throwback thursday - papergirl brisbane

by sophie kalagas

Back in issue 44 we introduced you to Marc C Close and Travis Dewan, a creative duo who believe in the power of art. When we last spoke, the pair were busy rolling out the pay-it-forward art scheme, Papergirl, to Australia's Sunshine State.

Marc and Travis think that art isn't just for black-clad toffs, you see. Adding a little Rembrandt, or even a snap from a self-taught local photographer to your life can brighten it up like you wouldn't believe. Papergirl brings this experience to people who mightn't put a trip to GoMA on their weekend itinerary, by calling out for creative submissions, exhibiting the works in a gallery, then pedaling around town on bikes to hand them out to unsuspecting passersby.

They're like the art world's version of Robin Hood - just swap a noble steed for a two-wheeler.

Papergirl's back in Brissie this year, so we checked in with Travis to see how the project's been coming along, and how we can donate a little of our own creativity to the cause.


So, what have you been up to since we interviewed you in frankie magazine?

Vegas Spray, the organisation that runs Papergirl Brisbane, has been busily preparing its 2013 year of arts programs and services. Aside from Papergirl Brisbane, we are getting ready to release a new 'whats on' iPhone app that promotes Brisbane's visual art sector and also organising the Brisbane Emerging Art Festival 2013.

What kind of reaction did you get from the article?
We got a great response from the frankie reader audience. Many people submitted work or contacted us because they saw the article, and I hope to get all those people back again for 2013.

Have you been recognised on the street yet? Or has there been any odd fan mail?
The Papergirl project is starting to get known by more and more people – it's still a small event, but each year we are growing the community project and getting more people involved.

For people who missed the article, tell us a little about who you are and what you do.
Vegas Spray is an Artist Run Initiative focused on supporting our arts sector by shaping new ways in which the arts are accessed, viewed and shared. As a collective of artists and arts workers, we aim to leave our creative community more developed and beneficial than when we inherited it.

How is this project different to the previous Papergirl projects?
This year we've relocated the gallery space to be more central and are opening the event at BEAN Café / Bird Studios on George St in Brisbane City. The project will hopefully attract more people off the street and have them intrigued and possibly encouraged to get on a bike and deliver the work with us the following day.


What do you think the state of the art scene in Brisbane is currently like?
I think the art scene is Brisbane is very supportive and there's a lot of community involvement. Brisbane's arts scene is driven by dedicated and creative people and together we work towards developing the sector, each with our own role within the arts ecosystem.

How are you trying to have an effect on that?
Vegas Spray works towards developing significant platforms that enrich Brisbane's cultural identity, while supporting young and emerging artists to continue arts practice in our city.

We see Papergirl Brisbane as a great way to engage a wider audience to participate in an open arts project that's fun and about giving, rather than creating a divide between the general public and the often 'inside' arts sector.

How can we get involved if we want to help out?
Everyone can get involved by submitting work in any form, or spreading the word to any creative person they know to submit work. Even if you think you are not creative... YOU ARE... Everyone is unique and can offer something to be submitted and given in Papergirl. As long as we can roll it up, it can be part of the show - big or small.

It's all about word of mouth with such a project and we hope to get all kinds of people involved. The Brisbane community is invited to be part of the artwork delivery – they just need to bring a bike, a bag to carry the rolls and of course a helmet!


Where's the best place to get more information?
For more information please visit our website or facebook page.


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