Arts Project Australia‘s first exhibition for 2014, Knowing Me Knowing You (KMKY), will question the collaborative process and explore the complex nature of collaboration between professional artists.

We invited artist and curator Lindy Judge to work with us to create an in-depth collaborative investigation involving ten of our studio artists and ten external contemporary artists. From 2012 through 2013, cinematographer Shelley Farthing-Dawe has been filming the evolution of the project as a film journal that will later be edited into a documentary.

This post will be the first in a series of artist interviews, and will focus on the collaboration between Arts Project Australia artist Fiona Taylor and external artist Angela Cavalieri.

Artist Fiona Taylor and Angela Cavalieri planning their collaborative KMKY project in the Arts Project Australia studio.


Tell us about your background. Have you studied? What is your practice and have you always been an artist?
AC: I studied fine arts at the VCA, Melbourne from 1981-3 and have been a practising artist ever since.
FT: I did art therapy before I started at Arts Project – I was learning how to do things in response to a personal event. Only by being at Arts Project Australia have I started my art practice. I was going to do it at another organisation, but they didn’t think my work would be right there.
Where is your studio based? Describe it. How often do you work there?
AC: My studio is in Brunswick. It is a large self-contained private studio complex that I share with other artists of mixed-disciplines and practises. I have been in this studio for 15 years, and before that I had studios in Fitzroy, Prahran and the CBD.
I work in my studio on a regular basis but it varies due to projects, deadlines and exhibitions.
I also work outside the studio and have had a few artist-residence opportunities within Australia and overseas. In the last four years I have been working as an artist fulltime, before that I was working in part-time jobs.
FT: (My studio is) at Arts Project Australia – here! It’s great working here – I enjoy working here, doing different things like ceramics, puppetry, printmaking and painting. I work here four days a week – before I was working three, before I started ceramics with (one of the artsworkers) Glenn.
Exhibitions are a big part of an artist’s life. With that in mind, where have you exhibited your artwork recently? Where would you like to show your work in future?
AC: I have exhibited in commercial galleries, such Australian Galleries Melbourne, as well as Local Council and University Galleries, including Macquarie University, the Baillieu Library at Melbourne University, Deakin University Museum of Art, Maroondah Art Gallery and the Counihan Gallery in Brunswick.
FT: I have exhibited at C3 Gallery in Abbotsford, at Arts Project Australia and at The Tanks, Arts Centre in Cairns. I would like to have another show here at Arts Project.
What inspires you?
AC: Stories, music, language, culture & history. Also travelling.
FT: Oh…I like sporting things like gymnastics and tennis. I do Special Olympics and in 2007, I represented Australia in Shanghai in China, which was an amazing thing. They have the volunteers for the athletes and I did the host-town program. I got a silver and bronze medal in China and that inspires me.

Artists Fiona Taylor and Angela Cavalieri working together on their collaborative KMKY project with artsworker Nicole MacDonald and curator Lindy Judge.

How did you first find out about Arts Project Australia?
AC: Through artist colleagues.
FT: I think mum found out about it. I am not sure how, but I’ve been here for I think around four years.
The KMKY project has been collaborative for all involved. Do you normally work collaboratively? If so, can you talk a bit about the way you approach this process. If not, can you talk a bit about why you have never worked collaboratively before working on KMKY.
AC: I have worked collaboratively off and on with my artist books, both with the bookbinder and through producing a collaborative series of artist books with another artist/writer. I also worked with other artists to complete the hand printing of my large-scale works.
FT: No. It’s a big experience for me. Working big on large canvases…well I’ve never done this before. I have never worked as big as this before. I don’t know why I’ve never worked with anyone collaboratively – this has been a big experience working on Knowing Me Knowing You.
What did you hope to get out of this collaboration? What were your expectations?
AC: Sharing creative interests and observing how another artist works and approaches a similar idea/theme to you. I enjoyed seeing how artistic outcomes evolve from shared ideas.
FT: Angela and I both had travelling experiences – I like travelling and Angela likes travelling. She likes it as much as I do, so it was good we had that in common. Angela sorted through what she wanted to do with the project and I sorted through what I wanted to do. I had pictures from Tiananmen Square from when I was there in 2007, so I wanted to work on that with Angela for the Knowing Me Knowing You project. I thought doing that was a great experience.

Were there any highlights along the way that particularly stick out in your mind?
AC: The whole process of seeing our conversations and ideas evolve to the final outcome was a great experience for me. It was vey exciting seeing the completed artworks and seeing Fiona’s happy and satisfied response and sharing this together.
FT: I really liked putting it all together. I also really liked working on the Silk Cut lino; it was a really amazing thing to do. Also, how we got an income for the project too.
Were there any challenges? If so, can you explain?
AC: No more challenges than what I have to confront on a daily basis in my own art practise.
FT: Working on a big scale was a big challenge for me, and having to put it together as a jigsaw puzzle. Having to map out the areas, number them and put it all together for the Colosseum. That was like looking back at my drawing and painting…I was exhausted from all the hard work I had done!
How do you feel now that the project is finished and waiting for exhibition? Give an insight into the process? Are you happy with the final artwork(s)?
AC: I feel excited about seeing the finished work displayed and am also looking forward to seeing the other artist’s results. I am very keen to see the filming and documentation that has been made during the project.
FT: I am looking forward to the exhibition and getting it all finished with Angela. I am so happy with myself and that I’ve achieved my goals with the project, and I am happy with the way it looks and has all come together.
How would you describe the finished artwork?
AC: I feel it has been a successful collaboration and positive professional development for both of us.
FT: Like James one of our artsworkers said, “Wow, that looks amazing!”. There is a painting of Tiananmen Square, a painting of the Colosseum, and in printmaking I did the Eiffel Tower with Silk Cut lino.
What do you hope happens to the work once this exhibition is over?
AC: I hope it finds a ’home’ where it can be viewed again and enjoyed.
FT: I am proud to have it here at Arts Project Australia. I know someone wants to buy one of the pieces, and I am overwhelmed someone wants to buy it. I’m overwhelmed by it all.
Would you ever work collaboratively again? Why/why not?
AC: Yes. I enjoy sharing and working through ideas and processes; it is part of my learning experience as an artist.
FT: With someone else at Arts Project again? Definitely. Because it was fantastic working with Angela – we worked so well together. And she’s such a nice person to work with. So I’d hope to work with someone just like Angela.

Artists Fiona Taylor and Angela Cavalieri working together on their collaborative KMKY project with artsworker Nicole MacDonald.

Here is a sneak peak of one of Angela and Fiona’s finished works that will be exhibited at Knowing Me Knowing You next year.

Fiona Taylor and Angela Cavalieri, Rome, 2013
acrylic, linocut print and oil paint on canvas
© Fiona Taylor and Angela Cavalieri
Supported by Arts Project Australia

All image credits: Penelope Hunt


Thanks to our Major Supporters Arts Victoria for a Community Partnerships Grant and the Besen Family Foundation:

Thanks also to the following Supporters for their in-kind contributions:

SHELLEY FARTHING-DAWE for giving additional time and resources to the project
 for sponsoring lino for artists Angela Cavalieri & Fiona Taylor




Sim Luttin, Gallery Manager & Curator: [email protected], +61 3 9482 4484
Melissa Petty, Gallery Assistant: [email protected], +61 3 9482 4484

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