Kar Mun Phoon jumped in with both feet when offered the opportunity to be guest curator for The Lock-up's annual Collect show, which showcases works for sale from local artists in a once-a-year fund-raiser for edgy creative space with a national reputation.
Phoon is a local dentist by trade, but an artist by passion. It's been a hectic run by Phoon, since the beginning of 2022 organising the show, but more than 100 works from 93 artists are in the building, hung and ready to show for the opening weekend.
The Lock-Up will be hosting the free opening event on Friday, May 20 5.30pm, with an excellent night that includes a karaoke party into the evening.
Art works can be bought either online or directly at the show. It's always been known as a good show for first-time collectors, with many smaller works that are affordable.
The show includes many high-profile Newcastle artists plus young and emerging ones. Among those who have provided works are Nick Barlow, Gillian Adamson, Jono Everett, Peter Gardiner, Dani Marti, Patrick Maverty, Ben Kenning, Alessia Sakoff, Brett Piva, Una Rey, Michael Bell, Sally Bourke, Lottie Consalvo, Dani Marti, Lucas Grogan, Vera Zulumovski, James Drinkwater, Bridie Watt, Jan Denzin and Lyndal Campbell.
The Lock-up director Courtney Novak says Collect has come a long way from its first year with 10 local artists. Forty per cent of the sale of each work goes directly toward the gallery's artistic program.
"It's a two-pronged approach," she says, "generating more funds, but also a way of including all of the artists in the program.
"I think a lot of artists really connect with this organisation, and they want to help in any way possible. There is a sense of good will around it."
Artist photographer Aidan Gageler, who is moving to the South Coast, contributed a work from his Life of a Bee project, to the show. "It has been an exploration of photographic paper, which is pretty much the basis of darkroom exploration," he says.
The project is about found objects, which he collected from deceased photographic estates across Europe
For Kar Mun Phoon, the show takes her further on her journey towards ultimately opening her own gallery and studio. Phoon is currently working on a video installation project through Tantrum Arts, delving into food and immigrants in Newcastle ("How we find comfort in the offerings of food in an alien landscape", she says.)