RMIT Welcome Day: Students embrace art event



Artist Joel Gailer and assistant watch as students test out his skateboard with specially carved wheels – all part of Welcome Day fun at RMIT.

Take one skateboarding artist, two metres of primed canvas, an ample amount of printmaking ink (deep black) and mid-winter, sunny, clear blue skies at the RMIT Welcome Day for mid-year intake students and what do you have? A community art event!

The City Welcome Day is a campus-wide celebration for all students at the RMIT City Campus, where the campus comes alive for a day of fun and frivolity. RMIT Gallery’s marquee was well attended, with students eager to put their name down to volunteer at the gallery and gain valuable experience in working in the art industry.

Artist Joel Gailer thrilled skateboarders and audiences at his Performprint event during the recent RMIT Gallery exhibition Out of the Matrix, (watch the exhibition video here) so we thought we’d invite him back to show new students the sort of exhibitions and public programs RMIT Gallery puts on.

After Joel completed his half hour skateboarding-printmaking performance, someone tapped him on the shoulder and asked the question; “can I have a go?”

And so, Welcome Day became, briefly, RMIT Art Event – with students testing out their prowess on the skateboard, and risking inky feet as they tried to make their mark on the canvas.


Some students had never been on a skateboard before, and yet were intrigued by Joel’s performance and bravely attempted to at least stand on the board – and some went further, actually having a spin.

While  RMIT has a large number of academic, creative, sports, spiritual, political and special interest clubs, new students also discovered that the cultural activities RMIT Gallery provides are also part of an enriching university experience.


Performprint’s live art event attracts skater fans

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Skateboarders gather to watch Chris Buckman create “Beauty, bearings and irrelevance’ in Rodda Lane, behind RMIT Gallery, on Saturday 21 May, 2016.

Saturday afternoon, behind RMIT Gallery, in the middle of the city. Despite being mid May, the mild weather was kind for the crowd, and ditto the lack of rain for artist Joel Gailer, who was inking up the large wooden panels in preparation for skater Chris Buckman.

Performprint’s Beauty, bearings and irrelevance, a live performance art work on Saturday 21 May as part of RMIT Gallery’s printmaking exhibition Out of the Matrix, was engaging and atmospheric, with loud music pumping out of a boom box.

But it was the sound of the wheels on the white board that drew a crowd of young skaters down Rodda Lane, like seagulls lured by the smell of hot chips. They watched as Buckman made his mark, gliding the wheel’s carved words ‘vixen’, ‘matrix’, ‘singular’ ‘repeat’ and ‘give me relief’ over the ink and onto the prepared surface.


Gailer says that Buckman added his own authorship to the resulting work, requesting skating in four spots of ink rather than one, and determining when the image was finished.

There was no final bow to the audience, no round of applause – the skater and the artist wanted it that way, with the last roll of the carved skateboard wheels turning in the breeze and memory.

The print had emerged and rested temporarily for its photo call. The skaters lingered and then left to do their own skating at the nearby State Library forecourt. The rest of the audience chatted and took photos, then headed out into the afternoon.

For those who decided to get a closer look – well, they tracked home the inky residue on their shoes, collecting a printmaking memento. Just like Buckman’s hands.



Skateboarding & printmaking: performance Saturday 21 May


Out of the Matrix: Joel Gailer makes tracks in his live performance art. Photo: Tobias Titz

Skateboarding and printmaking? This Saturday 21 May from 1-2 pm at RMIT Gallery, the printmaking collaboration Performprint will create a work for the exhibition Out of the Matrix using a board, ink and skater Chris Buckman – be there!

Out of the Matrix – the RMIT Gallery printmaking exhibition that celebrates new directions in printmaking, is currently showing at RMIT Gallery until 11 June. Curator Richard Harding says printmaking embraces performance. Think about it – artists move to make prints, turning the wheel on the press, dipping a plate in an acid bath to make an etching. It can be a dazzling show and the best bit is there is never, ever any certainty as to how the print will turn out until it is separated from the matrix.

In the case of Performprint’s performance Bearings, beauty and irrelevance”    the matrix is the carved skateboard wheels.

Artist Joel Gailer, who is completing his PhD in printmaking at RMIT, used to do the action and as these photos by Tobias Titz reveal, he is not slouch when it comes to handling a skateboard. But Gailer says ‘age and knee issues’ have caught up with him when it comes to the great acrobatic tricks that thrill the crowd.

Enter experienced skater Chris Buckman.

Chris Buckman

Skater Chris Buckman will be adding his own marks to Performprint’s live art performance at RMIT Gallery on 21 May as part of the ‘Out of the Matrix’ exhibition

Gailer says that Buckman will be adding his own authorship to the resulting work, having requested skating in four spots of ink rather than one. The print that emerges will all depend on the movements and jumps and falls of Buckman’s skateboard. His actions and prowess on the board will determine the finished artwork.

“Performprint is a collaborative group of artists who are interested in divesting ownership in the work,” Gailer explains.

