Tag Archives: Syd Tunn

Connecting with our artists in a disconnected world

THE ARTISTS of the Nillumbik Artist Open Studios program are taking their studios online.

The artists originally planned to open their studio doors for the weekend of May 2 – 3, but due to the restrictions around COVID-19, the artists will be displaying their works in a special online space.

The online store is open now with a small selection of works, but will be expanded over the coming weeks.

Founders of the program, Ona Henderson and Syd Tunn have been part of the program since 1983.

“We initially thought we could postpone and then we thought, no it has to be a cancellation, because everyone is saying this will go on for months”.

Program Coordinator and potter, Annette Nobe said going online is something that many organisations have been embracing.

“I have worked in the IT industry in the past, and many businesses will be able to survive with the use of digital platforms,” she said.

In light of the recent success of the Artists Open Studios weekends, Bend of Islands artist Tim Read said the cancellation of the studio openings was inescapable.

“Unfortunately, [the open weekend] is the ideal way for the disease to spread, so [the cancellation] is a good move.”

All of the participating artists will be initially submitting three works to the online site, with works available for pickup or delivery from studios.

The website will also incorporate video messages from the artists and a virtual look inside some of the studios.

The program is also cancelling many of the workshops and classes that are normally run by the artists, and most artists have cancelled their private art classes as well.

However, many of the artists say they will be able to use their time in isolation effectively.

Artist Linda MacAuley said her classes being cancelled has allowed for a creative space to open up.

“It gives you space to do whatever you like — it opens you up to other opportunities,” Linda said.

Glass Artist Jacquie Hacansson said that she is enjoying the time in self-isolation in her studio, and has already started to be very prolific.

“It is wonderful to be able to sit and create without interruption from the outside world,” she said.

Metal artist Mel Rayski-Mati said that the Artist Open Studios program has allowed for many collaborations between artists and doesn’t see this changing under the current restrictions.

There are many wonderful works on display on the Nillumbik Artist Open Studios website, and there is likely to be a large outpouring of new works from artists when isolation is lifted.

This will ensure November’s Artist Open Studios will be bigger and better than ever.

 

Vale Sigmund Jorgensen

Image: Where the blue shadow dances under the cream panama, SYD TUNN

THE ARTS COMMUNITY is in mourning for the passing of Sigmund Jorgensen OAM, a cornerstone of the arts in Nillumbik, aged 79.
He was the son of Montsalvat founder Justus Jorgensen and served as chief executive and artistic director of the historic artist colony from 1969 to 2005.
Justus and his partner, Lily Smith, established the beautiful artist’s colony in Eltham in 1934, naming it after the home of the legendary Holy Grail.
Originally built for Justus and his family, Montsalvat attracted many artists, artisans and intellectuals over the years, including Clifton Pugh, Betty Roland, Leonard French, Helen Lempriere and Albert Tucker.
Sigmund and his brother, Sebastian, are the children of Justus and colony member Helen Skipper.
Lily and Justus remained married and reportedly dined together with Skipper each night, much to the chagrin of the less liberal-minded.
Current Executive Director of Montsalvat, Jacqueline Ogeil expressed the sadness of the whole Montsalvat community at Sigmund’s passing.
“It is a very sad end of an era for us.
“His contribution and dedication to Montsalvat was all encompassing and his love for his heritage and artistic expression was ever present,” she said.
Sigmund, known lovingly as the Godfather of Eltham, is remembered for his significant and considerable contribution to the arts and the broader Nillumbik community.
He made Montsalvat a haven for local and international artists.
His contributions to art and culture were many, including the Melbourne culinary scene, running the award winning restaurant Clichy, being a judge at the Melbourne Asian Food Festival, food critic for the Melbourne Times and played host to, and support the formation of, the Montsalvat Jazz Festival, which has gone on to become one of the major Melbourne cultural events.
Sigmund was also a supporter of the acclaimed student orchestra, the Geminiani Chamber Orchestra.
Sigmund was a Nillumbik Shire Councillor from 1999 to 2002 and served as Mayor from 2000 to 2002.
Nillumbik Shire Council Mayor Karen Egan acknowledged his important involvement in Nillumbik’s arts and culture scene.
“We are deeply saddened to hear the news of Sigmund Jorgensen’s passing and offer our condolences to his family, friends and colleagues.
“Sigmund leaves an enduring legacy as a passionate advocate for the arts, and we are grateful for his tireless promotion of Nillumbik and Montsalvat as significant cultural centres,” she said.
Bend of Island’s artists Syd Tunn and Ona Henderson recalled fond memories working with Sigmund for several years on projects at Montsalvat.
The couple said they found Sigmund to be “a warm-hearted generous and honest supporter of so much in the cultural life of Eltham and beyond”.
“His passion was legendary, innovative and determined — for all art forms.”
They invited Sigmund to sit for them in their studio for an Archibald portrait, however Ona says initially he was shy.
“I said I’d make a gorgeous lunch, and Syd said (being a quick painter) that it would only take a couple of hours.
“Well it was memorable! And we dined in style with a classy vintage red to wash it down.
“Syd painted this portrait (above) in several hours, it sold at The Archibald Salon and Sigmund asked for a framed print of Syd’s acrylic on canvas,” recalled Ona.
In 2013 he was awarded the Order of Australia Medal for service to the arts.
He is remembered as a friend and supporter of the arts and artists all his life.
Sigmund Jorgensen is survived by his partner Sue and brother Sebastian.
Montsalvat will be holding a public memorial service at 2pm on August 9 and will be closed to visitors that day.

Artists’ opening their studios

Photo: Sandi Miller

Pictured: Syd and Ona in their Bend of Islands studio

The last weekend for Nillumbik Artists Open Studio is fast approaching, with November 24/25 – your last chance to take a sneak peak at local artists creative spaces.

For more than 30 years, the Open Studio program connects art lovers to artists by inviting the public into their studios.

“Nillumbik Artists Open Studios showcases diverse visual arts practices from painting, photography and printmaking to ceramics, sculpture, textiles and glass.

“There is something for everyone,” said Nillumbik Mayor Peter Clarke.

With six new artists added to the Open Studio bill, both locals and tourists will be spoilt for choice with 27 different artists across nearly a dozen artistic mediums.

Of local interest is Open Studios newcomer Deborah Halpern, known for the Angel on Birrarung Mar and the Queen of the Shire which used to greet cars and pedestrians as they crossed Warrandyte Bridge.

Visit the Nillumbik Open Studio website to download a program.