Smartphone snaps: James Powditch


Like many people, James Powditch is getting through an extended lockdown by settling into a regular daily pattern. Powditch’s solo exhibition The Proposition, which was due to open at Nanda\Hobbs in early August, was inspired by classic Australian movies. So he is also watching vast amounts of TV and calling it research.

In his photo-essay for Smartphone Snaps below, the Sydney-based artist walks us through his weekday routine, which includes channelling his rage and frustration into an ongoing series of witty and politically pointed signs for his shuttered shop/studio.


Like clockwork, my day starts at 7.30 am each week day at the local primary school where I work prepping all the afternoon food and feeding the kids breakfast for the before and aftercare centre. There are very few kids at the moment, so I’m working on my vegetable technique and layout.



My studio and the small vintage shop I run in the front of it are just across the road from the school here in Annandale, so I head over there to NOT open the shop about 10.30 am. Having not opened the shop I’ll write another of my snarky customer advice signs explaining why the shop is not open. Here’s one in the window that made CNN when I tweeted it first day of lockdown. I think it struck a nerve.



This is the studio from up high. It’s an old butchers shop, tiled from floor to its 3.6m high ceiling. Built to get really messy, it suites me perfectly.



I had a show, The Proposition, due to open on 5 August at Nanda/Hobbs here in Sydney. But that has been postponed ’till god knows when. I had 27 works completed when lockdown struck so I am still soldiering on, working through my list (left) of great Australian films that are the inspiration for the works in the show. It could be a very big show the way things are looking.



The work bench with a new work taking shape on the end, The Cars that Ate Paris. Because my show was pretty much done when lockdown began, it has been a bit of a slog to keep going. There has been a lot of procrastinating and way too much time spent writing snarky shop signs.



Art classes at the school are cancelled at the moment but to break things up, or if I’m at an impasse with a work, I’ll turn my mind to thinking up something the kids might do next term, hopefully. We do a lot of Pop inspired art and this is one of my faves where the younger ones were asked to do covers in the classic Penguin style for books they would like to write and read; beautiful simplicity and funny.



Hitting the phone for a bout of tweeting while looking across the studio at a stack of work for my show that has been postponed.



The view back from that stack at another stack on the other side of the studio.



A highlight of lockdown so far was doing a zoom interview with Richard Moorecroft for his Exhibition video series a few weeks back. A lot of fun talking through the show and all the great Australian films going back to the early 1970s that inspired it.



Serious artist with sign. One of the dozens of Signs of the Times I’ve done as mock customer advice for the shop and online. Each one picks up on a new story/twist/stuff-up in the lockdown saga from day to day. It has been a bit of a release, a chance to vent and share the frustrations I’m sure many are feeling. I’ve been selling them to help pay the rent, but have copies I would like to put together into a book as a record of the gross failings of our elected representatives… You know who you are.



My partner Nat and Arthur the groodle have taken to walking up from home most days. And then we’ll walk home together through Annandale, which we affectionately refer to as the Mosman of the inner-west due to its wide streets, grand houses and terraces. But this isn’t one of them.



The view from the lockdown lounge where each day ends with vast amounts of the golden age of television being consumed. I grew up watching an unhealthy amount of TV and now I have the perfect excuse.


The Proposition
James Powditch
Dates TBC

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Feature Words by Art Guide Australia