From the archives – our studio visit with artist Nell from our September/October 2013 print issue.

Nell: My studio is here in Kings Cross – in fact the three studios I’ve had since art school have all been in the Cross. The studio is above an old-school barber and the buzzer doesn’t work so when people come to visit they have to SMS me or yell up at the windows. I’ve been in the ’hood for seventeen years now and I secretly love the Cross – the good and bad, I love it all.

I feel very at home here. The show I’m working towards at KalimanRawlins involves two opposing walls of grids made from two very different album covers – AC/DC’s Back in Black and the Beatles’ ‘white album’. As well as this I’m making an egg-shaped sculpture from the vinyl records, which were just piling up in my studio. To make this I need to cut up hundreds of them with a bandsaw. I like to think I’m letting them live, but in a different life – it’s not the life that a true, hardcore vinyl lover and collector would expect but they are still going to be revered in a different way – it’s their karma to become an artwork.


There’ll be the white grid, the black grid, the black egg/records sculpture and this rock is the white sculpture. A rock, rock’n’roll, like white-man rock – I’m carving this face into it, so it’s kind of just funny, but then on the back I’m going to write a Buddhist text: This fleeting world is / A star at dawn, a bubble in a stream / A flash of lightning in a summer cloud / A flickering lamp, a phantom, a smile on a rock / A dream.

I intend to mix it up a bit and add doodles of a cloud in lieu of the word ‘cloud’, a lightning bolt for ‘lightning’, a ghost for ‘phantom’, et cetera. So it’s going to look like some weirdo artefact that could come from Peru or Mesopotamia or something; I love things that look like you can’t really place where in time or culture or geography they might be from.

– September 2013

Nell is currently exhibiting at Shepparton Art Museum – read more about the exhibition and artist in our latest interview here.

Dylan Rainforth