Grizzly Jim Lawrie single launch - House of Bricks

Words - Kate Forsyth Photos - J Forsyth

Grizzly Jim Lawrie single launch / House of Bricks / Friday 22 June

Music and art hooked up and DID IT last Friday night at Collingwood’s House of Bricks for Grizzly Jim Lawrie’s single launch for ‘Wish I was there’. And it was one of those hook ups where all parties left with fond memories, dignity in tact and not an STI in sight. What am I talking about? Well readers, Grizzly Jim’s CD artwork was done by four artists, each of whom created an image of Jim, which was then cut into 70 pieces for sale at ten bucks a pop, thus each piece becoming a unique CD artwork. Thus I bought three. Thus I have two spare CD’s if anyone missed out. T’was a lovely, freezing evening, attended by a group of pretty and polite Melburnians’, the likes of which you hardly ever come across in one group. A gent named Yeo played some delightful music as guests arrived, followed by Grizzly Jim Lawrie and band a little later.

Despite his name, Grizzly Jim seemed like the quite the gentleman – polite and humble, and this I believe is how he managed to curate such a crowd of nice folk, at what can often bit fairly snooty, hipstery affairs. At this point, I’d like to apologise to Grizzly Jim Lawrie because I am most probably ruining his rep as a scary, hard, brooding fellow. Anywho, Mr. Grizzly and band played a number of tranquil songs while the crowd swayed and smiled and breathed clouds of fog into the cold air. Tis the type of music I would listen to relax and kick back and chillax too if that were a thing I ever did or said. His voice is lovely and at times reminded me of Neil Young and Temper Trap. I do believe some other comparisons came to mind at the time, but beer drinking has erased those memories. I would also congratulate Jim on working the crowd – he chucked in some jokes and banter, and in the lead in to the song we were there for ‘Wish I was there’, he said, “Thanks Mum. Sorry about the songs. This one’s about Dad though.” Being nice to one’s mother is always a handsome trait.

One of the artists who worked on this unique art collaboration was Greta Parry, who took a roll of film on her Holga camera, featuring a range of shots of Grizzly Jim and surrounds, melded together and made delightfully colourful by the coloured flashes she used. The result was tip top, appearing like a giant role of film that’s been attacked by a rainbow. You can check out Greta’s blog, Endless bags of dirty laundry, where she puts her photos with lovely, down to earth explanations of how they came to be. Carmine Frascarelli’s take on the task was completely different. Using a mixture of oil, acrylic, crayon, pencil, chalk and pastel on Gesso cardboard, each artwork was a strange little picture with images, words, smudges, flowers, even boobs. I asked a clipboard holding woman - who it turned out, was not Carmine - if each artwork was inspired by an event, story or time between Carmine and Grizzly, but she was quite adamant that wasn’t the case, which left me thinking that Carmine has a very interesting mind that I would likely label ‘eccentric’ or something equally annoying, such as ‘unique’. (And yes I know I’ve used unique in this review already, but hell, it was!)

Anty Horgan’s street art version of Jim (spray paint on cardboard) would suit any number of laneways in graffiti art and stencil-covered Melbourne. In red, white and black, the effect was stark and striking and made for a very stern looking Jim – a prerequisite for rock stars. As a friend once said when taking a photo, “Oh, you looked so cool then you ruined it by smiling”. The only problem I saw with this portrait was in the dividing into 70 squares. Many of those squares would just be his black hair or white forehead, thus perhaps not as popular as the previous two artists’ work. But hey, not all art is meant for popularity. In deed, popularising of many arty things renders them rather uncool to the cools, so perhaps this was by design.

Simon Lawrie’s portrait of Jim was to my mind, the most solemn. I failed to note what it was made with but I would wager paint. Jim appears to be deep in thought and his expression is quite detailed. His beard is the most prominent feature and I felt like that was true of Jim in the flesh, so Simon really captured that. Again, the chopping into pieces might also have encountered the same problem as the previous artists, because there was a lot of black hair and a lot of blue background, but for those who are into understated things, then this might be your CD cover/personalised piece of art of choice. It really was a sweet and memorable evening, with a really different concept and vibe, and it felt like something great to have been witness to. Where lots of art got together and had a great time. And DID IT. Good day.