John Demos at the Big Fag Press, 2o13
Charles, Josh, John Demos at the Big Fag Press, Video Documentary, Vimeo, 2013
In 2013, the Big Fag Press was lucky enough to host the talented John Demos for a mentorship and residency program developed through collaboration with Project Insideout at Macquarie Hospital, and made possible through Amplify your Arts which is a devolved funding program administered by Accessible Arts on behalf of the NSW Government through Arts NSW and Ageing, Disability and Home Care.
John worked alongside arts worker and artist Kristina Tito and the Co-directors of the Big Fag: Louise Anderson, Diego Bonetto and Lucas Ihlein to develop skills in utilising offset printing as a means of artistic print production. He experimented with conceptual map text-based writing and images around concepts of territory, home and bounty, coming in one day a week to create his beautiful works and experience the process of making those works into prints on our offset proofing press.
As some the founding members were busy off having babies and holidays, this was the first opportunity Louise had to not only take on the responsibility of pre-press and printing, but to mostly manage a project solo from beginning to end. The project ended up stretching far beyond the original funding, especially when Jo Holder from The Cross Art Projects gallery offered John a very unique opportunity to have a solo exhibition there.
Louise managed to organise some paper sponsorship from K.W. Doggett, and was also successful in applying to NAVA for some marketing and promotional funding for the exhibition which allowed for the printing of this catalogue:
The exhibition was a great opportunity for John to make contacts, show his work and most importantly give a voice to artists like himself who benefit so much from Supported Studio Networks. The article written by Lucas Ihlein was published in Realtime Arts Magazine, and the short documentary by Josh Charles about the project really allowed John to inspire other artists, and it must have worked, as John and Louise were both invited by Accessible Arts to be panellists at a forum held at the MCA called 'Supported Studios: Possibility and Potential'. This event got some further media coverage on Artshub.
John Demos became a key member of the Big Fag Press until he passed away in Sydney on April 9, 2016. Louise was successful in securing a subsequent successful grant for disability-led projects at the Big Fag through the Australia Council for the Arts in 2016. Sadly John was unable to participate, and it was decided the residency should be named in his honour. Louise hopes to secure future funding to make the John Demos Memorial Residency an on-going program.
More information about John Demos and his work can be found at www.johndemos.net