawing?
KB Yeah you often see the words quickly scribbled on the paper and if you think of it as one work – the whole AM and FM spectrum from left to right and if there’s time you’ll go back to certain areas.
JP So the colour parts of this - is that watercolour?
KB yeah it’s gouache which is like a watercolour - it’s just slightly more opaque than watercolour but it serves the same sort of purpose. Apart from the one down there which is pen and ink which was print radio - all day long they just read out the newspaper so it just seemed fitting to have it in an old style… black and white and read all over...
Jonathan RIDNELL Kieran Boland - speaking about Face Radio Live on at 121 View St and there’s a floor talk there this Thursday afternoon at three… And Dave Lennon has actually expressly popped in to say he’s not upset with his portrait! You should see he looks so much better there than he does in his passport photo that’s for sure! Yes it’s actually quite intriguing to see the photos. In fact there’s some pictures on our webpage – not yet! They’ll be there soon - or go and see them. Of course the original is often better than the photo – and also thank you to everyone who phoned up in response to…(prior segment)
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