“Printmaking is very concerned with formal ownership, but we are interested in printmaking that hasn’t been recognised. For instance, branding is a type of ownership.”

Gailer pauses.

“I’ve been branded as a part of my performance.”

In fact, Gailer submitted to the hot branding iron not once, but twice in pursuit of his art and research. You could say it’s the ultimate commitment for his art – and doctoral studies. In two separate performances, Gailer had the phrase “A cool breeze on your hot eggs” seared into his flesh, and then “hot process” branded into his other thigh.

“Yes, it was an extreme act, but it was part of a very intense, 10 hour performance, so I got into a particular head space.”


A spot of ink, carved skateboard wheels and performance – don’t miss watching Performprint in action. Photo: Tobias Titz.

Performprint’s work “Beauty, bearings and irrelevance” created by Buckman is in the exhibition as the performance on 21 May only – the resulting print will not be on display at RMIT Gallery, although audiences are encouraged to photograph and video the action.

The action will take place in the laneway (Rodda lane) behind  RMIT Gallery on Swanston Street. However, audiences are asked to meet at the gallery and follow the signs to the performance.

Join the performance! What can you expect? This is a four channel work created by Performprint as part of Skater Editions for the Signal projection screen. It features a range of performers making experimental prints on canvas using carved skateboard wheels.

What: “Beauty, bearings and irrelevance” Performprint’s live art performance, featuring skater Chris Buckman

When: Saturday 21 May from 1-2 pm (event may finish after 45 minutes)

Where: Rodda lane, RMIT (behind RMIT gallery, 344 Swanston Street Melbourne – follow signs posted at the gallery and walk around the corner)

Bookings: FREE event (with music) more information: 


Expanding print panel discussion: what next for print?


Performprint, is a collective featuring two artists and an anonymous skateboarder, takes printmaking off the walls and out of the gallery. Photo by Tobias Titz.

Using the premise of the matrix, from which all prints emanate, the RMIT printmaking exhibition Out of the Matrix at RMIT Gallery (6 May-11 June) invites viewers to explore new ways of thinking about printmaking.

Join printmakers Jazmina Cininas, Joel Gailer, Bridget Hillebrand, Clare Humphries and  Andrew Tetzlaff on Thursday 12 May, 5.30-6.30 pm as they discuss what it means as an artist to be print informed, and how they use both analogue and digital techniques in their work, and ponder the nature and future of printmaking.

What: The expanding print – panel discussion

When: Thursday 12 May, 5.30-6.30 pm

Where: Green Brain RMIT, Storey Hall, Level 7, 344 Swanston Street, Melbourne. (NOTE: we have moved the event next door from RMIT Gallery due to size of the audience and restrictions of gallery space).

Bookings: free – register here for seating.


Andrew Tetzlaff with his work Yarra (suspended), 2015. Inkjet fabric print.

RMIT University has a long tradition of pushing the boundaries of printmaking, and this exciting new exhibition at RMIT Gallery brings together a group of artists who activate an expanded understanding of print practice, and who all have a connection to the RMIT printmaking studio either as staff or alumni.

With 2016 declared ‘the year of print’ in celebration of the Print Council of Australia’s 50th anniversary, Out of the Matrix focuses the spotlight firmly on the outstanding achievements of RMIT printmakers over the past 65 years, and their current agency within the wider print community.


Clare Humphries, installing her work What remains, what returns, 2016. in Out of the Matrix at RMIT Gallery.

About the panel

CHAIR: Jazmina Cininas’s technically demanding reduction linocuts of female werewolves have been exhibited extensively both nationally and internationally. The unconventional portraits feature in ABCTV’s Re-Enchantment documentary project and can be found in many major Australian public collections. Jazmina completed her PhD project The Girlie Werewolf Hall of Fame in 2014.

Joel Gailer’s work directs its focus to the mass produced and commercial world of print and copy-based technologies. Highlighting our excessive and compliant consumption of printed media his prints are a light-hearted reverence for printmaking and its relationship to mass production, media and print processes. Gailer’s practice is extended through the collaborative development Performprint.

Bridget Hillebrand is completing her practice-based PhD at Monash University. She has a Master Degree in Fine Art, RMIT University where she lectures in the Print Imaging Practice Studio at the School of Art. She has won a number of printmaking awards and is represented in numerous collections in Australia and overseas.

Clare Humphries current practice explores objects of the deceased and notions of materiality within rituals of bereavement. She is a lecturer in Drawing and Printmedia at the Victorian College of the Arts and has work represented in major public collections including the National Gallery of Australia.

Andrew Tetzlaff is a Melbourne-based artist, curator and academic. His practice considers the felt bodily encounter of matter, phenomena and site—specifically focusing on ways in which material objects can reveal or allude to intangible forces. Recent projects include: 2015 – The Door in the Wall, Yarra (suspended), CONCRETE POST 3 and Tomorrow Never Dies; and 2014 – Situations and Displace.